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Wasteland 2 is a sequel to the amazingly popular 1988 RPG Wasteland and the post-apocalyptic predecessor to the Fallout Series.
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!
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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Progress Report

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Hello Rangers!

It's been a great few weeks for us as we're working towards our gold master. After handing out keys to all of you along with Wasteland 2 doing well on the Steam Summer Sale, we saw an all-time high record for simultaneous player activity on the weekend of June 21-22. It's been great to see so many people jump in!

So now's a good time for us to report in and let you know about our status, progress, and plans for the upcoming months.

First and foremost, since this has been requested quite a lot, we are putting back in a local area map functionality! With our rotatable camera and wide 3D spaces this is kind of a must-have for navigating the world. It was pulled from the beta previously as we were beginning to work on the updated map code. The new one is in and both looking and working great. You’ll be able to spot visible enemies and NPC’s along with stores and geographic landmarks from area you’ve explored. NPCs and enemies will not be visible outside of your ranger’s current view range. 

We're still polishing it internally, but here's a look at the local area map as it is in now, as part of the log book screen:

 

Quite a few things have been improved since the last beta build went out. We've done a huge pass overhauling the game's balance and loot drops. You’ll encounter a greater variance in loot drops now along with many new weapons being added, but we also made loot tables more set and less random. To aid that, we've added foot lockers in the Ranger Citadel in Arizona and Santa Fe Springs (Ranger HQ) in Los Angeles so you can store some of that precious loot. 

Along with specific dropsets you'll now actually get items from repairing toasters. Many of these items are unique and can potentially be turned in to different NPCs throughout the world for even greater rewards. Additionally we're upgrading the usage of containers, with safes now having better loot than normal crates, while normal crates are now split into specific types: ammo, weapon, medic, general crates, or smaller junk crates. Many of these will be visually distinct which means that if you're scouting it out and see the crate behind some enemies or traps you can figure out if it's worth it for you to get to it. 

Combat is also going through multiple balance passes, for example fixing the currently broken way jamming works. It will be much less frequent in the final game for general weapons. Some weapons will still have high jam rates, but these weapons tend to have a nice little bonus to offset the frustration of the jam (increased damage, reduced scrap cost…). Improving your training in weapon skills or creating some weapon mods can also reduce the jam rate so there are ways to get around high jam rates. Have we mentioned that we enjoy the idea of the trade-off? 

We've also put in backer shrines, statues, locations, weapons, artifacts and NPCs. The statues are custom modelled and can appear on any gameplay map, while the shrines are in hard-to-reach world map areas and huge rewards (an attribute point per ranger) when discovered. Exploration is paid-off for those willing to veer off the main path. 

Oh yeah, the citizens in the Wasteland have been busy putting up quite a few traps for your journey. Perception and Demolitions will definitely come in handy so train up! Opening a safe without getting hurt can sometimes require Perception to see the trap, Demolitions to disarm it and Safe Crack to open it. Alarm Disarm has similarly been getting more usage. 

 

Energy weapons are back in as we finalize our particle and sound effect passes. Weaponsmithing has seen improvements, with new mods available. Silent Move has been out of the beta for a while, and it is in fact permanently cut. It became too easy to break game triggers, which would in turn-break the game. The plan we put together to find and fix all issues was already colossal with a game of this size and scope. 

Traits/perks as well as aimed shots are two more features we have been strongly considering, but won't be in the final game. We love both systems and agree with the feedback that it would add a lot, however we also believe that badly balanced or overly simple versions would not be in the best interest of the game. Take aimed shots: to do it right means it would have a real tactical impact, AI reactions to its usage, and a carefully balanced pro-cons system, rather than just "decrease to-hit chance to increase critical chance". 

A cool tweak has been made to Computer Science. This skill allows for the hacking of robots, turning them to your side. The difficulty of this depends not just on the robot's level but also on its remaining CON. The lower the remaining CON, the easier it is to hack. This creates an interesting trade-off where you can decide to bring down a robot's health to hack him but this leaves you with a less useful ally. It’s incredibly fun to beat a skill check and watch from the sidelines as your slicer dicer obliterates the remaining robots. 

