Joystiq Fallout 3 Special

Fallout 3 booth at PAX/Picture Joystiq

Fallout 3 booth at PAX/Picture Joystiq

Joystiq also played Fallout 3 at PAX, and has an interesting piece to prove it. Here’s a snippet from some quick notes at the end:

  • On the topic of sex. “We haven’t pushed the limits with sex,” said Pagliarulo. “We found that the whole adult content thing, we knew we’d have crazy over-the-top violence and have kids in the game, and dealing with attacking them.” Pagliarulo cited Mass Effect as a game where it was important to the story. In Fallout 3, he said, he didn’t want to make sex “a joke and cheesy,” much like excessive profanity (a lot was cut out, apparently). “The closest you come to any of that is renting a room and [a woman] sleeps next to you. It’s implication.” That happens for either gender.
  • There are characters you can infer are gay. “We don’t make a big deal out of it,” he said. “To us, they’re people.”
  • Here’s an SAT analogy. Computers : Fallout 3 :: Books : Oblivion.
  • For more, check out our interview with Executive Producer Todd Howard.

Again thanks to Incognito.

No Trophies, No Love For the PS3

Sad PS3 box

Sad PS3 box

Thanks to Incognito I saw at Kotaku that there won’t be PS3 Trophies at launch for Fallout 3:

In an interview with PlayStation Universe, the company’s dashing Vice President of Marketing Pete Hines revealed that trophies won’t be making an appearance in the game…at least not initially.

“Not at launch…It remains to be seen what we do down the road. It wasn’t something we were able to incorporate into the game for launch.”Not all that surprising, considering the company’s documented preference for the Xbox 360.

A Bit Late For Leipzig

Enclave Soldier

There’s a lot of catching up to do by this blog regarding Fallout 3 in Leipzig, so let’s start, with the help of NMA’s Leipzig news coverage.

First the spoiler heavy UGO Gamesblog Vault 106 walkthrough:

In no time I had my task: deliver a letter from a Megaton denizen to her relatives in Arefu, a nearby settlement built in the middle of a raised section of the DC highway. And so I was off, setting my waypoint on my pipboy and heading straight for it. A few giant moles and rabid dogs pestered me along the way, but for the most part, things were going smooth, until…

Until I got distracted. You’re a man with purpose, and suddenly something pings on your map, and you just have to check it out. The phenomenon happened all the time in Morrowind and Oblivion (and even in Fallout 1 and 2), so it’s not a big shock that it happened. I was just more surprised as to how easy it was for the game to take me off course.

What drew my attention was a sign pointing to a nearby fallout shelter. Not Vault 101, mind you…I was quite a ways from my old home. No, this was Vault 106. I made my way into a cave dug into a large cliff and quickly discovered the telltale massive vault door. A switch in front of it blinked expectantly and, much to my surprise, the vault door clanged open the moment I touched it, gears and levers sliding out of place like the day it was built.

Next up is Gamespot:

We encountered some new enemies after leaving the house: huge insects such as the bloatfly, as well as new armoured human characters called raiders. We used the VATS system (see previous coverage) to take out most of the enemies that we came across, and then played around with stealing more of the things that were left behind. One of the raiders was wearing a hockey mask for protection, and we were able to remove it from the dead body and wear it ourselves. You can press the left bumper to switch to a third-person view, and you can then use the right analog stick to tilt around your character to check out the view from the front.

After making it through the Meresti Trainyard and its abandoned train wrecks, we came across the outskirts of a small settlement. The problem was that it was protected, and we were immediately shot at by a sniper upon entering. We spun around and tried to use the VATS system to hone in on the sniper, but we couldn’t see them, and they’d soon incapacitated us via our arms and legs. When we reloaded the game, we decided to head back and check out the school that was not too far from the starting bunker. The building had been torn apart, but a number of books and chalkboards remained complete, with writing from children and teachers. Underneath the school, a small dungeon with a number of raiders awaited, and we were able to pick up a sawed-off shotgun as a reward for heading inside.

