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.

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