Amongst the many video game projects that found enormous fundraising success on Kickstarter this year, InXile Entertainment’s Wasteland 2 was one of the biggest. Designer Brian Fargo announced in February that he was planning to build a new sequel to the seminal post-apocalyptic role-playing game, and the fan community responded with rabid enthusiasm.
Within seven days of opening the Kickstarter campaign, InXile had raised $1.7 million. That number swelled to nearly $3 million by the end of April. The crowd wanted Wasteland 2 and it was willing to fund it. With the knowledge in hand, now InXile is asking: Is the crowd willing to help make Wasteland 2?
InXile announced this week that it has partnered with Unity to build Wasteland 2’s polygonal world. The studio will post concept art for the game’s assets on its homepage, and users interested in contributing will vie to make 3D models of those objects and have them placed in the game. After submitting them to the Unity Asset Store, InXile will review the submissions and choose which ones, if any, they’d like to use. Creators who get their goods picked up will be paid an amount of their choosing (InXile asks that pricing be kept in line with other goods in the asset store) and they’ll also receive a badge for their profile on the Unity store that reads, “As seen in Wasteland 2.” They’ll also appear in the game’s credits. Even if a submission isn’t selected, the creator is free to sell it to other developers.
This sort of collaboration with fans on a game is nothing new. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, publishers would run contests for character designs to drum up interest in games as well as get cheap new ideas. Capcom, for example, ran contests for fans to design Mega Man characters. Today Valve is famous for fostering mod communities in games like Team Fortress 2 where players can sell their original content.
Few games are as far reaching in collaborative spirit as Wasteland 2 is. Fans began submitting original art for the game that was used as promotional tools within days of the Kickstarter campaign opening. Now InXile is asking fans to help make the game and to be compensated in the process. What better way to get people invested in a series that’s been dormant for more than twenty years?