Cover artwork by Andrée Wallin based on Barry E. Jackson's cover art for the original Wasteland
|Distributor(s)||Deep Silver (physical)|
Wasteland 2 is a post-apocalyptic role-playing video game by inXile Entertainment for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It is the first official sequel to the 1988 video game Wasteland (though 1990's Fountain of Dreams, the cancelled Meantime, and the original Fallout from 1997 were considered spiritual successors). The game was successfully crowd funded through Kickstarter, part of a trend of high-profile developers launching projects on the site. After the postponement of the original release date from October 2013, it was released on September 19, 2014.
Wasteland 2 features a semi-overhead view with a rotatable camera. It is a turn-based and party-based role-playing game with tactical combat. The player's party has room for seven characters, including the four player-designed characters and up to three non-player characters (NPCs). The player characters can be highly customizable and the player's choice of statistics, skills, and appearance will give them an individualized personality. The non-player characters in the party will each have their own personality, motivations, opinions, and agendas.
The game is set in an alternate history timeline, in which a nuclear holocaust took place in 1998 in relation to an impact event involving a cluster of meteors that sparked a global nuclear war. On the day of the cataclysm, a company of U.S. Army Engineers were in the desolate southwestern desert constructing bridges in an area with a number of small survivalist communities and a newly constructed federal death row prison with light industrial facilities. The soldiers sought shelter in the prison, expelled the inmates, and invited nearby survivalists to join them shortly thereafter. Years later, together they formed "the Desert Rangers, in the great tradition of the Texas and Arizona Rangers", to help other survivors in the desert and beyond it.
The game begins fifteen years after the events of the original Wasteland, as the experienced ranger Ace is found dead with signs of violence on his body by locals. This greatly troubles General Vargas, the leader of the Desert Rangers, as he just a few days prior sent Ace out to investigate a strange radio signal that speaks of "man and machine becoming one" while threatening to attack and wipe out the Desert Rangers. Controlling a squad of newly recruited rangers, the player is tasked with finding out who killed Ace and why they did it, and try to complete Ace's original mission.
In 2003, inXile Entertainment, founded by Wasteland's producer and co-designer, Brian Fargo, acquired the rights to Wasteland from Konami, which held it in relation to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise and had let the rights lapse. In June 2007, Fargo stated: "I am indeed looking into bringing back the game that spawned the Fallout series. Stay tuned..." In November 2007, Fallout fan website Duck and Cover reported on possible concept art images from Wasteland 2 displayed in the main header of the inXile Entertainment website.
On February 16, 2012, inXile announced their plans to have a crowd funded production of a new Wasteland game, inspired by Double Fine's recent success of using Kickstarter to fund Double Fine Adventure; it was one of a number of games to be funded in the video game crowdfunding boom that followed the success of Double Fine Adventure. Project director Brian Fargo has reassembled key team members from the original Wasteland: Alan Pavlish, Michael A. Stackpole, Ken St. Andre and Liz Danforth, as well as the early Fallout games' designer Jason Anderson (Anderson, however, left the company in December 2010). The composer Mark Morgan, who created the soundtracks for Fallout and Fallout 2, was also hired to compose music for the game.
On March 13, 2012, the Kickstarter page for the production of Wasteland 2 went live. A minimum budget of $1,000,000 was set for the project, but Fargo agreed to cover up to $100,000 if need be, should the project fall short, and the campaign's was set at $900,000, the largest target for any Kickstarter project at that point. Within 24 hours, the contributions totaled nearly $600,000, and the original goal was reached in under 43 hours. The "tremendous" success of the campaign made Complex ranked number four on their list of the biggest video game wins and fails on Kickstarter in 2012. Much of the money raised for Wasteland 2 came from first-time backers of Double Fine Adventure. On March 30, it was announced that, should the funded amount reach $2.1 million or more, the game would be co-developed by Obsidian Entertainment, and Chris Avellone in particular. The Wasteland 2 Kickstarter ended on the April 17, raising a total of $2,933,252 (making it the third highest crowd funded video game on Kickstarter to date), with an additional $107,152 in PayPal pledges. On April 24, it was confirmed that Obsidian developers would be working on the project.
Brian Fargo originally stated that the team aimed to ship Wasteland 2 around October 2013, and on July 10, 2012 it was announced that the original Wasteland would be bundled with it. There are no plans to support any consoles or handheld devices. In August 2012, Planescape: Torment writer/designer Colin McComb joined the development team as a writer. Nathan Long signed up as a co-writer two months later. The first trailer for Wasteland 2 was released on February 9, 2013, showcasing some of the story, art and gameplay, with an audio commentary from the producer Chris Keenan.
Fargo announced in July 2013 that the game was being delayed. The producer stated an intent to begin beta testing a “feature complete” version of the game at that time, with a final release date to be determined during the beta.
On December 13, 2013, Wasteland 2 became available as an early access beta on the Steam store. In May 2014, inXile announced that the release date would be at the end of August 2014. The game was subsequently delayed, so as to be able to fulfill physical reward and game disk requirements.
Wasteland 2 received generally positive reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the game 77.58% based on 6 reviews and 79/100 based on 9 reviews. Richard Cobbett of Eurogamer gave it a review score of 8/10 saying ". It's very clearly made with love to be true to the original game while still learning from the games that followed." Daniel tack of Game Informer gave it a review score of 8.75/10 calling it a "triumphant heir" to the original game and praising it's re-playability and audio quality. Earnest Cavalli of Joystiq gave it a score of 3/5 criticizing the game for being buggy. Mark Langshaw of Digital Spy gave it a score of 4/5 calling it a "sequel that successfully captures the strategic depth and black humour of the original" and praising it for it's role-playing gameplay with numerous possibilities. Cory Banks of PC Gamer gave it a review score of 83/100 praising its combat and writing.
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