Meantime

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Titleicon-MT.pngThe following is based on Meantime and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

Meantime was a canceled time travel RPG produced by Interplay, using the same engine as Wasteland and developed by some of the same people, which was eventually canceled in the early 1990s. In 2014, inXile Entertainment registered the Meantime trademark, which means that, like Wasteland 2, the game might be made after all[1].

A role-playing game originally intended for Apple II (and possibly C64), Brian Fargo (head of Interplay at the time) halted development for this platform, in part due to the falling 8-bit computer market. Later attempts were made to finish the game for MS-DOS, but the project was canceled for good after the release of the competing Ultima VII, as it was felt they would be releasing a graphically inferior product. The box cover was never made public, but is said to feature Albert Einstein, a playable character in the game.

Apple II based mock-up of the traveling screen.
Apple II based mock-up of the combat/recruiting screen.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Although set in the same universe as Wasteland, and with similar engine and gameplay, Meantime was to feature an entirely unique storyline. The basic premise was that the player would travel through time, and recruit famous historical figures to the player's party. The party would attempt to repair damage caused by a similar party of time-traveling villains, attempting to alter the course of history by influencing events.

Recruitable characters would be generally limited to people who had met mysterious ends, so as to be in sync with historic events. For example, Amelia Earhart joins the party when she is rescued from a Japanese POW camp, and Wernher von Braun when he is rescued from the Soviets at the end of World War II. Each character would also have a particular specialty; Cyrano de Bergerac, for example, would have an expert fencing skill. It was never stated if the enemy characters would also be historic figures.

Development[edit | edit source]

Meantime was designed a modified version of the Wasteland design team. The project was initially lead by Alan Pavlish; also involved were Mark O'Green and Liz Danforth. Unlike Wasteland, a map editor was created for the game, preventing the need to know assembly code when creating game areas. When the maps used in the game were around 75% done, Liz Danforth left the project. This, coupled with declining Apple II sales, led Brian Fargo to cancel the project.

The Meantime project was revived around 1992 under the lead of Bill Dugan, with the aim of bringing the game to IBM PC-compatibles. A contractor was hired to port the program to MS-DOS, and an Interplay employee began work on EGA graphics for use in the game. Unfortunately, by this time the code was considered "ancient", causing porting to be very difficult. Bill Dugan finally recommended the cancellation of the project, after seeing the advanced (at the time) graphics of Ultima VII. It was felt that Meantime had little to offer, with its top-down perspective and lack of animation.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

The Meantime code and rights were owned entirely by Interplay, as opposed to Wasteland, which was owned by EA. As such, EA started from scratch when they produced their own Wasteland sequel, Fountain of Dreams. When Interplay finally did create their spiritual successor to Wasteland, Fallout, none of the Meantime code was used and the only Meantime designer involved in the creation of Fallout was Mark O'Green. No copies of the source code are believed to currently exist.

Chiptune artist 8 Bit Weapon released a CD entitled "MeanTime EP" as a tribute to the vaporware of the same name in the summer of 2007.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Games