For a game so ambitious, sprawling post-apocalyptic RPG Wasteland 2 did well to keep a tight leash on its release date. InXile's Kickstarted sequel to the classic 1988 game Wasteland was delayed once—but only by a few weeks, and even then it was only to ensure that physical copies of the game were ready for backers. Wasteland 3 has raised even more money from crowdfunding, this time through Fig, and will therefore have even more eyes tracking its progress. If the latest developer update is anything to go by then it's all coming along nicely, and a "first draft" of the game will be ready next month.
By the end of May, the development team will be able to follow the critical path from the start of the game to the very end, according to lead designer George Ziets. The team is still writing major characters and that first run through will undoubtedly be full of bugs, but it's a good start.
"Getting to a solid first draft (as early as possible) is a critical step," he writes. "Some of our zones are already at an alpha state, which means that first-pass dialogue and level scripting are done, and combat, missions, and exploration all exist in some form."
If you're interested in the game, then I recommend scanning through the whole blog post, which gives updates on all the major aspects—art, sound design, gameplay—and confirms that it's still on track to release late next year. To pick out some highlights, systems designer Eric Schwarz says that the focus so far has been on getting the combat and exploration to a solid state. "We're spending considerable effort to ensure that our combat encounters and enemy types have plenty of variety, and fitting personality for our post-apocalyptic version of Colorado," he says.
And on the art side, art director Charlie Bloomer says that his team has focused on designing a distinctive style for each of the game's many factions. Check out one of the outfits for the Scar Collectors below. And again, if you want more, the full blog post is here.