Wasteland (video game)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wasteland
Cover art by Barry E. Jackson[3]
Developer(s)Interplay Productions
Remastered
inXile Entertainment
Krome Studios
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Remastered
inXile Entertainment (Win, OSX, Lin)
Xbox Game Studios (Xbox One)
Director(s)Brian Fargo
Producer(s)David Albert
Designer(s)Ken St. Andre
Michael A. Stackpole
Liz Danforth
Programmer(s)Alan Pavlish
Artist(s)Todd J. Camasta
Bruce Schlickbernd
Charles H. H. Weidman III
Writer(s)Ken St. Andre
Michael A. Stackpole
Composer(s)Edwin Montgomery (remaster)[4]
SeriesWasteland
Platform(s)Apple II
Commodore 64
MS-DOS
Remastered
Microsoft Windows
OS X
Linux
Xbox One
ReleaseJanuary 2, 1988[1][2]
Remastered
February 25, 2020
Genre(s)Role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player

Wasteland is a role-playing video game developed by Interplay Productions and published by Electronic Arts in 1988.[5] The first installment of the Wasteland series, it is set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic America destroyed by a nuclear holocaust generations before. Developers originally made the game for the Apple II and it was ported to the Commodore 64 and MS-DOS. It was re-released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux in 2013 via Steam and GOG.com, and in 2014 via Desura. A remastered version titled Wasteland Remastered was released on February 25, 2020, in honor of the original game's 30th anniversary.

Critically acclaimed and commercially successful, Wasteland was intended to be followed by two separate sequels in the 1990s, but Electronic Arts dropped claims of Fountain of Dreams being a sequel and Interplay's Meantime was canceled. The game's general setting and concept became the basis for Interplay's 1997 role-playing video game Fallout and the Fallout series. Decades later, inXile Entertainment, founded by the game's director Brian Fargo, released two proper sequels: Wasteland 2 (2014) and Wasteland 3 (2020).

Gameplay[edit]

A screenshot of an encounter with mutated "Drools" in the DOS version

Wasteland's game mechanics are based on those used in tabletop role-playing games, such as Tunnels & Trolls and Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes created by Wasteland designers Ken St. Andre and Michael Stackpole.[6] Characters in Wasteland have seven attributes–strength, intelligence, luck, speed, agility, dexterity, and charisma–that allow the characters to use different skills and weapons. Experience is gained through combat and skill usage to level up, or promote, characters.[7] The player's party begins with four members and can grow to as many as seven by recruiting citizens and wasteland creatures. Unlike other computer role-playing games of the time, these non-player characters might at times refuse to follow the player's commands, such as when the player orders the character to give up an item or perform an action.[8] The game is noted for its high and unforgiving difficulty level.[9] The prose appearing in the game's combat screens, such as phrases saying an enemy is "reduced to a thin red paste" and "explodes like a blood sausage", prompted an unofficial PG-13 sticker on the game packaging in the U.S.[8]

Wasteland was one of the first games featuring a persistent world, where changes to the game's open world were stored and kept.[9] Returning to an area later in the game, the player would find it in the state the player left it, rather than being reset, as was common for games of the time. Since hard drives were still rare in home computers in 1988, this meant the original game disk had to be copied first.[10]

Another feature of the game was the inclusion of a printed collection of paragraphs that the player would read at the appropriate times.[11] These paragraphs described encounters, conversations and contained clues. Because disk space was at a premium, it saved on resources to have most of the game's story printed out in a separate manual rather than stored within the game's code itself. The paragraph books also served as a rudimentary form of copy protection; someone playing a copied version of the game would miss out on story elements and clues necessary to progress. The paragraphs included an unrelated story line about a mission to Mars intended to mislead those who read the paragraphs when not instructed to, and a false set of passwords that would trip up cheaters.[9]

Plot[edit]

In 2087, generations after the devastation of a global nuclear war in 1998, a remnant force of the United States Army called the Desert Rangers operates in the Southwestern United States, acting as peacekeepers to protect fellow survivors and their descendants. A team of Desert Rangers is assigned to investigate a series of disturbances in nearby areas. Throughout the game, the rangers explore the remaining enclaves of human civilization, including a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas.[12]

