“So why the f— are we doing Fallout?”, posits Todd Howard to an audience of game journalists gathered at Bethesda’s HQ to hear the answer to just that question. Most gamers familiar with the Fallout series won’t care so much for the ‘why’s’ but rather the ‘how’s’. One glance at the community forums hints at the fervor and froth foaming on the turbulent sea made up of the series’ ardent fans. With almost no information forthcoming on Bethesda’s part the only remaining tools at these fans disposal has been assumption and speculation…until now.
“We had just made Daggerfall (1996) – so we were very into our elves and swords and such”, explains Todd Howard, “and then along comes Fallout. We all start playing and we’re like – have you seen this thing? They’ve got dip switches for violence – all this crazy sh—t. And then Fallout 2 came out the next year. It kinda became this ‘when are they gonna make another Fallout? We loved the series! And then the crack began – ah, we should do it! I was like – yeah, that’d be cool…[…]
Fallout I in particular would become the model – or the ‘tone setting’ – for the team’s approach to Fallout 3, paying particular attention to the key iconic elements of the original game; The interface bar along the bottom, the PIPBoy 2000, (your personal ‘Dick Tracy style’ PDA) the violence – would all be key elements the team wanted to retain.
“Violence – people forget but Fallout was one of those first games where [people said], ‘Hey, look at the violence’….(the journalists chuckle) Hey, Violence is funny – lets all just own up to it! Violence done well is f—ing hilarious. It’s like Itchy and Scratchy or Jackass –now that’s funny! “
Out is the conversation wheel that made up that hellish little dialogue mini-game in Oblivion and in is an upgraded dialogue system more akin to your Mass Effect. Instead of random luck, your play-style will affect the game’s outcome. Todd sums it up, “With each character I can be a d–k, I can be a good guy – the whole game is how do you want to role-play – what kind of character do you want to be?”[…]
“Be a d—k”, and you might just miss out on some quests – turn a town against you – or end up in hell – hey, all the cool people are there! Leave a town and they will remember you when you return – there’s no karma reset here – and yep – Karma is back too. Oh, did I mention – there are some 12-13 different endings? So you may want to try playing as Mr. Nice Guy too just to ensure you get the whole story.[…]
“War never changes” – but Fallout sure has. We tend to look back through nostalgic rose-colored glasses at the games of ‘yesteryear’ until those rare occasions arise in which we load them up again and discover just how terrible they look alongside the Gears of Wars and Oblivion’s lining our shelves today. And in time even these games will show their age. But time is something Bethesda has on their side – at the moment.
A very colorful and at times bizarre article, highly recommended read, and don’t forget to check their Visualizing DC as a Wasteland featurette…