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Wasteland 2 has been released to great acclaim, earning Game of the Year from PCWorld, and reaching #1 on the Steam sales charts! Thanks to all our backers for helping us make this game a reality!
61,290 backers pledged $2,933,252 to help bring this project to life.

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Two Weeks to Bard's Tale IV; Quirking It Up

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First up: hopefully you’ve heard that we are all set to launch our Kickstarter funding campaign for The Bard's Tale IV on June 2nd, 2015. Check out the site to follow the countdown timer along with us, keep an eye on Kickstarter, or sign up for an email notification when we launch. We've also got a sneak peek at the reward tiers for our Bard's Tale IV campaign on our forums, and we'd love for you to check them out and let us know your thoughts before we go live!

The Bard's Tale IV is a special project for us. The game was Brian Fargo's first major release and got Interplay off the ground 30 years ago. At inXile, The Bard's Tale was reimagined for consoles in 2004, and also found great success on mobile later on. Now, we're thrilled to bring you a true sequel to the original trilogy with The Bard's Tale IV. It'll be a game that goes back to the classic dungeon crawling style, and we are excited to share it with you as we bring it to life through the power of crowdfunding.

If you're familiar with our development practices at inXile, you'll know that it's been our strategy to gear up preproduction on one game while another is in full swing. This methodology has the advantage of letting us set up a small early design and prototyping team, while the rest of the company is working on a game in full production. So once the production is complete on Torment: Tides of Numenera, that team of artists, engineers, animators, writers and designers can roll onto The Bard’s Tale IV. This means we don’t need to go through the cyclical layoffs that happens all too often in game development when a large project is finished. Crowdfunding is critical to helping us achieve that vision.

Wasteland 2: Game of the Year Edition

If you missed our last announcement, we just recently revealed that the heavily upgraded GOTY edition will be free to all owners of Wasteland 2. This is our way of thanking you for making Wasteland 2 happen.

Our work on the Wasteland 2: Game of the Year Edition is moving forward at a phenomenal pace. As more of our features get some well-deserved polish, we’re seeing the whole package coming together quite nicely.

Today we’re going to show some of our interface updates, the overhauled character creation process, and discuss some details of our brand-new Quirks system. Take note that the screenshots below are not final art, and show off our new controller interface. They will still be tweaked as we get closer to release (and we'll be changing this further for keyboard/mouse as well).

The Gang’s All Here

The first thing we wanted to do with the GOTY Edition is make it easier to jump right into the game and get up to speed with a squad that can tackle the dangers of the wasteland. To do so, we've added the Squad Overview interface.

Now, you'll have a better picture of your entire squad at a glance, so you can identify changes to make before starting on your mission. Your attributes, skills and traits are displayed here to help you identify your Ranger squad’s strengths and weaknesses.

When you dive into each squad member's details, there's more new stuff to see. We've rearranged the layout of the Character Creation process significantly. Now, you customize your character's appearance, portrait, and bio as the first step. This provides a more natural progression, letting you establish your character's style before you think about what stats to give them. We've also added some quality of life improvements, such as an improved portrait gallery.

From there, we move on to the Customize Ranger screen, where you edit all your stats and skills. It works just the same as before, but it's been visually upgraded to match the rest of our art changes and reorganized to be a bit easier to digest.

We all have a few Quirks, right?

The idea of a unique defining quality for your character has been a common and well-loved one in CRPGs for many years now. Quirks have great role-playing value by letting your characters have distinct personality elements from each other, which give them a special bonus that only they have. In a party-based game, we think it's important that all your characters feel unique, and that's what quirks will let you do. 

When we approached quirk design for Wasteland 2, we wanted to achieve a few different goals. It was important for us to avoid quirks that you "have to pick" in order to play your character the right way, or create quirks that are so good you'll always want to pick them on all your characters. By giving each quirk both an upside and a downside, we can make sure that they are interesting to play without becoming overpowered. This also means that quirks are optional – you can choose to go quirk-free if you want to, and you won't feel disadvantaged in doing so.

