Answers to the OP's questions:
I'd really like to know...who played it? Did You finish it?
I've played Wasteland, though not to completion. Will probably use a walkthrough to get through it sometime soon, because I would like to be familiar with all its nooks and crannies, but I don't want to spend months on it. That's no slight to the game's quality; I'd certainly like to play through it multiple times with different parties. It's purely an issue of time; I'm trying to write stories, so I don't have the time to get to grips with the interface and solve all the puzzles and blah-de-blah on my own before the beta. I actually like the interface a lot; it's not nearly as cumbersome an interface as that of almost any other RPG from the same time period, and it's even better than some modern RPG interfaces. But I'm just not used
Did you like it?
I was pleasantly surprised, actually. I just recently did my first complete playthrough of Fallout 1, and I thought it was excellent, but there were some interface issues that just hurt
. It didn't help that my dumb ass selected Quick Shots as a trait, not understanding that when it said I wasn't going to perform targeted shots, it actually meant I couldn't target anything in VATS. I basically stripped a layer of strategy I loved off of the combat because I was dumb enough not to RTFM. When I realized what I'd done, I was already finished with the game. Then there was the fact that I didn't know you could quicksave until a quarter through the game; that was great. Oh, and I also didn't know what all the keys on the keyboard did until about halfway through, when I broke down and looked it up. And, and, and.
Now, I'm not saying any of those things were the game's
fault, because they weren't. They did impact my experience, but they were my fault. But Dogmeat absolutely never staying still ever, and the rest of the party members walking away during the middle of my First Aid animation? That one's on the devs. Also, the inventory. Oh
, the inventory
. I could write multiple theses on the awfulness of that godforsaken inventory.
Anyway, my point is that I was expecting something more cumbersome and aggravating and crude than Fallout 1, and not relishing the prospect. Based on my time with it so far, though, I actually think Wasteland is a better, more polished game in some respects, the combat in particular. I grew up mainly playing JRPGs, and I love Dragon Quest dearly, so Wasteland's combat was more immediately familiar to me than Fallout's. It's more or less Dragon Quest, which is more or less Wizardry.
I also think the skill system is superior to Fallout's, and I really, really, really
dig the surrealist '80s "underground comix" aesthetic far
more than Fallout's functional, dusty palette of browns and greys. There's something strikingly punk-rock about it, and it's one of the very few sixteen-color games that still looks good today (sorry, Krellen
). Leonard Boyarsky's concept art for Fallout is some of my personal favorite art, and all the CG talking heads still look fantastic, but the art of the actual isometric gameplay has always made me slightly sad, because it's functional but dull. One of the few things I think Fallout 3 did better
than Fallout was the color palette. That washed-out, gamma-green tint to everything was genuinely arresting. YMMV, obviously, and I do think F3 looks worse in a lot of other ways, but that's how I feel.
And, for the record, though I firmly believe graphics are pretty damn unimportant, I must admit that a game with fantastic art direction is much, much, much more likely to get my attention than something like Dragon Age: Origins, which had some of the most painfully generic art I've ever seen in a game. I played and completed it, and even enjoyed it quite a bit, but I had to force my eyes to look at the screen without crying. Whereas I thought Dragon Age 2 was a massively disappointing travesty overall, but I admit that I liked the art pretty well. It's not a make-or-break thing for me - I'm a huge fan of Dwarf Fortress and NetHack, for God's sake! But good art direction (which has nothing at all to do with graphical fidelity; Solium Infernum is a beautiful game, and it's basically a bunch of well-painted images and a map) does make it easier for me to enjoy a game.
And if you didnt play it, why exactly are you backing it? What is your expectation?
The answer to this is slightly more interesting. Or excruciating, depending on whether or not you're interested in watching me get all autobiographical on your ass. But, you know, tough titty.
See, I used the link to the abandonware DOS version that was provided on this forum after I joined, and I only joined after I pledged ($250, then upped it to $270 when Avellone's name was dropped). So the actual quality of Wasteland - and, shit, even Fallout, which I happened to complete right before the W2 Kickstarter, er, started - was incidental. It's the same with Double Fine, honestly; I think the only point-and-click adventure game I've ever played to completion was the remake of the first Monkey Island game.
I have fond memories of both genres, and of cRPGs like Baldur's Gate and Torment in particular, but that's as much about my respect for what they represented and for the people involved as it is about my actual experience with the great works of both genres, which is actually pretty limited. That's because I was born in the exact worst year for someone who wants to play the classics legally to have been born in: 1987. I was too young to appreciate the golden days of Black Isle, et al as they happened. I bought all the games PC Gamer told me to buy, so I have stuff like Planescape and Fallout 2 and Baldur's Gate lying around somewhere, but I'm horribly absent-minded and ADD, so I've long since lost the manuals and stuff for those games. And, in many cases, the games.
When they came out, I was old enough to appreciate them (particularly Planescape, which blew my young mind when I played it), and I dimly recall playing those games, but they were also kind of weird and scary, because I was used to JRPGs leading me by the hand. I spent long hours watching my cousin play through the Black Isle stuff, so I knew they were special games, but they always intimidated me with their freedom and maturity and weird (what I wrongly called "ugly") art. By the time I was old enough to actually long
for something more freeform and interesting than emo-pretty-boy, chosen-one-who-will-save-the-world JRPGs (which I still love, to be clear), Black Isle was dead and buried, along with most of the other serious RPG shops. Troika, Obsidian, Bethesda and Bioware were still around, but I barely knew who the hell any of them were at that point.
