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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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And. Here. We. Go!

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Calling Ranger Team Echo back into action,  

This is just a short update to notify all of you that some of the things we've been talking about of late are now live: the beta update, the $10 add-on and some new videos. First and foremost, the large beta update has just gone live on Steam. Additionally, the OSX version of the beta is now also live for our Mac backers!

The full list of fixes and tweaks runs well over 2000, you can view the long patch note list here, which runs the gamut from optimization to fixing small and large bugs to expanding the game's content. We also updated the beta's reference card and expanded it a little bit. As a reminder, this update will break existing save games.

The most immediate difference you'll notice will of course be the updates character and inventory screens. Update 43 had the goods on that so I won't go over it again in detail, we're looking forward to seeing people play around with it. Other than just looking better the new inventory adds a lot of functionality such as an all-party inventory and direct mouse-over comparisons between an item with your currently equipped item (by holding shift).

The second big thing is the addition of the fifth major location in Arizona, the Prison, which was formerly the Ranger Center, now taken over by a rival militia. Ranger Team Echo heads into the Prison in search of ways into Damonta, a town seemingly unreachable beyond a radiation wall.  

Combat sees a significant overhaul in this update. We added stances and expanded the use of destructible cover and height advantages and ladders used by enemies. These combat improvements are still WIPs so expect more iteration and functionality going forward.

Of course there are a lot of smaller updates to existing areas. We changed and expanded the ways some of the major scenarios in the first areas play out, as well as adding smaller events and missions, many of which have an impact on larger quests down the line. And just as a reminder, while the beta is limited in areas we are simultaneously working on later areas in the game, tweaking and iterating and applying the lessons learned from the beta.  

Enjoy!  

Jumping on board

We have launched our limited-time add-on option for existing Wasteland 2 backers. This $10 add-on will be available for purchase for a limited time, and will give access to Wasteland 2's beta. It does not include the other extras from the Steam digital deluxe edition. To purchase this add-on, log into your Ranger Center account, you will find it under the backer store tab.

Torment backers: If your tier included Wasteland 2 and you didn't already get the beta as an add-on, you are eligible for this $10 add-on as well. Log in to your Torment pledge management account and the add-on will appear in the Torment store listing. This applies only to tiers that include Wasteland 2. Please contact us via the system if you run into any problems.

We manually import PayPal pledge data into our system. We will increase the frequency of these updates but please be aware it can still be a few days before your pledge is registered. When it is registered, the key will show up at the bottom of your "Donations" tab, on either system. Please note the system is only set up to provide one key per account, and will not process multiple purchases from a single backer.

In other news: we had to close the Wasteland 2 backer store shortly after the beta went live for procedural reasons, but as you may notice the store is back up now! The tiers have seen some adjustments as we're moving forward and closer to the final release price: the basic digital tier is not $35, the digital deluxe edition is only available on Steam, and the basic boxed edition is $65.

Twitch

If you want to see some of the things this update brings, we did a live stream on Twitch TV earlier today to show off the new goods. You can view the video in its entirety on Twitch.tv here.

Brian Fargo,
Leader in Exile 

FTW For the When

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The comments from the early beta have continued to help us craft Wasteland 2 and the next beta update will reflect the changes we have made based on your feedback along with the many scheduled additions. We've made great progress on this beta update and are currently putting it through final balancing and testing touches: it will go live on Steam next Monday, the 24th. But I know the question on everyone’s minds (and tweets and Facebook posts) is “When will Wasteland 2 be done?” Of course there is always the glib answer of “when it’s done” but we owe you more detail on the process than that.

I’ve always envied when big developers like a Blizzard or Id were able to give such answers as there is huge correlation on iteration time and the final game quality. It’s why so many classic games stayed in development for the time that they did. 

To date we have had a total of 2,300 bugs and suggestions (not counting duplicates) reported from the beta testers and from our outside compatibility testing group since December. We have fully addressed over 1,100 of these items including a host of compatibility issues. On top of that production is moving forward on all fronts, you will see in the next update we have a new inventory UI, new locations on the map to explore, changes to existing locations to add depth, destructible objects, more satisfying combat animations, more ambient sounds, etc.

