id Software creative director Tim Willits has said comparing Rage to the current top crop of Xbox Live shooters is like comparing steak to a McDonald's meal.
The studio veteran thinks Rage's reuse of gameplay conceits from single player for the multiplayer aspect will set it apart. The now October-bound shooter offers two multiplayer modes: Combat Rally, a six-player vehicular arena battle fest, and Legends of the Wasteland, a set of two-player co-op missions derived from campaign backstory.
"We invented deathmatch, but when we looked at Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein and now Rage, we didn't want to follow the same formula that we have done for the past 20 years," Willits said, explaining the absence of a traditional competitive mode. "So we wanted to make both the single player experience and the multiplayer experience of Rage stand on its own two feet, and be different from our other titles."
Is this an approach id would like other developers to imitate? "Hopefully, because everyone's doing the same thing. It'd be nice for people to take a look at what their game offers, and take some element that's fun in the single player way and turn it into multiplayer, like we do with the vehicles."
While he acknowledged that straying from the formula hammered out by Call of Duty, Battlefield and their ilk posed risks, Willits insisted that Rage would transcend the competition.
"You're right there's a massive appetite for that sort of thing," he said. "But it's like McDonalds. There's a McDonalds on every street corner, and I love McDonalds, but I don't want to eat McDonalds every day. Sometimes you need to have steak."
"You know, we are trying something different, doing something that fits into the Rage game. In the past we've always been successful, and I think we'll be successful now."