Wasteland 2, the sequel to the fabled postapocalyptic strategy classic, is now well into development, as a major beta update has just been released on Steam. And series founder Brian Fargo has loosened his tool belt and hardhat to talk shop. In a blue-collar interview with Edge Online on the state of the single-player beta, he made the analogy that working on a game funded through Kickstarter is like doing a remodeling gig on HGTV. You roll up your sleeves, knock out a few walls, put in a fireplace, and make sure the homeowner is happy.
It’s almost like a custom job, having me come in and them saying, “Brian, I love the kind of houses you build. I want you to come make me a round house, and I want tall walls and I want a staircase.” If I put all that in, and it’s sort of what we set upfront, then it makes it harder for you to go, “Whoah, whoah, whoah! I didn’t want a round house!”
His comments gets us into an interesting predicament. Do crowdfunded games have some unintended negative consequences for games as an art form? Namely, that the system ties the hands of creators, who feel obligated to do what a faceless mass demands. Or maybe construction work analogies are just the mentality of those who make strategy RPG games. It’s a big question, but it’s worth noting that inXile aren’t prostrating themselves totally: Fargo is saying no to vampires.