No doubt you've all heard of Interplay's latest game in the Fallout genre: Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. No, I'm not talking about Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, that luke-warm tactical game released in 2000 that Fallout fans don't like to talk about. I'm talking about Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, that new console action game that's based on the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance engine.
If you've been following the Fallout scene, you would've heard that all hell broke loose when Interplay announced details of the game. For those of you that haven't been following, this article will bring you up to speed on all the sordid details of what happened a few months ago, what's happened since, and a few predictions on what's about to happen. For those of you that have been following, this article will give you not only the complete recap of events, but also an extensive list of everything that's wrong about this game so far, from a Fallout fans' point of view.
Now, as hard as it is to resist, I'll try not to bag the game for being an action game instead of an RPG (well, not much anyway). Instead, I'll only bag the game for being a bad representation of the Fallout Universe. This is based off of the information that's been released to the public so far. So, by the time the game is released, one of two things is likely to happen. Either a lot of these "story erratums" will be fixed and will not be present in the final game, or, as is more likely given that the game is only a few short months away from release, there'll be all of this stuff and a whole lot more fun to come with it. Oh, and one more thing, my car loan will be paid off.
What follows is a combination of my own ferreting and error hunting, as well as all the bad things about FO:BOS that have ever been said to date about Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel... or at least, what wasn't deleted when Interplay shut-down their own FO:BOS forums (more on that later).
The first signs of things going wrong was with the news release by Interplay on March 12th this year (2003). While it said that this game was based on the Fallout world of the PC, it unfortunately seemed to be changing a few things already. Wait... Did I say March 12th, 2003? I'm sorry, that's wrong. What I meant to say was: The first signs of things going wrong was with the leaked information about "Fallout Fantasy" that we heard about on April 11th, 2002. But of course, that's all old news now. If you like, you can take the history lesson and read all about the first whisperings of the title that was to become Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. Once you're done reading, come back and we'll go through what's wrong with FO:BOS, point by point.
#1 - The Brotherhood of Steel, warriors determined to bring their own sense of order to a nuked-out wasteland.Yes, that's right, the Brotherhood of Steel have now become "warriors determined to bring their own sense of order to a nuked out wastleland". That was the first sign that, unfortunately, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel was being made by a bunch of people who knew nothing about Fallout. You see, the Brotherhood of Steel that you find in Fallout and then again in Fallout 2 don't seem to have any such intention. Let's face it, if they did, they would've done something about the Master in FO1 instead of leaving it up to the PC. Remember these lines of dialogue from General Maxson, High Elder of the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout?
GM - What? It's who we are and what we live for. It's ideals. As you spend more time with us, hopefully, you'll understand. PC - Yeah, but what do you actually do? GM - Our main goal is to survive. The Scribes copy old plans for weapons or design new ones, and the Knights make the guns from 'em. Most guns come from us. PC - That's all you do? GM - All? It's damn important. It's critical to our survival.
One of recurring threads through-out the conversation with Maxson is the Brotherhood of Steel's lack of intention to do anything about the Super Mutants. Maxson says he'd like to do something himself, but... read on!
GM - I can't. I just moderate these endless damn meetings. There's four Elders, and me, you see? I break up fights and tie votes. Now, if all four vote to pick our noses while an army rolls in here and kicks our collective butt, there's not a helluva lot I can do about it. GM - Tradition. It's hard to change our ways. Now, maybe if the Elders had some real info, they'd get off their brains and do something. GM - Well you see there's four of them and that's about all they can ever agree on. They can't even agree if they want to piss, much less pick a pot to piss in.
Later on, we discover that the PC (Player Character, that's essentially the person playing the game) is their only hope.
GM - An Initiate not born here. You're the first Outsider we've let join in a long, long time. Well, near on twenty years now. PC - Why me? GM - Because we need to do something. An army's gatherin', Hub-caravans are disappearin', and our scouts sure as hell ain't gettin' the job done. So the Elders actually did something once and figured the right Outsider might have something to offer. That Outsider is you... We hope.
So, the PC is the one who does things, not the Brotherhood of Steel. The Brotherhood of Steel's own scouts have failed to return and report, the Brotherhood's leadership is ineffectual and their main goal is only to "survive". That's certainly nothing like bringing their own sense of order to the nuked out wastelands. Then again, FO:BOS is set after Fallout 1, where these events occured... So maybe there's a possibility here that the Brotherhood may well of changed? Let's face it, at the end of Fallout, perhaps they decided to become more involved, get a little bit more active and start to blow some things away in the wasteland? Bringing in an Outsider helped them get rid of the Master, so perhaps bringing in more Outsiders will help? Well, let's jump passed FO:BOS and on to Fallout 2. Here, we find two interesting accounts.
Marcus the Super Mutant, Sheriff of Broken Hills - Right...After the Master and the vats were destroyed, I wandered a bit. No place to go. One day got attacked by this fool wearin' power armor. PC - Really? M -That was Jacob, from the Brotherhood of Steel. He'd sworn some oath to destroy muties. We tussled for a while, probably a day or two. After a while, we just started laughing. What was the point?
So we know that at least one guy had sworn an oath to destroy muties. What we don't know for use is whether it was only individuals, or the Brotherhood of Steel's strategy as a whole. However, as in Fallout 1, we find more evidence that yet again, the Brotherhood of Steel need the PC:
Matthew, Mysterious BoS Member - The Brotherhood of Steel is not the power that we once were. We believed ourselves to be the sole source of technology left to mankind. Secure in this belief we have let our order decline over the years. Now we don't have the resources at our disposal to deal with the Enclave. We need your help.