And now MTV Multiplayer Blog:

During press demos, I like to try things I don’t think the developers are expecting. So when I stepped my character out of the vault and fumbled with the buttons on my Xbox 360 controller, I wasn’t just reacquainting myself with the mechanics of a game I hadn’t played since a pre-E3 event in June. I was also trying to find surprises. Hitting the 360 controller’s back button, I got my wish. Tapping the button brings up the option to make time pass more quickly. I jumped the game’s clock 12 hours. I would roam the D.C. outskirts at night. I bet the E3 gamers didn’t do that either![…]

I chose a different path, a path that left me securing my very own house in Megaton with my very own robot butler. I could get a haircut from this butler. Or I could get amusement. That’s what I selected, and he/she/it told me a joke. It was about two electrons walking into a bar. One saying it lost an electron. The other asking: “Are you sure?” Response: “I’m positive.”

I asked my robot butler to tell me another joke. The robot butler replied: “My humor emitter ray needs recharging.”

And finnally GameSpy:

Killing enemies in Fallout 3 is very satisfying, and not just because of the finely blended real-time first-person shooting and the tactics-heavy strategy of the VATS system. It’s also fun because of all the loot. You’ll literally strip your victims down to their underwear when you loot their armor, steal their guns, and empty their pockets of valuable bottlecaps, the currency of the wasteland.

The itemization abounds, with many different kinds of food (like delicious dog meat, squirrel-on-a-stick, and Fancy Lads snack cakes), drink (dirty water, Nuka Cola, all kinds of booze), weapons, armor, and drugs. You may want to indulge in some recreational drug abuse to fight off the effects of radiation or to give yourself a little performance-enhancing boost, but the dangers of addiction are very real.

Again thanks to NMA.

New Interview at EuroGamer

Eurogamer interviews Pete Hines, and this one is rather interesting for a change:

Eurogamer: A lot of the humour in Fallout 3 revolves around ironic juxtaposing of cheerful utopianism and grim reality. Is there a line at which that becomes trite?

Pete Hines: If it’s overdone and it’s not in the right tone, it absolutely does. Our lead designer is Emil Pagliarulo, and one of his key functions is to go through and do the humour check. You’re trying to get gradations and you’re trying to be careful about how many times you’re presenting something to the player. I’ll use an extreme example: swearing, when used appropriately, is really funny. If it’s in every sentence you read it’s just annoying; you’re just trying to hard to be edgy. You have to ask, “How much are we using this, and is it appropriate for the person who’s saying it?”

Eurogamer: Do you think there’s a reason games avoid humour so much?

Pete Hines: A lot of times it ends up being a distraction. Done poorly, it is horribly and terribly destructive to the vibe you’re trying to set. Humour gone bad is worse than just about anything else you can try and do in a game. Even violence gone bad can still be almost comical in its execution. But humour? Nothing sucks the soul out of an experience than somebody who’s clearly trying to be funny but is not. So I hope we’ve done a great job of balancing that and not going over that line.

Eurogamer: How much of the design for Fallout 3 is a reaction to your work on Oblivion as much as your ambitions for the Fallout series?

Pete Hines: The reaction to Oblivion is very much a case of, “How do we do this better when we do it in Fallout?” opposed to, “Oh we always wanted to do this in the Elder Scrolls, but now we’re doing Fallout we’ll just put it in Fallout.” There’s none of that. Fallout’s already such a rich series, such a great playground to work in, with the vibe and the tone and the moral choices.

What we really brought from Oblivion is just stuff like feedback on levelling. People didn’t like the way the world levelled with the player, so we’re going to do this differently. It’s things like working out how to sculpt the experience for the player in terms of quests and giving you choices. We want to give you more choices in how to finish a quest rather than fewer choices and a lot more quests.[…]

Eurogamer: Were you tempted to make the Karma system a little more morally ambiguous?

Pete Hines: One of the things we really tried to avoid is surprising the player with whether they’ve been good or bad. We wanted to be clear to you that you’re making a conscious choice to be one or the other. I’ve played games where I made a choice and I thought I was being the nice guy, and then it’s, “Wait, wait, why is he upset?” We didn’t want it to be a surprise. Sometimes it’s a surprise in terms of how a person reacts if you are being a jerk, but it’s not a surprise as to whether you’re good or bad.

Thanks marusia on the Bethsoft Fallout 3 forum.

