Hot on the heels of Wasteland 2 and its Director’a Cut, Brian Fargo and InXile Entertainment are happy to announce that Wasteland 3 is coming, and this time we are leaving the desert for the snow covered peaks of Colorado. We stole a few moments of Brian’s time to talk about the announcement, the game, and what to expect.
MMORPG: This is exciting news! Aside from the general reception of WL2, what made you want to go ahead with a sequel so fast?
BRIAN FARGO: I guess anything seems fast in comparison the time between Wasteland 1 and 2. It's been several years since Wasteland 2 came out, and we've been chomping at the bit to push forward in the RPG genre. There are so many wonderful opportunities to dial in the bleakness of a Wasteland world. With Wasteland 3, this time we head to Colorado, and we had so many new ideas for the game based on that that we just couldn't wait to get started on the next installment in this ice cold post-apocalyptic setting. Of course, we are in the final stages of wrapping up Torment, with our writing staff finalizing their work and moving to Wasteland 3’s pre-production. The Bard’s Tale IV is deep in production and that will not be affected by this, but with two studios working on games, we need to start looking to the future as well.
MMORPG: Will the sequel be using the Pillars engine like Torment, or will it be using the WL2 engine?
BF: We'll be using a modified and updated version of the Wasteland 2 engine, which will provide a significant visual upgrade from Wasteland 2. Unity has come a long way since we first started using it and we've just gotten better at using it. Additionally, we’re utilizing the Pillars of Eternity conversation editor again, which is the same we used in Torment, which allows our writers to quickly mock-up and step through branching conversations. We're building on years of experience with the technology so that also helps let us do more. I think people will quite impressed when they see the video.
MMORPG: What drove the decision to put in multiplayer? It's something we've seen cropping up with others games in the CRPG genre lately.
BF: Multiplayer gives us a lot of really unique opportunities for telling a reactive story. When people think multiplayer they typically think deathmatch, competition or MMO style gameplay, but in reality many RPGs have done story-driven multiplayer before, Baldur's Gate being a great example of that, along with Divinity: Original Sin, and fans have even modded it into other RPGs such as Fallout 2. In many ways it's something that RPGs have done before but has never been brought to its full potential. That said, we’re still focused on the single-player experience, the multiplayer builds upon it but does not replace the experience, so if you want to play it much like you did Wasteland 2, you absolutely can.
MMORPG: Why the northern setting this time? What sort of story will you be telling this go round?
BF: The ice and snow of Colorado is a drastic setting change, but it's one we think provides a whole new opportunity for the game. We wanted to do something a bit different this time and there are many, many more stories that can be told in the Wasteland that aren't just in the desert. One thing I am drawn to is the sense of isolation and solitude you get out in an endless snowfield, and it's very evocative of all those contemplative emotions that the end of the world brings out. Even today we have people who are convinced the end is coming any day, and those survivalists and doomsday preppers being right certainly make for some interesting characters.
MMORPG: What sorts of lessons have you learned from WL2 and the Director's Cut to apply to WL3?
BF: Wasteland 2 was well received, but we knew we can do better. One thing we're looking to do better is to dial up the reactivity even more and have more wide-scale decisions. We had a fair number of those in Wasteland 2 but the fans wanted even more of those life-or-death world-changing choices, and so we want to make sure we capture that. This’ll be supported by a more reactive central hub, and tied to it the Ranger Base that will be part of your story and narrative decision, though not a base you’ll be micro-managing throughout the game. On the more mechanical side we're making combat more tactical, faster and adding more depth. Vehicles are part of that, as are combat skills your Ranger team will have to manipulate the battlefield.
MMORPG: Will modding and level building be possible in this installment?
BF: We have no current plans for mod tools, as we want to deliver a very solid core experience. That said we always know enterprising fans will create mods, and it's certainly not something we're totally ruling out down the line.
MMORPG: When can we expect to see WL3 playable?
BF: It will be some time before you are able to play it but our re-use of the code base will help us get up and running into prototyping faster. First we turn loose the writers to create thousands of pages of detailed story and world design, while simultaneously continuing to work on the assets we know will be in the game. There was a fair amount of trial and error working the kinks out of the system with Wasteland 2 whereas this time we are building upon what works.