The thing about the VATS system–the slow motion approximation of Fallout’s tactical limb targeting system–is that, while it at first seems to function more like a bullet time system, it fundamentally works on the same level of Fallout’s original system. There’s that same decision between a sure shot or a low-percentage attempt, and that same glorious anticipation before a 99%, skull-exploding, point-blank blast to the eye.
Case in point, the minigun-wielding giant I faced. With only a handgun to take him down, I switched over to grenades for saving throw. Using the VATS, I targeted him with three throws and let them go. I watched the lifespan of each grenade, heard the pin pop and saw the pineapple land right at the feet of the giant mutant, resting there for a moment before dutifully shredding the monster’s legs.
After dispatching the mutants, I noticed a tied-up human in the church they were guarding. I wasn’t given this quest–this was simply a building I found out in the middle of nowhere. After choosing to untie the poor sap, he thanked me, then offered me his supplies. I had the choice of taking them, or acknowledging that he needed them more. I took them. Screw being nice.
They also feature an interview with Pete Hines and Istvan Pely:
Shack: Sometimes it takes a long time before you find any enemies. I assume you guys have carefully balanced their placement so that it feels just right?
Istvan Pely: Yeah, and we try to find the right balance, so that it feels like I’m not running into something every minute, but it doesn’t take long before I come across something.
And our encounters, there are some very creative encounters. You may come across a hit squad going after some guy, or a melee fight going on that has nothing to do with you–you can just watch them, let them kill eachother, help one side or the other. There’s a lot of neat little things to discover there that are unpredictable. It’s not always going to be, “Oh, Radscorpion coming at me.” There’s some of that, but there’s a lot more to it.
Pete Hines: I think the Super-Duper Mart is probably one of the best examples of that. In front of the Super-Duper Mart is just this complete, every time you come around the corner you have no idea what’s gonna be going on. Sometimes there’s a robot fighting some stuff, or a Radscorpion attacking some guy. It’s so great every time you go see it–it’s one of those watercooler things.
Istvan Pely: Sometimes you get there and everybody’s dead. [laughs]
Shack: Are you guys getting sick of the comparisons to Oblivion? Like, “It’s Oblivion, but with guns”?
Istvan Pely: It’s two-sided, you know. It’s a compliment, and at the same time we set out to make a very different game. We did not start with the design of Oblivion and decide how we were going to change it to make Fallout. We started with, “How is this going to be Fallout?” But we built on experiences we learned with Oblivion. So obviously it’s a similar kind of open world–there’s experiences with how to make that work, how to keep it exciting, so we applied our lessons learned. It works both ways for us.
Pete Hines: I think the thing that makes it most annoying is that it’s said in a tone that’s sort of like, that’s the best that we could do. For guys like Istvan who have spent literally four years making this game, it really sells short how much time and effort they’ve put into making this a Fallout game that is true to Fallout. As opposed to just the bare minimum we could do, let’s just re-skin all of our creatures to look sort of post-nuclear and just be done with it.
So much more time and effort went into it by the designers and the artists. That’s really the only thing that gets me. We love Oblivion, we made it, of course we’re proud of it. But just to say that that’s all we did, the least amount of effort, really sells short the four years we’ve put into making this game.
Spotted at NMA and various other places.