Kickstarter has recently gained a lot of attention and acclaim from communities of gamers in particular for its newfound ability to crowd-source funding for fan-adored games made by legendary designers that have somehow slipped through the cracks of modern game-industry publishers. Now the yeti of modern gaming, Brian Fargo and his elusive quest to finally make Wasteland 2 may finally see the light of day thanks to a spectacular success on the platform:
Wasteland 2 raised almost $600,000 in 24 hours. It has 33 days to hit $900,000, a goal that seems well within reach. Developers like Schafer, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson, and Fallout 2 designer Chris Avellone have all publicly supported the project, posting about it on their Twitter feeds and asking fans to help donate. Fargo says he’s absolutely thrilled with the reception.
Now he just has to worry about making something awesome. Fargo says Wasteland 2 will be a top-down, “party-centric” roleplaying game in a sandbox post-apocalyptic world, just like its 24-year-old predecessor. It will be developed “first and foremost” for PC and released on the Steam digital distribution platform.
In order to appeal to everybody, striking a careful balance between old-school nostalgic appeal and modern mechanical sensibility, Fargo says he’s looking to the Wasteland forums for ideas and inspirations. He says fan input will be pivotal to the game’s success.
“If fans are out there acting really negatively towards something, we’re gonna change it,” Fargo said, noting that while they “won’t be writing the dialogue,” they’ll have a very large say in every aspect of the game’s development.
“We’re gonna have fans involved completely.”
Kickstarter, as Jamin pointed out in a recent Kill Screen feature, has become something of a critical darling for the way it empowers fans and developers alike to make new and innovative games without the financial constraints of appealing to the massive scale of distribution console and casual platforms are typically concerned with. Wasteland 2 seems particularly suited to this role—for years Brian Fargo has pursued his mission to develop this game seemingly in vain. Sequels and spin-offs to Fallout are periodically released to the excitement and disappointment of the original game’s rapid cult following (in the interest of full disclosure: I am part of the cult. Playing Fallout is probably the reason I’m sitting here today typing up articles for Kill Screen) eager for a return to the thoughtful and methodical top-down approach to turn-based role-playing.
The outpouring of support for Wasteland 2 also illustrates another shift in the game industry enabled by a vibrant and newly self-empowered online community: the realization that crowd-sourcing and viral activism can be the catalyst for real change. The line between the new Kickstarter project and the massive flash-mob level of donations to change the endinging of Mass Effect 3 is very, very thin.
You can support the project here.