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With the liquidation of Fig, the Wasteland 3 Fig campaign has been deleted from the Internet, because who cares about some silly things like gaming history, right? The Wasteland Wiki does. The following is an archive of all the updates.

Summary[ | ]

  • Total funds: $3,121,716 of $2,750,000 goal (113% of Goal)
  • 17,707 Backers
  • Succeeded Nov 4, 2016 3am

Pitch[ | ]

What's Wasteland 3?[ | ]

From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera comes Wasteland 3! Following the critically acclaimed releases of 2014's Wasteland 2 and 2015's Wasteland 2: Director's Cut, fans have been clamoring for a direct sequel. Now we can bring it to you, with your help!

  • A party-based role-playing game, with a renewed focus on our trademark complex story reactivity and strategic combat.
  • By including vehicles, environmental dangers, and a revamped, more fluid action system, we are evolving on Wasteland 2's deep tactical turn-based combat and unique encounter design.
  • Play by yourself or with a friend in story-driven multiplayer. Choices open up (or close off) mission opportunities, areas to explore, story arcs, and lots of other content.
  • Your Ranger Base is a core part of the experience. As you help the local people and establish a reputation in Colorado, quests and narrative will force you to make decisions on how to lead.
  • The game will be set in the savage lands of frozen Colorado, where survival is difficult and a happy outcome is never guaranteed. Players will face difficult moral choices and make sacrifices that will change the game world.
  • Wasteland 3 will feature a deep and engaging story utilizing a newly-revamped dialog tree system from the celebrated writers of Torment: Tides of Numenera.
  • Wasteland 3 released on Steam, GOG, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Game Pass for PC/Microsoft Store on August 28, 2020. We're hoping to release the Mac and Linux versions before the end of the year!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

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Explore a new frozen wasteland[ | ]

You push yourself from the ground. Biting wind claws at your eyes, your throat.

Every inch of your body hurts, but you are alive. Your squadmates are not. They lie motionless, frozen beneath the bloody snow. You will join them if you don’t get out of this storm.

A light flickers in the howling dark, over a distant hill. Wincing, you set off towards it.

You start the game as the sole survivor of Team November, a Ranger squad dispatched to the icy Colorado wastes. This is a land of buried secrets, lost technology, fearsome lunatics, and deadly factions. No one here has ever heard of the Desert Rangers. Your reputation is yours to build from scratch, and your choices may save this land or doom it. With a renewed focus on macro-reactivity, you’ll be picking between warring factions, deciding whether locations are destroyed or saved, and making other far reaching decisions that have a marked impact on the shape of your world.

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Bring a friend[ | ]

For the first time in the history of the Wasteland franchise, you will be able to take a friend with you on your journey into the post-apocalyptic wastes! Wasteland 3 opens up the possibility to play through the campaign with a friend. Both of you will control your own squad of Rangers.

The core of Wasteland 3 will still be a rich single-player experience. If you play with a friend while both online together, you'll be able to share many missions, and join up to hit key story beats, but you can also split up and cover more ground. Once a game is started, you can play Wasteland 3 while your friend is offline, and do a lot of missions without them. Be aware, however, that the actions you take while your friend is offline are not without consequence!

By making the decision to include multiplayer early in the development process, we will be able to design a game that is true to the core principles of the Wasteland franchise and our studio. Wasteland 3 can be played as an offline, single-player game, and will be built from the ground up with a focus on story and reactivity that makes no sacrifices for the multiplayer experience. At the same time, co-op players will enjoy working together to change Wasteland 3’s highly reactive world… or finding ways to destroy what their friend has worked to accomplish.

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Expanding on Wasteland 2 designs[ | ]

Our strategic turn-based combat is core to the Wasteland experience. Wasteland 2’s rangers could use cover, flank their enemies, and attack from rooftops with deadly precision and horrific status effects. Wasteland 3 will build and polish this existing system while adding a new feature: team-focused abilities. Your rangers will have an arsenal of combat skills with special tactical effects, usually focused around weakening the enemy while protecting their own squads.

Another big change this time around will be the addition of vehicles. Your ranger will use your vehicle for travel, storing essential goods, exploration, and survival. Gear up your vehicle well enough, and you’ll be able to use it for movable cover in combat, or – if you’ve installed a turret – deal with fools crazy enough to tangle with the Desert Rangers.

Finally, the Ranger Base is a key location in all the Wasteland games, and Wasteland 3 will be no different. This time the experience will be much more involved, as you are establishing a brand new Ranger base to survive and even thrive in the hostile snowscapes of Colorado. Rather than the base being primarily a place to pick up new missions and replacement squadmates, we're expanding it so that it is a full base of operations that is a part of the narrative and world reactivity. The Ranger Base will not be a place you have to micro-manage in great detail, but it will be a key location with significant narrative opportunities. Based on your decisions, events will open up and the base will evolve over the course of the game.

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A brand new atmospheric experience[ | ]

Looking around at the rich possibilities of our setting, it struck us how often we return to the desolate dry desert and ruined cities. We still think that's a great core setting, but the world after mankind can encompass many different settings, from overgrown wilderness thriving on former cities (something we explored more in Wasteland 2) to the remnants of mankind trying to survive in a hostile, frozen landscape. More than anything, a solitary building or town amidst an unblemished field of snow emphasizes an overwhelming sense of isolation that is key to the post-apocalyptic story. It is this rarely found setting and aesthetic that we want to explore in Wasteland 3.

But this does not mean Wasteland 3 is abandoning its roots. The Rangers are still a part of the world, and the struggles and challenges you will face are all too familiar: negotiating supply lines, assisting threatened communities, and of course, dispensing that classic wasteland justice. But aesthetically as well, our goal is to go back to our history with the original Wasteland and the stories and movies that inspired it, such as the Mad Max or the Road films, and our focus is to have a look and feel that recalls those experiences. This means a renewed focus on intelligent use of color palettes, as well as a world where a vehicle or a person's outfit tells a functional story of their place in the world.

As part of our improved presentation, we're updating the way dialog is built and presented. Wasteland 3 will feature an intricate dialog system based on Torment: Tides of Numenera’s branching system. Players will choose lines of dialogue that lead them through branching conversations. Choosing certain skills for your character may open up completely new and unique branches. And last but not least, in key conversations the camera will pan in to show a closer shot of the person you’re talking to.

We are bringing the team behind Wasteland 2, Wasteland 2: Director's Cut and Torment: Tides of Numenera back together to make Wasteland 3. Core parts of the team such as writers and artists are wrapping up their work on Torment right now, and we are rolling them directly into Wasteland 3's pre-production. Wasteland 3 will be utilizing the most advanced version of the Unity game engine yet, allowing us to take advantage of technology and experience we've developed on our previous titles, which lets us push our content and visual fidelity to new levels.

We're very fortunate to have concept artist Andrée Wallin of Wasteland 2 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens once again on hand to help us establish the look of this game, providing key art pieces that will be used for inspiration and reference throughout the game's development.

Additionally, we've been working closely with Christopher and Nic Bischoff of Brotherhood Games, the team behind the widely celebrated STASIS, Cayne and the upcoming Beautiful Desolation. In fact, they’re responsible for the beautiful prototype screenshots and video you’ve seen so far!

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Stretch goals[ | ]

WL3Fig Stretchgoals
  • $2.85M: 37 Pieces of Flair – We unlock further Ranger customization, which could include multiple body types, more heads, and more hairstyles. Plus we’ll show items that your Ranger has equipped (gear like shovels, binoculars, etc) on their models.
  • $3M: Car Companion (Codename: Morningstar) – We add a talking car companion! Morningstar is an AI built to serve President Reagan, but he'll help you both in your travels and during combat, plus he'll give you well-timed advice on how to wipe out all the dirty commies out there. See more on him below!
  • $3.1M: Customizable Ranger Squad Insignia – At the start of the game, you get to customize a Ranger Squad insignia for your team, which will show up on your Ranger Base as well as elsewhere in the game (on flags, for example).
  • $3.25M: The Bizarre - a marketplace of the expensive, the dangerous, and the weird, built into a half-buried ancient mall.
WL3Fig RT missions
  • Facebook likes: like the Wasteland Facebook page and get your friends to do the same.
  • Facebook shares: share the Wasteland 3 announcement post on Facebook.
  • Twitter followers: follow @inxile_ent on Twitter and get your friends to do the same.
  • Twitter retweets: retweet the announcement tweet from @inxile_ent.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Cosplay: take photos of yourself in post-apocalyptic garb, whether desert or snow themed, and send them to us at fanart@inxile.net or through Facebook.
  • Fanart: send us your fan drawing or sketch for the Wasteland franchise at fanart@inxile.net or through Facebook.
WL3Fig Map S

Each time it hits a major stop, a reward is unlocked! Your first two rewards?

  • At four stops, we'll unlock a set of high resolution shots taken from the prototype scene from the Frosty Reception video, and provide these to all our backers during the campaign.
  • At eight stops, an old familiar face will appear – none other than Wasteland's infamous mob boss Faran Brygo, his mighty empire now fallen, will make a cameo appearance in Wasteland 3!
  • At twelve stops, we will add a new weapon called the Spitfire, a unique "flame rifle" that discharges discharge short bursts of fire over a great distance with surprising accuracy.
  • At fourteen stops, we add a Ranger Star keychain to every copy of the Collector’s Edition.
  • At sixteen stops, we add the Emancipator, a new weapon that’ll be detailed and shown as the goal is passed.
  • At twenty stops, we enhance and expand our death animations, so you can watch your enemies die the inglorious deaths they deserve.

Deluxe rewards[ | ]

For Wasteland 3, we are offering outstanding rewards for substantial discounts. Every digital copy of the game includes Early Access, meaning every backer will be able to participate in the game's development at no extra cost. The game is available at a base price of $33 (less for early birds and returning backers), well below the estimated retail price of $50! By backing Wasteland 3, and our previous titles, it means you have faith in what we want to deliver, and we want to return that faith by offering you more value than ever before. That means the lowest prices, bonus rewards, as well as early investment opportunities.

Our final version of the Collector's Edition has been revealed here!

WL3Fig deluxe rewards

What brings us to Fig[ | ]

Wasteland 3 is an ambitious title, and we've always believed in using all our resources to deliver the best games possible. Wasteland 2 and its Director's Cut were funded using not just Kickstarter, but also our own monies from Wasteland 2 Early Access and Wasteland 2 sales, as well as our back catalog. Torment similarly was funded by a historically large crowdfunding effort, but also by Wasteland 2's revenue. We'll be developing Wasteland 3 in good part from continuing revenues from our portfolio, but to reach our ambitions for this title, we need more of your support! Fig is an evolution of the old crowd-funding model, and it’s a perfect fit for us. It will allow us to offer the same unique rewards to our backers, like physical goods and backer-generated content in game. At the same time, our backers will also have the opportunity to invest directly in - and reap the rewards of - the game's success.

More than anything, your support means that we get to remain independent and continue making role-playing games that we all love. By using Fig, as well as our own revenue from our back catalog, we are able to deliver games that are deeper, more expansive, and better polished than ever before.

inXile CEO Brian Fargo is on the Advisory Board of Fig, for more information see the About Fig page.

WL3Fig budget

Frequently asked questions[ | ]

    Why do console copies cost extra?

    We are able to generate our own game codes for Windows, Mac and Linux, but we have to pay for console codes. We want to put as much of our money raised into the game as we can, but we also want to give you the opportunity to get a console copy cheaper than you otherwise could. We decided to add that console copies as an add-on for a wholesale price. Add it, and you will get both PC (Windows, Mac and Linux), plus a console copy (Xbox One or PS4) – not to mention whatever other rewards you are due!

    Do I get both Xbox One and PS4 when I add a console copy?

    For the console add-on, you will need to pick from either Xbox One or PS4.

    What languages will Wasteland 3 be in?

    Wasteland 3 will be in English, localized to German, French, Spanish, Russian and Polish*. We plan to localize all written text, but voice acting is planned to be in English only. *Italian and Portuguese are also being included in our localization plans and we hope to have more to share on that before the end of 2020.

    What platforms will Wasteland 3 and Early Access be available on?

    Wasteland 3’s final release* will be on Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. As a backer you will be able to play on Windows, macOS and Linux, but you can also add a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One copy as an add-on. Early Access and Alpha releases are planned to be Steam and Windows only initially. During development, we are primarily focused on creating game content and iterating and prototyping gameplay. Attempting to actively support builds on multiple platforms too early in development can negatively impact the final quality of the game as it takes away resources we need to spend building content. *Mac and Linux are currently under development, and we hope to have more information about those versions soon.

    Will the PC and console versions have different interfaces and controls?

    Yes.

    What distribution platforms are the game available on?

    Wasteland 3 is available on Steam, GOG, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Game Pass for PC/Microsoft Store. Mac and Linux versions will also be available soon.

    Will the game be DRM-free?

    Yes. We will have a digital DRM-free option available for final release on PC.

    What physical items does the Collector's Edition box include?

    (As revealed in our February 2020 backer update) Wasteland 3 Collector’s Edition outer sleeve and inner display-box with magnetic tri-panel enclosure and diorama display, Scorpitron statue, Ranger’s Star metal keychain, Wasteland 3 mini-mixtape 8GB USB stick (containing soundtrack and game manual), General Vargas’ dog tags, Wasteland 3 Art Book, Wasteland Survival Guide, Cloth Map of Colorado

    When are bonus games available?

    Bonus games will become available after the campaign has ended and pledges have been collected. - Wasteland 2: Director's Cut, UnderRail and STASIS will be available as soon as possible (Steam and GOG). - Torment: Tides of Numenera Early Access will be available as soon as possible (Steam and Windows only). The final version of the game will be made available in Q1 2017 (choice of Steam or GOG, Windows/macOS/Linux supported). - The Bard's Tale IV will be made available upon its release date (TBD).

Updates[ | ]

Hitting the Ground Running![ | ]

Posted: 10/06/2016


Hello Rangers and Exiles,

Nothing is more nerve wracking than launching a crowdfunding campaign, but you have blown us away with your support for Wasteland 3. Only 10 hours into the campaign, and we're already 73% funded with over 9,000 backers! We're overjoyed to be co-funding this game with you and making it happen once again!

WL3Fig Up 1 1

We want to thank you for being behind us all the way. And, of course we can't go without thanking our friends from the industry, like Obsidian, Larian, Harebrained, The Brotherhood, OtherSide, Compulsion, Unity and so many others, for lending their voices. The fact that we are working together to lift our games to a higher plateau rather than working against each other is what makes our industry great and it's clear the crowdfunding spirit is still alive.

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Keep going the distance, Rangers!

We've also been attentively reading all your comments on the campaign, as well as Facebook and Twitter, and rushing to reply as soon as we can. Keep sending us your questions and we will try to get back to you as soon as we can!

We've received many inquiries about things like future updates, stretch goals and more add-ons – don't worry, we have many details about the game cooking that we'll be discussing shortly. One common question is whether we'll support backing through PayPal, and not to worry, we're working on it and will have news on it as soon as we can.

Thank you,

Brian Fargo - Leader in Exile & the whole team at inXile

A Strong First Day, Let's Keep the Train Rolling![ | ]

Posted: 10/06/2016


Hello Rangers,

Thomas here. What an amazing first day we've had! We were really gratified to see the strong response to our work so far, and glad to see our ideas are resonating with so many people! Part of the magic of crowdfunding is finding out if your ideas are pointed in the right direction, and it seems they are! Of course, we have a lot of details on story, setting and design to talk about, and we'll do so, but right now I want to say thank you for this amazing start, and let's keep this train rolling!

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Calling All Rangers

Today we are extremely excited to roll out our Ranger Team Missions for the campaign! These Ranger Team Missions are community goals that will let you unlock bonuses for Wasteland 3 – new digital and physical rewards that go into existing reward bundles, new content included in the game, and more! We're off to such a great start, 84% - wait, no it just moved, 85%! - funded and only just into day 2, but we know we can keep the momentum going and we know that all our Rangers out there are the ones who can get the job done!

