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Why people hate the ending of Rage

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If Rage 2 is real, maybe we can finally figure out what happened

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Rage - aiming at a guy running at you id Software/Bethesda Softworks

When it was released in 2011, Rage was billed as one of the most ambitious shooters of all time. It was supposed to put players in a massive, fully realized environment powered by new graphics technology from the programming wizards at id Software.

Instead, Rage turned out to be a game with pretty good shooting and a small linear world full of megatextured gray rocks. While this was a bit of a letdown, the real disappointment for most players came with Rage’s story, or, more specifically, its ending.

Rage is mostly about stuff that has already happened. In fact, almost everything in the game is simply explained to the player, who has no real impact on the proceedings. So, to give you a better idea of what the ending means, here’s the plot of Rage.

In the year 2029, scientists discover that an asteroid is going to collide with Earth. Instead of trying to stop the asteroid with a team of deep-sea oil drillers turned astronauts, these scientists built underground shelters called Arks where people could be cryogenically frozen to one day rebuild civilization. Flash-forward to 2135 and the protagonist and player character of Rage, Nicholas Raine, awakens as the sole survivor of his particular Ark.

After Raine wanders out of the Ark, which seems to have surfaced thanks to a technical malfunction, various people tell him about the history of the now-apocalyptic surface of the Earth over the last 106 years. That includes information about the rise of the Authority (yes, that’s what they call themselves), a totalitarian government that now runs the surface world. According to the leader of the Resistance, Captain Marshall — who more or less exists to explain things to Raine — the Authority’s founder was General Martin Cross, the head of the program that originally designed the Arks. Cross only allowed Arks with his followers to come to the surface, and left the rest sitting underground. That scheme allowed Cross to found the Authority and functionally rule the world.

Marshall explains that his plan to defeat the Authority is to activate the remaining Arks and use them to build an army for the resistance. In order to do this, Raine is sent to the Authority’s base, where he is able to fight his way in and bring the remaining Arks to the surface.

The End.

No, really. That’s the end of the game. After the only meaningful action players get to take, Rage just ends with no resolution whatsoever. Understandably, players were more than a little upset. There are hundreds of forum threads, articles and reviews detailing how much everyone hated the ending, some from just a couple years ago.

Now, with Rage 2 seeming like a possibility, we might finally get some answers to what happened at the end of Rage, when the screen cut to black. Or maybe we won’t. Maybe developer id Software will pull the rug out from under everyone, and ignore the ending and tell a completely different story.

Until we know more about Rage 2 — like whether or not it’s happening (though Bethesda sure is strongly hinting that it is) — one thing’s for sure: The story has nowhere to go but up.