InXile On Date, Length, And Expansion Of Wasteland 2’s Beta

Wonderful news from the tweet-o-dodecagon today: Wasteland 2‘s beta finally has a release date. After it slipped from October into daaaaaaaates unknown (woooooooooo), inXile CEO Brian Fargo has claimed the Kickstarter darling is only two-and-a-half weeks out. That in mind, I got in touch with Fargo to find out what took so long, how much of the game will be available in the beta, whether it’ll expand over time, and what all of this means for the final game. Read on for the full thing.

RPS: What, specifically, caused you to take longer than you initially expected? Were there any major sticking points, or was it just a general polish type of thing?

Fargo: There is no one particular thing that pushed us out this last 6 weeks, we just wanted to have the minimum number of systems in place so that our backers could have a reasonable play experience. To achieve that we needed to have 95% of the final game’s systems working but of course the good news is that we now have most of the underpinnings complete. We certainly did have some technical issues in that we are pushing what Unity can accomplish and their 64 bit version isn’t ready yet.

I expect a good 6-10 hours of [beta] gameplay for a non speed run approach.

A game of this size has a lot of moving parts which has the inevitable breaking of code when checking a fix in for an issue. I still have a long list of things I’d like to see done but it’s time to get it out and work with the fans on shaping it from here. It’s certainly a tightrope we walk between releasing it to ravenous backers who want to see it and us wanting to make sure it’s in a form we’re proud of.

RPS: How much of the game are you planning to include in the early beta? Which areas, systems, and elements of progression?

Fargo: We are going to give away a part of the Arizona area for players to explore. I’d rather not spoil which areas they are but I expect a good 6-10 hours of gameplay for a non speed run approach. There is a lot to do, and it is a virtual impossibility to see some major events in a single play through, as some are mutually exclusive. In addition, you are likely to miss some nice moments as we don’t guide you strictly on what you do. Of course this sets its up for some nice re-playability.

RPS: Have you had to cut anything from the beta in the interest of time? If so, will it make its way back in before the testing phase ends?

Fargo: There are some skills that we have not implemented – like Silent Move and Salvaging for example – and we intend to increase the size of the beta as time goes by. We will continually update Wasteland 2 with new areas, skills and options and players will get to experience seeing the current levels get an added boost of reactivity and choice based on the feedback and observations of play. We will have a relatively short roll out to our beta backers so we can get it into the people’s hands who paid early for it.

Our plan was always to make Arizona be the beta test bed but for us to keep Los Angeles for the final release so the gamers can still be surprised and to minimize spoilers. There might be a few other features and surprises that the players are going to quite like too.

RPS: Will beta progress be able to carry over into the final game, or will players have to start fresh?

Fargo: Because of the nature of the save games and that we are keeping track of a world with so many save states there isn’t practical way for us to have them keep their games. We had some ideas for allowing them to keep their characters but no promises.

RPS: What’s the new timeframe for launch of the final game? Are you playing it by ear based on how the beta goes?

Fargo: I’ve been pushing to get this game made for 20 years so I certainly want to make sure I get it right. It sounds cliché but we really are making this game with the fans and backers so we need to go through this beta phase and get a sense of how well we have achieved what we set out to do. I’d like to see Wasteland 2 treated like a classic in the way Fallout, Bard’s Tale, and other great RPGs I have been associated with.

RPS: Is it at all weird to you that your early beta’s going to drop right around the same time Bethesda (might) announce Fallout 4?

Fargo: Well I’m certainly glad our game isn’t finalizing the same time as Fallout 4. But it is an interesting turn that I would be shipping a sequel 20 years after the first game into the same time frame as the franchise that began as the spiritual successor to Wasteland. Wasteland and Fallout are like brothers separated at birth.


  1. Themadcow says:

    It’s somewhat unrealistic to think a game this complicated could have save game compatibility with the final version, especially early beta stuff. I’d rather the developers focused on polishing the final release version rather than spend days / weeks trying to iron out compatibility bugs.

    • Tacroy says:

      I’ve noticed that a lot of indies are heavily restricting their betas, and I think it’s because of concerns like this. People don’t understand that betas are terrible.

      • AngoraFish says:

        But they keep releaseing them on Steam Early Access regardless… go figure.

      • Triplanetary says:

        They really don’t. The problem seems to be growing with time. I leap into pretty much every MMORPG beta that comes along, and in years past, people generally seemed to understand the nature of a beta.

        But when I was playing the Elder Scrolls Online beta last weekend, hoo boy. First, you had the selection of players who thought they were going to be getting Skyrim Online and were pissed that that wasn’t what they ended up getting.

        Then you had the players who seemed to think that the beta was just a toy for them to enjoy (rather than a tool for the devs to uncover bugs and other problems, and to test how the game scales as they add more players), and were super-pissed that it wasn’t already 100% perfect.

