Wasteland 2 lead talks hurdles and fan feedback

Brian Fargo from inXile Entertainment shares some thoughts on his crowdsourced project, Wasteland 2, from the failed publisher pitches to how he's responding to feedback from backers.

16

Making a sequel to a fairly obscure game that's nearly 25 years old isn't an easy task. In the case of Wasteland 2, it's the spiritual predecessor of an entirely different property, the Fallout series. InXile Entertainment Is now working on the game at long last, and company CEO Brian Fargo has talked about some of the struggles as he tried to get the project through the traditional publisher model.

Fargo told Ripten that he was rejected by "every major [publisher]," and that sometimes pitching itself was an exercise in frustration. "There was one guy who couldn't stop texting in the middle of the meeting, and I'm sitting there with Jason Anderson and I was outraged. Other times they would send in these junior guys that were maybe 19 years old, never had heard of Interplay, hadn't heard of anything."

Perhaps more frustrating were the ones who sounded committal, but then pulled out after a few weeks. "I would ask why they passed, so I wouldn't bring them the same kind of project again, but they could never tell me why they passed," he said. "Two weeks before Kickstarter I said, 'I give. I don’t know what to do.' And, then, Kickstarter happened."

Now that the project has hit its goal (and then some), Fargo's attention is turning to how he can balance expectations and fan feedback when the fans themselves have invested money in the project.

"Now, I'm on the front lines, looking eye to eye with the fans, and they're telling me, 'Brian, this is what we want. You better deliver,'" he said. "Sometimes, you have to be careful. For me, this really helps close the loop, making sure that we're working on the things that people want. The last thing that we want to do is go work on a feature only to find out that no one wants it. I don't want to do it either, if no one wants it."

That said, he's careful not to put the fans in charge of minutiae. "What we're not going to do is run specific dialog by them or have them approve every single piece of art. Then it starts to become craziness. As far as the core tenets of the game, they should know what it is. They’re helping back this thing, and they deserve to know."

[Screenshot from the original Fallout.]

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 28, 2012 5:15 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Wasteland 2 lead talks hurdles and fan feedback.

    Brian Fargo from inXile Entertainment shares some thoughts on his crowdsourced project, Wasteland 2, from the failed publisher pitches to how he's responding to feedback from backers.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 5:31 PM

      wasteland is a "fairly obscure game" ? really? it was super popular. pretty much the game of the year when it was released.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 5:42 PM

        In 1988. Unfortunately, that makes it obscure. A great many people playing games now weren't even alive then.

        • reply
          March 28, 2012 5:50 PM

          And if they were, they were probably playing games on the NES.

          • reply
            March 28, 2012 5:56 PM

            Yeah, I was 8 at the time. Not playing the NES, but not playing Wasteland either.

          • reply
            March 29, 2012 7:39 AM

            Exactly. Back then it wasn't cool to play games on PC (or even Apple II and Commodore). All the cool kids were playing Nintendo and Sega consoles.

            • reply
              March 29, 2012 7:43 AM

              There was a sort of rarified coolness in that you could get this ugly, work-centric, metal and plastic thing to also provide cutting-edge entertainment, but yeah most people didn't know about that.

      • reply
        March 28, 2012 5:42 PM

        Yeah, but that year of release was like 1986 or something.

      • reply
        March 29, 2012 7:39 AM

        Ask 1000 people that are not posters on this website if they've heard of Wasteland and post your results.

        • reply
          March 29, 2012 8:01 AM

          I've never heard of it before the kickstarter and I've been play games since as long as I can remember. (born 87)

          And I've been posting on the shack for years.

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 5:40 PM

      this is either gonna own so much or be the new DNF

    • reply
      March 28, 2012 8:32 PM

      I joined the kickstarter for Wasteland 2. I think my expectations are fairly low/realistic, but I don't mind taking a small gamble that they can produce a fitting sequel to the first game.

    • reply
      March 29, 2012 7:37 AM

      I sincerely hope this game is a success if only to rub it in the faces of the publishers who treated Fargo so dismissively.

      Those assholes would not have a game market were it not for innovators like Brian making our favorite past time a viable market.

    • reply
      March 29, 2012 7:37 AM

      This is a dangerous thing about Kickstart... it kind of turns customers into mini-producers. To a certain extent these people feel like they deserve to be part of the experience... and to a certain extent, as a backer, you almost deserve to be. BUT... gamers are not developers and a lot of gamers ask for things and think they want things not understanding that the giving them those things would actually make a game which SUCKS. It's hard for gamers (or just people in general) to understand this but getting what you want does not make you happy. Getting an experience which you didn't expect, while also being extremely rich, challenging and well crafted.. is what makes a great game. Being on the receiving end of a steady stream of exactly what you asked for... does NOT make a great game. Games created by a committee will almost always suck (in my opinion) and I just hope the developers working on Kickstart games are strong enough to stand up to fans (backers) who demand certain things even though they (the developer) know it's probably not the best thing for the game. I guess the important distinction here is that a backer is not yet a customer and is definitely not a developer. I'm pretty confident that Double Fine has the testicular fortitude to take a stand and know exactly what makes a good game and what doesn't... I hope others do as well.

      • reply
        March 29, 2012 8:11 AM

        Yeah, hopefully they can handle false entitlement from the users.

        • reply
          March 29, 2012 8:56 AM

          I donated to the Wasteland 2 kickstarter. I didn't give them money so I could tell them how to make their game; I gave them money so they could make the game they wanted.

          Though perhaps I'm the minority here.

          • reply
            March 29, 2012 10:50 AM

            I did the exact same thing. I gave them money to support their idea of the game they want to make without any huge corporate company fucking it up with their new mainstream ideas.

            • reply
              March 29, 2012 11:32 AM

              I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. Hopefully that is how everybody sees it, but I'm sure there are those out there with a greater sense of entitlement.

    • reply
      March 29, 2012 10:00 AM

      couldn't find 1 screenshot of Wasteland, really ?

Hello, Meet Lola