I’m a supporter of inXile Entertainment’s Kickstarter fund to get Wasteland 2 made. I remember Interplay when Brian Fargo was running the show. I remember playing games like The Bard’s Tale and Stonekeep and yes, Wasteland.
I contributed $75 — more than I’d pay for a finished game — because I wanted some old-school RPG goodness. (The same reason why I’m so excited about Legend of Grimrock) I contributed because I read the pitch and focused on passages like:
We�re going back to the original and building from there. No first person shooter, we�re going top down so you get a tactical feel for the situation. And we�re not ditching the party play to turn it into some hack-and-slash bloodfest. It�s turn based, tactical, with a storyline that will be deeper and broader.
We�re determined to keep the gritty, grim and satirical writing. We�re going to pitch those moral dilemmas at you. You�re going to be faced with the consequences of your actions.
The problem is that I ignored (or read with naivety) the passages like:
With your collective vision, the game that was the godfather to the popular Fallout series will become a reality. Not only will you fund the development, but you�ll have a voice in how the game goes together. We will have forums up for design discussion and soliciting your ideas for what will make Wasteland 2 rock.
This is your chance to influence the kind of game you want to see. With fan funding, you drive the direction of game design and development. If it is important to you, it is important to us.
I forgot that when it comes to gaming, I’m on the lunatic fringe. I really do want an old school RPG, but if inXile really listens to the fans on the very active forums, or to new-school gamers like Joystiq’s Rowan Kaiser [see “(Don’t) Give me that old time RPG combat” where Kaiser comments on what Wasteland 2’s combat ought to be], what we’ll get isn’t what I am imagining.
And that’s probably a smart business decision for inXile. Sure Kickstarter can fund development of the game but presumably they’re going to want to sell a few copies of the finished title to people who didn’t Kickstart, too. If they really build the game I want, they probably wouldn’t sell more than a few thousand copies.
And no matter what, I simply don’t have the hours to spend every day trolling their forums and arguing down the new-schoolers and pushing my old-school mentality. I actually wrote to inXile with my concerns: that basically I hoped we weren’t going to end up with a game designed by committee. I got a nice email back meant to re-assure me but I’m not sure it did. They told me they were using the forums to determine what features the fans felt strongest about so they could focus their energy accordingly, but that they have come core tenants that will not be modified by the forums.
So once again I feel like I ought to be on the forums stomping my feet and shouting for turn-based combat, for deep stats and in-depth character building, shouting against the kids who want the game to be Diablo with mutants or something.
In the end, I’m still confident inXile will deliver a great game, so I’m not too worried. I love Kingdoms of Amalur for instance, and it’s about as far from old school RPG as you can get.
But I’m still looking for an old-timer (in actuality or in spirit) game designer who wants to really create an old school RPG with modernized graphics. Someone determined to build what he or she wants to build, and not let the hivemind scribble all over the design doc. That person has to be out there and I want to help fund him or her.