Two Paths Through the Wasteland: Brian Fargo on Wasteland 2 and Fallout 4

PC Gamer has quizzed inXile CEO Brian Fargo about the differences between his company's approach to the post-apocalyptic wasteland in Wasteland 2 and Bethesda's Fallout 4. Understandably, Fargo was keen to discussĀ his own title, though he still paid homage to the craft Bethesda showed during the marketing campaign for Fallout 4 so far:

"[Fallout 4]'s more action-oriented, so that makes it different than what I would have done, but that being said, it looks great," Fargo said during a recent chat. "They've captured a lot of the essence of what made the Fallout universe, and they really pour a lot of effort into little things, whether it's the crafting, or the personality or how many names the robot can speak. I tip my hat to the craftsmanship they've brought to the franchise."

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"With Wasteland, we kind of bent over backwards to ensure that everybody can be killed in that game. And you know what, it's a pain in the ass to design for that, because from beginning to end, there's all those NPCs and all those characters, and every single one of them can be killed," he continued. "And they're not fodder, they're people that have conversations and plot and reasons to be there. So when you account for being able to shoot and kill everything, it makes your design multiply."

It also potentially exposes game makers to backlash from over-excited parents and tut-tutting Fox News commentators if they take things too far. Fargo said game makers "ride this line" between immersion and caution, and reminded me that this isn't the first time Bethesda has opted for the latter: In the first two Fallouts, players who killed children were tagged with the "Childkiller" reputation, penalizing their NPC reactions and exposing them to bounty hunters. In Fallout 3 and beyond, Bethesda opted to simply make kids invulnerable.


During the interview, Fargo also touches briefly on his company's approach to The Bard's Tale IV and the ongoing development of Torment: Tides of Numenera, and also teases "other production plans" that will be announced soon and should be interesting for the fans. After the announcement of a New Orleans studio for the company, it's clear that the company has ambitious plans for the future, and we'll do our best to keep you updated as they unveil their future project.