EB Games Australia: Fallout 3 Release Date

Fallout 3 Special Edition, coming in October

Fallout 3 Special Edition, coming in October

Here’s a press release from EB Games as seen on GamerChip:

Fallout 3 MA15 and coming October 17th!
11/08/2008

Today is a great day for Australian Fallout fans! After recent news that Fallout 3 had been refused classification by the OFLC, many of us were worried that we wouldn’t see one of the biggest game of the year. But fear no more – the OFLC has just awarded Fallout 3 an MA15 rating for Strong violence, drug references and coarse language.

Not only that, but the new release date of October 17th has now been confirmed by RedAnt, as well as the EB Games exclusive Collector’s Edition!

So get pre-ordering Fallout fans! Numbers of the super-hot exclusive Collector’s Edition are limited, and it’s not something you want to miss out on! You can check out more details of this EB Games exclusive Collector’s Edition by clicking on a pack-shot below.

This date is still not confirmed by Bethesda Softworks or the Australian distributor Red Ant.

Also VideoGaming247 adds this mysterious note:

Bethesda has yet to confirm a PAL date despite saying the game will ship in the US on October 7 at E3.

Now that’s new to me…

Bit-Tech Returns To The Future Of Fallout 3

Interview with Pete Hines, with a bit more info than usual, at Bit-Tech:

We got a chance to go see Fallout 3 in action recently, and obviously we couldn’t turn it down. Though the event itself was the usual blur of excitement and curiously small burgers on cocktail sticks, we bemusedly came to the next day to find that not only had we done a hands-on preview of Fallout 3, but we’d also done an interview with Bethesda’s Pete Hines.

How had this come about? Had we managed to make it through the interview without making utter tits of ourselves or fainting like 18th century bodiced ladyfolk?

The only way to find out was to listen to the interview, which we’ve helpfully transcribed for you below – covering all manner of Fallout 3 topics from downloadable content and launch platforms, to quest design and voice actor recruitment…[…]

BT: And what sort of reaction have you been getting from the really hardcore fans?

Pete: Um, I don’t think that reaction has changed much since 2004. Y’know, I think that gets overblown a bit too much. Those guys get very excited and very passionate about Fallout, but what really defines a hardcore fan? It’s up to everyone to make up their own mind.

Everyone can decide for themselves, but if it’s not the game that you like then I’d suspect that you’re not going to play it, so…[…]

BT: What about the differences in how people play? Do you see differences there between seasoned gamers and newcomers?

Pete: Uh, yeah actually. The people who are more hardcore, they tend to pick up the core elements a bit quicker and then they usually start delving right into the stats a lot more. They start with the numbers and powergaming.

The casual guys though, they just play. They grab a gun and shoot stuff. It becomes a story driven shooter for them and they find big guns, put points in big guns and just do the whole big-gun, energy-weapon thing. It’s about roleplaying though, so there’s nothing that says some aren’t supposed to play like that.

If you’re into the stealth and the dialogue and so on though then you totally can, but we see that the people who do that tend to be the hardcore gamers. They tend to look for which perks line up perfectly with their play style.

BT: Is that why you’ve moved the game to a first person perspective? To make it more accessible to players?

Pete: Uh, no, I think we moved it because we thought that would make the best game. Like, what we’re able to do from a first and third person point of view that we can’t do from an isometric view is put the player in the world so that you aren’t always looking down and detached from the world. You’re really experiencing all this destruction around you.

First person just gives you a much bigger sense of space. When you leave the vault for the first time and you have that really cool effect where you come outside for the first time and you’re blinded by the light. The whole world is slowly revealed to you. It’s hard to give the player that same level of ‘this is all free for you to play in’ from the isometric point of view.

It’s about immersion, so honestly it’s about keeping true to the franchise. Just look at the first Fallout – that was pushing the graphics for its day. It did full lip syncing and animated faces. It did everything! It didn’t just do one thing. If it was just great dialogue then it’d be Zork. It had violence, graphics, dialogue and everything else on top.[…]

BT: Do you have a firm release date?

Pete: Yes, I have one. No, I can’t tell you. We’re still this autumn, but we can’t comment further. But it will be the same for all platforms.

Spotted at NMA.

