AT: As we understand, the team is also keeping itself busy with balancing combat in the game. If you can, please tell us about the advantages of V.A.T.S. Do you think hardcore RPG fans will enjoy the cinematic aspect of it?
GC: A big advantage is that during VATS mode, time is paused and you’re given a wealth of information about your situation. Every targetable enemy and object is highlighted and you can pan around and get a sense for where things are coming from. For each individual target, you can see their overall health, and the condition and the likelihood of landing a shot for each body part. This is the part that I feel separates VATS from standard “real-time with pause” systems in that it gives you information to base a tactical choice on. You may find that you have a high chance to hit a mutant’s torso, but then you notice that landing one more risky shot to the arm will cripple him, severely reducing his ability to aim. Recently I’ve been replaying Oblivion and find myself hammering the VATS button unconsciously whenever I get jumped by an enemy.
The other advantage to VATS is, of course, that it’s just pure unadulterated fun. Landing a shot to a mutant’s head, watching it fly apart in slow-motion, having an eyeball go spinning past the camera – there’s just some kind of visceral satisfaction that the experience brings.
Visceral is the new trees.
AT: Is it possible to know, at this point, how many quests we will see in the final version of Fallout 3?
GC: Giving you a specific number wouldn’t paint an accurate picture. Each quest has multiple paths to completion, and how you choose to complete one quest can affect what quests are available later on. In addition, we have a new category of quests that we term “freeform encounters.” As you travel, you’ll come across these encounters all over. They’re not as big as a full quest, but they will present choices, opportunities for reward, interesting sights and sounds, and more. It should be quite some time before you run out of things to do in Fallout 3, and there will always be more to hit when you play through it again.[...]
Other quests run the gamut of possibilities that a war-ravaged wasteland offers up. For each quest, we try and provide opportunities for as wide a range of playstyles as we’re able (Stealth Boy, Combat Boy, Science Boy, etc).
Replayability is always a good thing.
AT: Can you give our readers some idea of what kind of soundtrack you’re working on?
GC: The soundtrack really varies a lot in style depending on what situation you’re in. For exploring, the music is more of an ambient and slightly discordant nature similar to the music of Fallout 1 and 2. In battles, the music is more up-tempo and brings in more percussion and some orchestral elements. We also have music for places like dungeons (think old caves and abandoned vaults), and a special set of music for some of the more important locations in the game. We pushed our composer to experiment with a lot of different styles and instruments to keep the music interesting throughout the game.
Hmmm we’ll have to wait and see how this works, I guess.
AT: You’ve mentioned recently you guys are content with all the feedback that came in after the game’s E3 presentation. Are there any plans on a new public trailer or more in-game footage, to give the general public a better idea of what to expect from Fallout 3?
GC: We have lots and lots of plans. Prepare for the future!
I can’t wait for the new year.