Strategy Core placed online their Fallout 3 impressions and a Q&A session with Emil Pagliarulo. Since they used a few questions sent by NoMutantsAllowed, and by the viewers of this blog, we have a more interesting read than usual, let’s start by their impressions:
Some fans who loved Fallout 1 and 2 will find a number of features which will piss them off. The 20 foot tall Super Mutant was something out of Lord of the Rings and fit poorly with the earlier Fallout universe. It would have been more in keeping to have created an all-new Super Monster rather than including a giant Super Mutant. After all, the Super Mutants could have used the mutagenic virus on a Deathclaw or some other wasteland creature. Maybe the reason for the giant was explained in the storyline, but it was out of place from what I saw. Regarding the VATS combat system, I couldn’t tell how well it will work. After killing a hundred giant ants, Super Mutants or whatever, the slo mo cinematic playback may become tiresome. VATS does stop the game from becoming a twitch fest, but turn-based combat could have achieved the same result.
Fallout 3 will be a worthy addition to the Fallout universe. It won’t please those fans that want an isometric, turn-based game, but will please those who love the Fallout atmosphere and are willing to play the game from a new perspective. With its branching storylines and the ability to create a character in all shades of gray, it should be fun for the same sick and twisted individuals who enjoyed the original games.
Now some highlights from the Q&A session:
SC: How is the GOAT system going to work? Is it like a quiz?
EP: The GOAT is sort of like an oral exam that helps you determine your tag skills. Your tag skills are your three main skills. It sort of harkens back to the type of character generation quiz we had in Morrowind. But if you don’t like the tag skills GOAT determined, when you leave the Vault you have a chance to re-spec your character anyway.[…]
Other interviewer: Do you run into instances where NPCs are fighting?
SC: Or random encounters?
EP: We love to do that and we have good tools to do it. We didn’t do this in Oblivion, but for the first time we actually have a designer completely dedicated to free-form encounters out in the wasteland. You’ll definitely encounter people fighting rad scorpions and other creatures out in the wasteland. It’s definitely a single character game, but there are companions that you take. Your companions are based on your karma, so there’s a sunset of companions that are good guys, evil guys or neutral. But you need to find those guys, take them with you, and watch the interaction between those characters.[…]
Other interviewer: Could you actually play the game without using the VATS system?
EP: You could. If you were to do that I would compare it to Deus Ex 1, which would have a similar feel. You certainly could. It would be harder. It’s harder to play the game that way tactically. In VATS, we are sort of still playing with that. For example, if you are trying to shoot the antennae off a giant ant, it’s really hard to target that in real time. So we might jack the percentage up a little bit to make it a viable option. But you could certainly play the entire game without using VATS. But we’ve found in the office playing the game that the third person playback (which only happens in VATS) is a lot of fun to watch. When Todd and I first started prototyping VATS, we played other real time games like Call of Duty and Halo. We’d sit there and say “if I were playing this game and could freeze this moment and go into some kind of targeting system, how would that feel?” Sometimes you want to take a breath and think tactically and not feel rushed. We struggled a long time with the first versions of VATS whether the game should be paused or should we do some slo mo thing. We decided to pause the game and let the player think, be more tactical and not pressure them.
SC: No shots to the eyes?
EP: No, and I’ll tell you why. We talked about that, we prototyped it, and when you play the game and see it in such high def, when you shoot someone in the eyes you expect the head to blow up anyway. Shooting someone in the head has the same effect. If you get a critical on them they get dazed and stuff.
SC: It doesn’t look like you could finish the game without killing a lot of people.
EP: Not entirely true. It depends on the quest. You saw all the speech options and dialog in the demo. As far as dialog options go, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The amount of interaction through dialog is three times what we had in Oblivion. There’s a really strong stealth component. There are a lot of paths through the quests and some are non-violent. That said, you can’t wander off into the wasteland and expect to live.
Thanks to Gimli for sending the questions, my compliments to Slaughter.