Some PC gamers are still upset that Fallout 3 was never made. Not that one, with the VATS and the teddy-guns: the one codenamed Van Buren, in construction at Black Isle before it went bust a decade ago. I know they’re still upset, because I sometimes frequent those kind of forums.
So grumpy were one gaggle of budding developers, in fact, that they named their outfit Black Cloud Studios and set to work on After Reset - an ambitious RPG for PC, Mac and Linux, founded on design principles established in Baldur’s Gate, Planescape Torment and the original Fallout games.
After Reset’s development roadmap has been built in a sort of chicane around three sacred ‘pillars’: post-apocalyptic atmosphere, build on hard sci-fi and environments in the mould of Fallout; a nonlinear story, offering freedom of choice and “a ton of branches and endings”; and ‘hardcore’ mechanics that place a premium on decisions made in character creation, “in the best traditions of DnD and SPECIAL”.
The ‘Reset’ in question is a simultaneous nuclear strike that wiped out a globalised and united human civilisation just as it seemed to be getting along. Not the conventionally-conceived World War III, then, but the effect is much the same as usual - a surviving sliver of humanity has been holed away in vaults for years, and you, the player, are among the first to leave.
Black Cloud have been making the game for about a year, and Kickstarting it for a couple of weeks. They’re... oh gosh, they’re not very far along the way to their target at all, having plumped for a sizeable $900,000 asking price. But you’ve 21 days to persuade everyone and your mum to back them, if you like the sound of their pitch:
As you can see in the header image for this post, After Reset’s engine does a nice job of recalling the scorched, isometric and mostly empty maps of Fallout 1’s wasteland. But do you think it can fill the Van Buren-sized vault in deprived fans’ hearts?