Diablo III Vs. Fallout 3

By now everyone heard about the announcement of Diablo III, with good old Leon Boyarsky of Fallout fame as Lead World Designer. Comparisons between Diablo III and Fallout 3 were bound to happen, with NMA pointing to Solivagant’s blog at Destructoid with a passionate and controversial piece called How to make a proper Sequel:

And now we got D3. It looks the same as D2 and D1. Two orbs. Mouse clicking. Iconic classes. It looks gorgeous as well. Using the same isometric (sic) perspective. And from what I can see, people are lapping it up. People are loving it, me included. Why? Well I guess it’s reassuring to see a team that is made up of several different members from D2’s team (even though it’s still Blizzard) behind the steering wheel of this game, and how they managed to make the game be like what Diablo III SHOULD be like, in the hearts of fans and gamers in general.

All of this disturbs me. Why? Because I’m a fan of another franchise. One where action takes a sidestep into turn-based chaos, and dialog, options, different routes, take the center stage. A game whose setting was, and still is, unique.

You may know the series called Fallout. But what the gamewebs and the magazines and the boards are feeding you, isn’t what Fallout is. That’s a definition I’ll leave for the fans of the franchise, known throughout the net as the most rabid fans there are, “glittering gems of hatred” as one has called them.[…]

So what is it Bethesda? Do you think Blizzard doesn’t have the resources to pull of a Diablo III in full 3d mode, with a third person perspective? They tried something like that with StarCraft: Ghost, and when they realized it wasn’t working out, they abandoned that concept. Now we have StarCraft 2, completely recognizable as a true sequel to the first RTS gem, and Diablo 3 which is shaping up to be exactly what the fans were clamoring for.

Before Bethesda unleashed their screenshots and their trailer, I still held hope that they would create a new engine, and shower us with isometric turn based goodness. But I was wrong.

It would take Blizzard to show them how to do a proper sequel.

But now it’s too late.

On a different direction Fallout 3 producer Ashley Cheng is a bit disappointed about how Diablo III is being developed:

I must say I am disappointed that Blizzard has stayed on the conservative side in terms of design with their updates to Diablo and Starcraft. Diablo will be interesting since World of Warcraft has a lot of Diablo-like qualities. I have no doubt, however, that they will be incredibly fun, addictive and polished games.

Well Fallout 3 is the last in line of a series of games that have streamlined and tweaked a mold that comes from 1994, The Elder Scrolls: Arena. That’s pretty conservative too, at least in my eyes.

I think Jay Wilson sums a few important differences between Blizzard and Diablo III with Bethsoft’s game design philosophy on Fallout 3 in these comments transcribed by Joystiq:

Replayability revolves around randomness: random environments, items, encounters and — new to Diablo III — random adventures. Higher difficulty levels are also key to the series’ replayability. The epic heroes enable large scale combat, and are massively powerful classes in that they don’t just have powerful skills but also feel powerful, almost over-the-top, in their gameplay. With strong and unique archetypes, heroes have their own identities, and these hallmarks of Diablo II will be improved upon in III.

Approachability revolves around a design mantra of Blizzard’s, “if you can click a mouse you can play Diablo.” The familiar isometric gameplay is continued in III, and Jay mentioned that they didn’t consider other alternatives — “it’s Diablo. Gameplay is simple to learn, but deep, and the difficulty curve is smooth — Blizzard think they did this well in Diablo II and intend to keep it up


ZRG Online

Well this is off topic but since I love these guys I had to mention this. Zero Radius Games, the love child of Chris “anarchy” Taylor, Tom Decker and Scott Everts, is now fully back online:

Zero Radius Games is a small hobbyist game design group and web-based publisher. We’re not just rabid game players, we’re veterans of the computer game industry and games are quite literally what we do for a living. However, we need to depixelate after work and that’s where ZRG comes in.

For the last few years, we’ve been tinkering with small (and not so small) board and card games. Collectively, we have made dozens (and dozens!) of prototypes then played, tweaked and played them some more. A few we’re really happy with (and we’re working on getting them published someday) and a few that needed to be put down quietly. The rest will, eventually, make their way here for you to download and try out.

Please, look around and check out some of our free downloadable print-n-play games. If you like you see, try printing them and assembling them. They’re pretty fun to play and we would love to hear back from you if you’ve tried our games.

Check out our blog for the most recent updates and news bits.

They offer some goodies too:

The links below will take you directly to our free print-n-play games. Directions for assembling each game, when required, are included. You will most likely need a PDF viewer, like Adobe Acrobat® Reader®. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Do take a look, it’s well worth it.

Keeping Faith In Fallout 3

David Wilgoose from the Official XBox Magazine has a piece on his blog on why we should embrace change when talking about Fallout 3:

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Bethesda and play Fallout 3. I’ll shortly be posting extracts from an interview I did with lead designer Emil Pagliarulo, and you can read my hands-on impressions of the game in an upcoming issue of the Official Xbox Magazine. But for now I want to discuss what happens when one major developer inherits a classic series from another major developer.

I’ve been thinking about change recently, and how gamers tend to be somewhat frightened by it. We want to be dazzled by new technology and we say we want innovation and originality, but it seems what gets us most excited is something familiar given a new lick of paint. So, on the one hand, Fallout 3 should be exactly what gamers want – an old idea updated with cool new graphics; on the other hand, it’s kinda scary. How do we know Bethesda isn’t going to ruin an old favourite?[…]

What’s notable with Fallout 3 is the length of time between Black Isle signing off on Fallout 2 and Bethesda applying its own seal to the series. Ten years is a long time in gaming. It’s enough time for entire genres to rise and fall in popularity; for new technology to change our perception of what makes for a modern game; for development studios to have created a history of their own, with all the expectation and baggage that entails; for new platforms to arrive and shift the commercial landscape; and for older games to be deified on the altar of nostalgia.

Bethesda has to combat all these factors. They have to bring a new Fallout into a world where multi-platform development is vital; where RPGs flounder without production values as high as the next big budget FPS; where many of the play mechanics of the original games now seem anachronistic; and where Bethesda has charted out their own successful course of what a role-playing game can be.

I disagree with many of his arguments, but he is right that Fallout 3 is shaping up to be like it is because it’s a multi-platform game from the start. Something like Starcraft II or Diablo III would be much more preferable, but they are PC only games.