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* * * * * 11 votes

Kickstarter and Wasteland 2 Thoughts.

Posted by Chris Avellone , 21 February 2012 · 15079 views

Kickstarter and Wasteland 2 Thoughts. Recently, I was asked about Wasteland, and the answer became complicated enough that I decided to respond to here.

In short, Iíd kill for another Wasteland.

Not just because it was a post-apocalyptic RPG, but because it did so much that was refreshingly new with conventional tech, something that Fallout did as well, and thereís a big lesson to be learned there.

Iím a big fan of using non-video-card-and-non-engine-innovations to drive development, and sometimes it only requires stepping back a second and taking a fresh look at the game to pull it off Ė as an example, my favorite example of non-tech innovation is low-INT dialogue options in Fallout. Brilliant. Wasteland did the exact same thing, except with skill progression and location setting Ė it allowed your character to grow in new ways, and it took you to places in its low-rez world that I havenít seen rivaled or done half as well in contemporary games.

So the whole Kickstarter model, Double Fineís adventure game, and now the hopes of Fargo bringing Wasteland on-line is amazing. Itís probably no secret after Old World Blues how much I enjoyed Wasteland and giant scorpions and proton weapons, but Wasteland has a lot of my childhood tied up in it. To explain: I was in early high school, I was coming off of the Bardís Tale series and needed another fix... and from what I saw of Wasteland on the back cover of the package, it seemed to fit the bill. I was wrong.

Why? When I booted it up, I found it confusing and not like Bardís Tale at all - (well, beyond the combat), and the navigation especially threw me off a bit at first. Separate the party? What did all these skills exactly do? Where was I supposed to go? I was prepared for several more hours of disappointment and thought Iíd wasted my money. I was used to the faux-3D corridors and environments... then a number of things happened that woke me up to what this title was doing, and I realized Interplay had made something different and well on par with Bardís Tale. Such as...

- I was placed in an unpleasant moral situation early on in the title when I hit Highpool. I had to put down someoneís pet, and just as expected, the owner wasnít happy about the situation I was placed in. And I felt horrible. This was in the first 15 minutes, and the game had caused a new reaction in me Iíd never had when playing an RPG.

- Skill progression started defining my characterís personality. There was enough skill choices for me to start imagining what these Rangers had been trained in, what their talents were, and the ability to choose nationality of the characters fleshed them out even more, especially my RPG-toting near-silent Russian demolitions strongman, Romanov, who I began to build an increasingly-complex backstory for. (And yes, my Mom probably worried about me.)

- Despite the graphics at the time, the locations were areas I couldnít have imagined, certainly not in a computer game. Here was a game where I could use my Intelligence to fight adversaries, transport my consciousness into an androidís brain and battle my characterís childhood fears, contract some serious post-apocalyptic STDs, use a mortar to blow up sections of towns, help a nomadic tribe of railroad tribals predict the future with snake-squeezed moonshine, and navigate a mine-covered golf course only to come face to face with a giant robotic scorpion in the middle of Vegas. Not to mention the range of enemies, personalities, and allies that can join you Ė all of these things didnít require some high-tech solution, only a different approach to the game context.

In any event, hats off to Fargo and InXile, Iím definitely putting my money down when they start up their Kickstarter fund, and Iíll donate just as much as I did to Double Fine. Give me Wasteland 2 already.

  • Jaesun, mkreku, Alvin Nelson and 11 others like this



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daniel.robert.campbell
Feb 21 2012 05:33 PM
I never got a change to play Wasteland, but with how you talk about it, it must have been quite the game. I always look forward to a game that tries something new. The only problem is that the game also need to fit some kind of modern conventions in order to remain marketable. I imagine it's the reason series like Fallout and Syndicate have to make a pseudo genre switch. They still keep their overall environment and feel, but they were forced to adapt. How do you think Wasteland would adapt? What modern genre would fit it best?
Yes, but what about Obsidian's Kickstarter project? :p
    • CanadianWolverine, Lars Westergren and molarBear like this
I need to play New Vegas's DLCs. Old World Blues looks absurd.
Well, since Wasteland is my favourite game of all time, I felt I needed to write a comment here even though I really have nothing to add.