Spoken by Matthew, agent of the Brotherhood of Steel, this tells us what the Brotherhood are in Fallout 2. It also mentions that they need the PC's help. So, once again, the PC is brought in to the fray to fix a problem that the Brotherhood can't take care of themselves. However, is there anything about the Brotherhood wanting to bring their own sense of order to things? Nope. None at all. So we know that in Fallout 1, the Brotherhood were a bunch of xenophobic do-nothings who locked themselves in an underground bunker. Then, in Fallout 2, we learn that the Brotherhood has fallen into decline over the passed 80 years and they've got solo members wandering off about the place hunting Muties.
So what happened? Logic dictates that somewhere between Fallout 1 and Fallout 2, the Brotherhood of Steel went downhill. Perhaps they did try to bring in Outsiders and "bring order to a nuked out world"? Perhaps they actually succeeded at their task and then, with everything under control, declined? If that is what happened, it's odd that Matthew doesn't mention it. In fact, it's odd that no-one in Fallout 2 mentions it. Hell, there's not even a mention of what they did with the NCR (New California Republic, which I hope to get to later). Of course, that in itself doesn't make it unlikely. The question that remains is whether Team Chucky will use the "Brotherhood need the PC's help" approach in their consle game (therefore proving that the Brotherhood never amounted to anything), or whether they really will make the Brotherhood of Steel's goal all about bringing order to the nuked-out wastes (meaning the story would have to lend itself to a decline of the Brotherhood in order to fit in with Fallout 2).
#2 - Arrr me hearties! 'dere be pirates!!
"Interplay News Release": In joining the Brotherhood of Steel, players will uncover a sinister plot that could transform the remainder of humanity into a race of mutants. The Brotherhood of Steel have come together to wage battle against the mutant raiders and pirates to fulfill their search for a mysterious and heavily sought-after device, one that could be used to help rebuild humanity or as a monstrous tool of war.
Yep, that's right! The Brotherhood of Steel are waging battle against "mutant raiders and pirates"!! Well, I suppose that makes sense. After all, there are sailors in this game... Just take a look!
Jokes aside, my main point here extends on the ground-work I went through in point 1. Once again, the Brotherhood of Steel are actively seeking out these guys, they're not just getting some poor outsider sod to do their dirty work this time. The Brotherhood of Steel are actually getting off their fat lazy asses and going out hunting Muties (and pirates)! At least they got the technology aspect of the Brotherhood in there though, as they are doing it as part of their plan to "fulfill their search for a mysterious and heavily sought-after device". That's something that could be argued fits in with the Brotherhood's desire for technological supremacy.
It also indicates a much more active and involved Brotherhood of Steel. One that we haven't seen in either Fallout or Fallout 2. Nothing in either of those games indicates that the Brotherhood would do anything like this. Again, of course that doesn't mean they didn't, it's just mighty odd that it's never mentioned anywhere. As I said at the end of point 1, if FO:BOS takes this approach, it somehow has to lead to the decline of the Brotherhood of Steel.
#3 - The Brotherhood of Steel is formed!? Don't think the news fun stops there, as we also have this little tid-bit from IGN:
Set in the chaos after nuclear Armageddon, bands of humans who rode out the worst of the nuclear winter in vast underground vaults have begun to re-colonize the planet's surface. To their dismay, they find that less well-protected groups of people have been transformed into hideous mutants, and are running rampant across the globe. These mutants make constant raids on the human settlements, and are a general pain in this ass. The Brotherhood of Steel is formed to deal with this menace. That's where you come in.
That's right! less well-protected groups of people are being attacked by mutant raiders and pirates, so what happens? "The Brotherhood of Steel is formed to deal with this menace". *cough* Perhaps they meant "forced", rather than "formed"? Did they forget that the Brotherhood of Steel were actually ALREADY FORMED!?
You have to love IGN's optimisim though. "Here's hoping that Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel lives up to the standard of excellence set by its PC predecessors". Yes, here's hoping. Pity there's not much evidence of any of that so far...
By now, an emerging pattern was already developing for FO:BOS. The 3 points so far are fairly minor things. Let's face it, they amount to little more than typo's and can all be fixed with the swish of a text file. The problem is the overall picture. Pirates, the BoS being 'formed' and the All New Brotherhood. They're a string of simple blatant mistakes that weren't painting a very good picture. What's really bad about that, is that it was a sign of things to come...
Once the news got out and general mania had broken loose in the Fallout community, Chuck Ceuvas, the Producer, Designer, Head Honcho, Top Banana, Big Monkey and "The Brains" (I'm using the term loosely) behind Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, gave a few interviews. Oddly enough, he didn't give any interviews to any of the Fallout fan sites, even when Odin, web-master of No Mutants Allowed, the oldest Fallout fan site in existence, asked him for one. That's probably just as well, considering the wonderful fun we're about to have with the interviews Chucky did give. Let's start with the HomeLan Fed Interview.
#4 - Fallout, the people loved it! But what's it all about?
Interview with Chuck: The original Fallout was an RPG created for the PC back in 1997. People loved it - the post-apocalyptic world, the dark humor, the story, the characters, everything.