We also wanted to have quirks that go beyond your typical stat tweaks, and act as fun or unpredictable gameplay modifiers. While some of our quirks take a simpler approach, some will give you a more radical change to gameplay that might require you make careful trade-offs and considerations. Of course, giving them a unique or compelling personality-based theme also means you'll definitely want to try them out.

One such example is Repressed Rage. Some people are more mild-mannered than others, but sometimes it's the quiet ones you need to be careful about. With this quirk, you'll keep your anger bottled up inside, but you can only keep it that way for so long. When you take a critical hit in combat, you become enraged and gain a heavy damage bonus, in addition to a higher chance of scoring a critical hit. But on the flip side, your mild-mannered self won't be able to inflict "normal" critical hits. Obviously, this will have some implications for how you choose to build your character throughout the game.

Another quirk we've had a lot of fun making is Two-Pump Chump. With this one, you live life fast – but perhaps a little too fast at times. You'll start combat racing for the finish line, and on those crucial early turns will have some bonus Action Points and a higher damage output to help you eliminate the enemy quickly. But after a few turns, your character will start to lose stamina and will suffer decreasing effectiveness over time. You'll want to make sure your initial zeal is powerful enough to take care of business before you become much less useful.

And that's just a very small sampling. We have 20 quirks in total, and we hope you'll have as much fun building out your squad with these new modifiers as we had coming up with all of them.

Shout-Outs

There have been some impressive Kickstarters making the rounds, showing once again the format is still strong. We'd like to give a shout-out to Yooka-Laylee, a 3D platformer from the creative talent behind Rare classics like Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country. People were starving for another platformer of this type and it shows, as this Kickstarter is doing very well indeed!

Next, there's Independent By Design, a book project about indie game development that documents the success stories about some of the highest profile independent game developers out there. We are also honored to be featured in the book among the ranks of some great developers, including Vlambeer, Introversion and many more. They're a little under halfway to their goal, so be sure to check them out and show your support.

That's all for now! It's going to be a crazy next few months for both Wasteland 2 and The Bard's Tale IV, and we hope you'll join us for this wild ride!

Chris Keenan
Project Lead – Wasteland 2 / The Bard’s Tale IV
@RangerKeenan 

Game of the Year Edition Coming Free to All Owners

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Greetings, Exiles,

A big announcement for all of you who have supported us from the start, but before we jump into that we wanted to let you know we are in the final stretches of preparing our Kickstarter for our next big game, The Bard’s Tale IV. If you loved Wasteland 2, nothing speaks more to that than continuing to support our independence in making these types of games, and we’d love to have you back! You can sign up to get an alert when we launch the Bard’s Tale campaign over on our official website. And now on to our big news…

You may have caught word of our plans to release Wasteland 2 Game of the Year Edition on PC platforms, as well as Xbox One and PlayStation 4 - and if you haven't, you can check out some tidbits on the PlayStation blog, or watch the Xbox One or PS4 trailer. But while that's all well and good, we've been asked by many of our backers and fans over the last months: what about those that made Wasteland 2 a reality in the first place, or previously purchased the game?

We’re very happy to announce that the Game of the Year Edition will be coming as a FREE UPDATE to all owners of Wasteland 2 on Windows, Mac or Linux. Whether an original backer, a late backer or someone who purchased the game later on, we will be providing Wasteland 2 Game of the Year Edition as an upgrade to your PC version of the game, available to you when it launches in late summer of this year!

Wasteland 2 Game of the Year Edition will include a huge set of improvements on the original game. Wasteland 2 will be making the jump to Unity 5, the latest version of the Unity game engine, and benefits from updated environment textures, completely redone character models, and Physically Based Rendering for more impressive lighting. We’ve added a ton of new voice-over to enrich the game's cast of characters, including your trusted companions.

The Game of the Year Edition also provides major updates to gameplay.

