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id: iPhone is "additive" to core titles

"Only John Carmack could whip out a game in his spare time" – Willits

id Software co-owner Tim Willits has revealed that the Quake studio's iPhone strategy is in part driven by John Carmack alone, but that the company does intend to use it bulk out the Rage franchise.

"A lot of it's John driving it," Willits told GamesIndustry.biz. "Which is one of the great things about him – only John Carmack could whip out a game in his spare time." Carmack reportedly took just a fortnight to create the 60FPS iPhone demo of Rage demonstrated at QuakeCon earlier this month.

However, while iPhone is not id's core strategy, it does have a full team working on mobile titles.

"We have a digital group at id which we've created - we have dedicated artists, dedicated designers. And what our strategy for Rage and the digital platforms is to not be you can play the iPhone version or Rage, but they can both be additive to the experience. Because the Rage universe is more robust and more fleshed out than any other game that we've created in the past.

"So we can use other platforms to do prequels, or you can play other characters or you may have a whole game that revolves around racing, or a whole game that revolves around Mutant Bash TV. Because the world is so rich, it's like Star Wars. We can imagine a million different Star Wars iPad games – that's what we're trying to do with Rage."

Willits also revealed that the developer's new multi-team structure in the wake of last year's acquisition by Zenimax was easing development on the upcoming (but as yet unseen) Doom 4.

"The reason that the Zenimax/Bethesda/id family thing works is now that we have fully staffed up our Doom 4 group, those guys are working on id Tech 5, they're learned from our mistakes, they're using our methods and because as you develop a new technology in a game, the first the half of what you do always gets tossed out. Because technology changes and you don't know what you're doing at first, so in the past when we were 30 guys it would be ok to spend four or five years making a game.

"But as team sizes have changed and expectations have changed, we could not have followed that paradigm forever. We had to do something. So now that we have the multiple teams, the new technology, we'll get a faster turnaround for id Software."

Despite the new structure, the adoption of iPhone development and a decision to no longer license engines to other studios, Willits felt the venerable developer's goals were unchanged.

"The focus of id is make great games that sell a lot. Licensing was always nice, but nothing ever compares to making a game that sells 10 million copies. That's where our bread and butter is."

The full interview with Tim Willits, also covering id's attitude to social gaming, Carmack's development style, company hierarchy and why the studio doesn't want another John Romero, is available here.

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Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer


A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.