Yes Chucky, people did love Fallout the RPG back in 1997. That might've had something to do with it being regarded as the re-birth of the Computer Role-Playing Game at the time. You see back then, RPGs had generally been going down hill for some time, with not much activity in the genre. Fallout blew them all away and is strongly considered as the reason for the RPG genre coming back to life.
Sequels kept that world alive for the fans, but this was all for the PC. We thought it would be a great idea to bring the world of Fallout to the consoles.
For starters, there was only one sequel to Fallout, that was Fallout 2 released a year after the original Fallout. Oh yeah, there was that Fallout Tactics game too, which funnily enough, nobody actually wanted. I mean, why would we, we're RPG fans of a great RPG, why on earth would we want a tactical game based on that same world? (More on Fallout Tactics later though). The bit about the PC is just funny. Fallout, a game released for the PC, has FANS for the PC game, why would the fans want a console game?
Here's the clincher, they don't, which is one of the reasons FO:BOS isn't getting many fans excited. It's a Fallout game made for everyone BUT the fans. For years, the fans have wanted a Fallout 3. We got Fallout Tactics. We were told that money from Fallout Tactics would help bring us Fallout 3, so the fans supported it (and made it the highest pre-ordered game on the Interplay web-site in history). THEN, with no mention of Fallout 3, the powers that be put Fallout Tactics 2 on the road to production. That is, until the fans stopped supporting Fallout Tactics and started attacking it for being a pile of crap. Interplay canned the idea of a Fallout Tactics 2, and was there a mention of Fallout 3? No.
One of our designers - a huge fan of Fallout - put together the idea for a console action game set in the Fallout world, a title that branches off the original series with new console-oriented game play in a really awesome setting, complete with underground vaults, super mutants, and turbo plasma rifles. Everyone was into it, thus we began to develop Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.
Here we can see the focus of Chucky's designer friend, "setting, underground vaults, super mutants, and turbo plasma rifles". Someone might want to tell that guy what Fallout was really all about. You see, to me, and a lot of other people, Fallout was more than just underground Vaults and plasma rifles. The setting, the strongest part of the game, was a great 50's retro-future theme mixed with the modern-era and set in a post-apocalyptic world. The computers in the game showed that feel the best. One of the common descriptions for the computers in the game was "You see a computer. It's one of those modern reel-to-reel ones". The rusted 50's style cars lying about the place, the general survival feeling of it all, that's the core of what Fallout is.
The second strongest part of the game was the ability to learn. It wasn't just a shoot-em 'up. Fallout had a lot more than that. Talking to advanced AI computers, using your science skill to hack into a mainframe and discovering more about the history of what happened at military installations, talking to people in the wastes and finding out how they survived. Dealing with the Gun Runners Deathclaw problem and finding out just what was happening to the caravans that were being taken. That exploration was crucial to the game. Unfortunately, that explanation needs a speech skill. Speech skills aren't usually found in action console games.
The one vital key about Fallout is that it's a game you can think about. It's not just a mindless shooter, it's not just a mindless hack 'n slash Diablo-esque RPG, it's a game that you can really think about. Why were the Vaults built? How did these people survive? What about FEV? Where did the Brotherhood of Steel come from? They're all questions you come across in the game that even when you've found the answers, they still made you think.
#5 - Read the fan sites and play both Fallouts.
Interview with Chuck: When we started discussing a Fallout console game, we looked at the fan sites and what they wanted out of future Fallout titles. The hardcore fans aren't into consoles or action games, so we knew from the outset that some fans wouldn't get into the idea.
That's right. Considering all the Fallout fan sites are centered around wanting a Fallout 3, I seriously doubt they would've found much useful stuff on the sites at all. Oh wait, they didn't. If they had actually listened to the Fallout fan sites, they would've realised quick smart that none of them were going to swallow this. Which begs the question, why are they making a Fallout console game if that fans don't want it? Why are they deliberately ignoring the fans wishes and making a game that no-one wants? Why? I'll tell you why, but we get to that bit at the end.
But at the same time, we felt that the Fallout universe is a rich, wonderful game setting, and many Fallout fans as well as console gamers who aren't familiar with Fallout will love playing around in it.
Key quote, "console gamers who aren't familiar with Fallout". Yep, the Fallout game that's NOT being made for Fallout fans. Great idea, isn't it? Take an existing franchise that's now five years old, screw over the fans that have been around the game for those five years, and make a game that not only do none of them want, but target it at a bunch of people who don't even know what Fallout is. In that case, why have "Fallout" in the title at all? That'd be like Nintendo making another Super Mario game, only turning Mario into some kind of Rambo character, removing all the puzzles and releasing it on the PC. HEY! THAT'S A GREAT IDEA!!
Many members of the current development team are Fallout fans. Many of the ideas incorporated into the story, art, and design come straight from Fallout 1 and 2.
We'll delve into more detail on this later, but needless to say, thong girls, hot babes, working modern cars, and a more involved Brotherhood aren't in Fallout 1 OR Fallout 2. Well okay, Fallout 2 does have a whole city of casino mobsters and hookers outside and there is a working car in it as well. Hell, there are even vertibirds... but at least the Brotherhood aren't running around saving the world.
With all of this in mind, we took a different direction from the PC titles, putting together a game experience that appeals to a broad console audience (a group with different expectations than the hardcore PC gaming crowd). And in the end, we feel that what makes a game Fallout isn't turn-based combat or sprites or a keyboard and mouse. It's about a setting and storyline that's going to be cool no matter what platform it's on. Ultimately we're hoping to broaden the appeal of the Fallout world so that we can make more Fallout titles for all platforms, all types of gamers.
