Gamebanshee has an interview with Obsidian's Chris Avellone, where they discuss the recent news that Obsidian will be lending support to Wasteland 2 if the Kickstarter reaches at least 2.1 million dollars.
GB: You contributed heavily to Fallout: New Vegas and a majority of its DLC, worked as a designer on Fallout 2, and were in the lead designer position on the Black Isle iteration of Fallout 3, Van Buren. While Wasteland is undoubtedly a franchise that has much in common with the Fallout franchise, it also presents a slightly different take on the post-apocalyptic environment. Is there any worry on your part that content you contribute to Wasteland 2 might be considered too Fallout-like by fans who are familiar with both franchises?
Chris: Wasteland is far more freeing. There’s ideas and seeds that won’t work in the context of Fallout that will fit in the much wider umbrella of Wasteland, in a good way. There was a lot of variety in Wasteland 1 alone, and I’d like to see that upheld in WL2. Each location in WL1 had its own flavor, challenges, yet managed to keep a cohesive arc to draw the player in.
GB: As someone who has worked on previous titles with player-created parties (notably the Icewind Dale series and Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir), how do you approach narrative design in a party-based game (Wasteland 2) vs. a single protagonist game (Fallout: New Vegas)? What are the primary areas that you need to get right in order to make the experience as fulfilling as possible to both story-seeking and tactically-oriented player types?
Chris: It's a matter of how you design the conversation systems to allow for the inputs of individual characters and allow those individuals to make skill or experience-based contributions.
Equally important, you also want to allow for checks and conditionals where the person you're speaking with can react to the actions of any individual within the group where it makes sense (Ex: “Hey, you there – I see you got a sniper rifle... if you know how to use it, I have a job for you.”). This isn't as hard to do as it may seem, although it's a subject for larger discussion and often comes down to how you want to present that mechanic and reactivity to the player (I feel Storm of Zehir and Icewind Dale accomplished this, although Storm of Zehir felt more elegant to me - and to give thanks where thanks is due, we owe that to the design lead Tony Evans and the UI programmer at the time, Anthony Davis, who got that system in and working).
The short goal: As long as people feel that their individual party members matter, not just in the battlefield, but in other interactions as well, that's what you're shooting for.