I promise I’ll soon stop boring you with yet more statements about how great this process is but it truly has been invaluable. Having a large passionate group like yourself playing the game early assures we don’t miss any critical details.  

I must confess that we dared to make an ambitious game. Wasteland 2 is big in every conceivable way, from the amount of writing, hours needed to complete, re-playability options, graphic diversity etc. One might argue that it’s more ambitious than it needed to be but from the outset we wanted to create a classic that would hold a spot in your mind along with the other top RPGs of our time. We know we have some big shoes to fill and we want to push the envelope for what makes a great RPG.  

As we've said before we wanted to use the beta period to evaluate our release window. To outline our current plan: we will have the team working to lock down every aspect of the game within three months such that we are only addressing bugs. On the systems side of the game, over those three months you will see a number of iteration passes on combat which covers things like crouched stance, ambush mechanics, weapon jamming, special attacks, further UI enhancements, and a few surprises. On the skills we need to make several more passes on making them more useful or better message how they are working. We are adding AI to the remaining enemy types and adding the appropriate animations. Art wise we are wrapping up the LA maps and adding additional combat animations and particle effects to give the game more flavor. And most importantly we are continuing our iteration passes on choice and consequence, providing new options that come from the results of your actions.

We know better than to give an exact date at this point because in addition to pushing the game in the ways we’d planned, we’re going to continue to incorporate player comments that make sense for us to address. But we are in the final stretch, and are thankful our backers have consistently agreed we should take the time we need. Our current three month plan will create a significantly better game as we are in an important development phase with each week taking huge steps to improve the game. As we progress through this plan we'll of course keep posting updates to let all our backers know how the game's progressing. But do be aware the end of this three month plan does not represent the finish line, at that point there will still be work to do before we can release the game.  

OSX owners will be happy to know that Wasteland 2 will be available for their platform at the same time as we're putting the beta update out. We're making progress on the Linux version and it will follow sometime after.

Screenshots

We of course wanted to share screenshots of the upcoming update with all of you, and to do something a little different we shot them in 4K resolution (3840x2160). Click on the screenshots to view at full resolution.

 

Other News

A pair of Kickstarters caught our eye of late. One is the massively ambitious Kingdom Come: Deliverance, in the final 24 hours of its funding period and well over 300% funded, they are looking to lock up their final stretch goal. At the start of their campaign is the Middle Eastern culture inspired Zaharia, a unique project which offers a prototype for you to try before you decide on backing it.

If you want to read a little more about the upcoming update, we did a short dev blog post on it on the Wasteland 2 tumblr. There is also this meaty Eurogamer interview with me that digs in on both Early Access, the upcoming update and future plans for Wasteland 2.

As we mentioned in update #41 we are going to make the beta available for purchase to backers who don’t already have access in a limited time $10 deal. This will launch at the same time as the update. We will be doing another Kickstarter update on Monday with specific instructions.

And lastly we will be giving a live feed of the new features of Wasteland 2 via TwitchTV on Monday, February 24th at 11am PST (UTC 19:00). Please come watch us play if you want a greater understanding of the new UI and the subtle reactivity of the game.  

Thanks!
Brian Fargo
Leader in Exile

Re-Sorting Inventory

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Hello Rangers,

Chris Keenan here. Before we get into the juicy stuff, a quick status update on the backer beta.

Development at this point is going faster than ever! Now that we have all of our tools in a great place, we’re spending most of our time making the experience better. You might have noticed that we haven’t updated the beta code in a while and there is a good reason for that. The next update contains some major upgrades almost across the board. We’ve made some huge leaps in optimization and reducing our memory footprint. With your help, we’ve killed over 200 bugs in this update and implemented some great reactivity and conversation suggestions that we received from the community. The inventory system has had an exciting overhaul (more on that later) and a new town (Prison) is being added. The Prison used to be Ranger Center until they took over the Guardian Citadel and made it their home. The OSX build has been in testing and we’re fixing some compatibility issues so there is a good chance it will be ready when the next code update is live. Linux has not been forgotten and will follow after OSX is released.

