Brian Fargo and Chris Keenan Interview

PC PowerPlay has an interview with inXile’s Brian Fargo and Chris Keenan about the upcoming third installment in the Wasteland series. While the NCR Rangers patrolling the Mojave may wish for a nuclear winter, Wasteland Rangers get to experience it first hand in the upcoming RPG. In the interview, Fargo explains the decision to create a post-apocalyptic game in a less-explored frosty setting. Other than that, the interview focuses on things that inXile took away from Wasteland 2 and its Director’s Cut, and how they plan to use this knowledge to make Wasteland 3 better. An excerpt:

“Visually, we wanted to do something that was different, than other post-apocalyptic games. Or even films. They’ve been for the most part focussed on the desert or urban areas, and not a lot on what those parts of the world would be like, in terms of nature taking over, merging with the cold. And also I think the cold is an interesting element from a gameplay perspective. Dealing with it almost like the way you deal with radiation in Wasteland 1 and 2. Also, NORAD is located [in Colorado], so it seemed like an obvious place to go, where our government goes in the case of a nuclear war. And then thirdly, we wanted to really focus on these factions we have here in the US, the Doomsday Preppers. Survivalists.

“They’re very much of a mind that it’s all going to come to a head here pretty quick, and they’re stocking up on food and rations, and they’re ready for the end of days. And in this particular case, they were correct. And now it’s come, and these are the guys in charge of this area.”


Players also asked for the chance to be way more evil, and they’re going to get it. “It really comes under the umbrella of reactivity, and choice and consequence, and giving the players more options. We don’t place morality on what people do. But we want to make sure the world reflects the morality of the choices they made. We like to roll things out to their natural and deep dark consequences whenever we can.

“One of the things we liked about Wasteland 2 is there were multiple endings along the way. You didn’t have to play the game all the way to the ‘normal’ ending to win. Because what’s a ‘win’? It’s a narrative, right? You’re telling your own story. So we redefined what winning means.

“In the case of Wasteland 2, you could take on the Ranger Base, and kill Vargas, and win as an asshole. Or, you could go to LA, and you could line up with the bad guy there. He makes you do some really nasty, amoral things before he trusts you. And that had a different ending.

“We like that. We know the players like it. Those are big versions of what I just described, but there’ll also be smaller versions of it, because what I like about role-playing games is that it’s one of the few genres that can make you feel really bad.”

There will definitely be a lighter side to Wasteland 3, though – the second stretch goal reached guaranteed that the game would have a talking AI limousine created to help Ronald Reagan defeat the communists. Brian assured us this wasn’t just a cheap Knight Rider reference. “Anything that inspires us from the 80s makes its way in there. But this is a Ronald Reagan, anti-commie talking car! This is no ordinary talking car.”

One particular statement that appears in the interview with no further explanation worried me:

“One of the things from the Director’s Cut, moving forward, is we’re really looking into having a nice, fluid combat system. Turn-based combat, in itself, can get a little bit slow sometimes. And we really don’t want to have that wait time be on the player’s end. We want them to really act when they want to, to have that combat feel nice and quick and peppy.”

I am not entirely sure what this means but saying that turn-based combat is slow and boring is a surefire way to enter another era of cover shooters and ‘awesome’ buttons. Let’s hope this was taken out of context and they mean something along the lines of eliminating wait times of the Silent Storm magnitude and not something more insidious.

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Val Hull
Val Hull

Resident role-playing RPG game expert. Knows where trolls and paladins come from. You must fight for your right to gather your party before venturing forth.

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