Like most post-apocalyptic romps, Wasteland 3's badlands weren't entirely emptied by the end of the world. Speaking in a developer diary this week, studio head Brian Fargo and senior writer Nathan Long ran through bodyguards, crime-lords and presidential death cults the Rangers might face during their upcoming Colorado road trip - and the new conversation system that'll get you right up in their irradiated faces.
Oh, so that's what that Wasteland 3's animatronic Ronald Reagan was all about. Gotcha.
Early in IGN's vid, the pair give us a rundown of some individuals you'll meet in your Wasteland 3 travels. There's a "lovable, corruptable bodyguard", sure, but let's skip him and get straight to The Gippers. These odd'uns are a cult that worships actor-turned-republican President Ronald Reagan as a "God-President", led by High Priestess and First Lady Nancy Reliance. Now, I'd give a wide berth to anyone who idolises a figure like Reagon, never mind a post-apocalyptic presidential army.
Thing is, they also control all the oil in Colorado. If you wanna get moving, you'll need to find ways to deal with 'em.
Fargo's favourite character, though - and I'm not sure what that says about him - is Vic Buchanan, a purple-haired "psychopath" who's big into torture and asking folks why they're so gosh-dang serious. Probably. Fargo uses Buchanan to frame the wider consequences of decisions taken in Wasteland 3. You're sent there to arrest him, obvs, and you can choose to shoot him in the head if his cackling gets on your nerves. But there's always a third choice, and you could easily choose to have him join your party - even if, understandably, larking about with a comic-book supervillain risks raising more than a few eyebrows.
"The world is always watching you," Fargo explains. "There's a scene shortly thereafter where you run into a group of people who were previously friendly to you who are questioning you, 'why is this guy in your party?' You can respond with however you sort of rationalise it, and that turns into a fight."
The devs also show off some of Wasteland 3's more intimate conversation angles. While most dialogue will stick to the game's aerial camera angle, conversations with key characters will zoom right in for a face-to-face chat. It's a nice throwback to the talking heads of the early Fallout games, and lets these wasteland weirdos really flex their acting muscles.
Previously set to release this month, Wasteland 3 is now expected to arrive on Steam on August 28th for £55/€60/$60.