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.

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.

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…

Hines on Pacifism and SPECIAL

I’ve been a bit busy in the last few days, and somehow forgot to post about Guardian games blog posting the second part of an interview with Pete Hines based on questions from fans:

Will weapons require a minimum Strength? Or only a minimum in its governing attribute? (Perception = Energy, Endurance = Big, Agility = Small).

Weapons do not check for minimum stat values, you can use any weapon you want, the skill/stat just makes you better or worse with the weapon.

How will Attributes be weighted in regards to the Skills they govern? If you want to max out your Big Guns or Speech skills, but don’t spend the SPECIAL pts bumping up Endurance and Charisma, how effective will those skills be? Would a 100% skill level in Speech be ineffective if you only had a Charisma of 4, etc?

They provide a boost or bonus to the skills they govern. I don’t think we’ll get more specific than that as far as exactly how they integrate with Skills. If you put extra points into a SPECIAL, it’ll help those Skills beyond what level they’re currently at. If you spend all your time leveling up a Skill to a very high level, it’s safe to say you’ll be very effective at using those skills outside of what the governing SPECIAL is.[…]

In Fallout 1, there were only three key locations that you needed to visit to complete the game – The Cathedral, Military Base and Necropolis (the last one being optional, actually) . These places could be done in any order, creating Fallout’s exceptional nonlinearity. Is Fallout 3’s main quest structured in similar fashion?

Hmm, parts of it are, parts of it aren’t. There are several large sections of the main quest that you can actually skip if you do things right.

Specific body parts cannot be targeted when fighting with melee weapons or in hand to hand combat. What is the reason behind this decision? Does melee/HtH fighting offer something else to compensate?

We tried many ways of doing melee with VATS, and having messed a lot with “missing” in melee, it just felt really bad. So once we changed VATS melee to “always hit”, assuming you are in range, the body part selection became a bit unbalancing, so now it’s a “whole body attack”, but you still do end up hitting a specific body part when you swing, but it’s based on what you actually contact with, as opposed to what you aim at. This avoids the “always punch in the head” problem, whereas with guns, we can balance out certain body parts with hit percentages, like the head.

Charisma influenced the speech skill, NPC’s responses and how many followers you could have. Since Fallout 3 allows only two followers, has Charisma’s role expanded to some other region?

Even though you have only one follower, having a higher Charisma definitely helps in Speech challenges and successfully using special dialog options you have when talking to folks. Also it’s very helpful in bartering with people.

Can you tag Medicine, Repair and Barter, and focusing on those skills, still be able to complete the game?

Sure. We recently had someone play through the game and finish it while only killing one thing very early in the game…a Radroach. I’m not saying I recommend everyone run out and try to play the game as a pacifist, but if you want to give it a try, it has been done.

If you want to know more about the inyards of the game, or want to understand a bit more about the changes in this game when compared to the classic fallout RPGs than this interview is mandatory reading.

Spotted at NMA.

Fallout 3 Welt

Image GamersGlobal

Image GamersGlobal

GamersGlobal already had a Fallout 3 preview, now they added a small interview with Pete Hines:

In our Fallout 3 preview from E3 we have criticized Fallout 3 for feeling too easy in our test session. We’ve asked Pete Hines from Bethesda for some clarifications (by e-mail), and here are his answers:

1. Was the E3 version “simplified”, e.g. by making the hero’s character more powerful than he would be in the finished game at that early stage? Or was every V.A.T.S. hit in the E3 version a critical hit?

Pete Hines: It was simplified in terms of giving you the highest stats for the weapons you start off with. Every VATS hit in the E3 version was not a critical hit. Far from it. It’s random, so some folks may see more or less of it when they play for any period of time.

2. Will V.A.T.S. head shots be always fatal, if they hit?

Pete Hines: No. there is an amount of damage it will do to the limb, and an amount it does to the enemy’s overall health. In the easier creatures you would have faced early on, they don’t have much health so they die easier. As you explore out and fight tougher creatures, you find that you can cripple one or more body parts before you can kill the enemy.

You can read the rest here. Still in Germany there are two new previews, one from Krawall Gaming Network and another from OnlineWelten.

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 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.

