PC Gamer UK has previewed Fallout 3 in their latest magazine. Highlights:
The comparisons between this early scene and that of Oblivion won't be
lost on Bethesda, developers of both games, nor their divided fan-base.
Rarely can a game announcement have been met with such vitriol. The
Fallout name is such a sacred cow that amers decried with
spittle-flecked rants Bethesda's acquisition of the rights to develop a
third in the series. Fears of trite quests, repetitious dialogue and a
bland world ran rife among the online chatterati. But they haven't seen
what I've seen.
"There's an undertone of pulp sci-fi adventure," says Todd of the
Fallout world. "It's not Mad Max post-apocalyptic future, it's a 1950s
tomorrow land...it's how they imagine the world would be."
[on character creation/tutorial] "We wanted people to experience
something they've never had in a role-playing game before," explains
Emil Pagliarulo, Fallout 3's Lead Designer and evidently its creative
visionary. "In most games you start out at a certain point; you never
get to develop your character through the course of his or her life. We
wanted to show you what it's like to grow up in the Vault so we start
at the point of your birth. You get to know the people in the Vault,
including your dad."
[on selecting Liam Neeson] "We were daydreaming about who would be good
as your father," says Todd. "We just thought Liam Neeson would be
perfect... We asked him, and he said yes."
But isn't it a bit of a publicity stunt - especially as this was the
first snippet of information released about the game? "We could have
had a perfectly good voice actor who isn't famous, and I suppose there
is a marketing thing to it," admits Todd. "But regardless, he's a
seriously good actor. He understands the role completely and has an
incredible professional attitude. (...)"
Emil again: "it's a shock when you find out your dad is missing, and
the Overseer [the chief of the Vault] is pissed off. He thinks you had
something to do with it and he sends his thugs after you. The Vault is
no longer safe for you. In addition to you wanting to find your dad,
you're under pressure to get out..."
Todd warms to the theme. "In Oblivion, we say, here's the good part of
the game and here's the evil part. In Fallout we say, here's the
situation. You deal with it in ways that feel natural to your
character... Later on, we realised a lot of the quests we were making
were morally grey, neither definably good nor evil. We asked, do they
need to be clear? And decided, no, definitely not."
"We want people to agonise over things," adds Emil, a glint in his eye. "For things not to be clear."
It all sounds dangerously like actual roleplaying. And it's tied in
with Fallout 3's character development system, which fans of the
original will find happily familiar. The big difference between it and
Oblivion's is that you will never become an all-round everyman in
Fallout , skilled in most things.
Ah, the weapons. Drawing heavily from the original, we'll be reunited
with a host of old friends; from the super sledgehammer, simple pistol
and rifles like AK47-alikes, plasma guns and the monstrous Fat man
(...) You'll occasionally find or be able to buy schematics for new and
unusual toys which can then be built using parts scavenged from the
world. The best example of this is the Rock-It-Launcher: a jerry-built
projectile lobber that can fire rocks - or any junk you may have
clogging up your inventory.
[On VATS] The VATS system is a reflection of the old Fallout targeting
system, which allowed a very similar level of detail and strategic
thought (...) Once your orders are selected [in paused mode], up to a
maximum governed by your action points, real time continues, with your
actions rewarded with slow-motion close-ups if you score a particularly
ugly killing blow.
[sheriff Lucas Simms of Megaton] He's cautiously friendly, but warns
you what'll happen if you misbehave in his town. A good man doing a
tough job? Or a self-important egotist living out his cowboy dreams?
(...) you'll start to realise there are hidden depths to many of
Fallout 3's characters.
[on NPCs] I certainly didn't see anything repeated, anything out of
character, or anything that broke the consistent, convincing atmosphere
- all complaints that have been leveled at Bethesda's previous works.
Lucas is a good example of what Bethesda are aiming to do with NPCs:
make them more subtle, less obvious, more human.
[options on Megaton's quest] You could ignore him and keep pursuing
your dad. You could say you'll do it, then rat him out to the sheriff.
You could say you won't, then do it anyway, just to piss off everyone.
The upshot is that, a couple of hours into the game, you could be
standing on a rooftop watching a town and its inhabitants being
atomised... or you could still be there, doing odd jobs and getting
pally with the lunatic who worships the bomb as a god.
[side-bar text] A higher charisma score gives more chat options.