We've been upgrading UI art for things like the examine window, while also adding elements that improve the experience: for example the vendor side of the barter screen will now look like the player's side and allow for sorting. Additionally we added a Distribute button on looting, this button automatically gives weapons to the character with the highest skill for that weapon, ammo to characters with weapons of that type equipped, healing items to medics, and spreads junk over whoever has the most inventory space left. You can still loot all or manually move certain items to specific characters. 

Optimization has been forging ahead by leaps and bounds: the install size on the disc has already been cut by at least 20%, we've done a texture pass that both improves the look and tones down unnecessarily large textures. And we’re significantly cutting into the game's memory usage. Good things across the board! 

Wasteland 2 is 2x bigger than Kickstarter budget allowed! 

Wasteland 2 is a hell of a project. One that is larger and more nuanced than we had imagined even when completed our Kickstarter campaign and knew what our budget was. We've had the good fortune of having a nicely selling back catalog, which allowed us to put a good chunk of our own money into making this the best experience possible. That along with some help from Early Access on Steam provided additional revenue along with a great influx of feedback. 

We made this promise a while back and it still holds true. Every penny coming in from sales is still going back into making Wasteland 2. By this stage, it means we have doubled Wasteland 2's initial budget. 

There was discussion when we put the game up on Early Access whether it was a good idea or not. I can promise that the game we are close to releasing would not have been the same without it. While Wasteland 2 would have been released months ago without Early Access, it would not have the polish, detail, and scope that we are bringing to you in very near future. The past few years have been one large learning and refining process for all of us, and in hindsight, we can measurably say this had a huge positive impact on the game. Nothing beats the feedback from tons of you playing the game and the resources and time to act on that feedback. 

At this stage in production we are thinking about practical tasks such as getting a gold master version so we can start printing discs. We're currently aiming to have that done in late July, but that doesn't mean we wrap up the project. Some people will stay on (as others move fully to Torment) and continue working on the game until its release to provide a day one patch, and we fully plan on significant post-release support. 

The most obvious of that will be the mod-kit and of course post-release patches. We do not have any expansions currently planned but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any in the future. We will keep an eye on feedback just like we have during the beta period and be open to taking another look at features that are highly requested. Basically, while we are nearing the release date and thus nearing "the end" in that sense, we are looking forward to working on this game for quite some time yet! 

Divinity: Original Sin Releases

Despite the current Belgium-USA rivalry as our two national teams will be playing tomorrow, we still want to congratulate our Belgian brothers Larian with the successful release of their Kickstarted cRPG Divinity: Original Sin. Check it out on Steam or your local retailer!

 

Divinity: Original Sin is a massively fun, open-world cRPG with tactical combat elements. The world is very open and reactive to different approaches, and the co-op mechanics are unique and create a great RPG experience with friends. It's a ton of fun to get into an argument with a friend at a certain decision and see who wins out and what happens because of that choice! I’ve been lucky enough to play it for the last few months and can confirm that they’ve done a great job in over delivering on what they promised. It’s exciting to see other Kickstarter brothers and sisters succeeding and it continues to drive home the benefits of this type of game development…made possible through direct interaction with you, the fans.

Mark Morgan Battle Music

And as a final bit from us to you, we felt like we needed more battle music in Wasteland 2, and Mark Morgan delivered.

Chris Keenan
Project Lead
Twitter : @rangerkeenan

Beta For All

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The Wasteland 2 backer beta launched in early December of last year, which means it's been in eligible backers' hands for over half a year now. In that time many have played the content through to completion, often multiple times, and have been providing us with invaluable feedback and input. Wasteland 2 is undoubtedly better than it could have ever been without you. 

With release only two months out, we felt like this is the right time to expand Wasteland 2 beta access to all backers at any tier who are eligible for a copy of the game! 

