Brian Fargo Releases Wasteland 2 "Vision Document"

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Brian Fargo Releases Wasteland 2 "Vision Document"


Wasteland 2 will enthusiastically ignore much of the "progress" made by the RPG genre over the past 20 years.

"Role-playing game" is a descriptor that covers an awful lot of ground. As gamers and platforms have evolved, so have the games themselves; it's a natural progression to the mass market, although it can still be hard to reconcile the idea that, in a broad sense at least, Mass Effect [http://www.amazon.com/The-Bards-Tale-Commodore-64/dp/B000B6EBT4/ref=sr_1_7?s=videogames&ie=UTF8&qid=1339521747&sr=1-7&keywords=The+Bard%27s+Tale] all belong to the same genre.

Brian Fargo has something different in mind for Wasteland 2, however. In the recently-released "vision document," he made it clear that he has no interest in that trend toward simplification, and since the internet has seen fit to throw a few million bucks at him to kick it old-school, that's exactly what he's going to do.

"RPGs haven't kept pace with time - they've regressed and even worse, taken pride is less role-playing than before," the document states. "Important elements have been lost over time, sacrificed to technology, art constraints, voice-over expenses, and multi-platform console constraints. Wasteland 2 has no such limitations, it brings these RPG elements back, takes them out of the attic, and makes them part of the gameplay again."

Included in those elements are deep customization options, party-based gameplay supplemented by complex, believable NPCs, an open world that allows you to explore at your peril and a commitment to "narrative depth."

"Many of the greatest moments in Wasteland were communicated via text and lore paragraphs, and it elevated the story, not detracted from it," it continues. "We're not afraid of text, and we're not afraid to use it to emphasize and support the world in ways the environment can't show visually."

For gamers unfamiliar with the setting, the document also provides a brief run-down of the state of the world in the lead-up to Wasteland and what to expect from Wasteland 2. 15 years after the original game, the Desert Rangers continue to work to bring order and civilization to a ruined, lawless world, but simple survival is as much a struggle now as it's ever been.

It sounds very impressive, although the truth is that it means absolutely nothing except that Brian Fargo has good intentions. There's a huge risk that Wasteland 2 will suck, either because inXile can't pull it off or, in what would be a far more disappointing turn, because our memories of how awesome these old-time, hard-ass RPGs were have been more than a little distorted by the passage of time. Still, for those with a hankering for the good old days, this looks like a pretty good place to start.

Source: Google Docs [https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxMevjNSr2EjbDBpZ2ZMdmNnc28/view?sle=true]


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BrionJames

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I'm a little disappointed with your pessimism in last bit of your article. Granted Fallout and Fallout 2 are excellent games. Go play them again, if you haven't played them, play them NOW. What he said pretty much sums up how I've felt about RPG's since 2000. Not to say that nothing good has been made since then, just to say that I'm looking forward to a game that doesn't pander to the masses.
 

Ragsnstitches

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Woah Andy. Down boy. You can't raise our spirits like that then dash them with such cold hard cynicism. That's what the comment section is for...

I'm looking forward to this, in as far as I can't wait to see what vision he has to distinguish Wasteland 2 from its spiritual derivative, the Fallout series. I hope it does well, but I'm not going to commit seppuku if it doesn't.

Also, is Urban Jungles becoming a thing?
 

Andy Chalk

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It's not cynicism, it's reality. Look, I'm a big believer in Fargo and this game, and I sunk a relatively hefty amount of money into the Kickstarter, but I think it's important now and then to remind people that promises on the internet are nothing more than words meant to sell an idea. How would you guys feel if I spent the next two years squealing about how Wasteland 2 is going to be the BEST RPG EVAR and then it ended up sucking, or just collapsed completely?

I'm committed to this game, I'm excited for this game, I'm invested in this game - but I also feel obligated to remind people on occasion that at this point, all we've got to go on is a good idea and Brian Fargo's word.
 

Nooners

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Sadly, he's got a point. After watching Spoony gush over Ultima IV, and then seeing that it was free on GoG, I grabbed it up, installed it, opened it...and as hard as I tried, couldn't stay with it. I tried, honestly I did, but it is hard to focus on just text when the Skyrims and Mass Effects and Dragon Ages have spoiled us with Oscar-winning voice-acting performances.

The same thing happened with the beloved Baldur's Gate as well. As hard as I tried, the sheer complexity of it all, along with some serious confusion about where to go and what to do, made it hard to immerse myself in the adventure.

Hopefully this project can combine the complexity of a big world and engaging characters with an easy GUI and controls scheme. That's my hope.
 

scarab7

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I love the old stuff despite not being a gamer when they came out and I can see the value in the strengths of old school RPGs. I just hope the new Wasteland can have as much of that as possible with as little of the issues and problems as before. I know it is a little to optimistic to want "All of the strengths, none of the weaknesses." but I'd still rather have as much as I can of the old and the new.
 

JediMB

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Speaking as someone who was more than a little bit late to the game with Fallout and Fallout 2 (played them four years ago), I can with certainty say that I'd like more old-school RPGs.

Granted, they need more polish (i.e. less bugs) and improved controls/interface, but that's not something I worry that they might screw up.
 

JediMB

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DVS BSTrD said:
Doesn't matter to to if you're afraid of text, what DOES matter is if you're afraid these artwork "constraints" and voice-over expenses. You know what makes a believable NPC? Decent animation and voice acting. It would be a shame if Fargo ended-up overlooking some of the real technical advances in RPGs in favor of giving us a relatively the bare-bones presentation of the nineties.
I truly hope that voiced dialogue is mostly left out of the game (except for prologues and epilogues). As nice as it is to have some good voice acting, I'd much prefer having more dialogue options, since voice acting puts some heavy constraints on how much (and how spontaneously) dialogue can be written.
 