Thanks for bringing attention to the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter project, Chris!
Great Read. I never actually played Wasteland but I'll try to in the near future.

I never got a change to play Wasteland, but with how you talk about it, it must have been quite the game. I always look forward to a game that tries something new. The only problem is that the game also need to fit some kind of modern conventions in order to remain marketable. I imagine it's the reason series like Fallout and Syndicate have to make a pseudo genre switch. They still keep their overall environment and feel, but they were forced to adapt. How do you think Wasteland would adapt? What modern genre would fit it best?


Your entire quote only applies to making an "AAA" game - not all gamers care for production values.
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WorstUsernameEver
Feb 22 2012 12:50 AM

I never got a change to play Wasteland, but with how you talk about it, it must have been quite the game. I always look forward to a game that tries something new. The only problem is that the game also need to fit some kind of modern conventions in order to remain marketable. I imagine it's the reason series like Fallout and Syndicate have to make a pseudo genre switch. They still keep their overall environment and feel, but they were forced to adapt. How do you think Wasteland would adapt? What modern genre would fit it best?


I don't know, the strength of Kickstarter is that you don't have to go through a publisher, and its weakness is that, without a good amount of goodwill, you won't get a big budget, especially not on an RPG (which would require higher budgets, than, say, the point-and-click title Double Fine is working on). When you consider those two things, it actually makes sense to think that inXile's team will go for a similar approach to the original titles.

I never got a change to play Wasteland, but with how you talk about it, it must have been quite the game. I always look forward to a game that tries something new. The only problem is that the game also need to fit some kind of modern conventions in order to remain marketable. I imagine it's the reason series like Fallout and Syndicate have to make a pseudo genre switch. They still keep their overall environment and feel, but they were forced to adapt. How do you think Wasteland would adapt? What modern genre would fit it best?


I think you're missing the point. The whole idea behind Double Fine's Kickstarter project is to use crowd-funding to develop a game that fans have been asking for for years (in their case an old school point-and-click adventure), but that publishers no longer consider marketable. And it would only be logical to assume the same goes for Fargo's Wasteland project -- it will allow fans to invest in the development of a game they really want to play: an old school 2D post-apocalyptic RPG. There will be no need for adaption or genre-switching, because it won't need to be "marketable" in the way you are talking about. Instead, they can stay true to the original's roots and make a true sequel to Wasteland.
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CanadianWolverine
Feb 22 2012 01:06 AM

Your entire quote only applies to making an "AAA" game - not all gamers care for production values.


I would rephrase that as not all gamers care for the same kinds of production values.

I know personally, I could care less about graphics as long as I understand what is going on, sometimes I even prefer it like with pixel art or cell shaded objects that bring a style that I can go back to years later unlike if it had tried in any fashion to be "realism". I know I long for the day when Dwarf Fortress doesn't look like Matrix movie code to me and I'm not just talking about the ASCII, but its accessibility of information and what options mean.

---

I think the important thing Mr. Chris A has recognized is that a player's choices in any game but especially an RPG need agency. A character sheet has no value until it can represent options for outcomes that tell the story the player wants, otherwise if an RPG only wants to tell me a story the developer insists is the only one through lack of agency, for me its little better than a movie. RPGs aren't the only genre that suffers from rail roading either. I remember reading similar views from the likes of Warren Spectre years ago and it fans the flames of hope for the possibilities.

IMHO, a DM / GM / Game Developers task in an RPG is to flesh out the enviroment but its up to the players to decide which heading they will take on the compass.
I have serious doubts about this venture.

