This Interview with Obsidian Entertainment Chris Avellone first appeared in issue 120 of BGamer, a gaming magazine of reference in Portugal.
It was made by Ana C. Santos, to whom I would like to thank for the good will in allowing me to publish this.
I also would like to thank Chris for giving his yes nod to the publication, and special thanks to our friend ZiggyMeister for taking on his shoulders the task of getting all of this together.
It’s a treat for Video RPG games fans, hope you enjoy it, here’s a snip:
Fallout 2 and Planescape Torment are to this day considered cult classics. How does it feel to have people still discussing and asking you about games that you developed a decade ago?
It’s pretty gratifying. It was a labor of love for both titles above, and to still have people respond enthusiastically to both titles makes all the effort and long hours we put in worthwhile. When releasing a game, there’s always the subconscious thought that it’ll be forgotten in 2-3 months, but seeing the long-term feedback to Fallout 2 and Planescape: Torment has been rewarding to the teams on both titles.[…]
You have worked in some of the best RPG ever made. What, in your opinion, are the crucial elements for a good game of this genre?
Aside from the ability to advance your character, player choice (whether in character development or quest resolution) and world and character reactivity to these player’s choices is key.
Players want to build the character they envision, and then they want to push buttons in the world and see the world give them positive (or negative) feedback that is unique to their character – it makes them feel that they are having a direct impact on their environment based on their specific choices. In addition, the more specific you can make the reactivity to the player’s character creation choices (Fallout 1 and 2 did a fantastic job of this, in my opinion), the better. The more a stealth character is given consistent rewards and feedback on their chosen skills and using those skills to solve quests, for example, the more they feel their character choices and their character’s skills truly matter.
On today’s Community Corner interview I bring you Per Jorner, administrator on the No Mutants Allowed Fallout fansite, a Swedish adult male with an eye for detail and lots of devoted work for the games he fells in love.
Per is mostly known because of his famous guides, a set of work that is recognized all over the world as the most impressive resource documents for anyone wanting to play the classic Fallout RPGs (and the Wasteland guide is also worth of many praises). As an example of how thorough his work is I never check references on the Fallout bibles without crosschecking with what Per wrote, and usually in case of doubt go with his interpretation.
In the year a new Fallout game is set to be released I thought it would be interesting to know more on the thoughts of Per Jorner, click here to read it all.
What are your views on how SPECIAL will be implemented in this new game?
Well, like many others I’m concerned about the apparent shooterization we’re seeing. It fits right into the devolution of the “RPG” label that’s been going on for a while now. Of course we know that Van Buren would have updated SPECIAL too, but a thing such as keeping the term “Action Points” but tagging it onto something different in a radically altered play mechanic indicates a superficial view of “what is Fallout”. This doesn’t have to affect the presentation and application of non combat skills and character data and hopefully won’t.
I’ve added a Bartoneus on Fallout 3 article, compiling his replies to questions made at No Mutants Allowed and Fallout3: A post nuclear blog. My thanks go to Bartoneus from Critical-Hits, Killzig and Brother None. Here’s an excerpt:
Did anyone get specifics on the conditions? (broken legs, dehydration, radiation) More specifically, how the nuke catapult/launcher will impact your rad count?
No idea about broken legs/limbs with regards to the player, as to the enemies when a successful or critical shot hit the mutant’s leg it looked like it was injured/blown off and the mutant fell to the ground. With Radiation and Dehydration it was stated that the player will need to find sources of water, but no idea of time intervals or what necessitates your need for water. It was shown that when drinking water on the open ground a small amount of Radiation was gained, and that when water in an underground Metro toilet was used it had less radiation because it’s further underground/safer (but it’s also gross and brown). The mini-nuke weapon’s rounds left a small amount of lingering radiation and if fired at a target too close (as Todd did) you would gain Rad immediately.
