Amazon.co.uk Missteps

From Planet Fallout:

Amazon.co.uk has been sending e-mails for the people that pre-ordered the Fallout 3 Special Edition with some bad news:

Dear Customer,

We wanted to give you an update on the status of your order #XXX-XXXXXXX-XXXXXXX. We are sorry to report that the release of the following item has been cancelled:

“Fallout 3 UK Collectors Edition (PC)”

This item has now been cancelled from your order and we can confirm that you have not been charged for it. Please accept our apologies for any disappointment or inconvenience caused.

If you took advantage of a promotional offer when placing this order, this cancellation may affect your order’s eligibility for that offer. If you discover this to be the case, please contact customer service so that we may investigate. You can send an e-mail to customer service from the following URL:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/502564/ref=cs_hd_cus_1

You can still pre order the game in all the stores in the UK that have the Collectors Edition. Bad Amazon.

Benchmarking Tool

For those of you still unsure as to whether or not you have machines capable of running Fallout 3.  YouGamers.com has integrated the released specs into their benchmarking tool.  It’ll install a small Java applet that will assess your system, compare it to the specs furnished by BethSoft and report back to you on whether or not your machine is up to snuff.  Give it a shot and then head on over to NewEgg to fill in the gaps where need be.

Fallout 3 Gold! It’s Official Now

Fallout 3 Special Edition, coming in October

Almost here

From the Official Site:

October 9, 2008 (Rockville, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company,  announced today that its highly anticipated title, Fallout® 3, has gone gold and will be available on store shelves and online in North America on October 28, in Europe and Australia on October 30, and in the UK on October 31. Developed at Bethesda Game Studios – creators of the 2006 Game of the Year,  The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®Fallout 3 is slated for release on the Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows.

Fallout 3 has been the biggest project we’ve ever undertaken,” said Todd Howard, game director for Fallout 3. “It’s been a long journey and we’re really happy with how it turned out. We can’t wait for everyone to get a chance to play it.”

Fallout 3 features one of the most realized game worlds ever created. Set more than 200 years following a nuclear war, you can create any kind of character you want and explore the open wastes of Washington, D.C however you choose. Every minute is a fight for survival as you encounter Super Mutants, Ghouls, Raiders, and other dangers of the Wasteland.

Fallout 3’s first review is featured as this month’s cover story in Official Xbox Magazine, hitting subscribers now and on newsstands October 21. Hailed as one of the most anticipated games for 2008, Fallout 3 has already won numerous awards including Best of Show from the official Game Critics Awards at E3 2008, a selection voted on by an independent group of journalists from 36 leading North American media outlets that cover the videogame industry.

Fallout® 3 has been rated Mature by the ESRB.

Fallout 3 Review From Sweden

Swedish PCGamer reviews Fallout 3, gives a 81% score, and Dupa got us some bits and pieces in English:

I just got the October issue of  swedish PC gamer and they have a review of the PC version of fallout 3.
In short:
score: 81%
Pros:
VATS
SPECIAL
Megaton at night
Cons:
A feeling of lifeless backdrops
Lifeless/stale Characters
To much on a too small area

Its Written by Joakim Bennet, who has proclaimed love for Fallout many times over the years he has been at PC gamer sweden.

Other short stuff(not quotes):
Vats is great, realtime combat isnt. The realtime combat (damage/hits etc) doesnt seem to be in sync with whats happening on the screen.
HtH combat in 3rd person is just as bad as in oblivion
Bennet misses the world map, random encunters, the empty wastes.
AI isn’t great. Enemies running in circles and no reaction from NPC that gets hot from a long distance is quite common.
You can pick up anything that isn’t bolted to the floor.
The SPECIAL system and Perks works great

He also writes about four important points and compare them to the originals:

Continue reading

GameStar.de Previews Fallout 3

From GameStar comes a a large article on Fallout 3, in German, here are some bits from a translation by Blintzler:

Our first step into the world of the 23rd century is on a hill. It’s warm and friendly; the wind rustles silently, mosquitos fly around our ears. All around us are the ruins of a civilization. The flat land stretches ahead and is littered with the black cubes of ruined apartment blocks and office buildings. Ripped farm houses overlook parched fields, bunches of tough yellow gras is the only visible vegation around, growing between the cracks in the road asphalt and around the burned remains of trees.[…]

Skelletal remains of power line poles run along the railroads lines. Highway bridges, once running high above the ground on pillars, now suddenly end in sheer drops. Their remains now serve as camps with burned out trucks as homes; from here, high above, they shoot down at the wild dogs and the hordes of double-headed brahmin, the mutated descendents of bovine ancestry who drinks from the radiative pools.Towards the horizon the mass of ruins starts to clump together, towards what was once a town and known as Washington, DC.[…]

In Megaton and other settlements we meet survivors, among them the disfigured ghouls. Everything we see – we can reach.That’s the beauty of the impressive view. But it has an ugly side, too, and it’s name is: Xbox 360 technology. Now console graphics doesn’t automatically mean it’s a bad thing, far from the truth – some games are more beautiful on the Xbox then they are on the PC. But the Microsoft Box has the disadvantage that most games forego AA to make the game run more smoothly – as does FO3.  Because the PC Version builds up 1:1 on the console version, this means: visible stair effects especially on distant objects and mesh-structures (such as high voltage power poles). In addition – textures, especially close-up, are foggy and unsharp.

