Well it looks as if the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter has raised enough cash to bring some of the old Black Isle team, now Obsidian Entertainment, back together. Chris Avellone, Chief Creative Officer over at Obsidian Entertainment is going to help write and design Wasteland 2. This is good news for the Wasteland franchise, as Avellone has experience working on other popular RPG titles such as Fallout 1&2, Icewind Dale, and Planescape Torment. In an interview with Rock Paper Scissors, Avellone talks about how important the new Kickstarter model has become and how he think it will affect the industry as a whole.
Avellone doesn’t have any nefarious plans for joining the Wasteland 2 team; he isn’t looking for fame or money, in his words “I just wanted to work on it.” It seems that the Kickstarter for Wasteland 2 didn’t just raise fan awareness, but developer awareness as well. Avellone mentions how some genres used to be thought of as “dead” yet clearly aren’t as players are willing to fork over cash up front. “Publishers have every right to watch their bottom line, but for a long period of time, that was largely the only financial model developers had – and the only way most players were going to see games get produced.” Kickstarter, it seems, is almost designed for promoting long forgotten genres. In the past if a publisher didn’t want a game made, it didn’t get made, “Kickstarter changes that… You’re asking players if they’d pay to see a genre they love be produced.” Now with enough support, any game in any genre has a chance if fans are willing to donate.
When asked if he thinks Kickstarter has the potential to produce successful multi-million “success stories,” Avellone says “yes, but not consistently.” He does mention, however, the importance of Kicking it Forward, and how it should help keep Kickstarter successful. I wrote a piece last week about the importance of large successful projects within the Kickstarter ecosystem and how each one seems to benefit all other Kickstarter projects as well. Wasteland 2 is definitely good for the greater Kickstarter ecosystem, and is also good for fans, but now that Obsidian is on board, it turns out that a successful project can also be good for multiple developers as well.
So with 7 days left to go and more than $2.2 million pledged it looks like Wasteland 2 is going to be yet another project that is good for everyone. They have even had 11 backers pledge to the top $10,000 tier which includes a private party hosted by Brian Fargo himself, as long as you are able to travel to the Newport Beach, CA area. If you can’t make it to the party don’t worry, while the game itself is most likely a long ways off, this new transparent business model will mostly likely allow current and future fans the opportunity to see the game every aspect of game development.