Brian here for a final update before the Director's Cut of Wasteland 2 lands. This moment has been a long time in the making, and now the ultimate version of Wasteland 2 will very soon be on its way to you, our backers, fans and supporters who made this all possible.
Bringing Wasteland 2 to life has been an incredible adventure and one that was 25 years in the making. But not everyone may know the history behind Wasteland and the influences that came before it to make it what it is.
The post-apocalyptic genre is one which has stuck with me from a very early age. One of my initial experiences with it was The Omega Man, a sci-fi film from 1971, though many of you today might know that story best as I Am Legend. Despite the age of the original book, the themes around it – the destruction of civilization and near-extinction of mankind, that story of survival in a harsh world by a solitary few – are timeless and universal. The original book was turned into a movie three times, including 1964's the Last Man on Earth, as well as a series of comics and a radio play, showing how much a strong idea can reappear over the years in different formats. I'm sure you can recognize much of that in Wasteland 2.
While The Omega Man was one of my first exposures to the post-apocalyptic genre, it wasn't my last. Mad Max, the 1979 film by George Miller and starring Mel Gibson had a profound influence on me, combining those post-apocalyptic, sci-fi storylines with a gritty aesthetic and harsh world full of leather, guns, cannibal tribes and fast cars. The famous minimalist world-building of Mad Max makes it an incredibly iconic setting and it's one that countless creators have been shaped by. And once again, the recent Mad Max: Fury Road movie shows that a strong creative vision can be maintained over decades of time.
When it came time to create Wasteland 1 in 1988, it was a culmination of all my influences in the post-apocalyptic genre. The game took those themes of man-made devastation at the hands of the world's superpowers, and combined them with the deserts, guns and tribes of Mad Max, all set in the post-nuclear Arizona wastes. The game was also steeped in 80s culture and imagery, and many of those dark sci-fi images which came out at the time made it into Wasteland 1, in the form of the game's robots and its punk rock style. The rest is history (and if you want to own a piece of that history, we're still offering limited edition signed art prints of the original Wasteland 1 cover).
Wasteland 1 was a huge success, but when exploring the idea of a sequel, Interplay and I no longer had the rights to the game. Instead, we built Fallout, which had some of its own spin on the post-nuclear genre with its unique 1950s theme – inspired by the look and vision of the future seen in the Golden Era of science fiction. We still made sure to carry over plenty from Wasteland into Fallout – Shadowclaws became Deathclaws, the Guardians of the Old Order became the Brotherhood of Steel… but Power Armor? Power Armor is always Power Armor.
When I returned to Wasteland 2 on Kickstarter back in 2012 – has it been that long? – I wanted to bring back the same universe as the original game, pushing the 80s angle even more. And much like Fallout's references to Wasteland, so too are there many references to other works in the post-apoc and sci-fi genres which inspired the game. The Interceptor, the famous car from Mad Max, makes an appearance in Rail Nomads Camp, and the game's villain, Matthias, is a nod to Jonathan Matthias from The Omega Man. The game is also littered with smaller details, such as characters and in-game books hinting at A Canticle for Leibowitz, or a reference to my favorite post-apocalyptic book of all time, Swan Song, with an appearance by none other than Sister Creep.
The post-apocalyptic genre is like no other out there, because it shows us the darker side of humanity, and what can happen when our normal societal rules break down. While traditional sci-fi often gave us an idealized view of the future and of humanity, it's post-apoc which has fascinated me because of just how plausible it is. That idea of waking up one day with the society you know suddenly gone is one which strikes a chord in everyone, and creates a great basis for interesting ideas and adventures.
And of course, with Wasteland 2, we made history once again, helping to prove that crowdfunding is a viable way to make games, and that those hardcore CRPGs are most definitely not dead!
We're launching on Steam at midnight Pacific time tonight, with other platforms like GOG.com to follow as soon as possible while their teams prep the release. If you want to help us get the word out there, we set up a Thunderclap campaign to help spread the call far and wide. Every bit of support we get helps.
We hope that you can come back to Wasteland 2 and enjoy it even more than the original. Whether you are a new player just getting into the game for the first time, or a rugged vet who's been here since the beginning, the Director's Cut is our gift to you, and our own newest contribution to the post-apocalyptic genre. Let's keep the flame burning!
Leader in Exile