Interview with Desslock

I did an interview with Desslock, the PC Gamer columnist, for Planet Fallout, talking about the past, present and future of Fallout 3, here’s a snippet:

PF:You went there and came up with a column in PC Gamer, the famous “Memo to Bethesda”. In it you gave five tips for Bethsoft not to screw up Fallout 3. Now that you’ve played the game let’s get back to those tips. Did they got the combat right?

Desslock: Yes, the combat is great, in my opinion – it’s repetitive, and over-the-top violent (necks are apparently very brittle after the apocalypse), but it’s consistently rewarding. I’m very pleased with VATS.

PF:But no kicking rats in the groin now, though…

Desslock: One of the bigger disappointments is that there’s no targeting of body parts in melee combat at all, apparently for balance reasons. Melee combat definitely gets short shrift in general, and there’s far too much ammo lying around compared to the other Fallouts, although the change in locale somewhat justifies that.

PF:“Don’t use Oblivion’s difficulty scaling”. Did they hear you out? Are you pleased with the solutions they found?

Desslock: It’s much better. MUCH better. But not perfect. The important thing is that it feels much more natural now, and very much like what you’d encounter in other RPGs. You still encounter stronger creatures/opponents later in the game, but by that point you’re exploring further out in the wilderness or encountering enemies like the Enclave, so that makes more sense. I also like that, regardless of when you travel to certain areas, you’ll run into the types of creatures you expect, which may be higher/lower level than you (e.g. Super Mutants in D.C., ghouls in the underground).

It’s always a pleasure to talk to an old CRPGs fan like him.

Fallout 180

Excellent exercise at the Brainy Gamer:

Some ardent defenders of the Fallout series – let’s call them Fallout traditionalists – have a beef with Fallout 3 and the RPG they fear it will be: non-isometric, non-turn-based, sans dialogue trees, simplified (i.e. dumbed down) SPECIAL system, and a distinct lack of the offbeat, self-referential Fallout vibe. Such a game, say the traditionalists, may be perfectly suitable for gamers who prefer 3-D action RPGs like Oblivion. But it’s just not Fallout. So don’t call it Fallout.

My students have been playing Fallout 1 and 2 for a couple of weeks, preparing for the release of Fallout 3. They are an unexpected mix of gamers: a small handful of RPG veterans, a large majority of relatively casual gamers (mostly sports games and shooters), and a few with almost no experience playing video games at all. Quite a challenge for a teacher who expected to be met by a small legion of hardcore D&Ders with a possible cosplayer or LARPer thrown in. Fortunately, they’re all terrific guys willing to try anything I throw at them.

So when I handed them Fallout (half played the original, half the sequel) with no instructions or special preparation, they struggled. A lot.

What goes on next is really worth a read.