Fallout 3 Sponged

SuperMutants took over the Hill

You know the drill, new Fallout 3 hands on preview, this time at SPOnG:

The VATS method of attack is a throwback to the combat system in previous Fallout games. However, does the presentation of an FPS give a confusing message to the player expecting RPG action? Pete Hines thinks not, telling me, “We don’t believe in beating people over the head with the term ‘RPG’. It’s like you have something to prove, or you need to show your 20-sided dice to get in the door. The idea is that you pick up and play the game however you want to. And if you want to be a power gamer and a number cruncher you can, whether you play in VATS or in real-time those numbers are still meaningful.”

Just like a classic RPG, you can level up in Fallout 3, with a number of points being given to you to assign to different skills when you do. These skills are required for certain side-quests and dialogue options – a good ability in the ‘Speech’ department will allow you to wing your way through tricky situations, and even lets you barter for more cash for a quest if you want to get greedy.

“One of the things we really tried to avoid, and that we don’t like, is surprising the player with whether they’ve been good or bad. We wanted to make it clear that you’re making a conscious choice to be one or the other, as opposed to being confused about it. It may be a surprise in terms of exactly how the character reacts or what they say to you, but not the inherent good, evil or neutrality of it.

“Megaton is pretty much an extreme and most clear cut example of this – we don’t have to tell you that if you decide to blow up the nuke that the whole town and all those quests will go away, it’s kind of obvious. But it’s also pretty fun to see exactly how it happens. You can also live with the consequences because you knew what you were doing when you pressed the button.”

“No fucking way. Absolutely not. With our experience on RPGs like Elder Scrolls, things like Lore and Canon we hold very dear. We get anal about which buildings should be in Washington DC, with giant piles of books on architecture on DC and we ask what year buildings were made. 1955? It’s out – it wouldn’t have been in this universe. If we’re going to be anal about the landscape in this game, we’re certainly not going to make jokes about stuff that would not have been part of this world at all.”

Sounds like Bethesda could well be the studio that can make Fallout fans very proud, then. Fallout 3 is being released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this Autumn.

Videogamer Fallout 3 Day

Megaton doors opening

Megaton doors opening

A pretty detailed and filled with spoilers preview at Videogamer:

We know we’ve played something great, perhaps even something special, when we find ourselves thinking about it when we’re not playing it. When we find ourselves wishing we were playing it while we’re sat on the underground, or browsing the internet, or listening to our editor prattle on about Geometry Wars 2. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it reminds us of the power video games hold over us, how entrancing the spell they cast really can be. It happened again recently, and the game was Fallout 3.

It seems ridiculous to have to form some kind of informed opinion based on a two hour toe-dip into Bethesda’s stunning post-apocalyptic world, given the gargantuan nature of this sci-fi RPG, but that’s what we’re paid to do, so here goes. Haters be quiet – Fallout 3 is shaping up to one of the best games of 2008, and, fingers crossed, could be one of the best RPGs ever.

Amoral, subversive and pulp. It sounds like we’re describing a particularly bad kind of orange juice, but it’s actually the three words our new previews editor Neon Kelly came up with when we asked him to sum up the Fallout series, a series that a lot of PC gamers still care a great deal about.

You can’t, of course, please everyone, and Bethesda knows this. It also knows that, actually, if it can make a game as good as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it’ll have done it’s job. From our time with the game, Fallout 3 might even be better than Oblivion.

You may be wondering why we’re comparing Fallout 3 to Oblivion in the first place. It’s because the game could almost be Oblivion 2, or, as some journalists are calling it, Oblivion with guns. What’s certain is that it feels very similar. The trademark vistas, the dialogue system, the camera angle when you talk to NPCs, the instant teleportation to already discovered locations, it’s all there.

Simply saying Fallout 3 is Oblivion with guns doesn’t do Bethesda’s hard work justice. Fallout 3 looks better than Oblivion, even though it’s not finished.[…]

But it’s also a world with a few technical problems. We noticed a degree of texture pop up as we explored the world. The camera sometimes has a fit when in VATS slow motion mode. The third-person perspective we imagine will go largely unused. And at one point we were forced to reboot the game after we got stuck under part of a collapsed bridge – fast travel wouldn’t work because the game thought we were falling. Our hope, and our belief, is that Fallout 3 won’t be let down by any technical issues that might make it into the released code.