What gamers? 12 year olds who'll need a box of tissues on hand just to play the game? Thong girls don't make a Fallout game "Fallout". Fallouty goodness has nothing to do with that. Yes, prostitutes were in the game, especially in Fallout 2, but gee Chucky, is that FO:BOS trailer full of babes really Fallouty to you?
#6 - The Brotherhood grows in strength?
Interview with Chuck: The story takes place shortly after the events of Fallout 1, where the mutant army was defeated and dispersed, and the Brotherhood of Steel began to grow in strength.
Remember that quote from Matthew I used in point 1? In case you don't, here it is again:
The Brotherhood of Steel is not the power that we once were. We believed ourselves to be the sole source of technology left to mankind. Secure in this belief we have let our order decline over the years. Now we don't have the resources at our disposal to deal with the Enclave.
Seems the Brotherhood became complacent after Fallout, rather than becoming more powerful. Perhaps this happened after they'd gotten their hands on the FO:BOS mystery device though? Better yet, if the mystery device is so powerful and the Brotherhood have it, you kind of wonder why they don't use it against the Enclave in Fallout 2. Perhaps one of their thong warriors ran of with it?
Interview with Chuck: It begins with a Brotherhood of Steel initiate (the player character) sent out on a training mission - with no supplies.
What's odd about this is that first of all, the Brotherhood are accepting new recruits. That's not the odd part. There's several indications that they did this during Fallout 1. However, what is odd, is that they're doing it during a time when they're under threat of war. In Fallout 1, training of new recruits in the Brotherhood was suspended due to the mutant threat. As Rhombus says below:
I could teach you how to fight...if you had any ability. But the High Elder decreed no training of new recruits until the threat of invasion passes.
So, perhaps the Brotherhood have changed tactics again? With the success of an outsider in Fallout 1, perhaps the Brotherhood has taken on training new initiates in times of war? Sending them out with no equipment to meet high ranking officers. It's certainly possible... If Team Chuck play it right, it could even fit in with the good ending slide for the Brotherhood of Steel from Fallout 1:
The Brotherhood of Steel helps the other human outposts drive the mutant armies away with minimal loss of life, on both sides of the conflict. The advanced technology of the Brotherhood is slowly reintroduced into New California, with little disruption or chaos. The Brotherhood wisely remains out of the power structure, and becomes a major research and development house.
The first sentence about driving away the mutants could be taken for what the Brotherhood are doing in this console action adventure. The designers might want to take notice of that "minimal loss of life, on both sides of the conflict" bit though. After all, we wouldn't want the Brotherhood running around the wastes as some kind of "shoot first, ask questions later" law enforcement organisation, would we? Especially when their numbers are only small.
#7 - FO:BOS, what's it all about?The rest of the HomeLan Fed interview we'll skip over, as it's more to do with just how many items are in the game and how the combat works, rather than anything I can complain about being un-fallouty. I thought about talking about some of those points where Chucky seems to think some of his combat ideas are original (when they've all been used in various games before), but that's not what I'm here to do. Instead, we'll jump to the end and read Chucky's last quote.
Bringing Fallout to the console has been a very interesting experience. Taking a traditional CRPG and bringing it into the action/adventure console world is both challenging and fun. The ultimate reward will be the product itself. There's really nothing else out there like Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. What other game lets you fight a super mutant toe-to-toe in real time, diving out of the way as he tries to blast you with his minigun - until you blow a hole in his chest with a plasma pistol, then steal his minigun, sell it for bottle caps, and use those caps to buy some intimate time with a professional woman?
... and as far as Chucky's concerned, that's what Fallout is all about. Shooting Super Mutants and selling their miniguns for some time with a hooker. Yep. Taking an existing CRPG and whoring it out into a cheesy sex filled action title is what Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel is all about.
The sad thing is, if team chucky toned a few things down, lessened the Brotherhoods role from law of the wastes, to simply getting rid of the mutants. They'd be fine. Dropped Vault-Tec and FEV and found something else instead, then all the Fallout fans would have to complain about would be that this game is an action game, not an RPG. Instead, Interplay just make things harder for themselves by ruining game canon while they're at it.
#8 - Fallout YMCA?Now it's time to play spot the difference. The screenshot below on the left shows our hero of the game, DMX, stepping out of a bar packing a minigun. Impressive? Well, now compare him with the shot of the policeman from the Village People! Look below and see if you can spot the difference!
Can't see the difference? Well, the policeman obviously left his minigun at home today!
#9 - Fallout Boy! Judging a game by its screenshots is one thing, using concept art is another. So, with a bit of luck, Team Chucky might have avoided any problems here, but, in case they haven't... Here are two concept art images from the secret part of the FO:BOS website. See that guy holding up the burger and that guy on top of the bowling alley? That's a character known as "Fallout Boy" or by people who get confused as "PIPBoy" (PIPBoy is actually the little computer the player has on his wrist in FO1 and FO2 and has no relation to "Fallout Boy").
Fallout Boy was first used in Fallout as part of the propoganda campaign feel of the manual. Fallout Boy was seen first in the manual hiding under a desk. He's also present in the Fallout opening sequence getting safely sealed in the vault, which is part of the television advertisments that you watch for the opening sequence. He wasn't a burger king or bowling alley mascot, he was essentially a piece of Government propoganda (potentially even an image owned by Vault-Tec, as he appears in the Vault-Tec manual and Vault-Tec promo movies).
