Wasteland 3 Looks To Move the Franchise and Genre Forward

Wasteland 3 Looks To Move the Franchise and Genre Forward

Wasteland 3, from Torment: Tides of Numenera developer inXile Entertainment is the next entry in the popular Wasteland series that has its beginnings all the way back in 1988 with the release of the original Wasteland title by noted developer Interplay. The sci-fi game is set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic America destroyed by nuclear holocaust generations before and became the basis for the first Fallout game developed by Interplay in 1997. With the game’s legacy cemented, 26 years passed before Wasteland 2 was released in 2014, after a successful campaign in the then new frontier of crowd funding. The game was a hit with players, lauded for its branching storylines and dynamic player choice, as well as its atmosphere and tactical gameplay. Fans thirsty for the next entry won’t have to wait nearly as long, as inXile surprised fans by announcing that Wasteland 3 entered crowd funding this month and is in development with an eye towards a release in the near future, continuing the developer’s momentum garnered from Wasteland 2 and Torment. As of writing the game’s initial goal had been fully funded, with its stretch goals soon to be met.

Genre: CRPG
Developed by: inXile Entertainment
Published by: inXile Entertainment
Release date: Q4 2019
Age rating: Pending
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Wasteland 3 Features

  • A party-based role-playing game, with a renewed focus on the trademark complex story reactivity and strategic combat.
  • Vehicles, environmental dangers, and a revamped, more fluid action system, evolve Wasteland 2’s deep tactical turn-based combat and unique encounter design.
  • Play by yourself or with a friend in story-driven synchronous or asynchronous multiplayer. Choices open up (or close off) mission opportunities, areas to explore, story arcs, and lots of other content.
  • Your Ranger Base is a core part of the experience. As you help the local people and establish a reputation in Colorado, quests and narrative will force you to make decisions on how to lead.
  • The game will be set in the savage lands of frozen Colorado, where survival is difficult and a happy outcome is never guaranteed. Players will face difficult moral choices and make sacrifices that will change the game world.
  • Wasteland 3 will feature a deep and engaging story utilizing a newly-revamped dialog tree system from the celebrated writers of Torment: Tides of Numenera.

Wasteland 3 Gameplay

You start the game as the sole survivor of Team November, a Ranger squad dispatched to the icy Colorado wastes. This is a land of buried secrets, lost technology, fearsome lunatics, and deadly factions. No one here has ever heard of the Desert Rangers. Your reputation is yours to build from scratch, and your choices may save this land or doom it. With a renewed focus on macro-reactivity, you’ll be picking between warring factions, deciding whether locations are destroyed or saved, and making other far reaching decisions that have a marked impact on the shape of your world.

The game features strategic turn-based combat from an isometric perspective similar to sister franchise Torment and Obsidian’s Tyranny. Building off of Wasteland 2’s use of cover, flanking, and rooftop attacks, Wasteland 3 will take it a step further and add team-focused abilities. Rangers will now have at their disposal a selection of skills that can harm enemies while also reinforcing and supporting their party members. This all leads to a tactical experience with weaponry and skills that will ask players to plan their positioning and dialogue choices carefully.

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Both while exploring and fighting, players will now be able to make use of vehicles. Your ranger will use your vehicle for travel, storing essential goods, exploration, and survival in the harsh wasteland. In addition to being a mobile base for travel and storing items, players will be able to modify the vehicle to provide cover in combat, as well as provide offensive support via deadly turrets. As you can see in the video below, a well equipped vehicle is quite the asset. Be advised, the video contains strong language.

Wasteland 3 will bring back the Ranger base element that has appeared in the past games, with some enhancements. In the game, players will be establishing a brand new base to survive the harsh climate of Colorado. This is no Aspen weekend. The base is your home, where you will acquire new missions and squad members, and now it will also have a role in the game’s narrative and how the world changes in response to your actions. Through choices you make, events will open up and provide new opportunities for exploration.

