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Wasteland 3 Fig Update #4: Let's Talk Multiplayer

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Wasteland 3 Fig Update #4: Let's Talk Multiplayer

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 13 October 2016, 00:40:32

Tags: Chris Keenan; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

A week after launch, the Wasteland 3 Fig campaign has amassed over $2.9M of funding, unlocking the "37 Pieces of Flair" stretch goal on the way. For today's update, game director Chris Keenan writes about inXile's vision for how multiplayer will work:

Chris here. You might remember me from Wasteland 2, where I served as game director, and I am continuing that role on to Wasteland 3. As you may have picked up from our initial pitch, Wasteland 3 will have synchronous and asynchronous multiplayer. We've talked about this in the campaign and in interviews, but I'd like to go a little deeper here and lay out some of our high-level design.

We want Wasteland 3's multiplayer to be a natural extension of the single-player campaign. It will tell the same story and offer the same locations and missions. And as is our hallmark for inXile as a studio and Wasteland as a franchise, we want deep and meaningful reactivity throughout the experience. Multiplayer will add another aspect of reactivity based on the interaction between two players.

In Wasteland 3, you can start a multiplayer-specific campaign with a friend. The campaign will then be tied to both of you. Once started, you won't be able to "replace" your friend with another, but if either of you can't continue playing for any reason, it will be possible to "spin off" a single-player campaign from your multiplayer world state.

Both players run separate Ranger squads, sharing from the pool of available companion NPCs to build your teams. You can't both have the same companions, but you can move a companion from one squad to another. The two squads can travel together, but you can also split up and explore the world separately.

The ability to split up is a choice, and it has important consequences. In Wasteland 3, we will support asynchronous multiplayer. This means that if your friend goes offline, you'll still be able to continue playing, and the actions you take will be reflected in the world when your friend logs back in.

What will that mean in practice? Let's go over a scenario to illustrate.

For example: You made a deal with a criminal gang of smugglers, turning a blind eye and helping keep their trade routes clear from danger for a cut of their profits. In single-player, this would mean that you receive a payment from time to time at your Ranger Base for keeping the deal going. However, should you then choose to intercept the smugglers' courier and perform a little "civil forfeiture" for the good of the Rangers, some of the smugglers' operatives might show up at Ranger HQ's doorstep demanding an explanation.

In multiplayer, that same scenario would play out in a similar manner. However, because both you and your friend are playing independently, it would be possible for one player's party to make the deal with the smugglers, not tell the other player, and thus that player would receive compensation in return. Meanwhile, the second player might independently choose to attack the smugglers for the good of the people of Colorado, not knowing of the prior deal, and that would lead to a similar consequence where the smugglers end up at Ranger HQ asking hard questions.

How to resolve the situation, of course, would have its own reactivity and options open in solo play or multiplayer – you could stand by the decision and risk upsetting the smugglers, make reparations and risk making the Rangers look weak, choose to wipe out the smugglers at their base of operations, and so on.​

You might notice we mentioned the Ranger Base a few times, and indeed, it will also be a core location in multiplayer, one that you and your friend will run together. Its resources and recruits are pooled together and available to both players. We plan to touch on the Ranger Base and how we're envisioning it more in future updates, so keep an eye out.

You might be thinking "this sounds fun, but how are they going to tell a coherent story this way, or stop my friend from completely ruining my game?!" While most of the game can be played either separately or together, during key narrative moments and missions, we'll require both players to be online together. This means that while you will be able to play most of the game together or separately, for those critical story moments, or when major story decisions need to be made, both players will need to be present. This'll happen infrequently, only at core moments in the game, and you'll be able to play many hours of main story and side missions before you need your buddy to progress. In single-player, you won't need a friend playing with you to experience those same moments, but of course, you will need to live with the decisions you make and their consequences.
"Sharing from the pool of available companion NPCs to build your teams". Is that a confirmation that Wasteland 3 will be a "main character plus companions" game that doesn't allow you to create a full squad?

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