Wasteland 2 Preview

Rock, Paper, Shotgun are providing us with their own fairly meaty preview for inXile's post-apocalyptic turn-based RPG Wasteland 2, based on the time they spent at the developers' offices. Here's a snippet:
And so, we set off. Our first stop: a prison in Arizona that once served as Wasteland 1'²s Ranger Citadel. Long since abandoned, it instead played host to all sorts of greedy gangs. Naturally, one, the Red Skorpion Militia, wanted to (tax) our intrepid four-person law enforcement party for, er, carrying guns, because. look this is a robbery, alright? Do they really need a good reason? Combat followed shortly thereafter. Without missing a beat, the world went turn-based just like in the '90s, before seamlessly flowing time was invented. At its most basic, the quick, painfully lopsided skirmish played out like a very simple XCOM battle, except with less cover and even more overpowered sniper rifles. Colored grid regions indicated range (green = very little chance of missing, yellow = mid-range, red = long shot) and it wasn't long before the bandits had a change of heart and politely died. It was, however, extremely basic. Almost worrisomely so.

For combat, however, that is only the very, very, very, very, very, very, very tip of the iceberg. The opening areas mostly consisted of melee enemies and flat lands without even the thinnest slabs of cover to hide their shame, but complexity emerged in fairly short order. I witnessed another, still very unfinished area with plenty of cover and enemies that flanked, sniped, and generally proved quite adept at making dangerously fatal nuisances of themselves. That, said inXile, is actually just the baseline.

(We wanted to make sure that we were able to craft encounters,) explained project lead Chris Keenan. (A lot of the RPGs that we were playing, they had a basic AI set on them, and they just did that. Run to player, shoot, generally stand back this far. We want to try to make sure that we're getting interesting behaviors with these guys as far as flanking opportunities that they can see. Actively using height to their advantage. Working in groups. Sending two guys around one way and one guy around the other way.)

(There's plenty of cover in the game, but it doesn't feel manufactured,) added Fargo. (It feels more natural, like part of the environment. There are areas where there's no cover and areas where there's lots of cover. We'll take that into account as we balance the game. We may give you a lot more enemies in areas where there's a lot of cover, behind the scenes. Or there's going to be snipers up on the roof, because we deal with height and distance as well, thanks to a modified Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes rule set kind of like the original Wasteland. So that might affect where we could make cover available.)

(Another part of this, too, is that while you're in combat there, you can still use your [typically non-combat-related] skills,) said Keenan. (If there were locked doors over on this side, you could drop bombs and use demolition skills. You could go unlock an area, which might take you to a little corridor that takes you up a ladder, and now you have a nice position behind another guy who's up on the roof shooting down at you. He doesn't notice you behind him.)