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Desslock Talks Fallout 3
Desslock Talks Fallout 3 [ Game -> Interview ]
Posted by King of Creation Mon 09 Jul 2007, 12:38 AM
More info on Game: Fallout 3

Old time RPG journalist Desslock talks about Fallout 3 at the QTT forums. Highlights:

We do have a full preview as well, written by Dan Stapleton, supplemented by a related piece I contributed to, so there’s lots of info coming. I haven’t read the GameSpot piece (or Dan’s), so I don’t know how much they overlap — I’m also doing my column in the following issue on Fallout 3, as a sequel to my “memo to Bethesda” column a year or so ago, commenting on how I think things are looking on what I highlighted in the earlier column as the five most important “Fallout” features I was looking for in a sequel.

But if you have any additional questions on anything you’ve read anywhere - shoot - I’ll try to answer them now that I’m no longer prohibited from doing so. I’ve waited a year and a half to be able to talk about Fallout 3, so I’m more than happy to do so, heh.

I actually think people will be very happily surprised with the writing, and the characters, in Fallout 3, compared to Oblivion’s NPCs. The dialogue options are meaningful and different, not just a list of items that NPC can speak about, organized in a list where the only real choice is the order in which you hear the items. There’s only a few hundred NPCs (down from 1500 or so in Oblivion, and 2500 in Morrowind), so they’re much more fleshed out and unique — it also helps that there’s 30-40 different voice actors instead of just a handful in Oblivion. At least from what we’ve been shown, that stuff feels much more like Fallout 1/2 than Oblivion.

You also won’t be a jack of all trades, as in Oblivion - you have to make real choices that matter, and which dynamically change the fortunes of other characters. Aside from enhancing replayability, since you obviously won’t be able to do competing objectives, those choices deepen the roleplaying. To elaborate more on the “Megaton bomb quest” — when you arrive at that town, you can greet and be friendly with the sheriff. When you get the quest to potentially blow up the bomb, you can instead inform the sheriff that these dudes are trying to blow up the town. Or you can decide to blow up the town, but actually be unable to because you lack the mechanical skills to activate the bomb. Or you could just decide to blow the sheriff away when you meet him, in which case you’ll likely be attacked by his buddies when walking through the town. Or you could, after blowing him away, decide to put on his sheriff’s uniform, in which case some NPCs may attack you for killing the sheriff, but others may actually defer to you as the new sheriff. In short - meaningful options and real choices, and interesting characters to interact with - in that respect, I think Bethesda is appropriately emulating some of Fallout’s best and most distinctive features.

I also wouldn’t read anything negative into not being able to kill kids - it’s still definitely an M-rated game - there’s graphic violence, swearing, and “adult” topics like slavery, etc. — some other stuff that Bethesda isn’t revealing yet, involving mutation, and one tracked stat was “corpses eaten”, which makes me suspect there’ll be something similar to the Vampire-path in Oblivion/Morrowind, where you can get into doing some nasty stuff. It doesn’t feel sanitized. I also like the changes to the level-scaling, the use of SPECIAL and level-based character development as opposed to the use-based skill system of the Elder Scrolls games.

And more from today:

Other general impressions — while calling it “Oblivion with guns” is an oversimplication given some of the differences I’ve described above (and without also getting into the combat differences, etc.), I also think it’s a superficially apt description because it definitely looks like Oblivion, not like Fallout, because of the perspective. Sure, they’ve doled out the carrot of being able to view the game from an isometric perspective, but I’m skeptical that it’ll be in any way practical to do so. But the graphics look great - far better than I think they come across in still screenshots.

Areas of uncertainty - the VATS system looks really cool, and is visually spectacular, but I think we need to see more of the combat to judge how it feels in practice. I really like the VATS system, but I’m not sold on combat in general - there’s also a few pieces we haven’t seen at all, like melee combat (which is definitely an important part of the game). Also, everything in the demo occurred in relatively congested areas as well, with lots of rubble around blocking views, etc. - I’d like to get a better sense for how large the world feels, and looks, by seeing more expansive vistas, etc. (obviously one of the real strengths of Oblivion).