One feature we're very proud of is our new Perks & Quirks system, which we've teased a little bit previously with Eurogamer. In the GOTY Edition, you'll be able to customize your squad of Desert Rangers with over 80 Perks & 20 Quirks, which let you fine-tune your characters throughout the game with unique bonuses and trade-offs. For instance, with Way of the Squeezins you'll become a little bit dependent on that special sauce, but gain some short-lived combat bonuses; Raised in the Circus will make you more nimble in combat, but you can bet there's a downside or two to looking like a clown.

Our fans have also pointed out that one feature they loved in previous RPGs is the ability to do more finely targeted attacks. Well, we've been hard at work on that too. Our new Precision Strike system lets Rangers target individual body parts on enemies to gain the edge in combat.

Wasteland 2's Precision strikes will tend towards less random and more reliable. With Precision Strikes, you'll be able to inflict debilitating status effects on your enemies to turn the tactical tide. For example, aiming for an enemy's torso will reduce their armor value, letting you hit them harder with your other squadmates, and firing on their head (or CPU, as the case may be) has a chance to stun or even send them into a psychotic state where they won't be able to tell friend from foe. With Precision Strikes the battlefield becomes much more dynamic and chaotic.

Finally, to improve on the gameplay experience and ensure the above features are fitted in seamlessly, we're also overhauling game balance, item drops, and reworking the majority of combat encounters throughout the game. You'll need all your training and smarts to master the new dangers of the Arizona wastes.

We'll have more to talk about as we get closer to release, as we're not quite ready to show off these features in the flesh, but if you’re hungry for more right now, Eurogamer has the most expansive interview on the Game of the Year Edition available, with me and Brian explaining the update and showing examples of the upgrades. You can also read more on GameranxShacknews and Gaming Bolt.

Wasteland 2 Game of the Year Edition is coming to you free as our way of thanking you for all your support. In an age of paid DLC and microtransactions, we’re thankful that you’ve given us an alternative way to make games we love. We’re very proud of what you’ve helped us accomplish and very happy that our business model is based on mutual trust and support, and this is part of that.

Of course, that's not all for us. While the Wasteland team is hard at work and Torment is moving along in full production, we're also positively boiling with excitement to show you more of our third project, The Bard’s Tale IV, which we will bring to crowdfunding later, so keep your eyes open for more news on that. With your continued support, it's going to be a crazy and awesome year for us!

Chris Keenan,
Project Lead
@RangerKeenan

Work… work never changes

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Howdy Rangers,

It’s still early in the New Year and we’re coming out of the gates hot!

We recently released the sixth major patch for Wasteland 2, which added Steam achievements for Mac and Linux, cleaned up some issues that were sitting on our lists, and included another pass on text and localization to make sure even the finest details are polished as best they can be. You can read the full patch notes here.

Part of the newfound freedom we’ve gained from being an exclusively crowdfunded company is that it allows us to offer a high level of post-release support. While this is normal practice for an active multiplayer game, we believe that the ongoing improvements to the single player experience in Wasteland 2 are worth the time and money. The game truly continues to be a passion project for the team here at inXile.

And we’re not done yet…

If you've been keeping a close eye on things, you might have heard tell that we're looking at doing some more balancing and improvements of Wasteland 2 in the future. We have expanded our original plan and decided that this is going to be a part of something much larger for all our fans.

In pursuit of this goal, one task we're working on right now is migrating the Wasteland 2 codebase from the Unity 4.5 engine to Unity 5, which will enable some new possibilities for us. A major benefit of moving to Unity 5 is that 5 will include many of the tools from Unity 4.x Pro. We relied on many of these tools during our development (like creating and building navigation meshes), and they will be available to modders without having to pay thousands of dollars for a Pro Unity license. There is no doubt that this migration will allow us to release better tools for modding to our community in the future.

So what’s the “something bigger” that I teased earlier? Let’s just say that the Orange County lifestyle might be getting to us as the game will be receiving a facelift. Unity 5 offers physically based shading, which is already starting to look amazing in the scenes we’ve touched up.

