Early Access releases on Steam can be a bit dicey, the state of pre-release games always being something of a crapshoot, but there are sometimes big upsides, too. Wasteland 2 is one example of a game that was particularly well-served by its Early Access release late last year: In the most recent Kickstarter update , project lead Chris Keenan wrote that "every penny" earned through pre-release sales was put back into the game, which has helped double its initial Kickstarter budget.
Wasteland 2 did extremely well for itself on Kickstarter, attracting more than $2.9 million when it wrapped up in April 2012, more than triple its goal of $900,000. But inXile Entertainment has managed to double that amount since then, allowing what Keenan called a "larger and more nuanced" game than the studio had initially thought possible.
"We've had the good fortune of having a nicely selling back catalog, which allowed us to put a good chunk of our own money into making this the best experience possible. That along with some help from Early Access on Steam provided additional revenue along with a great influx of feedback," he wrote in the latest Kickstarter update. "We made this promise a while back and it still holds true. Every penny coming in from sales is still going back into making Wasteland 2. By this stage, it means we have doubled Wasteland 2's initial budget."
Keenan acknowledged that Wasteland 2 would already be released if it wasn't for Early Access, but without the "polish, detail and scope" that it currently offers. "The past few years have been one large learning and refining process for all of us, and in hindsight, we can measurably say this had a huge positive impact on the game," he wrote. "Nothing beats the feedback from tons of you playing the game and the resources and time to act on that feedback."
The development process is beginning to wind down but Keenan said the studio will continue to work on the project to provide a day-one patch, and that while no expansions are currently in the works, inXile does plan to provide "significant" post-release support. Wasteland 2 is currently slated to come out sometime near the end of August .