So far the Coronavirus has had a profound impact on gaming in 2020. Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed and was another RPG – Wasteland 3. The latter is the highly anticipated turn-based combat game that sees players roam the freezing wasteland of post-apocalyptic Colorado. Some of you will remember this franchise. The first game was released back in 1988, developed by Interplay and published by Electronic Arts. A few years a Kickstarter campaign led to the successful development of Wasteland 2 by inXile Entertainment. Now the developer is back with a direct sequel, set for release on August 28th for PC, Xbox One and PS4. This game was also funded through external sources, this time equity crowdfunding. The game was originally slated for the fall of 2019 before more staff hires and changing priorities delayed it to 2020. Then Coronavirus delayed it to 2020.
What makes this game special
So why should we bother with Wasteland 3. After all, don’t we have the XCOM games. Yes, but there is always a need for more, besides XCOM is bloody difficult to play. To top it of the original Wasteland inspired the Fallout franchise, so there is definitely the right pedigree there. Unlike previous turn-based RPGs Wasteland is much faster paced with your squad capable of traversing some distance. Like XCOM there is more focus on using cover.
Also you do not start with a set of characters, but there are pre-fabbed characters to get you started. Instead you can tailor your characters to a great degree. This allows for quirky trade-offs. You could for example ensure strength comes at the cost of a drug addiction. Neither are you beholden to just creating characters that are inly good at one thing, such as using a shotgun, or building bombs. Most characters can be flexible when it comes to skills.
Wasteland 3 will be faster paced
All this means the emphasize of the game is much more on story progression. You can talk and recruit a vast variety of NPCs, including animals. Well, after recruitment they become PCs – strictly speaking. From the interaction you will learn more about the various factions that inhabit this rancid version Colorado. Many of the skills your team will build up will affect your dialogue choice, and thus also the direction of the gameplay. In case progressing character skills becomes too difficult to manage you solve a situation by allowing the game to select the most suitable team member. Nor are skills solely geared towards combat and dialogue, many aspects of the Wasteland world require character interaction. Think of repairing broken machinery that is hindering progression. All this boils down to the desire of the developer to allow for swift game progression.
In many ways I am starting to become hesitant to play a game such as Cyberpunk 2077 this fall. I know it will be great, but it will also be a considerable time sink. Wasteland 3 sounds like old-school RPG fun, just the kind of game I want to play in the late summer. If you want to find out if Wasteland 3 is something you might enjoy then do come back after the release. No doubt I will have a review before August is over.