By Egge 3 Comments
The Kickstarter project for Wasteland 2 has exceeded $1,000,000 in just over 2 days time. That's already a pretty remarkable achievement, but I really hope the donations keep trickling in during the entire month (!) remaining until the project is finished and our credit cards actually get charged. From reading the official Kickstarter page, one certainly gets the sense that there's a lot of room for the scope and scale of the game to grow incrementally with each additional donation beyond the bare minimum which was required to ensure that the development and release of Wasteland 2 is practically possible. I for one threw in an additional $50 as soon as it became bleedingly obvious that the project was going to reach and exceed it's intended goal of 900K, and even for more cautious and sensible people than me there's obviously always the option to add an extra $5 or $10 to their existing $15-50 pledge. Indeed, especially for small donors the deal has been sweetened now that the project is getting bigger than was initially planned and they're going to get an (increasingly) ambitious game for a very reasonable price which even most truly independent RPG developers can't compete with.
With so much money already being pledged, it's easy to see that a lot of different hopes and dreams are being involved here. Some players probably just want a cool new post-apocalyptic game which isn't structured quite the same way that Bethesda's Fallout titles were. Others may care deeply about the choices and consequences and difficult moral choices which are often associated with older and less linear RPGs. As has been previously mentioned, what's most important for me personally is the nuts-and-bolts mechanics of actual turn-based combat combined with a freely customizable party of characters and a reasonably deep stats system to go with it. If former Interplay overseer Brian Fargo had sought funding for, say, an Infinity Engine-like game with pause-and-play combat I would have been much less interested in contributing (a lot of) money no matter what cool settings, good writing or fancy plot devices it might have been associated with.
In either case, I think all of our expectations for Wasteland 2 actually says a lot more about how incredibly narrow the publisher-driven mainstream RPG market has become recently than it does about the supposed fluidity of Fargo's fan-funded and to some extent fan-directed project. After all, you don't get a whole lot more specific than "party-based Western roleplaying game with turn-based combat and a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-inspired setting". That specificity was undeniably one of the major stumbling blocks for publishers, but it's just as clearly one of the current project's real strengths. Like others have said before me, beyond my own narrow concerns I really hope the video game industry is willing to learn some lessons from the Kickstarter phenomena; especially in terms of what medium-sized developers with clearly defined goals and a very loyal audience can accomplish.