Timmy C on Fallout 3


Tim Cain is looking forward to his PipBoy 3000 digital clock. At least that’s what he’s telling Edge Online. He’s also very interested in the as-yet-unannounced-but-widely-known-about Fallout Online (or FOOL as we affectionately call it):

“I’ve hardly thought about [what I’d do different] with Fallout 3,” said Cain, “but I have thought about the online version. I’ve also talked to the guys at Interplay about Fallout Online.

“The biggest problem I have with expanding the game is that the original games were designed to make you feel like you were one of the last people left on Earth. And with Fallout 3 and the online version, I’m curious about how they’ll handle making the game not feel too crowded–making it feel like there’s not much life left out there after the war.”

It figures he would be more interested in Fallout Online, afterall the reason he’s back in the limelight is the recent announcement by Carbine Studios that Timmy will be the new design director.  (Good luck!)

It’s going to be really hard for me to continue ignoring MMOs with both ChrisT. and Timmy working on them.

Interplay Is Back

Project V13

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This is not particularly fresh news, but since Briosa has been busy lately (let’s hope he’ll get better soon), I thought it’s good to at least help with catching up with the most important of the recent events.

Interplay is not only back with a new website, but the company has announced that Chris Taylor, another member of the original Fallout team, has joined Jason Anderson as a member of IPLY’s new development team:

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, September 22, 2008 – Interplay Entertainment Corp. (OTC BB:IPLY) announced today the launch of an all-new web site at www.interplay.com.

The site, developed over the last several months, is designed to improve the company’s communication with customers, investors, and partners. The new site includes forums based on past and future Interplay games, a customer support section, detailed information on the company and its products, and much more.

The company also announced that Chris Taylor, a game designer who was a part of the original Fallout game development team at Interplay in 1994, has rejoined the company. Taylor will serve as Lead System Designer for “Project V13,” the working title of Interplay’s next generation Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) currently in development. Taylor joins other original Fallout team members on staff at Interplay’s internal game studio, which recently opened an office in Irvine, Calif. Additional development staff members continue to be hired as the project ramps-up.

Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what Project V13 is, given that Interplay has licensed the rights to a Fallout MMORPG after selling the franchise to Bethesda.

For a summary of available information and some speculation about the project, see the Project V13 FAQ at The Vault.

Games Radar Loves Fallout 2

I always thought that the story wasn’t the most important in the classic Fallout games, but Games Radar clearly disagrees, since they placed Fallout 2 in their best stories in videogames list:

Fallout 2 was unlike any other game before it in that aside from a few mandatory plot points, getting to the end of the game could literally be a different experience every time. Because of its open format there was a beginning, middle, and end but it was up to you to fill in the rest. Depending on how you created your character, the story could be a smooth talking con man who manipulates people to his own ends, a scientist who hacks into computers and builds robots to fight for him, or even a mentally deficient brute who’s too stupid to converse with anyone and just pounds his way through the wasteland. Such true player freedom had never been delivered like this, letting you push the story forward any way you wanted.

While the game’s main story involves your battle against the Enclave and other corrupt institutions, the history behind them and the wasteland at large are hidden all throughout the world, in abandoned computers and in the minds of survivors. This makes the story as deep, or as vague, as you want it to be. The way the Fallout 2 lets you discover the story on your own adds to its mystery, drawing the player into the game.

Ultimately Fallout 2’s story is the best ever because of its realism, freedom, and fantastic writing. While many games now have open worlds and plots, Fallout 2 manages to do both yet still maintain its doom-filled ambiance. All the side quests and plot tangents feel like they’re still part of a whole, and not just tacked on to bump up the play time. When the bombs finally drop and the world is reduced to nothing but ash and marauding mutants don’t be surprised if it looks a lot like Fallout 2.

Getting Back, Misc. Edition

Jeff Green

After these images were posted 117.308 people visited this blog. Wow.

Games For Windows is no more. All the best for Jeff Green and the crew in their new endeavor and all the luck for the artists that were laid off.

Word in the street is that the embargo on pics and info about Fallout 3 is almost over, a lot of stuff will show up online soon.

Interplay teases about their new site coming really soon. Ok then.

Both my computers were infected, I lost gigs of data. Some things I’ve been able to recover, others seem to be lost forever. My e-mail contacts seem to be in this last category, so if you know me send a mail so I can create a new list, please.

Interplay: No Assurances

A new SEC filling from Interplay, with a rather curious take on the present state of the company:

We have sold “Fallout” to a third party and have obtained a license back which could allow us to create, develop and exploit a “Fallout” Massively Multiplayer Online Game . We are planning to exploit the license back of “Fallout” MMOG. The Company continues to seek external sources of funding, including but not limited to, incurring debt, the selling of assets or securities, licensing of certain product rights in selected territories, selected distribution agreements, and/or other strategic transactions sufficient to provide short-term funding, and achieve our long-term strategic objectives.