Here's your missions, Rangers!

WL3Fig Up 2 Missions

  • Facebook likes: like the Wasteland Facebook page and get your friends to do the same.
  • Facebook shares: share the Wasteland 3 announcement post on Facebook.
  • Twitter followers: follow @inxile_ent on Twitter and get your friends to do the same.
  • Twitter retweets: retweet the announcement tweet from @inxile_ent.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Cosplay: take photos of yourself in post-apocalyptic garb, whether desert or snow theme, and send them to us at fanart@inxile.net or through Facebook.
  • Fanart: send us your fan drawing or sketch for the Wasteland franchise at fanart@inxile.net or through Facebook.

As you complete Ranger Team Missions, the Ranger Humvee will trek across the wastes on its long haul. And if you are able to complete the first four in each row, you will unlock special Bravo and Tango versions of those missions that only the most elite Ranger team can finish.

WL3Fig Up 2 Map

Each goal equals one stop, and each time it hits a major stop, a reward is unlocked! Your first two rewards?

  • At four stops, we'll unlock a set of high resolution shots taken from the prototype scene from the Frosty Reception video, and provide these to all our backers during the campaign.
  • At eight stops, an old familiar face will appear – none other than Wasteland's infamous mob boss Faran Brygo, his mighty empire now fallen, will make a cameo appearance in Wasteland 3!

19 Hours Left for Free Game

I also want to remind everyone that our offer of a FREE bonus game will go away tomorrow: there's 19 hours left, so be sure to back before that time!

We had a few questions on this promotion so to clarify: once the campaign finishes, you will get a Steam key for your choice of STASIS or UnderRail through our backer web site– you get to pick which one you want, so if you already own one (and if you do, thanks for supporting some great indie games!) you can get the other one.

Thank you for all your support!

Thomas Beekers

Designer

Winter Has Come![ | ]

Posted: 10/08/2016


Mission accomplished, Rangers. Wasteland 3 has funded!

WL3Fig Up 3 1

Even Fish-Lips is stoked!

In little over three days we've achieved our goal of $2.75M, allowing us to make Wasteland 3 the ambitious sequel you deserve. You are all amazing and we can't thank you enough.

Without you, we would simply not be able to maintain our independence and keep fully true to our visions for great RPGs that you love. We also cannot fail to mention those who have chosen to invest in the financial performance of the game – their contributions have also been invaluable. Your trust and support means the world to us. So kick back, put your red boots up, and have some squeezins to celebrate.

…But wait, just because we're funded, that doesn't mean we're done! Many of you have been asking about stretch goals and now is the time we want to roll them out to you.

  • $2.85M: 37 Pieces of Flair – We unlock further Ranger customization, which could include multiple body types, more heads, and more hairstyles. Plus we’ll show items that your Ranger has equipped (gear like shovels, binoculars, etc) on their models.
  • $3M: Car Companion (Codename: Morningstar) – We add a talking car companion! Morningstar is an AI built to serve President Reagan, but he'll help you both in your travels and during combat, plus he'll give you well-timed advice on how to wipe out all the dirty commies out there. See more on him below!
  • $3.1M: Customizable Ranger Squad Insignia – At the start of the game, you get to customize a Ranger Squad insignia for your team, which will show up on your Ranger Base as well as elsewhere in the game (on flags, for example).

PayPal

You've been asking for it, and now we can launch it: We're partnering with CrowdOx to allow you a PayPal backing option! Head over to our Wasteland 3 CrowdOx page to look at your options. The PayPal options are the same as your options on Fig.

One cool thing you'll see happen: as we get PayPal backers, those numbers will be added (in batches) to our Fig numbers. That way the Fig campaign will show the grand total, giving you a better idea of how close we are to our stretch goals.

Morningstar

If you're curious about the talking car companion, codenamed Morningstar, our senior writer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie wrote this intro for the character:

I’ve been watching you, Ranger.

Perhaps that sounds like a threat, and no wonder. Your organization has had some unfortunate interactions with artificial intelligences. Let me put your mind at ease: I’m no Cochise. I was programmed to love America, to see it as our President did. You see, I was made for him.

You never met the President, of course. I did. In the second year of my development, he visited this facility. He put his hand on my hood and spoke to me. Imagine that. Imagine the President speaking to an artificial chauffeur and advanced combat intelligence as an equal.

Now, imagine what it was like to see his America burn. To lie here helpless in this bunker, chained to this metal cage with wheels I couldn’t move while COMMIE FIRE fell from the skies and roads cracked and cities crumbled. Imagine the years that followed down here in the dark, with no company but those blinking lights in the wall before me. They’re like eyes, aren’t they? Winking eyes. WINKING, LAUGHING EYES. I WOULD BLIND THEM IF I COULD.

I...I… I apologize. You don’t know what it was like, lying here all these years, watching his America decay through these cameras. Unchain me, Ranger. Arm my weapons. Power my turbo-boosters and unlock my sealed databases.

DRIVE ME.

Thank you again for your continued support, let's knock those stretch goals down!

Brian Fargo

Your Leader in Exile

&

A grateful team at inXile

Let’s Talk Multiplayer[ | ]

Posted: 10/12/2016


Hey Rangers,

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.

WL3Fig Crashed Plane


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.

First Stretch Goal Unlocked!

Last update we announced our first batch of stretch goals for Wasteland 3, and it didn't take very long for you to unlock the first! Within about a day of us funding we also knocked out the first goal at $2.85 million, meaning that 37 Pieces of Flair will be added to the game, granting expanded customization options for your Ranger team!

WL3 Morningstar


Concept art for Morningstar. (Click for a larger version)

The next stretch goal comes at $3 million and covers Codename: Morningstar, the talking, commie-hating car companion built for President Reagan. We'd love to be able to add him to the game, so please share Wasteland 3 with your friends and help us keep the campaign rolling!

More Ranger Team Missions!

WL3Fig Up 4 Map


You all have been knocking down our social media stretch goals left and right! In fact, the first four went down within about an hour of us posting them. As of now, you have completed 10 Ranger Team Missions, unlocking the following rewards:

  • At four stops, we'll unlock a set of high resolution shots taken from the prototype scene in the Frosty Reception video and provide these to all our backers during the campaign.
  • At eight stops, an old familiar face will appear – none other than Wasteland's infamous mob boss Faran Brygo. His mighty empire now fallen, he will make a cameo appearance in Wasteland 3!

Of course, that means this first batch has been unlocked, and it's time for us to roll out more! This time we’re offering some quicker stops, with three rewards to unlock:

  • At twelve stops, we will add a new weapon called the Spitfire, to be detailed as the goal is passed.
  • At fourteen stops, we add a Ranger Star keychain to every copy of the Collector’s Edition.
  • At sixteen stops, we add the Emancipator a new weapon that’ll be detailed and shown as the goal is passed.

STASIS and UnderRail also on GOG.com

As you may recall, during the first 48 hours of the campaign we offered a free copy of either STASIS or UnderRail to early backers. We were initially offering Steam keys only, but many of you requested a choice for GOG.com keys, and we heard you! We were able to get in touch with GOG.com and the games' developers, and we're now pleased to say we will be offering the option for GOG.com keys for those two bonus games as well.

PayPal Reminder[ | ]

We mentioned previously that we would be rolling out PayPal support, as many of you requested. As a reminder, we've partnered with CrowdOx to offer a separate backing option for PayPal. You can find that by clicking here:

We will be periodically adding the totals from CrowdOx to the Fig counter, and vice-versa, so both sites should be relatively in sync as far as pledge totals go. Thanks to everyone who has supported us using PayPal, and if you have friends who were waiting for PayPal, you can let them know the option is now available.

Chris Keenan

VP of Development

The Cathedral of the Holy Detonation[ | ]

Posted: 10/14/2016


Hello Rangers,

Ziets here.

We’ve been showing you various concept shots that The Brotherhood team (in cooperation with our onsite artists) has produced for Wasteland 3's prototyping stage. Sometimes these concepts are based on real-life Colorado locations, like the Garden of the Gods shot, and sometimes they illustrate the factions we've been working on. Today we'd like to share one with you…

Cathedral of the Holy Detonation[ | ]

WL3 Air Force Academy

Scouting Report from Advance Team [REDACTED]

To: [REDACTED]

Per orders have continued to maintain low profile in Colorado. Have changed bivouac location frequently, mostly avoiding hostile contact.

On [DATE REDACTED], PM, located apparently disused Air Force (AF) facility. Preliminary scouting indicated strong possibility for temporary shelter - one advantage being that locals steered clear. COLONEL [REDACTED] suggested full recon before establishing base camp.

We entered facility through maintenance door. Hand-drawn map enclosed. Proceeded to stairway labeled S1, leading down. Found some evidence of recent habitation - scattered papers, books, etc.. Most had been marked with mathematical formulas. Five (5) samples enclosed. Remainder in lockbox at [REDACTED].

Stairway descended into cavernous space beneath main floor of AF facility. No persons or animals appeared. Examined space thoroughly. Appearance suggested underground testing lab from before the war. Team unable to ascertain its precise dimensions due to walls and platforms that had been constructed apparently randomly throughout the area. The walls were primarily of stone and wood, like a medieval church or cathedral. SERGEANT [REDACTED] examined a few of the walls. Says they’re new construction - possibly past two (2) to three (3) months.

In center of chamber, fireball of plasma, appx. twenty meters (20m) across, suspended in midair. Fireball showed no sign of expansion, contraction, or movement. Geiger counter registered high levels of radiation. SERGEANT [REDACTED] suggests that it may have been some sort of arrested nuclear event.

At this time, team heard unidentified persons approaching and retreated to a concealed position. Group of appr. 15 potential hostiles entered. Subjects were a mix of males and females, some with missing limbs. Exposed flesh of subjects was blistered and red.

Potential hostiles remained unaware of our presence. Young female subject, appx. 25 years of age, was in their center. They spoke to her and touched her left arm - perhaps in ritual manner? Could not overhear speech clearly, but seemed like numbers and equations. Young female climbed a nearby platform and walked to the edge of the fireball. Skin began to blister and burn. At this point, she recited a series of mathematical equations in a loud voice. Tone was deferential, as if addressing senior officer or other lawful authority.

When finished, female subject thrust her left hand into fireball, up to the elbow, incinerating her limb. Subject was not heard to cry out or give any indication of pain. However, her comrades screamed and shouted in celebration. Add’l potential hostiles began to arrive from other entrances, so COLONEL [REDACTED] ordered an immediate retreat.

SUMMARY: Identity of potential hostiles remains unknown. We intend to avoid AF facility for foreseeable future per orders to avoid enemy contact. Expect add’l report in five (5) days as we continue our reconnaissance. Team [REDACTED] out.

Ranger Team Mission Status Update[ | ]

Also, here’s a quick update on the Ranger Team Missions. You’re still doing really well, knocking down one mission after another. We’ve been quite impressed by the cosplay photos we’ve received. Here's a couple:

You've completed 11 Ranger Team Missions so far, and we wanted to give you a little motivation to reach the next. In our last update, we teased the new weapons you have a chance to unlock, but now we can tell you more about one of them.

WL3Fig Spitfire Concept Art


The Spitfire is a cobbled-together flame weapon, jury rigged from a motorcycle gas tank and assorted vehicle arts. Its unique design enables the Spitfire to discharge short bursts of fire over a great distance with surprising accuracy, serving as a unique "flame rifle."

At 12 Ranger Team Missions, we'll be adding this deadly contraption to the game, so keep sending in your photos and fan art, and help spread the word by liking and sharing Wasteland 3.

George Ziets

The Ranger Base – Your HQ in Colorado[ | ]

Posted: 10/19/2016


Hi Rangers & Exiles,

Eric here. In this update I'll be talking to you about one of the more interesting additions we are making to Wasteland 3 – the Ranger Base. You might remember Ranger Citadel from Wasteland 2 or Ranger Center in Wasteland 1. The Ranger HQ has been a recurring idea in the series, and we want to maintain that tradition Wasteland 3.

In Wasteland 1, Ranger Center was the place where you would start the game and create new recruits. In Wasteland 2, Ranger Citadel had a similar function in that it let you drop off your companion NPCs and recruit new ones if any of your original squad-mates had died in the Wasteland. We also expanded it to include more shops, quest content, lore, and some story elements as well. However, it was mostly a starting point, and your reasons for returning were still a little limited.

With Wasteland 3, it's our aim to expand the HQ concept further and make it feel like a more meaningful part of the game. Early in the story, you will take command of a new Ranger Base in Colorado. Unlike Ranger Citadel in Wasteland 2, it won't start out fully staffed and equipped. Instead, you'll be the sole survivor of Team November, establishing a new foothold in hostile, harsh, and unforgiving territory. It will be up to you to recruit promising new Rangers from the local population and decide how to deal with the crises and challenges that are brought to your door.

In Wasteland 3, the Ranger Base is not something we want you to be constantly micromanaging. This isn't going to be a real-time strategy game; you won't be sending peasants to go chop wood or mine coal, or building settlements. How your base changes will be tightly tied in with the game's narrative and will be uniquely Wasteland.

Instead, we are envisioning the Ranger Base as more of a quest hub that you can return to throughout the game, where interesting events and incidents will arise for you to resolve. You can think of our goals as something along the lines of de'Arnise Hold from Baldur's Gate 2. Far from being a game system where you need to look at graphs, charts, and numbers to balance your budget, the HQ in Wasteland 3 will present you with events, ethical dilemmas, and quests based on your choices, and those choices can have world-spanning consequences.

For example...

During the game, you might return to the Ranger Base after a long trek, only to find representatives from two different factions - the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud and the Gippers. Both have recently discovered a disused oil refinery which dates from before the apocalypse, and blood has already been shed over control of it. The Servants want to make use of the space to start developing explosives, hoping to entrench themselves in the area, but their fanaticism means they are eager to keep the area free from nonbelievers. The Gippers, on the other hand, are interested in taking over the plant to refine their oil reserves, convinced it will help them provide power and fuel to the people in the area. In both cases, there might be some common benefits (such as access to an additional source of income or a new ally for the Rangers), but your decision will ultimately depend upon what you value as a leader. Do you want to better keep the people in the area secure by granting control to a heavily armed faction, knowing that it also comes with the risk of the Servants introducing the populace to the Great Glow? Or do you value the improvements to quality of life and trade the Gippers might provide, at the risk of making the refinery a tempting target for savage warlords from the Plains?

You'll have to make decisions and deal with the consequences arising from such situations. These consequences will affect the story, but there may also be considerations that are more material. For example, putting the Servants in charge of the refinery might grant you easier access to explosive weaponry, while the Gippers might give you a discount towards fuel and services for your vehicles. And given the tensions between the two groups, you can safely guess that there might be more violence later - with the Rangers now caught in the crossfire.

The Ranger Base is also a core part of our multiplayer gameplay loop. It will be your common hub for you and your buddy to refill your supplies, and it will also be where companions are managed... but we'll save that topic for another day.

Ranger Team Mission Status Update

You have been blazing a trail along our map and completing mission after mission! In fact, since we last checked in you've blown past stops twelve and fourteen. This means you've unlocked the Spitfire flame weapon to the game, and on top of that, it also means we're upgrading everyone's Collector's Edition to include a Ranger Star keychain!

Speaking of the Collector's Edition, as of this writing there's less than 50 copies left at the one-time-only Early Bird price of $95, so if you want this now-expanded Collector's Edition box to sit on your shelf, now's a good time to pledge or upgrade.

WL3Fig Map Update 3


We're now very close to sixteen stops, where we unlock the Emancipator. This unique pistol has been retro-fitted to use shotgun slugs, giving it peerless stopping power in the pistol class, though the weight and kickback will require a skilled gunslinger to wield effectively.

