When you think of “post-Apocalypse RPG”, you probably think of the Fallout series. However, those were actually derivatives of the granddaddy of all post-Apo games, Wasteland, developed by Interplay. Unlike most such games that are bounced around today Wasteland didn’t have a single protagonist that is backed up a group of companions, was party-based. Unfortunately it never saw a sequel after its release in 1988. For a number of reasons there was a heavy shift in the storyline, making much of the Wasteland mythos impractical. Still, many Wasteland players (of which there were many over the years) wondered “What happened after the events in Wasteland?”
In 2012, one of the first KickStarter fan-funded projects was launched to finance the development of Wasteland 2. Many of Interplay’s original design team now work for inXile, and with them many very recognizable “big names” that have joined the game industry since 1988. Which means inXile now has much of the brainpower that produced many of the best RPG and Adventure games that are available today. By having gone with the KickStarter fan-funded approach, they managed to collect over $3.1 million from over 65,000 backers. This funding now allows the developers to create the design that they think is best. inXile recognizes that this is a niche game meant to be sold to a small but very avid group of niche gamers. More importantly, they maintain the Wasteland Survival Guide forums where those many backers can input their myriad of ideas – many ideas of which the developers acknowledge they will be incorporating into the final design.
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Making History: The Great War
The Making History series of games differs from other WW2 turn-based Strategy games like Hearts of Iron in that it isn’t shackled by History books. That is, the antagonists are not pre-determined, with actual historical events occurring according to a predetermined timetable. Further, practically every nation on the globe is playable by the gamer. Want a real challenge? Try becoming a world power by taking the helm of Chile, Costa Rica, Switzerland, or pretty much any nation larger than Luxembourg. The game goes in the direction that you determine, allowing you to literally make and shape history in the game you are playing.
The Great War takes the basic Making History design and applies it to WW1. This is an exciting development because WW1 was the birthplace of more technological advances than even WW2. In the space of just four years, aircraft design went from spit-and-baling-wire to planes that were the foundation designs used in WW2 20+ years later. Tanks, which were so incredibly instrumental in WW2 first appeared in WW1, along with flamethrowers, poison gas, advanced artillery, and a host of other items that improved the efficiency of waging war. Couple that with an incredibly intricate web of interlocking political treaties and alliances, and the game environment is probably the richest of any Strategy game I’ve ever seen. Muzzy Lane still has a lot of input from the forum contributors, so it’s guaranteed that most items on a gamer’s wish list of design elements will most likely be present.
Tex Murphy: Project Fedora
Some of the absolute most enjoyable games that I played in the ‘90s was the Tex Murphy series of games: Under A Killing Moon, The Padora Directive, and Overseer. Most Adventure games usually have at most a small percentage of video cutscenes interspersed between huge amounts of jumping around following the antics of an on-screen avatar that looks nothing at all like the character you first met on the Character Sheet. In the Tex Murphy games, it was like the video of actors portraying the characters was blended directly into the game’s CGI action sequences. What made the game even more entertaining was the character of Tex Murphy: irony, sarcasm, cynicism, and humor wrapped into one.
Because titles and IPs got locked into a tangle that made it impossible for anyone else to pick up where the game series was last seen, there were never any further adventures of Tex Murphy.
Wonderfully, Big Finish Games put together a KickStarter that managed to raise almost $600,000. Even more wonderful is that the exact same actor that played Tex, Chris Jones, will be once again filling Tex’s shoes. (It just wouldn’t have been Tex if someone else played the role.) I heartily suggest that anyone who enjoys a good detective yarn, a good futuristic romp, and many belly laughs along the way tracks down the original games, and then be at the distribution outlet on Day One. I’m 99% certain that you will be entertained.
I actually don’t know all that much about this game, but what I do know is more than enough to convince me that this game will be worth getting. Back in the ‘90s, the Caesar series of games was started. It was pretty nearly THE Founding Father of city-building games. Besides the four Caesar games, add the Pharoah city-builders and the broad series of SimCity creations and you’ve pretty much covered nearly all of the truly decent city-building games that have ever appeared. Nearly everyone at Tilted Mill Entertainment had a hand in creating those wonderful games. The only difference is that today they have a lot more design experience under their belts than when they created those other classics from scratch. Now they are going to create a Middle Ages version to add to their resumes.
What more needs to be said? A proven track record of success after success pretty much guarantees a quality game.
Read part 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the series.