Fargo: Players frustrated with ‘dumbed down’ RPGs and re-imaginings

Monday, 4th June 2012 03:56 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Wasteland 2 lead and inXile boss Brian Fargo certainly doesn’t sound keen on making a new-school, watered-down RPG full of romances and action tropes.

“There’s been a lot of frustration about where the genre has been going. The console is a different kind of experience, and a lot of effort in my opinion has been on dumbing things down,” Far go told GameInformer.

“I find on the PC side there’s no effort dumbing things down. The audience likes to be treated like they’re intelligent, and I’ve always tried to take that approach.”

Fargo said the audience for his earlier games was even smarter than he expected, even though they were younger than current fans. This ageing group of gamers is also pretty tired of not getting the kinds of games they want, apparently.

“I think people are sick of the ‘re-imagining.’ Where there’s a classic title and it gets re-imagined. It becomes a first-person shooter, for example, where it had been a tactical top-down game. People pretty consistently have said that they don’t want that,” Fargo noted.

“There was something about that earlier product that they loved, and they want that back. They don’t want it re-imagined in any way.”

The developer also said that he doesn’t pay much attention to what goes on in modern-style RPGs, because he isn’t concerned with attracting fans so much as pleasing the old-school crowd who want what he knows best. That said, he does hear criticisms of current trends and takes them on board.

“I hear a lot of negative things about focusing on relationships. I think that is something that is more popular now, and it certainly was not popular back then, and there is kind of a negative backlash to focusing on the relationships,” he noted.

“There can be a lot of ways of describing what that means, but my audience is saying don’t do it.”

Wasteland 2 is expected on PC in October after successfully raising $3 million to fund the sequel to a 1989 classic.



  1. TMRNetShark

    Trust me, I put in more money than I would reveal to the Wasteland 2 kickstarter…. but I will say one thing right now.

    FALLOUT 3/NV were amazing games. So what if Beth bastardized your game? You were the one that licensed it off to another company, and now that it’s successful… it’s left Fargo with a bitter taste in his mouth.

    Original Fallout fans will agree with Fargo (and I do as well). I don’t like being treated like an idiot when I’m playing game. Fargo should be happy that he potentially has the Fallout 3/NV audience will potentially go to Wasteland 2. I just really hope the people won’t think “oh, this guy is copying Fallout 3! dur-dur”

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Phoenixblight

    It will be interesting with this game because it will be using mechanics that are antiquated and dead for a reason its because they can’t do much as far as gameplay goes.

    I paid for the kickstarter for nostalgia not for Fargo to show RPG developers how they are doing it “wrong”. He and his company are not the ones to do that especially since the last game he did was Hunted. Who is he to trash talk anyways? He should just be talking about how exciting it is to be making a game like this without any constraints not the “I can do it better even though I have been out of the scene for 20 years.”

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Jerykk


    “It will be interesting with this game because it will be using mechanics that are antiquated and dead for a reason its because they can’t do much as far as gameplay goes.”

    Sigh. There’s nothing “antiquated” about turn-based gameplay. Like any gameplay style, it has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, in turn-based combat, every action you do is meaningful because there’s no simple way to recover from mistakes. This is why chess is turn-based. You have to put a lot more thought into a turn-based game than a real-time game. Is turn-based gameplay slower than real-time gameplay? Sure. That doesn’t make it antiquated. It just makes it better suited to genres that focus on strategy and planning.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Malmer

    Relationships like in bioware games and the witcher 2 are one of the main reasons those games felt so good. And Reckonning suffered due to lack of impactfull relationships. You can make an intelligent game with relationships, actually I think even more so. Without relationships of some kind (doesn’t have to be romantic) what you do looses it’s emotional impact.

    Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Sure, many things are “dumbed down” in many games, but advancements in relationships are one of the most interesting developments in gaming. Rather than throwing it out, try advancing it further. Make it more meaningful and more intelligent.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Phoenixblight


    I have played them for half of my life no need to explain them. As far as I am concerned they are old school ie antiquated. Too much downtime for the same amount of fun I would get from current gen games.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. voxelman

    @1 he didn’t license anything to Bethesda, he made the Wasteland and Fallout games at Interplay who were then brought out, run into the ground and then sold off all their IPs long after Fargo had left.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Jerykk


    I guess you just don’t like strategic games anymore. That’s fine but it doesn’t mean that turn-based gameplay is antiquated. Again, look at chess. Chess is about as timeless as it gets (people will still be playing chess long after CoD or any other modern game fades from memory) and if someone decided to “update” it with real-time gameplay, it would be terrible. That’s because chess, like all other games that emphasize strategy and long-term planning, is better suited to turn-based gameplay. Maybe not your cup of tea anymore but “antiquated?” Hardly.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. TheWulf

    I don’t agree with him at all.

