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Editorial RPG Codex Report: Wasteland 2 Release Party

Crooked Bee

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Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Tags: Brian Fargo; Chris Avellone; Colin McComb; George Ziets; InXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Nathan Long; Steve Dobos; Wasteland 2

Sometime in early 2012, when InXile's sequel to the 1988 cult classic RPG Wasteland was being crowdfunded, we at the RPG Codex ran our own fundraiser campaign for a Codex-themed in-game location and statue. When Wasteland 2 was finally released earlier this month, we got what we paid for -- have you found our in-game shrine already? -- which, incidentally, also included an invitation for two persons to attend the Wasteland 2 Release Party on September 19th in Newport Beach, CA, where the two lucky invitees would party, drink, and celebrate with the likes of Brian Fargo and Chris Avellone.

We wanted to find someone local to go on our behalf, but as it happens none of our staff or regular contributors live in California. So we turned to the esteemed community member MRY, who happens to live close to Newport Beach and who in his turn suggested the Californian artist/writer/music critic Daniel Miller (http://bydanielmiller.com/). Together, they went to the party on the Codex's behalf and also did two independent write-ups about what they saw and did there and how it all went. (With pictures! So be sure to read the full article.)

Here's a snippet from Dan's write-up...

What goes on in the darkened halls of the Codex? Told that I was there writing a report for the site, those that knew would produce a pained sort of smile, observe the impressive tenure or wide readership of the Codex, and admit their own varied past with the site. Then a pause, and remembrance of a place on the internet where good ideas (and decency) are harried, tortured, profaned, shredded and whittled to oblivion. Of course there was talk of the incredible depth reached in conversations on the site, and there was talk of diamonds in the rough (the handle Jaesun?). Brian Fargo likened RPG Codex to Howard Stern in that it had at some point gone off the cliff and never returned, and a wild-eyed whiskered fellow remarked that perhaps the in-game Codex statue should have had smaller genitals.

This fellow was promptly hushed by Joby Bednar, ready to regale me with feats of code. This man personally built a 6502 emulator to embed into Wasteland 2, which allows the tech-savvy player access to a 64k computer right from an in-game terminal. Thus, a player can insert their very own 6502 programs and use them within Wasteland. Beyond this, there are apparently hundreds of other little tidbits scattered throughout the game, but Joby was thankfully forthright with a hint exclusive to this article: In a missile silo, there is a console which allows for player input. Type the word ‘Joshua’.

With that, Joby drifted away, and I noticed that a few had occupied a booth away from the group. At this table was a prominent member of SomethingAwful, name of Quarex, who informed me that we were tacit enemies. Seated around him were the scripters, the soldiers, whom I was hoping would be eager to gripe. With hands flailing, Ben Moise confessed the great labor that went into making sure that everyone was killable in Wasteland 2. In fact, a few people had a complaint about that feature, and it ended up being a favored question of the evening.

It would seem that most employees grudgingly accept the freedom of murder as an expected feature of the series. Asking the question in a more general sense though, I found a great deal of discomfort on the topic. A couple of people asked me if their answers would be on the record. The self-purported moral compass of the group cited her experience as a parent. A few were more diplomatic, saying that freedom to kill is necessary according to the needs of a specific game. When I finally got my moment with Kevin Saunders, he made raised more practical concerns: the feature was costly in time and effort and precluded child characters, unlike in Tides of Numenera.​

...and a snippet from MRY's:

I never did beat Wasteland, even though I went back to it time and again over the years. As best I can recall, I stopped playing at the sewers. (For how many dozens of RPGs is that sad statement true?)

All the same, I could recount a hundred stories. Trying desperately to tie up Bobby's dog. Half-weeping as I had to shoot my way out of Highpool. Blood sausage. A misaimed howitzer. The best mayor a kid in DC could hope for. Dancing on tables. Faran Brygo. Sweating, unable to sleep, after reading a paragraph in the book that said I had been cheating and the police were coming to get me. Wondering for most of my life whether, in fact, you got to go to Mars at the end of the game. Scorpitrons. "Mom, what's 'herpes'?"

Now I'm 34 years old, and I'm recounting that last bit to Brian Fargo. "And that's how I learned about safe sex," I conclude, as he glances in horror toward his two young kids standing next to him. Shit. "How, exactly," he thinks, "do I get myself into these things?"

* * *

Talking to Fargo impresses several things upon me. The first is how young this industry is. Fargo's career seems to span most of its meaningful history -- I know, Chester Bolingbroke would say I'm leaving out decades of PLATO games -- and in fact covers my entire lifetime as a gamer, including almost every high point in it. And yet he's a youthful 50, and his kids are hardly older than mine. At various times over the night he describes himself as "just an entertainer" and "a gamer at heart"; in fact, he is at once an elder statesman and new frontiersman.

