Two years after its precedent-setting Kickstarter success, and 26 long years after the original game, Brian Fargo and inXile Entertainment’s RPG Wasteland 2 is finally coming out on September 19. Wasteland 2 is a long-awaited sequel to Wasteland, a groundbreaking 1988 post-apocalyptic, persistent world RPG that would go on to become the basis of the seminal Fallout franchise in 1997.
The game is set in an alternate history where nuclear war destroyed society as we know it in 1998. From an isometric perspective, you will control a party of up to seven characters, including four of your own design and three NPCs out of the dozens that you encounter in the world. You guide your hearty band of survivors across the forbidding wastes of the post-nuclear American Southwest. Continuing recent trends toward dynamic worlds and nonlinear narratives, your actions will have unpredictable consequences across varying scales, giving your them weight and making each playthrough a unique story.
The game arrives as part of a larger resurgence of tactical PC RPGs in the vein of classics like Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale. After successfully funding Wasteland 2, inXile went on run an even more lucrative campaign for Torment: Tides of Numenera, a spiritual successor to the beloved cult classic Planescape. Around the same time, Obsidian Entertainment, risen from the ashes of Black Isle Studios, who developed all of the previously mentioned cRPG classics besides Wasteland, launched another successful crowdfunding campaign for their own return to form, Pillars of Eternity.
The maturation of crowdfunding has allowed classic, niche genres that had fallen into neglect from major publishers, such as cRPG and 4X games, to find support directly from their eager audiences. With Wasteland 2‘s release imminent and Pillars of Eternity in beta, we will soon see how successful these revivals will be, setting important precedent for the funding model and potentially instilling confidence in other developers and publishers to devote resources toward more cerebral genres.
Wasteland 2 will be available on Steam and other digital distribution platforms on September 9 for PC, Mac, and Linux.