Like non-irradiated food in an apocalyptic desert, Wasteland 2 information appears sporadically, and serves only to leave you wanting more. The latest Kickstarter info-drop is an explanation of exploration: detailing the game's world map, and the dangers that lurk within. This new update also gives a mirage-like teaser of early beta access, which hovers tantalisingly out of reach as InXile wrap up their pre-beta test.
Wasteland 2 producer Montgomery Markland reveals two layers of exploration. For the most part, players will be uncovering the world through a 3D map, showing "your immediate surrounding environment with representative scale and geographic features of the region". As you travel around this view, significant nearby locations, settlements and sites can be uncovered. Markland compares this to similar exploration systems found in the Mount & Blade series, and Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir.
The second layer is the 2D map view. "While in the 3D world map, you can press 'M' to bring up a 2D map displaying the entire region," Markland writes. "This 2D regional map automatically updates with locations you have either explored yourself, or have been informed of by another Wastelander. The regional map has been handed down from ranger to ranger over the previous century, each adding their own details to what was originally an old-fashioned roadmap from the 1990s."
"As you discover radiation zones they are marked on your map In Arizona, locations generally match their canonical layout from Wasteland 1. The map is filled with key locations you will discover through regular playthroughs; but significant sections of the map are side exploration opportunities. There is plenty of space to wander around, discover hidden resources based on your character's build, fight random encounters and discover minor sites that may be explored in normal game mode."
Survival will also play a part in travelling across the world map. Different terrain types will cause distinct levels of dehydration, radiation will cause you to take potentially fatal damage, and random encounters will be randomly encountered. The benefit is that you'll not just uncover major locations, but also smaller sites and resource caches.
As for the beta release, InXile are in the final round of testing - a small external group test before launching into the backer-only closed beta. Early access will be exclusive to Steam, although the final game will also be available through a variety of other distributors. For more details, head over to the Wasteland 2 official blog .