Wasteland 3: The Road Thus Far

It’s hard to believe that 2019 is behind us—that went by fast! Last year we got our first look at a black hole, an egg became the most popular social media icon, and humans stormed a government facility to discover if the truth is out there. Though the passage of time may one day result in our bodies withering into leathery husks—dissolving into grit and dust, with no surviving record of what value our lives once held—the last few years haven’t been so bad! We spent them on a project we’re excited to launch, and we’re almost to the finish line.

Since 2020 is here, it’s about high time we offer another update as we barrel towards the release of Wasteland 3 on May 19 (pre-order now!). Before we do, let’s look back fondly at what’s gotten us to this point.

Maestro, please dim the lights and roll tape…

A Brief and Flawed History of the End

Over a hundred years ago Humanity was brought to the brink of extinction when a cascade of nuclear destruction rained from the sky. I’m not sure if anyone knows what really happened—or even cares anymore. All that matters to those of us who remain is how we'll survive.

“It’s now early into the 22nd Century. The inhabitants of the wastes are the fifth-generation descendants of those who were cursed to remain after the end of the world, yet too many people can't look forward. They continue to look to the old world’s culture, gods, and fears, and learn all the wrong lessons. But despite the desolation, the radiation, and the reborn prejudices of the afraid, there are those who remain sustained by the hope that order can yet be salvaged from the chaos. Unfortunately, chaos is rampant, and order is in short supply.

“The only law that exists here in Arizona is dispensed by a group of peacekeepers who call themselves the ‘Desert Rangers.’ For years these Rangers have been all that’s stood between the depraved scavengers, machines, and cults that plague the land, and those of us unable to defend ourselves against them. But now, after a conflict that destroyed their base and decimated their numbers, the Rangers are on the brink of dissolution, and have sent their best and bravest over the Rockies to Colorado in a last ditch gambit to trade their combat expertise for desperately needed supplies.

"All of us here can only wait and pray they succeed. Without the Desert Rangers we will not survive."

By Unknown

Written on a series of 17 cocktail napkins

Wasteland Imagined

In 1988 (of our real-life timeline), a passion project was released that put players into the role of the Desert Rangers, a group formed to bring order to post-apocalyptic America. Wasteland released for the Apple II, Commodore 64, and IBM computers, as a top-down RPG where morally gray choices made the player’s path to success less than clear. The combination of cutting-edge graphics (for the time); along with rich story provided through an out-of-game Paragraphs book; allowed Wasteland to deliver twists, turns, and reactive storytelling like gamers had never encountered before.

Players hungered for more, but as fate would have it, it would take more than 20 years for the Desert Rangers to make their triumphant return.

This is a good place to pause and mention that we’re working on a remastered version of the original Wasteland—appropriately called Wasteland Remastered—that we’ll be releasing early this year on PC and Xbox One. Here's an in-progress shot of the same area shown above, demonstrating how we’re completely overhauling it while still honoring the original gameplay.

Pre-alpha screenshot from Wasteland Remastered.

In case you missed it when we shared it on the @Wasteland Twitter, we also Remastered the original game's box art, and here's what will be adorning digital store shelves in the not too distant future.

Back to the Wasteland

The Rangers’ long walk in the proverbial desert would eventually come to an end in 2012, when we announced a Kickstarter initiative to develop the long-awaited sequel.

Wasteland 2’s Kickstarter campaign was beyond successful, with our backers having pledged more than 300% of the project’s initial goal and setting new crowdfunding records. Development charged ahead, and Wasteland 2 released two years later to accolades (holding an 87 Metacritic) and the thrill of fans new and old. In addition to being praised for its engaging tactical gameplay, Wasteland 2 honored the original with rich role-playing elements, a haunting soundtrack from Mark Morgan (Fallout, Fallout 2), and the high re-playability of difficult choices and devastating consequences.

Energized by the Community’s reception—and eager not to let our Rangers wander for too long again—we soon set out to work on continuing the saga. In 2016, the Wasteland 3 crowdfunding campaign began on Fig, and once again we reached our goal and development went into full swing.

Since then, our teams have been hard at work forging another game worthy of the Wasteland name, filled with the complex roleplaying choices, satisfying tactical combat, and a host of new features and systems that will make this the greatest Wasteland chapter yet.

With a Little Help from Our Friends

Going up against a gang of scavengers is best done with some help from the squad, so it was with no small excitement that our squad got some heavy artillery to back it up. In late 2018, Microsoft acquired our studio with the intention of empowering us to do more of what we do, how we want to do it.

Wasteland 3 was already an ambitious project. We’re bringing back the things everyone loved: a deeply customizable RPG, brutal ethical choices with meaningful reactions and consequences, and deep tactical combat. On top of that we have big, new features like the customizable (and formidable) Kodiak vehicle, and cinematic conversations—to name a few.

With Microsoft’s support comes the gift of time, and it’s time we’re joyously putting into making Wasteland 3 a more feature-rich and higher quality experience than we ever would have been able to before. One obvious benefit is all the dialogue in the game is fully voiced (over a half a million words), in a first for inXile’s games. We’re also putting time into often unseen (but critically important) background work with the additional resources we’ll have in QA, accessibility testing, and optimization.

On the Road Again

In 2019 we were armed with the will and the means to sing the praises of the irradiated Wasteland, so we packed up and set out on the trail.

Most recently we joined our Microsoft friends for X019 in London. There, we got a chance to speak in more detail about the game, and drop our newest trailer.

We also took the roadshow across the pond to gamescom in Cologne, Germany. While our highest-tier backers were sinking their claws into the Alpha, we had the pleasure of showing the game off to gamescom attendees and press, as well as debuting a new trailer in an episode of Inside Xbox.

No trip to gamescom would be complete without taking home the event’s award for ‘Best Role Playing Game.’ So we did.

But our first big stop of the year was the Xbox briefing at E3, where a dangerously inebriated Scotchmo gave his blatantly incorrect take on how things in Colorado have been going before you arrived.

Fun background story on this one: we call it the E3 2019 trailer because it was a trailer first shown at E3 in 2019. Sometimes creative lightning just strikes, y’know?

The Final Few Miles

Wasteland 3 is releasing May 19 (pre-order now!), and we’re charging fearlessly toward the oncoming horde of players looking to dive into the world we’ve created.

We have some big plans in-store as we near the release, including content previews, events, and more. Not the least of which though will be our Backer Beta, an extended look at the game’s content that will give those who backed the game on Fig the ability to experience an expanded-preview. We’re targeting March for the Backer Beta, and we’ll of course keep you updated on keys and the testing process as we get closer.

This is a good time to remind all our backers to check your pledge on CrowdOx, ensure your email address and details are up to date, and finalize any orders. We’ll be sending out surveys in the near future where you’ll be able to finalize your platform choice, and will be distributing Steam and GOG keys shortly after that.

Foresight is 2020

We are extremely excited to venture into the Wasteland with you once again, and we know that you’re itching to get back to the desolate horrors of the post-apocalypse. 2020 is shaping up to be a fantastic year, and we are honored to have your support and excitement for a project we’re putting so much of our lives into. We truly could not have done this without you, and it gives us immense pleasure to take your energy and turn it into the experience you’ve been waiting for.

Well, that about does it for this broadcast, stay tuned for updates and previews as we march along this final stretch toward Wasteland 3’s release on May 19, 2020 (pre-order now!).

Be sure to follow @Wasteland on Twitter for news and updates!

- inXile entertainment