Our business and industry has certain risks and uncertainties. During 2007, we sold an asset and we started design work of a MMOG. There can be no assurance we can successfully develop a “Fallout” MMOG.

Oh yes, no assurance indeed:

As of December 31, 2007, our cash balance was approximately $1.1 million and our working capital deficit totaled approximately $2.3 million. We have some significant creditors that comprise a substantial proportion of outstanding obligations that we might not be able to satisfy. There is a balance owing to
Atari Interactive, Inc. (“Atari”) of approximately $1 million, and we may be unable to satisfy this debt which became due on March 31, 2008.[…]

We are planning to exploit our license back of “Fallout” MMOG and are reviewing the avenues for securing financing of at least $30 million to fund its production but no assurance can be made that we will be able to do so, and our license back may as a result be terminated.

They also talk about making MDK, Earthworm Jim, Dark Alliance and Descent games, on their new facilities in Beverly Hills, that they now have a development crew ( with Jason Anderson) and more people working for them in France.

But no assurances about anything, this is Interplay…

Spotted at NMA, more news about Interplay soon.

Interplay Sold?

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Apparently 56% of the shares of Interplay were sold, giving control to a Luxembourgian company:

On March 21, 2008 the Chief Executive Officer and Interim Chief Financial Officer, Herve Caen, received a letter providing written notice of there having been a change in control of the registrant. According to such letter, Financial Planning and Development S.A., a Luxembourg company (“FPD”), acquired the holding of approximately 58 million shares of common stock of the registrant, representing approximately 56% of the outstanding shares of capital stock of the registrant, previously held by Titus Interactive S.A. (in bankruptcy) (“Titus”) on April 30, 2007 in a private sale by the bankruptcy trustee of Titus.

The amount of the consideration paid for such holding by FPD is not known to the registrant. The source of the funds used for the acquisition is not known to the registrant. There were and are no arrangements or understandings with respect to election of directors or other matters of the registrant, known to the registrant. There are no arrangements, known to the registrant, including any pledge by any person of securities of the registrant or any parent, the operation of which may at a subsequent date result in a change in control of the registrant.

Besides this 8-K there’s also a 10-K/A that was sent yesterday.

I’ll continue to check NMA on developments of this deal, meanwhile here’s the Interplay Fallout Online MMORPG presentation detailing Interplay’s plans for the future.

The OC: Interplay Wants You

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From Gamasutra:

A veteran of the electronic entertainment industry, Interplay is returning to the development arena to create a next generation MMORPG. The rebirth of Interplay’s studio presents qualified individuals with the unique opportunity to enter development at the ground floor.

So they are looking for a Technical Director:

Interplay Entertainment is looking for a qualified, motivated Technical Director to join our team working on a next generation MMORPG. We are looking for a team player who can accurately anticipate the project’s needs; someone who can constructively contribute to the quality of the game as a whole and share in its vision; someone who is an accomplished manager, serving the needs of all of the Lead Programmers.[…]

Requirements:
• Exhibit enthusiasm, positive attitude, and charisma. Must be a proven leader.
• 3+ years of management experience in the game industry with at least one shipped title as a manager.
• 6+ years of programming experience.
• Working knowledge of the various aspects of game development.
• B.S. in Computer Science or equivalent.
• Detail-oriented and driven by results.
• Excellent problem solving skills.
• Outstanding coding and debugging skills.
• Strong oral and written communication skills.
• The ability to motivate and inspire those around them.

Wouldn’t Hurt to Have:
• Previous MMORPG experience.
• Familiarity with the Fallout universe.

To Apply:
If you meet the listed requirements and want to be part of a great team offering a bright future then we want to hear from you!

Please submit the following directly to: jobsmail@interplay.com

Please include…
• Cover letter stating your availability.
• Current CV / Resume

On the announcement they state that they are moving from Herve Caens house on Beverlly Hills into a proper place in Orange County. I’m still puzzled with this situation…

You can read the entire message here, thanks go for NMA for spotting this.

ChrisT Talks

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Original Mr.Handy sketch-Chris Taylor/Interplay

Yesterday we read some some replies from Dan Ross, Gary”VXSS” Noonan and Ricardo “200x” Gonzalez on questions regarding Fallout, and so did Chris “anarchy” Taylor, Lead Designer on Fallout 1, creator of my favorite game manual and Senior Designer on Fallout: Tactics, that shared some thoughts on what he read at NMA:

Two comments on the interview:

1. Interface & Hotkeys
I’ve been playing FO again and there are definitely areas of the interface I would re-design using the experience I’ve gained over the years. Skill use and Inventory are _way_ up there. Bummer the guy didn’t find the hotkeys, it makes the game so much more enjoyable to play.