And Videogamer continues the coverage with some words from Pete Hines:

“I have no doubts in my mind that, at its core and for everything that it provides that Fallout is a better game than Oblivion was. For sure.”

Bethesda Softworks vice president Pete Hines was unable to confirm if its upcoming post apocalyptic RPG Fallout 3 would feature PS3 Trophy support.

“I don’t know. I can’t tell you for sure whether or not we’ll have them or not,” said Hines.

It’s a different story regarding Xbox 360 Achievements though, with Hines confirming that they are “mostly complete”.

“… we still like to mess with that stuff sometimes in late stages, just in terms of ‘yeah it’s taking a little too long to get this one’, which is why we didn’t want anybody to look at them, because I wouldn’t want you guys putting something out that we then changed and is completely different,” said Hines. “Yeah, they’re largely in there and there’s some really good ones in there… some that I rather enjoy.”

Asked about the PS3 version of the game which wasn’t available to play at the recent preview event, Hines said: “It’s coming along. We’re getting down to the final strokes on all three versions. The goal is to have all three of them be the same game, the same kind of performance on all three platforms.

“That’s the goal, that you can’t tell the difference.”

Spotted at NMA.

Fallout 3: Emil Clears Things Up With More Detail

Clear shot at the Super Mutant Behemoth

Pretty relevant post from Emil Pagliarulo, this one clears several issues of importance:

What was said recently, by both Todd and me, is that in real-time, skill affects chance to hit less than it used to. This change was made after extensive playtesting. Why? Most everyone found it annoying that you’d have your crosshair over an enemy, and your bullets would go completely wide. So we dialed the accuracy penalty back so it would feel good in real-time. Two things, however — 1.) it’s still not completely pinpoint accurate, unless your skill is really high. So accuracy is still affected, just less than it used to be. Again, it felt better this way, after loads of testing 2.) your damage output is affected with increased skill, so in run and gun, putting points into, say, Small Guns, will certainly improve your combat effectiveness when you use an assault rifle. Etc. etc.

Another thing to consider is that in V.A.T.S., it’s different. It’s much more of a numbers game. It’s all character skill. Your percentage numbers to hit are going to increase as your skill increases. So yeah, putting points into weapons skills is pretty damn important to your survival, whether you prefer run-and-gun or V.A.T.S.

Now, to answer the lingering misconception that you can just somehow blow everything in the game away with the Fatman. Look, the Fatman shows great in demos and movies because it packs a big punch and is visually impressive. And yeah, it’s very powerful when you use it in the game. That said, you’ve got to remember a few things: 1.) The Fatman is huge, so it weighs a lot. Carry it around, and it means you can carry less of other stuff. Your choice. 2.) The Fatman shells aren’t exactly littered around the Wasteland. They’re a valuable resource WHEN you find them (hell, the same is true of the Fatman itself). So you’ve got to use them wisely. 3.) Try using the Fatman indoors and you’re more likely to kill yourself than anyone else. In all of my playthroughs of the game, I’ve only used the Fatman a small handful of times… usually to kill a Behemoth or take out a concentrated group of opponents.

And last but not least, the original topic of this thread. Are Charisma/Speech characters gimped? Not by a long shot. There are tons of speech options in the game. I can’t even count how many quests and situations can be bypassed/modified/overcome by using the Speech skill. It’s incredibly valuable. In fact, with my most recent character, I’m not concentrating on Speech, and boy there are times I wish I had. It’s a completely viable play style.

So I hope this answers some of your questions. It’s always a pleasure to surf the forums and see such lively debate… and most of the time I just hang back and watch you guys discuss/ponder (as it should be). But in this case, I’m happy to clear up some misinformation.

You can read the full post here, thanks Incognito.

Fallout 3 At XBox360Achievements.org

Behemoth,FatMan,Pipboy3000

Another hands on piece:

Fallout 3, now being developed by Bethesda after original developers Interplay went bust, is set in the post apocalyptic Washington DC, and when we say Washington DC, we mean the whole damn city! The preview started in a small isolated bunker minutes before we embarked on our first journey across the apocalyptic wastelands. Just like Oblivion had the iconic moment of crossing the divide from the castle to the realm, Fallout follows suit as you leave the bunker for the first time as your blurry eyesight tries to adjust to the new surroundings.

