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Rage still a long way from release - Willits

"When it's fun and when it's done."

Word at QuakeCon ahead of id Software's annual press conference and John Carmack's keynote address is that the company's new marquee title, Rage, is still a long way from release.

"It's not like we know and we're not saying," project leader Tim Willits joked about the release date with Eurogamer. "It's just, again, it's when it's fun and when it's done. Unfortunately that is the answer I have to give."

We asked Willits if Rage is a 2009 game, 2010, 2011, and all he'd say is that it's "not that far out" in response to the last one.

The game's come on a long way since it was first shown at QuakeCon last year, Willits said, and the team has since nailed down the gameplay goals and finalised the storyline. Rage, which takes place in a fairly open post-apocalyptic setting, is a first-person shooter with driving elements and an RPG-style progression system. It's due out on PC, Mac, PS3 and 360.

Id also hopes that this year's QuakeCon showing will address some of the concerns the company's fans had after the 2007 unveiling.

"Last year I think people probably came away from the QuakeCon with an idea that the game was more about racing and vehicle combat than it really was about first-person action," Willits acknowledged.

"That's one of the things that we want to try and address - the game is a first-person action game that has a variety of gameplay that is no longer just run-and-gun. It focuses on story-driven missions. It's not this huge mindless open world. But it is a first-person action game that has a variety of gameplay built upon id Tech 5. That's really our key message.

"One website had it listed as a vehicle-based combat game, but that's not what it is. It's a component of the game, but it's not that kind of game."

We'll be bringing you a full preview and interview with Willits on the game's progress early next week. In the meantime, you can always check out last year's preview, most of which holds true based on our conversations at QuakeCon 2008.

Look out for up-to-the-minute news from the QuakeCon press conference in a few hours' time - or, if you're a normal human being, when you've woken up tomorrow.