Other stuff I really like - the implementation of the PIP boy, and the ability to pick off radio broadcasts as you’re wandering the wasteland. The use of robots like Mr. Handy from the Fallout 1 cinematic - the nuke effects — and the overall atmosphere: the perspective gives you a better sense that you’re exploring a place that’s been blown apart and is messed up (suitably “postapocalyptic”) as opposed to a flat, top-down view. It’s actually kind of creepy — it’s one thing to see a giant castle in the background while playing Oblivion, and think that’s a cool, realistic view — it’s another to be walking around and then to look up at Washington D.C. buildings that have been fucked up, since we have a vested attachment to that setting.

Which is another question– ARE THERE companions of any sort?

There won’t be a party, or controllable companions (even the original Fallout games had AI-controlled companions), but there will be characters that fight alongside you. Expect Dogmeat or his doppelganger.

I think the plan is definitely to support modding. I did ask if Fallout 3 would ship with a construction kit like the past 2 Elder Scrolls games, and that hadn’t been decided yet. To be honest, that stuff doesn’t interest me personally, so I didn’t delve deeper into it.

Do you talk at all about the food/water/radiation poisoning thing that the game previews keep mentioning offhandedly, as if any game ever had made Tamagotchi mechanics fun? (and I’m excluding you people that play the Sims…if that’s what you call fun, I want no part of it. I understand those games from the perspective of a simulator or something, but that’s about it.)

I’m not certain what you mean about Tamagotchi mechanics. Water is basically a precious resource in the game, which you need to restore health (or stimpacks) — surface water is often irradiated, so if you’re going to drink it you’ll need radaway to avoid radiation effects. But it’s not an “Iolo-in-Ultima7″-style caretaking system.

Saxman - I think the inventory graphics, etc. we saw were placeholder, but it seemed pretty standard “press I to pull up inventory” style system, not Oblivion’s goofy journal tab system.

I’m hoping to god that they are more intelligent than Oblivion’s combat AI for companions, and not nearly as buggy (or as buggy/stupid as STALKER’s friendly AI). I really can’t take another battle where they rip me in half with the minigun because they’re too stupid to realize that I’m between them and their target.

We didn’t see any friendly fire incidents in the combat that was demonstrated, which was basically you and some Brotherhood of Steel guys against supermutants. They seemed intelligent enough to be fanned out - I don’t know if friendly fire is possible or was disabled, but it didn’t seem to be a factor.

Like I said, even though you won’t have a controllable party in the traditional sense, you can have allies and/or followers, to a greater degree than in Oblivion (and there were actually quite a few occasions in that game where you worked with other characters).

Do you know if they will be like Fallout 1/2 and have their own backstories, quests, and ways to change them over time? How about secret followers? Skynet in Fallout 2 was awesome.

Well, even in Oblivion there were characters who would tag along with you who had backstories and associated quests, but I think it’s overly optimistic to think much beyond that. Followers/allies on occasion may be more frequent or easier to obtain, but it’s a single character game, not a party-based game.

Can you complete the game using VATS exclusively, never aiming in real time? Is that a play style they’re balancing the game for?
Can you pause even if you have no AP, just to stop and think?

1. VATS action points are a limited resource, sort of like fatigue in Oblivion - I think they are still tweaking how fast it regenerates, etc.

2. Yes, definitely, and doing so will offer tactical advantages, since it allows your character to make a “perception” roll, which will give you additional information.

They already made the design choice to design the game around A) mostly real-time combat, B) in first-person, and C) without a controllable party or even companions. You’re already dealing with something that’s at least part-way to being a FPS/RPG hybrid rather than a pure RPG.
Because frankly, my reaction to VATS is that while it sounds -interesting- I’m somewhat skeptical about how it will work in practice. It seems too abstract to provide the enjoyment of good FPS combat, and too limited in its options to provide the depth of turn-based combat. Maybe that will change when they get around to producing some gameplay trailers and I can see it in action and in context. But right now I’m still somewhat skeptical.

Wow, that’s one awesome set of assumptions, extrapolations, faulty recollections, inaccurate comparisons and gross misinterpretations of everything that’s been said to date, haphazardly stitched together with the skepticism it sounds like you were predetermined to rationalize.

I think you’re right to hone in on the fact that there are a lot of questions surrounding how the combat will work in practice, and to note that the game is primarily designed around a first person perspective, but suggesting it’s “not a pure RPG” is ludicrous and completely counterintuitive given the statements of everyone who has actually seen the game.

Spotted @ Briosafreak's Fallout 3 Blog
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