Somewhere in the deep, dark, distant future, there exists a world beyond Doom 4. It is a strange and alien place - one in which id has pried the bolts from its lips and... wait, no, it's never done that. Always "when it's done." Always. But still, there are more id games in this far-flung universe, and also I have cool cybernetic laser nostrils. I know, for I have seen it. Briefly, ever so briefly, id creative director Tim Willits took me there. Here's what he said.
First, we addressed the elephant in the room: we were at a convention called QuakeCon, yet id Software itself hasn't made a new Quake in more than a decade. While multiplayer shooters have flourished, one of the form's mightiest pioneers has laid largely dormant. It's a fact that's not lost on id, and Willits admitted that there's pressure - especially when events like QuakeCon roll around - to give the Quake series some much-needed love sooner rather than later.
“Yeah, [there's pressure]," he replied to RPS. "But what's great is, the Quake franchise is still really healthy. Look at all these people at QuakeCon. It's awesome. Right now we can't do it because just, you know, time, energy, people... let's get focused. All on the same page. Let's make this one game great, period.”
RAGE's future prospects, meanwhile, are a bit less rosy. Willits was adamant that the sleeping giant of a wasteland has plenty of life left in it, but for now a sequel's simply not in the cards.
“The franchise is not dead," he declared, leaving no room for doubt. "But again, we have no immediate plans for it. But I created a universe that was rich enough that we could easily step back into it. It has very unique elements to it and I think people enjoyed it. We left it in a good position.”
“At least we tried it. At least we made something different and new. I wish more developers would do that.”
Which, of course, leads us to door number three: something entirely new. Another attempt at RAGE's mission statement, another step off Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein's well-worn path. The prognosis? Unlikely.
“Creatively, it's always fun to explore new things," said Willits. "But, since we have such great franchises, we have the ability to explore great things within a franchise. Me personally, I would focus on our franchises before developing a new one.”
"It's always difficult to figure out what you want to do next. It's based on trends in the industry, technology, where you want to go, etc. But what's nice with id is we have taken chances, we have taken risks. I mean, RAGE is very different from the games we've done before. I hope that we can continue to be creative and explore where we can go with all of our IPs.”
Risks, huh? At that point, I had to ask: what about the biggest risk of all? What about a (non-mobile) id game that's not a shooter? Think of the possibilities: a Wolfenstein Mecha-Hitler management sim, a Doom spin-off in which you do nothing but talk to the monsters, a Quake that's all about Stroggified stealth. Clearly, the possibilities are endless. Willits, though, is in no hurry to abandon the genre his studio created.
“We have very talented people, but we're definitely gonna stay in the shooter genre. I mean, we invented it. Why run from your baby?”