Here’s what Bethesda say: “RAGE will be published by Bethesda Softworks, (a) ZeniMax subsidiary. As a result, Electronic Arts Inc will not be involved in the sales and marketing of RAGE. The ongoing development of RAGE is unaffected by this development.” Thoughts on this below.
You’ll recall that Id were bought by ZeniMax earlier in the year, a deal which presumably makes the licensing of Bethesda-publised Brink, which uses the last generation of Id tech, a little cheaper. EA, of course, were signed on to market and sell Rage, but it’s perhaps appropriate to their downsizing that they offload this onto someone else. And it’s fair to say that Rage seems to be in an odd limbo. It’s not one of the Id names, as it’s an attempt to do something new. The fanfare for this game, by one of the most famous development houses in world, seems minimal. People seem unsure whether to be excited, perhaps because of the lack of marketing, but I think more crucially because the lack of a clear concept of why the game is different or exciting. Even Id’s traditional armies of PC gaming fans have been mute, presumably because the console presence in its development casts a long shadow, despite protestations that it will “feel like a true PC game.”
Rage desperately needs to distinguish itself from a bunch of other post-apocalyptic games – currently it looks like Borderlands before the makeover – including Bethesda’s own Fallout games. With this in mind, why bother having to make that distinction? Couldn’t Bethesda relaunch Rage as part of their own Fallout universe? It would seem to make sense. Isn’t there scope for an entire generation of new Fallout games? Or is the creation of a new post-apocalyptic IP really, genuinely valuable to either Id or Bethesda?