Strategy Informer: Were you not tempted to do a game maybe more mainstream, less RPG, less Oblivion to make it more accessible?
Pete Hines: No, not necessarily, we certainly spent a lot of time on things like combat and how does it feel to be playing the game with the gun in your hand in first person and third person because… You know, let’s be honest, you do spend a lot of time, or at least most people spend a lot of time running around shooting stuff or getting in to combat of some kind, whether its Elder Scrolls or Fallout. So we did want that part of the experience to be very good. I think it’s probably fair to say that we don’t feel compelled to beat people over the head with the letters RPG and to insist that they acknowledge they are playing a role playing game. With Oblivion and with Fallout we like to have it be such that if you are hardcore and you want to get in to power gaming and the numbers and how you’re levelling up, what you’re putting skills in, what perks your picking and really sort of power game that… you totally can and if you want to spend most your time doing dialogue or whatever the hell it is, you can.
At the same time it’s a game that is designed to allow you to do whatever you want, which is, you know, from my standpoint is fairly hardcore because most games don’t. Most games, if they want to treat you like an infant, they’ll just simply tell you what you have to do next and once you do that thing, then they’ll give you the next thing you have to do. I think that’s a much more simple way of playing the game. There are a lot of games that take that and take it to the tenth degree and make it an incredible experience. For us, we’re doing something different, a sandbox game, go wherever you want, do whatever you want and so I think it can be both. I think it can be accessible but still be very open and sort of hardcore in terms of how you’re going to play the game and all the different options you have… How you can finish this quest, how you can talk to this guy. I think you can do both, make it accessible and still be true to what it’s about.
Strategy Informer: Would it be fair to label Fallout 3, “Oblivion with guns”? It seems as if the dialogue seems to be the same, the wide open spaces and there are a lot of similarities.
Pete Hines: Well, from the standpoint of both Fallout and Oblivion are kind of “go wherever you want” kind of games, so certainly from an engine point of standpoint, we designed it to be something where we wanted to give you big vistas and really sort of impress upon you the level of destruction as well all the possibilities. All of these places you can see, you can walk to in real time and go explore.
You know, the dialogue is exactly like the dialogue from Fallout so it may feel similar to Oblivion and I guess in terms of how it’s structured, but it’s sort of exactly the way Fallout presented its dialogue; You know what it is you want to say, how people respond back, trying to do a lot more with the dialogue in terms of choices of how you talk to people, the ability to unlock certain options in dialogue based on having a higher speech skill or having certain attributes that allow you to unlock a certain dialogue option that you usually wouldn’t be able to get, different perks, you know when you levelled up you may have noticed “The Ladykiller” or if you’re playing as a girl, it’s called “Black Widow” where you pick that perk, then talking to certain people you get a dialogue option that you wouldn’t normally have gotten. All of that is very different ad unique to Fallout in terms of giving the player options they wouldn’t normally have gotten because of the type of character they are playing with; you get to say this because of who you are.
To answer your question, I don’t discount that folks are going to call it that, it’s based off the same engine, it’s still doing big epic vistas, but I think Oblivion was a really good game, my only hesitance with that phrase is that it doesn’t take in to account how much effort we put in to making this a very true Fallout experience with characters, dialogue and setting and all that stuff to make it very different and true to what the series is about. I think we’ll certainly get that and I don’t think that’s ever going to go away but I think it probably sells the game a bit short.
Spotted at the BGFO3 forum.