A Second Helping Of Blood Sausage
Folks who are normally within range of my voice are probably sick to death of hearing about this, but it looks like Wasteland 2, a proper sequel to one of the early touchstones of computer RPGs, is on it’s way.
Wasteland was created by Interplay, same folks who brought us the probably-more-well-known The Bard’s Tale. Sadly, Wasteland is rarely mentioned when most people talk about RPGs that defined the genre, but it’s just as relevant because it made games like Skyrim, Mass Effect, and Fallout 3 possible.
In fact, it’s specifically because of Wasteland that we have Fallout 3. Fallout and Fallout 2 were made by Interplay as well, and according to Brian Fargo, were spiritual successors to Wasteland and not direct sequels because Interplay didn’t own the rights to the Wasteland name (Notice the little “EOA” at the bottom of the box cover art? That’s Electronic Arts when they were known as Electronic Arts, which should say a lot about why the Wasteland name was sealed away).
The thing about Wasteland is that it’s not high-fantasy. I played a lot of RPGs on the C64 – Phantasie, The Bard’s Tale, SSI’s Gold Box D&D Series, and more – most of which were Tolkien-inspired lands of castles, elves and dragons. Wasteland was about mutants and nuclear holocaust, which in the Cold War 80’s was a very real possibility. If memory serves me, the game also had a sense of humor – the title of this post is taken from a description you’d get when you scored a critical hit on a target, which would explode “like a blood sausage”.
I’ve tried to replay several games that I enjoyed in my youth, but I realize that it’s a mistake to attempt such a thing. Nostalgia isn’t a crystal clear remembrance, and few things hold up down the road in the ways we seem to remember them. Case in point: I recently downloaded The Bard’s Tale for the iPad, which includes the original 1980’s version! I was excited until I loaded it up and was slaughtered outside the guild hall. That game is really fucking difficult – but not really. I just don’t remember it requiring so much prep work, a fact which I blame on today’s RPGs which start you off as a virtual badass, and not an unequipped nobody who gets kicked around by goddamn kobolds like The Bard’s Tale does. That’s why I’m excited that we’re not getting Wasteland, but a real sequel to a game (I think) I really loved back in those days, but updated for modern times. Because it’s Fargo and crew who will be working on it, it’s going to be true to the original…just more updated.
The finishing touch on this is rather amusing. The game is being funded via Kickstarter, which I wrote about yesterday. Tim Schafer’s Double Fine development company raised over $3m USD via Kickstarter, and after 3 days, Fargo has raised a little over $1m USD. If you check out their Kickstarter page and watch the (pretty funny) video pitch, you’ll see that Fargo took the Wasteland pitch to several publishers – all of whom turned it down. I know $1m isn’t a lot to the likes of EA or Activision or other publishers, but I’d assume they turned it down because they didn’t think people would be interested in a sequel to a 20+ year old game. Except the almost 19,000 people who have now dedicated, on average, $60 a piece to get this project going. That’s the 19,000 people who probably would have paid $60 a piece for this game on their platform of choice. That’s 19,000 people who won’t be paying a publisher for any part of this project.
And there’s 32 more days left on the project, which has already exceeded it’s funding requirements. So, thanks, publishers, for passing this one up and for allowing inXile to bring it direct to us, and not languish in your development hell any longer.