The first thing that hits you when you enter the barren wastelands of Washington DC is the visuals. You seriously have to stop and take stock of the world around you … a land that was once majestic, is now just an eerie shell of its former self. The Fallout world works on the same sort of world clock that Oblivion had and even has the same sort of wait system. Washington DC seems to look fantastic whatever time of day it is and Bethesda have done a fine job of capturing getting the mood of the city with fantastically drab colours and some superb lighting effects.[…]

But seriously, it doesn’t matter what you create, you will never beat (we don’t think) the pure destructiveness of the “fat man”, Fallout 3’s very own mini nuclear catapult. You may have seen it make an appearance at the end of Bethesda’s E3 demonstrations but nothing could prepare me for the joy I had when I used it.  I luckily stumbled across one when fighting through a bunch of severely pissed off super mutants at Washington’s Galaxy News Radio station and when their king pin, a Super Mutant Behemoth, came out of nowhere, I had no other choice than to use it. A carefully aimed shot (I actually missed the first shot *shock horror*) at this badboy’s chest and I was in awe of a destructive explosion that ensued followed by the trademark nuclear mushroom cloud. I would go out on a limb and say that this is one of the greatest gaming weapons ever created!

The game’s navigational system, the Pip Boy 3000 is incredibly easy to use and in a lot of respects reminds me of the menu system in Oblivion. When pressing B you can enter the device and you can use it to heal yourself, repair weapons and use items amongst other things with great ease. Speaking of using items, the classic Fallout drug, Jet makes a welcome return and when used adds 30 additional action points to your character. However, with drugs becomes a dependency, so beware, taking too many of them may not be such a good idea in the long run. The Pip Boy 3000 also features a map system reminiscent of that in the Oblivion title and the game also features a quick travel system which will be a relief to those of you that just want to skip the sometimes long and arduous trips.[…]

To call Fallout 3 “Oblivion with guns” is a statement that sells the game short. Sure it has its similarities, but why not install some great features that have proved successful in the past  in to a new venture? Bethesda doing this really only really makes sense. Will it appease the hardcore Fallout fans? Who the hell knows, I do know one thing however and that is that Fallout 3 looks to be shaping up to be a serious “Game Of The Year” contender and if I can tell this from a hands on, I can only imagine what the finished product will be like.

I think this preview beat the record on Oblivion references. Spotted at the BGFO3 forum.

Fallout 3 Impressions at GameSpot UK

Rangers in the Super Duper Mart

Rangers in the Super Duper Mart

More impressions from the London hands on demo session at GameSpot UK:

Fallout 3 is an open-world action game, so our second play through the area that we saw during E3 was completely different from our first. Given that our first visit to Washington, DC was spent taking in the postapocalyptic scenery, we raced to the nearest town to experience dialogue and side quests the second time around. The one hour of playtime that we had still felt way too short to completely satisfy us, but we also had time to explore an abandoned subway and come across a local trader.[…]

Delving into the Pip Boy, we found some more cool options to play around with. There are two radio stations, Enclave and Galaxy News, which have opposing political stances and mixes of music. Enclave is very serious and patriotic, playing famous American anthems to encourage patriotism while assuring its listeners that they’ll help to rebuild the country’s schools. Galaxy is a more laid-back and personal station, with tales about survivors punctuated by soulful tunes. The radio-station idea may have been pioneered by other open-world games, but hearing Billie Holiday while exploring this decimated city is a chilling experience.[…]

In addition to using VATS, it helps to talk to people to get advice on how to kill enemies. We headed over to the diner to talk to the boy about the fire ants, and he relayed something that his dad had told him: always aim for their antennae. We also found that you can turn the ants against each other by running around so that they spew fire at each other. It’s worth noting just how adult this game is; even the young boy repeated the “F” word without batting an eyelid. He called the enemies in question the “f***in’ ants,” something that we’ve not really ever heard said by a minor in a video game before. Thankfully, the voice acting in Fallout 3 is pretty good, at least with the few characters that we came across.[…]

There’s no doubt that Fallout 3 is an incredibly promising game and, some minor combat annoyances aside, it completely immerses you in its ruined world.

Spotted on the BGFO3 forum.