    The best moments in gaming history for me have come from memorable characters and my interactions with them.

    Mask of the Betrayer had Gann-of-Dreams, a character of genuine depth, and Okku, an old creature who’d just seen far, far too much. It was truly poignant and it made me weep. New Vegas? Every character mattered, but I still had my favourites. Lily, being the grandma who was trying to find herself again (who gave me one of the toughest choices in the history of gaming), for example. To the Moon, oh… damn you, To the Moon.

    To be honest, To the Moon is still one of the best games I’ve ever played. Purely because of characters. And it got me like a good Disney film. I sniffled, I sniffled more, and then twice the bastard responsible got me happy-crying. I couldn’t help myself, it was an emotional game, and I sympathised with the cast so much.

    Psychonauts was a work of sheer brilliance. Even the side characters left their marks upon you because of the time you spent with them. Anyone remember the Milkman? Psychonauts was simply fantastic, and the relationships I had with everyone… well, I won’t forget. Schafer, you magnificent bastard, you. He really can write. (Though Sasha Nein will always be my favourite. Sasha Nein, what a name…)

    Gemini Rue was clever in how it examined the nature of personality and how much we are based upon our memories. It got me attached to two characters, and then hit me with a major twist at the end which SPOILER! revealed that the two characters are actually one and the same.

    I became quickly attached to Legion and Mordin Solus because they were so alien at first, but ultimately they were very sympathetic and I ended up loving both of them. They were my guys, I took them with me on most of my missions. I ended up liking Legion and his observations so much that I hacked my save on another playthrough so that I could have him from early on.

    Modern Scientist Salarian. That is all.

    Another example? Tex Murphy. At a time when everyone hated FMV games, Tex Murphy still had a huge following of fans, and a lot of that had to do with how well the characters were developed. Tex always had something to say about everything, and most of that game was the relationship you built with that bumbling, wannabe noir detective.

    I can get more obscure than this too and cite MacGuffin’s Curse. A puzzle game with a werewolf. There have been rave reviews about this one all over the Internet, and a lot of those reviews were people trying to figure out why they were enjoying a puzzle game like this. What did it? The witty and warm writing, and the absolutely beautiful characters. It was so easy to become attached to MacGuffin and his family. That game got more than a few chuckles out of me, and the dialogue is written in such a way that… it’s just really feel good. You can’t play MacGuffin’s Curse and stay depressed. It’s impossible.

    And my ace in the hole – Bastion. Can anyone who isn’t a soulless, hateful husk of a person say that they hated the narrator? In Bastion, the narrator was my friend, he filled me in on details I didn’t know about, sometimes he offered advice, but he was always there. He was my erstwhile companion on all of my adventures, and without him, Bastion would have been a much emptier experience. (Similar to what I found Diablo III to be, I imagine.)

    I could go on like this. I totally could. But my hands are getting tired.

    What’s a game without these things? Without great characters, relationships, a brilliant story and narrative? It can be fun, but ultimately it’s incredibly forgettable. This is because we remember the experiences we had with other creatures that we could interact with on a sapient level.

    So… to be frank? If Fargo is saying that these things aren’t important, then I say that he’s full of shit.

    EDIT:: In fact, I have to add that one of the reasons that the BWE sold me so hard on Guild Wars 2 was because of the story, but especially because of hte characters. Rytlock Brimstone was a total bro, a guy to look up to and respect. I really enjoyed all my time with him. He had a fantastic voice actor (Steve Blum) and a brilliant sense of humour. And every time I think back to something, it comes back to this…

    I just can’t help doing this. The Walking Dead by Telltale Games? Who didn’t enjoy that? Who didn’t enjoy watching Lee’s growing relationship with the little girl he’d saved? It gives a game so much life. A game without memorable companions whose relationships you value is ultimately an empty, shallow, hollow experience.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. DSB

    @4 I can’t say I agree.

    Both The Witcher 2 and Mass Effect got some publicity from letting nerds fuck their party members, but at least for me that was the most impressive thing about it. Mass Effect turned it into a sad naive courtship leading to a sad naive petting session, that at least to me was short on any actual gratification, where The Witcher 2 probably did win a few points by treating people like adults.

    I think the naughty factor benefits the studios more than the games themselves. Kinda like giving every female huge tits. Like the sex, it has no meaning to the story, but it will make some people fap to the game.

    I’d rather take in some solid writing and solid mechanics, than trying to lay every boobed NPC I come across.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. fargotehliar

    Too bad Fargo lied to his Fallout fans.

    Half of your team is going to be mute and without a personality, so it will be very different from Fallout (or even that other fantastic game, Baldur’s Gate).

    It will be official once the vision document hits the net.

    #10 3 years ago

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