Bethesda PR man Pete Hines has been interviewed by Playstation Universe. He talks a little more about melee combat and about the Xbox at the primary development platform.
PSU: The art direction in Fallout 3
definitely succeeds in capturing the visual spirit of its predecessors.
How did Bethesda initially capture these visuals and place them into a
next-gen 3D world? Were there any compromises made in terms of what to
add or how expansive the world could be? In addition, was there
anything Bethesda thinks it did differently than any previous titles in
terms of the current world's visual layout?
Obviously we spent a lot of time looking at the games themselves, but
also the concept art for those games. We have a lot of the original
materials from the first two games so we can look at not only how they
looked in the original games, but also what the developers were going
for when they came up with the idea. We spent a ton of time churning
out a lot of concept art and going through multiple iterations to get
the look and feel of things right. That includes all of the iconic
elements from the series – the PipBoy, Vault Suit, and so on – to
little things like the chairs and computers that appeared in the Vault
in the first game.
PSU: How does the melee system in Fallout 3 exactly work? How will the VATS system focus its efforts with the melee system?
The goal is to balance the game so that you never have to fire a gun if
that’s not the kind of character you are role-playing. So you can use
different types of melee weapons in close range and use VATS to target
body parts just like you can with a gun. How “exactly” it works is one
of many things we are working on at the moment and it continues to get
changed and refined until we feel like we have it “just right.”
PSU: What platform is lead for development? Are you finding one easier than the other?
We usually use the Xbox 360 as our lead platform because it has some
very good tools for providing feedback we need in managing things like
memory allocation, load times, framerate, etc. But we develop each
platform simultaneously and ultimately the game has to run and be
tweaked to run on each platform as well as possible.
I still really don't like the idea of a console being the primary development platform. I haven't played Bioshock yet, but from what I hear, the PC version is far superior to the console versions due to the fact that they didn't nerf things down on the PC. Maybe Bethesda should take a cue?