Fallout 3 Lead Designer explains

And yet again we get back to the Emil Pagliarulo answer on dialog and endings on the 1Up interview, because Emil himself felt it was better to clear things up a bit, here is his statement in full, taken from the Bethsoft Fallout 3 forum:

Hey all,

Wow, I didn’t realize the comments I made in that 1Up interview — you know, about dialogue — would cause such a stir! Mostly because I didn’t realize I had chosen my words so poorly. Ugh.

I was specifically answering the question about whether or not dialogue affects the endgame. It doesn’t — not directly. The endgame itself doesn’t change based upon things you may or may not have said in dialogue. The endgame is affected by your actions. So that’s what I meant by, “We went back and forth with the impact of dialogue on the character, and ultimately decided we didn’t want to penalize or reward the player for carrying on a conversation.” And yeah, that was a pretty bad choice of words, because it seems like the things you say in dialogue don’t matter — and nothing could be further from the truth.

Believe me or not, but here’s the reality of dialogue in Fallout 3: it does matter. It matters more than dialogue in one of our games has ever mattered. I feel really comfortable saying that, because one of my responsibilities is editing and directing all the dialogue that gets written, and one of my personal crusades is pushing the NPC interactions to be more meaningful. We approached that level in Oblivion — now I really feel like we’ve truly reached it.

So yes, you do get to roleplay through dialogue: sometimes, how you say something is just as important (and enjoyable) as what you say. Yes, you can ask different NPCs different things, in different ways. Yes, a lot of times your skills and attributes (besides just Speech) will open up new dialogue options. And yes, what you say in dialogue will matter. Act like a wiseguy, and an NPC may attack you, or refuse to deal with you. Treat an NPC with respect, and maybe he’ll be more willing to talk to you.

Of course, in the true spirit of Fallout — in which the NPCs themselves have personalities — it really depends on who you’re dealing with. NPCs, like people, have their own quirks and preferences. Take a bold approach with the right NPC, and she may like you even more. Play the weakling with the wrong guy, and you may just tick him off. So, indirectly, dialogue affects the ending of the game in the sense that it can open or close quest paths, which in turn can lead the player to perform good or bad actions, which in turn determines the player’s karma rating… which does factor into the endgame. I hope that clears things up a bit.

Overall, our goal with dialogue is to craft unique, meaningful interactions with the NPCs. We want the player to feel like he or she is having a conversation with a person — not clicking on an information kiosk. Our designers have fully embraced that philosophy, and the game’s dialogue reflects that. I really do think you’ll be happily surprised when you play the game.

Emil Pagliarulo
Lead Designer — Fallout 3
Bethesda Game Studios

Ok that makes more sense, what do you think?


4 thoughts on “Fallout 3 Lead Designer explains

  1. Poor guy, he’s paid to design and make games not to be the most eloquent speaker out there! C’mon people give him a break! 🙂

  2. I think that’s a really fluffed up version of my summation in the previous comments thread.

    Dialog will impact side quests but as far as the main quest line actions > words.

  3. Emo Anonymous

    One of life’s enduring puzzles, at least for verbally challenged males,
    is saying the right thing at the appropriate time.

    Morning after,
    fruitless evocation of a divine intercession — god’s game save —
    still emotional attached to “” the one that got away”” …

    “”I wish I’d said … “”

    Hey, redefining dialogue with dialogue, what a novel notion for Nex Gen ideology.

    Curiously appropriate.

    As far as this Nex Gen emotional detachment from aesthetic experience, being emo about -a game- a FO.
    well, I guess stress reduction through therapy and pharmaceutical crutches has it’s place.
    The bold nex’ tradition is through public confession in weekly meetings of Emo Anonymous.

    For my opinion, emotions never bitch slapped any one, it’s the person*.

    *(Haven’t cleared this paraphrase with the NRA so anticipate retraction if my mail box gets refinished with number eight squirrel shot).

    And, emotional detachment can be very useful if one is deconstructing a work of accidental art like the FO’s to create a Bethesda entertainment commodity for the present marketing demographic.

    Twelve steps foreword to emotional freedom.

    One step back for intellectual clarity.

    Are we there yet, daddy?

    It’s O.T. Tuesday, must shave – sh-t – and shove off … later,


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