Because of the scope of the update it's taking a little longer than anticipated, we'll keep you posted on its status as we keep working on it.  Last update we talked about offering a one-time chance to get into the early beta for only $10 to all our backers. The timing of this promotion will coincide with the update going out, so it is not yet available now. It will be a short run promotion so we’ll make sure to notify everyone in an update when it has started.

Broken Age Released

Double Fine’s industry changing Kickstarter for Broken Age (previously known as Double Fine Adventure) could not have come at a better time for us at inXile. They proved that there are other opportunities for small to mid-sized team besides the traditional models that had become stale for both developers and game fans alike. It was literally a few weeks after Brian decided to shelve his dream Wasteland 2 project when Double Fine made waves by taking to Kickstarter. It's become so regular now for larger Kickstarter projects to appear that we forget how much Double Fine changed the landscape, and without them making Wasteland 2 would never have been possible.

Like us, Tim was looking for ways to connect directly to his audience and bypass the traditional publisher model, and succeeded to the tune for raising over $3.6 million. And now the first fruit of the combined power of DoubleFine's creativity and fan's support is here. DoubleFine just released the first part of their adventure game, Broken Age. It is available for $25 from Steam as a season pass, which means it includes access to Act 2 when it’s released. Broken Age is getting great reviews and feedback so if you’re a fan of the genre, check it out!

Novellas & T-shirt

Stephen Blackmoore's novella All Bad Things has gone through copy editing and proper formatting for digital release, and we're releasing it to our backers as of right now! If you have the Early Access package the novella will download automatically within a day, into your Steam install folder (that is ..\Steam\SteamApps\common\Wasteland 2\Books\All Bad Things). You can also find it in your Ranger Center account, we included a link and download code for you to use under the Rewards tab (bottom of the page). Enjoy the read, we certainly did!

Following our collective disappointment at the idea of not having the Stackpole novellas, we put our heads together and came up with a solution that works for all parties involved. Rather than Nathan working on his own novella, he is combining forces with Mike Stackpole. Together, they will be delivering two action-packed novellas that tie in seamlessly with the storylines of both Wasteland and Wasteland 2. These are in the works now and we will give you more details as they near completion.

We shipped out the backer-only shirts in mid-October. If you specified your choice on Ranger Center but have not yet received your shirt, please do contact us. If you've been given a redemption key to use on the J!nx website for your T-shirt choice, please be aware the cut-off date for the use of those is February 14th.

Inventory & Character Screen Upgrade

We’re extremely happy with how the new inventory is coming along. It greatly reduces the amount of unnecessary micromanagement and is much more visually appealing than the previous iteration. Instead of being list based, we were able to make it more icon based with unique icons for all items. The list style inventory works well for a game like WL2 with lots of items to collect, but lacks a bit of the soul that comes with an icon based inventory. There is something special about getting to see all the items you own in one spot. We had always hoped to go with an icon based system, but early in the project we were hesitant to commit to it due to the greatly increased art costs. We’re now at the point where we feel comfortable taking on the challenge and know it will make for a better experience.

The image above shows the new backpack. Long gone are the days of hitting the backpack button and having 4-7 packs pop open. By selecting the party member along the side, you can see the contents of their pack. If you select the “All” button, it will show you the contents of all packs in one easy to read space. Hovering over an item in this mode will highlight the party member on the left to show whose bag it’s in. Drag it to the PC you want to have it and you’re good to go!

When you mouse over the item, you will get all stat and useful information displayed in a small pop-up. You also can further examine the items by double clicking to read the details and see any additional description information.

This grid-based inventory is not limited for space. You can manually keep it sorted yourself under the all items tab if you have your own system in mind, or have the game auto-sort it under one of the other tabs (which will not re-set your manual sorting).