As the group's investigation deepens, the rangers discover evidence of a larger menace threatening to exterminate what is left of humankind. A pre-war artificial intelligence operating from a surviving military facility, Base Cochise, is constructing armies of killer machines and cybernetically modified humans to attack human settlements with the help of Irwin Finster, the deranged former commander of the base. Finster has gone so far as to transform himself into a cyborg under the AI's control. The AI's ultimate goal is to complete Finster's "Project Darwin" and replace the world's "flawed" population with genetically pure specimens. With help from a pre-war android named Max, the player recovers the necessary technology and weapons in order to confront the AI at Base Cochise and destroy it by making the base's nuclear reactor melt down.[13]

Development[edit]

Brian Fargo in 2011, the game's director
Michael Stackpole at the 2017 Phoenix Comicon

In an interview with Hartley and Patricia Lesse for MicroTimes in 1987, game director Brian Fargo said that Interplay Productions started work on the game in 1986. He also said the game was created on the Apple II, as it was equally important to him as the Commodore 64. Fargo described the game as a hybrid of the Ultima series and The Bard's Tale, with a post-apocalyptic setting similar to the Mad Max film series. As to the combat, Fargo stated that it resembled that of The Bard's Tale and contained additional strategy elements, including the ability to split or disband the party and change the player's character point-of-view.[14]

In later interviews, Fargo said Wasteland came about after the success of The Bard's Tale and Interplay's desire to make another role-playing game for Electronic Arts separate from a sequel to the game. He added that the setting was inspired by his love for Mad Max 2 and post-apocalyptic fiction.[15] While searching for a gameplay system for their new game, they came across the system of Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes.[16]: 200–201  Its author Michael Stackpole was announced as the writer for Wasteland in 1987.[17][18]

Alan Pavlish was the lead developer of the game, writing it in Apple II machine language and programming the game to react to player choices. Ken St. Andre said Fargo's pitch to him was for a post-nuclear holocaust game that allowed for weapons capable of inflicting area effect damage to be used and the map be modified "on the fly".[16]: 203-204  Fargo said the game was in development for five years.[19][16]: 200–201 

Writing[edit]

Ken St Andre in 2014; he served as a writer and designer.

St. Andre said that Interplay wanted to make a best-seller that would elevate the team's reputation. He said that the story-writing process took more than a year, mostly due to feeding various scenarios into the game to see how it would react. According to St. Andre, he and Stackpole wanted to create something new with the story.[16]: 202-203 

The original plot was supposed to be similar to Red Dawn, with Russians occupying the United States and fighting against Americans engaged in liberating their nation. St. Andre eventually decided to change this and pitched a new story involving killer robots wanting to wipe out and replace humanity, calling it a sort of cross between The Terminator and Daffy Duck, with Fargo accepting this new storyline. The game's location was chosen due to St. Andre's familiarity with the area and ability to ensure the locations of real-world places were accurate in the game.[16]: 202-203 [20]: 193–196 

Release[edit]

The game was copyrighted in 1986.[21] Close to release, Interplay insisted that it be labeled PG-13.[18] Wasteland was originally released in 1988 for the Apple II, Commodore 64, and IBM compatibles.[5] Wasteland was re-released as part of Interplay's 10 Year Anthology: Classic Collection in 1995, and also included in the 1998 Ultimate RPG Archives through Interplay's DragonPlay label.[22][23]

Reception[edit]

Wasteland sold approximately 250,000 units on release.[16]: 201 

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Computer Gaming World lauded Wasteland for its gameplay, plot, problem solving, skills system, non-player characters, and the moral dilemmas players face.[24][25][26] The magazine named Wasteland the Adventure Game of the Year in 1988.[27] In 1994, the magazine cited Wasteland as an example of how "older, less sophisticated engines can still play host to a great game".[28]