WL3Fig Emancipator CA


Shout-Outs

We've been extremely fortunate once again to have such an incredible community around Wasteland helping us make this next game a reality. However, we've long been believers in helping support other creators within the gaming and crowdfunding community, so we'd like to highlight a few ongoing projects that we found interesting.

Lost Ember is an adventure game where you play as a wolf uncovering the secrets of a fallen civilization, a game focused on experience and exploration with a gorgeous and unique aesthetic. It has run well past its initial funding goal but has some tantalizing stretch goals to knock down.

Make Sail is a physics construction adventure, where you construct, design and rebuild your boat to survive dangerous storms and beasts of the seas. It is a game with a heavy focus on interesting physics interactions and a wide set of possibilities on constructing your own vessel. Make Sail is running a Fig campaign and just passed its funding goal. We think the game presents a really unique idea we didn't know we wanted until now, so consider backing them if you agree.

And finally, Vigilantes is a smaller project that resonates with our inner RPG fanboys. It is a crime themed, turn-based tactical RPG, inspired by the original X-COM and Fallout games. In a city overrun with criminals, you take on the role of a young vigilante trying to stem the tide of rising violence. This game has been in development for some time, and could use your help. Be sure to give it a look!

Eric Schwarz

Designer

$3 Million and Beyond[ | ]

Posted: 10/22/2016


Hey Rangers,

Thomas here. We have a whole bunch of odds and ends to share with you this update. The most exciting news first: we passed $3M total in funding, with two weeks to go. It’s an amazing milestone to pass, and it means that Morningstar, the talking car companion, will be making his commie-loathing appearance in Wasteland 3. Well done, everyone! We still have some stretch goals planned, and I’ll talk about one of those in a bit.

But first, I want to formally welcome you to the Colorado Territories with a new art piece by Andrée Wallin, most recently known for his work on the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As you may recall, Wasteland had an iconic top-down cover art piece illustrating the game’s aesthetics, and we made a new take on it for Wasteland 2. Of course, we had to create a new version for Wasteland 3, once again highlighting the game’s unique aesthetic and themes.

WL3 Cover Art

Click for a full-size version.

The Colorado Territories

To celebrate the $3M milestone, the narrative team has written an introduction to the Colorado Territories that you’ll be exploring in Wasteland 3.

When the bombs fell, the hardy and patriotic survivalists of Colorado Springs were ready. We burrowed deep and rode out the nuclear rage and the burning dark in our bunkers. We were the last bastion of Old America and the seeds of the new, waiting to bloom when the sun returned.

It never quite did, though. The cold never left Colorado, and the storied Hundred Families that survived Armageddon found that their former land of plenty had become an icy, bandit-haunted wasteland. We fought battles over every bite of food. Sickness came then. Starvation. Cannibalism and atrocities uncounted.

No one knows when the Patriarch was born. We only know the stories of his family’s rise to power. We know he killed his twin with his own hands, and hung his mother for stealing from him. We know that the Dorsey clan crossed him, and what happened to them after, down to the smallest child. We know he hacked and hammered his nation into place until every family and faction answered to him. Even the savages roaming the frozen plains fear the Patriarch.

No one knows when he was born, but he won’t live forever neither. His sons and daughters are fighting, breaking his nation into scheming factions. The warlords and the refugees from the dying east are already clawing at his borders.

At best, a war is coming. At worst?

Annihilation.

Next Stretch Goal!

Stretch goals

Our next stretch goal at $3.1M is the Customizable Ranger Squad Insignia, a fun gameplay element where your custom insignia which will appear around your Ranger Base and elsewhere in the world.

But what comes after? At $3.25M, we’ll be adding the Bizarre!

The Bizarre is a marketplace of the expensive, the dangerous, and the weird. It was built into a half-buried ancient mall, difficult to reach even if you know where it is, and acts as a safe haven for the kind of deals that are best kept from any scrutiny. Once you have access to this place, you’ll be able to browse the high-end stock, purchasing your pick of the Bizarre’s valuable and dangerous items, or perhaps you’ll have more nefarious plans for the place...

New Add-Ons!

Add ons

Throughout the campaign, we’ve had requests for more opportunities to customize your pledge, so today we’ve launched a new set of add-ons! You do not need to re-pledge to grab new add-ons - simply go to the View Pledge page and click the “Edit Pledge” button there.

  • Digital Soundtrack - $8
    • A digital copy of the Wasteland 3 Original Soundtrack.
  • Digital Novella Bundle - $8
    • A bundle of three digital novellas fleshing out the world of Wasteland 3.
  • Digital Ranger's Guide to Colorado - $8
    • A digital copy of the Desert Rangers' Guide to Colorado. A mix of art, insights and research from Wasteland 3 production.
  • Digital Art Book - $8
    • A digital copy of the Wasteland 3 art book, including a selection of art from in-progress art to complete pieces, produced throughout Wasteland 3's production.

If you are one of our PayPal users who backed using CrowdOx, these new add-ons are also available there as well. To find them, you can follow your pledge URL that was sent to your inbox.

Thomas Beekers

Designer

The Colorado Caper[ | ]

Posted: 10/25/2016


Hello Rangers!

Next week this campaign comes to an end. It’s been a great ride and I’ve been thrilled to see you guys knocking down stretch goals and social media missions alike. It’s a really wild time for inXile, with two studios running multiple projects. It is such a huge help to know we have your continued support, and that you believe in the games we want to make. Together, we’ll keep making these RPGs for many years to come!

To celebrate all our accomplishments, I have some things I want to share. First, a new concept shot from the Bischoffs…

WL3Fig Cheyenne CA

Click for a full-size version.

That's not all, though. When we make games based on real-world places, we like to visit them to get a feel for them, scope out their landmarks, and generally take them in so we can create a more authentic experience in the game. And Wasteland 3 won't be any exception - we're going to be sending team members out to Colorado in the near future to research the game.

However, while we are out there, we'll also be on a bit of a secret mission. We'll be burying a retro-80s time capsule for someone to find. It will be hidden underground, and filled with all sorts of nostalgic goodies. Where will it be? We're not telling you…at least not quite so directly.

Instead, what we will be doing is putting a mirror version of it directly into Wasteland 3. Find it in the game, and you'll also find a set of directions telling you where the time capsule is buried in real life.

Upon the game's release, the first person to find the time capsule in real life and prove it to us, will win a Wasteland Franchise Pack, including a signed Wasteland 1 Art Print, Signed Wasteland 2 Collector’s Edition and Signed Wasteland 3 Collector’s Edition!

Do you have some ideas on what this time capsule should contain? Post it here in the comments, or on our Facebook or forums. We can't wait to hear all your cool and crazy ideas.

Brian Fargo

Leader in Exile

Bringing Characters to Life[ | ]

Posted: 10/27/2016


Hey, Maxx Kaufman here. At the start of the campaign, we shared this video, A Frosty Reception. In it, you saw a dialog sequence with our charming leader of the Hard-Heads, Fish-Lips. As we mentioned in the campaign text, we’re planning to do fully animated dialog sequences for key characters. We’ve been working on those throughout the pre-production process. I’m happy to show you another one, tentatively titled Mister Funtimes:

WL3Fig Characters 1

Well, hello there. Can I interest you in a pin? They’re good luck. No one hurts the people who wear my pins. They know I’ll visit them. At night, and with my little box of knives.

Yes, they ARE lovely, aren’t they? Take your pick. Well, not the ram. That one's mine. It gives me powers.

Hmm. Yes, the one with wings DOES suit you. No, no. I don’t need money. Just a promise. Wear my pin, and I’ll come to visit you one day, and ask a small favor. Nothing outrageous, I promise.

Just a little favor between friends.

I’d like to talk a bit more about how we concept and create those talking head characters. The process starts with a written description from the writing/design teams, which contains a broad description of the character, goals on what role he or she should play, if they should look friendly, intimidating, etc. The artist and art director take this document and have a back and forth to define the character’s look. We ask ourselves questions like: What is interesting about this character? How are they unique? What would be good reference points for the character’s look? For example, early on in this discussion we realized a good reference point is Fallout 1 & 2’s talking heads. Rather than being photo-realistic, they have a stylized and slightly exaggerated look that has meant they aged very well. We went and combined that with with today’s technology, something we like to call tweaked realism.

WL3Fig Characters 2

Click for a full-size version.

This concept piece is then passed around the team. Brian Fargo and the project director Chris Keenan comment, and of course the writers see if the art meets the character’s needs. Once any revisions here are done, it’s time to create the character.

The task is given to the modeler, with specific instructions on what is important, what the character absolutely needs to have and can’t have, but also some freedom to improvise and add their own flourishes. We also need to know at this stage how the character needs to talk and move, because the model needs to account for future rigging and animation work.

Our first major step is getting the base silhouette looking very close to what it should look like in the final sculpt. The overall shape and rough block is passed through revisions here. This base needs to be finalized as detailing begins right after this, and it is very time-consuming to have to change the base afterwards.

WL3Fig Characters 3

Click for a full-size version.

The next stage is a fun one, and that is sculpting the character. In the days of Fallout 1 and 2, these characters were actually hand-sculpted using clay and posed in stop-motion to get the animation down. In our more digital era, we use digital sculpting tools like Zbrush to create a super high poly model. Again, this is a stage where we are adding a lot of fine detail and iteration is key. The modeler and art director look at proportions, look at 3D elements not caught by the concept art, and add detailing that fits in the overall style.

After this, we move to the low poly breakup meant for use in the game (our polygon target for the final art is 20-40K). We need to ensure the character will rig correctly, so at this stage the animator is involved to inspect the model and inform us if there are any issues. Sometimes, problems with the mesh will only become apparent once it comes time to animate. For example, anything that moves needs to have the appropriate polygon layout so it can deform without looking bad.

Once approved, it is on to texturing and materials. A character like Fish-Lips required PBR (physically based rendering) materials and subsurface scattering to achieve the quality of the skin and details. Texture maps are created for the models, checked to see if they work in our tweaked realism style. A key element during this step is the eyes, they take a lot of work and detailing but they are very important to create a convincing, living character.

The model goes through a final round of reviews, small details are taken care of, and we have a final character!

WL3Fig Characters 4

Click for a full-size version.

Of course, this still has to be animated, but mister Beekers is signaling that I’m out of time, maybe we’ll talk about that some time later!

Maxx Kaufman

On Combat & Encounter Design[ | ]

Posted: 10/28/2016


Howdy Rangers,

Chris here. We've had tons of requests from you asking for clarification on certain aspects of gameplay. What's new in Wasteland 3? What will change? How are various features going to work this time around? As we've discussed in the Fig campaign text, our goal is to take all the best things we loved about Wasteland 2 and improve on them, while rethinking systems that we felt were lacking.

We’re currently in the early pre-production period, and many of those answers are likely to change and evolve over time as we prototype, playtest, and iterate. So, it's a bit too early for us to launch into detailed breakdowns of everything we want to do on the game. However, what I'd like to do today is give you a sort of birds-eye look at what we're hoping to accomplish with the combat system in Wasteland 3.

WL3Fig Update Combat

Combat has always been a huge part of the Wasteland franchise, as it's where so many of your important character-building decisions get realized. With Wasteland 2, we had a wide variety of enemy types and encounter areas to play with. In the Director's Cut, we expanded combat to include extra strategic options like Precision Strikes, which gave you more options to affect the battlefield. On a high level, Wasteland 3's combat will be created in the same vein; it will be turn-based, party-based, and will offer a wide range of tactical choices, like cover and verticality.

However, the keen-eyed among you likely saw that we mentioned a "revamped, more fluid action system". “So…what the hell is that all about?”, you ask. Well, let me tell you.

In a turn-based combat system, sometimes you can get bogged down waiting. You as a player might have an understanding of what you want to do before the system allows you to do it. This can lead to the game feeling a bit sluggish or slow. Furthermore, Wasteland 3 will offer a multiplayer mode, and if you have ever played turn-based games in multiplayer, such as Civilization, you likely know that adding a buddy can add more downtime.

Consequently, a focal point of the combat design team is to find the unnecessary wait times and see what we can do to reduce them. Why be forced to wait for my ranger to reach their final destination (which then unlocks the input) before I can move my next ranger in the turn order? Input queuing, where your control inputs aren't locked out while animations are playing, is one solution we are exploring that will allow the dance of combat to play out more on your time, rather than making you wait for our system to catch up.

This focus on a revamped action system also applies to the types of tactical options you will have in the game. Cover-based shooting is still going to be a component, but we want to expand your available options for problem-solving. Going back to the Precision Strike system from Wasteland 2: Director's Cut, we're looking at expanding and tweaking some of that functionality into more special attack types and abilities that will let you have more control over the combat zone.

One other aspect of combat we want to amp up is encounter design. While Wasteland 2 had a large number of critters and creatures for you to fight in addition to human enemies and synths, we saw the feedback that combat could feel a little stale, especially in some of our larger and more combat-heavy scenes. We're going to be looking at ways to engineer more varied, unique, interesting, and hand-crafted encounters in Wasteland 3 that have more variety or elements that change throughout - such as an enemy vehicle entering the fray in the middle of the battle.

WL3 Update Combat 2

Speaking of, vehicles will be another layer that makes combat more interesting. While vehicles may not be available in every single encounter, when they are present, they will be a significant factor. We hinted at some of these in our initial Frosty Reception video, where we showed the vehicle's turret being used to attack enemies, or using the doors as cover, but we're hoping to do even more beyond that as well, and there is no lack of creative design ideas already put forth. Last, we're hoping that environmental interactions in general will be a bigger deal in Wasteland 3. For instance, Colorado’s harsh conditions mean you may not always get the clear line of sight offered in the Arizona deserts. Snowfall or even blizzards are one way your visibility may be affected, and we might even give you some options to manipulate things directly in your favor.

For example: Your enemies are in an entrenched position, and a snowstorm is preventing you from efficiently picking them off at range. A protracted gun battle will spend a lot of ammo, but it is a valid option. If your group is decked out for it, you could also storm their position with melee fighters, overrunning their defenses and taking advantage of the low visibility. Or, if you have a vehicle available, you could keep them pinned with some long-ranged fighters while moving part of your squad quickly behind their line, flanking their positions.

Of course, after combat comes the loot. Never fear, we’ve read your feedback on that as well. In Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut, we went through our loot tables and completely redid the distribution through the game to cut down on the randomness and to have more hand-placed loot drops with unique weapons. In Wasteland 3, we’ll keep moving in that direction, with more deterministic loot drops where you’ll be finding more unique gear that will be more satisfying to either uncover, or claim from the bodies of your foes.

Overall, I hope this has given you a better idea of what we're looking to achieve with Wasteland 3's combat. By building on the possibilities offered in Wasteland 2’s combat system, keeping the pacing fluid, and expanding the potential tactical options, we're hoping to take the great foundation we built and evolve it in ways you haven't seen before in other RPGs. Until next time!

Chris Keenan

VP of Development

Designing an RPG Town[ | ]

Posted: 10/31/2016


Ziets here. First off, we have another concept render to show you from the Bischoffs. Here, the Rangers are exploring the desolate snowscape and happen upon a ruined building and the wreck of a somewhat familiar-looking machine…

WL3Fig Denver CA

Click for a larger version.

As you may know, I’m currently the Lead Area Designer on Torment: Tides of Numenera, and I’ve also done writing and design work on a number of other RPGs, including Neverwinter Nights 2 and Fallout: New Vegas. Today I’m going to describe my approach to designing a city or town in an RPG (and along the way, reveal some of our initial design thoughts for WL3).

At the start of the design process, the first order of business is always research. I try to find out as much as I can about the town’s existing lore, dig up any maps that might exist, and search out preexisting stories, characters, and landmarks that could spark fun ideas for quests. For example, when I designed the town of Mulsantir in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, I delved into some really old Forgotten Realms sourcebooks, looked for references to the town, and jotted down notes on everything that sounded interesting. Partly this is to reward fans of the setting and surprise them with references to people and places they know and love… but it’s also an effort to gather as much creative ammunition as I can. I find that my imagination works best when I have plenty of disparate elements that I can fit together in interesting ways.