2. Weapons
The gun choices in FO1 were 90% mine. I felt that weapon technology would have developed differently in the Fallout universe after the split with our timeline, so I tried to make less of the weapons “real-world”. The two exceptions (that I can remember) are the Desert Eagle .44 and the 9mm Mauser. The DE was my favorite gun at the time and I had to include it. The 9mm Mauser is an older weapon that I think has a very cool, unique look to it.

Others, like the .223 and the 10mm guns, were based on real-world weapons. (There are guys out there that make pistols that shoot rifle cartridges, like the .223. I applaud their insanity. ^_^)

The 14mm is pure speculation.

And the energy weapons are just plain out fantasy.

My only regret is not including a Colt .45. It fits in the same category as the Mauser. I think it was a question of trying to keep the number of ammo types down.

Nowadays, it’s a more interesting question of what weapons to include because more manufacturers pay attention to how their products are used in computer and video games. You might (erm, probably) have to get permission from Glock, for example, to use their likenesses and marks in a game.

-Chris

Heard that Dan? Use the hotkeys man, much better that way. By the way Chris rocks!

Future Past

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Hooked Gamers has a recap on the info we’ve heard so far regarding Fallout 3 (spotted at NMA):

The story of Fallout 3 is not directly connected to the previous Fallout titles. Building from the history and lore of the Fallout world, the game will provide a whole new story, art direction and gameplay. Todd Howard, Executive Producer of the project, has stressed that ‘reinvention’ is a key point in the development of Fallout 3. This is not to say that history and lore will be ignored, but the game play itself will be redefined into a whole new playing experience to separate it from previous titles.
General gameplay aspects are expected to be epic and will reflect Fallout 1 in many respects. One can expect to see high levels of violence and destruction through the Capital Waste. A headshot won’t simply be a shot in the head. It will be a head obliteration. Disintegration, Jellification, Incineration, all manner of gruesome and extremely painful ways to kill or be killed with threaten every step through the massive environment of the ruined DC. Using an evolved version of the same engine used in Oblivion, Fallout 3 is easily the prettiest post-apocalyptic Washington DC any of us have had the pleasure of seeing, let alone run around in.

Now onto the previous Fallout games, if you know Polish than head to Gram.pl, the CDprojekt portal, where you can see the second part of a Fallout history article (with some screw ups on captions). The first part can be found here, thanks for the tip Ausir.

FOOL Wiki

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Ausir of the Fallout 3 FAQ at The Vault and Fallout wikia fame, now has started a new FAQ on Fallout Online, the surprising new project of Interplay:

What is Fallout Online?

Fallout Online is a working title for a possible futuristic post-apocalyptic Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game set in the Fallout world, an alternate universe based on 50s sci-fi pulp fiction, as if the world had stopped in the optimistic 50s and found itself on a dystopian post-apocalyptic reality. It will be a spin-off of the Fallout series, which includes Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout 3.

Is Fallout Online the official title?

No. Since no title has been officially announced, the name Fallout Online (or FOOL) is used by Fallout fans to refer to the possible future Fallout MMO. The official title will be known after the game is announced.

Is Fallout Online really in development?

The game has not been announced yet, however, Interplay has licensed the rights to a Fallout MMORPG from Bethesda and hired Jason Anderson, one of the creators of Fallout, to work on an unannounced MMORPG project, and since Interplay is working on only one project, the project being Fallout Online is a pretty safe bet.

Ausir is tireless and relentless. Salute.

Defining Fallout

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GamerHelp has a new feature with 18 games that define their genres. On the RPG genre we have Fallout:

Yes, we know hardcore PC RPG nuts will no doubt lament the choice of Fallout over other notable titles like Oblivion and old school fare like Ultima and Wizardry but a great PC RPG title should provide a large and compelling world to explore, a cast of interesting and varied people to interact with, the chance to really step into the shoes of your character–you know, to “role-play”–and a varied and interesting set of tasks with an overarching narrative that propels you constantly towards a satisfying conclusion. These are things that the original Fallout accomplished in all ways and it still stands as a shining example of a PC RPG title done right.

Honorable Mention: Planescape: Torment; Oblivion
Worthy Heir: Fallout 3

Spotted at the BethBlog.

Chris, Ron and the Bladder

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Now that Ron Perlman is again on board doing the narration for the intro for Fallout 3, it’s a good time to remember his past experiences when working for Interplay, in the colorful tone of Chris Avellone:

He does a few takes, getting madder each time, until he finally says, “Who is this Chris Avellone guy?”

At this point, I realize that because I am a formatting nazi, I have put my name at the top of each page of the script in case the audio director had any questions.

As this sinks in, Ron exclaims. “I want him dead. I want his family dead. I want his dog dead.”