#10 - A Working Truck? The front page of the FO:BOS website has... A WORKING TRUCK! Well, it's headlights are on, so it may be that someone just fixed the headlights. Although I'm not quite sure why someone would want to fix only the headlights... Maybe DMX needed better lighting?
Of course, it's only on the front page of the website, so working vehicles may not be in the game. Although you do wonder...
#11 - It's 'Stimpak' you dodo's. Fortunately, going by a recent screenshot, this one has been fixed. Originally, we had seen a screenshot with the words "You pick up a Stimpack". Seems Team FO:BOS needed to be reminded that the word is actually "Stimpak", without the 'c'.
#12 - "I was born just after the bombs fell."This is the opening line of the Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel promotional trailer for the game. What's so wrong about that line? Well, the first Fallout game starts on the 5th of December, 2161 (at 7:21 am to be exact). You can find this out easily enough when you open up the PIPBoy as soon as the game starts. By this time, you would've already gotten passed the intro movie, which states quite clearly:
Narrator: In 2077, the storm of world war had come again. In two brief hours, most of the planet was reduced to cinders.
This is the Great War that sets the stage for the Fallout world, or put more simply, this is when the bombs fell. Now let's do some simple maths, 2161 - 2077 = 84. So, Fallout occurs exactly 84 years after the Great War. As you would have already read in the HomeLan Fed interview with Chuck Cuevas, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel takes place:
Chuck Cuevas: shortly after the events of Fallout 1, where the mutant army was defeated and dispersed
If that's correct, that means that this young woman's voice that you hear throughout the trailer, who is "doing what she can to survive", has to be at least 80 years old. Sounds a bit young, doesn't she? Now we do know that you can get some old characters in the Fallout world. Tandi, the leader of the NCR in Fallout 2, was a young girl of approximately 16 years of age in the original Fallout. As Fallout 2 starts on July 25th, 2241 (at 8:24 am to be precise), this would make her at least 96 years old in Fallout 2. The problem here, is that as you can see below, she looks and sounds like it too.
On the left is Tandi, as you first discover her at Shady Sands in Fallout 1. On the right is Tandi, President of the New California Republic in Fallout 2, almost 80 years later. Not a pretty sight. Certainly, there are no nipples pushing through her top!
UPDATE: According to the FAQ, this was an error made by the voice-actor. Aparently she got so excited that the word "just" slipped in there all by mistake. The upside of this is that at least they caught it... after all the fans complained about it!
#13 - "The Brotherhood is the law, or the closest thing to the law that anyone's seen in a long time." No, not really. The actual Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout 1 and then in Fallout 2 have never been some kind of "law" in the wastes. They were reclusive in Fallout and are still reclusive in Fallout 2. It's kind of funny how these guys seem to have a period in between those two games where that changes. Better yet, the ending of FO1 (which as we now know, is a few years before when FO:BOS has been set) puts the Brotherhood of Steel in one of two positions:
The Good Ending: The Brotherhood of Steel helps the other human outposts drive the mutant armies away with minimal loss of life, on both sides of the conflict. The advanced technology of the Brotherhood is slowly reintroduced into New California, with little disruption or chaos. The Brotherhood wisely remains out of the power structure, and becomes a major research and development house.
The Bad Ending: The Brotherhood of Steel, under new leadership after the death of Rhombus, becomes an overzealous, techno-religious dictatorship. In 20 years, the Steel Plague devastates the newly formed New California Republic, and starts a Dark Age that could last a thousand years.
That's text right from the game itself. We either have the BoS turning into an overzealous, techno-religious dictatorship and ruining everything beyond repair, IE: It can't have happened compared with the events in FO2 or, we get them helping drive the mutants away and becoming a major research and development house. Now, notice how that when helping to move out the Super Mutants, they do it with "minimal loss of life on BOTH sides of the conflict". I don't think they'd be doing that without wearing power armour and carrying miniguns like, if you'd noticed in Fallout, they do. They certainly wouldn't be wearing thongs and carrying duel desert eagles. Also note that this approach is nothing like "being the law in these parts".
#14 - The Brotherhood Emblem/Symbol/Logo
How is it that an organisation suddenly changes their emblem? On the left is the Brotherhood of Steel's Emblem in Fallout 1 AND in Fallout 2. On the right, is the Brotherhood of Steel logo as it's shown all through out the original FO:BOS trailer. Now remember, Fallout 2 comes after FO:BOS, so why the change in emblem then the change back? Also, why did they change it to duel pistols? The Brotherhood of Steel, an organisation that wears Power Armour and carry around miniguns, gatling laser guns and plasma rifles, suddenly decides that duel desert eagles are the weapon of choice to represent them? I don't think so. Seems more like 12 year old console developers decision to me.
#15 - Some day we'll build a civilized world. Until then...Until then we'll blow it up I suppose? We'll run around in thongs and shoot stuff? Uhh... Right. NCR was already in the process of doing this (Not the thongs and the shooting stuff, but rather the civilized world thing). Funnily enough though, the NCR hasn't been mentioned in any of the information released to date. They may well be in the game, but if they're not, OOPS!
NEW CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC INFORMATION DISK 1: Founded eighty years ago, the NCR is now comprised of the states of Shady, Los Angeles, Maxson, Hub, and Dayglow. Approximately 700,000 citizens are pleased to call NCR home.