Best PS3 G 2 PSU

Fallout 3 won the Best PS3 Game award at PSU:

Edging out some very stiff competition (seriously, we debated this one for hours on end), Bethesda’s Fallout 3 nabs our crown for Best PS3 game of E3 2008. Featuring some of the most intricately designed visuals we’ve seen to date, this post-apocalyptic epic not only looks the business, but offers an incredibly vast, captivating gameplay experience explored through its bleak, open-ended wastelands of North America. With an intuitive combat system, dozens of classes to master, not to mention the inclusion of two viewpoints and gameplay styles to suit your own personal preference, Fallout 3 is the one game to watch out for when it finally hits stores, appropriately enough, this fall.

It seems that was a rather controversial decision, just read the comments on that page. Spotted on the BGFO3 Forum.

David Talks To Emil

Emil Pagliarulo

David Wildgoose made an interview with Emil Pagliarulo some time ago for OXM. It came up a bit short, so now he placed the entire content on his blog:

DW: Why did you guys want to make a new Fallout?

EP: It was one of those wish list things. We were talking about what we want to do if we could get a licence, “Oh, this could be cool, this would be great”, and we realised Fallout was top of that list.

DW: What else was on that list?

EP: I think Todd and I had wanted to make a Batman game forever. I think we talked about Bladerunner at some point. Bethesda makes the Terminator games so I’m sure that came up. But for me it was Fallout. For some reason when Fallout hit the list it was like a pipe dream, it wouldn’t happen, you know? And then [when Interplay auctioned off its licenses] it was like “Oh wow!” We just jumped on it.

DW: So would you have made a post-apocalyptic RPG even without Fallout?

EP: No, it wasn’t like we were going to make a post-apocalyptic RPG and then Fallout came along. We were going to make Fallout or something else.[…]

EP: You know obviously when I first came here Todd and I talked about the Thief stuff and how much of that stuff did we wanted to find its way into Oblivion. I mean the real issue of making good a stealth game like Thief or Splinter Cell is that you know these are linear games with one core gameplay mechanic, and that is sneaking. And you know when you work on a stealth game, you realise how tightly designed stealth gameplay has to be. In a game where you’re a fighter swinging in with a sword or where you have a gun, a lot of times the environment doesn’t make a difference. But for sneaking, the environment is half the gameplay. Back in the Thief days the game designers were also the level designers, they were creating the gameplay in the space they were building because they were so interdependent. Now that’s not really the case.

But that said, I think there’s a level of tension you get with stealth gameplay that you don’t get with anything else. So we started with Oblivion and the stealth system in Fallout is actually a lot more robust than the stealth system in Oblivion. A lot of that has to do with the enemy AI and the different search states that they have. In Oblivion you’re either detected or hidden, now there are stages in between and you’ll know when to be cautious. In Fallout people can be actively searching for you, they’ll actually do the Thief thing and you’ll hear “Where are you? I hear something” and there’s that level of tension there that you didn’t have in Oblivion. You know I was just playing the [Supermart area] fighting the raiders and it’s like a lot of times in Fallout, the feeling is so desperate and you feel like you’re struggling for survival and when you’re sneaking you really feel like “Oh god, don’t find me, please don’t find me”. You’d get that occasionally in Oblivion I think, but for me it actually works better in a post-apocalyptic setting than I thought it would. In Fallout it’s more like the stealth stuff complements your regular gameplay, but it’s definitely a viable approach.

Fallout Fries

French CanardPlus Emil Zoulou is asking for questions from fans about what he saw in the Fallout 3 demo, here’s something from NMA:

Here’s some chances to scratch out some more info from the meager offerings of this E3. First, Canardplus (who you may remember from this preview) contacted us to extend the offer to try and clarify any questions we have based on what they’ve seen:

This morning, we had the opportunity to try the 360 version of Fallout 3. The cheats weren’t enabled. So ask your vicious questions and we will try to offer some honest answers.

If you know French you can ask them here, if not place them at NMA or in this blogpost and we’ll try to translate them for you.