So that's what we're doing! Starting right now any backers whose Tier didn’t include access to the WL2 digital deluxe edition can log into their accounts on the Ranger Center and find a Steam key for the Early Access version, under the "Donations" tab, bottom of the page. Note that keys will not be available to everyone simultaneously, if you instead find a "available soon" text this is not an error, it will be available as soon as possible. Upon Wasteland 2’s release at the end of August, this beta version will turn into a final retail copy of the game. 

Please note: As this Steam key also gives access to the final retail version of the game  it will count as a "digital copy" used from your tier rewards. If you're due only one digital copy from your backer tier and claim this key on your account, that will be the only key you'll get from us, you won't be able to later switch to GOG.com or other digital retailers. Remember that Wasteland 2 does not require a constant internet connection on any retailer, once you download it from Steam, you won’t need to go online to play it.

If you didn't quite keep up with all the news: the beta contains all the Arizona content of the game, roughly 25 hours for a regular playthrough, which represents about half the game, and contains all gameplay features save a few we're still testing out internally. Check the reference card here

Backers of Torment who are due a copy of Wasteland 2 can receive their keys as a part of this staggered release. You'll be able to find it under the Donations tab on your Torment backer system account. Kickstarter backers who pledged an extra $25 for a copy of Wasteland 2 won't have the key visible in the Torment backer system yet. We are working on making it available to you so please keep an eye on our tumblr for more news.

Physical Goods

As we're getting closer to release, we're finalizing all the physical goods that backers from eligible tiers will receive. We've recently received the final proofs for some of these rewards in our office, so here is a photo for you:

 

The photo shows: Worn Cloth Game Map, Wasteland 2 Faction Badge, Desert Ranger Medals Ranks 1 - 5, Vargas Miniature, Commemorative Coin and some elements from the Doomsday Preparation Survival Kit. 

And More

We showed you the cover of part one of Stackpole & Long's two-part Wasteland 2 novella in a previous update, and you should know it's up and available to all backers $50 and up now. You can either grab it from your Ranger Center account (under the "Rewards" tab) or from your Steam install folder if you have the Digital Deluxe edition installed. Enjoy the read! It's also available for direct purchase on Smashwords for the interested.

I've done a couple more interviews since the last update. Wired interviewed me with a focus on Wasteland's history and Wasteland 2. MOUSE n JOYPAD also has some questions on Wasteland 2 in general. And last but not least, check out this new screenshot from the Los Angeles portion of Wasteland 2, with a billboard that should look familiar to the oldies among us... 

 

Brian Fargo,
Leader inXile

The Opening Movie

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Brian was on stage at MCM London earlier today showing the Wasteland 2 opening movie and talking about the game and crowdfunding (you can watch the presentation on Resero Network's twitch through this link).

Of course we'd like all our backers to see this opening movie, so we put it up on Youtube for you. Enjoy!

The End is in Sight!

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We are very happy to announce the ship date for Wasteland 2: the game will be coming to you at the end of August of this year!

Before saying anything else, I want to first and foremost again thank you, our backers. Without you I'd never be where I am today, just a few months removed from finally releasing the game I've been wanting to make for 25 years. It's exciting to be in this home stretch, and all your support and feedback throughout the process has made the game much better than it would have been otherwise. What we're releasing is a game of much greater scope than we ever dreamed of when starting our Kickstarter. More features, more areas, more reactivity, more words, all thanks to you for funding our game and for giving us the time needed to finish it. My goal has been to over deliver on your expectations for Wasteland 2.

We also just released another big update to the Wasteland 2 beta (full notes on our tumblr). This update adds the final major area of Arizona, meaning the Wasteland 2 beta now includes all Arizona maps, which is approximately half the entire game!

At this stage we're internally feature complete, but not feature locked. What that means is that every feature is in our dev builds but we're still testing functionality, gameplay balance impact and even quality. If a feature is not good enough, we'll cut it, but if fan feedback and internal review indicates it's vital, we'll double down on it. But the main focus for the new few months lies with balancing, optimizing and of course mercilessly hunting down bugs.

