Wasteland 2 has been released to great acclaim, earning Game of the Year from PCWorld, and reaching #1 on the Steam sales charts. Now, the Director's Cut comes October 13th, 2015 as a free PC update to all backers as our thanks for making the game happen!
Things have been pretty hectic and crazy the last weeks around inXile HQ, especially as we rocket towards finishing Wasteland 2 Director's Cut. The good news is that things are shaping up awesomely on all fronts!
Director's Cut Live Stream with Quill18
During our Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter closing party, we will be live streaming from 4 PM to 6 PM PST with renowned Twitch and YouTube star Quill18. As a special treat, we will be demoing Wasteland 2 Director's Cut live for you during the stream. This is the first time we are publicly showing live gameplay.
The stream will be hosted on Quill18's Twitch channel, and we will try to get it archived for you afterwards, but join us live if you are able. You will not want to miss it!
A Precise Look at Precision Strikes
One of the main features we have been working on for the last little while has been Precision Strikes, our called shots-type system that many fans of post-apocalyptic games will be familiar with. This is actually one of the earliest features we designed and prototyped for the Director's Cut, but it also went through a lot of subtle changes and iteration along the way. And now we can finally show it off to you!
First, what exactly are Precision Strikes? Put simply, they a new shot type we have added to combat. Precision Strikes will let you aim at specific enemy body parts, and depending on the body part you fire on, you will be able to inflict debilitating status effects.
When we approached Precision Strikes, we had a few goals in mind. First, we didn't want Precision Strikes to feel like they were always the superior option. We wanted Precision Strikes to live up to their name – to be used tactically and situationally – rather than being used each and every time.
On that note, we also wanted Precision Strikes to all be useful in their own ways. We made sure each type of Precision Strike had its own unique qualities. Different enemies have different strengths and weaknesses (something we had to further refine and accentuate thanks to our rebalancing and new additions like Precision Strikes and Perks), and with Precision Strikes you will have ways to counter them effectively.
When attacking enemies, you have up to four Precision Strike options. We are still tweaking the numbers a bit, but their effects are:
Head: 1.35x damage, +25% crit bonus, chance of rendering the enemy confused or psychotic, causing them to attack their friends or behave erratically. Significant Chance to Hit penalty.
Torso: 0.8x damage, reduces the enemy's Armor. Small Chance to Hit penalty.
Arms: 0.7x damage, reduces the enemy's Chance to Hit, chance of destroying their weapon and causing it to explode in a shower of shrapnel. Moderate Chance to Hit penalty.
Legs: 0.7x damage, reduces the enemy's Combat Speed, chance of knocking them down and reducing their Action Points. Moderate Chance to Hit penalty.
We wanted Precision Strikes to be fairly reliable so that you'd want to use them often, but to also capture a degree of randomness, allowing you to cause cool and unique effects. Sure, you might be able to reduce an enemy's Chance to Hit by aiming at their arms, but rarely, you'll actually destroy their weapon entirely, causing it to explode in their face for some extra damage. Little random elements like this let us make the system feel exciting and unpredictable.
We even have some extra bits of polish in there as well. These body parts will vary in their naming a bit depending on the enemy type. For example, if you go up against a robot, you might find that instead of a head, it has a CPU, and instead of a torso, a chassis. We also have some new sounds, particle effects and even animations on certain enemies that also tie into the new system.
Overall it's a ton of fun to play with. It really does add a degree of depth to the combat, and we can't wait for you to enjoy it yourselves.
Wasteland 2 Playing Cards Funded!
Another successful Kickstarter you may have seen featured in our previous updates is Jackson Robinson's Wasteland 2 playing cards! His campaign funded in a little over 2 hours after launching, and he has so far raised a huge amount over his original goal. This has been an amazing collaboration, and we're very pleased with the results.
Jackson recently shared a speed painting of someone you might recognize from Wasteland 2 – take a look below!
That's all for now, everyone! We'll have more coming for you in the next weeks. For now, we have a party to attend, a campaign to wrap up and a massive Wasteland 2 update to get polished and ready for you. Onwards!
Line Producer/Wasteland 2 Designer
We wanted to get an update out to you all before the 4th of July holiday weekend, and have a few things we thought we'd share with you.
First, in case you missed it - in our last update, we announced that we're renaming our upcoming version of Wasteland 2 for PC and consoles as Wasteland 2 Director's Cut. It is still coming free to all owners on PC in late summer this year! Be sure to check out this little trailer we put together:
Limited Edition Wasteland Playing Cards – Now on Kickstarter!
