Rage 2 arrives on consoles slathered in hot pink highlights, mutant entrails and the fingerprints of a new development team. Avalanche Studios picks up the series’ reigns, joining id Software to create something rather unique – a fast-paced first-person shooter combined with a large open world. From my perspective, it’s a special experience and the dual-studio collaboration pays off handsomely – but the technical decisions behind the game are intriguing, not to mention controversial.
There’s no escaping it: the difference in the gameplay experience between base and enhanced consoles is vast. The vanilla machines run the game at 30 frames per second, but the choices made for the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions have split user opinion, and it all comes down to this: what’s best – a nigh-on flawless 60 frames per second, or higher resolution imagery at half that frame-rate?
The move to a new developer represents a major shift for the franchise, with Rage 2 leaving id Tech behind in favour of Avalanche’s own Apex engine. The studio was selected a development partner based on the strength of its technology. The engine supports large scale open worlds with complex physics simulation and dynamic lights – perfect for Rage. After all, the original Rage was designed to offer a Mad Max-like experience with a wide-open wasteland to explore but id Tech 5 wasn’t well suited to a large-scale project, so the environments were constrained, and every mission was divided by loading screens killing the pace.