Rock, Paper, Fallout 3

gillen.jpg

Now here’s a blogpost that I may disagree in several things that are written there but still advise everyone to read it. It’s a different take on Fallout 3 as one of the games of 2008, and asks all the right questions, even if I may disagree with some of the answers. Made by veteran gaming journalist Kieron Gillen for the PC gaming blog Rock, Paper, Shotgun here we have a snippet:

You don’t envy Bethesda.

I’ve said this before, but the nagging question is why they’d take up this particular poisoned chalice of post-apocalypse role-playing anyway. “A new game by the makers of Oblivion is a much bigger story to the gaming mainstream” than “Sequel to old PC game you haven’t played”. Hell, the “3″ even risks alienating people who’ve never played (or heard of) the original, dismissing it out of hand – there’s eighteen year old PC Gamers who’d have been six when the thing comes out. Even putting aside that, the friends it buys you will brook no compromise. The Fallout fanbase epitomised by the cheery souls of No Mutants Allowed, having had a decade to stew over disappointment after disappointment, are openly fanatical. As much as they’d protest it, no-one can see them accepting anything Bethesda would produce.

A Fallout license gives you… what? A post-apocalyptic world. Make your own up and save yourself the hassle of dealing with friends who hate you and strangers who look just at you strangely.

So why do it? Well, three reasons come to mind.

Firstly, I could just be wrong and Fallout is a much bigger deal than I thought and that little Pip-Boy is a key to a world of infinite money. I don’t think so.

Secondly, Bethesda may be as dirty fanboys as the NMA guys. It may just be as simple as plain lust for Fallout, the plain desire to write a sequel to a game they think is brilliant. This sort of things strikes even the brightest creative minds – look over at Comics, where there’s a strata of some of the medium’s brightest minds whose most heartfelt desire is to have a shot at Superman. They’re insane, and if they had any sense they’d be doing their own thing… but that they don’t have that sense means that it’s done as an act of devotion. This is actually a good reason to give a damn about Fallout 3. People working on something that’s genuinely invested in, on average, leads to better work.

Thirdly… well, one of the major worries about Fallout 3 from even less fanatical fans is that they don’t believe Bethesda are capable of wrestling with the actions-and-consequences aspects that have traditionally been involved in a Fallout Game – they’re fine with multiple mechanisms (Assuming they get the experience system right), but the payoffs are limited. Just as key is their limitations as creators of fiction – while they’re good at verisimilitude and a sense of place, the fiction – dialogue, plot, whatever – of the Elder Scrolls have been merely acceptable at best throughout. This has lead some people to think that Bethesda, by definition, can’t do it. Thing is, by buying Fallout 3, they cover their weaknesses. They don’t need to create a world from whole-cloth – they have an inspiring world. They don’t need to work out how people act and talk – they have a game which shows the interactions between individuals and whatever. Buying Fallout actually acts as a crutch for Bethesda’s traditional faults.

There’s much more here, a must read that no doubt will cause some interesting discussions.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s