But we are not yet in full lock-down, it is important for us to stay flexible for iterations as we keep learning from the backer beta. For instance, we'll be tweaking the skill usage density and variety our game levels, and adding some smaller lines and skill-paths. Combat balance is something else we'll be spending a lot of time on in the next months, as it still needs much fine-tuning. Localization is another major step and we can do with more help on that, see more below. In other words, these next few months won't be idle months!

Character Creation Screens

One of the changes going into this beta build are the new character creation screens, crafted with the help of feedback from the community.

MCM London

I'll be at the MCM London Comic Con, taking the main stage on 3PM UTC/8AM PST on Saturday May 24th. I'll be talking about the game but also premiering the game's opening cinematic. We knew we shouldn't spend too much cash, so I got a little creative and took my camera to the Wasteland Weekend. Using that footage, stock footage and some new footage shot with actors, we got an effective opening for less than $30K. The opening cinematic explains the history of the setting and the Rangers before setting up the start of our game.

You'll be able to join us via live stream at this URL on Saturday.

Novella

Part one of the two-parter novella from Michael Stackpole and Nathan Long is right around the corner. It should be coming this week as we're putting it through final editing and formatting now. As a little tease, here's the novella's cover artwork:

Crowdsourcing Localization – Next Steps

We launched the Wasteland 2 crowdsourcing localization about a week ago. The effort is off to a very good start, with the hyper-efficient Germans leading the way. We invited a few of our editors to take an early look at the translation output of our fans and they were well impressed by the quality and consistency of our crowdsourced translations. That's the value of getting real RPG Gamers involved! From here on out our editors will start becoming more active on Get Localization itself, guiding and interacting with our community.

The more volunteers we have, the higher the quality of the translations. We spoke earlier on rewarding our fans, and the top translators will get selected rewards later, but to reward our productive translators, we've decided to give everyone who provides approved translation of over 250 strings a digital copy of Wasteland 2, which will include beta access (please do provide your email address when registering, as otherwise we have no way to contact you).

For new fans or fans who backed at a lower tier, this will allow you to jump into the beta. For other backers, here's an extra copy to give to a friend! Plus it helps everyone to ensure our translators have access to the beta, as this'll give them more context and understanding of strings they're translating.

Please note your strings do have to be reviewed and approved before you get your Steam key for Wasteland 2, not just by us but also by our existing Get Localization community. Be aware we're looking for volunteers in Spanish, French, German and Italian only.

As always, we encourage using the Localization page to help spread the word.

Thanks again!
Brian Fargo
Your Leader In Exile

Writing & Localizing

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Hey Rangers,

It is May and things are good. Another big beta update went out, patch notes here. We are nearing the end of the three-month plan we outlined earlier, and hit all our internal end-of-April milestones, which is a rarity. We're getting closer every day, and we intend to announce the official release date sometime this month.

At this stage of the project some portions of the game require less manpower than they did a few months ago, which is all part of our plan for moving people to Torment: Tides of Numenera when their work on Wasteland 2 is simply done. One of those things we're slowly wrapping up is writing, which at this stage is really just tweaks or minor NPCs and encounters added. You may have heard us mention Nathan Long before, a talented and veteran writer who we were very lucky to have join us on this project. This feels like a good time to give him the floor and have him talk a bit about the writing process, so without further ado, here's Nathan:

Last Writer Standing

How Did I Get Here?

I am the luckiest guy on the planet. 

Okay, that's not true. I am not, after all, Charlie Sheen, but I'm pretty damn lucky. How lucky? Let me tell you.

Three years ago, as a wanna-be game writer with no industry experience, I attended a lecture at the Writer's Guild where Chris Avellone was talking about making games. I came out of that lecture inspired and really wishing I could work with someone as cool as Chris someday, but knowing it was only a dream.

Two years ago I lectured at the Writer's Guild about making games, and talked about the game that me and Chris Avellone were working on. How the hell does that happen?

In brief, I got lucky.  

