Throughout the ‘90s, Brian Fargo was eager to create a sequel to his 1988 post-apocalyptic RPG, Wasteland. There was just one problem: Electronic Arts owned the rights. More importantly, EA wasn’t interested in funding a Wasteland sequel. In 1997, Fargo and his team at Interplay Productions got so tired of waiting on EA that they released a spiritual successor to Wasteland called Fallout. Over the years, Fallout has grown into a massive franchise of its own, which is now owned by Bethesda. However, the two series still share much of the same DNA. If you’re eager to play another game in the vein of the classic Fallout titles, then look no further than Wasteland 3.
“People don’t often realize it, but the Wasteland franchise precedes Fallout,” says Wasteland 3’s game director Tim Campbell. “But now that we’ve had a resurgence of the Wasteland franchise, there is a perception that Wasteland is kind of like Fallout, and it’s funny to think that it is actually the other way around.”
On August 28, inXile will release Wasteland 3. Much like the early Fallout titles, in Wasteland 3 players explore the remnants of a world slowly rebuilding after nuclear annihilation. Players control a faction of Rangers tasked with settling disputes and establishing order in a lawless dystopia. Fans of early Fallout titles may feel at home as they manage a team of up to six survivors through tactical firefights and make decisions that have lasting consequences on the narrative. Wasteland 3 even features a dark, absurd sense of humor, much like the Fallout series.
“One of the things we’ve tried to do in getting back to the roots of Wasteland is really emphasize the mood,” Campbell says. “We’ve tried to emphasize the darkness and the dark humor that goes along with it. I think there’s definitely a vibe difference between Wasteland and Fallout. Our emphasis is on tactical combat. Our emphasis is on parties. Our emphasis is on a lot of things that may have been true about the early Fallout games, but are different than the Fallout franchise that people experience today. We support some pretty extensive world reactivity based on player choices. We have radically different endings based on thousands of lines of dialogue that literally changed based on decisions you make in a split second.”
If the team at inXile prides itself on anything, it’s in creating a rich world for players to explore. Wasteland 3’s characters encounter a lot of tricky situations, but there is rarely ever one way to solve a given problem. Players can sneak, fight, or talk their way out of most situations or explore a mix of all three. Many of the survivors you meet in Wasteland 3 are morally ambiguous, and the choices they force on you aren’t black or white. Every decision you make has consequences because whenever you side with one faction, you also gain their enemies. Wasteland 3’s pillars probably sound familiar to fans of the Fallout series, but anyone hungry for a rich post-apocalyptic world full of tactical, turn-based combat might want to give Wasteland 3 a closer look.
“Wasteland 3 represents the type of game that the original Fallouts came from – that model of tactical, turn-based role-playing with a party of characters that you create and customize into a working unit,” Campbell says. “For fans of the early Fallouts, I think this is their cup of tea. If they play it, they’ll be really surprised by how close it matches what they nostalgically remember. If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic settings in general – maybe you haven’t even played Fallout but you enjoy those movies or books – then this setting has something for you. This is something that will stand out for those who give it a try, and I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised.”