Documenting unreleased, cancelled and prototype video games.
Rage – early differences
Rage is a neat first person shooter that was released between 2010-12 for various platforms including PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is a favourite of team member Grzegorz Antosiewicz, who decided to do some research on how the game had changed during its development.
The game was in a long development cycle and had a multitude of changes, including Electronic Arts pulling out from being the game’s published. Bethesda stepped in to help id Software, with versions then required as well for PS3 and Xbox 360.
Grzegorz talks through some of the differences he has found compared to the final game via a series of trailer videos over the years, starting from as early as 2007:
id Tech 5 Engine Demo HD.flv – 2007
“3D cactus models at this point. It is hard to say if the other foliage looks better here or in the final version. It is possible that during only the PC development period, the engine supported more different plants types/foliage based on 3D models. The finished game mostly uses 2d sprites for grass, bushes and smaller trees, sometimes as simple single brushes or two connected brushes.”
Trailer for Rage, id Software’s new game – 2007
Points of note:
0:07 – “Wellspring town, but no fly insect that features in final game – see here.”
0:41 – “Location cut from the finished game, also a 3D cactus model”
0:45 – “Location cut or changed, Jackal clan bandit is in the finished game”
0:50 – “Another cut location, or maybe a very early version of the abandon distillery level. Also, this bandit later becomes an NPC settler”
0:52 – “An early version of distillery, plus early version of Shrouded bandit”
1:48 – “Another different outdoor cut location, probably made just for that trailer.”
Rage E3 2010 Gameplay – 2010
0:07 – “The location is in the finished game, but there is no encounter with mutants. Also when the player is hurt there is a different bloody haze effect – more like it was a red circuit board: 020.jpg and 021.jpg”
“Also, no mini-map when driving buggy on HUD, there is circle with indicators around player car in combat: 022.jpg”
1:15 – “An early version of the watchtower occupied with two bandits: 023.jpg”
0:43 – “And this is how the location from 1:03 in the above video clip looks in final version from the Rage Official Gameplay Trailer.”
Early stuff that was changed/moved later in promotional shoots:
006.jpg (Missing for now) – “Jackal bandit near enter to Jackal level, in the finished game those bandits never leave their level.”
“Quick summary – A lot of stuff was changed to look more dynamic on trailers, like showing early levels, but where the player got guns and tools he would get later in game, or bandits/mutants/soldiers put in different locations.”
Additional differences detailed by Grzegorz
https://youtu.be/ipiBw1iYpbQ – “according to a Giant Bomb interview with Tim Willis, “Darkness” was the code-name for early Rage prototypes”.
https://youtu.be/Rr9JaxYZURk – “quality is bad, but you can see that the E3 demo from 2010 has a different menu screen and loading screens for “Wastelands” open world part, and for the “Wellspring” city map.”
There were also a lot of sites from different artists who worked on Rage, where Grzegorz picks out a few:
“If there was something that was going to be on the PC version, but does not fit the Xbox/PlayStation disk storage it was cut. From my sources: Rage was split into two acts – first open wasteland and big town, then after plot events you moved to a second wasteland/town.
Second part was rushed, as there is less content, less missions/levels, less side activities or small tasks. Still each level and second wasteland looks stunning. Near the last mission there are some boat wrecks on the wasteland. There was going to be a third wasteland theme with a boats graveyard full of ships wrecks. id Software lacked the time to finish it and space to fit it on consoles, so the game ends with no real boss fight.
I believe the second part of game was going to be longer and was cut, so I looked into who was working on graphics and found an interview with Stephan Martiniere for RockPaperShotgun:
Interesting are those ones that show an abandoned futuristic city, whilst in the finished game, this place got more grounded/less futuristic design similar to cities from our times. There is also one picture with red sand and a wreck of giant tanker.
He worked on levels from DLC The Scorchers, where some elements were already partially build, but not finished for main game. There is also some brief information that he was working on another unreleased DLC.
Then according to SteamDB site (https://steamdb.info/app/9200/dlc/), Rage was going to have 5 DLC’s in total. The first two were released with game, third one was released year later, and the last two were unreleased.
