Cover of Wasteland for the Commodore 64

I still remember pulling Wasteland for the Commodore 64 out of a bin of ‘throw-away’ software when I was 6. It was 1990, the NES was gaining popularity and quickly reshaping how people gamed. So, despite being 1989’s Game of the Year, Wasteland for the Commodore 64 was seen (prematurely) as ‘outdated’.

The box was similar in size and shape to that of a 33-LP vinyl, adorned in finely detailed hand-painted graphics; an artist’s vision of a post-apocalyptic southern California.

What inquisitive mind couldn’t be drawn in by that cover? A gang of five desert warriors facing a lone stranger midst the blown-out rubble of a city street. Hinged in the middle, the box unfolded to display screen-shots, the manual, and 5 1/4″ floppies that contained countless hours of entertainment, despite having no fancy polygons or fractoids to render.

Reverse cover of Wasteland for the Commodore 64

Wasteland was created by Interplay games, and the brainchild behind the project was a then young Brian Fargo. You may have played some of his titles: Fallout 1 and 2, Battlechess, Star Trek 25th Anniversary, Necromancer, Castles, Bard’s Tale, Dragonwars, Clayfighter, Earthworm Jim, and many more. If you haven’t heard of them, then stop calling yourself a gamer until you’ve become acquainted. Most are available for free over at Abandonia. I promise that playing them will make you a more well-rounded gamer; afterall, Wasteland was the basis on which Fallout was created (after the rights to Wasteland could not be obtained by Fargo).

As the gaming industry has matured over the past two decades, the artistic visions that these games embodied has been lost as the creative process is polluted by the ‘big money influences’ of producers. Rarely has an art improved by the meddling of non-artist investor types, and as a result, we’ve seen the erosion of creative, single-player, story driven gaming– and the takeover of multiplayer/subscription based, mindless gaming… and that’s been a big problem for those consumers that desire something other than the kool-aid-for-the-masses CoD/WoW/Angry Birds style games designed around making big dollars.

And that’s why Wasteland 2 won’t have any producers.

Brain Fargo recognized that his dream of creating Wasteland 2 would never materialized if he depended on a producer for funding, so, he assembled a team with Inxile Entertainment, and started raising money via Kickstarter to fund development. The concept is simple. You pre-order the game. When the game is completed, you’ll receive a copy (or copies) of the game, and possibly other great swag depending on how much you donated. All of the pre-funding is being used to pay the team, minus Brain Fargo; he will not draw a salary from any of the Kickstarter pre-sales.

At the time of writing, the project has raised $2.9 million. To give you an idea, Brian Fargo set an ‘ambitious’ goal of raising $0.9 million to complete the project. Inexile has said that the extra 2 million will be going to make the game more expansive… apparently much, much more expansive. I’ve donated. I’m excited.

Inexile and Brain Fargo put together this entertaining video that explains the goals of the Wasteland 2 project.