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We interrupt your normal Facespace-Updating-Apple-WDDC-Watching schedule to bring you some breaking news on Fallout's upcoming "sister" game, Wasteland 2. Brian Fargo has just now (as in I received this less than 5 minutes ago as I type this) released Wastealnd 2's Vision document.
You can find the document here.
I will be updating this post shortly with snippets as I read the thing. finished reading and some of the most exciting stuff is below, but there is much more in the document....
Update 1: How the Wasteland world came to be:
In the early seventies, an astronomer located a cluster of meteors that would cross Earth’s path in the summer of ninety eight. Keeping this secret was the government's top priority. First, they did not want to panic the populace. Second, they saw it as a way to get the upper-hand against the Soviets. Building a meteor defense platform became the United States’ number one priority. It took 15 years to build the Citadel Starstation, a highly advanced orbital nuclear anti-meteor missile platform. The United States' Citadel Starstation was slated to be fully operational by March, just months before the meteors were believed to be arriving. Tensions grew with the coming of 1998, the Soviets charging that the space station was merely a military launching platform, alarming a number of nonaligned nations.
Two weeks before Citadel was due for full operation, the station transmitted a distress signal. Undetected, a cloud of small meteorites preceded the main cluster. Though they were no threat to Earth, Earth's satellites were a different story. Immediately after the message was sent, most of the satellites orbiting the planet were swept clean from the sky, leaving the great powers blind. In military panic, each sent 90 percent of their nuclear arsenals skyward. Although the destruction was tremendous, it was not complete. Pockets of civilization remained, some even oblivious to the military exchange.
Update 2: Ranger Origins On the same day destruction rained down from the sky, a company of U.S. Army Engineers were in the southwestern deserts building transportation bridges over dry riverbeds. They worked deep in the inhospitable desert valleys, surrounded by a number of survivalist communities. Located directly south of their position on that day was a newly-constructed federal prison. In addition to housing the nation's criminals condemned to death, the prison contained light industrial manufacturing facilities.
Shortly after the cataclysm began, the Engineers, seeking shelter, took over the federal prison and expelled the prisoners into the desolate desert to complete their sentences. As the weeks passed, they invited the nearby survivalist communities to join them and to help them build a new society. Because of each community’s suspicions towards one another, times were difficult at first. But as time nurtured trust, this settlement - which came to be known as Ranger Center - grew to be one of the strongest outposts. Ranger Center even proved powerful enough to repel the hands of rancorous criminals who repeatedly attacked in attempts to reclaim what was once “rightfully” theirs.
The citizens of Ranger Center, after first believing that they were the only ones who survived the nuclear cataclysm, soon realized that communities beyond the desert's grip had also survived. Because they had such success in constructing a new community, they felt compelled to help other survivors rebuild and live in peace.
Toward this end, the Desert Rangers, in the great tradition of the Texas and Arizona Rangers a century before, were born.
Update 3: On RPGs... (not the shooty kind)
RPG: RPGs haven’t kept pace with time - they've regressed and even worse, taken pride in less role- playing than before. Important elements have been lost over time, sacrificed to technology, art constraints, voice-over expenses, and multi-platform console constraints. Wasteland 2 has no such limitations, it brings these RPG elements back, takes them out of the attic, and makes them part of gameplay again.
True RPGs allow options, allow you to make fundamental choices in customization and character creation, and most importantly, allow you to role-play and make your impact in a living world and see the consequences around you.
And by consequence, we don't mean token one-node lip service, we mean reactions, even a chain of reactions that builds over the course of the game. Even simple RPG elements such as the ability to write
your own character’s bio (frequently lost in the console generation), importing your own portraits of your characters that you like better than what a developer gives you, to larger, more important goals such as tactical combat and extended options to approach battles and fights.
In Wasteland 2, these RPG mechanics are there to be discovered all over again
Update 4: Interface and customisation
Customization Plus: We don’t stop there. Customization extends beyond creating your characters’ stats and looks; it translates to the user interface, customizing and outfitting your own weapon from what you can scrounge from the environment, swaging your ammo and even what portraits you want to import in the game to represent your character (Why settle for what we give you? Choose whatever you want, draw your own, or find something better on line, or
even round out your party with pictures of your family members and co-workers!). Make the world, the interface, the playstyle, and your character yours, and role-play the way you want to.
Interface that Caters to You: Wasteland 2 allows not only character and world customization, but interface layout and design customization as well. With the range of game mechanics permitted inside and outside of combat, we don't want to limit you solely to customizing your character - we allow you to customize your interface to match your playstyle and choose the "language" and format with which you communicate with the game.
Update 5: NPC Companions
NPC's: In addition to your ranger party you will have NPCs join the group each with their own personalities, motivations, and agendas – while they may excel in lockpicking, swinging a chainsaw through Leather Jerks, or sniping a War Droid and clipping its sensors at a block away, they have their own opinions they’ll act on over the course of the game. They don’t always blindly follow you into radiation-infested buildings, they may quietly hoard drugs and money that they find, or even possibly decide to borrow things from you as needed. They may have a childhood fear of rats that causes them to burn SMG clips in fury whenever those creatures appear. If they don’t like someone in the party, they won’t be shy about it – or they may actively encourage you to send certain characters on solo missions provided they leave their canteen and supplies behind. The feeling is that you’ll be traveling with characters, not drones with certain skill sets, and knowing their personality strengths and motivations is one of the most important tools for survival.
