Redbull interview Brian Fargo and Chris Keenan about Wasteland 3.
"I like the concept of you starting off alone and trying to survive with all the elements against you, so you don't get the luxury of having your squad around helping to save your ass," starts Fargo. "The thing with role-playing games is that at the start, we're already asking you to spec out a guy before you really understand what's best. And it compounds the problem when we're asking you to spec out four people before you know what's best. So, for all those reasons, we really liked that, from both a psychological perspective and also from a gameplay perspective."
Keenan agrees, and the team have been watching Twitch streams to see how the players actually enjoyed the game. "It seemed like there was a group of people who were used to that old-school character creation right off the bat, with lots of stats and numbers, who you could tell just immediately loved," he says, but there were other people who were more apprehensive to that creation system, and Keenan offers a solution. "What if we give the player a little bit of a sense of the world so they can start to feel it out and then building that stuff up afterwards so they can really make it count?"
It's an interesting idea, but the concern must surely be that this strays from what fans of Wasteland are used to. Keenan is aware of that worry and is quick to calm fears. "You'll still create your party," he explains. "You'll have your initial character, and then you will certainly come across a wide range of NPCs throughout the world. But you will be able to adjust the stats of other party members."
After spending time in Arizona for Wasteland 2, Fargo is happy to tell us how the new setting, Colorado, fits into the lore. "The idea was that the Rangers [the dominant faction in the Wasteland] wanted to expand their territory and bring law and order not just to Arizona, but to the rest of the States. And Colorado was interesting because NORAAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) is located there, too. So it seemed like an obvious place to go."
Switching the arid deserts of Wasteland 2 for the cold weather of Colorado means that the radiation suit you needed to stay alive is now going to be replaced by protection from the cold, but there's still a world map in play, it's just that inXile isn't quite sure how it will work yet. Keenan explains: "There will be some amount of overworld travel as you move through. Whether it looks like the old world map is up for debate," while Fargo insists that the team are currently experimenting. "But the idea of a world map goes all the way back to Wasteland 1 and the original Fallout series, and that's not something we want to deviate from." So the game won't be Skyrim sized, then, but Keenan insists that "we still want you moving between locations and feeling like you're outside a local space."