My introduction to Western RPGs as things I could actually play without feeling terrified was probably KOTOR for the original Xbox, which I both loved and had a vast litany of complaints about. Which is actually how I feel about almost all of Bioware's output; that's why you'll see me say I like Bioware's games in one thread and utterly sandbag them in another. I bought KOTOR the day it came out, because Bioware made Baldur's Gate, and Star Wars plus Baldur's Gate sounded like the greatest thing in the world to me when KOTOR came out (never mind that it was mainly my cousin who played Baldur's Gate while I watched). And that's sort of what it was, except every area was really really tiny. And the shot-reverse shot dialogue scenes were so damn uninteresting visually. And I got used to watching each party member's head do its fake little bob over and over and over and over and over and– Uh, and the combat was weirdly janky in a lot of ways. And the graphics looked unimpressive when it came out
. And the...
Well, there were a lot of problems, is my point. I could already tell that something had been lost in translation.
Nevertheless, when I heard a different dev team was doing KOTOR II, I was disappointed.
Then, as it got closer to release, I read that some of the devs were responsible for Planescape: Torment. At which point I immediately went from "Aw, Bioware's not doing it!" to "Fuck
When the game came out, it blew me away. It addressed all my problems with KOTOR. Granted, it had many problems of its own, like its weird (and, I later learned, completely unfinished and rushed) ending, but it's still by far the better of the two games to me. I committed Chris Avellone and Obsidian to memory, and I wanted them to make all the RPGs ever. I still do.
All of that's informative, and hopefully accurate, but it doesn't answer why I pledged. This is why: in the years after KOTOR, I've watched the rise of the mass-market cRPG occur. And as much as I love a lot of the games said rise has spawned, the evolution of the genre (and the industry in general, in some ways) has depressed me overall. Nobody making narrative RPGs learned the right lessons from KOTOR, least of all Bioware, and nobody learned anything
from KOTOR II. Well, maybe CD Projekt RED did, but the rest of them have been focused on refining KOTOR's formula (or, in the case of sandbox RPGs, Oblivion's) instead of trying something new. Even Obsidian has been heartbreakingly forced to pay tribute to the Bio/Beth juggernaut over and over again. What does it say about the AAA industry that the most exciting thing currently happening in it is the revival of concepts and properties and genres from ten, fifteen, and twenty years ago? This is not the future I imagined as a wee one firing up Baldur's Gate or Deus Ex or Planescape and wondering how much bigger the game worlds would be and how much more there would be to do and blah-de-blah in the Future. You know what I never wondered? "Gosh, how many bumps will they be able to map in fifteen years?"
But the game worlds have gotten smaller and smaller, there's less to do, everyone has to have some awful voice actor that worked on fucking Naruto, Final Fantasy won't let me actually fight dudes directly anymore or walk around in a field because they need to make some dumb kid's hair blow in the wind, and by God, those damn bumps are getting mapped out the wazoo. And it makes me goddamn sick
, because this is not the future I ever wanted for the genre or the medium. It'd be fine if this shit wasn't the only stuff
out there, because then I could go and play Planescape 2 or Baldur's Gate 4 or, well, Wasteland 2. But at some point, the shitheads who nearly ruined movies took over and began to ruin games too.
In another thread, now sadly (though rightly) deleted, I compared Bioware to Steven Spielberg. But the fact of the matter is, Steven Spielberg isn't the only dude making the sort of movies he makes, and the people making the other movies don't consciously try to do it the way he does it. They learn from his work, but they're not defined
by his work. And whatever you wanna say about Spielberg's body of work, you can't argue that it isn't diverse. Spielberg isn't constantly forced to make sequels to Indiana Jones, Close Encounters, and Jaws. Nor even is George Lucas, who Bioware is closer to in actual style. Bioware, like all of EA's studios, has become an IP farm as much as it is a game studio, and that means they're cranking out iterations on things people liked from them before. They no longer have room for fun experiments like Jade Empire; the recent exodus of employees from the studio to work on - shock of shocks - fun experiments like The Banner Saga proves that.
In short, Bioware is now Steven Spielberg from an alternate universe where the head of Paramount Pictures put an explosive slave collar on his neck after he locked picture on Jaws. And then the slave collar suddenly became an industry standard somehow, and every member of the Academy was forced to wear one, and they were all forced to make Steven Spielberg movies in the same style as Steven Spielberg or be reduced to pink mist.
It's... not the greatest
metaphor, but you see what I'm saying.
So I'll tell you why I pledged: because (to beat that awful metaphor completely to death) I want to free the slaves and burn the goddamn slavers' goddamn camp to the goddamn ground. I want everyone who plays games to get what they want
, not what Bobby Kotick or John Riccitiello allows them to have
. I want to prove the shitheads wrong. I want games like Wasteland 2 to be the rule, not the exception. I want that "literary quality" that Fargo has spoken of, that maturity, to come back and stay
back. I want to feel like the medium
is advancing, not the industry
. I want all genres to exist and to advance together. I want the Mass Effects and
the Age Of Decadences, the Fallout 3s and
the Wasteland 2s. I want to be spoiled for choice
, not hoping against hope that cRPG X will finally break the AAA mold a tad. I want everyone
to have something that satisfies them
- the grognards and the greenhorns, the core and the casual. I want no genre left behind. I want everyone to have a say. I want a real revolution.
That's why I pledged.
Also, you can totally shoot a dude's nuts off in Fallout! That is worth all of the money