Orson Scott Card gave Wasteland a mixed review in Compute!, commending the science fiction elements and setting, but stating that it lacked a meaningful overarching story.[29] However, James Trunzo praised the game in the November 1988 issue of Compute!, citing its non-linear design and multiple puzzle solutions, the vague nature of the goal, and customizable player stats.[30]

Julia Martin's review for Challenge favorably recommended the game for those into RPGs and adventure games, comparing it to Twilight: 2000, praising its combat system, choices and for differing from the usual sword-and-fantasy genre. She criticized having to insert the primary "A" disk in order to play the game after copying it from four disks, the game's save system, and characters starting out with useless items.[31]

In 2000, Wasteland was ranked as the 24th-best PC game of all time by the staff of IGN for its innovations.[12]

According to a retrospective review by Richard Cobbett of Eurogamer in 2012, "even now, it offers a unique RPG world and experience ... a whole fallen civilisation full of puzzles and characters and things to twiddle with, all magically crammed into less than a megabyte of space."[11] In another retrospective article that same year, IGN's Kristan Reed wrote that "time has not been kind to Wasteland, but its core concepts stand firm."[9]

Legacy[edit]

Sequels and spiritual successor[edit]

Wasteland was followed in 1990 by a less-successful intended sequel, Fountain of Dreams, set in post-war Florida. The game neither contained any of the code from Wasteland nor involved any of the staff that worked on it. Electronic Arts eventually decided to downplay its connection to Wasteland, and said it was not a sequel in 2003. Interplay worked on Meantime, which was advertised as a spiritual successor to Wasteland and did not take place in the same universe. Coding of Meantime was nearly finished and a beta version was produced, but the game was canceled as the Apple II market declined.[32][33]

Interplay has described the first Fallout game as the spiritual successor to Wasteland. According to IGN, "Interplay's inability to prise the Wasteland brand name from EA's gnarled fingers actually led to it creating Fallout in the first place."[9] There are Wasteland homage elements in Fallout and Fallout 2 as well.[8][9]

Fargo's inXile Entertainment acquired the rights to the franchise from Electronic Arts in 2003.[34][35] The studio developed and published Wasteland 2 in 2014.[36] The game's production team included original Wasteland designers Alan Pavlish, Michael Stackpole, Ken St. Andre and Liz Danforth, and was crowdfunded through a Kickstarter campaign.[37] In 2016, inXile announced a crowdfunding campaign via Fig to develop Wasteland 3.[38][39] It was released in August 2020.[40]

Re-release[edit]

In an August 2013 Kickstarter update for Wasteland 2, project lead Chris Keenan announced that they had reached an agreement with Electronic Arts to release the original Wasteland for modern operating systems. He added that it will be given for free to backers of Wasteland 2 on Kickstarter, in addition to being made available for purchase on GOG and Steam.[41] The re-release was designed to run on higher resolutions and added a song by Mark Morgan, higher resolution portraits, the ability to use the original game's manual in-game and the paragraph book's text, and expanded the save-game functionality.[42]

In November, Keenan announced that the re-release titled Wasteland 1: The Original Classic had gone gold, and had been submitted to GOG and Steam for approval. In response to the player feedback, inXile included the ability to turn off smoothing, including the manual in tooltips, swapping and tweaking portraits while making it work on Mac OS X and Linux. Those who backed Torment: Tides of Numenera and received Wasteland 2, also received the re-release for free.[43]

The Original Classic edition was released on November 8, 2013, and was downloaded more than 33,000 times before its general availability.[44] On November 12, the game was released on GOG.[45] The next day, the game was also released on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux.[46] On March 11, 2014, it was released for Desura.[47]

