SPOILER ALERT - I am going to discuss the ending of the game:
So I finished playing through Rage. It was really fun. I'm not going to get into the game mechanics really at all since alot of other people have done a good job of that. I liked them tremendously. That is all I will say about that.
There is one thing that really disappointed me about the game though: The ending. (or rather the lack thereof)
It goes like this:
You get a bunch of encouragement from your wasteland buddies to invade the homebase of the Authority. You fight your way into the base and into the main computer core. You press a system of buttons 5 times and then the game ends. No dialogue. No finding some crazed madman who was responsible for sabotaging the Ark project. No explanation for why they sabotaged the Ark project. No plot twist. No escape and heroic homecoming. No rebuilding with the Ark survivors. Just a series of buttons and a 15 second animation showing previously dormant Arks popping out of the ground.
It's not even that the ending was bad(which it was). It was that the ending was not communicated to the player. There needed to be a bossfight with the leader of the authority.(preferably mounted on top of some horrendous robotic body).
Or maybe a final dialogue or plot twist. Or an escape from the exploding base.
I seriously think that they were almost done with the game and then some executive came in and was like "ok, dudes, we need to get this thing to the printing press right now cause I have to go take a dump and I can't wait any longer."
To make it even worse. The game comes with three discs so naturally I thought we were going to have a whole third disc of gameplay. But apparently the third disc is some kind of installation or extra features disc. They should have labelled it as such.
Little things like this matter. The devil is in the details. It's just amazing how they created this awesome game(in my opinion) and then just f'd it up in the last 5 minutes.
I'm not sure if it was an overconsumption of Fiber One by an executive or some other pressure from above. But I do(and yes that was a bad pun describing how executives poop on their employees) know that someone in a high level position at Id Software and/or Bethesda is an idiot.
I think with a good ending the Metcritic score could have gone above 90.(this is just speculation don't get mad at me Billy Frederickson or I'll tell your mom).
It's amazing how important good leaders are. We can have the best system in the world. The best employees. The most creative staff. And yet someone in a high level position can significantly damage everyone else's efforts.
John Carmack once said this: "Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important." - Quoted in David Kushner, Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture Chapter 8, p. 120
Obviously this showed a complete lack of foresight as well as a fundamental misunderstanding of human beings and their desires for entertainment. But he is the Technical Director - not the Art Director. And I think with all the other games Id has developed since this quote was spoken - they have come so far. Doom 3 was a great example of a game that had an engaging story AND atmosphere - As well as a decent ending. But I think they took a step back with the ending in Rage. I don't think John Carmack was the one who made the final say in this situation - but someone at the top made a bad call.
I hope that Doom 4 has a good ending. I'm sure the meat of it will be good. But it has to have a conclusion - something that AT LEAST says "hey, you will almost be done playing this game . . . like, get ready for that".