Update 6: On the game world - LA Confirmed as a location?
Open World: Adventure lies in the ruins of every city block, in the irradiated glow of distant mountain ranges, and in the depths of Devil’s Crater. It can be heard whispering and begging in the frequencies on your radio, bristling with threats from unseen enemies or people begging for help – this world is buzzing, burning, and alive around you. It isn’t a world you have to explore, it’s a world you want to explore.
Presented through an easily-traversable world map and close-quarter gameplay maps for detailed explorations, we allow you to explore the Wasteland at the pace you want. Go anywhere you want, test the limits, test your enemies and gauge their strength (taking the bad road is your choice, and you own your mistakes if you don’t heed rumors or don’t proceed cautiously).
A Beckoning World, Not a Forced March: Wasteland 2 baits you and lures you into exploring a variety of ways – the promise of what lies in a ghostly skyscraper in the depths of downtown LA, in the floating wreckage of submerged harbors and in the lower decks of abandoned cruise liners, tracks that lead to an old mine shaft in a mountain side… but no tracks leading out, and a mysterious broadcast whispering in Russian, a rapidfire Morse code signal, or the staccato of insane cult-speak hammered out on the radio… all of these events are fishhooks dangled throughout the environment to pull you in.
Update 7: The game reacting to you, and consequences for actions
The World is Watching You: The world reacts to who’s in your party, your appearance, your choices, your health – and more. It’s a world that’s watching you and reacting in ways you would expect the inhabitants of the world would… encountering a horde of Leather Jerks shortly after being bloodied and out of ammo from an unexpected Reagan Hover Tank fight is going to spark a much different reaction that rolling onto the scene with upgraded automatic weapons and proton axes while riding the same Hover Tank you were fighting previously. On the flip side, entering a room with security robots while wearing normal clothes and no weapons displayed may allow safe passage where a fully-tricked out
party bristling with weapons may trigger a much different experience… the world acts in predictable and unpredictable ways, but there is reason, logic, and reactivity that can be seen, studied, and eventually used to your advantage once you learn the ways of the world.
Cause and Effect: Reactivity happens on a micro and macro level, and doesn’t stop with a single reactive event – the consequences persist and build over the course of the game, and you can continue to contribute to the consequences over time – you don’t make just one ripple in the water, you can keep sending ripples outward by repeatedly tossing stones into the world to keep the effects going. This was one of the pillars of Wasteland that made it unique, and we'll uphold it and evolve it in Wasteland 2.
Update 8: Parties and multiple paths
One Goal, Multiple Rangers: Your party isn't designed to be bunched up like a pair of panties after 5th period competitive wedgie class. You can control up to seven individuals (four rangers and three NPCs), all of which you can command (and in the case of companions, suggest) to perform specific actions toward a higher goal. Split them up to cover more ground, perform multiple tasks at the same time, reform them, and then strike while your opponents are trying to figure out what the hell just happened.
You can divide and conquer in combat. If you need someone to move quickly and quietly to pick a lock while your sniper covers the door from a nest across the street as your resident brainiac reprograms the ventilation system to spew out exhaust, then split up your party and act like Desert Rangers do - you're a unit, but a unit that you can split and assign individual tasks to defeat opponents or solve puzzles and quests in the environment.
There'll be times where splitting is to your advantage... and other times where it could put everyone at risk.
One Goal, Multiple Paths: An RPG’s main strength is allowing you to approach a quest, situation, or even an adversarial character in multiple ways and using your attributes, skills, or items to solve a problem. In Wasteland 2, even the range of options for something as simple as a locked door puzzle provides multiple choices for strategy – strength, proton axes, TNT, lockpicking, and crowbars can all be a means to bust down a stubborn door… but each one can lead to different results depending on what’s on the other side. Giving options is the goal, not narrowing your choices.
Update 9: Final update, Game Mechanics and combat.
Game Mechanics and Tactics that allow for your approach and your play-style: Combat in Wasteland 2 is turn-based and tactical, the approach to battles requires strategy, even choices in how to outfit and customize your gun greatly modify your chance of success. Ammo is a resource. It’s scarce. Healing is tough. Your fellow Desert Rangers have various strengths and weakness, and your recruits often have personality traits you need to balance and keep an eye on, depending on the encounter.
Flank opponents, switch gear, learn to use fog of war and line of sight to outflank opponents and go for quick kills before an alert can be sounded… or you can approach a combat simply and aggressively, taking a lot more damage and damaging your gear but reaching your objective quicker.
If that’s not to your liking, use patience and demolitions to lure your opponents into a prepared kill zone of traps, explosives, and sniper bullets that can cut through opposition like a proton knife through butter. It’s your call, your choice, and your risk – and enjoyed through your game-play style, not ours.
We give you great control during combat, but it doesn’t have to be a slog. While tough fights are just that, you can get through minor threats quickly. Once combat is initiated, turn based progression begins, but if you have the overwhelming advantage you can just let your guys go to work without micro-managing the tactics.
We give you the tools and the rules - then stand back and let you do the rest.
There's a heck of a lot more than the selected bits I'm posting, you owe it to yourself to read it Damn this really is looking like the best game ever, ever! Agent c 21:07, June 11, 2012 (UTC)
Edit: If you're done with that, here's the prototype box art.