Fallout 3: Shacknews and Europe

More talk of Fallout 3, first with a Shacknews preview:

Bethesda Softworks has a lot to prove with Fallout 3. Not to regular hardcore gamers like you and me, of course, nor the millions of fans who have enjoyed the company’s previous work with the Elder Scrolls series. It goes without saying that Bethesda’s record for quality is proven.

But the Maryland-based developer took on a whole new challenge when it wrested the hallowed Fallout license from Interplay’s cold, deathly grip a few years ago. Now Bethesda’s unenviable task is twofold: First, bring the traditionally PC-oriented Fallout series to modern consoles and make it appeal to a broader audience who may have never touched a Fallout game before. Second, and far more difficult, build a game that honors Fallout’s decade-long legacy and at least try to appease its existing hardcore audience, whose love for the franchise runs a narrow spectrum from adoration to outright fanaticism.

Vice president of PR and marketing Pete Hines isn’t fazed. He and the design brass at Bethesda have paid close attention to all of the feedback (some of it scathing) those diehard fans have submitted so far. Taking fan suggestions into account is one thing, but “we still have to make the best Fallout 3 we can make,” Hines says. In other words, the design team has had its own vision for Fallout 3 since day one, and with the move to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, that vision has to consider a much larger audience, one composed of people for whom this Fallout will be their first.

I’m one of those people, and as a big fan of Oblivion, it looks like Fallout 3 has enough of the same hooks–the open world, the freedom of choice, the action-based role-playing–to really pique my interest. Except this time around, you get the added benefits of handheld nuclear bomb launchers and grisly exploding mutant heads.[…]

Abandoned vaults and bombed-out buildings are to Fallout 3 what the generic caves and decrepit Elven ruins were to Oblivion, which is to say you’ll want to do a lot of exploring to find some choice gear to equip. Just be careful to watch out for the people–or more accurately, the ghouls–who have gotten there first. Ghouls in Fallout are human beings who were exposed to too much radiation, and there were several glowing ones (the most dangerous kind) running around in the ruined building Hines showed me. Functionally, the ghouls seem to act merely like quick radioactive zombies, though an interesting touch to each glowing one you encounter is a very brief (think blink-and-you’ll-miss-it) flashback scene showing what that ghoul’s life was like before it mutated into a hellish husk.

The real combat started when Hines loaded up the last save game of my demo, set on the Washington Mall between the Capitol and a very dilapidated Washington Monument. The area had been fortified with trenches and barriers by the Brotherhood of Steel, and there was a pitched battle going on between some of the Talon Co.’s mercs and a group of super mutants, the beefy yellow-skinned guys you’ve seen in numerous screenshots. These aren’t mindless run-at-you-screaming mutants like the ghouls; they’re pissed off, coordinated, and they know how to use guns. Hines took this chance to point out that Fallout 3’s different enemy factions hate each other as much as they hate you, and it’s often effective to hang back and let the riffraff take care of each other before you move in to mop up.

Also Videogame Visionary went to the presentation but doesn’t give us a rundown of what happened, instead they state this:

Pete will be heading over to Europe next week to start warming people up for the game over there.

So even more previews to come, now from Europe.

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