Wasteland 2: Expect betrayal and perma-death

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If there’s one thing that XCOM: Enemy Unknown has proven this past week, is that the gaming market is more than open to some old school tactical action, instead of the usual skop, skiet en donner FPS titles that litter the shelves today. Wasteland 2 is one such game, as the successfully funded title is bringing back a dearth of intelligent action, as well as a few consequences for those reactions, later next year.

Speaking to VG247, inXile founder Brian Fargo spoke about how the world around players was home to quite a few shady characters, including the ones that players can hire as companions. Fargo demonstrated this by highlighting how one travelling partner would actually steal from players, and wouldn’t hesitate to betray you, as the world of Wasteland 2 had created a moral vacuum.

“When you start the game, you will create four rangers that you spec with the attributes and skills you want. Along the journey, you’ll also run into many other companion NPCs that can join your party”, Fargo said.

Each of these NPC’s has a different personality and will have their advantages and disadvantages. Some might be incredibly annoying but have an useful skill that you might not want to live without. It’s all about choices and trade-offs in Wasteland.

We will indeed have perma-death in the game. If you make a bad decision and get a party member killed, they won’t come back. We committed to creating an old-school RPG experience and we are definitely looking to make this a hard core experience.

Once you’ve recruited a companion NPC into your party, you now control them in combat along with your other rangers. We have over 30 skills that can be acquired in the game and no one ranger will be able to be effective in all of them.

Success in the Wastelands is centred around creating and using a team that works well together based on the strategy you’re using. I might also add that many of the choices the player make might not be felt for many hours later. This is another way of making the decisions in Wasteland 2 permanent as players have to live with the outcomes they create.

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Wasteland 2 also has a bit of an odd combat system, one which uses turn based style mechanics, but at a much higher speed, resulting in a peculiar pairing. “We love the strategy of turn-based games but sometimes, they can be monotonous in combat”, Fargo said.

We’ve played and studied many of the popular turn-based games from the last 20 years including Fallout Tactics, Temple of Elemental Evil, X-com, Final Fantasy Tactics, Jagged Alliance, and many others.

One example of some “fat” we’re attempting to trim is the wait time you have during the enemy turn. If multiple enemies are in the rotation to act before a players character is, they will all move and attack together. We also hate being forced into a fight with enemies that you can mop the floor with.

Slowing down the experience for an incredibly easy combat encounter doesn’t really add anything to the game. You’ll be able to resolve that combat encounter quickly without it dragging the game down.

Things are looking good right now for old genres. The market is rebounding, and gamers are being more selective, focusing on titles that really matter to them, instead of hopping on the latest over-promoted bandwagon for a game that is essentially a rehash of the previous version. And yes, I’m pretty damn guilty of this as well.

But overall, it’s finally great to see some old favourites return, for a new generation of gamers.

Last Updated: October 15, 2012

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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