He's also, quite obviously, a shrewd businessman who has survived tremendous upheavals both in his own career and in the industry as a whole. At one point, he mentions that when doing a deal, he looks at the other side's headquarters on Google Maps and gets a feel for how lavishly they live. "It says one thing if they're in a strip mall. It says something else if they're in a palace." (*cough*Double Fine*cough*) I get the sense that he's had both sets of digs in his days.

The same savvy that has served him so well makes me cautious about drawing any conclusions about Fargo's inner character. He certainly seemed charming, sincere, generous with his time and attention, a doting dad, a gentle boss, a true believer in games, and so on. But, as the Bard wrote, "One may smile, and smile, and be a villain -- at least I am sure it may be so in Newport." Or something like that. I want to believe in him -- and I have no reason not to -- but I wouldn't stake my life on it.

Still, to listen to the man talk about games he's played, games he's made, games he's dreaming of making, it's hard not to fall a little bit in love. He complains passionately about reviewers who can't, or won't, understand complex RPGs, and vows that next time he's following Larian's lead and not distributing advance review copies. At one point, he declares that Sacrifice is the best multiplayer game of all time. Sacrifice happens to be one of my all-time favorites -- for the art design, the voice acting, the writing (which combines po-faced Soul Reaver-ism with sly subversiveness and lots of wordplay) -- but in my opinion the multiplayer is trash. I tell him as much, and he rolls his eyes. "I'm sure you weren't playing it 3 on 3." He's right. He launches into stories of thrilling matches over the years, of hustling kids in some tournament, of little cheats to juggle enemy wizards. The word "manahoar" rolls off his tongue with practiced fluency.

I want to believe.​

Read the article in full: RPG Codex Report: Wasteland 2 Release Party
 

Roguey

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So are Colin McComb and those other guys shorter than 5'7 Avellone or are they standing on a lower floor?

diamonds in the rough (the handle Jaesun?)
That guy who never says anything interesting? :lol:

He complains passionately about reviewers who can't, or won't, understand complex RPGs, and vows that next time he's following Larian's lead and not distributing advance review copies.
That 3/5 from Joystiq is going to haunt Fargo forever. :D
 

Berekän

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Great write-up MRY :salute: Did they know or did you tell them you are the developer of Primordia?

Disappointed on Dan's part, too little substance, but oh well.
 

Infinitron

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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Note that the Charles in the group photo is none other than the Codex's Charles-cgr.

Tell us about your experience, Charles.
 

cvv

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Beyond this, there are apparently hundreds of other little tidbits scattered throughout the game, but Joby was thankfully forthright with a hint exclusive to this article: In a missile silo, there is a console which allows for player input. Type the word ‘Joshua’.

BALLS!

I was derping around that computer for good half hour because there's an unlockable safe attached to it. I knew something is going on with it. And sure enough, I just tried the Joshua password and the safe opened and there was an unique loot.

And there are a lot of such things in this game. Doors and safes protected by passwords, unlockable containers, mysterious NPCs. Yes, they're cool and oldskool and all....I just wish they weren't just some programmer's easter eggs, totally cryptic and unfathomable outside the inXile programmers office. I wish players could actually figure out those "little tidbits" through in-game clues and hints. Because they're not exactly hidden and inconspicuous. Most of them are right in the my grille and leave my pointlessly obsessing about them and looking for clues.

No fair Fargo! :outrage:
 

Jasede

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Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Codex Year of the Donut I'm very into cock and ball torture
So are Colin McComb and those other guys shorter than 5'7 Avellone or are they standing on a lower floor?

diamonds in the rough (the handle Jaesun?)
That guy who never says anything interesting? :lol:
People confuse me with Jaesun all the time, that's probably it. :smug:
 

Black

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So are Colin McComb and those other guys shorter than 5'7 Avellone or are they standing on a lower floor?

diamonds in the rough (the handle Jaesun?)
That guy who never says anything interesting? :lol:
People confuse me with Jaesun all the time, that's probably it. :smug:
But there's such a difference between homos and furries.
Furries actually make fappable content.
 

Amasius

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I wouldn't trust an artist/writer who uses the ugly word "product" and he writes quite pretentious, but I chuckled at the bit about the codex.

