by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on PC
I used to think I was hot shit. I used to think my knowledge of video games was impeccable. I used to, but then Kickstarter came along and all of these classic games that were developed when I was a single celled organism doing awesome loops in my father’s scrotum came back to haunt the gaps of my knowledge. Wasteland is one of those games. It was released in 1988, when I was three years old, and it may therefore not be that big a deal that I haven’t played it. Considering the impact it had on the industry, however, I very much wish I had. The game was a marvellous achievement, being one of the first to feature a persistent world, multiple approaches to tasks, and grotesquely funny dialogue and descriptive text. It was not only very well received in its time, but it also sparked the creation of one of gaming’s most beloved franchises: Fallout.
Thanks to a healthy combination of crowd funding website Kickstarter and a massive dose of nostalgia, inXile entertainment raised almost three million dollars for the development of Wasteland 2. With an initial goal of nine hundred thousand, the awe inspiring reaction of Wasteland fans has given the development team a lot of coin to play with, which will undoubtedly result in a more polished final product. One of the features that they have already improved far beyond their initial plans is the camera system. The developers were originally aiming for a fixed camera as they were unsure that they would have the time and funds to render the whole world. The final product, however, will feature a fully controllable camera, complete with zoom and 360 degrees rotation.
The camera is not the only aspect in which they have already exceeded their own expectations. The HUD, for instance is fully customizable and you, the player, will have full control over the position of the modules, such as the minimap, character list, and skill bar. The dialogue system is very reminiscent of the old school RPGs and inXile have stated that voice over will be used very little, instead they have focused their attention on making the text-based dialogue that much more complex. Responses will be affected not only by the keywords you choose, but by the party’s previous actions, level of intelligence, charisma, and many other variables, which will undoubtedly render the world that much more responsive to your choices.
Attributes and skills
The attributes that you can look forward to gracing your characters with are Strength, Perception, Luck, Intelligence, Charisma, Expertise, and Speed. This differs from the original Wasteland as Perception wasn’t an attribute in the original. The developers felt, however, that perception has such a wide ranging impact on other skills and therefore deserved an upgrade in significance. Expertise is also new and is in a way a combination of Agility and Dexterity, attributes that should be well known to RPG fans.
The skills present in the game range from the painfully obvious, such as Brawling, to the bafflingly comical, such as Toaster Repair. The ones I like the most are Safecrack and Pick Lock, as that means they are not one and the same. It has annoyed me that RPGs of the past have tended to lop all sorts of rogue skills into one, even though picking a lock and cracking a safe have nothing in common apart from the moral fibre of the individuals who tend to practise them.