At the same time, we’re also updating the character, attribute, skills and dossier screens. No longer will they be full screen but instead a more compact window, which gives us space to combine it with another screen. Additionally, dropping items in the world, adding them to hotkey bars, and trading becomes much easier when you can move this compact window around to the most convenient screen spot.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new inventory vs. the previous one. Please leave comments on our forums or in this Kickstarter update. It will be included in our next code update so those in the beta will go hands-on shortly!

In the news

Strategy Informer offers a new interview with Brian Fargo about crowdfunding and the development process of Wasteland 2.

Both Game Informer and PCGamer are offering spotlight pieces on Mark Morgan, covering his career as well as the games he's working on now, such as Wasteland 2.

Until next time,
Chris Keenan
Your Wasteland 2 Project Lead

Twitch live stream and Q&A

43 likes

We just wanted to do a quick update to let you know we're on Twitch TV right now, livestreaming from our studio with DJWheat. For the next two hours we'll be playing Wasteland 2 and discussing the game, and this is also an opportunity for our fans to ask us questions about pretty much anything you want; the design of certain areas, the writing process, our plans for the near future, etc etc. We will be playing a beta area so it's early-game, we'll try to keep spoilers fairly light.

Get Back to Work!

76 likes

I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and got time to relax and spend time with the people you care about. I know we here appreciated the break and have returned with our batteries charged; attacking our to do lists with vigor.  

Wasteland 2 has been in beta for around a month now, and it’s been a hectic but great time. The initial beta feedback from our backers has been amazing, not just in that many people are loving what they’re seeing so far, but also in that you guys have been terrific in giving feedback: we have around 8000 suggestions/bugs/comments (with many redundancies as you can imagine) reported directly through the CenterCode bug feedback site, and over 500 new discussion threads on our official forums. All the suggestions and bugs from CenterCode have been processed generating approximately 1800 tasks for our team, of which roughly 500 have already been resolved in the first two weeks of work on this backer beta (in the current internal build).

One of the things that makes this process unique is having an open beta for a narrative driven RPG. Typically we find that beta programs of this size focus on multi-player aspects of games so that the developer can hone in balance, server capacity and features related to multiple people playing a game. In our case we are looking at ways to improve the reactivity of a story driven game in material ways. It is a key tenet to an RPG of this style so expect to see continued changes and additions to areas you have already visited. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly and materially things evolve. We continue to learn from your feedback and apply these lessons to both the beta areas and the ones we haven’t released yet. The final version of Wasteland 2 will be a game that could not have been created in a vacuum.

If you can’t tell, we have been really happy with how well this process is going. There has been a lot of great criticism on how to make the game better, and we’ve been very excited to see the majority of this criticism agrees with our internal evaluations of what we need to improve on and focus on, such as amount and depth of reactivity, or complexity of combat. In other words, we’re in agreement on the direction this game is heading in!

As I said blocker bugs are our first priority but we have a long list of various smaller and larger changes we want to make, many of which were on our lists and were reaffirmed by our community and directly inspired by backer feedback. For example, we’re working on significant improvements to combat. Destructible cover was part of this last update as a first pass with more fine-tuning to come; we will likely add a crouching stance with a variety of tactical applications; we’re going over a lot of the encounter design to more carefully detail tactics-changing factors like ladders or destructible cover; and we’re in the first testing stages to explore adding a special attack system that’ll allow you to invest AP to make specific kinds of attacks based on your weapon types and the skill levels you’ve achieved in those weapons…things like spread shots or steady shots. Keep in mind the combat you see in the beta is only the earliest levels in the game, where enemies are more straightforward and do not have the wide variety of special moves, AoE attacks and more advanced AI of later-game enemies. The enemy AI is quite varied as you get into the later stages, once you’ve sufficiently learned the base controls and rules of the experience.