MRY on the other hand did a great job, I'd love to read more from him. :salute:
 

J_C

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I wouldn't trust an artist/writer who uses the ugly word "product" and he writes quite pretentious, but I chuckled at the bit about the codex.
I admit that although I can easily read almost any text in english, the first part of the article was incomprehensible to me, thank to the way it was written. Seriously, who talks like that?
 

Infinitron

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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
I wouldn't trust an artist/writer who uses the ugly word "product" and he writes quite pretentious, but I chuckled at the bit about the codex.
I admit that although I can easily read almost any text in english, the first part of the article was incomprehensible to me, thank to the way it was written. Seriously, who talks like that?

It's a rapid-fire "Gonzo journalism" style of writing, more suitable for television than a written text IMO. It requires a certain frame of mind.
 
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Weasel
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the first part of the article was incomprehensible to me, thank to the way it was written. Seriously, who talks like that?

A non-Codexer sent to do a Codexer's job?
 

Crooked Bee

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Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Who the fuck is Dan?

A de facto freelance reporter for the Codex and a friend of MRY's (the invitation was for two persons, like I said).

I must say I quite enjoyed Dan's more abstract style myself. MRY's piece, on the other hand, is definitely more traditional. Imo these two write-ups make a good pair.
 
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He did go.

11742.jpg


That's sea in the torment t shirt
 
Weasel
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Yes, some cmcc trolling from Excommunicator there.

Sea is the guy serving drinks in the Cantina.


:troll:
 

evdk

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Codex 2012 Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.

Charles-cgr

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Note that the Charles in the group photo is none other than the Codex's Charles-cgr.

Tell us about your experience, Charles.

It was great fun. I had the same doubts MRY described about how interacting with the Inxile team would be. I dreaded the possibility of condescendence or being left in a corner and all that. I was very pleasantly surprised in that sense. Reading their piece also humbles me in part because I went in with far less "ammunition". I never played PT for one. It still sits on my GOG account waiting for a day I'll finally get around to it. I haven't been a hardcore gamer in twenty years and much of it was by NWC and Sid Meier. I didn't know Sacrifice even existed! Still, there was Wasteland and that was the reason I was there. One of the few games that got me hooked for months on end in my formative years and there I was with some of the people that made it, and just finished making the sequel (which I played most of this weekend - I hadn't played a game that compelled me to continue for most of a weekend for ages). So I had less to talk about but lots to listen to. Even if I forgot much of it I spent an evening with some of the "guitar gods" of the industry and it left an impression.

Topcis varied, including Wasteland, launch concerns, Steam/Bethesda conspiracy theories, journalism (the same part where Fargo says that next time he'll do without review copies), Sacrifice (awkward moment), Hearthstone (which I've played some and found Brian Fargo outranks me by miles), my days in the US, visiting Newport on a bike (I got there a couple days early to avoid jetlag and get around a bit)... I had a long talk with Kevin Saunders and can't remember most of what was said. Saw that Mc Comb really means it when he says he can't believe he's the face everyone associates to Torment and how making the videos makes him self-conscious. Avellone was incredibly friendly and outgoing. He seemed to really be concerned that the "outsiders" feel welcome. A friendly chat with Findley. Some good ale...

Who the fuck is Dan?

A de facto freelance reporter for the Codex and a friend of MRY's (the invitation was for two persons, like I said).

I must say I quite enjoyed Dan's more abstract style myself. MRY's piece, on the other hand, is definitely more traditional. Imo these two write-ups make a good pair.

They're also partners in crime, making a game together. I hope that wasn't a secret.
 
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Darth Roxor

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The release party for Wasteland 2. An hour drive down the 110 towards Newport Beach, and we’re in a land of mall fashion, a beach suburbia, when the drugs begin to take hold.
 

Darth Roxor

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Also

Now I'm 34 years old, and I'm recounting that last bit to Brian Fargo. "And that's how I learned about safe sex," I conclude, as he glances in horror toward his two young kids standing next to him. Shit. "How, exactly," he thinks, "do I get myself into these things?"

:lol:

MRY is the broest :bro:
 

Deuce Traveler

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Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pathfinder: Kingmaker Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture
What goes on in the darkened halls of the Codex? Told that I was there writing a report for the site, those that knew would produce a pained sort of smile, observe the impressive tenure or wide readership of the Codex, and admit their own varied past with the site. Then a pause, and remembrance of a place on the internet where good ideas (and decency) are harried, tortured, profaned, shredded and whittled to oblivion

We're famous! :D
 

Diablo169

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Holy shit we sent MRY ? I can think of no better representative for the Codex then the creator of one of my more favorite games in recent memory. I wonder if anyone at Inxile or Obsidian has played Primordia? Should be required for anyone working on Torment IMO.
 

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