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Brian Fargo talks about the Wasteland 2 beta at Eurogamer

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Brian Fargo talks about the Wasteland 2 beta at Eurogamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 18 February 2014, 22:50:40

Tags: Brian Fargo; inXile Entertainment; Wasteland 2

A new interview with Brian Fargo was posted over at Eurogamer today. It manages to be more interesting than the typical Fargo interview, revealing new information about inXile's plans for Wasteland 2 and about how the game is doing overall. Here's an excerpt:

InXile took Christmas off, like many of us did, to recharge its batteries. It returned to action in January faced with 7000 bugs, comments and suggestions to sift through. The Early Access is doing what it's supposed to do: offer the developer feedback and help make a better game. But that's a blessing and a curse.

The new work is feeding into a major update that is due out soon. Fargo promises a "tremendous amount of change", pointing to improved AI behaviour (currently the AI is rudimentary in combat). When players first enter the Highpool area, it triggers a mundane combat encounter. Enemies, as they do throughout the alpha, appear content to run toward you as quickly as possible, eating bullets to the face in the process. The update will give enemies the ability to climb ladders to assume sniper positions, among other, smarter, plays. We'll also see the addition of destructible objects and crouch positions, adding an additional layer of strategy to combat. "One of the biggest demands," Fargo teases, "they loved in Fallout that you could take targeted shots. Well, you know what? We might be able to do that. We're taking a look at that."

Elsewhere, the inventory user interface has received a makeover. There's more on this on the Kickstarter page, but as Fargo admits, "it could use a little bit of refinement". That's an understatement. Wasteland 2's inventory is currently a clunky, befuddling mess. Using it is like frantically fishing around your bag for your keys. In the dark. And, it turns out, your keys aren't even there. "There will be big changes there," Fargo promises.

All welcome, but I'm most looking forward into the improvements inXile says are being made to Wasteland 2's narrative. This seems odd to me, and when Fargo first mentions it, I'm sceptical. This is an RPG after all. I'm invested because of the promise of choice and consequence, the video game version of a choose your own adventure. If I say this, here, then this, here, is affected. My decisions make my playthrough unique. My decisions determine my fate. Now the game is nearing release, how much of the narrative, the lifeblood of the game, can change?

"The initial response was that stuff's locked and loaded," Fargo says. "They assumed we were going to adjust combat and balance, but they didn't really believe we were going to make these wholesale changes and additions to the existing content.

"I don't mean just dropping in an area, but things that ripple through the entire world. That to me is the biggest focus."

Fargo uses the Rail Nomad area as an example. He wants it to feel more like a HUB, with hustle and bustle, missions to accept and many more NPCs to chat to. Right now it's a somewhat sparse expanse, with the odd interesting conversation dotted around the map. That's going to change when the update is pushed live.

Looking further down the road, Wasteland 2 is nearing completion and launch proper. Fargo won't commit to a date, or even a month, no matter how hard I press him, but he does say inXile is "in the home stretch". Late game maps are playable, and, in terms of functionality, the game is complete. Fargo will say this: Wasteland 2 will launch in 2014. "Oh absolutely. No question of that."
Sounds promising. I recommend reading the full interview. The part near the end where Brian tries to talk about his relationship with Bethesda without resorting to profanity is rather amusing.

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