As well as visual improvements, we have quite a few quirky tricks up our sleeves. The character system is getting perked up and will include some new elements to modify gameplay. Of course, more details will be released in the future so stay tuned!

The Bard’s Tale IV

We’ve got much more going on at inXile right now than just Wasteland 2. Most of the team, of course, is currently working on Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is shaping up great! But, in addition to that, we’re also embarking on some very early technical research and design for our next title: The Bard’s Tale IV!

We’re a ways out from giving more details on Bard's Tale IV, but it’s been thrilling to see the excitement that Brian’s announcement at PAX South has brought. His tweet on the topic is his most shared ever, and our posts on Facebook had incredible reach as well, combining for over 200,000 views, 2500 likes and 700 shares. Over 100 press stories followed on Brian’s announcement; there's too many to show, but IGN, Destructoid, Eurogamer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun are just the tip of the iceberg.

If you want to join the discussion on Bard's Tale, we’ve opened up official forums here, and you can also follow us on Facebook here.

Wasteland 2 Physical Goods

By now, the vast majority of our physical goods have shipped out, including standard boxes and Collector's Editions. If you have not received your Wasteland 2 boxed copy, please get in touch as soon as possible by emailing support@inxile.net or using the Ranger Center contact form. We do not yet have a strict cutoff date, but we'd prefer everyone gets their copy sooner rather than later.

Some of our backers were also due Doomsday Kits with their pledges. All of these have now shipped out to our backers in the United States, and we are in the final stages of shipping out to international backers - if that's you, don't worry, we'll contact you by email shortly with more details once we know they've left the building (and are no longer stacked ceiling-high in Matt's office).

Shout-Outs

We love seeing promising new games on Kickstarter, and we've got some notable ones we’d like to share. Our friends at ArtCraft Entertainment, helmed by Gordon Walton and J. Todd Coleman, has recently launched their Kickstarter for Crowfall, a new type of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. It is a unique MMO which focuses on passage of time, destructible environments, and massive player factions, politics, and warfare. It’s off to a great start, having funded in its first few days, so be sure to take a look.

Meanwhile, OtherSide Entertainment has been running its campaign for Underworld Ascendant, which promises to be a spiritual follow-up to Ultima Underworld, a game that's near and dear to many folks at inXile. Underworld is spearheaded by Paul Neurath, who some of you might know for his work with Looking Glass Studios, which spans a pretty impressive portfolio: System Shock, Thief, and, of course, Ultima Underworld. They’re 99% of the way there as we’re posting this, and have 6 days left to hit some very enticing stretch goals. Consider jumping on board!

We’d also like to congratulate our friends at Harebrained Schemes on their highly successful Kickstarter campaign for their next Shadowrun title, Shadowrun: Hong Kong. They were able to raise $1.2 million, and will be bringing a new mini-campaign to the Shadowrun universe. Missed the Kickstarter, they're running a second chance backer campaign until March 13th, check their website for more info.

In Other News

Brian Fargo has done an interview about crowdfunding, working with fans, and Wasteland 2 with Making Games.

After winning PC World’s Game of the Year among other end-of-year mentions, we’re honored to be nominated for the SXSW Awards as one of the top crowdfunded projects of the year. We're sitting in good company among excellent titles such as The Banner Saga and Divinity: Original Sin, and we're blown away by the game's reception even several months after release.

Finally, we have another gift for all of you: a free subscription for 3 digital issues of RETRO Magazine. RETRO is a Kickstarter-funded magazine written by veteran game journalists that focuses on revisiting some of history’s greatest games, and exploring the heritage of modern video games. Check the reward tab on your Ranger Center account to access this offer.  

Looking forward to another great year with you all!

Chris Keenan,
 Project Lead
@RangerKeenan

What a great way to end the year!

