Return to the Wasteland

Return to the Wasteland

Wasteland. Often called the godfather of post-apocalyptic role-playing games (RPG), the game was created by Brian Fargo and his team back in 1988. It was an epic “classic” style RPG, and the inspiration for the famed Fallout games. Now many years after the great success and reception the original had received, Brian Fargo has begun work on the sequel.

Fargo created InXile Entertainment in 2002, a video game development company who created the Bard’s Tale remake. Fargo was also one of the original founders of Interplay Productions (who created the original Bard’s Tale). InXile acquired the rights to Wasteland from Konami.

In an interview with fan site Duck and Cover, Fargo said, “I am indeed looking into bringing back the game that spawned the Fallout series.” Of course, to create a game, you need money. Fargo had approached various companies with the proposal, however they all turned him down. He was told that gamers today were not interested in a solid, old school type of game. This is something he didn’t believe, as he gets monthly letters from fans that keep asking when he’ll make a sequel to Wasteland. So if the big companies wouldn’t take on the project, he found another way to fun it: Kickstarter, a site that allows people to post projects and ask for public support.

In the Kickstarter page for Wasteland 2, Fargo explained how not a month goes by where an email doesn’t come in asking when they will be making a sequel to the original game. Instead of relying on a single company to fund his project, Fargo turned to the fans. He set the starting point for the project at one million dollars. However the actual funding goal was only $900,000 as Fargo stated that he would put in the last $100,000 from his own pocket if the fans could raise that much. Within 24 hours of the project being posted on Kickstarter, the fans managed to over $600,000. So much for there not being an interest in such a game. It was not only the highest Kickstarter goal to date, but in just two days they had reached it. That is definitely something to be proud of.

Currently the project is sitting at about $1.3 million. This money comes predominantly from the fans, though a few come from some smaller companies who want to support a project that is born of devotion to the fans. Many companies have made that claim before, but InXile makes sure that the fans truly have their say. They’ve started the Wasteland 2 site, where fans can post comments and suggestions on the forums. There are sections to see what the fans must have in their game and what must be avoided. What the gamers have to say is important and this will truly be a game for gamers by gamers.

“All this reminds me of the freshness the industry had in the late 80’s through mid 90’s in which creativity was being directed only by the gamers,” said Fargo. “The gamers will always rule at the end of the day.”

As funding increases, so will options for the game. The next milestone in funding is set at $1.5 million, at which point they will design the game for Linux as well as Mac OS X. They’ve already agreed to release localizations of the game into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Polish. Anyone who donates at least $15 to the cause will be given a copy of the game for free upon release. The more that someone donates, the more they will be rewarded with. From posters to signed copies to enjoying a private party with Brian Fargo, Alan Pavlish and other key members of the Wasteland team with a $10,000 or higher donation. So far there are ten people who will be attending the party.

This is a project that is quickly turning into a movement. And a clear sign that what the players want is what’s truly important. Some of the companies that previously turned Fargo down have since made offers to fund the project, but they’ve been turned down. They refused to listen to what the players want and now that they see the mistake they’ve made they’re trying to save face. But Fargo is having none of it. This is a project he’s dedicated to the fans and he is personally making sure that they get what they deserve.

“You will probably hear me thanking you all a hundred times,” said Fargo. “But again, thanks for giving us the opportunity to do what we do best. Make games.”

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