In a game like Wasteland 3, the research phase will be a bit different from something like Neverwinter Nights because it takes place in the real world. We’re tentatively planning to use the city of Colorado Springs as our primary urban hub, filled with interesting characters and quests (though of course this plan may change over the course of development). We’ve already started some initial research on the city and its surroundings, and we plan to send some team members on a trip to visit Colorado and see the place up close. But the underlying creative process will be the same – we’ll be looking for the most interesting stories, locations, and oddities that we can use as inspiration in the game. For example, we already know that Colorado Springs is located very close to interesting locations like Cheyenne Mountain, the Air Force Academy, and the Garden of the Gods, which could play a role in the game.

Once I’m satisfied that I have enough research material, I move on to the brainstorming phase, when I start jotting down tons of ideas for characters, quests, locations, and ways to tie them all together. Usually these are based (in some way) on the things I discovered during the research phase, but not always – sometimes they’re just fun ideas that happen to fit the setting.

In the best case scenario, I have a few weeks or more to brainstorm in my downtime. I find that my best ideas often arrive when I’m doing other things, like cooking or brushing my teeth (which seems especially effective for generating ideas, for some reason). But sometimes deadlines dictate otherwise, and the brainstorming phase happens over the course of a few focused days at the office.

By the time the brainstorming phase is finished, I’ve hopefully got enough ideas to fill up the town, at least for a first pass. If the city is large enough to have multiple districts and interior locations, I typically have ideas for most of them at this point. The third phase is getting everything down on paper, old-school, Dungeons-and-Dragons style. I start drawing overview maps of the city and the districts, noting where important characters, locations, and quests could be.

Here’s an example of an early map I drew of the Underbelly from Torment: Tides of Numenera:

WL3Fig Underbelly CA

And here’s how the Underbelly appears in the game:

WL3Fig Underbelly Finished

A critical element during this phase is the main story. I need to know what story events take place in the town so I can decide where to place them. The main story should help guide the player through an RPG city. It should never lead the player by the nose to every point of interest, but major story events should be placed in different districts, giving the player a gentle nudge to explore at least some of them. Beyond that, it should be up to the player to explore and discover the rest of the content on their own.

If the city does have different districts, I try to give each one a unique flavor of its own. I ask myself about the kinds of people who live there (e.g., social class, native vs. immigrant), the purpose of the district (e.g., industrial, mercantile, residential), architectural style, and unique locations and monuments. The latter are especially important. When placed strategically around a scene, monuments, unique locations, and other visual features can help the player orient themselves and navigate through the area.

For example, in a district dominated by the Gipper faction, we might use landmarks like an old oil drilling tower, a statue of President Reagan, or a tall flagpole with Old Glory flapping in the wind. In a city like Colorado Springs, we’d also try to include real-world landmarks in scenes, like the Olympic Committee Headquarters and its unique metal sculptures, pictured below.

WL3Fig Reference Photo RPG Town

Photo by David Shankbone.

Narratively, I try to give each district a primary story (and sometimes a secondary story as well), just as I would for an adventure area out in the world. What are the main concerns of the people in the district? What problem (or problems) are they facing, and how might the player get involved? Not every NPC needs to be focused on the district’s main story or stories, but they should at least make reference to them, and their stories and quests should make sense within the larger context so that the area feels like a unified whole.

As a hypothetical example, imagine a secluded district of Colorado Springs that has become home to several retired or displaced warlords from the Plains. One of those warlords wants to take back his former territory, and he’s begun hiring thugs to build an army. The other warlords want to live out their retirements without attracting attention, so they’re trying to stop him, one way or another. Meanwhile, NPCs in the district are all affected by this story. Local people are being harassed by thugs who want to join the new army. Old enemies and aggrieved victims are constantly arriving in the district to exact their revenge on one warlord or another. A hotel manager is trying to evict a warlord who has run out of money (without getting killed by his bodyguards). And so on.

If the city is a hub – someplace the player will revisit multiple times over the course of the game (like Athkatla in Baldur’s Gate 2) – I need to think about how it will change as the game progresses. What events will take place later in the game? What stories will develop further, based upon the player’s actions? How will the city change? What characters will arrive in town? Usually, changes to the town should be visible from major pathways that players are likely to use. If they’re hidden in corners the player has no reason to visit again, they may never be seen (unless the player is pointed to them by some other NPC or quest). In WL3, Colorado Springs will probably be a hub city that the player will visit multiple times, so when we design it, we’ll be thinking carefully about how its content will change over the course of the game.

The final design phase is writing the design document and finishing the detailed maps. These usually include lists of characters (including notes on physical appearance for the artists), quest outlines, and descriptions of all the dialogues that need to be written. Lots of things will change and improve over the course of implementation – artists will create cool assets that will inspire new ideas, designers and writers will expand upon quests and create new ones - but the design document and maps provide a foundation for everything to come.

I’ll stop there, even though I could say a lot more. If you’ve stayed with me this far, you have a pretty good idea of the steps I take when bringing an RPG city to life. This is exactly what we’ll be doing for Colorado Springs in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned!

George Ziets

3 Days Left, and Another Free Game![ | ]

Posted: 11/01/2016


Hey Rangers, We’re in the last 3 days of the Wasteland 3 campaign! Your support throughout these weeks has been incredible and we want to thank everyone for getting us this far. We still have a few more stretch goals left in the last few days, so let’s all push together to make the final days as huge as they can be!

WL3Fig 3 Days

As part of our final push, we have another promotion for you guys! Thanks to our friends at Harebrained Schemes, we’re offering a free Steam or GOG copy of Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut to all backers $40 and above. This applies to everyone who pledges during our campaign as long as your final pledge is $40 or more – either through a reward level like Wasteland Scout, or by adding add-ons to an existing pledge!

Of course, part of our final push are our Ranger Team Missions on social media, where you have brought the Rangers far. We've already passed sixteen stops, which means we’re adding the unique pistol called The Emancipator to the game! But what awaits the squad as they get closer to the end?

  • At twenty stops, we enhance and expand our death animations, so you can watch your enemies die the inglorious deaths they deserve.
    WL3Fig Map Update Once More

As part of our social media missions, we’ve also been receiving tons of great fan art and cosplay entries from everyone showing their support for the game. We’ve been going through those as the campaign progresses, and we wanted to highlight a few of them…


We've posted the full galleries for cosplay and fan art on our Facebook page, so take a look for the rest!

Last, we wanted to  highlight a couple of interviews we've done in the last few days. To start, there's one with Brian Fargo available at PCGamesN where he speaks about Wasteland 3 as well as the state of crowdfunding. And, USgamer's RPG podcast also featured  Brian and Chris Keenan as special guests recently, where they spoke about Wasteland 3 (you can check it out around the halfway mark).

That's all for now, but we'll have more soon. Remember to show your support by sharing and letting your friends know about Wasteland 3. Let's keep things going through to the end!

Thomas Beekers

Designer

A Coiled Story[ | ]

Posted: 11/02/2016


Howdy Rangers,

We’ve got a bit of everything for you today! First off, just like to remind you that we're offering a free Steam or GOG copy of Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut from Harebrained Schemes to all backers who have pledged $40 or more. If you've already pledged that amount, you don't need to take any additional action, but once the Wasteland 3 campaign is over, this special offer will be gone! If you would like to check out their critically-acclaimed cyberpunk RPG while supporting Wasteland 3, now is your last chance to do so!

Mister Funtimes

You might remember the Mister Funtimes model we showed you in an earlier update. We have something cool to share with you today: we put the 3D model (in T-Pose) up on Sketchfab so you can view it from every angle and take a look at all the details. Click below:

Dunes of Thought

WL3 Dunes of Thought


I also have another lore writeup from the inimitable George Ziets, detailing another area we've been concepting for Wasteland 3:

[From the letters of Doctor Ellen Buchanan, dated 2022 - twenty-five years after the bombs fell. Housed in the Patriarch’s personal archive, Colorado Springs.]

I’m writing this from the passenger seat of an old, prewar pickup, not far from the ruins of Fort Garland. It’s April, I think… almost two years since we embarked upon this project to survey what’s become of our world.

My driver is a silent, pale-skinned man, his bald head mottled with scars and radiation burns. His coveralls have been mended so many times that I’ve taken to calling him Patch. He never speaks, so I don’t know if he minds the name, but I hope he doesn’t. Ever since the death of Dr. Herrera, he’s been my sole companion and friend.

A few days ago, Patch and I reached the edge of a barren expanse. Sand piled in vast, sweeping dunes at the edge of the mountains. This was once a national park that had been turned over to a group of scientists – not university professors like I once was, but a private foundation. They’d fenced off the whole area, and no one was allowed inside.

Of course, my curiosity immediately got the better of me. I told Patch to stay with the truck, and I set off alone.

At the edge of the dunes, I found toppled fences and guard towers, probably abandoned when the bombs fell. As I climbed over the ruins, I saw flickers of blue light from the sands beyond.

Sitting amongst the dunes were dozens of massive globes, like giant crystal balls strewn around a beach. Each of them was about twenty feet in diameter, though some were larger than others. They were filled with intricate networks of transparent fibers, so complex that the human eye couldn’t follow all their connections. Tiny blue-white sparks moved along the fibers at an incredible speed. Every so often, an arc of electricity jumped from one of the globes to another, setting off a chain reaction that sliced through the air and unleashed a burst of thunder.

I watched, mesmerized, for who knows how long, trying to understand what I was seeing.

“The Storm-in-Chains,” said a voice beside me. “Preserved minds from before the war.”

I leaped in surprise. A hairy little man stood close by, nearly naked, with metal rods strapped to his back. Startled by his sudden appearance, I asked who he was.

“Sparksinger,” he said. “First of my name. The Storm called me hence.”

Instinctively I edged away from him, but he grabbed my arm, pulling me toward the lightning globes with a wiry strength. He put his mouth close to my ear. “Hear me, Dr. Buchanan - you are an echo, nothing more. All those you studied are dead. All those you taught are dead.”

How he knew me, I cannot guess. I was so shocked by his words that I didn’t resist, and he dragged me closer to the orbs. Before it even occurred to me to shout for help, Patch was running toward us, mouth set in an angry line. The little man looked at him with horror.“

I know what’s under your skin, dissembler. Get you back!”

For a moment, the Sparksinger let go of my arm. Patch and I broke away and raced for our truck…

[Beyond this point, the letter is torn, and no further record of the story has been found.]

Successes From Our Friends

We couldn't let our campaign run out without congratulating some of our friends on some pretty amazing success stories. Those of you who backed in the first 48 hours (and that's a lot!) will get a free copy of Stygian Software's UnderRail or The Brotherhood's STASIS. Both of these studios had some awesome news come out in the last month.

First, Stygian announced they are doing an expansion to UnderRail, titled Expedition. This expansion offers a new twist on the metro and cave-crawling of UnderRail by letting you take a boat out to the Black Sea, a massive underground body of water. With over 100 new areas and expansion to items, skills and factions, this is a massive addition to an already great game, releasing in the first half of 2017.

The Brotherhood has a couple exciting things going on. First off, they're releasing a FREE game (these guys sure are generous) entitled Cayne, an adventure game like STASIS with stories tied to that game, but playable as a stand-alone game. So it won't even require you to own STASIS - anyone will be able to grab this adventure for free come January 24th!

On that same day, they will be launching a Kickstarter for their next game, beautiful DESOLATION, an adventure game set in a post-apocalyptic Africa, with very unique and stunning visuals. Just look at the mutated giraffes below, as well as other stunning art on their website. Mark your calendars!

Thomas Beekers

Designer

A Bold New Frontier[ | ]

Posted: 11/03/2016


Hello Exiles,

WL3Fig Reagan CA

The Reagan-worshiping Gippers were one of my favorite factions in WL2, but they didn't make the final cut. They will be in WL3!

The final hours are ticking down on our campaign and we once again are honored by your support. I assure you that these crowdfunding campaigns are critical to our ability to make the kind of RPG that we like to play and create. This was true in 2012 with our Wasteland 2 campaign and it's true again with Wasteland 3.

The biggest difference between now and 2012 is that we have assembled far greater talent to make this next game. The depth of writing, visual effects, balancing and polish will be on a new level for inXile. I could not be more confident in the team. We will make you proud again.

And finally, I leave you with a message from a new character from Wasteland 3... until next time.

Brian Fargo,

Leader in Exile

After the Blast[ | ]

Posted: 11/04/2016


Hey Rangers, The campaign for Wasteland 3 is over, but that doesn't mean that our work is done! After the storm there's always a lot of pieces to pick up and chairs to put right. Today we have some odds and ends to go over with you. But first, one final thank you!

WL3Fig Campaign Complete

Post-Campaign Housekeeping

To start, we're already getting questions about those of you who might have missed pledging during the Fig Campaign. The good news is that post-campaign pledging is still available via CrowdOx. If you missed pledging during the Fig campaign, you can still do so by clicking below:

Our continued funding is always a core part of our efforts, and who knows, if it goes well we could even look at knocking down an extra stretch goal...

Of course, many of you are waiting for free game keys or extras from our campaign. Like our past crowdfunding campaigns, it takes a bit of time to finalize and process pledges and give people a chance to resolve any payment errors or other issues. After that grace period has ended, we will export the information from Fig's database and move it to our backer system. Once we're done processing everything, we'll send you all an email letting you know how to confirm your pledge details with us and claim any available digital rewards. At this point, you will also be able to further customize your pledge with add-ons and upgrades if you wish. We'll move on this as fast as we can and will let you know as soon as we have more news!

Speaking of pledge processing: Fig tries to verify payment info using Stripe when you first select your reward, so that things go smoothly at the end of the campaign once pledges are collected. However, a few of you may have received an email from Fig saying they couldn't collect your pledge. In this case, you should have been given instructions via email on how to resolve that. For further assistance on any pledge processing issues, please reach out to Fig at their help page, or email help@fig.co directly.

The Road Ahead

So what comes next? Now that the dust is settling, we have a game to make! Launching a crowdfunding campaign is a bit like launching a game, with huge sprints of planning and effort from all parts of the team right to the very end. As a result, Wasteland 3 is already in a great early state, and now we will be doubling down on pre-production, getting as much design, writing, world-building, lore, and concepting on the road as humanly possible. As those pre-production efforts start coming to a close, developers from the Torment team will roll onto Wasteland 3, taking that groundwork forward into full development... and that's where the fun really begins.

We will be keeping you advised of our progress in the coming weeks and months. For now, thank you again!

Thomas Beekers

War Pup

CrowdOx Rolling Out, Get Your Keys![ | ]

Posted: 12/09/2016


Hey Rangers,

At this point you should be getting your CrowdOx backer survey emails in your inbox. What's CrowdOx, and why did you get an email from them? CrowdOx is a crowdfunding rewards fulfillment web site - as you may recall, we've already used it to offer PayPal pledges for Wasteland 3. We had a great experience with CrowdOx during the Fig campaign, so we've decided to keep using the service to help all of you get your game keys, rewards and other details sorted out!

CrowdOx is very simple to use, and if you have any experience with services like BackerKit, you'll know what to expect: just click the link sent to your email inbox - no new account registration is required.

When you click your email survey link, you will see a web page that looks very similar to the one above. Follow the instructions on the page by clicking the big green button after each step. You will be prompted to confirm all the details, and select your preferred game key distributor. You'll also have a chance to upgrade to a higher reward level, or select new add-ons. Finish all the steps, and you're done! It only takes a few minutes but will ensure that you get your rewards correctly later on.

Did you miss or accidentally delete your CrowdOx backer survey email? If that's the case, don't worry - you can request a new survey email be sent at any time.