Additionally, let me give you a peek at some of the things we’ll focus on as we continue production: improving the messaging of the game’s interface and systems significantly; doing several balance passes on everything in the world from economy to combat to the whole character system; overhauling the minimap; fixing font issues; working on the field stripping and weapon modding functionalities; tweaking shotguns so they properly provide spread shots rather than work just as rifles; improving the barter, inventory and character system UIs; fixing pathing; improving the balance and functionality of energy weapons; adding additional satisfying death animations; implementing outfit functionality; adding touches and small scenes to make towns and the world feel more alive and much more. That is just a short list of what is in reality a much longer to-do list, so don’t worry if you don’t see your own suggestion in there: everything our backers put into CenterCode is read by multiple developers so nothing is lost.

One last major thing I wanted to talk about has to do with reactivity and town connectivity. Let me reiterate from our last update, this is our greatest area of focus when we look at videos of people playing the game or read their game impressions on forums or CenterCode. We are constantly adding smaller touches in map passes but also have plans for significant increases in reactivity, both for our existing maps and for the rest of the game. This is another place where backer feedback shines, as we get feedback from people playing through the game and wondering why this one event isn’t a more complex mission or why we don’t add more choices to another. With your help, the game is constantly improving in this field.  

As this process goes forward, we are constantly tweaking features, or adding and removing them, but that does not necessarily mean any of those changes are permanent. The “healing over time” mechanic is a good example of this: We initially put it in primarily as a counter-balance to a lack of reliability of healing items from the random loot tables and an unbalanced economy meaning not enough merchants to buy those items from, and it would have caused an unnecessary delay to implement this before beta release. When we put out our first major update the loot system became more balanced, and we pulled healing over time to see how that impacted the experience of our backers. That is the quintessential beta iteration experience, you never quite know how a feature change works out until you have people playing it. Many like the extra challenge it added and the thoughtful use of healing items it now necessitates, but others were unhappy with the way this impacted game balance or felt healing over time was needed because it is a Wasteland 1 feature. We’ll be curious to see how this is impacted by the upcoming overhaul on field medic and surgeon (yes, we know surgeon is confusing as hell) as well as putting in more friendly doctors and merchants for healing supplies. The game is one of scarcity and the mechanics should support that. We will continue to monitor the discussions on these elements and course correct along the way as necessary.

These next few paragraphs will be primarily of interest to our existing beta backers: we want to thank you for your detailed descriptions of your problems, along with the error logs, save files, and information on what PC specs are running into problems, as they are invaluable resources at this stage, so thank you all so much for your contributions. If you haven't joined us yet on our bug reporting site see this thread, which also contains information on what kind of files to attach (and, as a general request, to please not .zip or .rar them up).  

With the help of all this information we have been doing some major work on our game, and in a short timeframe put out a big update to the backer beta on Steam. You can read the (lengthy) full patch notes over on our tumblr, but be warned there will be a few spoilers at the end of those. Since coming back from our holidays we updated the beta again with a smaller update, primarily to improve performance for specific video cards, patch notes here.

We will continue to update the beta build, first focusing on blocker bugs (crashes, problems with savegames, etc) in the coming few weeks, and then working our way through to major and minor bugs. The blocker bugs have highest priority and as I mentioned have been sorted out to our programmers. We won’t have an exact update schedule here but we should have word on the next update soon, and hope to address the majority of remaining blocker issues. We will continue to focus on optimization for specific hardware setups, and again your reports have been invaluable information for us to work from.  

Expect an update to the early beta code in the not too distant future with an additional area and many reactivity changes. This version will NOT be compatible with current save games, so we’ll give due warning when it’s coming. However, there will be plenty of reasons to play the game from the start, as there will be significant changes to existing areas, and tie-ins between all the beta areas that are worth exploring. New content is not just a matter of pasting a new area to the end of the beta, when we unlock that area we also unlock the tie-ins and NPCs and locations it is tied to.  

Also we were able to get an OSX version of Wasteland 2 up and running fairly smoothly and it is currently in QA. Creating an OSX port of the game is easy thanks to Unity, but such ports do need to go through testing and as we collectively have much more experience with Windows we are being more careful in our approach to the OSX and Linux versions, and are engaging an external testing group to help us get them right. This unfortunately does mean these versions will take a bit longer to release than we anticipated, but on the plus side this experience is invaluable for when we approach the final release. Once the Mac version is up we'll let you know, we will turn our attention toward the Linux version.