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For the first time in the franchise’s history, players can bring a friend along in cooperative mode and nothing says friendship like a traipse through the icy wastes of a nuclear fallout. Each player will control their own squad and will be able to share missions, freely split up or join forces. Players can continue their games even when their friends are offline, however there will be consequences to choices made. A few bad choices could put your friendship on ice and the game can become as competitive as it is cooperative. This is a unique twist on multiplayer and could make for some memorable playthroughs.

More than just a journey into barren landscapes, the game will feature atmospheric design that compliments the game’s isolated narrative. Players will encounter things like a town in an unblemished field of snow and other visual cues that reinforce the game’s sense of loneliness and despair. The outfits and decoration of vehicles will serve to tell the stories of the inhabitants of this cruel world, further reinforcing the game’s strong themes. Additionally, the game will use color to recall the vibe of films like Mad Max and The Road as it harkens back to some of its visual inspirations.

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Dialogue is also being improved for increased intricacy and will be based on Torment: Tides of Numenera’s branching narrative system. In the system, players will make choices between statements which will then lead them on divergent paths. Along the way skill checks will be presented with dialogue choices that can open up even further options. Players of Torment will attest that this creates a dynamic experience that ensures no 2 playthroughs are alike. Moreover, the camera will pan in during dialogue to give an up close look at the individual you’re interacting with. This allows you to see them in totality, and pick up on the outfit and visual cues mentioned earlier, further increasing the immersion.

With the recent resurgence of the classic RPG, Wasteland 3 represents another potential step forward for the genre. The mantra of the game’s development is improvement, as it focuses on moving the franchise ahead while also continuing to refine the genre by staying one step ahead of dominant gaming conventions. There are flashes of innovation here that are woefully absent in many mass marketed AAA experiences. In a genre heavily dominated by swords and sorcery in fantasy settings, the sci-fi setting of the Wasteland series is a strong palette cleanser that appeals to many, especially fans of the Fallout experience before it took on its current first person perspective. All of this makes Wasteland 3’s bleak setting an ironic beacon for engaged experiences. We’re enthused to see this game in more action and experience what seems like yet another strong entry into the pantheon of deep, story driven gaming that doesn’t sacrifice on tactical gameplay.


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Editor at Fextralife. I look for the substantial in gaming and I try to connect video games to the emotions and stories they elicit. I love all things culture and history and have an odd fondness for the planet Jupiter. I think my dogs are pretty awesome too.

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5 comments on “Wasteland 3 Looks To Move the Franchise and Genre Forward”

  1. Jbumi says:

    Hope they have at least one abandoned marijuana dispensary for me to loot!!! 🌱

  2. Avatar Emergence says:

    lol have you seen the iron vaults they’re forced to store their money and goods in? Good luck cracking in!

  3. Avatar Fexelea says:

    Great preview! The branching narrative they propose from Torment is really fun, from what I saw of Torment. I am also surprised at myself for liking the artwork for this one much more than I normally do :)

  4. Avatar Emergence says:

    I think the art style works because it’s tattered without being devoid of color, which has been a big complaint in other post apocalyptic settings. Nuclear obliteration would make a mess of things for sure, but it’s not going to strip color from the world. I think the snowy environment also helps add a twinkle of winter wonderland to the setting.

  5. ckmishn says:

    Adding multiplayer seems like a bad idea to me. The changes they made between Wasteland and Wasteland 2 already added more complexity than I would have liked. Admittedly the original was handicapped by the systems of the time (using, for instance, printouts for text that you would look up rather than having all the writing in-game) but the text interface for combat that it shared with "The Bard’s Tale" (though it extended it somewhat) had a fun simplicity to it that the far more complicated combat of Wasteland 2 lacked.

    Also the approach to skills in the original Wasteland allowed you to grind, in relatively short order, any ability you needed provided you had devoted the points to get the process started. Had the game been a 100+ hour marathon like Wasteland 2 that would have been a difficult balancing act, but for the maybe 20-30 hours the original took spending 10 minutes in the swimming pool maxing your swim stat worked very well.


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