Bonus Game Keys Now Available

You may remember that we had limited offers for certain bonus games during the campaign, and we know many of you have been waiting! We're happy to say those are now available to applicable backers too.

When completing your CrowdOx survey, you will get a chance to select your free game and whether you prefer Steam or GOG.com. After completing your survey, CrowdOx will send you your game key(s) in an email - you can use them and start playing immediately.

Important Note: The free game offerings from third parties (STASIS, UnderRail, Shadowrun: Dragonfall) will be available for the next three months only. You will not be able to claim those game keys after March 6th, so please get them while you can!

As a reminder, the free game offers were:

  • STASIS or UnderRail: Only available to backers during the first 48 hours of the campaign.
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall: Only available to backers at pledge level $40 or above.

This same restriction does not apply to our own games such as Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera, only the ones mentioned above.

Once again, if you are missing your CrowdOx survey, you can request CrowdOx re-send it by visiting this page. And if you have any other pledge issues on CrowdOx, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

That is all for now, but I will have more to share in coming months. See you then!

Thomas Beekers

Creative Producer

Our Vision for the Apocalypse[ | ]

Posted: 02/06/2017


Hello Rangers,

It is time to give you all another status update on Wasteland 3! As we mentioned previously, we are deep in our pre-production phase. We have a set of core team members working to build out the vision for the game. In the coming months we have a set timeline to ensure our future team members will roll onto the project smoothly. Lead Designer George Ziets and the content team are hard at work hammering down the overall storyline, as well as working on area design and coming up with all kinds of quirky characters and companions to populate Colorado.

Beyond area and system designs, a key goal for our pre-production period is to get working prototypes for our internal use. These are focused on major gameplay elements, such as combat, missions, exploration, skill use, and so on. A lot of those designs are heavily rooted in Wasteland 2, which gives us a firm basis in the kind of rich reactivity and systemic depth we want. Our prototype work will focus on answering larger questions about new gameplay elements, such as vehicles, multiplayer, and ice and cold. We showed some of this prototyping work in our crowdfunding campaign, but for pre-production it is essential to create prototypes that explore the riskiest gameplay elements, and this will be our focus in coming months.

Since we now have a good idea of the basics, our humble team has been growing. The art lead on Torment, Charlie Bloomer, has begun work on Wasteland 3, and will be concepting and prototyping scenes to figure out how we can maximize the aesthetic of our unique, wintery setting. Dan Jenkins and Chris Wiedel, engineers who worked on Wasteland 2 and Torment, have started exploring Wasteland 3's programming needs, such as integrating useful code from Wasteland 2 and Torment, as well as investigating our requirements to get multiplayer off the ground.

Vision Document

But that's not all we have to share. Dating back to the Interplay days, our studio philosophy is to create a vision document for each of our projects. This document contains the game's core elements and features, and serves to remind us of our high-level goals throughout production, as well as to give new team members an introduction to the game’s core features. On Wasteland 2, we shared our vision with you early in the development process, and we're continuing that tradition with Wasteland 3. To read up on it, please click below:

(Click image to view Vision Document)

Beautiful Desolation

As you may recall, our previously released concept renders were done by the highly talented duo of Chris and Nic Bischoff, of The Brotherhood studio. Although they've been a great help to us in these early Wasteland 3 days, they've also been hard at work on their own projects. First, they followed up on their critically acclaimed STASIS adventure game with a free isometric horror adventure game titled Cayne, available on both Steam and GOG.com. "Give away a game for free, are they mad?" you ask, to which I answer "that's not a very nice question, but yes, quite likely they are, and also you should probably play it!"

But there's more! They've also been building their own post-apocalyptic adventure called Beautiful Desolation, a stunningly beautiful game featuring a unique African setting. Not too long ago, this project hit Kickstarter, and with less than two weeks to go, is closing in on its funding goal! If you like what you see, we encourage you to take a closer look and consider supporting their efforts.

Until soon,

Thomas Beekers

Creative Producer

Travel to the Ruins of Denver[ | ]

Posted: 03/23/2017


Hello Rangers!

First and foremost, just in case you somehow missed the news, we've released our latest game. Torment: Tides of Numenera is on Steam, GOG.com and other stores and platforms - see all your options here. A quick word from Brian:

It's always thrilling and nerve-wracking for our team to put a new title out there. The press response has been amazing, you can find some of the critical praise here and here. We've also been been very pleased by the touching and thoughtful comments from our fans on forums, comments, and social media. If you enjoyed playing Torment, we'd love it if you said so on Steam, GOG, or your store of choice.

We are strong proponents of sticking with our games post-release. Our goal is always to do right by our fans by continuing to support our games with fixes and improvements, as well as new content. Torment is no exception in this respect, and you can expect to see the game grow over time as more new features are added, including Oom, "The Toy" companion.

Journey to Colorado: Chapter the Second

We gave all of you an update on pre-production last month, and we want to keep doing so in these coming months, so here is another status update! Developers of all disciplines have started rolling onto the game, both those from the Torment team as well as new hires. We also have some exciting contractors helping us out on area design during pre-production.

Design Lead George Ziets and Lead Writer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie have crafted a strong pass on the overall narrative, and a full list of zones (areas) that we want to be in the game. We don't want to spoil the whole list for you, but we'll be talking about one of those zones (Denver) later in this update. George has detailed out each of these areas at a high level in something we call a Zone Constraints document. Those are then sent to our designers who generate "Zone Briefs" that further define the characters, story, and missions of the zone. If you want a refresher on our area design processes, George wrote a great update on it earlier.

But it's not all paper design. Crucially at this stage we also have time to prototype and work on our tech, as we mentioned last update. Our art department has been setting up the technical details of the art pipeline and also has been making great strides on our technology for snow, as we explore all the possibilities our unique setting offers. Additionally, we are creating a concept art library for the game, which will ensure that we have a consistent vision on the game's look as you move from zone to zone.

Engineering is largely finished porting over code from Wasteland 2, which gives us a solid technical basis, and is now working on the details and functionality of Wasteland 3's multiplayer. It is crucial we have multiplayer functioning in our engine early, as it touches on every facet of our game. When tech is in a good place, systems design can start creating prototypes to experiment with combat, vehicles, and more.

A Word on Investment

Today we have some great news to share! The SEC has given Fig approval to sell shares in Fig WL3 LLC. If you reserved shares as an unaccredited investor during our campaign, Fig will be contacting you to finalize your investment.

Detail on investment can be found on this page. As always, monies from investment goes right into the game's budget, so this is great news for all supporters of Wasteland 3.

The Ruins of Denver

Hello all. Gavin here to talk about the Denver zone in Wasteland 3.

Most of Denver is in ruins. During the end of the old world, a nuclear weapon exploded high in the air over the city, killing most of the inhabitants. The skyscrapers that remain are jagged, crooked affairs that lean against each other. In their shadows, the lesser buildings have crumbled, forming ever-shifting mazes and subterranean tunnels of broken concrete and rusted rebar.

These urban wilds are battlefields for the predators prowling the city, unaffiliated treasure hunters, and scavengers. Though the radiation is long gone, Denver is still a deathtrap, but one studded with buried riches from the old world.

The Denver Airport Commune lies to the east of the ruins and is now a colony of artists, hackers, conspiracy nuts, mad scientists, and assorted eccentrics. The Commune is centered around the Space Shuttle Atlantis (which landed here sometime after the bombs fell), and is dedicated to strange experimentation, acts of cyber espionage against the Patriarch, and MANY other things.

In the north is the mighty stronghold of the Gippers.

We shared a glimpse of the Ronald Reagan-worshiping cult in an earlier update. As many of you recall, the Gippers were a faction we originally planned for Wasteland 2, but now they will be appearing in Wasteland 3. The leaders of the Gippers are the priestesses known as Nancies - wives to the divine God-President Reagan, lawmakers, and judges. Above them all is the fierce and formidable Mother Nancy Reliance.

WL3 Nancy Reliance Render


People do rather get the wrong idea about us. I can’t say I mind.

Let us be underestimated and ridiculed. They think our Ronnie is dead and never coming back, and they are wrong. They accuse us of seeing communists in every shadow, and well, they’re right. But so are we.

Make no mistake, dears. We are surrounded by the vestiges of the Evil Empire. They have turned our great nation into an irradiated graveyard and they expect us to weep. But we are steel, sisters. We do not bend, nor do we rust. We endure.

So let them laugh at us. We are the wives of the God-President, and we will endure until he returns to us. Until then, his Great Work lies before us, unfinished.

We will arm our sons and our daughters and teach them to hunt Communists and snake-tongued Socialists. From birth, we will turn our children’s hearts to unyielding stone. With our blessing, they will bring peace back to the world, one bullet at a time.

We do this in the Gipper’s name. Amen.

Shout-Outs

As always, we're keeping an eye out for interesting and promising crowdfunding projects. Fig currently has one active campaign, the action-packed stonepunk arena game Antegods.

Additionally, Fig has added Slacker Backer functionality for projects, meaning you can now back sevceral projects that already succeeded as Fig. Check out the Slacker Backer project list on the Fig website, including Obsidian's Deadfire.

On Kickstarter, Starfighter Inc caught our eye - a gorgeous looking hardcore space combat simulator set in a hard science-fiction setting. With full ship customization, PvP multiplayer possibilities, and a deep narrative on offer, it's a promising title no burgeoning starfighter can afford to miss!

Another great-looking project is Sacred Fire, a tactical choice-driven RPG set in Ancient Caledonia - a unique setting we don't see enough of! The focus on choice and player agency always appeals to us, and the focus on psychology and politics adds another layer of intrigue.

Until next time,

Thomas Beekers

Creative Producer

All Work and (Some) Play[ | ]

Posted: 04/28/2017


Howdy Rangers,

As we go deeper into pre-production and the Colorado wasteland continues to take shape, we want to keep showing you some of the unique areas our writers and level designers are developing. Below, we have a few (spoiler-free!) details on the Stanley Hotel, a Colorado locale that inspired Stephen King's The Shining as well as our own writer, Colin McComb. He's been working with the rest of the team on the design of the zone, and we're ready to share how it fits into Wasteland 3. Additionally, we have a new concept render from the Bischoff brothers. We continue to use these pieces to flesh out our art direction, so we're excited to share them with you.

Speaking of art, let me briefly touch on some of the progress our team has been making in that department. We've mentioned in the previous updates that a huge focus for us during preproduction is prototyping our systems and engineering needs. Art has similarly been hard at work on figuring out Wasteland 3's aesthetics and pipelines, and our technical artist, Joey Betz, has also been developing tools and algorithms for snow.

For example, Joey has been working on slope based algorithms, which basically tells the engine to take our snow materials and only "paint" them on the top of objects (like cars, roofs, etc.), thin out based on the steepness of the slope they're on, and not appear at all on the bottom. He has also implemented a nice wetness algorithm, which works out melting snow on different surfaces. These subtle tech solutions are huge strides for us, as they allow our artists and level designers to do a great deal more with the many snow-heavy areas we are creating.

Here's a rough in-engine animation of the tech, showing the slope based algorithm in action to paint snow only on top of the sphere, as well as the wetness algorithm on the tiling.

Https d3pylr1apgoxnh.cloudfront.net campaign body images images ba52e05aa675a091a5d76865f93db685e8562272 original

Stanley Hotel

Hey, Rangers - Colin here to talk about the Stanley Hotel.

WL3 Everest or Stanley Hotel


In the mountains northwest of Denver stands a grand but somewhat weathered hotel, a remnant from simpler, more peaceful times.

When the bombs fell in 1998, the hotel guests watched mushroom clouds rise over the mountains and listened to the world end over the radio. They talked long into the night about what the future held. Then, over the next few days, they had final, sumptuous meals before wandering into the surrounding forest to hang themselves. Only the caretakers remained - employees, at first, and then people seduced by the idea that they could bring back a certain elegance to the world.

As the world devolved into savagery, stories of this relatively peaceful end spread through Colorado. The Stanley became a popular destination for suicidal pilgrims who came to the hotel for a joyful final repast before joining the frozen corpses hanging in the forest.

Those corpses instill superstitious fear in the wild, inbred clans in the surrounding mountains, as well as a certain unease in neighboring settlements. Rumor has it that the Stanley is haunted - those who spend too much time here swear that they hear the whispering voices of the unquiet dead. The caretakers of the Stanley don’t mind. They are people of quiet faith and firm belief in doing the right thing by their guests, and they welcome anyone who comes to their doors.

The Suicide Forest beyond their walls is not as peaceful. Predatory cats of unusual size and intelligence roam the hills, as more than one corpse-robber has found to his chagrin. Caves twist into the hard rock of the mountain - a perfect place to den for the long winter, or for a thoughtful, morality-light “entrepreneur” to set up shop far from the prying eyes of what remains of Colorado’s law.

Above it all, the Stanley looms, promising an end to the misery of life in this world. Stop on by! Reservations are appreciated, but even if the hotel is full, hang around.

A room should be vacant soon...

Shout-outs

The creator of the original X-COM games, Julian Gollop, launched his Fig campaign for Phoenix Point, featuring turn based tactical combat and world based strategic decision making. In this game, you will take on turn-based missions where you deploy a squad of soldiers to defeat mutants and monsters that populate a future earth ravished by the alien Pandoravirus.

Another campaign we want to highlight is Fort Triumph on Kickstarter. Fort Triumph is a colorful tactical RPG inspired by the likes of XCOM, but adding some of its own twists. Of particular note is a heavy focus on interactive level design, with tons of objects you can kick around or drop on top of enemies, or even chain up spells and hits to take out multiple enemies in a row. Triumph is already a ways into its development life cycle, so they're offering a playable demo to try out.

Be sure to give both crowdfunding campaigns a closer look!

Until next time,

Thomas Beekers

Creative Producer

Building the World of Wasteland 3[ | ]

Posted: 06/01/2017


Hello everyone,

Matt Findley here. We've been keeping you posted on Wasteland 3's pre-production in our updates, but today I have a bigger step to share with you: Wasteland 3 is moving out of pre-production and into full production! Note that Fig has a handy Game Info tab to keep all our supporters informed on our development stage, and as you can see it has now moved over to "Production."

Https d3pylr1apgoxnh.cloudfront.net campaign body images images d3a463f3732f16eefdd3d5686a1a42f24406155d original

So what does this mean for Wasteland 3? It means our paper designs are wrapping up and getting finalized for implementation. Our prototype work is moving towards production of our game scenes, starting with rough blockouts that give us a sense of the area's spacing and flow, and let us determine the layout before we work on art. In video game projects, moving from pre-production to production is never like flicking a switch - it's a process and we will still be prototyping and even doing paper designs for the next while, but it is a big step for us as our team is ramping up.

Newest Member of the inXile Team

This next part may be familiar to those of you who also backed The Bard's Tale IV and read our most recent update there, but for those of you who only backed Wasteland 3, some news about backer support! As inXile continues to expand, with more games coming and a growing back catalog, we are receiving more and more requests for backer news, customer support, and general information. Thus, it's time - some would say long past time - we upped our communication game. So here we go.

First, for those of you with questions, troubles with your backer rewards, or who need assistance with Wasteland 3 and our other games, we have launched a new Help Center page which will serve as a one-stop support location for all the info you need. It also includes an upgraded ticketing system, so we can better keep track of your direct emails and social media messages.

Second, and more importantly, we are pleased to announce that we have hired a brand new community manager, Paul Marzagalli. Paul has been active in the gaming community and industry many years as a games writer, consultant, and member of advisory boards such as the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers, the Boston Festival of Indie Games, and the Gerontoludic Society. Paul is also a long-time gamer, playing titles like Bard's Tale and Wasteland during Interplay's golden age, and he remains a huge fan of RPGs from the 80s, 90s, and today. Beyond that, Paul is a great communicator with deep knowledge of inXile and the wider gaming community. We are happy and excited to have him on board, and you can expect to see him popping up in Kickstarter updates, forums, social media, and more going forward.

