Waste Not, Want Now: Wasteland 2 ‘In The Final Stretch’

If the beards are this good in the final game, I think we're looking at a really special experience.

I emerged from Wasteland 2‘s beta with a fair number of irradiated gravel bits in my gamerly boot, but there’s no denying that it’s a solid foundation. (And hey, it’s a beta. If you go into a bug hunt expecting to not get dirty, then I can only advise that you re-calibrate your expectations.) Improvements, however, take time, and inXile’s been diligently ironing out Wasteland 2’s kinks ever since the beta started. So surely it’s almost done by now, right? Well, kinda. All that remains is the “final stretch,” which will last three months and change if all goes according to plan. There’s a new beta build en route too, for those still in the business of picking at the pie before its done cooling on the window sill (or another equally quaint metaphor of your choosing).

Head honcho Brian Fargo broke the news in a Kickstarter update:

“We are in the final stretch, and are thankful our backers have consistently agreed we should take the time we need. Our current three month plan will create a significantly better game as we are in an important development phase with each week taking huge steps to improve the game. As we progress through this plan we’ll of course keep posting updates to let all our backers know how the game’s progressing. But do be aware the end of this three month plan does not represent the finish line, at that point there will still be work to do before we can release the game.”

This will, however, be the time during which most major systems work is completed. Combat, skills, AI, and locations will all receive their final tweaks and overhauls, with combat especially cruisin’ for an evolution. “On the systems side of the game, over those three months you will see a number of iteration passes on combat which covers things like crouched stance, ambush mechanics, weapon jamming, special attacks, further UI enhancements, and a few surprises,” wrote Fargo.

Fargo also revealed that the team has had more than 2,300 bugs and issues brought to its attention over the course of the beta, and it’s dutifully squashed half of them so far.

A new build reflecting much of that progress will be released on February 24th, and it’ll be bolstered by a revamped inventory UI, better combat animations, destructible objects, and new locations.

All of which is encouraging news. It remains to be seen if this spry upstart can truly match the depth and reactivity of the genre’s elder statesmen, but even if it falls short we’re still looking at a fairly strong post-apocalyptic RPG. Sure, I’ll probably never be able to eat a blood sausage again, but sometimes greatness necessitates sacrifice.


  1. Squirly says:

    3 months might be enough time for me to chew through Stick of Truth and Dark Souls 2. I think.

    • prian says:

      Except that the game won’t be released in three months.

      That’s three months before they lock down the features and then really begin the bug hunt.

      In the meantime they’ll continue to fix bugs as well.

      Once the game is feature locked it will still have months of fixing and balancing to go through.

      The earliest we’ll see this title released is the middle of the summer 2014 and that’s only if everything goes perfectly. That’s assuming that they actually feature lock the game in 3 months time. A more reasonable timeframe is late 2014 (Nov / Dec) or even early 2015.

      I find this article weird in that the title says, “final stretch” while where the game actually is in the development cycle is more like, “still making major changes and doing stuff so we have a long road ahead but now we’ve put in yet another arbitrary deadline that we may or may not hit.”

  2. Bull0 says:

    And hey, it’s a beta. If you go into a bug hunt expecting to not get dirty, then I can only advise that you re-calibrate your expectations.
    Speaking as someone who worked in QA, I find it adorable when people talk like the marines from Aliens about QA

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Like in the movie, the adorable ones will be first to get mauled by the bugs. Game over man. Nuke it from orbit. QA.

      • Hematite says:

        We take off. Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be assured.

  3. PopeRatzo says:

    I’ve got $50 that says when this is finally released sometime in late November, it will be “Early Access”.

    • gschmidl says:

      I’ll take those $50, please: link to store.steampowered.com

      • Squirly says:

        Except that it’s not November yet.

        Now what?

      • PopeRatzo says:

        It does actually say, “Early Access”. The question is whether that’s going to be removed before November, yes?

        • Psykhe says:

          You cannot release something which has already been released (as the Early Access Version is), so if it is still Early Access in 11/2014 it won’t be “finally released”.

  4. Turkey says:

    I think a lot of hardcore gamer support for kickstarter rely on this and Pillars to be like perfect $60 retail products without the graphics. If these two games end up being middling, we’ll never hear the end of it.