WHAT DOES NCR STAND FOR? The New California Republic is dedicated to bringing peace, security and justice to the people of the great west. NCR's fine police forces constantly patrol and arrest any raiders, cannibals, slavers, and lawless mutants within the country, and the NCR army valiantly protects the borders against outside marauders. To ensure justice and liberty, all citizens have access to NCR's courts and the right to vote for a representative of their choice to sit in the Hall of Congress. In the words of President Tandi, "A safe people is a strong people."
There's your "law" of the wastes. Funny that Interplay don't make a game about them, isn't it? I suppose it's an image problem though. "New Californian Republic Law Enforcement" just isn't as sexy as the "Brotherhood of Steel".
#16 - Chicks, chicks, chicks!
To get an idea of just how Interplay are flogging this game (a word more appropriate than you might realise at the moment), just watch the trailers. A slew of images presents itself. Here, for your benefit, is not only what Chuck Ceuvas thinks Fallout is all about, but also what he thinks sells computer games.
... and if you think that's bad, there are a lot more where those came from! All of those images above came from the first trailer. I don't even want to start on the second one...
#17 - Thongs, Babes and Betty Page
The babes are flashed up frequently in FO:BOS (actually, the same shots are used about 3 times each in the first trailer alone). If you hadn't notice, thong warriors in FO:BOS have abandoned armour. Maybe they just don't need the kind of protection you used to anymore? Seems a bit odd to wander around the wastes in nothing but a thong shooting things. Worse yet, is that this goes beyond just prostitutes that you can sleep with. These girls are apparently "the law" working for the Brotherhood of Steel. Uhuh... Yeah.. Right. What's even better is when we read the FO:BOS FAQ.
FAQ: The now-notorious character with the thong was based on photos of Betty Page, a 50's pinup girl who was notorious due to photo shoots of her that featured black leather, bondage, and (believe it or not) skimpy clothing. We thought that a sadistic female character might pattern herself after Betty Page at her seediest. So the character's attire was based upon some research into 50's pop culture.
It's just a pity that Betty Page never actually wore a thong (feel free to check out her photo's yourself) and I doubt she ever would've picked up duel pistols and run around shooting mutants. Sounds like just an excuse to get some "sex sells" into the game to me.
Bettie Page: "The only person I did bondage for was Irving Klaw and his sister Paula. Usually they would shoot four or five models every Saturday. He wouldn't pay for the regular pictures unless we did some bondage. So I did bondage shots to get paid for the other photos." "Sex is a part of love. You shouldn't go around doing it unless you are in love..."
Bettie Page at her seadiest? Yeah. Sounds like a real seedy girl to me. I wonder how she'd feel about the hookers in FO:BOS?
You have to like a game that takes the cheap and easy way out don't you? Now look at the girl on the front page of the FOBOS website. Notice how you can see her nipples sticking through that top? I'm glad to know that the games artists are working on such important tasks. Why, it's good to see they're so hard at work!
#18 - It's better than sex!
The worse monstrosity that has occured however, has to be this old cliche. Not only is it old, but it's bad too. If you watch the latest FO:BOS trailer, right at the end, this line gets thrown in. That's really all I have to say about this.
#19 - Listening to the fans?
Q: Slightly off topic as far as the actual game is concerned: How much of what gets posted on these boards actually effects the game development? A: Some effects. We actually do try to sift through the comments to find good suggestions that will help the game.
This question is laughable now and probably the most blatant lie made by Chucky Crevasse. Checked the Interplay FO:BOS forums lately? Guess what, they've been locked! (NOTE: At the time of writing both this article and the FAQ, they were) Apparently, the mad angry Fallout fans were too much for Team Chuck to handle, so what do they do? Lock the forums! Yes, apparently, it's all our fault. If this game tanks, Interplay will blame it on the fans! To be honest though, I think I could live with that.
What's even better is that Odin, one of the head honcho's at the oldest Fallout fan site, No Mutants Allowed, was denied an interview with Chucky. Seems a bit odd for a game developer to talk about talking to the fans (as he has made mention in several more recent interviews) only to then deny a fan-site an interview. Why also, are there no links to the Fallout fan sites on the FO:BOS links page?
To: Cuevas, Chuck
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2003 6:51 PM
Subject: Re: FO-BOS interview ?
Well if you felt the interview/questions were there only to bash the game it's your perogative to say no.
My feelings is any pr is good pr, but what the hell.. I wasn't out to bash Fbos, only conduct an interview that would in turn give us some answers and pr and also the game some pr.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
----- Original Message -----
From: Cuevas, Chuck
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2003 5:33 PM
Subject: RE: FO-BOS interview ?
It is quite obvious that your only desire is to bash this game. So no, we are not doing this.
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2003 6:01 AM
To: Cuevas, Chuck
Subject: Re: FO-BOS interview ?
So are we doing this or not ?
----- Original Message -----
From: Cuevas, Chuck
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 5:58 PM
Subject: RE: FO-BOS interview ?
My apologies, I am still working on it. I will get it back to you by April 23rd..
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 8:07 AM
To: Cuevas, Chuck
Subject: Fw: FO-BOS interview ?
Did you get this, haven't hear from you yet... Hope you can answer these.
----- Original Message -----
To: Cuevas, Chuck
Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2003 10:37 PM
Subject: Re: FO-BOS interview ?
Well, ready or not here it is. These are just some of the top of my head.. I can send you some more, if I remember some other questions I have.. I will of course change the question order later on..