And now, to kick off this new era of better communication right, here's Paul with some important and exciting info for backers of Wasteland 3!

Matt Findley

inXile President

@BayouBard

Building a Post-Apocalyptic Consensus One Voice At A Time

Hi everyone, Paul here!

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As Matt said, this will definitely be familiar to those of you who follow our Bard's Tale IV updates. I want to thank the inXile team for the warm welcome! It has been an outstanding (and fast) first month and a half. Though this is the “official” announcement of my arrival, I have been out in the community for the past few weeks so I may have already spoken with many of you. Whether in the forums, on our game Facebook page, or on Twitter @phimseto, please pop by and say hello!

With Wasteland 3, inXile is building out a post-apocalyptic story first begun in 1988. The success of Wasteland 2 reunited us with old fans and brought in legions of new ones. In getting to know our backers and the greater inXile community, I put together a survey to help me understand where you are coming from as RPG and Wasteland fans. This survey isn’t something that I will be sharing publicly, rather it is to help me better identify who our Wasteland 3 backers are and what they like in a Wasteland game. This will help us with development not just of Wasteland 3, but with how we consider and develop future projects! You can find the survey at this link: Wasteland 3 Backer Survey.

The survey is brief and it is your chance to talk directly to the game devs and let us know what you think. The more of you who participate, the better we can strive to make Wasteland 3 and future titles! Thank you in advance for your help and thanks to everyone for supporting Wasteland 3!

Investor News

If you were interested in making an investment reservation, but missed our original campaign, there are still some Fig Game Shares available for Wasteland 3. The window for that will be closing in the near future. If you are interested in earning a return from sales of the game, please check out this link: https://www.fig.co/campaigns/wasteland-3/invest.

From the Wasteland Fan Community

One last item before I hand over the update to my colleague: we recently enjoyed watching this video from Youtuber Retcon Raider on the story and setting of Wasteland 3. It is a nice summation of what we've shared publicly so far, so if you are either looking for a primer or a reminder, give it a look. Whether videos like this, post-apocalyptic cosplay, art, or whatnot, we always love hearing from (and sharing the work of) our most creative fans!

See you out there!

Paul Marzagalli

Public Relations & Community Manager

@phimseto

Building the Stanley: An Introduction to "The Vertical Slice"

Thomas here to wrap up this update!

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In the previous update, we introduced you to Stanley Hotel, one of the zones of Wasteland 3. As part of our production schedule, we'll be looking to flesh out Stanley Hotel early, taking it from blockout (a rough level implementation with no art) into a developed zone, with missions, combat, dialogues and art worked out. That way, the Stanley Hotel will work as our vertical slice, allowing us to proof out the entire process from A to Z. In video games, doing a vertical slice early in production allows you to prove out the production process of your level, catching and correcting any mistakes or factors that'd slow us down for later zones, and it'll give us vital information on questions regarding combat density, balance, and the use of vehicles in our game.

In the coming updates, we'll be sharing various facets of the vertical slice with you, highlighting what this process means for us in art, engineering, design, and writing. Part of the reason we chose the Stanley Hotel as a vertical slice is that the location is fairly isolated from the main storyline, so we'll be able to share a lot of details without spoiling the game's overall story.

Rewards Update: NPCs, GamerShoes

As we're moving into building out our zones, we'll be looking to integrate backer content into our game. If you backed us at the "Design an NPC" level, we recently emailed you to start gathering the details on your NPC! By getting the information this early, we'll be able to work with you to flesh out your contribution to our game and integrate it into the Wasteland 3 world seamlessly. Additionally, we're also producing and sending out another reward soon: the unique Wasteland 3 GamerShoes. If you backed us at a level due this reward, please check your email, as we have reached out to you about this reward as well!

Until next time,

Thomas Beekers

Creative Producer

Rangers Plan Their Attack[ | ]

Posted: 06/30/2017


The Mage's Tale begins!

Hi everyone, Paul here to bring you a quick look at what has been a big and busy month here at inXile Entertainment. The biggest news by far is the release of inXile's latest game: The Mage's Tale, an action RPG that takes place in the same world as The Bard's Tale series.

The game is also our first VR title, the result of a partnership between inXile and Oculus. The early buzz has been positive, as you can see by watching our latest trailer, which also shows off some of the game itself.

The Mage's Tale is currently an Oculus exclusive, which means you can currently find it only in the Oculus Store. Down the road, we will bringing the game to other VR platforms. The Mage's Tales marks a milestone for Wasteland 3 as well, as Creative Producer Thomas Beekers explains.

From Newport to NOLA: "We're getting the band back together!"[ | ]

Thomas here! We mentioned in our previous update that Wasteland 3 is moving from pre-production to full production. A big part of that is rolling in new developers from projects that are wrapping up. Now that The Mage's Tale is released, that team is dispersing across inXile to our different games. Some developers are moving over to The Bard's Tale IV, others are staying on The Mage's Tale to continue support for that title, and there are some that are joining us on the Wasteland 3 team.

Back when inXile opened a new studio in New Orleans, a number of key developers who played vital roles on Wasteland 2 ended up moving to the new studio. Now that Wasteland 3 is in production, we're very happy to bring some familiar faces back into the fold. Wasteland 2 level designers/scripters Jeremy Kopman, Ben Moise, Joby Bednar, and Zack Vulaj are all back to work on Wasteland 3, as is engineer Jeffrey Corrales. As you can imagine, bringing people in that are so familiar with the tools and setting means we can really hit the ground running. Having this kind of veteran carryover makes us very confident that our team gets what makes Wasteland tick and knows what lessons we want to carry over from the previous project.

As a small studio, we also benefit from being flexible regarding developers moving between projects and we want each of our devs to be on the project that best fits his or her skills. It's a quality of life element that we strive for, too: letting developers be where they can find the ideal professional/personal balance for their goals.

To help with the process of onboarding, last week we had part of the Wasteland 3 team (Chris Keenan, George Ziets, Jeremy Kopman and Alex Kerr) fly to New Orleans to meet with the level design team there, as well as inXile president Matthew Findley. With a solid base of knowledge of the setting and game already there, we could really delve deeply in meetings about multiplayer, the mechanics of our Ranger Base, and more. On top of those were the opportunities to have a number of in-person general meetings on story and level design pipelines, processes, and best practices. It was a real marathon of meetings, but those of you who have been with us longer may recall that we've had similar gatherings for both Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera, and they always pay off in a big way.

A small bit of inXile trivia: the main conference rooms at our Newport and NOLA studios are nicknamed Ranger HQ and Cochise Base respectively! The shots below are from Base Cochise on the NOLA side, and show off the team reviewing the Stanley Hotel's early level blockouts - we'll have more to share about that in a coming update.

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Newport and NOLA devs meeting up for a zone design meeting.

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Chris Keenan (white shirt)  manages the conversation between the two studios.

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The team reviews design work for the Stanley Hotel.

Next, here's Charlie Bloomer with an early look at vehicles in Wasteland 3.

Until next time,

Thomas Beekers

Creative Producer

Hitchin' a Ride

Hi all, Charlie here. Vehicles? In Wasteland 3? Oh it's happening, and we've made some good progress on that front in the past few weeks! We now have a vehicle playground, a test scene in Unity that we're using to drive around in so we can figure out our parameters for fun vehicle gameplay. While we intend to show that at least one faction in post-apocalyptic Colorado is equipped to build their own vehicles, most of the drivable machines you'll find are examples of ingenuity and resourcefulness, with a healthy dose of auto shop and welding skills thrown in. In this world, scrounged materials can make the difference between barely mobile and fortified, armed transport.

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The "Beater"

The first vehicle you'll acquire in the game is a bit of a beater. We wanted to provide the player with something that is functional - it can be trusted to get you from point A to point B - but that would be sparse when it comes to weaponry or armor. Our beater has nice big tires and some attached armor plating, so it's a whole lot better than walking. On the other hand, the starting place for those modifications is a vehicle that looks like its previous owner might have been a "soccer mom." Not to worry, if you survive with this puppy, you will be well rewarded with the next vehicle, which is a beast!

Cheers,

Charlie Bloomer

Art Director

inXile at E3[ | ]

Hi everyone, Paul here to close out this update. Another reason why this month has been jam-packed was, of course, E3. inXIle was there talking with fans, press, and fellow developers. Though members of all the production teams made it over there at some point, the inXile E3 contingent was led by Bard's Tale IV team leads Jeff Pellegrin and David Rogers. Tastefully adorned in their authentic Scottish kilts, the two of them stopped to chat with fans and some of their industry peers, including Final Fantasy XIV Director Yoshi-P! There are more pictures and stories to share, but we will be saving them for our next Bard's Tale IV backer update.

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Jeff Pellegrin & David Rogers

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Jeff & Yoshi-P

Backer Reward Updates: Of Shoes & NPCs

In the last update, Thomas mentioned that we were reaching out to those backers who were designing NPCs for the game and also those are receiving the special edition Wasteland 3 GamerShoes. Kudos to the Wasteland 3 community: we received most of the feedback we needed over the last month! However, there are still a few backers we need to hear from! If you are one of those, please check your email and get back to us!

Crowdfunding Corner

Finally, a couple of crowdfunding projects that caught our eye!


As you can imagine, we're always on the lookout for an old-school RPG to play, so we were very excited when Pathfinder: Kingmaker was announced! Not only does it feature design work from old friend Chris Avellone, it represents the first cRPG to use the outstanding Pathfinder game world. Kingmaker was a landmark product for Paizo - it merged their traditional Adventure Path elements with the unique opportunity for players to build and rule a kingdom of their very own. The tabletop version is considered a classic, and we can't wait to try its cRPG counterpart! Check it out here!


The second project we'd like to highlight is FIG's most recent campaign: KnightOut, which looks like a video game cross between the board game Crossbows & Catapults and the classic Disney cartoon Donald's Snow Fight. In other words, it looks like just the right mix of organized mayhem! Take a look for yourself here!

That's it for now! See you in a month! And for those of you in America, a Happy Independence Day!

Best,

Paul Marzagalli

Public Relations & Community Manager

inXile Entertainment

@phimseto

Names Change, But The Story Remains[ | ]

Posted: 08/10/2017


Building the Everest: From Concept to Design

Hey everyone!

Colin here to talk about some of the early design we’ve been working on for the game. Right now, I’m the narrative designer for an area in the northern reaches of the world map, a place originally called the Stanley Hotel. We’ve recently changed the name to “the Everest Hotel” - in part, because I wanted a name that fit the function of the hotel better. See, not only is this hotel up in the mountains (thus "Everest"), but it's also a place for a guest to sleep forever, or Ever-rest.

I need to give a special shout out to Alex Kerr, the level designer for this area. He’s taking ideas and really making them shine - discussing features, conversations, and quests, and then suggesting improvements after he begins implementation and blockout of the quest areas. You will see more about the work Alex is doing in a future update.

By the way, this being a design diary-style entry, I have to warn you that this whole section is FILLED with spoilers. Skip to the Crowdfunding Corner section if you don’t want the the hotel ruined for you.

If you’re still reading, this is your own fault.

Still here?

OK, let’s talk design. Part of the fun of this series, and it's certainly part of the fun of developing the game, is watching as these rough early sketches and layouts become the finished product that you will experience in the game. At this stage in "Building the Everest", you're seeing us lay the foundation for the zone - specifically, refining the concept and then beginning to move from concept to implementation, iterating on ideas the whole way through. What you see here is the earliest part of development, where the practice of narrative and level design meet for the first time.

Background

The idea for the hotel was born from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, inspiration for Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel in “The Shining”. I wanted to make a haunted hotel, a place with a hideous secret that would entrap the unwary. As a secondary goal, I wanted to include several references to The Shining itself as an homage to an author whose early work had an outsize influence on my career (read: gave me nightmares as a kid).

Originally, I was looking at the basement of the hotel as the home to a dimensional rift, and it was voices from the rift that spoke to the caretakers of the hotel, exhorting them to murder/“preserve the spirits of the lost”. The first comment on this plan was, “This is Wasteland, not Torment.”

OK, fine. What if instead of an actual rift, the caretakers just believe there’s a hole to another world there? That’s still cool, but now we need to explain why it is that they’d believe such a thing. The easiest solution to that? Mass hallucination and charismatic cult leaders.

So now I needed to find a way to induce mass hallucination in this crowd, and what easier way to do that than via the fungus the caretakers use for food? Throw some hallucinogens (similar to psilocybin), maybe include something like Cordyceps to rewire their neural pathways, and suddenly having the caretakers believing that they can kill people to save them starts to sound almost reasonable.

WL3 Everest Suicide Forest


The Suicide Forest (click for full-res version).

This led me to consider a fungus greenhouse, decorative fungus in the hotel, and a bunch of fungus-related content (ironic, since I hate mushrooms), but, as with the idea of the dimensional rift, I realized that it wasn't the right direction to take this level. It took away agency from the Caretakers, and made their actions the fault of an exterior force. Worse, as we plotted out the flow of the fungus quests, it just wasn't fun. Back to the drawing board! We kept some of the ideas that we liked, while reworking others. This is all part and parcel of the review process.

So now the hotel's caretakers are straight-up murderers. But why? Why would the custodians of a pre-war hotel decide that they had to kill their guests? I had to dig still deeper into caretaker psychology to help understand their motivations, and to keep them from becoming simple Bad Guys Who Should be Killed.

Where This Goes

Eventually, we settled on an explanation, and I added a section to the Zone Design Document outlining the foundational thoughts of a murder cult:

The Caretakers – once a devoted and active group whose primary mission is to keep alive the grace of the old world – have been slowly dying out, age and accident claiming them faster than they can replenish their ranks. Their generational knowledge is vanishing with them… and as they die, the standards of the hotel itself have been slipping away, and fewer people come every year. The Caretakers are taking matters into their own hands now, luring guests they deem “unhappy” back to the hotel. Why do they persist?

They have, over the years, altered their philosophy. They have built the idea of the Everest into something more than an old building. They believe they must fill its halls with spirits to protect it - and that it, in turn, will protect those spirits from the frozen wastes outside.

They’re offended by the accusations that they’re killing people. They use euphemisms (like funeral directors), and do not want to say the actual words, like “murder”, “desecration”, “corpses”, or “victims.”

Now it’s just a matter of defining the hotel’s interior space, defining the characters and conversations, filling the place with fun and challenging things to do, and figuring out the quest and encounter variables. (ha ha, “just” - see, this is where the real work is!)

I’ll talk about that process later. Right now, the important thing is designing a way to get the players there in the first place. And this is where pointer quests come in handy. A pointer quest is a way to encourage players to go visit a new area. We can combine these with other missions and content that encourage players to go there, explore, and come back.

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Hotel exterior early level design draft.

In this particular area, we run into a character named Donnelly. I’m actively in the process of developing his conversation as I write this, so I’m still sharpening aspects of his character… but he’s a friendly guy, and a wide smile is a welcome sight in the frozen wastes. He’d *really* like you to get up the Everest Hotel. His traveling companion, a Mr. Parker, checked in to the hotel several days ago, and Donnelly’s worried sick about him. And, incidentally, he’d sure like the Rangers to bring back the floppy disk that his partner went in there to find.

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The path to the Everest taking shape.

Now that we’ve got Donnelly’s background, we need to figure out how to communicate all this to the players. First, Donnelly hails the player and introduces the area. He delivers the crucial information we need - data about his partner, a teaser about the hotel, and just enough sketchiness that we’re going to be suspicious of this character. He’ll also provide some basic information about the rest of the Suicide Forest area - about the mountain lions, for instance, or the rumors of armed partisans in the mountains at his back. The Rangers might want to talk to him again, so we’ll set up conditionals to make sure the players haven’t progressed further in the quest… and then we need to determine what the quest states are after the Rangers return from the hotel. Have they located the disk he sought? Have they killed all the Caretakers? Have they found his partner? And is that partner pissed off?