BTW, I don’t have a dog, but if I did, it would most likely have been peeing on the floor like I was doing.
He calmed down, though, and I continued to empty my bladder in the floor of Fred Hatch’s office.[…]

So our audio director turns to me, and asks me to describe the “character” that Ron’s playing this session, which for Heart of Winter is a dragon (which is fine) who has taken the form of a barbarian (which is fine), except that the dragon’s a woman, and before I can edit myself, the words “oh, you’ll be playing a transvestite dragon” comes out of my mouth, and I feel my bladder bracing itself again.

A hug to Chris, his imaginary dog and his very productive bladder.

Fallout Memories

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Well being a somewhat distant spectator of the development of Fallout 3, leaving notes for other people to explore and trying to understand their reactions is a fine hobby, but there are times when the fan in me just comes out in a burst.

RPGVault’s Fallout Memories provided one of those moments. In Jonric’s words:

We’re very, very happy that Fallout came along 10 years ago to play a major role in returning the RPG genre to prominence, and also that we were able to celebrate its anniversary in such an interesting, personal way. We thank Scott Bennie, Dan Spitzley, Chris Avellone (who also did his own cartoons), John Deiley, Chris Taylor, and Scott Everts for finding the time to reflect on their respective experiences while working on the property, and to share some of them with us in this special feature.

And some great experiences they were! A few snippets:

Scott Benie: I never worked on a team that gelled as well as the one I worked with on Fallout, and I’ve worked with some incredibly talented and creative people. When I look at modern RPGs, I can see echoes of Fallout in their plots, and that makes me very, very happy.

Dan Spitzley: As for Van Buren, I was one of the primary gameplay programmers, and I spent most of my time converting code we had written for the canceled Baldur’s Gate 3 to be relevant for a Fallout game. I was only on that project for a few months before I left for Obsidian. It was becoming clearer that Black Isle wasn’t going to be around for much longer. It was very disappointing when the end came, especially since the final playable demo showed pretty clearly how great the game could have been.

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Chris Avellone: I’m going to list off a number of my memories as something a stream of consciousness – starting with reluctantly having to say “no” to Tim Cain’s offer to work on Fallout as an area designer so I could instead have nails driven into my skull with Descent to Undermountain…

Writing up the design vision document for Van Buren and feeling that same singing sensation I did after writing the Torment vision doc and feeling it click…

Offering to pay Chris Jones for his time to work on the editor out of my own pocket…

John Deiley: Well, as I said, we had less than two weeks left to go and… it just happened. The game suddenly came together due to the massive teamwork that we all put into it. To this day, I marvel at the fact that we pulled it off. And I have no idea how we managed to do it!

Chris Taylor: Fallout wasn’t the first choice for the title. I’d guess most hardcore fans would know it was originally was going to be Vault-13. Unfortunately, as nifty keen as V13 is, it had to be changed since it didn’t communicate the genre very well; in full, it was Vault-13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game, which was rather unwieldy for everyday conversation.

The team proposed a bunch of names. We settled on Armageddon for a brief time, but found out another Interplay project was going to use that, so had to switch again. Fallout was team’s favorite among the remainder. The other Armageddon was canceled shortly thereafter, but since we had already announced Fallout, it was too late to change back.

Scott Everts: Fallout 1 was an amazing project, mostly because we didn’t know what we had. The company considered it a B-grade game, so they pretty much left us alone. We made a game we all wanted to play, and everything just came together. I created all the game maps, some layouts sketched on napkins! I don’t think we realized how well it turned out until the last few months when others started playing it. These days, with budgets so large, it’s hard to do a game that experimental.

Fallout 2 was grueling. It had to be out by the following Christmas, and be 50 percent larger. What made it all worthwhile was the Fallout 2 Fan Party we had at Triangle Square in Orange County. It was the first time I got a taste of what it’s like being a rock star! The area was full of diehard Fallout fans, many dressed in costume. We had a band and signed copies while mingling with fans and press. Wow!

There’s a lot more in the article, like the importance of Sasha, the Rocket Launcher that fired puppies or Chris Avellone’s inspired cartoons.

Fallout MMO and a Surprise

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Surprise surprise:

As we are working to secure funding for the development of a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) based on the popular Fallout franchise,” he continued, “we are at the same time exploring ways to leverage our impressive portfolio of gaming properties through sequels and various development and publishing arrangements.” Caen offered no further details on just what arrangements were being considered.

In a release, Interplay announced, though, that with the reopening of its in-house studio, it has hired former Fallout designer Jason Anderson, who previously left development of Fallout 2 to form Troika Games, as creative director.

I saw this at Gamasutra, Next Gen and RPGCodex and my jaw dropped every time.

Still hugs to Jason.