Remaster[edit]

inXile Entertainment announced a remastered version in honor of the original's 30th anniversary, to be produced by Krome Studios.[48] During E3 2019, Brian Fargo announced it was coming to both Windows and Xbox One.[49] He also released screenshots of the game.[50] On January 23, 2020, the release date was revealed as February 25.[51] It was released by inXile Entertainment on GOG, Steam and Microsoft Store for Windows, OS X and Linux; the Xbox One version was published by Xbox Game Studios. The graphics and sounds were completely overhauled and the game uses 3D models. In addition, it features voiced lines and new portraits for characters.[52] The "remastered" edition also includes cross-save support and Xbox Play Anywhere support.[53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wasteland 1: The Original Classic". GOG.com. GOG. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  2. ^ Barton, Matt (February 23, 2007). "Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993)". The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. Gamasutra. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  3. ^ "Limited and signed art print from the grandfather of post apocalyptic RPGs... Wasteland". wasteland.inxile-entertainment.com. inXile Entertainment. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  4. ^ "Interview with Wasteland Remastered's Composer, Edwin Montgomery". inXile Entertainment. March 10, 2020. Archived from the original on March 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Nutt, Christian (February 26, 2016). "Wasteland : Developing an open-world RPG in 1988". Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  6. ^ Tringham, Neal Roger (September 4, 2014). Science Fiction Video Games. CRC Press. p. 203. ISBN 9781482203899. Archived from the original on March 9, 2017.
  7. ^ Yee, Zina J. Wasteland. San Mateo, California: Electronic Arts. pp. 4–5, 11. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c Plunkett, Luke (February 17, 2012). "Why People Give a Shit About a 1988 PC Role-Playing Game". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Reed, Kristan (March 16, 2012). "Why Wasteland 2 is Worth Getting Excited About". IGN. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  10. ^ "Commodore 64/128 Wasteland Reference Card" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on September 26, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Retrospective: Wasteland". Eurogamer. March 25, 2012. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "The Top 25 PC Games of All Time". IGN. July 17, 2000. Archived from the original on June 8, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  13. ^ Interplay (January 2, 1988). Wasteland (Apple II). Electronic Arts.
  14. ^ Lesse, Hartley; Lesse, Patricia (March 1987). "The Programmer's Tale". MicroTimes. Vol. 4, no. 2. BAM Publications Inc. p. 200.
  15. ^ Ian Dransfield. "Making of Wasteland". Retro Gamer. No. 134. United Kingdom: Imagine Publishing Ltd. pp. 32–35.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Hickey Jr., Patrick (April 9, 2018). The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers. McFarland. ISBN 9781476671109. Archived from the original on April 12, 2024. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  17. ^ "Taking a Peek" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 34. January–February 1987. p. 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 14, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Sneak Preview: Wasteland" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 45. March 1988. p. 26. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 2, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  19. ^ Barton, Matt (January 23, 2011). Matt Chat 90: Wasteland and Fallout with Brian Fargo (YouTube video). Archived from the original on January 25, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
  20. ^ Barton, Matt (April 9, 2018). Vintage Games 2.0: An Insider Look at the Most Influential Games of All Time. CRC Press. ISBN 9781000000924. Archived from the original on April 12, 2024. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  21. ^ "Computer Gaming World Hall of Fame". Computer Gaming World. No. 115. February 1994. p. 221. Archived from the original on October 3, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  22. ^ "Interplay's 10 Year Anthology for DOS (1993)". Moby Games. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  23. ^ "The Ultimate RPG Archives - PC - GameSpy". Uk.pc.gamespy.com. January 31, 1998. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  24. ^ Kritzen, William (May 1988). "Wasted in the Wasteland". Computer Gaming World. pp. 28–29. Archived from the original on April 5, 2016.
  25. ^ Sipe, Russell (November 1992). "3900 Games Later..." Computer Gaming World. p. 8. Archived from the original on July 2, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  26. ^ Scorpia (October 1991). "C*R*P*G*S / Computer Role-Playing Game Survey". Computer Gaming World. p. 16. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  27. ^ "Computer Gaming World's 1988 Game of the Year Awards". Computer Gaming World. October 1988. p. 54.