Lucky Break One - my pal Kitty saw an article about Wasteland 2 that mentioned they were looking for writers and she passed it on to me.

Lucky Break Two - In the article I saw that the head writer on Wasteland 2 was Mike Stackpole, who once published a story of mine in an online fiction anthology. Mike knew me, knew my work, and knew I had eleven fantasy novels under my belt, so when I asked him if he had any work for me, he trusted me enough to give me a little freelance assignment - coming up with the background and organization of Griffith Park's God's Militia faction, as a matter of fact. A few days later I submitted the brief, Mike passed it on to Brian and Matt, they liked it, and I was given more work. Woo! My first freelance game job!  

Lucky Break Three - Brian and Matt got ambitious. Right around the time that I got hired, inXile expanded the scope of the game by a considerable amount, and suddenly I had all the work I could handle - maybe even a little more than I could handle! Fortunately, the other writers, Mike, Chris Avellone, Colin McComb and Patrick McLean, were very understanding and very generous with their time and advice, and by the time they had completed their parts of the project I had an excellent grounding in game writing in general and the world of the Wasteland in particular.

So that's how, a year after attending my first lecture on game writing, I ended up giving one. It's also how, two years later, I'm the last writer standing on Wasteland 2.

It's been an incredible two years, and the most incredible part has been meeting all the talented writers, scripters and developers who have worked on Wasteland 2, all of whom have been unceasingly generous with their knowledge and experience. They have taught me so much, and been so patient with my mistakes (like that one time when I almost deleted the entire game from the database?) that sometimes I feel like I should be paying tuition to be here instead of being paid. (Ha ha! Just a joke, Brian. Just a joke.)  

What Am I Doing Here?

So, what is my day to day job here at inXile?

Well, earlier on in the process, it was expanding the design docs created by the writers that had come before me - breaking them down into individual encounters, writing the descriptions and dialog for those encounters, and figuring out how they all tied together into a cohesive whole. And when I was done with one zone, I would move on to the next and do it all over again.

These days it’s a little more scattershot. We are in the tweaking and tuning phase, so I am doing a little of everything. Today Matt needs an extra radio call for an encounter in Arizona, Jeffrey needs a rewrite on a NPC in the Mannerite map because the logic for the encounter has changed, Zack needs to cut some interiors, so I have to rewrite a few scenes so the characters don't talk about being inside when they're actually outside, Brian wants me to rewrite a gag which he feels is in poor taste, and the backers have pointed out a continuity problem in a newly released encounter, so I have to come up with a solution.

I usually start the morning with a call to Matt (which he loves) to determine the priority of all the issues I've got on my list, then I get to work, knocking down items as quick as I can while more get added throughout the day. Occasionally an emergency will come up, and I'll suddenly have to switch over to something else, but usually it's just a slow steady flow of emails and delivered documents all day long.

But in all this work, no matter how scattered, no matter how minor the tweak, the most important consideration is making all of it feel like Wasteland. Brian, Matt and the rest of the developers have a clear, focused vision of what Wasteland 2 is and isn't, and it's my job to be in sync with them and make sure that all the writing in the game - no matter who originally wrote it - delivers on that vision and feels right and true and consistent from zone to zone and character to character. It’s a terrifying responsibility, but I'm happy to have been given the opportunity to do it.

Where Are You Taking Me?

(spoiler warnings apply to this section)

After working on the game for almost two years, you would think I'd be burnt out on post-apocalyptic Arizona and Los Angeles, and... well, it's true that I'll definitely be ready for the complete tone-shift and genre-switch of Torment: Tides of Numenera when I join Colin and the rest of the other team, but I'm still getting a kick out of helping to flesh out all the areas, factions and NPCs in Wasteland 2, and making them as deep and twisted as we can. 

