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
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
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
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
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