  28. ^ Yee, Bernie (April 1994). "Too Much, Two Late". Computer Gaming World. pp. 62, 64. Archived from the original on November 11, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  29. ^ Card, Orson Scott (June 1989). "Light-years and Lasers / Science Fiction Inside Your Computer". Compute!. p. 29. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  30. ^ Trunzo, James V. (November 1988). "Wasteland". Compute!. p. 78. Archived from the original on March 20, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  31. ^ Martin, Julia (1989). "Reviews". Challenge. No. 38. pp. 76–77.
  32. ^ McLaughlin, Rus; Kaiser, Rowan (July 21, 2010). "IGN Presents the History of Fallout". IGN. Archived from the original on July 19, 2019. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  33. ^ Barton, Matt; Stacks, Shane (April 18, 2019). Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-Playing Games: Second Edition. CRC Press. p. 215. ISBN 9781351273398. Archived from the original on April 12, 2024. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  34. ^ Kamen, Matt (May 26, 2014). "Wasteland dev Brian Fargo on crowdfunding sequel". Wired. Archived from the original on October 6, 2020. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  35. ^ Blevins, Tal (October 29, 2008). "Fond Memories: Wasteland". IGN. Archived from the original on December 18, 2021. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  36. ^ Agnello, Anthony John (October 9, 2014). "'C'mon, hustle!' How Kickstarter is turning game development into a spectator sport". Digital Trends. Archived from the original on October 5, 2021. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  37. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (April 15, 2013). ""I could not be happier": Fargo on fans as publishers". VG247. Archived from the original on October 5, 2021. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  38. ^ Dornbush, Jonathon (September 28, 2016). "Wasteland 3 announced, will include co-op". IGN. Ziff Davis, LLC. Archived from the original on September 28, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2016. Wasteland 2 developer InXile Games has announced a sequel to the 2014 RPG, Wasteland 3, and the developer is using Fig to raise funds for the game. The campaign will launch on Fig on October 5 with a total goal of $2.75 million and a planned release on Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
  39. ^ Brown, Fraser (June 12, 2019). "Wasteland 3 is coming next spring". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on June 17, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  40. ^ "Wasteland 3 Now Available for Mac & Linux". inXile Entertainment. Retrieved April 13, 2021.[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ Sykes, Tom (August 10, 2013). "Wasteland 1 to get Steam and GOG releases". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  42. ^ Carmichael, Stephanie (November 7, 2013). "Wasteland 1 – The Original Classic goes gold for GOG and Steam". Gamezone. Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  43. ^ Miller, Ewan (November 7, 2013). "Wasteland 1 has been submitted to Good Old Games and Steam". VG247. Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  44. ^ Cowan, Danny (November 14, 2013). "Classic post-apocalyptic RPG Wasteland out now on Steam, GOG". Engadget. Archived from the original on June 13, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  45. ^ Shearer, Stew (November 12, 2013). "Wasteland Comes to GOG". The Escapist. Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  46. ^ "Now Available on Steam - Wasteland 1 - The Original Classic". Steam. November 13, 2013. Archived from the original on November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  47. ^ "Wasteland 1 - The Original Classic Available on Desura". inXile Entertainment. Tumblr. March 11, 2014. Archived from the original on October 5, 2023. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  48. ^ Costa, Richard (June 11, 2018). "InXile Entertainment Announces Wasteland 30th Anniversary Bundle". Techraptor. Archived from the original on September 27, 2020. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  49. ^ Madan, Asher (June 12, 2019). "Cult classic 'Wasteland' confirmed for Xbox One, remaster also coming to PC". Windows Central. Archived from the original on June 14, 2019. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  50. ^ Reuben, Nic (June 14, 2019). "Wasteland remaster looks a whole lot like a remake, and I'm not complaining". Rock Paper Shotgun. Archived from the original on August 11, 2020. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  51. ^ Prescott, Shaun (January 23, 2020). "Wasteland Remastered will release next month". Rock Paper Shotgun. Archived from the original on March 1, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  52. ^ Amy, Matt (February 25, 2020). "Wasteland Remastered Survival Guide". Xbox News. Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  53. ^ Amy, Matt (February 25, 2020). "Wasteland Remastered is Available Now with Xbox Game Pass on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC". Xbox News. Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2020.

External links[edit]