Wasteland 2 - Ask a Dev Answers @ NMA
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Ah, yes... now this is a fascinating topic of great depth with no simple answer! Let's have at it!
I'm the team leader for the scripters. It is our job to translate the design documents and volumes of written dialog into the physical form of the game. So, let me give you my impression on the task we face.
First off, there is a difference between size and depth that we should highlight. You can have a large game in size, relative to number of locations, but have a shallow game play experience. Conversely, you can have a small game with few locations, but each location be filled with great depth and dimension. The combination of these two things create the overall "size" and it's the balance of these two that game designers strive to achieve when building their world.
I believe Wasteland 2 is far deeper than most RPGs. Of actual playable zones, we are looking at around 15 major locations. The size of each location varies, and the activities you will mostly engage in vary as well (conversation/quests, exploration, combat, etc). However, the volume of conversation and location description is on a scale that is... to be honest... absolutely, insanely awesome. We had nearly a dozen writers build out an incredibly large world with numerous cause and effects that don't just change the attitudes of the people in the area, but we have whole maps adjust based on your choices.
Specifically, it is FAR larger than the original Wasteland. However, keep in mind that when you consider the size of other classic RPGs, you should also be aware of the scope of their development budgets. For example, Baldur's Gate was developed over a four year period with a budget that was around $25 million. Now, to be fair, there were many influences to this budget that we don't need to deal with, like the cost of developing the Infinity engine, but with our modest $3 million fan funded project to bring Wasteland 2 to life, it would be extremely difficult to duplicate the scale of some of these beloved RPGs... the scale... not the awesomeness, though.
However, we can leverage conversations, descriptions and scripting in the world to flesh out a far larger environment in a smaller space. We also have a system for random encounters that will create a larger world from just the core 15 zones.
So, when judging the size of the world, do keep in mind that most RPGs nowadays have budgets in line with that of small movies with teams of developers ten times our size. However, we have made very strategic choices to leverage our nimble size and lack of an oppressive publisher to create the largest world we can with the greatest depth we can
We definitely have our job cut out for us!
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