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"The story now is 900 pages long": Brian Fargo on Wasteland 2's Progress @ GamesIndustry

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"The story now is 900 pages long": Brian Fargo on Wasteland 2's Progress @ GamesIndustry

Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Mon 13 August 2012, 19:38:01

Tags: Brian Fargo; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 2

GamesIndustry.biz has talked to Brian Fargo on how Wasteland 2 is coming along. Here's the more relevant part:

Development on Wasteland 2 is moving rapidly, with multiple writers (including Chris Avellone, Michael Stackpole and Liz Danforth) creating scenarios. "The story now is 900 pages long," said Fargo. How does that compare to the original Wasteland? "It's much bigger," Fargo noted. "I'm doing one of the smaller maps, and I'm at 40 pages so far, and I'm not verbose. It's a lot of content. What if I rescue the kid? What if I don't rescue the kid? That's what everybody wants."

The project is large in scope, with many moving parts. Fargo is pleased with the team that's assembled, but is the schedule on track? "It's still too early to tell," Fargo admitted. "I'm very happy with the team; we have three or four ace programmers and the designers are having trouble keeping up with them. The design is the biggest short-term concern. We've just signed up three other writers."

The overall result is that Fargo believes the project is achieving his goals. "I think it's going to be one of the densest, deepest RPGs ever; just the cause and effect is fantastic. Ultimately, that's what everybody wants. That's what made GTA so great, it's what made Sim City so great - when you do something it has an effect, and things hold together smartly."

One of the things that has helped the project forward is the quality of the tools available today, and the capabilities of the hardware. "It was difficult to program things in the first Wasteland, not like the tools today," Fargo noted. He illustrated this with a personal anecdote. "My son is 14, and he got some things up on the screen in a week that would have taken me two years." Fargo isn't concerned with actually coding the game. "Implementation is the easy part. The design, from a narrative perspective, is just a lot of if-then statements. So we can just write our hearts out and it will go in easily. It won't be like it was before, where every square was a program, and we had to worry about what we could fit on a disk."

With so many writers working on Wasteland 2, coordination is obviously a factor. It's helped along by the nature of the world, with towns that are separated by (of course) wastelands, making each one its own world, effectively. Fargo likens it to Star Trek, where each episode takes place on a different world. Still, there are threads that connect these separate stories together, and Fargo explains how it works. "I'll go through my map with the whole group and tell them what things I want to affect other things outside of my story," said Fargo. "I'll purposefully leave some hooks open so we can talk to the other maps. As we talk through each other's maps, we make it a symbiotic task. It requires a hell of a lot of coordination, which is my task."

[...] Kickstarter is as much of a product development and marketing tool as it is a fundraising tool, in Fargo's view. "One might argue that Kickstarter is a focus test. I'm constantly asked about Bard's Tale, a classic Bard's Tale. We'll look at that later on, but we are focused on Wasteland 2 right now," he said. The relationship that's been created with fans via Kickstarter is valuable to Fargo. "I vet everything with my fans right now," he said. "For instance, we planned to offer a special skill for the game at one of the reward levels. The fans went crazy; they said 'do not give us anything that will change the game balance.' What Wasteland 2 shows to me is that people want an emphasis on design, not on graphics. We asked them if we got more money, what would they want to see? More graphics, more audio? Every time, the fans said they wanted more game play, not more glitz."​

There's also some stuff about publishers only being interested in billion-dollar franchises, and about the ongoing Kickstarter craze in general. If you're interested, have a look at the full article.

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