Thanks Incognito and Blinzler.

And I hope you had a happy Birthday Incognito.

When Emil Speaks An Angel Gets Some Wings and a Beard

Emil Pagliarulo

Emil Pagliarulo

And Emil Pagliarulo decided to reply to an impromptu interview on the Bethesda Games Fallout 3 forum:

Can you target cars in VATS to explode?

Emil: No, you can’t. We actually experimented with that for a while, but found that the “battlefield” got so littered with “explodable” objects that you ended up having too many targets to cycle through, or the the camera would autozoom onto a car instead of the target you wanted, etc. So, like a lot of things, we started off that way, played the game and realized it didn’t work, and changed it.

Does stealing cost less -karma then murder?

Emil: Yes, definitely. I find that’s how I maintain my “Neutral” karma level with my current character (crazy Raider-looking girl named Fahrenheit) — I’ll generally be nice to people (which earns good karma), and then rip them off blind (which earns bad karma). If I were to go around murdering people, I’d jump pretty quickly down to “Evil.”

Can an evil character make a redeeming decision and become good and vice versa? (and it makes sense)

Emil:Yes! That became one of our big goals, actually — redemption. There are ways a completely good character can turn evil, but that’s easy — just go on a killing spree. But there are also ways for a completely evil character to turn good. You can complete quests in an obviously “good” way, donate money to a church, give purified water to a better, etc. etc. So yeah, we definitely support that.

I had one character who was totally evil. I blew up Megaton, went on a killing spree… and then Dogmeat taught me how to love. Role-playing FTW!

Every time Emil speaks on the forum there is much rejoicing in the Elves community and the Brotherhood groupies. Ausir isn’t very pleased with the last answer though. Thanks Incognito for the heads up.

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.

Howard in PAX MP3

Picture Joystiq

Picture Joystiq

Joystiq has an audio interview with Todd Howard:

In an interview with Bethesda executive producer Todd Howard we discussed Fallout 3’s lack of a MOD support and this generation of consoles. While Howard admits the team wants to add support for user generated content he confesses adding the feature — which was included in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion — is a daunting task for a team eager to complete the epic adventure.

Also check their puppet gallery.

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.

IGN Leipzig Fallout 3 Hands On

SuperMutants guarding the Police Station

From IGN, also with the PC version:

Outside the doctor’s quarters I ran into a man named Flash who was eager to brag about the amazing gun he was carrying. He also informed me that Big Town is constantly raided by Slavers and Super Mutants and that the former had just taken a few people hostage in German Town. I picked up the quest Big Trouble in Big Town when I offered to help out with the hostage crisis and had German Town added to my map.

Heading toward the waypoint I accessed my Pip Boy to get an overhead view of the terrain and see how long the walk would take. I only had to kill a few Raiders under a glowing moon before arriving at the German Town police station where I really got to put VATS to the test.

In my previous encounter I had dispatched of my enemies quickly without running out of the necessary action points required to queue up more attacks. The Super Mutants guarding the police station were a completely different story. I was able to land a few shots with my new rifle before one of the mutants barreled toward me to lay on some damaging blows. I had to change my grenade hot key to stimpacks and took to running away instead of charging forward. Unfortunately it was here that my time with the game ended, though I could’ve easily spent the rest of the afternoon entranced by Bethesda’s latest.

So far the only apparent differences between the two games, besides the controls are that the PC version is slightly superior in the graphics department. Both versions were running well and suffered from none of the hang-ups that usually bog down unfinished games. You can be sure we’ll have more on this game in coming months.

Gamersglobal Plays Fallout 3 PC

From Gamersglobal in Leipzig:

Now, at GC in Leipzig, we spent about an hour with the PC version of Fallout 3 (which is supposed to have the same gameplay) and could verify most of what Pete told us. V.A.T.S. no longer felt too mighty, and in fact, we were able to cripple the limbs of a super mutant without killing him, as it should be. Still, a successful V.A.T.S. shot can instantly kill an opponent if the damage to the limb brings his overall hitpoints to zero. For example, we shot 2 times at the left arm of a raider; the first shot hit and made him lose his weapon, the second shot crippled his arm, at the same time killing him. We are STILL not quite convinced about V.A.T.S., because our standard tactic was to try to get very near the opponents, who didn’t seem to hit us much better than over a greater distance, and than entering V.A.T.S.: With this tactic, the relative low range of our pistol or hunting rifle didn’t count, and we could hit our target with a to-hit probability of 80 to 95 % percent. The opponents, on the other hand, do not have V.A.T.S.[…]

Overall, we liked the PC interface better than the Xbox interface, for obvious reasons: You don’t need to scroll to get to a specific weapon in your PIPboy (which you acticvate by pressing TAB), you simply click on it. Most actions like V.A.T.S. are confirmed with “E”, which is also used for “use something”. There are specific graphical settings (sliders) for the distance actors (npcs), items, objects (whatever the difference is), grass, shadows, light, specularities fade. You can also chose the level-of-detail distance for objcts and trees. Of course, most buttons Fallout 3 uses on the console gamepads are mapped to the keyboard. For example, you can apply Stimpacks by pressing “2” or switch to the world map by pressing “F3”.

There’s more info there, and I’m sure I know the screenshot they use from somewhere 🙂

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.