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Feargus interview from June 28th, 2001
[ N/A -> Interview ]
Interview posted by Saint_Proverbius Wed 28 Jul 2004, 11:01 AM
Interview with Feargus
June 28th, 2001

No introductions necessary so let's get right to it!

1) So Feargus Urquhart is an interesting name, where is it from? Scottish? Where did you grow up and what was it like in the playground with a name like Feargus, did the kids FEAR GUS?

[Urquhart, Feargus] Yep it is Scottish. Actually my whole name is Scottish - Feargus MacRae Urquhart. Which is interesting because my dad is Robert William Urquhart, and they named my sister Jessica Christine Urquhart. I'm seemingly the only one got the "Scottish" curse. Although it's not really turned out be a curse. Generally when someone learns my name they remember it until the day they die. And yes, the playground when I was growing up was a whole lot of fun. It didn't help that I was a stubborn little bastard, who didn't like them making fun of my name. :)

2) I know this is kind of early to start thinking about but, have you guys taken notice to the general reaction to FOT's manual and taken steps to make sure that the Fallout 3 manual is FALLOUT-Y? (i.e.. testing recipes out) Or have you been getting yourself ready for the assimilation to DVD cases? Wouldn't it be possible to still have the regular sized Fallout manual shrink-wrapped with the DVD case rather than stuffing it inside a box?

[Urquhart, Feargus] Well it is possible that we are going to have to look into the whole DVD thing by the time a Fallout 3 would come out. Although we are always looking into ways to keep the contents as interesting as possible. I was actually pretty impressed with the amount of stuff our UK office got into the Heart of Winter DVD case for the European release. The one thing that is going to suck is that It will be very difficult to get a spiral bound manual into one of those cases. I'm hoping that the boxes will just be smaller by the time a Fallout 3 comes out, and not all the way to the DVD case.

3) Continuity is something we discussed at the chat a few days ago, but at the same time, realistically, the Fallout universe would be a society on the mend...How far, technologically speaking, do you envision Fallout 3's universe being as opposed to Fallout 1 where there weren't any running cars?

[Urquhart, Feargus] Speaking off the cuff - I think the world is going to be a little more advanced, but not a whole lot. With the breakdown of everything after the bombs dropped and the leftover technology - the reign of people living for themselves is probably going to survive quite a while. What I mean by that is that for a while in the Fallout universe, the people who will use old technology to control areas instead of re-building them are going to out number the people trying to re-build a new world. So, the world is going to stay somewhat feudal for a while longer.

4) Sticking with continuity, what NPCs/Groups/Towns would you consider "permanent fixtures" in the wasteland? Will Harold actually ever die? And little bob too?

[Urquhart, Feargus] We don't think Harold can die, even if you were to grind him up and scatter the dust to the four corners of the wasteland. Other fixtures are things like the Deathclaws from Fallout 1/2, Mr. Handy, Dogmeat, large caliber sniper rifles, Nuka Cola, Super Mutants, FEV, etc...

5) TORN has made a lot of Fallout fans antsy, it seems good old Turn Based is being abandoned, what do you think makes for exciting/involving

[Urquhart, Feargus] I think the player having choices with the time to implement them make up the kind of combat that we try to put in our games. I think Diablo style combat works great for Diablo - since it is based off of a very fast twitch based system. For games like Fallout and Baldur's Gate there are a lot more options in combat which is meant to make the combat a lot more tactical. In order for this to work it has to be slower paced or allow the player to pause at any point. Currently for a game like Fallout 3 we are looking at implementing both a turn based mode, and a real-time mode with pause. If we can do that well, I think everyone would be happy.

6) Fallout's quest had many routes to be taken, for example--in Fallout you could defeat the master by talking him into suicide, fighting him one on one, or just flat out nuking the place. This degree of replayability gives Fallout an edge over even many of today's multiplayer RPGs is preserving this "choose your own adventure" manner of accomplishing things one of the top priorities for Fallout 3 or will you be shifting the focus to a more action oriented type of gameplay?

[Urquhart, Feargus] Actually we are looking to continue the same plot style in a Fallout 3 that was in Fallout 1 and Fallout 2. I believe that very linear games serve action based games very well. This is because the action is what is drawing the player through, not the story. If the story then gets in the way of the action, people can get confused. In a game like Fallout 3, where the story takes a more central role we want the player to immerse themselves in the world. This means getting them to travel around at their own pace (in some ways). The one thing I do want to make sure though is that people do know where they need to go to next to continue the story if that is what they want. I think sometimes people can get lost in the "non-linearity" of things and lose their way. When that happens, people get frustrated at the game and don't end up finishing it.

As for completing the same task or quest in different ways - that is something that is very uniquely Fallout, and is something that we will continue to implement when it makes sense for a particular task or quest.

7) Theoretical, suppose that the upcoming Mad Max 4 becomes a mega hit and all of a sudden Hollywood Studios are out and about looking for post apocalypse movie ideas. A hollywood exec calls you, who would be your choice for Director, Lead Actor/Actress, the Overseer, and Evil Villain Guy (tm)? [Oh, to drop hints, in case this ever happens, My choices (Director - David Fincher, The Vault Dweller - Ed Norton, Overseer - Gary Oldman, and The Master - Rosie O Donnell)

[Urquhart, Feargus] Errrr... I can't think of anything good for this....

8) Fallout 1 ended on a somber note, Fallout 2 ended on a happy note, will we see the Fallout world return to the bitterness we've come to know and love with FO3? Going back to FO2's ending, do you feel the ending for FO2 fit with the story? Have you guys thought of a name for the town that was created with the GECK and will this be the starting point for FO3?

[Urquhart, Feargus] Hmmm.... I guess I think that both of the games just ended the way the were supposed to end. I really didn't think the end of Fallout 1 is that bitter. After seeing the world, I don't think I'd want to stay in the Vault anymore anyways. :)

However, I do see what you mean to an extent. But, since development of Fallout 3 has not started - we don't really have a story yet. I'm sure we will consider whether to make the end bitter or happy, but as of right now that is not set.

9) It seems you can't release a PC game these days without a multiplayer component, have you started kicking around ideas for what sort of multiplayer you'll be using for FO3? Will there be character development? Tools for GM'ing? Have you looked to any games for inspiration?

[Urquhart, Feargus] Currently I think the way we would have a multi-player system that would be similar to that of the Infinity Engine games. The people playing together would cooperatively work to complete the game. However, we are definitely going to be sitting down over the coming months to think about multiplayer in all our games to see if we can add some other form of playing the games on-line that does not compromise the single player game.

10) What have been the biggest stumbling blocks over the last few years in getting Fallout 3 made?

[Urquhart, Feargus] The biggest thing has really been resources and time. We did start Fallout 3 in early 1999, but things were not moving forward that quickly. Plus, we needed to get another project out relatively soon because of Interplay's financial situation. So, the Fallout 3 team became the Icewind Dale team. We had then hoped to start Fallout 3 after Icewind Dale was completed, however at that time both Chris Parker and I had to jump in and spend pretty much every waking moment on Baldur's Gate 2 until it shipped in late September of 2000. Since we were going to be very busy and not able to help a Fallout 3 get started, I decided to have the team work on the Heart of Winter expansion. Since the team completed that in February of this year, they have been working on the miscellaneous projects - but have started thinking about Fallout 3. Plus, a lot of people have been transferred over to work on TORN to help that get done as quickly as possible.

In other words, we've had to make a lot of decisions to get projects out the door that have made it hard to get Fallout 3 moving forward.

Thanks Feargus.
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