    • AngusPrune says:

      Well, Shadowrun Returns was pretty middling and we’ve already heard the end of it, so maybe not.

      That said, I don’t really see how Wasteland 2 could possibly end up being as throwaway as Shadowrun was. They’ve got the core of a good game there even in the beta, the mechanics are solid if derivative, and the story doesn’t seem half bad. If they do a good job refining the combat, it should go down I storm, I’d say.

      • Harlander says:

        Actually there’s the Shadowrun Returns Berlin DLC coming – it’s meant to be releasing this month.

      • USER47 says:

        Am I the only one who thinks Shadowrun is great?:-o

        • Machinations says:

          Probably not, but it is incredibly shallow and a huge disappointment. HBS wont be seeing more of my monies. They should stick to tablet games which are clearly their forte and which do not require depth to be good.

        • PegasusOrgans says:

          No, I love it even if it did disappoint in some ways. But the game is more than the campaign. When Neverwinter Nights was released, EVERYONE seemed to understand, but because this was a Kickstarter project and it’s cool to attack Kickstarter projects (instead of publshers). The second campaign was part of the KS project as was the thorough editor. And, as a whole, I am not disappoint.

      • Psykhe says:

        Shadowrun Returns had only half the funds of PoE, though.

    • PegasusOrgans says:

      Actually, a shit ton of great Kickstarter games have been released but the naysayers have a blind hate that they cannot dirty with “facts”. I’d list all of them, but anyone that cares already knows and those that are naysayers won’t care or dismiss it anyway.

  5. Artea says:

    Isn’t a beta supposed to have at least the core features and locations implemented? And this beta came out months ago. Sounds rather worrying.

    • Oozo says:

      As a lot of people have pointed out, the “alpha” and “beta” moniker have lost pretty much all of their original meaning in the era of early access game-development. Both basically mean “not done yet, so don’t complain about bugs etc.” in this newish context.

      (I don’t necessarily endorse that, but judging the potential of Wasteland 2 or any other game by that measure would be misleading.)

      • Artea says:

        I guess I don’t see the point of beta-testing a game where half the features are apparently missing. It sounds like they ran out of money and released it on Early Access for additional funds.

      • teije says:

        Beta now means Alpha, and Alpha now means “some parts may possibly be working, but most of it won’t, and it is still in development so everything could change”. Sometimes even Beta means that.

        That’s not just gaming software, this applies to most software nowadays (speaking as someone who develops commercial business software).

        • jrodman says:

          In the business software I work on, we definitely release incomplete betas, but they’re betas of features X, Y, and Z, which do work, and features P, D, and Q which are not directly related are “not in the beta”. Sometimes we do a second beta, later, where P, D, and Q are in, or maybe they just go straight to release because they’re considered low risk.

          In that sense, it seems like a traditionalist-enough sensibility of the word.

          Then again, we’re just doing updates to an existing product, not an entirely new one.

          For games, though, it’s hard to seperate features out like that.

  6. SIDD says:

    Is the current price tag reflecting that Kickstarters paid extra for early access and thus we can expect it to drop on release?
    Or is the current £35 Steam Store price tag also going to be the “full release” price?

    • karthink says:

      No. It’s going to drop. My guess it’ll be $30 on release.

    • Shooop says:

      They said they were charging more than what backers of their Kickstarter paid for early access because it didn’t feel fair to those people.

      How much it’ll retail for though I’ve no idea.

  7. MkMax says:

    nice, but i really really hope they fix/fixed the camera (trees/walls that keep getting in the way, etc), it was by FAR the worst problem ive seen in the gameplay videos

    im looking forward to this game, the price point right now is a bit steep for me tho

  8. MrNash says:

    Looking forward to the game. Wasteland 2, Divinity: Original Sin, and Pillars of Eternity are the big three for RPGs I’m looking forward to. Kinda tempted to grab Bravely Default Flying Fairy on the handheld front as well. Such a busy year for fans of the genre! XD

  9. RProxyOnly says:

    Blood sausage?

    Nathan, surely you mean black pudding?

  10. Etienne says:

    Hey this beta update was supposed to go out way before that. I’m working on monday you think I’ll be able to handle the anticipation. And yeah I can’t wait to chew on the pie before it cools down I just want to stuff my face in it. But really I prefer they do it right than quick, think this game is already awesome and the finished product will surely be amazing.