The coolest thing we want to share today is a collaboration we started with Jackson Robinson, a Kickstarter veteran who has successfully funded and delivered on numerous projects on this service. His specialty is creating unique, themed, high-quality playing cards. Several of us backed his earlier projects, so when he pitched us the idea of doing a Wasteland-themed deck of cards, inspired by the story and characters of our game, we felt that it was a natural fit.
As Jackson is an avid gamer and industry veteran, along with a true believer in the power of crowdfunding, we have total confidence in him to create high-quality cards that you'll enjoy either collecting or using with your friends for all kinds of tabletop card games.
We were ecstatic to see this Kickstarter hit its funding goal in just a couple of hours after launch, but there's four weeks left for you to jump on board and get this unique collectable! Remember that these cards are limited-edition, and won't be available after the Kickstarter campaign, so get them now while they're hot!
Wasteland 2 Director's Cut Media Update
The Director's Cut edition of Wasteland 2 is progressing well. We are running on all cylinders testing, polishing, and taking it through the required rigmarole for release. This includes the fun stuff – making sure the game is balanced and plays great – to the less exciting but still necessary, such as getting updated age ratings, re-doing the manual, creating new box art, and the big one, console certification.
We'll have more in-depth coverage as we get closer to release, but we wanted to share some brand-new screenshots and a few new clips from the trenches. Enjoy!
Eric Schwarz Line Producer/Designer – Wasteland 2 @searanox
It's that time of the year once again! E3 2015 has come and gone, and the gaming world has been flooded with big news from all over the globe. And we are no exception to that, as we have a huge helping of items ourselves to share with you!
The Bard's Tale IV – Just over 2 weeks left!
As some of you might have heard, the team behind Wasteland 2 has also been running a Kickstarter campaign for The Bard's Tale IV. We've fully funded the project thanks to the support of nearly 30,000 backers, but are looking to make this the epic scale game that you have come to expect from us! With only two weeks left on our campaign, we want to close in a big way.
If you haven't seen The Bard's Tale IV footage, you must check it out!
We say it all the time, but we mean it: our games would not happen without your incredible support. And we want to reward your generosity in the past by offering a special promotion for all of our returning backers.
Today we are happy to roll out an inXile Loyalty Rewards promotion! Anyone who backed Wasteland 2 or Torment: Tides of Numenera previously, who also backs The Bard's Tale IV at $20 or above, will get a FREE bonus reward containing items from either Torment, Wasteland 2 or The Bard's Tale IV (valued at up to $15)! These rewards include items such as digital soundtracks, novella compilations, concept art books and more.
Furthermore, any returning backers who back The Bard's Tale IV at the $33 tier or higher will additionally receive FREE copies of Ultima Underworld 1 & 2, from GOG.com and our friends at OtherSide Entertainment. This offer is only available until June 26th. If you are a returning backer and have already backed The Bard's Tale IV – and if you did, thank you! – the loyalty reward is also retroactive for you as well.
Simply back The Bard's Tale IV on Kickstarter using the same account you did previously in our system. We'll contact you after the Kickstarter campaign concludes so you can make your selection. For more details and the full roster of options available, please visit this page.
Of course, this is independent of our other special offer: all backers of The Bard's Tale IV at $20 and up, whether they've backed us before or not, will be getting a free copy of the Bard's Tale I-III Trilogy, letting everyone experience the original games that started it all.
We are very cognizant of how many emails you get each day so we promise not to update on the Bard’s Tale Kickstarter campaign again. Supporting inXile with each of our endeavors allows us to bring you a certain style of RPG that we know you love.
So, we invite you to join us to hail the Bard’s return!
And now for something fun: Gavin/Miracle of Sound did a great rendition of "Money for Nothing", with his own RPG-themed take on it that we think will resonate with a lot of you. Take a look!
Featuring lyrics by Nathan Long, writer on Wasteland 2 and The Bard's Tale IV!
Wasteland 2 Director's Cut
Many of you are familiar with our previously announced Game of the Year Edition update for Wasteland 2. Today, we are happy to share with you that Wasteland 2 Game of the Year Edition will henceforth be known as Wasteland 2 Director's Cut. And to commemorate this occasion, we have a brand-new trailer to share with you, featuring all-new footage taken directly from the Director's Cut!
Why the change? We feel that this new title more accurately reflects the contents of the update. Rather than just being a repackaging of the same old content, the Director's Cut name indicates the sheer scope of the changes involved. With many all-new features that you have requested, overhauled graphics, an upgrade to a new game engine, and tons of new recorded voice-over, not to mention controller support and Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions – Wasteland 2 Director's Cut is truly the definitive version of the game. And of course, anyone who currently owns Wasteland 2 will get the Director’s Cut on PC, Mac and Linux for FREE!
E3 2015 – LA, here we come!