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As we end our Holiday break and wrap up this amazing year I wanted to again take the opportunity to thank you so much for making this all possible. I’ve been quite vocal that without crowdfunding, we would not have been able to make the kind of RPGs that we’ve been wanting to do and this is still the case. So many of our backers are developers themselves and we all have the common goal of making games that we are passionate about. And thankfully Wasteland 2 was well received and is considered a success story for crowdfunding. The pressure was intense and we loved every minute of it.

We capped this year off by hitting #1 on the Steam sales chart again during the winter sale and being awarded the 2014 Game of the Year Award by PC World. This along with other wonderful mentions like TotalBiscuit announcing Wasteland 2 as the "Best Thing to come out of Crowdfunding".

Much of this yearly update is focused on Wasteland 2 for obvious reasons but Torment is making great strides and visually looks spectacular. The writing style is on point and does an excellent job of capturing the otherworldly feel of Numenera and the spirit of Planescape: Torment. Every word is being carefully crafted by an incredible design team. We are applying lessons learned from Wasteland 2 to Torment and are happy with our progress. 

As for Wasteland 2, we will continue to support it in a myriad of ways, in fact we just released our fifth major patch. We will continue to address bugs, improve localization, make balance passes and you can expect a few surprises in the future. We will always go above and beyond the call of duty to build your trust in our studio. We value goodwill greatly here at inXile. 

Wasteland 2's beta launched late last year, and activity and feedback was massive and very valuable. In January, we released an extensive update with many technical and user interface improvements. In February, the new build added a brand new inventory interface based on user feedback. In April the Canyon of Titan was unleashed and the new vendor screen added, as well as a large balance pass done. In May we added the final Arizona maps and did huge iterations on various HUDs. In August we added the local area map along with a huge pass on weapons, dropset and balance. 

The takeaway from all the above is that this game could not have been what it ended up being without your input and help… seriously. From providing ideas or even having some of you work directly on the game itself. Wasteland 2 became a much better game thanks to this process and all your help. There are so many moving parts to these large games and no amount of planning will be as valuable as our ability to iterate. 

Of course we couldn't leave such good deeds unrewarded, we were so happy about this process and our working with the backers that in June we decided to give beta access to all our backers. This is just one of our various rewards we've been releasing: depending on your tier you will find multiple game keys as well as digital copies of our three novellas with Chris Avellone still slaving away on his. We also had a blast working directly with our higher-end backers to implement their various ideas for NPCs, weapons and locations and every "that's awesome guys!" email just makes it better. 

Another big step was starting localization in May. We opened up the process to our fans and backers and have continued to support it after release, dedicated to giving our various fans the best version they can get in their language. This was not without its issues though, and we realized that the foreign language versions need more time for editors to make their continuity and play passes, but one thing we were more than happy with was the effort our volunteer translators put in! 

Physical goods have also been going out and we've been pleased to see how happy people are with the standard and collector's editions of our games. We tried to capture the classic spirit in the design of our box, manual and map and looks like we succeeded! The last step in the physical goods process was the very LONG day of hand signing the Collector's Edition boxes for the hundreds of backers due those!

Of course, then there was the big one, releasing at midnight on Friday September 19th. Over 25 years of persistence had finally paid off. And thankfully the overall response was quite positive and you all picked up on the nuance and depth we put in. 

That’s not to say we feel Wasteland 2 is the perfect game. When you’ve been in this industry as long as I have you realize every game is a matter of give and take and making concessions and hard decisions. But whenever I tell one of my colleagues what budget we made Wasteland 2 on they are surprised we could do it for so little. So while you always feel like a video game can be better no matter what, we are proud of the game we put in your hands. 

Next year we will continue supporting and making Wasteland 2 better, Torment will release later in the year and we will be looking at crowdfunding for our next title! Another exciting year for us at inXile and a good year for all of our fans as well! 

Holiday Present

With the holiday season upon us I got a nice opportunity to give our backers a gift for the holidays! I was contacted by John Joseph Adams, a science fiction author who shares our love for the post-apocalyptic and noted that the old Wasteland 1 was among his original inspirations! 

