Before there was Fallout, there was Wasteland. Now, thanks to the magic of Kickstarter, inXile Entertainment is resurrecting the property and giving players a world that evolves as they play.
Wasteland 2 is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game that takes place in an alternate reality where the world has been destroyed by a nuclear holocaust. A group of survivors, calling themselves the Desert Rangers, band together to help other survivors eke out their existence. Gamers who played the 1988 original will find cool homages to the series, but the game is also being designed to accommodate newcomers.
The game is a turn based RPG designed in the style of old school, team based titles. inXile has updated Wastelands old mechanics and skill systems, which might feel familiar to players of the original game. As players level up the members of their team, they have access to a variety of skills that let them pick locks, open up new lines of dialogue in conversations, hack computers, and dismantle and rebuild weapons.
The game’s story is pretty massive; the script alone features over 400,000 words and is still growing. However, the most impressive aspect of Wasteland 2 so far is how gamers are able to influence the story and shape the world around them.
For example, early on in our journey through the Wasteland demo at Gamescom, we ran into a character named Fred. Fred is a merchant, but he can’t sell us anything because his cart is stuck in a mud pit. After talking with Fred, we decide to help him out. One of our characters has a skill call brute force, which allows him to move heavy objects, so we use that character to move Fred’s cart. Now we can buy all kinds of great stuff from his shop.
Wasteland 2’s world is persistent and evolving. Since we helped Fred, we’ll likely run into him again a few hours down the road, and he’ll have better stuff to trade for. However, players can choose to kill any person in the game. If we killed Fred instead of helping him, for example, we’d never see him again. Alternatively, if we killed his goat, he’d be pissed at us for the rest of the game. Wasteland 2 has no karma bar or morality meter; no one is judging players for the actions they take, but the world reacts to what they do in logical ways.
Your own crew can be a diverse cast of characters. Players are able to recruit dozens of different characters into their party, but each person has different abilities and drawbacks. Your best lockpicker, for example, might be great at stealing things, but he might also be stealing from you. Do you want to keep him around? One of your best fighters might also be a drunk and a bear to deal with. Can you keep a leash on him?
Thanks to Wasteland 2’s diversity of choice, it’s virtually impossible for two players to play through the game and have the same experience. We only got a taste for the open world that awaits us in Wasteland 2, but we’re excited to see how its world will react to our actions when the game comes out, no sooner than the end of this year.