Associate producer Thomas Beekers has been working hard this week, hanging out at E3 2015 in Los Angeles along with Brian Fargo, Maxx Kaufman, Joey Betz, Erika Sass and myself. They were all on hand to demo the game for the press and fans running on real console hardware. We've been thrilled to finally take the lid off and share this version of the game for the first time. We managed to snap some photos of the fun so we could share it with you.
We are very proud of how great the game is turning out, and just how well it plays with a controller – not something you might expect from a top-down perspective party-based RPG. In fact, thanks to our new features like Precision Strikes, Perks and Quirks, the game celebrates replayability more than ever now.
The feedback we got from E3 was great not just for the sake of press coverage, but also for letting us get the game in the hands of eager testers for the first time. The game played great, and we were also able to take those first impressions to fine tune the game even more. As we move towards release we will be working to polish things up and make this the best version of Wasteland 2 yet, whether you choose to play with keyboard and mouse, or with a controller in hand.
As a general note, the screenshots and video in this update are all using our controller interface – but remember that we won't be forcing a controller-driven interface on you when you use mouse and keyboard.
We showed you Quirks – now, here's Perks
When we first announced this updated version of Wasteland 2, we hinted at a number of new features. One of those was Quirks, our personality-defining characteristics you pick when you start the game and which have both positive and negative aspects, but we haven't spoken about Perks in detail yet – the other side of the new character customization depth we've been cooking up.
Perks, unlike Quirks, are gained as you level up your characters. As you progress in the game you will earn Perk Points, which you can spend on Perks whenever you wish. Perks are per-character bonus you pick, and unlike Quirks, they are always positive stat and gameplay adjustments. Right now, we have it set up so that you gain a new Perk Point every 3 levels, though we're currently playing through the game balancing things out, so the rate you earn Perk Points may change by final release. Perks also have Skill requirements to unlock – for instance, you might need 3 in Toaster Repair, or 7 in Assault Rifles, with more useful or powerful Perks typically at higher Skill requirements.
This also gives us a great opportunity for us to give players more incentive to pick certain Skills, since now you might need to think about which Skills to get based on the Perks they unlock. Some Perks are a bit more universal in how they work. For instance, you might get a bigger Evasion bonus from hiding behind cover, but with others, you will get gameplay-altering features that will change how you approach combat or exploration, such as unlocking the ability to deal more damage when attacking from behind.
Here's a few more examples:
Deadeye: Slow and steady wins the race. In combat, your enemies keep an eye on you at all times - because if they don't, they're liable to lose theirs.
Benefits: -1 Action Point cost when firing Sniper Rifles if you haven't moved during your combat turn
: Your prowess in close combat allows you to catch your enemies with a well-timed melee strike as they weave in and out of the fray.
Benefits: Gain melee Ambush attacks against enemies when they move past you in combat, dealing 50% normal damage
Powder Packer: You always seem to find ammo stuffed in the strangest places. Your friends won't ask.
Benefits: +10% chance of finding bonus Ammo when looting
And that's just a small sampling. We have over 80 Perks in the game for your party to earn, giving you new tactical options and choices in how you build your party. We are very happy in how the system has turned out and we can't wait to let you enjoy it!
Texas Hold 'Em – Ranger style!
We'd like to announce that we have partnered with Kings Wild Project and Jackson Robinson to Kickstart an awesome Wasteland-themed playing card deck! These cards feature art inspired by the game and look and feel awesome. You can view more photos of the cards here. The Kickstarter for these cards will begin July 1st, 7 PM Central time, so mark your calendar!
That's all for now, but if you've been counting, we've still got a couple more bits and pieces to share with you before Wasteland 2 Director's Cut ends up in stores – or as a free update in your game library if you already own Wasteland 2 on PC. We hope to share more of those with you before we release in late summer of this year.
Chris Keenan Project Lead - Wasteland 2 and The Bard's Tale IV @RangerKeenan
Today is a very special day. As you may know, it marks the 30th anniversary of The Bard's Tale, the game that started my career in game development in earnest. And now, we want to bring back The Bard's Tale IV with the power of the crowd once again.
The original game has a special place in my heart and fans have shown me time and again they still love the dungeon crawl genre and want more. With your help, I can finally make this long-awaited true sequel to the original The Bard’s Tale trilogy, bringing you that sense of discovery with challenging dungeons and devious puzzles that you loved and cursed all at once. And what’s more, if you back in the first 24 hours we’re throwing in a free game, your choice of an extra copy of Wasteland 2, or The Witcher or The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
We hope you’ll join us!
I also want to take a moment to thank you again for all the support you’ve shown us. With both our Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarters we were blown away by your faith in us. The support you've given us on the previous campaigns stand as the high points of my career and has allowed me to go back to what I love, making cRPGs.
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.
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