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.