Interview with InXile’s Brian Fargo on Wasteland 2

Can you tell us a little about InXile’s crowdsourcing efforts with Wasteland 2? Last I heard, you guys were inviting the public to design some of the art assets for the game. How’s that been working out?

Our crowd sourced asset experiment has been a great success in that we have received quite a few high quality assets and incorporated them into the game. The playable demo of Wasteland 2 contained a dozen of the 3d models that were user generated. With little effort we were about to ensure that the models were smoothly integrated into the look of the world. We can now achieve a far greater world variety than we could have otherwise. I would suggest checking out this update if you want more detailed information on this concept.

Beyond artwork, are there plans to crowdsource other assets, such as voice acting and level design?

The two most likely candidates are localization and voice acting indeed. Although the voice acting would likely be done through a source like Voicebunny who specialize in working with qualified talent. I have not done a test yet so it is a bit early for me to declare that as a strategy. The level design is done and was created by my team of experts like Chris Avellone and Colin McComb so that doesn’t apply in this case. In general  I embrace the concept of working with the world as much as I can and that certainly applies to smaller concepts such as logo feedback and in the more important aspect of beta testing. It’s been so rewarding to work with the crowd to make the game better at every turn.

Wasteland 2, and more recently, Torment: Tides of Numenera, are among two of the biggest Kickstarter-funded games of all time. What’s it been like to deal with the success of your own games?

All I can do right now is keep my head down and work on delivering against expectations. It has been a wonderful experience and I am grateful for the support that opportunity that has been given to us. Kickstarting our projects allows us to spend 95% of our energy  on simply making a game.

Kickstarter’s worked out foe you, but as I wrote in this article, there are almost as many high-profile failures as there are successes. Have you any advice for other game developers seeking to crowd-fund their projects?

There are so many variables that come into play when launching a Kickstarter campaign but the concept and credibility play the two biggest roles. It is highly doubtful that I would have had any success had I launched a mobile derivative of Angry Birds as there is little demand for that. I spent quite a bit of time talking with Chris Taylor through his campaign and I felt that it wasn’t Chris that failed but the concept. Kickstarter was doing its job in vetting out unpopular concepts and I bet Chris would be successful with another idea if he ever pursued it again. I also don’t believe that Kickstarter is the place to make your first game. I think developers need to prove they can finish a game or at least get it to beta, even if the games are small in scope. I don’t think it’s a good idea to try and learn the ropes on the crowds money.

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1 Comment on Interview with InXile’s Brian Fargo on Wasteland 2

Drizzt

On April 27, 2013 at 4:28 am

Crowdfunding certainly seems to be an option. Star Citizen/Squadron 42 is approaching 9 million USD and has put out stretch goals for that and the 10 million mark just the other day. It is, however, really relevant, that a developer/studio going this route understands, that they need to communicate and react to their creditors, who believed in them and provided the money upfront. This means you need to be incredible open and honest to the general public, you need to be able to listen to criticism and incorporate suggestions from your backers/creditors. As all this depends at all stages on trust, that’s probably your most valuable asset. Especially if you want to have a future in this space.

Having this funding option is good, it might give some studios more leverage to make the game, that is best from the gaming perspective and not the one some banker thinks might make the most money.