Crytek has attractive options for smaller games built with CryENGINE 3, with shorter development timescales.
That comment makes me think Wasteland 2 will use a commercial engine, why else limit your development time to 12 months as Fargo has done? Maybe they are trying to score some sweet engine deal. Unreal 3 licensing I would wager is equally flexible, a 12 month development cycle indie game would be less expensive than games with more than 12 months development cycle.
Now that Choplifter HD has been mentioned as the previous InXile game. The Unreal 3 engine looks likely if very very expensive. That engine is arguably the most well documented and popular engine in it's class. With Fargo's previous experience with it, very fast development is possible.
Also some cool features added in 2009 were the ability to add fracture effects to static meshes to simulate destructible environments,
Soft body dynamics (physics) =ragdoll physics and large crowd simulation. The latter would be useful for non hostile npc behavior to gunshots for example. Linux and Macosx porting isn't a problem, even porting to 3rd generation Ipod is possible. Also fully integrated with steam (Steamworks).
If we check out the games developed for it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Un ... l_Engine_3
Alot of action rpg's which are basically rpg's with 'real time' combat akin to Baldur's Gate and not traditional turn based combat, feature.
Blade & Soul mmrpg
Borderlands a first-person shooter with role-playing elements
Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale Action role-playing game
Dungeon Defenders - action RPG
Fury competitive online role-playing game
Infinity Blade action rpg
Mass effect action rpg.
Lost Odyssey RPG with turn based combat. (Final fantasy style)
MagnaCarta II rpg
Rise of the Argonauts action roleplaying
The Last Remnant RPG
TS Online 3 MMORPG
So already a long history of RPG's developed with it, which means doing so is well documented.
Fargo talks about using the unreal 3 engine here. http://www.unrealengine.com/showcase/choplifter_hd/
Interestingly Choplifter HD was also a 'labor of love' (being based on a very old game)
Fargo says “We’ve been using the Unreal Engine for just about as long as anybody, and my guys have done a wonderful job,” said Fargo. “They really know how to get every ounce out of it and make it do some really cool stuff. For us, we could start making the game day one. All we’ve been doing is focusing on the visuals and the feel of the gameplay without having to create an engine. It’s been great for this project.”
Also Choplifter HD is a downloadable xbox game. So it's a smaller project not dissimilar to Wasteland 2.
“We’re pretty self-sufficient, but one of the great things about using the Unreal Engine is the tools and the support; for that, they get high marks,” said Fargo. “We tap into Epic’s tools every day. And whenever we have issues, they’ve always been very helpful.”
If not the unreal engine which is very expensive. What other very popular, very well documented engines are there that would be cheaper? I think the portability in the future to the xbox and iphone for example, would make up for the money invested in the unreal 3 engine. How much profit InXile makes is the bottom line and using a superior engine like unreal 3, with superior tools and support, will enable them to make the best game possible in their time limit and distribute it to as many people as possible. Money in the bank is money in the bank.
Brian Fargo is also on a crusade of sorts. His aim has not only to make a Wasteland game, but create a game movement. A movement to bring back rich deep text RPGs in the line Baldur's Gate and Fallout 1-2 fashion but with a deep turn based combat system to the masses. That means he needs to deliver the best possible game he can with the resources he has available, that requires polish. Time is limited since he's set himself a 12 month development cycle, but he won't release a subpar game. For the game he wants to release which he has been planning for years, 12 months is all he needs. So with a goal like this, it's not time for cost cutting in regards to an engine. Unreal 3 has very low entry costs and is currently the most functional choice for them, (experience with, tools and support available) so I think that will make it very attractive. If Wastelands is a financial failure and doesn't breakout from a niche fanbase, nothing is lost since it was never about the sequels or the money.