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Rage: A new id Software classic?

A pain in the asteroid...

Overused though the word may be, we've no qualms in slapping a big fat GENIUS sticker on John Carmack's forehead.

He's done the maths behind some of the greatest game engines of all time and, even decades on from his debut in the industry, he's still squeezing more juice out of technology than anyone else.

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That's why Rage, one of the most objectively gorgeous games of 2011 also sings at 60 frames per second.

It's witchcraft to us, but his Megatexture tech allows every square inch of Rage's asteroid-mashed landscape to be unique and still fits the entire thing into the 360's memory. It's like squeezing the internet inside the head of a shrew.

Bethesda is chucking as much commitment behind Rage as it is to its internal studio's own game, Skyrim. Information has been slight and much of what Bethesda showed at last E3 was similar to what EA had shown at Gamescom the year before.

It's clear though that this will be a shooter first and foremost, with all the impact of id Software's classic weaponry.

The light RPG elements, open world exploration and racing portions are about enriching the world where it all takes place. In terms of murdering gear, you won't just be toting guns, though - find the correct schematics and components and you can MacGyver up turrets, sentry bots and remote-controlled bomb cars.

Perhaps the most exciting element of Rage that has as yet only been hinted at is the multiplayer. Granted, it's been a long time and plenty has changed, but id Software's shooters used to rule the multiplayer roost, particularly the all-conquering Quake series.

All that's been said so far is that id reckons fans will be "pleased with the direction (the developer) is taking." Watching this go up against the predictable might of the next Call of Duty will be fascinating, because they'll no doubt be different flavours of shooter.

Rage has been pretty quiet recently, but we're expecting E3 and, later, QuakeCon to be an absolute blowout ofjaw-dropping new information.

It might not seem it right now, but Rage is going to remind everyone that id Software is still right at the summit of the shooter developer pile.

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