Authority Pack DLC – was a bonus pre order weapon/skin/car for those who buy game early.
Sewers DLC – was a small pack of sewers themed levels that could be accessed from open world wasteland maps.
The Scorchers DLC – was additional story and maps released a year later.
I believe that id Software were hoping that Rage would be a much bigger success and they were planning to have those additional DLC. But the game earned mixed reviews, some loved it and some hated it for the issues it has (low quality textures, problems with graphic card drivers on pc, weak story, lack of proper ending boss fight, small open world parts).
id Software decide to work more on their new Doom game and stop supporting Rage as result. There was also one interview during E3 2010 with Tim Willis (I believe it was him but it could be someone else) where he was talking about side activities you could do in the game, and he stated that there was a main story completed and with some time they would fill the game world with more content and maps to explore. It would be worth to find it.
In the finished game there are a lot of different closed doors that got marks on them if you tried to press the ‘use’ button. Some doors led to other locations and some were inactive for the whole game. From my point of view it would be easier to leave them as a normal inactive texture without any prompt at all.”
Update 03/01/22: Further findings from Grzegorz using cheat modes
“I decided to play Rage, finish it and check every cheat on PC, so maybe I could find some more interesting stuff.
I have discovered that there is a cheat that gives the player an unused grenade type. After typing…
….into console, I receive an item that can not be found on maps nor can be bought at vendors. It works, can kill bandits, has its own graphics and even got discretion in inventory.
Next I checked the cheat…
Normally the sniper rifle only has one ammo type, whilst some guns have different ammo types. The cheat does not work, but displays a message that I picked up ammo for the sniper rifle. My ammo counter does not show nothing new, so it looks like there were plans to implement more ammo types, but it was not completed.
There are also cheats like…
… but both do not work, do not give any message nor add anything that works into inventory.
Next useful cheat was…
…. which allows for walking through walls and flying.
I have checked all those fake doors. Those are just textures with no geometry behind them. On some rare occasions there were actually fake doors that have rooms on both sides, but for the player there was a different road to reach those rooms.
In the first open world map, there is cave blocked with a wall. Probably there was a cancelled mission to unlock that barrier, and that cave would take the player to other level. Maybe that dead end on wasteland was going to connect with the second game chapter open level.
Another little curiosity can be found whilst exploring the second chapter town. In Subway Town there are two unused rooms. One completely empty with no textures, just black walls and a second one with basic low quality textures and simple white lighting. They could be made just for decoration, or maybe some vendors or quest givers could have occupied them.
Overall Rage maps are built in an “economic” way, there are normally no hidden or unused rooms on maps. If parts of the level is blocked for the player, then the quality of textures will be lower, to lowest on surfaces unseen from player perspective.
If there is something not reachable for the player – an open door or other entry that leads somewhere, it will lead to small black room. If player rides an elevator and the lights black out, he will be transported somewhere else, but at the same height, so levels are not extensively deep/high.
At first, while I was playing the game – I was sure that The Sewers DLC took place on one giant map with many entry and exit points that are placed dependently on with enter hatch you took from the open world map. Those Sewer maps are actually built from small segments, same rooms and tunnels are reused in different order with sometimes some extra rooms and tunnels sometimes can be found with the noclip cheat. Maybe there was no time to clean those dlc maps when game was released.
On the second level map that took place in Wasted bandit clan garage player can found shootable car plates hanging on ropes and interactive sinks. It is bit strange because most levels do not have interactive objects and any destruction or philippics based events are heavy scripted.
On another level based on the underground bunker occupied with the Shrouded bandit clan, the player can find an interactive box near the last vault with explosive tanks. It can be opened and the player can pick up the remote bomb car. After a few seconds, the box will close and a sound will be heard.
After that it can be opened again and it will spawn another remote car to pick up. After that it can be still opened again, but will stop spawning items. It does not appear on any other levels from the game nor DLC. Probably it was placed in that level because the player needs bomb cars to progress, and if he can not find them earlier or have no parts to construct them, he could not progress. If the player shoots those remote cars accidentally or on purpose they will explode.”
A massive thank you to Grzegorz Antosiewicz to his incredibly detailed breakdown of some differences between early previews and the final release.
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