Back in May, just ahead of June’s E3 conferences, RAGE 2 was one of the many games leaked by Walmart Canada. Instead of taking offense to the leaks, Bethesda decided to lean into it. Many were skeptical, wondering why a game like RAGE needed a sequel. After getting our hands on the game at E3, we’re extremely excited for it, even honoring the game with one of our Best of E3 2018 awards.
Normally, leaks are bad for the industry. They upend carefully laid marketing plans that are designed to control and elevate the conversation in a way that’s most favorable to the developer. In this case, id Software studio director Tim Willits says that the RAGE 2 leak was actually a good thing for Bethesda, id, and Avalanche. It created conversation around RAGE 2 that may have been swallowed up by other games otherwise.
The plan was always to do a pre-E3 series of teases and reveals to head off the massive E3 conversation, but the leak afforded them an additional opportunity to get people talking. “It turned out so well that a number of journalists were like, ‘You guys planned that right?'” Willits said. “No, we didn’t plan it.” Specifically, the studio knew they would be competing with another massive Bethesda game in Fallout 76. Willits described the the next Fallout as a “55,000 ton gorilla,” another post-apocalyptic game that could could cannibalize the conversation.
That’s why I positioned this as the post-post-apocalyptic game. From the story and the different biomes we’ve created, we tried to evolve the game past the 50 shades of brown we had in RAGE and Avalanche had in Mad Max. So we really embraced the colors, the vibrancy of the personalities, the characters, the story, and of course the marketing, which has done really well for us. You have to be at the top of the scale, otherwise you’re just at that bottom. You’re ballast.
Why release multiple post-apocalyptic games within the same window? Willits says that the genre is grounded in things that people know and can connect with. They can go over-the-top, creating crazy creatures, weapons, and situations, but it’s ultimately grounded in a familiar world that we can relate to.
At the end of the day though, it’s about making something fun. “There are some serious elements to RAGE 2, but we’re making fun games, and they need to be fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Willits revealed, and those themes came through in our time with the E3 demo they had to show.
What did you think of the RAGE 2 leak? Is it a game that would have entered your radar otherwise? Are you more excited for it as more details have been released? Leak your thoughts to us in the comments below.