Comments made by id genius John Carmack at the QuakeCon in August implied that Rage for the Xbox 360 would look worse than the PC or PlayStation 3 releases because there’s simply too much uncompressed data to fit on two dual-layer DVDs. He claimed Microsoft’s royalty fee structure means a three-disc version of the game isn’t feasible, necessitating a form of compression that will result in lower-quality visuals than those found in other versions of the game.
But Rage lead designer Willits now says the whole thing was a mix-up, and that the decision to use two DVDs instead of three was the result of the game’s story, which fits well into two acts but not three. “Microsoft is not being dickheads. It was a simple kind of miscommunication. Microsoft does not charge a royalty per disc, but there is a cost of goods that goes along with manufacturing,” Willits told Shacknews.
“I had the story all written out, and we decided to make it into two acts, with a logical place in the middle where players will remove one disc and stick the other disc in, and the never have to load that other disc up,” he said. “The story is constructed in such a way that I would be very sad if we had to make it fit into three discs, because where would you switch the disc if it’s three and you had a two-act story?”
Willits admitted that Carmack was correct about the reduced visuals on the Xbox 360, but claimed it would make no real difference in the final product. “Yes, I mean, technically that is correct, but realistically and practically they look the same,” he said. “The confusion over three discs was just a simple mixup here at id, not a disagreement. John is so black and white. John is so technically correct. You know how John is.”
“We haven’t solved all the compression issues yet. We’re close to it,” he continued. “The PS3 streams things slower than the 360, so by the time we ship, there may be the case where getting things off the disc faster may ultimately look better. Until we are really done, and until we can get a reporter to come to id for a ‘first look,’ it’s really difficult to predict, because DVD streaming may play a factor.”