Tim Cain, one of the original progenitors of Fallout, has been featured in this month's PC Powerplay. He talks about the original series, as well as Bethesda's upcoming sequal. The following quotes are just a few of the many that were transcribed over at RPG Codex.
We set out to make a non-linear game, which today would be called a
sandbox game. We wanted the player to make any kind of character and
then go off into the wilderness in any direction and still be able to
finish the game. Naturally, some characters would be harder to finish
the game with than others, but that was our main goal.
We knew we were making a dark game, based on the horrors that 1950's
science had predicted for a future apocalyptic world. So we balanced
that with humour, by poking fun at those same predictions in a way that
would amuse a modern player.
Once we had settled on a post-apocalyptic setting for our world, we
debated over all the different types we could choose. I remember
debating modern futurism, like alien invasion or cyber warfare, and
even the possibillity that there had been no war at all and this was
all an illusion or a facade, but in the end, we felt that the Cold War
era had the most visceral appeal of all these settings, and most easily
opened itself up for humour.
After Interplay picked up the D&D license, they almost cancelled
Fallout right then so as not to be working on multiple products that
would compete with one another. But I pointed out that the setting was
so different from orcs and goblins that there would likely be no
overlap in the target audience. Marketing believed me, and Fallout was
saved from termination.
After playing Oblivion, I have high hopes for Fallout 3 being an
awesome open-ended experience. Bethesda obviously has good people
working there, so I don't want to insult them by offering any advice
that might sound like a pronouncement. I just want to play the game
like any other fan, which means I will be surprised and delighted by
the plot twists and turns and also that I reserve the right to complain
about any deviation from the Fallout canon.