        And you had a slice of people who really didn’t seem to understand that they weren’t playing anything near a final game, and were convinced that any problems they encounter now are definitely, 100% going to be in the final game. This includes the robot voices that were clearly just placeholders. I mean, seriously, do these kids think that all the VO work in a video game gets knocked out in a few hours or something?

  2. sonson says:

    Bard’s tale a classic RPG?

    • Themadcow says:

      He’ll mean the original 80’s version, which was great. The more recent ARPG is decent in places and is probably one of the best in the genre on mobile platforms, but never considered a classic.

      Bards Tale 1 (Tales of the Unknown) was a milestone in RPG history and up there with Wizardry and Pools of Radiance in defining the genre in it’s infancy – moreso than Wasteland I’d argue (although Wasteland was more ambitious).

      • jrodman says:

        I feel like Bard’s Tale was really the polished glossy version that followed on the groundbreakers but with shinier graphics. I mean it seems that way when looking through the timelines and history.

        It certainly didn’t feel that way to me at the time though, as I purchased it on word of mouth and it was my gateway into the genre (I mean, the real gateway was pen & paper D&D.. but digressions).

        I still love it. Probably out of nostalgia.

        • Themadcow says:

          Absolutely, Bards Tale wasn’t groundbreaking but it was definitely the most accessible game of it’s type when it came out. The single town environment, along with the handly map that came in the box insert, was perfect for learning the ropes in RPG-land. Looking back on it now though it was incredibly punishing at the start with only the Bard’s fire horn likely to stand between your level 1-3 party and total decimation by a random group of Barbarians that could appear at any time. Oh, and ‘withering / aging’ – the gold destroying spell of doom if your party got afflicted.

          • jrodman says:

            I think i remember my 11 year old self kind of shouting at the screen “BUT I SAID RUN” when some Nomads destroyed my level 3ish party. The game didn’t bother to say something like “you try to escape but are caught” it just dropped you into the combat prompt as if you’d said fight.

            For better or worse it just pushed me to learn about hacking gamestates and generating infinite gold (see below) so I could just resurrect and continue.

            In recent years when I’ve played again I played it entirely “fair”. If i died, i made new characters. It was fun having the struggly start and finally getting out of the gutter, knowing it was going to happen. Probably one of those cases where the game was designed too much for the people who had learned it well.

    • PostieDoc says:

      I loved The Bards Tale games on the Amiga.
      Definitely classics in my book.

      • jrodman says:

        This was when I learned about hex editors. :-D

        • Themadcow says:

          My approach was more homebrew with my Amstrad version – load the “Whirrrrrr CLIK!” from dungeon you were entering, fast forward to the “SKKKKRRRRRREEEEEEEE” from a later dungeon (using the counter on the tape player) and Hey Presto! – instant access to a harder dungeon that you can get uber items from (e.g. Flame Horn) before retreating quickly to the stairs out.

          • jrodman says:

            Oh, when i played on the c64, I used techniques with multiple character disks to make infinite gold and duplicate fire horns. It was fun figuring those out.

            The Amiga made it much easier than the 8bit era. Saves were in discrete files that were very small, so it was super easy to find the stats. eg, i have 10 strength, look for an 0a. and look a 0c next to it.. that must be my 12 intelligence. Just finding a hex editor for a c64 or an amstrad was an adventure.

          • Jonfon says:

            I used the Flame Horn & Gold dup a lot too on the C64. I remember hacking the save file at some point as well too.

            Did anyone ever play The Bards Tale without hacking the poor wee thing?

          • Themadcow says:

            If this was 2006 I’d probably say “Chuck Norris”

          • balinor says:

            Bard’s Tale was something I played to death at about the age of 10 or so. I still have the complete maps now almost 30 years later. This was my introduction to serious rpgs. Just a shame the remake was complete and utter shite.

  3. Bull0 says:

    I’m glad we’re going to get our hands on something soon, but urgh, if it isn’t feature-complete it’s not a beta, it’s an alpha.

    • Erinduck says:

      There is no set meaning for alpha and beta in game development terms.

      • jrodman says:

        Wellllllll the terms alpha and beta do have an original meaning in software development theory and the terms directly can trace back to those introductions.

        Of course I agree they’re used so varyingly.. shrug

      • Bull0 says:

        Games are software, and in software development if you’re not feature complete you’re in alpha, buddy.

        OR, next time you’re in my restaurant I won’t cook your food, because “There’s no fixed meaning for cooked and raw in the-type-of-food-we-make terms”

        • Bull0 says:

          Of course, don’t come to my restaurant, as due to its’ hypothetical nature the guests usually leave hungry

          • Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

            How about I hand you a menu and ask you to pay $35 for a meal upfront. Then in 2 hours I’ll bring you a plate of some food, you taste it, and tell me what ingredients I should add.