And Yet More Awards

Jeff Green

Jeff Green

Fallout 3 won the GameDaily’s Best of E3 award:

Going into E3, this was one of our most anticipated games of 2008. Leaving E3, it’s now at the top of the list. Fallout 3 is in the very capable hands of Bethesda Softworks, the team behind The Elder Scrolls series, and the ways the developers have evolved the Oblivion engine and mechanics are nothing short of spectacular. From the gorgeous environments and countless side missions to the deep character customization, Fallout 3 looks to build on everything you loved about Oblivion and take the experience to the next sci-fi level.[…]

* Pros:
o No other game combines this level of RPG depth with an engine this refined or gameplay this diverse
o The attention to immersive environmental detail that gamers loved about BioShock is cranked to 11

* Cons:
o 30 minutes is far too short a time to truly grasp a game this deep, even if it did whet our appetites in a big way
o Will the game rely too heavily on turn-based targeting, or can Bethesda balance the more action-oriented “run and gun” gameplay to make that option more feasible?

The game also won the Best RPG at E3 award at 1Up:

Fallout 3 grabbed our attention immediately with its breathtaking vista across a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. It won us over when we picked up the controls and found we could choose at will between run-and-gun, and carefully planned tactical combat, yet neither felt unbalanced. Maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder after all.

Also at 1Up Jeff Green placed the game in his list of best games at E3:

There’s not a lot I can add to the boatloads of coverage this game has been getting, other than to say that my gameplay experience put my mind somewhat at rest as to how the turn-based combat was going to play out in this game. Before this, I appreciated, in theory, the ambition that Bethesda had to translate Fallout 1 and 2’s combat system to a first-person, real-time game, but I couldn’t imagine how they’d do it.

But my play time confirmed that they are approximating it quite well indeed (or at least as well as ½ an hour can do)…and I suspect that those who think they’re going to run-and-gun through this game will think twice once they get their hands on it too. Oh, and the game is looking great. Complain however much you want about anything else—but Bethesda’s art team has got the look of this game down cold.

Fallout 3: E3 Awards and Opinions

IGN gave Fallout 3 his Best of E3 Award:

While I knew that Bethesda could deliver in terms of story and convincing world creation, the big unknown for me has always been the actual gameplay. Fortunately, I got to play through a good bit of the game at the show and I was really impressed with the overall feel of the game. I was particularly happy to see how well the turn-based VATS combat worked. I was worried that the pause and play nature of the system would interrupt the flow of the game, but it really only served to make the game feel more tactical and heighten its cinematic appeal.

— Steve Butts, Executive Editor, IGN PC Team

It’s either pause and play or TB, Steve. You can’t have it both ways. And it’s actually “a glorified aimed-shot mode”.

Fallout 3 continues to impress with an engrossing story, great visuals, and a compelling mix of gameplay styles. It is predominantly a Western role-playing game similar to Oblivion (with guns). But you could choose to play it like a run-and-gun first-person shooter, if that’s more your style. V.A.T.S., the Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System, adds turn-based strategy elements. However you slice it, Fallout 3 looks like it will deliver one of the largest adventures in gaming this year. The post-apocalyptic world Bethesda has created is an intriguing dystopia we can’t wait to explore. There were several standout games at this year’s show. But none of them seem to offer the freedom and unique vision of Fallout 3.

— Daemon Hatfield, Associate Editor, IGN Nintendo Team

Nintendo? Anyway that Oblivion with Guns talk isn’t good news, but for Bethsoft the fact that they also won Best RPG, Best XBox Game and Best PS3 game and a few other runner up citations is good news.

Still at E3 the Bethblog brings us some other awards:

In other online coverage, Fallout 3 has pulled down a few more E3 awards. Here’s a rundown:

  • GameSpy honored Fallout 3 as the Xbox 360 and PS3 Game of Show. The game was also was named the Game of Show Overall Runner-Up.
  • GamePro has their awards up, where they awarded the game with a E3 2008 Silver Award.
  • Planet Xbox 360 awarded the game their Best of Show honor.
  • GameDaily listed the game among their Best of Xbox 360 here.
  • At Gamezone, there’s a Top Ten Games of E3 list where Fallout 3 makes the list at the #2 spot.
  • Scrawlfx declares Fallout 3 their Game of Show.

Also Fallout 3 is referred in this article about the problems of the event itself at Gamezone:

There was no enthusiasm, no energy that should be associated with the vibrant industry that brings imagination to life. This year’s show was dull to the point of boring. Yes, there were still good games to see, but altering the format, visiting their studios on media tours would have accomplished the same thing, only with deeper experiences with the games. The studio visits are more advantageous because instead of getting 25-30 minutes with a superb title like Fallout 3 in the Bethesda booth, a visit to the studios would likely mean more hands-on time, access to developers … in short, the kind of visit that means robust coverage, giving players and consumers not only a sense of the game itself, but also allowing for interview time with key developers.

All through E3 was happening I was at the beach relaxing. I’m still trying to catch up on things.

