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Brian Fargo talks Wasteland 2 and the future of PC gaming

John Gaudiosi | Jan. 22, 2013
Game industry veteran Brian Fargo sits down to chat about PC game development, his Kickstarter-funded Wasteland 2 game and the future of PC gaming.

We're soliciting feedback from the backers, or the fans, on the priority of things, and I think if you listen to them you really get great information. We took it even one step further, which is we have a lot of people that are always wanting to be involved with the game and sending us writing samples, art samples, whatever. We formalized that process. We don't have a huge staff, so we asked our fans to submit things to the Unity Store and we'll go through it. This allows people that want to break into the business a chance to get their assets in the game.

The first couple of rounds of submissions that have come in have been fantastic stuff. It's been great for us, and the creators can resell their work on [the Unity Store] and make money from it. We buy it from them. 

What's the time frame and storyline for Wasteland 2?

The sequel to Wasteland takes place 15 years after the first game ended. The basic premise is that the world was, for the most part, destroyed by nuclear bombs. One part of society has regressed, while other parts have - through technology and exponential growth - become even more advanced than society was before the apocalypse.

So there are these conflicting pockets, but within that there's a group of Army engineers that took refuge in a prison to escape the devastation. They survive, set up the Desert Rangers and tackle the job of bringing law and order back to this uncivilized world. That's where you, as the players, take control of a group of Rangers going out there and dealing with the host of issues. It's sort of a "Cops" on steroids in a strange, post-apocalyptic world.

How customizable will the Desert Rangers be in this game?

We're really hanging our hat on the customizable nature of the rangers, so that starts with character creation right off the bat. Some role-playing games have gone a different way where you play a specific character and then you get to hear his dialect and how he speaks or reacts; this is a little bit different. While designing the game we don't really know whether you're creating a group of Russian women or what. The game is completely customizable in terms of your skills and your attributes and even the look of it. You can import portraits that you want to have represent your groups, and we even let you choose the pack of cigarettes you like to smoke.

What do you think about turn-based gameplay?

For deep role-playing games I think it's a given that you need to do [turn-based combat] because combat's the thing you do the most, and already these types of games require a lot of reading and a lot of thinking. I think the combat system should follow suit: turn-based combat has you worrying about things like distance, height, ammunition, inventory, skill systems, etc. You're always using your brain, and I think that's critical for a good role-playing game.


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