          • Bull0 says:

            And if enough people show up, you’ll consider expanding the menu to include dessert options. Several people will pay the minimum to get in to the restaurant, and proceed to protest loudly about perceived failings before the menu is finalised or anyone’s eaten.

          • Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

            And if you tip me before I serve you , you’ll get a signed copy of a sketchbook containing all my hand drawn doodles of farm animals. Throw in $10 more and you’ll get a playlist of all the music I listened to while I was prepping your meal.

        • jrodman says:

          Or you’re doing agile development ! :-D

        • Erinduck says:

          Uh, no, really. There is no set definition of what alpha and beta mean anymore. Alpha and beta haven’t had set definitions for decades, in fact. A lot of the time an alpha is “we have a rough prototype” and the beta is when features start getting added in.

          • Bull0 says:

            You’re saying this like it wasn’t implicit from my original comment that I know a lot of people are using the terms differently to my definition.

            Here we go. link to

          • jrodman says:

            I feel like for consumer software or really almost anything that gets end-user tested, the “beta test” concept has come to dominate the other senses of the terms. As in “this is the version that we let people touch but it’s not done yet” is the only thing that’s really used relatively consistently.

          • Bull0 says:

            In this case, I think it’s actually reasonably fair that they’re calling it a beta. Thing looks to be generally done. Restricting the player to a section of the story, but with most of the systems in place, that’s pretty OK. See GODUS for an example of an alpha in beta clothing. People were damn disappointed with that thing.

          • Jonfon says:

            Nowadays “Beta” means “the first 0-4 months after the release date”

            *Glares at Xcom Enemy Within* (although I still love you)

          • Bull0 says:

            Oh? Off-topic, I guess, but I’ve done a playthrough with only a couple of issues. Be interested to hear about your troubles?

          • Jonfon says:

            It’s mostly freezes. 50% of the time when the game is starting, just as it says “Loading User Settings” I get a hang and need to Task Manager & kill the application and try again. I’ve had a few ingame freezes as well.

            I’ve done the “stop steam sync” and “validate the cache” things but to no avail. Even tried disabling my antivirus, just to check, but didn’t solve the start-up freeze.

            I’ve had a few oddities with the new gene mods too, the worst was Bioelectric Skin yesterday making a Seeker perma-stealthed. I could see the bioelectric effects but he stayed cloaked and started shooting at my squad. That was easily resolved with a grenade though.

            Some really odd AI decisions as well (mostly to my benefit like when a nearly dead Sectopod decided not to murderise a squaddie 6 spaces from him but decided instead to move 2 squares and then move back again)

            (with apologies for the Off Topicness of this post!)

        • AlienMind says:

          That would be nice, but in reality all kinds of big publishers fling around their “beta” when they clearly do not have all features in it. Defacto killing the meaning of the word. We must live with that….

  4. bwion says:

    There are games where I’ll happily play a feature-limited beta (or alpha or roguelike or whatever term you want to use), but an RPG of this sort really isn’t one of them. I’ll be waiting for the final release, thanks.

  5. royalecomqueijo says:

    This is looking a lot like that never-finished-fallout-game “Project Van Buren” or something like that.

    • Triplanetary says:

      Just to clarify, “Van Buren” was, in fact, intended to be Fallout 3, before Interplay folded.

      But yes, in that it’s a post-apocalyptic game with an isometric perspective in a true-3D engine, it does indeed look like Van Buren.

  6. MadMinstrel says:

    If you meant something spherical it’s dodecahedron, not dodecagon. And then, if you want something that symbolizes RPG games well, like a 20-sided die, it’s icosahedron. A dodecahedron is a 12-sided die. Get your hedrons right, you methusai! ;)

  7. fluffy_thedestroyer says:

    An RPG like game that can be finished in 6-10 hours ? To me that hardly qualifies as being an RPG. Usually RPG’s takes an ass long time to finish because the RPG has a very long story to it… unless this game has some kind of mod that allows to add some story element, it sounds like an average RPG in my book.

    • MadMinstrel says:

      6-10 hours is just the first version of the limited beta. There will be more content in the final game.

    • Themadcow says:

      If this was a lesser forum I’d be looking for a double facepalm ASCII right now.

    • wodin says:

      Read the article ad not just the red writing in the box..this is just a small part of the game. He has already stated the finished game is going to be big.

      • WrenBoy says:

        To be fair he could also have only read the headline and assumed a beta was feature complete…

    • Drake Sigar says:

      I panicked for about 0.11 seconds then I actually read the rest of the article.

  8. PopeRatzo says:

    Don’t believe a word. The game will be released in Q4, 2014.

  9. Triplanetary says:

    Wasteland and Fallout are like brothers separated at birth.

    Although Fallout 3 (and Fallout 4, presumably, since it’s going to be developed by Bethesda) is more like the fetal-alcohol-syndrome-addled bastard sibling of Wasteland and Fallout 1/2.