I also added a piece by Morbus from megascore.biz, that might be interesting to understand the views of part of the Fallout fandom, here’s a small bit taken from it:
Fallout (the franchise) itself has different series. We have the main series, of course, with Fallout and Fallout 2, and then we have the BOS series, with FOBOS (and the now thankfully canceled FOBOS2) and the Tactics series, with Fallout Tactics and the now canceled Fallout Tactics 2. Three series inside one single franchise. What is it that makes them be of a single series? Setting, of course (even if not completely taken into account). What is it that makes them be of different series? You could say it’s their names (it wouldn’t be wrong), but we’re talking seriously here, so the correct answer is, of course, gameplay.
Thank you Morbus, more articles are coming in the next days.
Mr. Teatime, from DuckandCover, wrote a rather long but engaging article that was first featured in his Blog, with an important disclaimer:
DISCLAIMER: Before I start, I’d like to ask the more impressionable reader not to take this article completely seriously. There are some serious points in here, but it’s also meant to be reactionary, fun and in part playing devil’s advocate for the hell of it. Discussion is good.
A quote from the article:
I know what you’re thinking. Don’t credit yourself. A fanbase is disposable, especially if it’s not particularly large (though larger than you might think). Hell, Bethesda can make a new fanbase, a better and shinier one that supports cliffracer cameos in Vault 13’s living quarters. The Fallout community is old, it thinks its bark louder and its bite stronger than it really is, it’s about time someone brought out the shotgun and got all Ol’ Yeller on its ugly pock-faced ass.
Unfortunately, you’re wrong. Fallout 3’s success, measured both by sales and Bethesda’s subsequent reputation, hinges on the fans’ reaction to it. The reason is simple, and it’s to do with the core difference between the Elderscrolls, personified currently by Oblivion, and Fallout, personified since 1998 by its fanbase.
Oblivion is mainstream. Fallout is cult.
You can read the rest as a featured article on this blog, thanks Mr. Teatime, and you can digg it here
The first twenty four hours on the new Fallout 3 Forum at Bethsoft went as expected. Three or four guys from three years ago got to post some gross links and some bizarre posts, a douzen anti-Fallout fans tried to troll their way into a fight, the moderators got a bit confused on what to lock and who to warn, but nothing in a large scale. Things are going smoothly, in the midst of all the activity. Of course the next forty eight hours are critical for us to see if all of this will remain as it is.
There is something that people are forgetting though, the fact that all the topics get to be locked when they reach the two hundred posts mark, and all locked or non active topics get pruned after a month, so many posts are going into oblivion really soon. So if you want to participate you better backup your posts and those from others that you might find interesting.
In that spirit I bring you an article from Mr. Happy, that was posted first on the Fallout 3 Forum, on the subject of Turn Based Combat. It is worth to read it, and to be kept for posterity, when many others disappear.
So thanks Mr. Happy, other articles will follow soon.
While we know that Fallout 3 will be an M rated game, we still don’t know if all of the sensitive content from the previous games will appear. To illustrate the difficulties in the present political atmosphere of using children in a violent Role-Playing setting, we have a never before released interview with Timothy Cain, one of Fallout’s founding fathers, discussing his troubles in the days of the forced removal of children from Temple of Elemental Evil. The interview was conducted by PCGamer columnist Desslock that used some blurbs in his column. In Desslock words:
The interview was conducted right after TOEE was released (may even have been before it hit retail, as I got a gold copy before that for the review), and I used Tim’s answers for a related column that ran in PC Gamer at the time.
Tim had mentioned prior to the game’s release that content had been stripped out at the last minute, including kids, and so the column focused on the reasons behind that decision – influence of WoTC, Hasbro, etc. – and compared how things have changed since the old Ultima days (when Richard Garriott deliberately put you in situations where you would likely kill kids, etc.).
You can read more about these issues in his article in the latest PCGamer “Where Have the M-Rated RPGs Gone? The death of the Mature RPG is Bad News for the Genre”.
So head here for the full extent of the interview, I’ve left the material that isn’t related to the problem of mature themes and children in for accuracy reasons, I want to thank Desslock and give a warm salute to Tim Cain