Last month, we wrote about Tim Cain's new YouTube channel where he's been sharing some exciting stories from his long career as a game developer. Well, in a recent video, Cain revealed another great anecdote from his years in game development that we're not sure has ever been discussed all that much (if at all) in the past. This relates to the time that EA tried to headhunt the developer to lead a sequel to Interplay's post-apocalyptic title Wasteland in 1998.
If you're a fan of the Wasteland series, you'll know that a sequel to Wasteland didn't manifest until September 2014, with InXile (Wasteland director Brian Fargo's new studio) having acquired the license from EA years earlier and begun a Kickstarter in order to raise funds for the project. According to Cain though, EA had actually tried to cut Interplay out of Wasteland's future and make the sequel itself in the late 90s with the Fallout creator on board.
At the time, Cain was still in between jobs, having left Interplay during the development Fallout 2 (a story he told in another video), when he received a phone call from an unfamiliar female voice.
The voice on the other end of the line was someone from EA, who had been calling every Timothy Cain in LA County, Orange County, and San Diego County to try to reach the developer. She passed Cain (this time a man), who explained that the company wasn't happy with Interplay and had strung them along during the early development of Fallout when Interplay had tried to license the rights to a sequel from the publisher.
In the video, Cain recalls:
"He and other people at Electronic Arts — who were the original publisher of Wasteland (Interplay was the developer at that point) — they didn’t like Interplay. He told me stories, but his main reason was, 'We find them ungrateful for everything we did and a little pompous'. So he told me they had been stringing them along. That EA had been stringing them along all those months and never intended to license Wasteland to them. Had no intention of ever doing it!
"That was weird for me to hear, because I had been told all along this is likely going to happen. But since October, many of them at EA had played Fallout and they loved Fallout. So he was basically looking for me when I left Interplay. He said, ‘How would you like to make Wasteland 2 up here at EA?’"
Electronic Arts offered Cain the opportunity to move up to the Bay Area and start a team to begin development on Wasteland 2, but the developer ultimately declined the opportunity. He explains his reasons later in the video:
"I turned it down. I told him I turned it down because I felt like I had just made Wasteland 2. It was Fallout. But the real reason I turned it down was I didn’t really want to work for someone who had just jokingly described that business situation of ‘Oh, we just strung someone along for a month because we thought it would be funny.’"
Cain doesn't "regret" turning down the offer, because it would have meant that he would have never started his own company Troika (with the Fallout art director Leonard Boyarsky and Fallout lead artist Jason D. Anderson), or worked on games like Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura and The Temple of Elemental Evil.
Nevertheless, he still wonders what might have happened had he taken the role, as it would have likely meant fans of Wasteland would have gotten a sequel as early as 2001.