From its debut, Rage has been touted as a carefully crafted single-player experience. As such, followers may be surprised to learn that booth cooperative missions and competitive multiplayer have been integrated into the upcoming release.

That being said, developer id Software feels it has found the sweet spot that allows for replayability and diversity, without compromising the campaign it has worked so hard to polish. I was treated to both a demo showcasing the new features, in addition to face time with id Software Design Director Matt Hooper. Read on for a breakdown of Rage’s triple-tiered offering.

Single-Player: The Rage Experience

“At its heart, Rage is a first person shooter. It is an action game. But there is this element of open world,” Hooper began when asked to summarize the thrust of the single-player campaign. “You jump in a vehicle and you go from place to place and you battle it out with other vehicles. And then you go back into one of the shooter experiences. These crafted experiences will always offer something new. Not to mention we have these traditional weapons, and then we have these quick-use buttons. With one [button] press you can throw out anything from a wingstick, to a grenade, to a sentry bot, to an RC bomb car. And then we have the weapons and the ammo types. There is lots of diversity. So that is the single-player."

To date, id has focused on previewing encounters with various clans in the single-player campaign. An intentionally obscure faction has been held back until now, according to Hooper. “We talk a lot about diversity. Diversity in the way that environments look. Diversity in the different bandit clans,” Hooper continued. “You’ll fight six-foot-tall mutants, 16-foot-tall mutants, and 60-foot-tall mutants. So there is a lot there. Our final main faction is the Authority, however. They have a bit more sci-fi to them and are substantially more difficult to fight. They are sort of unexpected when the player first runs into them. The player doesn’t have to relearn how to play Rage, but the Authority will react differently. Again, it’s about the diversity. Not just about the way the game looks, but with the way it plays.”

Because the Authority will play such a large role in the narrative, Hooper was hesitant to divulge much more about the enigmatic entity. The Authority is key to the story from the moment you step from the ark, but really makes its presence known in the latter half of Rage. During my demo the Authority was both felt and heard, first when I was introduced to Subway Town.

“The first thing, visually, is that it looks a lot different,” explained Hooper, comparing it to the familiar hub of Wellspring. “Subway Town is addicted to electricity. It is built under the city. People are a little more standoffish. The guy who runs Subway Town is more of a mafia boss than a mayor.”

From a gameplay standpoint, Subway Town is much the same as Wellspring, ushering in new missions, new races, new minigames, and new characters with whom you can interact. The most important mission in Subway Town will be to win over the aforementioned mayor, Redstone, who is more likely to sell you out to the Authority than to come to your aid.

After a quick tour of Subway Town, I was transported to a prison facility and thrown at the Authority for the first time. The Authority inherently behaves different from mutants and bandits, employing tactical precision, taking advantage of the environment, and communicating with one another. An easy comparison can be found in Borderland’s formidable Crimson Lance. Expect a challenge.

Dropping in from the air, Authority troops immediately ran for cover, utilizing energy shields and other defensive tools. Attempts to ferret them out with an RC car bomb failed, as they took them out before the gap was closed. Heavily armored, the Authority made good use of recharge stations, and special ammo was needed to take the brutes down. The mission’s context wasn’t provided, but the encounter climaxed with the player manning a turret, mowing down a surge of Authority troops.