Meanwhile he already started answering the first batch of questions, and NMA got a (very good) translation from Vaultaire with the help of Mr.Bumble and posted them in English:

Is the gore associated with violent death logical or over-the-top?
That is the problem with E3. During the Fallout 3 Demo, Bethesda wanted to emphasize the games “adult” content and pushed the gore through the roof. During the initial demo, Peter Hines did the same: using the “Bloody Mess” trait, which makes every death really bloody, really pushed the gore over the top. Shoot someone in the foot and the entire body explodes in a fountain of blood. When actually playing it is a lot less impressive, the enemies die without too much fuss. On the other hand, the inconsistencies are apparent, like when a mini-nuke just cuts off an enemies foot.

Is playing Fallout 3 with a controller a good experience? How will the interface be adapted to mouse/keyboard combination?
We are not big FPS aficionados, I had a lot of trouble controlling my character and aiming was really hard. VATS helped with this a lot, something I was not expecting. When confronted by a group of enemies, it seems like the most sensible solution. On the other hand, I was much better on the PC. The mouse/keyboard interface allowed for more accurate aiming. One can imagine that the RT aspect will resemble Quake 3 where the player strafes around his enemies; avoiding their shots while simultaneously emptying clips into them – totally negating the need for VATS. Like Oblivion, character skill along with line of sight plays a factor in determining to-hit success but the translation to FPS must be tempered with the next question:

If the PC version is exactly the same as the one tested for the Xbox 360) ; it is very likely that this is the case, will the interface be marred by this (interface, save/load, …)
Oh yes, I think that on the PC the interface will prove unwieldy. Bethesda has chosen to put all the menus inside the Pipboy affixed to your arm. If it is a question of immersion, the intention is commendable, ergonomically it’s an absolute disgrace: A stick to switch between 3 large menus (stats-item-data) the other to navigate within the window and all the sub menus. On top of that, the inventory is reduced to simple lists of names, a miniature picture of the item appears to the right for each item. Also, forget about the two quick items found at the bottom of your inventory (in the originals) as Turn-based is completely dispensed with. In this system, one is faced with equipping a single thing or weapon at a time.

With real time combat, Is the concept or use of Action Points ala “Turn Based” useful or even captivating?
Like I said on the 360, the VATS system is indispensable for survival. Often, melee enemies get within range very quickly and VATS allows the player to get out of tight situations. I did not feel it was over-powerful and I was often forced to close the gap to improve my chances of hitting the target. In addition, aiming for specific body parts will appeal to the jokers amongst us: Fire at a super-mutants weapon and it will fall from his grasp. Such accurate shots are difficult to reproduce in real-time mode. In practice, we find ourselves using all our APs to fire at an enemies chest not even trying for the head. APs recharge in real-time mode but don’t affect ones ability to access the inventory. It seems to me that AP could be used for so much more than aimed shots. It is a terrible blow for the tactics of combat that existed in the franchise previously.

Adaptive difficulty Yes or No (Level Scaling)
Big question. The Bethesda lot have assured us for months that level scaling; railed against by Elder Scrolls Fan; was out. Permit me to cast strong doubt on this. See: towards the end of my half hour, whilst wandering through Washington DC, I fell upon a group of three super mutants. One was equipped with a Gatling. I was level 3 and I was only equipped with light Raider armor. For weapons, I had a baseball bat and a basic 10mm pistol and an ammo-less laser piston. I switch to VATS and aim for the Gatling mutant in the hopes of making him drop his weapon. I miss and the other two mutants head straight for me. I grab my baseball bat and alternate between VATS and real-time whilst waiting for my AP to recharge. The first mutant is downed, I loot a bat with a nail in it and kill the second mutant in much the same fashion. During this some sort of mutant spider joins the fray and attacks me. I kill it with my bat. The third super mutant fell to a combination of grenade and 10mm pistol. I’m a half hour into the game, level 3 and I manage to take down three super mutants and some unidentified thing without much trouble and find myself in possession of a Gatling fun. All is good.[…]

Once again, it is not easy to get a fair idea of what Fallout 3 will be like on release. All in all, the development team has a pile a bugs of all types to fix. It is in all cases certain that this will not shine on technical merits, with empty interiors, outdated and badly used character models, “Rigor Mortis” animations..
Disassociated from the gameplay of the preceding Fallouts, Bethesda try to impose their view of an action RPG, in the same vein as Oblivion. It is impossible for me to guarantee that this will be a good fallout game, or even a good game at all…

A must read, there’s a lot more there.