Wasteland 2′s Live Action Intro Sidesteps Perlmanisms

By Alec Meer on May 27th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

I can remember covering the first wave of big Kickstarter games in all their crowd-sourced hype, and feeling conflicted with every post. It was so exciting that all this could happen, traditional barriers between games and their players so suddenly eroded, but at the same time it all seemed like so many promises, talk of a new golden age that was so still so impossibly far away. A couple of years later though, and here we are – these games are steadily becoming a reality, from the so far excellent (Elite 4) to the inescapably ugly (Godus). Where will post-apocalyptic RPG Wasteland 2, one of the first big names to be crowdfunded, wind up? We find out very, very soon.

In the meantime, we get to see how it’s spent some of its less essential groats, with a live-action intro intended to set the scorched earth scene. It tries very hard to avoid saying “war never changes.”

Wasteland’s a little more Western-infused than Fallout, which this emphasises. From my experiences with the beta, the game itself doesn’t really go for this kind of drama – it’s more of a hotch potch of grimness and silliness – but that’s a good-lookin’ video with a healthy dose of Mad Maxian sun-bleached nastiness.

The full game’s out in August, and I’m looking forwards to giving it a few dozen hours then.

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49 Comments »

  1. balinor says:

    I was kind of hoping for a series of stills with a decent gritty voice over for the intro. This just didn’t do it for me.

    • Crazy Horse says:

      Not the greatest trailer but made me smile. This guy’s voice would fit right in on all those police chase shows like America’s Most Wanted.

  2. Fumarole says:

    No Perlman? What a waste.

    • Philomelle says:

      I’ll quietly hope that it’s because Perlman is too busy camping under Guillermo del Toro’s balcony in full Hellboy make-up, tossing bricks at the windows and loudly complaining about the third movie not yet being in production.

      It’s probably not true, but a girl can dream.

      • DrManhatten says:

        Both are more likely busy with a Pacific Rim sequel at the moment

        • Philomelle says:

          They’re not. Del Toro is working on Crimson Peak, which is said to be a ghost story in the vein of The Haunting and Exorcist, while Perlman is drifting between numerous projects. Pacific Rim 2 might or might not follow after that.

          I’m just happy knowing that according to Perlman, he keeps asking del Toro about Hellboy 3 every time they meet.

          • Sgt_Big_Bubbaloola says:

            Actually Sir Ron (oh if only he could be knighted) is getting his own production company on its feet and probably going to direct as well.

      • Horg says:

        Tossing bricks doesn’t seem like Perlmans M.O.. I feel like he’s the sort of guy who would sit outside your house and stare you down through the wall until you snap.

        • Philomelle says:

          He could always get Doug Jones to dress up as Abe Sapien and toss him instead.

          • Sgt_Big_Bubbaloola says:

            Well my brain went to a place that I never wanted it to, thanks for that.

      • bill says:

        Hopefully he’s throwing bricks at Del Toro to get him to give the Hellboy movies to another writer so they can make one that isn’t flawed.

    • Wonderboy2402 says:

      I understand where you are coming from, love his narrations in the fallout games. But this being a kickstarter project they wanted to save the money on an intro and funnel what they could back into the game. This footage is actually collected from I believe burning man? Or some similar event with some acting too.

  3. khomotso says:

    The live action stuff really isn’t helping.

    Part of it is tone. This video has only one note to play, this over-earnest brotherhood of arms business. The tone of the game, if I interpret it right, would tend to mock or subvert that sort of monochromatic moralizing. Or at least tweak it for hypocrisy.

    The Perlman voiceover was overly solemn, but it was framed by humor and old-timey marketing that made the end result seem all the more hollow and sinister.

    We get none of that richness in this video. Just shot through with survivalist chest-thumping.

    • subedii says:

      Yeah I feel they could have done a lot better. The original intros were far more iconic, and as noted above, those were literally just a series of stills with Ron Perlman narrating over them.

      I wouldn’t hope for him to come in on this, but it feels more like the kind of narrative opening you’d get to an FPS, none of the solemn despondency that’s riffing off the theme that humanity basically wiped itself out and what’s left is fighting for the scraps.

      • Hahaha says:

        That was the intro to the fallout games, wasteland just had text and one animation

    • Frank says:

      Yup. And they stretch that single note out way too long.

      • Grargh says:

        I’m not so sure. There would have been room for a few more US flags, and he only said “doody” once.