Yep, that's talking to the fans all right! For a developer who insists he's approached the fan-base, it seems mighty odd that he didn't JUMP at the chance to prove us wrong. I mean surely, us fans can't be right can we? FO:BOS can't be that bad, can it? Why didn't Chuck take the opportunity to actually have an interview with the oldest Fallout fan site? True, a lot of fans would have bashed the interview, but Chuck still could've taken the chance to talk to us. Hell, why didn't Chuck take this opportunity to tell us all how FO:BOS fits into the Fallout world?
#20 - Heavy Metal and Techno Music
Will the soundtrack have a retro feel? A: The soundtrack is a mix of retro music and more contemporary pieces. Much of what we use to fill in the ambient background - menus, safe areas, etc. - will use retro musical pieces. These vary in "intensity" from old-time jazz playing on scratchy records to the extremely subtle ambience, echoing the ambient music of the first Fallout games. At certain points in the game the player will be engaged in battle with major story-related enemies. For these events, the music is much more intense and contemporary - ranging from hardcore metal to more techno.
Fallout is well known for it's choice of the InkSpots "Maybe" for it's opening song. The intro plays and a song from the fifties era crackles over the speakers. It sets the mood and theme of the game. In Fallout 2, it's the tones of Louis Armstrong as he contributes to the Fallout line-up with "A Kiss to Build a Dream On". In "Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel", what will we have? One can only wonder. There are two ways this could go and it'll be interesting to see which way it ends up.
It's also nice to see that the great ambient music of Fallout is replaced with action inspiring hard-rock to get the juices flowing in key action scenes. Of course, it's the 'what kind of juices are flowing' that's the question here. Especially with all the thong girls in this game.
#21 - Who's consulting who?
Most importantly, does the publicaiton of fo:bos mean that plans (whatever plans there were) for fallout 3 have been suspended? A: No. F:BoS is being developed by the console division of Interplay. Black Isle Studios - who we consult and work alongside - has their own plans for the Fallout series and further development on the PC. Our decision to develop F:BoS does not in any way affect the resources that Black Isle may devote to further Fallout titles. Nothing has been made official as far as a Fallout 3, so we can't really comment on that specifically.
We discussed story and setting with Black Isle ambassadors, and followed their recomendations and ideas.
That's right, Team Chuck is working alongside Black Isle Studios to bring you this baby. Thanks BiS! (In case you weren't aware, BiS are the same guys who are working on Fallout 3, an actual Fallout RPG that's supposed to fit in the Fallout world.)
#22 - Nothing in this game contradicts the events that occur in Fallout or Fallout 2. Read that quote from the FAQ again. Now read this recent snippit from one of the developer's in the FO:BOS forums.
However. As we have stated more than a few times now, FO:BOS is not a continuation of the PC chronology. It is inspired by, and takes place with a recognisable tangent of the Fallout Universe, but is is a law unto itself. Further console games (should they come to fruition) will have to follow what we lay down with this game.
Is there an answer that will apease your "Why the hell change it..."? Probably not, because when you get right down to it, we changed it because we wanted to.
FO:BOS resides within a thrice-removed tangent from ourselves, with Fallout 1 and 2 nestled somewhere between.
Yes facts about FO and the BOS that we could use in our defense have been listed, but since we are going to stay the course that F:BoS is not meant to be canon or not necassarily follow canon, then we can't site those items. Can we?
Yup. Seems that FO:BOS does contradict FO1 and FO2 and well, they did it because they wanted to. What's even better about this, is that even though they can't follow existing story, any more console games have to follow the FO:BOS story. That one's just funny. If you can make one console game with complete disregard to the story hell, what's stopping you from making another?
#23 - It's a riot!
Above is an image from page 95 of the Fallout 1 manual. The image below is from the FO:BOS website. Here, the manual pretty much describes Combat Armour, with its advanced polymers, as the perfect stuff for police officers and mlitary grunts. The odd thing is, where are the advanced polymers in FO:BOS? Instead, we get kevlar and riot armour, both of which haven't appeared in either Fallout game. More to the point, why have riot armour at all, when combat armour exists for the same purpose? It seems like an odd, unnecessary change.
You have to love that description too. "More or less", "you know, the jewels". That's a nice Fallouty description there.
#24 - Plasma Saw? Why, what's wrong with the Ripper?
Another unnecessary change from Fallout. On the left is a weapon from Fallout 1 and 2. On the right is a FO:BOS weapon. You wonder why a psychopath would bother 'inventing' such a weapon when said weapon already exists. It's bemusing as to why Team Chuck don't use it.
#25 - What's got 4 wheels and flys?
FLYING CARS!! Hell, there's enough argument over whether there are any working cars in the Fallout World or not, now you want to add flying cars into the mix? If that's the case, what ever happened to the Vertibird in Fallout 2? I suppose they got sick of flying around in their cars...
#26 - Science? Pah I say!
Ignoring the space-age look of the FO:BOS armour, there's a certain feel present all through-out Fallout that you notice simply from the weapon and item descriptions. Read the tesla armour description on the left, now read the one on the right. It's nice to know that all the "complicated science stuff" has been sucked out of FO:BOS. Wouldn't want to confuse anyone now, would we?
In fact, the entire website uses a lot of dismissive terms when talking about the science in the game. While in Fallout we had descriptions that "sound real", in FO:BOS, we seem to get nothing but crazy psycho's making weapons for odd reasons, armour that protects "you know, the jewels and such" and complicated science stuff that's just too damn hard to explain. Yup, nice to know they've got that lovely Fallout feeling.
