Last week, inXile Entertainment announced Wasteland 3, the sprawling sequel to their 2014 hit Wasteland 2. Planning on expanding the open-world possibilities for the Wasteland franchise, the studio decided to bring Wasteland 3 to the crowdfunding website Fig this time around, launching their campaign for an additional $2.75 million USD on Oct 5th. Within the past 24 hours, that campaign has succeeded tremendously: as of this writing, over 4,800 backers have pledged at least $1,500,000 worth in funds.
Wasteland 2 proved quite a hit when it was released in 2014. Developed as a direct sequel to Fallout‘s inspiration, Wasteland, the game successfully captured the setting and gameplay of the original while reimagining the world for a modern audience. So why wait to develop a third game? According to Kotaku, inXile has officially announced today that Wasteland 3 is is being developed for PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
War. War never changes… and apparently neither do the graphics in the highly popular Fallout franchise.
But let’s set that aside for now because the first official trailer for Fallout 4 has been released and it was beginning to seem like this day would never come. There is no release date yet, but the game can already be pre-ordered for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on the official website. Fallout4.com is real now!
“the next generation of open-world gaming”
The full reveal will take place at 7 p.m. PST on June 14 at E3 and can be streamed live through Twitch or YouTube.
Bethesda Game Studios called the new post-apocalyptic open-world RPG will be “the next generation of open-world gaming” in a press release.
“We know what this game means to everyone,” said Game Director Todd Howard in the release. “The time and technology have allowed us to be more ambitious than ever. We’ve never been more excited about a game, and we can’t wait to share it.”
The trailer follows a German Shepherd (What’s up Dogmeat?) through bits and pieces of the new wasteland, while flashbacks show us how perfect life was, you know, before that nuclear war started and caused the almost-apocalypse. The familiar rusty-retro-1950s-mixed-with-futurism style is strong in this one; some of the settings glimpsed briefly look like they could be in Fallout 3, and the not exactly breathtaking graphics also play a part in this.
“We know what this game means to everyone,”
While the look and style of the game holds its predecessor’s hand, there are a few noticeable differences. There are tons of aircrafts in the trailer and a quick shot of what looks like someone wearing power armor flying some kind of helicopter, which could indicate that operating vehicles might be a thing in the new installment.
And the biggest difference: the Lone Wanderer / Lonesome Drifter talks! The man wearing the Vault 111 uniform calls the above-mentioned German Shepherd “Pal” and they walk together into the wasteland, which indicates that, this time around, our wasteland wanderer might actually have a personality.
So let’s start saving our bottle caps!
Western RPG fans are often aware of games like Planescape: Torment and Baldur’s Gate, and the recently-supported Kickstarters for spiritual descendents such as Torment: Tides of Numenara and Project Eternity. Our writer Alexander Leach caught up with Creative Director and co-owner of Obsidian, Chris Avellone, at MIGS, and asked questions about the various Kickstarter’d games he’s been involved in and the direction the genres are taking.
Baldur’s Gate, developed by Bioware and published by Black Isle in 1998, won several RPG of the year and Game of the Year awards, met with critical acclaim for its writing, isometric real-time gameplay, and wide variety of quests and events to pursue. Planescape: Torment, a similar RPG developed by Black Isle and set in the Dungeons and Dragons “Planescape” setting, followed an immortal being’s search for his memories. It proved that story and narrative could carry a game, with dialogue greatly outstripping combat instances over the game’s length.
Chris Avellone still works with Obsidian Entertainment, which fully funded their Kickstarter for Project Eternity, a spiritual successor to the line of games similar to Baldur’s Gate. They also created Fallout: New Vegas, and most of its DLC. Torment: Tides of Numenera (whose setting is developed by Monte Cook, who wrote Planescape’s setting) is being developed by InXile Entertainment, with Chris Avellone assisting in production.
This online section focuses on Wasteland 2, a post-apocalyptic RPG. This is a companion piece to the article published in the January magazine, and to the video published on C&G Magazine’s Youtube page.
Comics Gaming Magazine: A lot of these games you’ve made with Kickstarter rely on nostalgia. How are the games going forward going to go beyond that nostalgic desire to recapture old games?