Fallout 3: The Mother Of All Interviews

Very interesting and detailed interview with Todd Howard and Emil Pagliarulo at GamesRadar/PCGamer, it’s filled with spoilers though:

PCG: Do you have a rule for a bare-minimum number of ways to solve a quest?
Todd: No, we just do whatever comes naturally. We made a list initially showing the paths, so that we weren’t doing an overabundance of stealth paths versus other skills so that there was a good matrix, but if something fit in one we did it, and if it didn’t fit…
Emil: But as the game grew, just like we ended up making the game bigger, putting more stuff in, I think the quests themselves started to expand. We realized during playthroughs, you know what, there’s no talking path through this quest, or there’s no stealth path, so we went back and added that in. There are fewer quests and fewer NPCs, but probably just as much dialogue as Oblivion, just in all the variations.
Todd: It’s like when you were doing the bomb quest, and you were asking “Can I do this this way?” And so through testing we asked the same things, like “What if I kill Lucas Sims?” And ok, you have to go to the son. That kind of stuff.
Emil: We wanted to cover as many of those bases as we could.

PCG: So you tried to make it so that even if you take a few people out of the equation, the quest is still solvable?
Todd: As much as possible. It’s not always the case. You might kill someone and it will tell you “You can’t finish this quest anymore, this person has died.” Pretty much 99.9 percent of people in the game can be killed.
Emil: Yeah, even the quest-givers. They give you a quest, you blow their head off, that’s your decision. It’s simply more fun for the player where you might close off branches of the quest, but other branches are still open.
Todd: And the other answer to that question is that we don’t want players to have the expectation that they’ll be able to do every quest any style. Pretty much, Super-Duper Mart, there’s no way to talk your way through that. We get the question a lot, “Is there a non-violent path through the whole game?” No. I mean, you might be able to, I guess, but it’s not a goal.
Emil: I guess technically, because there’s a Stealth Boy, and because there’s a Protectron [security robot] in the back room of that Super-Duper Mart, if you could sneak in there and hack that computer, you could activate that Protectron, he’ll go and he’ll kick the s*** out of all of those raiders.
Todd: There are probably too many for him to kill every single one of them.
Emil: But enough to whittle them down so that science-boy could definitely get through there.

Another must read piece by Dan Stapleton.

Fallout Sensibilities and Mannerisms At PCZone

PCZone Will Porter

There are still Fallout 3 at E3 previews showing up, you can find a new list at NMA, instead I’ll just point out to this article at CVG/PCZone, that I’ve talked about before, now you can read it in full:

Is Fallout 3 Oblivion with guns? No, not really. While it’s true that when you enter houses and watch people go about their business it instantly smacks of the last rendition of The Elder Scrolls, it seems that the old Fallout sensibilities and mannerisms are here as foundation not lip gloss.

Character S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats (luck, perception, etc) return as the base numbers for your character, for example. These can be boosted and drained by the full host of addictive stimulants present in the first games, such as strength-harbouring Buffout, the more traditional narcotic of Jet (the factory for which was technically destroyed in the earlier games, if I’m pedantic), intelligence-boosting Mentats and rage-infusing Psycho.

On top of these lie your skills (the numbers you can raise each time you level up, making you better at bartering, small guns, medicine, repair and the like), three of which you can specialise in and gain double the advance when it’s gratz-time.

While we’re on levelling, it’s important to underline that Fallout does address one of Oblivion’s biggest foibles: the fact that as you levelled up, the entire world levelled up with you.

In the wasteland, as in the original Fallout games, the further you stray the more dangerous things get – as I discovered during my lonesome trudge into the glorious north-east and was increasingly battered by the mole rats, bloatflies and Raider bases I came across.

However, enemies that lie along the plotline will be levelled to match you so that the difficulty curve is kept to Bethesda’s heel.

Whereas Oblivion hid away many of its stats, or at least let you batter away in mindless ignorance, in Fallout Bethesda have pulled the link between player experience and player statistics closer to Black Isle’s model.

As in the original games, your skill specialisations not only give you options in conversation (my medical bent would later lead a doctor to confide a patient’s medical history to me, for example), or show themselves concretely in percentage strike-probabilities during V.A.T.S. combat, but are integral to your performance – such as when I disarmed the century-old nuclear device threatening the town of Megaton, having guzzled Mentats to make me extra brainy.

Having played the game for only five hours, and with many of the hang-ups people had with Oblivion only becoming apparent after 50, I can’t be definitive about this – but in terms of building a modern game on the systems of one that’s now 10 years old, it’s hard to think of how Fallout 3 could have been tied closer to what has gone before.

A must read.