Double Fine's success is due to the fact that there haven't been many adventure games since the 90s and the people behind it (Tim and Ron) were responsible for the best adventure games out there. They are respected and admired by the adventure games community.

As for Wasteland, I believe the target audience is quite smaller.
Furthermore, I don't exactly see Fargo as having a fanbase/community or having an history of having designed good games, apart from Wasteland.
I'll be surprised if he gets 50K$.
I guess it will depend a lot on what he can commit that he'll do. Even better, if he can show already some work done.
But maybe I'm wrong on this. We'll see.

As for Obsidian, having the people behind FO 1 & 2, ID, PS:T, having developed KotoR II and New Vegas, and also having a community... it's a whole different story.
I'm confident Obsidian would raise 1 M$ at minimum.
And this raises the question: when will Obsidian start their kickstarter project?
    • CanadianWolverine, Shatterbrain and molarBear like this
eherm...i think the obsidian ent. should focus on a Planescape type game.
To be honest I have little interest in Wasteland, I admire it in the same way I admire certain classic movies that pushed the art forward but ultimately it doesn't mean quite as much to me as more recent games, I just wasn't there for it.

I'll probably donate out of goodwill but it's not where my heart is.
I was 2 years old in 1988 so the Commodore 64 is hardly a part of my childhood or something I've fond memories of.
When I see those games, even a retro-friendly guy like me thinks I couldn't play that ever. I don't have any tolerance beyond SNES graphics, probably because I met video games around its time.
But I saw some Wasteland screens and for once, I can quite understand why the jazz is all about. It got a lot of details, making the universe sweet and way easier to submerge in. That's good worldbuilding.
Maybe I should try it one day.
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80Maxwell08
Feb 27 2012 12:30 AM

I have serious doubts about this venture.Double Fine's success is due to the fact that there haven't been many adventure games since the 90s and the people behind it (Tim and Ron) were responsible for the best adventure games out there. They are respected and admired by the adventure games community.As for Wasteland, I believe the target audience is quite smaller.Furthermore, I don't exactly see Fargo as having a fanbase/community or having an history of having designed good games, apart from Wasteland.I'll be surprised if he gets 50K$.I guess it will depend a lot on what he can commit that he'll do. Even better, if he can show already some work done.But maybe I'm wrong on this. We'll see.As for Obsidian, having the people behind FO 1 & 2, ID, PS:T, having developed KotoR II and New Vegas, and also having a community... it's a whole different story.I'm confident Obsidian would raise 1 M$ at minimum.And this raises the question: when will Obsidian start their kickstarter project?

Well they have said they were still talking about it. Odds are they have no idea what they would do with it and are trying to figure out what would be the best to try kickstarting. They can't just put one up saying "give us money and we will think about making a game". I never really played Wasteland but hey if chris likes it and it's that good why the hell not I'll put some money down on it. I'm still waiting with baited breath for Obsidian's Kickstarter though. Also a quick idea if any of Obsidian reads through this since you have a lot of people who have been lead designers on other games why not try having a kickstarter for both of them at once rather than just pour a few million into one game when it could be split into 2 piles of over 1 million each for 2 different games. Just a thought if there's enough programmers, artists and etc to do it.
Inxile has hired mark morgan to do the soundtrack. This gives me enough reason to back the project honestly. :D
    • Rostere and molarBear like this
also crpg games are much more costly than adventure games. i doubt that fargo can collect 2½ million $ even. i hope i will be wrong.
Molarbear, I'm not sure if that is true. If its a 2d CRPG then Im guessing it doesn't require so much as a fully fledged 3d CRPG would. But I must admit to not knowing quite how much these things cost.
lol@ the doubters on here, it's been about 16 hours and it's already at almost 500k
I can't wait to get shot to pieces by a new Scorpitron.. I mean, 1,5 million dollars with 25 days left to go.

http://www.kickstart...ile/wasteland-2

I hope it will be awesome.

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