OXM Editor Jon Hicks has responded to Fallout community criticism about the magazine's latest edition featuring Fallout: New Vegas. The Fallout community, and the various sites it encompasses, rose in criticism of the article, which seemed to portray Bethesda's Fallout 3 as if it were the original model of the Fallout series - seemingly ignoring the previous critically acclaimed entries in the series. In addition, there was a quote from the article that struck particularly hard to the core of the Fallout community:
"Clearly, you have a responsibility to push the series forward, but there's also nothing worse than a misguided attempt to differentiate a follow-up that only ruins what everyone loved about the original. Throw in a new developer - [Fallout] New Vegas is being developed by Obsidian rather than Bethesda's in-house team - and there is no doubt that a fair few Fallout fans will be more than a little concerned that this could be a recipe for nuclear disaster" - OXM UK, Fallout: New Vegas article, March 2010.
The irony of this quote was certainly not lost on the Fallout community, which has been continuously derided for criticising the changes that Bethesda brought to the Fallout series. Heated by frustration with an article that seemed to me at the time to be little more than a PR piece written by Bethesda and published under the OXM name, I commented on the Duck and Cover forums that it was "an absolute travesty that this [OXM article on Fallout: New Vegas] is even considered 'journalism.'"
OXM Editor Jon Hicks responded to my comment, and directed it not only at my comment, but at some of the gripes that the Fallout community had with the article:
"[On] the subject of the “absolute travesty,” we’re well aware of the previous appearance of those factions in the original Fallout PC games. That information was originally included in the panel referring to Obsidian’s heritage, but was cut for reasons of space - and because it won’t be of interest to the majority of Xbox gamers who were introduced to the series by Fallout 3." - OXM Editor Jon Hicks, February 2010
Understandably, OXM caters to the XBox market. The Fallout RPGs prior to Fallout 3 were never available on the XBox, so it is logical that subscribers would probably not be as keen to see changes to their "beloved" game. What a lot of people still don't understand, however, as the previous quote from the OXM article illustrates, is the fact that Fallout has been the "beloved" series of a large number of people years before Bethesda's Fallout 3 was even thought about. There are changes to the series that Bethesda made that the Fallout community has accepted and learned to deal with - namely Fallout 3's first person aspect as opposed to the previous third person, top down viewpoint. What the Fallout community still cannot stomach, however, are the changes that Bethesda made which curtailed aspects that made the original RPGs so popular - the superb, complex, and creative writing, the story, compelling NPCs, classic role-playing elements including truly multiple solutions to quests....all of these elements, and more, received vast changes or were entirely not present in Fallout 3.
Instead, Fallout fans - new and old - were forcefed carefully handled PR leading up to and after the release of Fallout 3. Promises made by Bethesda for things like hundreds of different endings to the game just didn't exist. The role-playing aspects of the game were found to be superceded by the first-person shooter aspect. This hyrbridization of genres resulted in a game that was not terrible, but did not succeed in either aspect.
So, after all of this (and after this post morphed into a broader critique), it is logical to assume that the Fallout community took issue with this OXM article and that quote from the New Vegas story in particular. I think I can speak for the entire Fallout community in saying that any changes Obsidian make in Fallout: New Vegas will be for the better - whether by increasing the role-playing aspect, descreasing the FPS aspect, or fixing the various game-ruining bugs that plague Fallout 3. I have faith in Obsidian and in their staff of writers, designers, artists, and coders. For the first time in a while, I have hope for the Fallout series.
And I don't think I'm alone.