What are you working on at the moment with Fallout 3?
Hines: We’re working towards getting everything into the game. The world hasn’t finished being built yet so we’re still in the process of putting all of the content in the game, fleshing everything out and playing quests. That sort of thing.[…]
How ‘open’ is Fallout 3? Is it like Oblivion in that regard?
Hines: One of the things about Fallout 3 is you cannot do everything in this game. It’s not like Oblivion where it’s just – basically, anybody could do anything. Fallout isn’t like that. Fallout basically is fewer number of quests with lots of ways to complete them and things are opened up to you or locked off to you as you go through the game.
There will be somewhere between nine to 12 different endings to the game based on what you’ve done in the game. So it’s something that is inherently a diverging path. It may be some of the same things but doing them in very different ways, and ultimately that will define your gameplay experience.
Then you’ll have to go back and play again. So you may have to play through once and blow up Megaton [a major city in the game] and then play again and not blow up Megaton just to get to the bits that are all behind both of those paths.
This last part lead to a comment by Jim Sterling of Destructoid that will spark some discussion for sure:
While I and surely many others are looking forward to seeing what Bethesda does with Fallout 3, I have to admit that upwards of nine endings may be just a little too much. I’m all for replay value, but I’ve rarely ever found that extra endings, usually highly disappointing affairs, add anything to it. Seems a bit over the top to me, but Bethesda knows best.
And yes the game will follow the path of Blade Runner, that had 12 different endings and was really replayable, although far from free form.
Since the original Fallout RPGs were more about how your character affected the game world and the game world affected your character, instead of being a story driven game, the idea of having only a few definite endings but tens of combinations on the game end slides that showed what would happen to the zones you’ve been and the NPCs you’ve met was very appropriate, and provided for a fresh ending every time.
I would prefer that to so many definite endings, but we’ll see, might work, might not work.