Eurogamer: I hope gadgets will be a big part of Rage. That could help it to work over a long period.
Tim Willits: I know when I go find the research data in the Dead City, I need lots of sniper rounds because there are sniper guys. It's a long-range laser thing. But you don't know that until you get there. There will be a number of people who get half way through a map and be like, I brought the wrong ammo type to this party, and then they'll go back out.
Eurogamer: That reminds me of the Half-Life 2 thing of, it changes constantly, which is what kept that fresh for so long.
Tim Willits: Yeah. I'm a big ammo type fan. For me it's the turrets, wingsticks, Pop Rockets, Fat Mommas and Authority machine gun. That's all I need. The RC bomb cars – the Authority guys shoot them so damn fast. Then I take the pieces. If I find an RC bomb car kit I'll sell it because I want to build turrets.
Eurogamer: I really like the mind-control bolt.
Tim Willits: I miss so much [firing that]. But people love that. They love that and the Spider Bots. I like Pop Rockets and Fat Mommas.
Eurogamer: id games traditionally have been the nine guns – and you could probably list them before you take the game out of the box. It doesn't feel that way this time.
Tim Willits: Yes. And the ammo types help a lot. But it still has the nine guns. We just have up to four ammo types on a lot of them.
Eurogamer: It's the 20th anniversary of id. To the outsider who perhaps doesn't know id so well, how would you define the company based on those 20 years?
Tim Willits: John and the company have followed our beliefs and ambitions more than we followed making money.
Everyone knows we could have just made Doom games forever. Look at Quake 3 tech. S***, there are still games use that tech and sell millions of copies. We could have put our feet down with Doom and just stay with that. We could have trademarked deathmatch. We could have patented dedicated action servers. We never wanted to do that. We wanted to try different things.
You have to admit, it would have been way easier for us to do another Wolf, Quake or Doom than Rage. But it's been way more fun. We've followed our heart more than we've followed the dollar. I'm very proud of that.
More on Rage
Eurogamer: Why didn't you guys do the Epic thing with id Tech?
Tim Willits: John never wanted to build a tech team to support that, and have sales guys and support guys. John was like, I've figured out this new tech and I think this is going to be neat. Can we just do this?
With Rage, all the texture data is of course on media. But you can mentally project out, and you can see, well, if you have it on the Blu-ray, why can't you just have it in the cloud? It does the same thing, right? As network speeds improve, as local infrastructures improve… all the transcoding, all the data management, all the texture arrangements John's done to get it from the Blu-ray, you could take that Blu-ray and put it on the cloud. You wouldn't be able to spin around as fast!
Eurogamer: That's something that winds gamers up as well though, the whole thing of being connected to play a game. But that's really where it's going, isn't it?
Tim Willits: Of course it is. Half-Life 2 launched Steam. Diablo 3 will make everyone else accept the fact you have to be connected. If you have a juggernaut, you can make change. I'm all for that. If we could force people to always be connected when you play the game, and then have that be acceptable, awesome.
Eurogamer: People are going to hate you saying that.
Tim Willits: But really, in the end, it's better for everybody. Imagine picking up a game and it's automatically updated. Or there's something new you didn't know about, and you didn't have to click away. It's all automatically there. But it does take juggernauts like that to make change.
I'm a big proponent of always connected. I'm always connected. Our fans are always connected.
Eurogamer: Everywhere you go these days you're online.
Tim Willits: There will be a few people who will resent the fact you have to be online to play a single-player game. But it'll change.
Eurogamer: So the first 20 years of id have been about following your heart. What will the next 20 years hold?
Tim Willits: Money! Cold, hard cash!
No. I was joking! Hopefully id continues. We are bigger, but we try to keep the spirit intact. It's the same guys. It's me and Matt [Hooper] and John and [Robert] Duffy. It's the same goofballs. We can't change that much. We love what we do. This is the only thing I know how to do. I'd be screwed if I left the industry.
We want to keep making cool stuff. Yeah, we'll take chances. People have told me, you're crazy to make Rage. But if I ever make a game and at some point someone doesn't say to me, you're crazy…
We've always done things that have been like, what are you guys doing? It always works out. I love QuakeCon, too. I'll just keep doing this until I get too old.
Tim Willits is creative director at id Software.