Thanks to his generosity, we're now offering a free copy of his post apocalypse anthology book The End is Nigh to all of you! It is the first volume of an anthology series, the three parts of which are set before (volume 1, this one), during (volume 2) and after (volume 3) the apocalypse. This 350 page eBook contains over 20 all-new, never-before-published pre-apocalyptic short stories from various authors for your reading pleasure during the holidays, you can read more about it on its own website.

To get your copy, go to the Rewards tab on your Ranger Center account. All our backers are getting a copy, so be sure not to miss out. If you backed for a copy of Wasteland 2 through Torment: Tides of Numenera, you will find this rewards by clicking downloads on your rewards tab at the Torment website. Thank you again and have a great holiday season!

Brian Fargo
Your Leader inXile

Life Beyond Release

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Hello again Rangers!

Wasteland 2 has been out for just a few months now and we continue to be very humbled with the love it's been getting from our backers and fans! It’s been great going on Twitter and our forums, reading your comments and experiences in the wasteland. There are quite a few creative custom parties running around Arizona and Los Angeles…  

We’ve released three major patches since the last Kickstarter update, with over a thousand improvements to the game. The team has tackled things like major optimization passes, UI usability improvements, as well as tracking down bugs. Wasteland 2 is an incredibly large and complex game, with many moving parts, and we've been working down to the smallest details (including typos). 

Many of the talented team members at inXile who worked on Wasteland 2 have moved full time on to Torment: Tides of Numenera, but we still have a dedicated crew giving Wasteland 2 the love and attention it deserves. Amongst other things, we intend to do a serious balance pass in the future that should tighten up some of the loose ends. This process will easily take a month to complete (have I mentioned this game is massive?) so we will need a solid window of time to complete it between updates.

Along with continued tuning of Wasteland 2, myself and a few others at the studio are beginning to work on another RPG that has been passionately demanded of us for a while now! It’s still quite early in the process, but we will have more news on that in the New Year.

Collector’s Edition and Survival Kits Shipping!

We are now shipping out the Collector’s Edition reward tiers! The process has taken longer than any of us would have liked and I want to again apologize for that. We are in the home stretch and these versions will be in your hands very soon! You will receive a shipping confirmation email when your box goes out to you, starting from today.

In the meantime, check out the Collector’s Edition. We think they came out great!  

(coin and medals from Kickstarter tiers will ship with the box but are not shown.)
(coin and medals from Kickstarter tiers will ship with the box but are not shown.)

A large number of these boxes are being shipped to a storage near our office for signing. When they arrive, our leader inXile Brian Fargo, Chris Avellone, and a few core members will spend a good day or two signing boxes. We're using air freight to speed it along, but it will still likely add at least a month to the delivery process on the signed versions.

We took care of the Doomsday Preparation Survival Kits ourselves ($500 tiers and above). It was a lot of fun finding goodies to throw into the Wasteland-branded bag to help you survive and thrive during the apocalypse. They started shipping recently and will continue to be sent out this month, so expect them to arrive early-to-mid next month depending on where you live.

(Above, our den mother and VP of HR, Elene Campbell and myself are adding a little slice of love to each survival kit…at no additional charge)
(Above, our den mother and VP of HR, Elene Campbell and myself are adding a little slice of love to each survival kit…at no additional charge)

A reminder that if you haven’t submitted and confirmed your address on the Ranger Center please do so ASAP. As well, if there are any issues with the delivery of your physical goods, please contact us there and we’ll get it resolved. 

Ashen Rift

Another great looking Kickstarter caught our eye: Ashen Rift, a single player, first person survival game set on an earth transformed into an ashen wasteland. Give the video a watch and it well might tickle your interest! This is creator Barry Collins' second attempt at crowdfunding this and we're really hoping he succeeds this time.  

Chris Keenan,
Project Lead (Still!)
Twitter: @rangerkeenan