Pete Hines discusses rabid fanboys,
rad rat scorpions and VATS among other things in this lenghty interview published on SPOnG.
SPOnG: What’s the whole deal
with rabid Fallout fanboys desperately worried
that Fallout 3 is not going to be a proper RPG?
Pete Hines: Well, at its core Fallout 3 is definitely a role-playing game. If you
are of the opinion that any Fallout RPG has to
be exactly like the games that came out in 1997 and 1998 down to every feature
and detail, that’s definitely not the game we are making. We are trying to make
a true successor in the Fallout franchise,
something that is a true role-playing game that immerses you in this world, and
hopefully brings out the best of what that series is about – which is great
tone and setting and themes and characters and player choice… You know, it’s a
really interesting, special role-playing system.
If folks are interested in a new Fallout game
(as opposed to being slavishly interested in a specific list of demands
relating to Fallout or Fallout2); or [they] are just interested in
role-playing in general but may not have played the original games; or they are
just looking for the next big RPG or the next big RPG coming from Bethesda… we
certainly hope all of those folks are interested in what we are up to with Fallout 3.
SPOnG: Any other well-known
guys doing voice-overs in addition to Liam Neeson?
Yep, Ron Perlman (Hellboy) is the narrator – he was the narrator in the
first two games. Those are really the only two guys we’re talking about right
There are also other iconic things from the series in Fallout
3 from the first two games such as The Ink Spots, who were this great
band from the 1940’s and 50’s era who did the theme-song for the original games
. We licensed one of their most popular tracks – the one that the original
developers wanted to use in the original Fallout
but couldn’t get the rights to. So that’s the I Don’t
Want To Set The World On Fire tune, from the teaser trailer, and also
from where the game starts.
So, its little things like this. We’re big fans of the series and what it did
and what it was about and we want to stay as true as possible to everything –
sound effects, voiceover, music, whatever it is.
SPOnG: One of the features in Fallout 3 that really stands out is V.A.T.S.
(Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System) – can you explain how this works?
V.A.T.S. was really born out of a
desire to make the game work best as a first-person game – remember that the
original games were third-person with turn-based combat. We feel that
first-person is the most immersive way to put a player in a world. However, at
the same time we wanted something that stayed as true as possible to
role-playing. We don’t want something that rewards the ‘quick-twitch’ FPS
player. We’re not trying to reward players who are good at Call of Duty or Halo
We want the skills and abilities of your character to determine success or
failure. So, one of the things we’ve included is this V.A.T.S. mode allows you
to stop time and queue up moves for your character to implement, in almost a
compressed time mode. And then we play it out in a cinematic fashion.
So, at any point in the game you can pause it and spend action points to target
any particular point on a creature or creatures that you might be fighting. So,
you might aim to shoot one guy in the leg to aim to slow him down as he runs to
attack you with his melee weapon, while at the same time aiming to shoot this
other guy in the arm so that he’s less accurate with his weapon, while you
might aim to shoot a third guy in the head for a quick kill – and then you
press a button and the game acts out all that stuff for you in a cinematic
mode. Over time your action points are recharged. You get to make moves based
on how many action points it takes to fire a certain weapon, or whatever the
case may be.
So, it’s really a way of giving you a chance to pause the action, take stock of
situations and make smart choices about who you are going to target. You know,
a lot of shooters you play, there’s ammo all over the place. Whereas in this
game, you’re in a post-nuclear wasteland. You can’t just go down to the local
ammo shop and buy as much as you want. You have to scrounge for what you need
to survive. You have to conserve ammo and resolve the battles as smartly as
possible. A combination of the skills of your player and the conditions of your
weapons determines how likely you are to hit the particular body parts of your
SPOnG: What kind of weapons do
you get? What types of baddies will you come across?
Pete Hines: You start of with nothing when you
leave the Vault, but you scrounge around and find hunting rifles and Chinese
assault rifles and laser rifles – there’s a whole range of different types of
weapons, small and big, energy weapons, that kind of thing.
As for the baddies, there are a lot of creatures that are drawn from the
original games. Then there are a number of new ones. Your biggest foes in the
game are these super-mutants that are invading the world and are in a constant
battle to push humans out. You’ll find all kinds of weird mutated creatures in
the game from giant ants through to rat scorpions. You have to ask yourself
“What has radiation done to all these creatures that were in this world before
the bomb fell?” So you can imagine the kinds of strange mutants you’ll
Read the whole interview here.