Leipzig coverage: NMA reports from the inside!

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Pete Hines meets Brother None 

On a surprise move No Mutants Allowed got two intrepid ninjas inside the Fallout 3 demo presentations and got a few Q&A sessions with Pete Hines:

This preview is based on the demo shown at the Game Conference in Leipzig, Germany, by Pete Hines. It is the same demo shown at the earlier press showing and E3. Pete Hines noted that the demo build is 2 months old by now.
NMA’s main previews provides a walkthrough of the entire demo, then some opinions on several topics, then a final judgement. A dozen-question Q&A conducted by NMA’s staff on the spot is also available.
NMA’s staff covering this consists of Brother None (referred to as “I” in the preview) and SuAside, both of whom applied for the demo showing in name of another media company: Brother None thanks to GamerNode, SuAside thanks to MadShrimps.be. Silencer, who applied in the name of NMA, was turned down with no reason given (though it is worth noting he applied last, a day after Brother None’s appointment was finalized). SuAside saw the demo Friday at 12:00, Brother None at 14:00, so details vary and it will be noted in the walkthrough when they do significantly. At no point in the demo or Q&A did NMA’s staff identify themselves as from NMA.

In the words of Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff “Very sneaky indeed”.

Just a few highlights:

This conversation also saw another return of something Oblivion-esque. I noted before the dialogues are built from 3-line blocks in which expressions show the same jumpy attitude as in Oblivion. Lucas shows the next step, namely that emotions are again conveyed pretty much only by the face, and that the facial expression and voice tone has the tendency to skip through different emotions during a single speech. To back up this impression, in long speeches like those of the sheriff and of dad, one gets the distinct impression the writing is a bit inconsistent, which is kind of off-putting. This did not look significantly improved from Oblivion, though at least the sheriff had only one voice. The faces themselves look better and less ridiculous than in Oblivion, but don’t expect to get blown out of the water by them, especially by their lack of expressiveness.[…]

Walking to the back of the bar the PC starts a conversation with a man sitting on a chair in an impeccably clean 3-piece suit and glasses. Introducing himself as Mr Burke, the man notes the PC could be very useful for him, being a stranger in town. Noting “I represent certain…interests,” calling Megaton a blight and asking the PC if he’s interested in helping him get rid of it. Here Hines notes that the speech skill comes into play during dialogues, and indeed two dialogue options show a percentage of success. An option to ask for 500 caps extra pay (29%), or to tell him the town is under your protection and he should get out. Stating that if he fails Mr Burke will like him less, Hines opts to ask for extra pay, and gets it.[…]

Moving down the tunnels, it isn’t long until you see a supermutant climbing over the wreckage in the distance. After taking a few potshots at each other, the PC with his hunting rifle and the mutant with a Chinese assault rifle, Pete Hines pauses the game (with Fallout 1’s “combat slider” sound) to zoom in on the mutant and explain that this is a supermutant, “the main bad guy in the game.” He points out that you can target the torso, arms, weapon, legs and head, each area having a different effect. Each area also has a percentage to hit which he notes is the same if you try aiming for an area in real time. The effects are also unique, headshots can blind, shooting someone in the leg can slow him down, etc.[…]

The PC goes out of the metro. He runs into a Brotherhood of Steel/supermutant battle, Pete Hines explaining the the supermutants have spread through the metro tunnels, but are locked in combat with the Brotherhood of Steel, “the noble knights of the wasteland” who are trying to drive out the supermutants. The part of the world the PC just entered is about 1/4th of the map, and it’s “a very dangerous place to come.” If you go here in your lower levels, still fairly weak, you can expect to die if you don’t have any help, as Oblivion’s style of level scaling is out. Looking around at the bountiful destruction, Pete Hines notes “destruction is our new trees.”[…]

Fallout 3 has that within the Vault, but it goes up and down once you’re outside. It shows flashes of brilliance in transporting Fallout’s world into 3D at some spots, like some of the skyscraper ruins and bits of Megaton. In Springvale it looks to want to try and accomplish something but fell short. Architecture follows the same rollercoaster mechanics, sometimes spot on, sometimes very nondescript.

