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Arvan Eleron Interview: Nathan Long on writing Wasteland 2

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Arvan Eleron Interview: Nathan Long on writing Wasteland 2

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 4 March 2016, 01:35:51

Tags: Gregory Wilson; inXile Entertainment; Nathan Long; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep; Torment: Tides of Numenera; Wasteland 2

Twitch personality Gregory "Arvan Eleron" Wilson (who recently joined our fine forums) had inXile's Nathan Long as a guest on his "Pen & Pixels" GOG Twitch show the other day. Nathan Long, if you recall, was a relative unknown who somehow rose to become Wasteland 2's lead writer, despite the army of oldschool designers who were recruited during its Kickstarter campaign. A year and a half after the game's original release, this rather frank interview finally reveals a bit of what was going on during the silent months of its preproduction period in late 2012.

In short, it turns out that original Wasteland designer Michael Stackpole, who was responsible for getting Nathan on the team in the first place, was meant to be the game's lead writer...but then he "vanished" (Nathan's words!). Most of the other writers that inXile had recruited moved on as well. Nathan was thus promoted to the position of lead writer, with Patrick McLean as his sole subordinate, where he had the unenviable task of stitching together the bits of content that the departed writing team had managed to produce during preproduction. I suspect that critics of Wasteland 2's writing may find the game to be more understandable now.

The interview is about a lot more than that, of course. Nathan has things to say about the challenges of writing a game with Wasteland 2's extreme player agency, about the game's tone and themes, and most interestingly, about cut content. It turns out that in addition to the Reagan cultist-inhabited La Brea Tar Pits, which we already knew about, there was another area that was cut from Wasteland 2, an underground Matthias HQ at Seal Beach where the player's party would have fought a giant robot. The latter area is gone for good, but apparently inXile have definite plans to revisit La Brea in a future game.

Nathan also talks a bit about his work on Torment and Bard's Tale IV. In the former game, he's responsible for the companion Tybir and is also doing much of the writing for a companion that was originally conceived by Colin McComb. He's also done lots of work on Sagus Cliffs, and more in an area that ended up getting cut. Nathan has been off the Torment project for the past two months though, and is now on Bard's Tale IV full time. He's grateful to finally be able to work on a game that he can creatively lead from beginning to end. Hopefully, we'll be grateful for that too.

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