As for my favorites? It's hard to pick. For sheer atmosphere it's hard to beat Ag Center, originally laid out by Chris Avellone, with its oppressive vegetation and terrifying rabbits, and Colin McComb's Coliseum level, later in the game when you get to LA, can't be beat for sheer lunacy and depth of invention, but I'm going to have to be totally unfair and go with the first level where the bosses let me off the leash and told me to go wild - the Canyon of Titan, which we called internally Missile Silo.

Brian and Matt had already laid out the bones of the level when I joined inXile. They had a rough list of encounters, the core concept of bomb-worshipping suicide monks, and a solid ending, but they were trusting enough to let me take it from there.

And I took it. I added another faction, about twenty more encounters than they'd asked for, and something like eight more endings! Amazingly, they didn't fire me. Instead, Matt pulled me back from the brink of madness, told me about the beginner's curse of overcomplication, and we whittled it back down to three endings (or is it four?). Still, I got to keep my new faction, the cold, mercenary Diamondback Militia, my crazy "three-card-monte-with-nukes" quest line, and most of my extra NPCs, including Abe, who carries a blockbuster bomb on his back, the Church Police, who tax unwary travelers, and Brother Guano, who got his name because... well, you'll figure it out. 

I also got to work on the CNPCs, who are the characters who can join the rangers as they travel the wastes. So much fun. Basically, I had to take each CNPC through the entire game and think of what they would say in each situation they could encounter, and also how they would react to the other CNPCs who might also be in the party. My favorites are probably Vulture's Cry, the native American woman the rangers find in Highpool, or Ralphy Parker, the young man they meet in Rail Nomad. Both have cool personality quirks, and also events you can stumble upon that could change their characters dramatically.

There's a lot more places, factions and NPCs I'd love to tell you about, but I don't want to spoil the game, so I'll just leave it at that. I hope you have as much fun exploring the locations, figuring out the mysteries, and interacting with the characters as I did working on them, but I don't know if it's possible. 

Like I said, I'm the luckiest guy on the planet. 

Nathan Long,
Lead Writer

Crowdfunding Localization

As the in-game texts are starting to hit their finalized stages, it's time to ramp up our localization effort in earnest. As you may recall, we've promised localized versions in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish and Russian, all of them are still planned for the released version of the game. Deep Silver is helping us with the Polish and Russian localization so we're all set there.

For the other languages, we've received many requests since even before we ran our Kickstarter from fans looking to contribute, wanting to help us localize the game. And we always planned to involve our fans, so we've launched our Wasteland 2 localization crowdsourcing effort. We are counting on our fans to join our Get Localization project for French, Italian, German and Spanish and together do the bulk of the work on translating to those languages. When that step is complete we will hand the results to professional editors who will do editing and consistency passes. This is an important step to ensure that the localized version will meet the high, professional standards we are looking for.

The more fans we get involved and the more they translate, the faster and better our localized versions will be. We sincerely hope this'll be a fun and productive process. At the end of it, we'll be looking at ways to help compensate via upgrades or cash for the backers that helped generate the most translations.

This tumblr page details the project in English as well as French, Italian, German and Spanish (with thanks to our fans barbarian_bros, Alessandro Gambino, TΛPETRVE and ESp_Ranger). We encourage you not just to join but also to share this call to arms in your own language on whatever forums or social media that jumps to mind!  

Please make sure to read the localization instructions before getting started.

Dialog Screen

Speaking of writing, we recently gathered a bunch of feedback on the dialog screen on our official forums. The feedback clearly pointed us to preferences for making the dialog UI more tangible and solid, to emphasize the portraits more, and to put it all in a nicely skeuomorphic UI. Here is the first pass we posted on our forums:  

One of our fans by the name of Alex 'Olovski' Drożyner saw this UI and responded by offering some mock-ups of his own, improving and tweaking our work. We liked what we saw there so much we've contracted him to do a pass on the UI for us to use moving forward. It's a unique process to involve fans so directly, but the results speak for themselves!  

Loading Human

And finally, there's an ambitious and unique project up on Kickstarter, a VR-only game for Windows and Mac called Loading Human. For those of you set with Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus headsets, this is well worth a look.  

Matthew Findley,
President