  4. lomaxgnome says:

    So was that basically the plot of the first game summarized?

    • unguided says:

      It’s the background story to both the Wasteland games explained. Except for the last bit showing Ace’s funeral, an event after the end of Wasteland 1 and just prior to the start of Wasteland 2.

  5. Premium User Badge Morph says:

    Sounds like someone doing an impression of Mike Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad.

    • Crazy Horse says:

      Oh, is that how you spell it? Huh.

      But I’d say poor ol’ Mike’s voice was far more restrained and laid back.

  6. lowprices says:

    Conflict.

    Conflict rarely differs.

  7. WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

    I thought that was pretty good, it set the mood. Yes, it was earnest, but frankly in these cynical and bitter times I appreciate an intro that just sets out events-bad guys-good guys, without having to incessantly “subvert” or “deal with” something.

  8. C0llic says:

    Yeah..
    Like most live action trailers, I thought this was pretty rubbish. On an unrelated note, I can’t help but suspect the guy narrating this is the voice behind Duke Nukem. I’m probably wrong, but now you’re all hearing too.

  9. Einhaender says:

    I really like it but like others I think a video in the style of the game’s silly story telling would’ve fit way better.

  10. unguided says:

    I quite like the video, any goofiness matches Wasteland 1′s tone as Alec says in the post.

  11. JFS says:

    Hm. Nope. Not really there. But whatever, most important part is the game turns out good.

  12. chargen says:

    Holy crap it’s Al Jourgensen! A serious missed opportunity to license some Ministry for this trailer, Mr. Fargo.

    • Fumarole says:

      If ever there was a game for Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters, this is it.

    • 12inchPlasticToy says:

      The lack of piercings says that nnno, it’s not. A hat does not a man make.

    • Erzerpel says:

      My thoughts exactly! Which reminds me, I haven’t played NWO in quite a while, time to give my speakers a work out!

  13. Michael Fogg says:

    Maybe for Fallout 4 James Hatfield will do the opening lines. “Woah. Woah nevah changes-ah!”

  14. The Random One says:

    This crosses the “so bad it’s good” line some three or four times, but still ends up on the “great” side.

  15. stiffkittin says:

    This is pretty good. When the choppiness settles down the live-action performances are well-shot and sincere. The costumes are excellent. The Vargas voice-over is the only thing nudging it into hamminess, which is a pity. If he’d just dialled it back a little on the earnest speech-making vibe that would have improved it a lot. Something more resigned would suit the Western theme better anyway.

    Reminds me a bit of Idris Elba’s painful rallying scene in Pacific Rim. Way to hamstring a good movie.

  16. PopeRatzo says:

    It was so exciting that all this could happen, traditional barriers between games and their players so suddenly eroded, but at the same time it all seemed like so many promises, talk of a new golden age that was so still so impossibly far away.

    Wait a minute. How the fuck does crowdfunding erode the “traditional barriers between games and their players”. I mean, I could see if when you donated via Kickstarter or one of its clones that you got a small share in the profits. Then the barrier would be eroded. But how does making a charitable donation to the developers of a game that may never (and judging from history, will never) be finished, somehow break down the “barrier” (what barrier?) between games and their players?

    I understand that a lot of the staff and readership of RPS is made up of wannabe indie devs, who are hoping Kickstarter is their ticket to a comfy middle class lifestyle where they can play games without having to work, but I don’t understand where this “golden age” bullshit comes from.

    Barriers, my ass. The barriers are eroded when a game is great and it transports the player, or even occupies his time for a little while. If you wanna invest, invest. If you wanna raise money, find some VC or go to your parents. Or panhandle. I don’t care. But don’t blow golden age smoke up my ass.

    • El Mariachi says:

      The barrier represented by risk-averse publishers, who wouldn’t support innovative games or games that they thought wouldn’t sell due to not being FPSes or established franchises/movie tie-ins.

      I think.

    • bill says:

      You seem to hold RPS readers in great disdain. And RPS writers. And basically everything.

      I’m a bit worried. You seem so unhappy all the time, and so negative and critical. Are you doing ok? Hopefully it’s just some kind of online persona. If not, I recommend going out and doing some things that you enjoy, rather than things that seem to make you so stressed.

  17. Enkinan says:

    I liked it. Obviously it is near impossible to beat the Fallout 1 and 2 intro’s but this was well done. I don’t mind Vargas’ voice at all, but that may be because I’m so used to it after the 50ish hours I’ve already put in beta.