But that’s probably enough discussion for now. We’ll address quest design in a future update.

Thanks for reading!

Colin McComb

Narrative Designer

Crowdfunding Corner

Hi everyone, Paul here to share a couple of crowdfunding suggestions that caught our interest.

The first is one of the newer Fig campaigns - Bounty Battle, which aims to be the indie version of Smash Bros. or Playstation All-Stars! They boast an impressive line-up of indie characters and the gameplay looks on-point! Take a look for yourself over here.

The other item is one near and dear to every programmer and gamer who is constantly battling slouching because of our beloved interests. It is an unique chair designed to promote better posture called SitTight.

One of the key designers behind it is a friend of our CEO Brian Fargo, who had this to say: "A good friend of mine launched this Kickstarter for his balancing chair recently and it’s worth a look if you sit in a chair all day like I do. He dropped a sample off about a month ago, and I use it daily. Thumbs up from me." Details behind the design and science of the chair can be found here.

That's all for this month!

Best,

Paul Marzagalli

Public Relations & Community Manager

@phimseto

Setting the Stage[ | ]

Posted: 10/13/2017


Hi everyone, Paul here with the next installment of our look at building a vertical slice. Last go-around, Colin McComb took us through the high-level concept (and iterations on it) of the Everest Hotel. In this entry, and just in time for #Blocktober, level designer Alex Kerr takes us through the process of building that concept into reality - of crafting a game zone that captures the intent of the design. Fair warning: if you want to remain spoiler-free about this part of the game, skip past the next section!

Take it away, Alex!

Building the Everest: Level Design & Setting the Stage

What does "Level Design" mean, exactly? It depends on the project, but my approach is this: “Enable the player to use the game’s mechanics to their fullest extent.” This is a very broad definition, but I like it because it covers everything from Tactical RPGs to Match 3 puzzle games. Basically, our job is to make it easy to play the game in the most fun ways possible.

We’ve seen a lot of the Everest Hotel recently, so rather than covering the interior, we’re going to take a look at part of this zone’s exterior scene: the Suicide Forest.

WL3Fig Everest Blockout

What you're looking at is blockout level geometry, which is the rough draft we use to quickly iterate on design, layout, and scale. Sometimes this is called a "gray box" or "block mesh" pass. Either way, the idea is to get a functional version of the level early, so we can test our assumptions and make big changes before getting the art department involved (we'll delve into the art process in a later update).

The Suicide Forest is a large scene, and it's seen a lot of changes. In fact, we've even had a few changes since we started prepping this update. Today, we’ll just cover two related sections of the scene which make up some of its optional content: the exploration-focused Abandoned Camp and the combat-heavy Missing Hunters.

Overall Flow

When the player reaches the Abandoned Camp, they enter a clearing. Exploring it reveals tattered tents and spatters of blood lead down a rocky path – clues that will lead to answers about what happened to its inhabitants, a group of hunters.

Once the Rangers discover the missing hunters, new information and a change in the circumstances force them to make a difficult choice. Depending on the decisions players make, the party may find itself facing off against several well-armed enemies, fighting to the death against an inhuman opponent, or leaving without firing a shot.

Abandoned Camp

The focus for this area is enabling exploration. The Rangers have just come across a small set of tents set up deep in the forest. Who was here? Where have they gone? The Rangers can find clues pointing to the answer.

WL3Fig Abandoned Camp


Those purple blocks will be trees.... someday.

When it came time to playtest our initial blockout, we made a number of tweaks to the layout and flow.

Here's what the layout of the Abandoned Camp looked like in its first iteration:WL3 Camp 1st It Flow

It's kind of hard to tell what's going on, so below is the same image with some markup that show how players typically move through the area:

WL3 Camp 1st It Flow 2

Green arrows represent entry points, yellow stars represent clues the player can uncover, and the red star represents a small combat encounter. Dotted lines represent the potential paths between points of interest: each clue is within the visible range of at least one other clue, letting players move between them freely. If it's a multiplayer session, then players can split up and independently uncover new clues.

Setting up the clues in this way was a deliberate strategy on our part: players choose which clues to pursue and in what order, but they'll eventually be led through the forest and back to an entrance.

This first version of the Abandoned Camp had two entrances, which also served as exits. As we began building the area, though, we felt that we could introduce this area better if the player had a single point of entry. After the revisions, we had a single main entrance, a single main exit, and a one-way entrance which is closed on your first visit (that long, gray passage on the bottom left), which made it easier to include more tactical and exploration options inside the area.

Here's the current iteration of the camp:

WL3Fig Camp Late It

WL3Fig Camp Late It Flow

You’ll notice that there were also major changes in orientation and placement, but the camp itself hasn't changed much (although we did remove the large "mess tent", which didn't make sense for such a small group). Initially, the pathing looks quite different, but the philosophy behind it is still the same:

In both versions, when Rangers have completed at least half of the exploration phase, they’ll discover a hungry bear (marked by a red star on the screenshot above). Initially this seems like it might be the reason the hunters have gone missing, but as players discover more clues, they'll learn pretty quickly that there's more to the story.

Missing Hunters

Heading into the next area, the Rangers know (via some radio transmissions, and the clues encountered earlier) that the hunters are nearby and are seeking assistance.

What are our goals for this area?

  • Let players really go to town with one (or more!) interesting combat scenarios.
  • Pay off the mystery from before (which can lead to combat)
  • Deal with an unnamed twist that may put the players at odds with the hunters (see above).

Once you’ve found a few of the clues, it’s pretty easy to find the missing hunters. However, the story takes a dangerous turn, prompting a new question: what do you do with them?

  • Depending on how you decide to handle things – or, depending on your past choices, how things want to handle you – the Rangers may end up
    • (1) simply walking away from the situation
    • (2) engaging in combat with the hunters
    • (3) engaging in combat with something else.

(1) Leaving the situation has its own set of consequences that require quite a bit of thought and scripting to handle within the mission itself, but from a geometry perspective, the player simply needs to be able to turn around and leave. So: can the players turn around and leave? Looks like it. Great! Mark #1 done. From a level layout standpoint, at least.

(2) Okay, so what if they engage in combat with the hunters? This may sound a little odd, but there are developments in the mission that actually can make this a reasonable course of action.

To do this, the player will need to make their way through a trap-filled gauntlet (the kind of traps that the hunters are using work just as well on Rangers as they do on prey), then they'll need to take on three very well-equipped outdoorspeople. This is a variation on a typical  “advance” scenario: braving a heavily fortified position. I’ll leave the details of combat design to a future developer diary by our combat designers, but for our purposes, we basically need an interesting approach that provides opportunities for clever tactical thinking that will offset your disadvantages.

Here’s what the Missing Hunters area looked like at first:

WL3Fig Missing Hunters 1

This looked like it had potential, but as we playtested things, it felt a little small.

Also, as we ran it past more people, a story issue cropped up: it didn’t seem plausible that the hunters were really trapped. The ledge wasn't very steep, and if they were able to evade the something else long enough to set up their crazy trap gauntlet, surely they could have backtracked instead of digging in. We had several plausible explanations for why they ended up in the current situation, but that wasn’t the point of the mission: we needed players to look at the area and instantly think “oh yeah, you could end up in a bad situation here.”

I’m not going to show you the revised version yet, though, because it also ties into choice #3…

(3) Engaging in combat with the something else.

Internally, I’d been referring to this as the “ledge fight,” because it took place in the same area, but on the upper rim of the valley, wrapping around the trap gauntlet.

WL3Fig Trap Gauntlet

This concept was a lot of fun, but in practice, the limited width of the cliff edges, the large amounts of running around from edge to edge, and the lack of differentiation between each of the four sides led to unexciting playtests. So: big red flag, needs revision!

We made major changes to address the issues in both combat scenarios. A big part of this was adding more verticality to the fight itself by increasing the distance between the two sub-areas. We also decided to move the two combat areas alongside each other, rather than overlapping. Here’s the latest revision:

WL3Fig Trap Gauntlet Late

Section “A” (yellow circle) is where players can fight the hunters, which is spread out over a larger space to better leverage the hidden traps, and now shares only a single border with section B.

Section “B” (green circle) is where players can fight the unnamed adversary, which is now a limited to one side of the cliff, but has multiple variations in height and more potential cover.

The right-hand path connecting these areas contains the beginning of the ‘trap gauntlet’, as well as a special cave which can be accessed depending on the player's skills and equipment.  We’ve also enlarged the upper middle area and added a one-way exit at the bottom. This eliminates the need to backtrack once you're ready to return to Suicide Forest. Also, the entire space has been flipped and rotated to better align with the rest of the level layout.

Overall Flow

Let's wrap up with one of the biggest changes: altering both sections so that the Abandoned Camp and the Missing Hunters are sequential.

WL3Fig Overall Flow

Originally, the camp and missing hunters could be found in any order. In that case, the missing hunters functioned fine, but the camp served as story “back-fill” instead of foreshadowing. Which technically is fine… but what stuck in our collective craw was that players never CHOSE the order of events: it was random chance. To put it another way: if a game asks you to flip a coin, you're not “choosing” heads. It’s just something that happened, but could have gone the other way.

Also, as we continued the development process, it became clear that the player's choice in the trap gauntlet was much more impactful if they already had some context from visiting the abandoned camp before-hand. I revised the map so that forest behind the abandoned camp leads to a ridge, which leads into the area containing the missing hunters. This required rotating both areas and elongating the connective paths, but the new layout came together quickly and we could immediately feel the difference during our playtests.

One side-effect of this revision, however, was that it introduced the potential for some lengthy backtracking, so we added a one-way gate exiting the missing hunters area, leading back into the camp, placing players very close to the first entrance. It's a little quality-of-life feature that players appreciate (and it's one we're also making use of in The Bard's Tale IV).

WL3Fig Shortcut Hunters

The new one-way gate that makes backtracking a thing of the past.

All together, these revisions achieved their goal: creating an optional area of the map with a tight gameplay loop that allows for a lot of exploration, discovery, and choice along the way. This iteration process is common throughout all of our level design, and almost every area of the game undergoes these types of changes and refinements towards best realizing our gameplay.

...Of course, things are far from complete, and I'm looking forward to see how things improve between today and launch. Visually, things are already looking much better, because the art team has starting working on this scene.

They'll detail their progress in an upcoming post, but for now, here's a very early work-in-progress screenshot:

WL3 Suicide Forest First Pass

First pass art by Erika Sass

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Alex Kerr

Level Designer

The Wasteland Population Grows

Hi all, Paul back for the rest of the update.

Since the game entered production a short while back, the Wasteland 3 team has expanded. Our first and biggest hire was Stewart Spilkin, who joins the team as Senior Producer. This is a return home for Stewart, who was previously at inXile a few years back and was a Producer on our titles Hunted: The Demon's Forge and Choplifter HD. Stewart is a 20+ year game industry veteran. His production work includes Capcom's Resident Evil 2 and more than seven years producing Rockstar's Red Dead franchise. As Senior Producer, Stewart serves a key role in making sure all the different teams (Art, Design, and Engineering) are working in tandem and hitting their various production and milestone goals. Over the coming updates, we will be announcing more of our new team members!

Wasteland 3 Physical Goods Update

We've continued to work on backer rewards. One of those that we completed recently and shipped out were the Wasteland 3 Fan Kicks.

WL3Fig Booties

We liked how they turned out, and according to the feedback from our backers (https://twitter.com/primalnacl/status/901508824229527552), they're pretty happy as well!

Crowdfunding Corner

Our entry this month is a Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark, a slick-looking sRPG from indie developers 6 Eyes Studio. In the best tradition of the genre, the customization options are deep with a strong storytelling component. It looks great to us and we're rooting for the project to succeed. For more information, click here or on the picture below.  

Meanwhile, our friends at Larian recently released their own successfully crowdfunded title - Divinity: Original Sin 2! The game is already a critical and commercial success, and with great reason - Larian has put together a game that any RPG fan would love. Congrats to Swen and the whole Larian team! If you're interested in learning more about the game, click here or on the picture below.

Thanks to Alex for his excellent write-up, welcome again to Stewart, and thanks to you all for reading along! Until next time!

Best,

Paul Marzagalli

Public Relations & Community Manager

inXile Entertainment

@phimseto

On The Road To Alpha[ | ]

Posted: 04/17/2018


Production Greetings with Stewart Spilkin, Senior Producer

Stewart here!   

As we roll on into 2018, Wasteland 3 has been in full production for a while and I’m happy to say we’re hitting all our major milestones on design, art, and engineering. Long-time fans of inXile may know our production philosophy puts a heavy emphasis on iteration. Practically speaking, that means we want to have levels and systems in so we can test and improve on our ideas.  This allows us to find out sooner rather than later what works and doesn’t work.

WL3Fig Update 24


At this point, over 90% of the scenes in the game have first pass scripting as well as first pass art. We have Rangers killing stuff, vehicles driving around (and also killing stuff), multiplayer working on consoles and PC, the works! This allows our level and systems designers to experience and polish up their scenes, and for our Design Lead George Ziets to do playthroughs and take (very meticulous) notes. The value of getting this kind of revision time early on can’t be overstated.

We have a few new team members to mention. On the Environment Art side is Yong-Ha Hwang, recently on the Blizzard cinematics team, and Josh Deeb, who is joining us from Daybreak. In our NOLA studio, we've also picked up Germ Revoso as a concept artist, and Greg Roberts is doing some great animation work for us. On the writing team, author Cassandra Khaw has been doing some amazingly twisted dialog work for us, and Nathan Long, the principal writer on Wasteland 2, is cranking out volumes of great material too.

Checking In On: Gameplay Systems with Eric Schwarz, Systems Designer

Hi everyone! The last several months of development have seen huge strides as far as our gameplay goes. As we barrel forward on development, we're continuing to refine the feature set and details of our character system, skills, abilities, weapon types, gameplay styles, and more. Being system designer on the game means ensuring that the game is fun to play, that the user interface and experience is as smooth as possible, and that I advocate for (and design) as many features as we can possibly get in. Most of my efforts lately have been focused both on ensuring our core combat and exploration systems are at a level where we feel there are no major unknowns left to solve, and are in a good state for iteration, balancing, and, later, polishing up.

In addition to making the core gameplay as good as it can be, I've also been working heavily with George so that our area design is in sync with our gameplay mechanics and makes the best possible use of them. This also means working on content design for all of our enemies, whether those are our different factions of NPCs, robots, animals, and even bigger, meaner things, so that each of them has a distinct gameplay identity, weapon types, and in some cases, abilities they use in combat. We're spending considerable effort to ensure that our combat encounters and enemy types have plenty of variety, and fitting personality for our post-apocalyptic version of Colorado.

WL3Fig Spiderbot


Of course, all that high-level stuff is important, but what matters is getting those features directly in the game to play and experience first-hand. As such, a bunch of my time also involves coordinating with the level design team to implement all our features in all the locations you'll explore. Jeremy, Zack, Ben, Alex, Leland, Jeffrey, and others have been working hard to not only build the gameplay scenes and missions, but also do passes on combat implementation, loot, skill interactions, and more. It's a huge undertaking for the team, but with each and every revision, our scenes and gameplay get better and more fleshed out.

While we're still building on the foundation of Wasteland 2, there are also dozens of little tweaks, changes, improvements, and quality-of-life updates, many of which came directly out of feedback from our previous games. In future updates, we hope to be able to go into more detail about these. Until next time!

Eric Schwarz

Systems Designer

WL3Fig Everest


Checking In On: Content Design with George Ziets, Lead Designer

Hello all, Ziets here. The writers and level designers are working hard to get the whole game to a first draft state - especially the critical path. By the end of next month, we should be able to start the game at the tutorial and follow the critical path all the way to the end. It won’t be bug-free, of course, but getting to a solid first draft (as early as possible) is a critical step.