Jumping on board

We’ve heard from a lot of our current lower tier backers who still want to jump into the beta, as it was not a part of every tier during the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter or for late backers. We offered a Wasteland 2 beta add-on in our store but closed it as the beta launched, and eligible backers have been able to play this beta for a month now. However, we want to give our existing backers one last chance to jump into the beta, so AROUND THE END OF THIS MONTH we’re going to offer a limited-time add-on option only through the Ranger Center backer store; for $10 you will be able to add-on beta access to your existing pledge, getting your Steam beta key as soon as the add-on is registered by us. Please note this add-on will only provide access to the Wasteland 2 beta, it will not include the digital extras of the earlier add-on or the $60 Steam Early Access version. This deal will also be available for Torment: Tides of Numenera backers who are due Wasteland 2 from their tier, when it launches and if you have Wasteland 2 in your tier you'll be able to get it through Torment's pledge management system. We will let you know exactly when it’s up.  

Novella

The first of our Wasteland 2 novellas is getting close to completion, and will be arriving to backers within the next few weeks. All Bad Things is a novella that previews one of the cults you can find in Wasteland 2, written by the excellent Stephen Blackmoore. Here is a look at a candidate for the novella’s cover:

We do need to make a change to our novella roll out plan as it relates to Michael Stackpole as we have not been able to finalize his story. We will continue to work with Michael to deliver his novellas, but we can’t promise if that will happen.

Because of the uncertain status of Stackpole’s novellas, we engaged Stephen to write this novella for us, which will serve as a replacement for the "episodic novella (part 1)", so it will go to all backers of tiers $50 and above. I think you will be very pleased with Stephen’s work and he does a wonderful job of setting up the backstory for one of the powerful LA cults.

As for the promised third novella, Nathan Long is offering his services. Nathan Long is one of the main writers on Wasteland 2 and his work on our game has been nothing short of excellent, and he is one of the writers on Torment: Tides of Numenera. Nathan also has a long list of books to his name, having written a large number of Warhammer tie-in novels as well as his own "Waar" series. With his experience and knowhow of the game I have no doubt he'll deliver a top-notch novella for our backers.

Chris Avellone has been working on his novella, but he’s gotten a little carried away. He’s been so happy with how the tale has been unfolding that he asked us if he could take more time and revise and expand it to be a FULL BLOWN NOVEL. We excitedly agreed and are thrilled to do something extra for our backers by delivering a much longer story, though this means it will likely still take a few months to complete. It will be worth it when we get it to you.  

We’ll shout out on social media when Stephen’s novella is ready. It will be downloaded automatically as an update for anyone who has Wasteland 2 installed on Steam, but we will also be offering redemption keys via your Ranger Center account.  

Coverage & Shout-out

We’ve had fun watching twitch streams and YouTube videos of the backer beta. If you’re not averse to a few (mostly mild) spoilers and want some first impressions of the game, there are many let’s play videos available on YouTube, for instance the impressions videos of Force, MaskedGamer, or TGN, the twitch streams from Theadrain or Dansgaming, or the multi-part let’s player series from sloshworks, CulveyHouse, TheApocalypticStudio, or HDPLAY Gaming Channel. The videogaming press is also starting to weigh in, we round up their previews under the beta preview tag on our blog, including sites such as GameBanshee, Eurogamer, Strategy Informer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

Speaking of Twitch TV, we will be joining djWHEAT on Friday the 17th at 12:00PM PST for a live broadcast of us playing the game. It should be a lot of fun and insightful for people that want to know more.

And finally, we wanted to give a shout-out to RETRO Magazine, a Kickstarter-funded print and digital magazine that focuses on classic games and systems as well as newer games, so well worth a look to many of our backers. Wasteland 2 will be featured in a future issue!  

Brian Fargo,
Leader in Exile