#27 - Interplay's in a Financial mess! Oh Noez!! Seen Interplay's share price recently? They say a picture tells a thousand words, so here's a picture taken from Netscape Finance.
That top number on the right represents nine American dollars. The bottom number means zero American dollars. Which one is the share price closer to, the 9 or the 0? Also notice how this has only occured over the last 5 years. Ouch.
The constant excuse offered as the reason for FO:BOS is simple. Financially, Interplay are in a mess and they need to make cruddy games in order to get them out of that mess. I'm sorry, but since when did that work, exactly? How does making cheap, tacky, "quick fixes" solve the greater problem that is Interplay's finances? Better yet, since when did making a cheap crappy game guarantee you sales in the first place? Oh, that's right, it doesn't. That's right kiddies, instead of realising the mess they're in and trying to make decent games in order to recover, Interplay decide that "well, our current games aren't selling, and sure, you might think that's because of the low quality and general hack 'n slash dumbness of them (see Lionheart), but hey, I reckon if we made MORE really easy to make, dumb, low quality games, we'd sell heaps and recover!". Uhhh... Right.
Interplay as a company is dieing. It's been dieing for some time. Unfortunately, that doesn't give the company some kind of golden ticket that entitles them to make, and sell, crappy games to their customers. Interplay's just waiting for someone to put it out of its misery. I think that someone might be Team Chuck. Being in the financial shit can doesn't somehow allow the company to make shitty games and screw over whatever it wants in order to make a quick buck. Generally speaking, strategies like that don't work. More saddening is the fact that if it DOES work, then Interplay won't be going back to quality RPGs any time soon. Why should they, if quickly produced, cheap games make more money for them?
Interplay have already lost the PC license for Baldur's Gate. That's caused the cancellation of Project Jefferson, a PC RPG that after a few years of hard work, was mysteriously canned when the BG PC license was lost. Jefferson was widely rumoured as Baldur's Gate 3. Fear not though Baldur's Gate fans! Interplay are still allowed to make low-depth action-puzzle adventure console games set in the BG world. Hence 'Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 1' and the soon to come sequel 'Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2'. Just don't hold your breath for a decent RPG any time soon.
Unfortunately, the same thing is happening to Fallout. The success of BG:DA in shipping over a million units has excited Interplay. That's why FO:BOS is being made. They hope to do the same with Fallout Fans of the Fallout PC RPG games. That's also why FO:BOS 2 (yup, that's right, a sequel) is already in pre-production. The future definitely looks bright for RPG fans.
Team Chucky didn't need to change the Brotherhood of Steels' emblem. They didn't need to put in the thong chicks. They didn't need to take the science out of the descriptions. They didn't need to alter almost everything that's already been established in the Fallout universe just to make a console action game. They could have very easily followed what had already been established, they could have very easily made a Fallout action game that actually FOLLOWED the previous Fallout's. Instead, Interplay shows us that once again, half-arsing the situation is what they're best at.
Truth be told, it's not FO:BOS slightly deviating from the Fallout story that's concerning. More than likely, a "story excuse" can be made as to why the BoS became heavy mutie hunters. We can conveniently ignore the FEV that Vault-Tec have gotten their hands on (considering the FEV that makes the Super Mutants in Fallout 1 was actually modified by the Master). We can probably make up some story excuse that fits a lot of what is occuring. It's just 'that feeling' that seems lost from this game. The indescribable feeling that the setting and atmosphere creates. Item descriptions on the web-site indicate a lack of care about most things. Who cares about the neat science descriptions? We just need to protect the jewels OMFG LOL!!11! As for 50's music? Phooey! Get rid of that crap and get some techno in there! What about women? Well, sex sells, so let's throw in as many of them in thongs as we can! What's most concerning, is this entire development teams approach to Fallout. Fallout isn't a great atmosphere with a rich background. Oh no, to them, Fallout is...
Throw in over-done "Better than sex" and yup, that's Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. I wonder if the game comes with a free box of tissues?
To these guys, Fallout is cool just because it's cool. It's like Marge Simpson in that episode where she's talking to Bart and Lisa about how she's cool because she doesn't think she's cool and "that's what makes her cool" right? Read through the FOBOS website and check out the interviews made by Chucky. All over, you find him talking about how cool Fallout is, without him actually realising why it's cool. The designers just don't know why Fallout is 'cool'. To them, shooting stuff is cool and therefore, making Fallout where you get to shoot stuff is cool. That's not why Fallout is cool. It's 'cool' because it's good. It's 'cool' because it's well done. The setting, the songs, the theme, the descriptions, the not-so-over-done hookers. That's what makes Fallout good. Well, that and the science and repair skills and the multiple endings (but that'd be me bagging this because it's an action game and I said I'd try hard not to do that). That's what's good about Fallout. Sadly, none of that appears to be in this game.
In conclusion, I don't mind games being made FOR 12 year old console gamers, that's fine. What I do mind is console games being made BY 12 year old console gamers. At least Interplay are living up to their motto. By gamers for gamers? You betcha!
P.S. If you want to buy FO:BOS anyway, make sure you pre-order FO:BOS as quick as you can. Every pre-order of FO:BOS through the Interplay web-site comes with a free special gift. One with every box! Order yours today!
Moo... Moo... I'm an Interplay Cow.