Wasteland 2 Preview

Wasteland 2 1

Few gaming series have held my attention for the long span of time that the Fallout series has. Though it has gone through multiple transformations and passed hands from the legendary Black Isle Studios to Bethesda, the overall feel of the game remained intact. By that I mean that even with the original games viewpoint and gameplay style being replaced by a viewpoint more in line with a full blown shooter, it still felt like it was part of the greater Fallout universe.

Every game in this series (with the possible exception of Fallout: Tactics *ahem*) has been one that I have enjoyed immensely. I found myself warming to the changed style of Fallout 3 and New Vegas and appreciating them for the games that they were, not disliking them for what they weren’t. Still, the original Fallout 3 (codenamed Van Buren) that was in development before Black Isle fell still intrigues me to this day as it does many fans of the series. Sure, it wouldn’t have the flash or the cool slow motion kill shots like what was rendered in Fallout 3 and its Obsidian developed sequel New Vegas, but I believe with the time for them to finish, it would of been good. Not just the regular kind of good either – Black Isle GOOD.

Fallout owes its inspiration directly to one title that laid the groundwork for that series to follow. That would be none other than the original Wasteland. Wasteland was the game that really took the whole nuclear annihilation scenario that had become so prevalent during the cold war years and built off of it. Earth was wiped out in an earlier nuclear war and you were there to journey through what remained. The game was party based and set the framework for the familiar array of skills and leveling by gaining experience that carries over to the Fallout series today.

Welcome to 2012 and the era of Kickstarter. Fans had been calling for a true sequel carrying the Wasteland name for years. Brian Fargo, the producer of the original title had secured the rights to the game back in 2007 and a sequel had been rumored in the works ever since. Come 2012, a Kickstarter drive started with the seemingly lofty goal of raising a million dollars for the production of the sequel. The initial positive response prompted the announcement that if it was to hit 2.1 million or better in donations, the team would be expanded to include Chris Avellone and other members of Obsidian Development. The Wasteland 2 Kickstarter closed with nearly 3 million raised.

Inxile Entertainment, the developer behind Wasteland 2 has announced that the Desert Rangers will hopefully make their return sometime late in 2013. The game looks to capture the feel of the original and the early Fallout games and will be using the Unity engine to do so. This was reportedly chosen for a number of reasons, but will allow the team to maintain the traditional view while rendering modern graphics and taking advantage of different graphical effects.

Gameplay will focus on the Desert Rangers, survivors of the war who were formed from the remnants of a company of U.S. Army Engineers. This group seized a prison which was built in the nearby desert and turned it into Ranger Center, which becomes a stronghold for the good who remain. The Rangers soon learn that there are survivors elsewhere who are attempting to rebuild some semblance of society and see it as their duty to aid those efforts.

Probably the biggest draw for followers of the gametype in relation to the creation of Wasteland 2 is the focus on delivering a game that is for the true fan. No care bear stuff here, a legitimate single player foray into the unforgiving landscape much as you would expect to find in a world torn apart by nuclear war. The promise of a game crafted for a class of gamers which often feels neglected and maligned with the releases of today, who proudly wear the label “hardcore” or “old school”. That is what is driving the rebirth of the Wasteland. Those who know how it once was and how with a determined vision it can be once again. We look forward to soon wandering those unfriendly dusty roads of the Wasteland once more.


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