Andronicus

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I'm with Andy on this one. I've read enough game hype to cringe whenever I read stuff like "complex, believable NPCs" and "commitment to narrative depth". Generally means pretty much jack shit in the long run, and then devs invariably backpedal, apologising for not being as committed to the game as they'd said - but the sequel's going to be EVERYTHING WE PROMISED AND MORE!

That said, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product, and there's no doubts in my mind that it'll be awesome, as long as it stays open-world and retains a good sense of humour about the whole thing.
 

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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There are so many fine lines at work here. Voice acting has to be top-notch, or it's better off being avoided entirely. Visuals are important, but games like Gemini Rue and even Baldur's Gate prove that great artistry can be accomplished without cutting-edge technology and ultra-high resolution. Walls of text are fine, as demonstrated by Planescape: Torment, but I want to see and hear and immerse myself in a sensory experience of a magical world - as Planescape: Torment did.

As I said before, I bet pretty heavily that Fargo and Co. can make this work. I just don't want to be seen as unreservedly encouraging others, who maybe aren't as cognizant of the risks, to do the same.
 

mdqp

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JediMB said:
I truly hope that voiced dialogue is mostly left out of the game (except for prologues and epilogues). As nice as it is to have some good voice acting, I'd much prefer having more dialogue options, since voice acting puts some heavy constraints on how much (and how spontaneously) dialogue can be written.
This is one of my hopes, too. I can enjoy books, even if I have been exposed to movies over the years. Text or voice acting aren't what make a difference in the immersion, what is important is art direction and generally, design. I find Fallout 1 & 2 simply marvelous, and I have played them for the first time 5 or 6 years ago. I am not seeing it through rose-tinted glasses, they are simply that good.

Also, I might be wrong on this, but hoping for a cinematic experience from this game is wrong. It's not aiming for that, and I would go as far as to say that that this game might not be for you, if you are looking for that particular style.
 

Bantis

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Andy Chalk said:
It sounds very impressive, although the truth is that it means absolutely nothing except that Brian Fargo has good intentions. There's a huge risk that Wasteland 2 will suck, either because inXile can't pull it off or, in what would be a far more disappointing turn, because our memories of how awesome these old-time, hard-ass RPGs were have been more than a little distorted by the passage of time. Still, for those with a hankering for the good old days, this looks like a pretty good place to start.
DVS BSTrD said:
Doesn't matter to to if you're afraid of text, what DOES matter is if you're afraid these artwork "constraints" and voice-over expenses. You know what makes a believable NPC? Decent animation and voice acting. It would be a shame if Fargo ended-up overlooking some of the real technical advances in RPGs in favor of giving us a relatively the bare-bones presentation of the nineties.
Andronicus said:
I'm with Andy on this one. I've read enough game hype to cringe whenever I read stuff like "complex, believable NPCs" and "commitment to narrative depth". Generally means pretty much jack shit in the long run, and then devs invariably backpedal, apologising for not being as committed to the game as they'd said - but the sequel's going to be EVERYTHING WE PROMISED AND MORE!
All valid points. In reading them I couldn't help but be reminded how this game is being funded. I mean, everything Andy said was true this could be a fun trip down memory lane or a car wreck but thinking that my small portion of the funding along side everyone elses portion is the reason why either outcome is even possible is pretty damn cool to me.

I feel like even if it is a bust I won't be burned. I'll just know not to put faith in that guy again. But the fact that I could get a gem of a throwback game via my little investment is just a neat idea. They get the chance to make it and I'm not out much.

Wish them luck.
 

draythefingerless

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I will agree that games like Fallout and Baldurs were greatstorytelling, design and world, but honestly? Just get rid of the DnD gameplay. I love Baldurs Gate, but i cnt play it again. i cant stand that mess of a gamplay system. The chaotic pausing, lack of direction, the confusion on screen, the unnecessary maths(i do enough maths when i work thank you)...Sorry, DnD is a slow MULTIPLAYER game, and i cant play Baldurs gate like that. Thats just my opinion. Hopefully Wastelands gameplay will be more fluid(no need to sacrifice role playing characteristics)
 

Kahunaburger

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Bantis said:
I mean, everything Andy said was true this could be a fun trip down memory lane or a car wreck but thinking that my small portion of the funding along side everyone elses portion is the reason why either outcome is even possible is pretty damn cool to me.
Yeah, worst-case scenario we'll still have a content-rich highly moddable glitchfest with a large community, which means the worst-case scenario is Skyrim, but with good writers.
 

BENZOOKA

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Oct 26, 2009
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The distorting, terrible nostalgia goggles.

Anyways. As impressive as it does sound, this is just populistic marketing.

Describing the loose intentions about a product is not yet a nod for taking off your pants.
 

TheDrunkNinja

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I get where Andy is coming from. It's obvious that the RPG of today is a vastly different beast than the RPG of, say, ten years ago, but people tend to forget the rose-colored glasses they wear when reminiscing about those times. But I'm not saying that people shouldn't be wearing those glasses. I'm saying they forget everyone else is lacking a pair.

I wouldn't say that the game is going to "suck" per say, but I wouldn't be surprised if it "breaks even" since the money the Brian used to create the game originally came from the very people who would later be purchasing the finished product.

The game has its audience already. Now is the time to see whether or not it will be a good enough experience to reach beyond them.
 

Kahunaburger

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TheDrunkNinja said:
I get where Andy is coming from. It's obvious that the RPG of today is a vastly different beast than the RPG of, say, ten years ago, but people tend to forget the rose-colored glasses they wear when reminiscing about those times.
You know those old games still exist, right? I played Planescape: Torment and Deus Ex after I played Jade Empire, and Shiren the Wanderer after I played Oblivion. I don't think I need to tell you which ones I liked more.