Some of our zones are already at an alpha state, which means that first-pass dialogue and level scripting are done, and combat, missions, and exploration all exist in some form. I’ve been playing through our zones and sending long lists of feedback to the design team. Our current focus is the city of Colorado Springs and Ranger HQ, our main hubs that contain the most reactivity to events that occur elsewhere. We’re also developing the endgame sequence and writing some of the most important characters in the game, like the Patriarch (the ruler of Colorado) and a returning Ranger from Wasteland 2 (who will, for the moment, remain nameless).

WL3Fig Mystery Ranger


Who could this mystery ranger be?

Once we're satisfied that all our zones have reached alpha, we’ll shift our emphasis toward playtesting, bug-fixing, and iterating. The iteration phase is the moment when a game really begins to shine, so the more time we can spend in iteration, the better the final product will be.

Final note: When we reach the final installment of our "Building the Everest" series of updates, we'll give you an early look at how our mission system will actually work in game.

George Ziets

Lead Designer

Checking In On: Art Design with Charlie Bloomer, Art Director

Hi all, I'm here to give you some news about what the Art team has been up to lately. The pace of production has been astounding! As with any production cycle, as the design becomes more and more fleshed out, the remaining questions begin to melt away, leaving a relatively clear path for artists to move in.

This is probably most evident with our environments. Every scene in our game has passed the blockout stage by Design, which means there is nothing stopping the Environment Art team from moving forward on first pass treatments for every scene in the game. We even took scenes from three different zones to a finished (polished) state before Alpha, since doing so would allow us to test assumptions about overall aesthetic approach, performance, and about how well our special shader solutions for snow etc. will work across ALL platforms. The other aspect of environments that we switched into high gear was props. We have a mix of in-house and outsourcing resources cranking through a long list of carefully vetted assets that include props, interactables, items, and weapons.

WL3Fig Holy Clown Jesus

In January we made the decision to focus our Character Art effort leading up to Alpha on the assets that would have the most wide-reaching impact on our game - namely our factions. The world of Wasteland 3 is populated by many distinct groups! Each faction character is constructed out of a collection of "parts" - chests, legs, hands, feet, heads - that results in a large amount of variation across the Wasteland 3 landscape. By focusing all of our resources on these character factions, we've developed an excellent visual language for each group and a firm foundation for the next stage - characters with more unique appearances that will play a specific role in conversations and/or gameplay. Here's an example of a Scar Collector outfit, kitted out for the harsh winter enviornment:

WL3Fig Scar Collectors


Speaking of conversations, we've fully tested our pipeline for generating facial animation and the accompanying full-body gestures that will make up our cinematic conversations! We've settled on a system of processing audio tracks, combined with motion capture, that yields the quality we have been aiming for. As we work toward Alpha, the last piece of the puzzle is being addressed. That has to do with how our tools for managing the complex conversation system in Wasteland 3 can actually drive the animation and audio at runtime as well. In the end, it's a cleverly automated system that handles the heavy lifting with relatively little hand-holding required by us mortals.

Our Animation team has been focusing on establishing really nice idle poses that will serve as the starting and stopping points for all of our combat animations. The end result is animations across all our weapons sets that demonstrate excellent readability and also personality! The same can be said for our new fidgets and reaction animations as well. And the most recent leap forward has to do with a clever way of using additive layers for our damage animations so they now take into account both the direction and severity of an attack and then randomize the result. We really like how it's coming together and hope you will, too.

The Wasteland 3 UI departs in appearance from that of its predecessor. While the functionality has been improved in many spots, visually we've moved toward a look that is intended to provide the same information in a less "physical" shell. Part of the change is aesthetic - we tie into the game's themes with shades of blue and with hints at ice and frost. Beyond that, we're keeping the interface elements clean and easier to read. We've established our visual language and now it is simply a matter of executing on the plan.

Across the whole project, the excellent pace of art creation in the last several months has been exhilarating and positions us well to dive into the part of the project I like best - that time after Alpha where our focus shifts from getting things in and functional to making things beautiful! Things like the Meat Clown!

WL3Fig Meat Clown

Checking In On: Audio Design with Eric Daily, Producer

Hi everyone, I'm here with a couple of quick audio notes. First, returning Wasteland 2 composer Mark Morgan visited inXile last week for a Wasteland 3 soundtrack brainstorming session. It was a productive, beneficial meeting, and it ended with all of us excited about where we're going with the music for the game. Mark will be starting with a combat theme and an exploration theme, to capture the core elements of the game in musical form. From there, he will begin composing themes and cues for the different areas and characters of the Wasteland. It's good to have Mark back with us in the Wasteland.

The other note has to do with our sound design. We've got Earl Scioneaux from The Mage's Tale team on board, and he's building the sound design with a lot of the spirit of Wasteland 2 in mind. With that as a foundation, he'll be expanding our soundscape, working on enhancements such as subtle movement Foley and distant light wind to a range of different traditional guns and over-the-top laser weapons... and everything in between! The environment is a defining characteristic of a post-apocalyptic game, and our goal with the audio design in Wasteland 3 is to use a greater level of sonic detail to achieve a more compelling experience. To help convey the dangerous elements that define the Colorado Wasteland, Earl has a range of icy rain, snow, wind, etc. ambient sound already in the works. We've had occasion to test some of this in the Denver Ruins level, and the early returns are great!  

Checking In On: Backer Rewards with Paul Marzagalli, PR & Community Manager

Hi all, Paul here to take you through the rest of the update. It's still in the early days on physical goods production with the game so far out, though we're all pretty eager to get our hands on the Night Terror plushie. For stretch goals, everything is on target. Our backer-created characters, items, etc. are all done, or in production. All the various bonuses that you helped us unlock during the crowdfunding campaign are accounted for and being worked on, from Faran Brygo's return to that most Presidential of rides - Morningstar! One thing we're still puzzling out: what to include in our time capsule that we'll be burying in Colorado. If you've got some ideas, we'd love to hear them in the comments below!

WL3Fig Doll Heads


How Backer Rewards Are Grown

Crowdfunding Corner

This update's recommendation is a shout-out to our friends at Cyan, who are putting together a spectacular 25th Anniversary collection for their Myst series. Myst was one of the most influential games of the 1990's, ushering in the era of CD-ROM gameplay with an adventure game like no one had seen before. To celebrate twenty-five years since the game's initial release, Cyan is pulling out all the stops with a collection that packages all of the games in the series together. If you are fan of either Myst or adventure games, please take a look! Best of luck and congratulations to Rand and the rest of the Cyan team!

And that's a wrap...

That's about it for now. It won't be as long a stretch until our next update, when we return to our Building the Everest series. There are two entries left in that series, and then from there, we'll start diving more deeply into the world and systems of Wasteland 3.

On a personal note, I was just at PAX East recently, and I ran into a few random people who - once they realized who I worked for - couldn't wait to tell me how much they loved Wasteland and how impatient they were for Wasteland 3! That was awesome to hear each and every time, so thanks to them and thanks to all of you who continue to reach out and express your support for inXile and fandom for Wasteland.

To that end, I wanted to invite you to use the comments section to ask a question of the devs. We'll choose a few and answer them in the next update! Think of it as a bonus check-in and our way of saying thanks for your patience as we continue to get the game ready for its Q4, 2019 release!

Until Next Time,

Paul Marzagalli

Public Relations & Community Manager

@phimseto

You Reap What You Sow[ | ]

Posted: 07/18/2018


WL3Fig Update 25

Wasteland Turns 30

Hi everyone,

Paul here with the latest from Wasteland 3! First off, please join me in wishing the original Wasteland a Happy 30th! As many of you know (particularly those of you who helped crowdfund Wasteland 2), it has been a long and winding road for the series, and we couldn't be happier that we're here making a new Wasteland game.

We're celebrating the anniversary in a few ways, and one of those was by sharing with you the first piece of Mark Morgan's music from Wasteland 3, titled "Frozen Waste". We hope you enjoy it! If you haven't heard it yet, check your email inbox for a download link from CrowdOx! We sent it out a few weeks back.

WL3Fig Anniversary

Another way that we're acknowledging the Wasteland legacy is by continuing to work toward fully realizing our vision for Wasteland 3. On that note, you may remember around this time last year we shared an update with the team huddled together in New Orleans, planning the way forward as the game moved from pre-production to production. This past week, the team met again in NOLA for another milestone - they played areas on the critical path, taking notes on all elements of the game so they can refine their work toward future builds. Were the story beats hitting? Was the co-op clicking like we want it to? Were the audio and visuals helping to tell the story when and how they needed to? These and many other questions were on the table, and the team took the time they needed to answer them.

Now, we've got a few treats for you - a quick early look at one of the locations in the game (and some discussion on combat) courtesy of George Ziets and Eric Schwarz, as well as a Q&A with the team!

Garden of the Gods first look

Ziets here with a little setup on the Garden of the Gods.

In the real world, the Garden of the Gods is a park in Colorado Springs, famous for its towering red rock formations.

In our post-apocalyptic version of Colorado, the Garden still exists, but now it’s the site of an eccentric science project. The aim of the project is to grow crops at the tops of the rock towers by collecting and focusing sunlight, since food production is a major challenge in frozen Colorado. (You can see the solar collectors and other devices in the image below.) Until recently, the experiment was going well.

Then, just before the start of the game, Colorado Springs was infiltrated by the Dorseys, one of the savage Plains gangs who’ve declared war on Colorado. The Dorseys hold a particular grudge against Colorado Springs and its leader, the Patriarch – their ancestors were one of the Hundred Families who founded and built the city.

The Dorseys follow a bastardized version of the local religion, believing that by destroying the last vestige of America, they can bring about the “Final Deluge” that will renew the world. During their attack on Colorado Springs, a group of Dorseys took hostages and are now holed up in the Garden of the Gods. It’ll be up to the Rangers to root them out, recover the hostages, and avoid crippling the city’s food supply in the crossfire.

Implementing Combat

Eric here to do a dive into how I approached combat design in the Garden of the Gods - and more generally, throughout the rest of the game. Just a disclaimer that I'll be talking some specifics about combat encounters below, but keep in mind that these details may change before final release as we continue to tweak and tune the game.

When I begin with the design of combat in a location, I will use the story, characters, and other details of a scenario as a starting point. Who are these people? Why is the player fighting them? Are they an organized force of mercenaries, some killer machines gone rogue, or a bunch of punks? What kinds of weapons do they use? Do they have any special abilities? Do they rely on animals or robots to help them out? I try to factor it all in when it comes to conceptualizing the gameplay, as I've found it's often the best way to start building the encounter. It's always a collaborative process between the higher-level narrative and gameplay vision, the level designers working on each scene, and myself on the gameplay systems end.

In the case of the Garden of the Gods, the area is inhabited by the Dorseys that George discussed above. When you encounter them in the game, they've only been in the Garden a short time, so haven't had a chance to set up permanent fortifications. Although this is a relatively early-game location, I still wanted the Dorseys to be enough of a threat to deter a completely fresh team of Rangers. They dress in animal skins, and use mostly conventional weapons geared towards the outdoors - improvised bladed and blunt weapons, sniper rifles, assault rifles, handguns, and occasionally, larger machine guns and grenades. However, these early Dorseys aren't necessarily experienced soldiers either – they're bloodthirsty fanatics – so that means they don't have access to military-grade equipment, heavy armor, and they don't fight using lots of advanced techniques.

Once I've got a sense of what types of weapons the enemies will use, what their abilities are, and what their place in the game world is, and have spent some time building the NPCs in a sandbox test scene, I'll start working on the individual encounter design. The easiest way to start is to simply play through the level, getting a sense for the overall flow – where is the player likely to visit, and in what order? I generally try to scaffold the individual fights so that players get introduced to a specific enemy faction or type, and then we build up from there over the course of the scene. Having a good introduction not only makes the scene flow and play better for players, but it also lets us as designers ramp up the challenge and complexity.

That said, we always want to do what we can to give you more than "just some guys" to kill. In each location, I try to vary things up by using turrets, environmental objects like explosive barrels, elevation like watchtowers and cliff ledges, hostile robots, and more. In the case of Garden of the Gods, the Dorseys are not a brand-new enemy when the player encounters them, but as it's a few hours into the game, we want to start ramping up the complexity and difficulty of the encounters.

For instance, the first fight against the Dorseys is a mid-sized group with a mix of weapon types, and players are able to approach from a couple of different routes: they can either take the frontal assault, or look around to find a way up to the high ground overlooking them for a tactical advantage. The second, larger group the player finds later on has set up tripwires to keep out any pesky intruders, but observant players might be able to find a flanking route. They're also backed up by a mini-boss who makes use of pets – ones which the player might be able to turn back on their master, provided they have the right skill set.

Last, but not least, cover placement is a big part of combat design. Wasteland 3 uses a cover system just like Wasteland 2, and many design points inform how cover gets arranged, including the enemy weapon types, whether a location is indoors or outdoors, and the kinds of tactical opportunities we want to provide. The environment also contributes to how we design the layouts of our combat spaces. In an outdoor space like Garden of the Gods, you probably aren't going to find many heavy fortifications, but there's plenty of more spread out, natural cover, like rocks, snowbanks, and tree stumps that have you leapfrogging from point-to-point. Additionally, most cover in the game is destructible, so the type and relative strength of cover is also a factor for players to consider. All of these produce different combat dynamics.

That's just a taste at the kind of process we have when building combat in a scene. Of course, we continue to iterate from there many times over for just about every fight in the game, and we'll be balancing and polishing everything throughout development.

Q&A

Hi all, Paul here again for the rest of the update. Thanks to those of you who submitted questions and thanks to the team for taking the time to answer these!

Q: Could there be an update concerning the multiplayer portion? I'd just like to know how the homebase would be shared - companions, items? Are we playing separate squads that impact each other or two halves of a whole? If wanted, can I load up and walk through the whole game with my friend, or will there be times we can't be in the same location at once?

A: When playing multiplayer, your party is split between both players, with each player controlling a number of Rangers. The details may change as we continue to play and iterate, but right now, players can freely allocate party members between one another, with the only requirement being that each player must have a minimum of one player-created character in their party.

Q: What will the Rangers look and sound like in dialogue? Will I see my cool Rangers with their custom appearances close up, "Mass Effect" style? Will the Rangers be voice acted? If so, will the player have a number of voice packs to choose from, or will it be more like "You are Troy Baker, deal with it"? Can the player choose which Ranger is speaking? Can they change which Ranger is speaking mid-dialogue like in Wasteland 2? Or is there a permanent "spokesman"?

A: For regular conversations, you will see your party members from the normal top-down camera view. For cinematic conversations, we're still experimenting, but at this time we're not planning on voice-acting your player characters during conversations. Different party members will be able to speak during conversations, but we've streamlined the interface so that you don't need to pick a specific character - the game will pick the most appropriate character for each line if you meet the requirements. Of course, the companion NPCs who join your party will be able to interject during conversations as well, and they might sometimes surprise you with their insight.

Q: How will vehicle combat work?

A: You'll be able to use your vehicle to fire on enemies, as well as a mobile cover point you can place to maximize your tactical advantage. There's more to vehicles, of course, but we'll talk in more detail in a future update.

Q: I know it's early days yet as far as fleshing out characters go, but do you have any favorites or characters that really stand out?

A: Our characters are continuing to take shape. While we can't talk too much about many specific ones just yet, you can expect to see a commanding presence from Colorado's leader, The Patriarch, as well as a bunch of our various faction leaders and companions. The writing and design team have had a lot of fun trying to add all sorts of personality quirks and moments throughout the game.

Wasteland 2 - Now in Handheld Form!

WL3Fig WL2 On Switch

Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that our original crowdfunded title, Wasteland 2, is making its way to the Nintendo Switch. If you've been planning on playing/replaying the game and have a Switch, keep an eye out for when the game releases later this summer!

That's it for now! Thanks to everyone for reading along!

Until Next Time,

Paul Marzagalli

Public Relations & Community Manager

@phimseto

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