Everything You Need To Know About Wasteland 3’s Vehicular Combat

In Wasteland 3, you’ll manage a team of up to six Rangers as they battle for survival while exploring Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. However, the most valuable member of your team might be your car. To help you explore this winter wasteland, your team boards a tank-like truck – called the Kodiak – outfitted with a wild assortment of weapons. This machine is named after the bear, which is fitting because this car can take a lot of damage and is incredibly fearsome in combat. During random encounters, the Kodiak tears through large groups of enemies and is instrumental to your survival. We talked to game director Tim Campbell about what makes this monstrous motor so special.

On the Kodiak’s origin: 

“We experimented with a lot of different takes on how the vehicle drives, how it handles, how fast it should it go, and even how many vehicles there should be. There was a lot of sifting through ideas and taking this thread from this idea, and this thread from another idea, and consolidating them all together. One of the things that came out of the team’s early prototypes that we built on was the idea of your vehicle coming into combat with you, and having that be a big addition to your Ranger squad.”

A look at Wasteland 3’s open world map

On vehicle uses during combat:

“You can move this vehicle around in combat. It has a lot of offensive capabilities. You can use it as cover. It can smash through things. And, of course, it has guns. We felt that we should go ahead and make the vehicle fun to use. Development would have been a lot easier if we didn’t have all that – if we just had the vehicle take you from point A to point B, but using it in combat was so much fun. So we zeroed in on that, and then we built upgrades and progression elements and all these other systems to support that.”

On Kodiak upgrades: 

“As you play through the game, you have choices and make mutually exclusive decisions about how to improve your vehicle. I think that’s gonna lead to some really interesting party styles. You can upgrade its chassis, its engine, its armor. There’s a lot of different stuff you can upgrade all the way to hood ornaments on the front that you collect from different factions, so it’s like a drivable trophy. Those ornaments are cosmetic, but everything else affects the vehicle stats. You can adjust how fast your vehicle moves, both when you’re driving around the world map and in combat. You can get an ability to launch orders offscreen to bombard an area. You can give your vehicle new turrets, which have a range of different abilities, so depending on what you’re up against, you may want to adjust your turret type. There are different defensive things you can get, like armor upgrades, too. The Kodiak doesn’t go through a leveling system like your player characters, but you will be upgrading it consistently throughout the game.”

On bringing the Kodiak into main story missions:

“A lot of the story involves characters going into locations where it wouldn’t make sense to have a vehicle along with you. We didn’t want to force roads through levels so the vehicle can go with you every time, so finding a balance where you can use the vehicle sometimes was one of the difficult things that we worked through. There are some story missions that involve your vehicle, maybe at the start, or at the end, or at a key point in the middle. The Kodiak is involved all the way up to the end fight of the game.”

Expect a few foes to match your Kodiak’s capabilities

On overpowering the Kodiak for side missions:

“The random encounters use the vehicle almost 100 percent of the time. Not exactly 100, but the bulk of the time your vehicle is with you in combat. That allowed us to have an overpowered vehicle some of the time, and we could balance up the enemies to compensate, so you’d have a big high-octane set of fights. Other times, when we knew that the vehicle wasn’t going to be with you, we could tilt the balance a different way to give you a different sort of challenge. The feeling of being in the field without your vehicles is very different because you lose your most powerful tool.”

On driving around the new world map:

“Going to Colorado, we wanted to bring the nuclear winter to life. We wanted to show the different biomes, where the weather changes, the sound changes, and just bring this new landscape to life. You’re driving around the vehicle and you see the vehicle kicking up snow and ice is as it moves. You get headlights lighting up trees and casting shadows. You see deer and crows getting startled, and you can have fun just driving around. As part of development, we drive around the world map for hours at a time to take notes on different things. It’s become a really fun part of the game and something that I think really brings Colorado to life.”


For more on Wasteland 3, read our feature on why Fallout fans should be excited for Wasteland 3, or watch us play through over 40 minutes of the game in a New Gameplay Today. 

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