Rock, Paper, Shotgun is offering an interesting interview with Obsidian's Chris Avellone about Wasteland 2, Kickstarter, the state of the industry and related subjects. Snippets ahead:
RPS: The whole “getting Black Isle back together” news story set off a chain reaction of nostalgic comments, tweets, Facebook posts, and probably a few extremely meme-able YouTube videos. Meanwhile, Baldur’s Gate is coming back via Beamdog. There’s this giant contingent of RPG fans who constantly pine for the “golden age” to return, and now they’re getting their wish. Is that a good thing, though? Or is there a risk of pushing the genre backward — looking back without moving forward?
Chris Avellone: It depends what you mean by “backwards.” I still consider a lot of innovations that occurred with Fallout 1 and Wasteland to be unmatched in today’s RPGs. I feel true innovation often gets lost beyond features that require new engine tech and the latest video card when we can achieve more interesting game mechanics in tighter constraints.
I don’t think anything involving Kickstarter would stop future RPG iteration across the major franchises in the slightest. There’s still a market for those huge budget RPGs that people want, and they’re fun to play, so no harm there. I also don’t see the harm in the industry going “backwards” and forwards – again, I think there’s a lot of gameplay elements that can be learned from working on “old school” titles that are just as applicable in current titles and can push both genres forward.
RPS: I’ve seen an interesting trend in fan responses to the Wasteland-Obsidian probable partnership: “YES, IT’LL BE JUST LIKE FALLOUT 2.” Except that Wasteland and Fallout 2 are very different games — especially in terms of battle system, etc. How do you cater to Wasteland fans and Fallout fans while also making something that gamers who’ve never experienced either will dig?
Chris Avellone: I don’t think “modern gamers” want Wasteland 2. I think the people that remember and played these games want the Fallout 2/Wasteland experience which is a different target audience. Now, you could argue that they still don’t know that they want that and that they may have unconsciously become used to modern game mechanics or features like voice-acting.
Still, I have faith they don’t need the more expensive trappings that I often feel can hinder the experience as much as it potentially helps it. It may be the section of fans I interact with, but all of them are old-school turn-based RPG lovers, and they know what they’re getting into.
Lastly, this is my opinion: it’s Wasteland 2. It should be a Wasteland game. While there were differences between F2 and WL, there’s a lot of similarities as well: open world, open exploration, skill-based solutions, stat-based solutions, enemy types, coping with radiation, etc. I’ll be honest, we worked at playing around with Wasteland elements in Old World Blues, and people never felt the difference – they loved it all the more for those elements.