Looking forward to it, Desslock. Are you cracking any other details that haven’t been covered on Gamespot’s latest article?
We do have a full preview as well, written by Dan Stapleton, supplemented by a related piece I contributed to, so there’s lots of info coming. I haven’t read the GameSpot piece (or Dan’s), so I don’t know how much they overlap — I’m also doing my column in the following issue on Fallout 3, as a sequel to my “memo to Bethesda” column a year or so ago, commenting on how I think things are looking on what I highlighted in the earlier column as the five most important “Fallout” features I was looking for in a sequel.
But if you have any additional questions on anything you’ve read anywhere – shoot – I’ll try to answer them now that I’m no longer prohibited from doing so. I’ve waited a year and a half to be able to talk about Fallout 3, so I’m more than happy to do so, heh.
So he went and replied to some doubts, giving his take on what he saw so far:
I actually think people will be very happily surprised with the writing, and the characters, in Fallout 3, compared to Oblivion’s NPCs. The dialogue options are meaningful and different, not just a list of items that NPC can speak about, organized in a list where the only real choice is the order in which you hear the items. There’s only a few hundred NPCs (down from 1500 or so in Oblivion, and 2500 in Morrowind), so they’re much more fleshed out and unique — it also helps that there’s 30-40 different voice actors instead of just a handful in Oblivion. At least from what we’ve been shown, that stuff feels much more like Fallout 1/2 than Oblivion.
You also won’t be a jack of all trades, as in Oblivion – you have to make real choices that matter, and which dynamically change the fortunes of other characters. Aside from enhancing replayability, since you obviously won’t be able to do competing objectives, those choices deepen the roleplaying. To elaborate more on the “Megaton bomb quest” — when you arrive at that town, you can greet and be friendly with the sheriff. When you get the quest to potentially blow up the bomb, you can instead inform the sheriff that these dudes are trying to blow up the town. Or you can decide to blow up the town, but actually be unable to because you lack the mechanical skills to activate the bomb. Or you could just decide to blow the sheriff away when you meet him, in which case you’ll likely be attacked by his buddies when walking through the town. Or you could, after blowing him away, decide to put on his sheriff’s uniform, in which case some NPCs may attack you for killing the sheriff, but others may actually defer to you as the new sheriff. In short – meaningful options and real choices, and interesting characters to interact with – in that respect, I think Bethesda is appropriately emulating some of Fallout’s best and most distinctive features.
I also wouldn’t read anything negative into not being able to kill kids – it’s still definitely an M-rated game – there’s graphic violence, swearing, and “adult” topics like slavery, etc. — some other stuff that Bethesda isn’t revealing yet, involving mutation, and one tracked stat was “corpses eaten”, which makes me suspect there’ll be something similar to the Vampire-path in Oblivion/Morrowind, where you can get into doing some nasty stuff. It doesn’t feel sanitized. I also like the changes to the level-scaling, the use of SPECIAL and level-based character development as opposed to the use-based skill system of the Elder Scrolls games.
Here’s the “memo to Bethesda” piece, again thanks Lithal and I’ll post more on this later on.