For an awkwardly huge chunk, from the metros to the supermutants to the BoS, the game looks like a very vanilla, generic post-apocalyptic game with some 50s signs slapped on it in an easter egg format, as if they were an afterthought. That makes for some head-splitting inconsistencies, especially when you run through a lot of area fast, as in the demo.

The music falls right into this halfway-there category. Including actual 50s songs is a fun idea and will probably work fine, but the main soundtrack itself, while being very soft, was easily identified as “not like the originals.” It reminded me most of Inon Zur’s Fallout Tactics soundtrack, halfway between Fallout’s ambient music and Zur’s own tendency towards the bombastic.

I’ll get back to the Q&A sessions later, good job Brother None and SuAside, you intrepid ninjas!

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16 thoughts on “Leipzig coverage: NMA reports from the inside!

  1. Since I am too intimidated to post on NMA, I will just say my thanks here. So thank you BN and SuA for this awesome preview. And huge thanks to Gamernode, AtomicGamer and MadShrimps, for helping to make this preview possible.

    Like I mentioned a while back, this is kind of thing that I’d definitely help support, how do I make some donations?

  2. No way, I’ll keep this place on a really tight budget and without ads and everyone is happy that way, all the help that I need is knowing some viewers are online and some messages and comments are being made, I won’t ask more than that.

    I’ll contribute to the thing at NMA though, it was a very hard and somewhat expensive operation, and giving the costs it might be the last one, we’ll see.

  3. Actually brios, our country is THE country with the oldest established frontiers. Besides being a pioneer in some important things. Do you know we were the ones who first arrived at Australia? I didn’t know that until a few weeks ago, but it’s true. We discovered Australia. Thing is, the boat crew was eaten by cannibals (probably) and they never came back to tell the story. So, officially, Australia was found by the French (IIRC) in XIX sec…

    Of course, I’m not saying the name of our country, as everyone should know that. We also discovered the Americas for the first time, as well as some important islands in the Atlantic Ocean. An important US military airfield is placed in our country’s territory, we have a somewhat important soccer team, as well as some important athletes (a recently won gold medal in Triple Jump, by the way), we have one of the most spoken languages in the world, we have some wines of great quality, we are renown for our laziness (not without fairness I should add) and hospitality, and very very very well know for our gastronomy and confectionery. We are not very successful many other things and our typical citizen don’t usually loves the state of things. However, we ARE the country with the oldest established frontiers in the world, so that’s probably something.

    Now, really, a final hint that will surely lead straight to us: we have some functioning game studios, the bigger of which is Move Interactive, now producing Ugo Volt… Google it. It will probably suck (mainstream, action, console, you know the drill), but it’s from our lands XD

    Oh, I forgot, we also were the first ones in THE WORLD to live broadcast US bombardments in Iraq. I’m sorry for them, Iraqi people (if any are reading this), so don’t think I’m proud of the bombardments.

    Nelly Furtado has ancestry from our country. Not that I like her music, or anything, but I thought it would be worth the note 😛

    Thanks for reading this very boring and uninformative piece of text.

  4. Oh, I browsed for info, and I found out we actually are the fifth oldest country in existence (still being the one with the oldest established frontiers, though 😉 ), only surpassed in age by (and this leaves those out of the equation as brios and I are not from those): San Marino (301 AD), France (lithal yeah xD, 486 AD), Bulgaria (632 AD) and Denmark (950 AD). All the rest, they’re all kids 🙂

  5. Well you are mixing accurate historical depictions with rather controversial theories there, hold your horses there!

    Anyway too off topic.

    I can’t wait for them to link this on the official page/blog.

    Told you it wouldn’t happen. Since you told me that too we both win, wonderful.

    I’ll try to have an interview with BN and SuaSide, hope they will accept.

  6. Well you are mixing accurate historical depictions with rather controversial theories there, hold your horses there!

    Shhh, that wasn’t to be said 😛

    Anyway, sorry for the offtopic. I guess I’m a bit keen on it, ain’t I…

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