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Wasteland 2 preview: When deeply branching gameplay meets pistol-packing post-apocalyptic priests

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 6, 2014
"Interplay had the crown in roleplaying, I'd love to get that crown back," says Brian Fargo. He pauses, laughs. "Me and Obsidian, we'll battle it out."

We sit and watch as one by one, the entire group is executed. Then the executioners holster their pistols and walk off, singing about Sampson.

"So imagine this is one of the first things you see in LA. You don't know who they are, you don't know who the people getting killed are, but your lack of decision was a decision at this point," says Fargo. "You could jump in at any time and save these people. You're not given the option whether you want to save people yes or no. You just do it or not. And if you don't they just walk off like you don't exist."

"You want the Pistol-Packing Priests for stuff later on, but if you took them on and saved the other guys there's a whole other story arc. And of course, it's not a major consequence in this case, but there are people who will say 'You should've saved these poor saps, but you just stood there and let it happen.'"

Fargo also takes this time to demonstrate the depths of the game's radio chatter for me. While not all of the dialogue in Wasteland 2 is voiced, InXile has gone to great lengths to set the mood through the radio — going so far as to hire the world's creepiest children's choir to sing about Sampson, deceased leader of the Pistol-Packing Priests a.k.a. the group we just saw execute all those people.

Fargo loads another save. This time we approach a base run by the Mad Monks, the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud, a faction from the original Wasteland that believes radiation was beneficial for mankind and that worships the "Great Glow."

In this scenario Fargo is returning from a quest without finding the materials he was sent out for. "This scene right here, you could be through this in a couple of minutes or an hour and a half, all depending on how you do it," says Fargo.

"They've sent you out to get this radioactive goo. We can talk about it, try to negotiate, or say 'No, you're in trouble.'" He does the latter, and we're in combat. After taking down a few Monks, they threaten to detonate a nuclear bomb. As the countdown ticks lower and lower with each turn, another monk finally runs out and tries to stop the fighting. The nuke is disarmed, and he presents you a second choice — either submit to arrest or not.

"You want to keep fighting, you choose the Death option. That turns this into an hour and a half slugfest, hostile map to get through these mobs," says Fargo. Instead, we submit to arrest. "So now we're in a jail cell, and he has a job for us. You can say you're willing or not willing. So now you've got yet another branch, which is a whole new mission you wouldn't see otherwise. Or you say you're not willing and he says 'Fine, rot in jail' and you have to fight your way out."


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