Chris Avellone: I think you’re correct. Nostalgia has been one of the big pillars of a successful Kickstarter. When people remember a certain type of game and a certain type of game experience, that contributes a lot to the funding level and the support you get from backers. In terms of how we’re evolving beyond that: I think that when doing a game like Baldur’s Gate in the Forgotten Realms, in the franchise owned by Hasbro and Wizards, there are certain bookends and limitations in how far you can push the world and push the characters. When you don’t have those limitations and there’s certain cultural elements you want to explore that might otherwise be taboo or “a touchy subject”, that is something we can now explore in game, and have things like “Hey, what would a drug-dealing commerce be like?” If you do have drug-addicted characters, what are the issues with that? Are there other elements like that that we might want to explore on a wider level that we couldn’t normally do with another franchise?
CGM: One last line of discussion. Wasteland 2 will be coming out soon. Do we have a release date?
CA: The release date I’m not actually sure about, I’d have to check with InXile on that. I do know they have their Beta being fired up soon to have people stomp through that and see how that feels to them. I’ve seen a lot of the locations, they look really beautiful. The quests are really funny. The way to use your skills to solve various quests are pretty innovative. I was having a lot of fun playing it and watching people play it. I can’t wait to dive in it a bit deeper.
CGM: Now you worked on the DLC for Fallout: New Vegas?
CA: Yes, I worked on the core New Vegas game, and then I headed up three of the five DLCs (Dead Money, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road).
CGM: The Fallout games were inspired by the original Wasteland game. Are elements from Fallout carrying over into Wasteland 2?
CA: Not exactly. And you’re correct, Wasteland was sort of the spiritual ancestor to Fallout. Actually Interplay wanted to do more Wasteland games, but the license was owned by EA, so they were like “Hey, why don’t we just do a spiritual successor to Wasteland?” That ended up being Fallout, and that obviously did well in its own right. So it’s been really weird to go from having Wasteland 1, and then the entire Fallout series, and going back to Wasteland 2. In terms of stuff carrying over, though, I think Wasteland and Fallout have separate elements about them that I think help differentiate them. One is, as much as Fallout is steeped in a 1950’s sci-fi vibe, Wasteland is much more 80s, Road Warrior, and that kind of nostalgia versus the 50s. I think that creates a lot of different aspects of characters in the environment, even their looks, their dress, the way things happen with character interactions. The other thing, moreso, is that Fallout is in many respects more solitary, one-man’s-journey kind of game – sure, you get companions in the Fallout series – but in Wasteland it’s very much a party-based tactical game as well. You end up deploying your entire cadre of rangers, they sort of become your band of brothers to tackle various obstacles, and that creates a sort of creates a companion, party-based feel right at the outset.
CGM: So there’s more of a sense of communal isolation in Wasteland, as opposed to the singular isolation of Fallout?
CA: That’s exactly it.
CGM: Do you have any plans for the future beyond this? Where do we go from here?
CA: The Kickstarter push with a lot of games has been really encouraging. I don’t know if Obsidian will do another Kickstarter. I do know that with all the success of the isometric role-playing games that have come out with Wasteland 2 and Eternity and Tides of Numenera, I think that’s caused some publishers to realize that there’s actually a good, solid market for more low-budget games like that that still have a great reactive feel, a lot like Infinity engine games. Seeing publishers suddenly wake up and take notice of that and being willing to talk about games like that in the future I think has been encouraging.
It’s been over a year since the widespread success of Double Fine’s Double Fine Adventure. Here’s how some of the other top Kickstarters have stacked up!
Brian Fargo’s Wasteland 2 project on Kickstarter continues to hit record highs. It’s already past the $2 million mark and still growing. With 11 days to go before contributions come to a close, we can only wait and see just how high it goes.
It gives my old, black heart a warm, fuzzy feeling when I see guys like Tim Schafer and Brian Fargo have their own It’s a Wonderful Life moment and realize that lots of people out there do think they matter, that the work they have produced has touched people. The big publishers may not think that a game is worth producing unless six million people are willing to buy it, but one or two million fans is still nothing to sneeze at, especially if your game isn’t that expensive to produce.