You may have noticed that my splendid and lovely colleagues Oli Welsh and Martin Robinson have recently become embroiled in what may very well be the most polite argument in the history of the internet, debating whether or not 2011 has been a vintage year for gaming.
There's a peculiar tension at the heart of Quake. Something's not quite right. For this reason it's a game that sits apart from id's other efforts while at the same time still being fundamental to the overall Brown Corridor heritage of the shooter genre.
On the year of id Software's 20th anniversary in the games business, the legendary Texas-based outfit is finally ready to unleash its latest game - the potentially incredible Rage, which fuses a fresh spin on the traditional id-style FPS action with vehicles and a massive open world.
It's well accepted that triple-A game developers can spend so long making things that they sometimes lose all sense of their quality in the process. In Rage's case though, it's now been in the open so long that even journalists writing about it are probably struggling to put it in perspective. By the time it comes out in October, it will have been in the oven – and Dallas is definitely an oven – for over six years.
Rage begins in outer space. There's a meteor floating slowly towards the Earth at thousands of miles per second, it's going to smash everything to pieces and everyone's going to die. You get to watch it scattering dust in Saturn's rings and glancing off the moon as it travels inexorably towards us – and the start of another post-apocalyptic first-person shooter.
I don't quite understand everything John Carmack tells me. Some words and phrases he uses – megatexels, virtualised texture pieces, transcoding - fly over my head as effortlessly as one of his space-age rockets would. But I'm trying really hard, in amidst the din of Bethesda's E3 2011 booth, and what I do understand blows my mind.
When RAGE was announced a few years ago, the common consensus was that it was another big, dumb shooter (but this time with cars); another id Software game where the technology was in the driving seat and the game logic and creativity were riding double-barrelled shotgun.
Every day at this year's Eurogamer Expo, Tim Willits takes to the stage in our massive auditorium to show and talk about RAGE, the latest first-person shooter to issue forth from the legendary id Software. To understand how exciting we find this, it is worth noting that without id's games Eurogamer literally would not exist - several of the founding staff only do this because they grew up on Doom and Quake.
Eurogamer is delighted to announce that Bethesda Softworks will present id Software's RAGE and inXile's Hunted: The Demon's Forge for the first time ever in the UK at next month's Eurogamer Expo, taking place 1st - 3rd October at Earls Court, London.
We've spoken to various people from id Software during QuakeCon - Todd Hollenshead, Matt Hooper and the mischievous Tim Willits to name three - and there's one question we've asked all of them: Do they ever worry that people have forgotten about id Software? Haven't all these kids grown up playing Halo and Modern Warfare?
"We basically showed the world first-person shooting." So says id Software's Matt Hooper, referring to one of the studio's best-loved titles, Wolfenstein. "That was a big deal. With Doom and Quake we had these successive leaps in technology, where people were moving around in a 3D space and doing things online. So we've had this history of doing things on the technology side and bringing out new IPs."
"We are the pioneers of technology," announces lead designer Tim Willits with confidence at the start of his presentation of Rage. Is that really still true? Rage is id Software's first major in-house game since 2004's Doom III. By the time it's released next year, that will be seven years ago. Seven long years during which we've seen Unreal Engine 3 sweep the games industry and no less than two further iterations of Crytek's spectacular CryEngine. id defined gaming as much as anyone in the nineties, but aren't the days when it could call itself a pioneer long gone?
After indie and esoterica, sports and music, MMOs and RPGs, fighting and strategy and action and adventure, we conclude our look at what's coming this year with two fields which tend to put refinement ahead of innovation. Can shooters and racing shake themselves up in 2009?
Nobody outside the developer (and perhaps John "Hardcore" Riccitiello) has played it yet, but we do know a fair amount about Rage - id Software's next big game and its first completely new property for a while, which is in full production and probably on track for release in late 2009 or early 2010.
You're reading about games on the internet, so along with Shigeru Miyamoto and Will Wright, we can take for granted that you know about John Carmack. Once a year at QuakeCon, Carmack addresses the fans of games made by the company he founded, id Software, and for which he's still technical director. That job means he can pick his programming assignments, and spend time driving the company's research and development, occasionally being called upon to fix bugs that entire companies have been unable to squash. His legend is such that his support is coveted by console platform holders and computer giants like Microsoft and Apple.
John Carmack delivered his annual QuakeCon sermon to devoted id Software worshippers in Texas tonight. Following a few announcements and brief trailers of Rage and Wolfenstein, introduced by CEO Todd Hollenshead, Carmack took the microphone and (after a while) a seat and rambled absorbingly about everything from mobile games and in-game ads to his admiration from Nintendo and his thoughts on the rest of this console generation. Here are few hastily transcribed highlights.
Following on from last week's chat about the merits of id Tech 5, here's the second part of our QuakeCon interview with Steve Nix, touching on Rage, Quake Zero's development and the growth of team two, id's relationships with Nintendo and Sony and how they see themselves - as a tech developer or a game developer.
id Software has been synonymous with PC game engines since the concept of a detached game engine was first popularised, and with the launch of each successive round of technology it's been expected to occupy a headlining position.
Even 24 hours after its unveiling, there are already a lot of myths about Rage. For instance, that it's half racer, half shooter. "It's not really half and half," lead designer Tim Willits tells us. "We don't have enough of a build to see what people are going to play more of [yet]. If we actually come up with some cool race ideas, it could go further. And if the vehicle combat is super-fun, we may do...We really shouldn't say half and half until we know more." Then there's the theory, quietly muttered by a few attendees, that the fact id owns 'Rage' and 'Rage: Anarchy' trademarks means that the console versions will be different. Willits says they registered both because they couldn't be sure they'd get the former. "It might have ended up 'id Software's Rage: Anarchy'." It's just one game. That's sort of the point of id Tech 5, isn't it?
id Software finally unveiled its new game, Rage, and made a number of crowd-pleasing announcements during a densely packed QuakeCon press conference led by CEO Todd Hollenshead and the show's keynote address from John Carmack.