X-Play Fallout 3 Special

If you’re like me, you probably can’t even find G4TV on your television dial and luckily for us the good people at G4 know this.  They’ve posted up their Fallout 3 X-Play special on the internets for all to see.  Included is some great footage of Rivet City and commentary from Todd, Pete, Istvan and my personal favorite Emil (do moar interviews, plz).

Gamasutra Interviews Todd

Gamasutra has posted an interview with Todd Howard.  While light on Fallout 3 details the interview does go into some of Todd’s view on game design:

As a game director — and it’s not like this is the first time you’ve done this — how do you even approach something like this? It seems like such a fairly monumental task, on two fronts: one, it’s just the issue of making a game this big, but you guys have done that before. But then there’s also the issue of inheriting that IP. Not that you’re doing it alone, but it seems like a pretty substantial undertaking. How do you approach that?

TH: The good thing with Fallout is that…  from a workflow standpoint — I mean how we go about what we do — it’s similar to what we do with Elder Scrolls, where it’s very big, and it’s an established world — whether or not  we’ve established it, or somebody else. The Elder Scrolls [world] is so big that no one person can remember it all, so when we think up stuff, we have to go research it. Like, “What did it say in this book in Daggerfall?” It’s so much stuff. So we go through the same work with Fallout.

And frankly, it was a very nice change of pace for us. We were really excited to do the project. So, I think we’re kind of used to doing it; I don’t know that there’s something specific I could point to, and go, “Here’s how we go about it.”

The one thing we do is we lay out the world. One of the first things we do is draw the map, and come up with the people and places. And the rest of it comes out of that. I mean, in Fallout, we knew we wanted to have vaults.

I usually come up with — this is bizarre — the first thing I always come up with is the beginning of the game, and the interface. I don’t know why. Like, how does it start, and what’s the interface. There’s no reason for that; it’s just what goes on.

And we knew we wanted to start in the vault, and play through. I’ve always been interested in games that just start, and you play them; the character generation is part of the game. An early influence is Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

Check out the full interview over yonder.

This newsbit pilfered mercilessly from Kharn.

Message in a Todd Bottle

Howard during his Mars hollidays

Howard during his Mars hollidays

For only the third time in four years Bethsoft Executive Producer and Fallout 3 Lead Todd Howard leaves a message on the Bethesda Games forum:

See, I read the forums too.

Thanks to everyone here that has supported us and our games over the years. I really enjoyed meeting so many of you at PAX, and I know Pete, Emil, Istvan, and Matt did as well. It was, by far, our favorite convention ever. We really do have the best fans in the world, and we take both the praise and criticism the way it’s intended – to help us make better games.

Maybe someday we’ll be popular enough to have a “Bethfest!” and you can meet the whole team of over 100 people that work on these games. I assure you, they’re some of the most dedicated and amazing people you’d ever meet.

In other news this blog will return for the regular news service next Wednesday or Thursday. I’ll still be available on Meebo or mail.

Team XBox Interviews Howard

Not Todd Howard

Not Todd Howard

Team XBox interviews Todd Howard:

What are you doing right now, just tweaks and bug fixes?

Todd Howard: Yeah, bug fixes. And making sure because we have the three platforms – 360, PS3 and PC – that, you know, it’s going to be consistent quality across the board. Because we might tweak one thing on one of the platforms, and it has to trickle through the other ones. So that’s kind of the stage we’re in; late play bugs, things like that. Because the game is so big, and there are so many ways to play it – at the end of the day, no matter how much time we put into it, you get it out there to millions of people and if somebody is gonna find something they will, and we’ve just got to keep it to something that is not that embarrassing.

At this point you’re sort of content complete, but you guys are pretty creative. Do you find yourself still having ideas and saying, “oh man, we should do this, but it’s sort of too late.”

Todd Howard: Yeah, we put those right now in our downloadable content stack, because you have to stop at some point to be able to handle the bugs that come up from long term play. So now they go in the stack of “what do we want to do with downloadable content?” Because we’re definitely going to be doing a bunch. And we’d like to put them in meatier packages than just doing a one-off. Like, “here’s a weapon and here’s a new enemy”. We want to put them in themed packages that gives the player four or five hours of something that feels tight.

E3 Hands On At TGR

Post Apoc town

Capitol City

Fallout 3 preview at The Games Reviews:

Perhaps the only thing better than actually playing Fallout 3 was watching everyone else do it. Looking at the ten or so consoles around the room, I was struck by how no two people were doing the same thing. One soul had headed straight for Megaton, found out some more of his character’s backstory, and immediately set off for the next objective. Another player was simply wandering the world blasting raiders and looking for loot. Still another soul had wandered to Megaton, shot the sheriff, and was now being pursued by an angry mob of citizens who were demanding his head. Hines took a particular joy watching this poor chap as he was chased across the map by gun toting and bottle wielding townsfolk. I suppose even in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, some people just don’t take kindly to folks who shoot the only existing authority figure in cold blood. Also, since the sheriff was a figure important to the story, Hines hinted that now the poor soul who slaughtered him would have to work that much harder to get the missions necessary to advance the plot.

Still, with a game this massive, engrossing, and fun, who needs objectives? You could just wander the wastelands, Dogmeat by my side, snapping pretend pictures of former DC landmarks. We can see the postcards now, “Greetings from the smoking hole that used to be the White House!”

The Middle Path

The MTV Multiplayer blog has an interview with Todd Howard:

Video games often discourage players from living interesting, unpredictable virtual lives. Play a game that allows you to be good or evil, violent or peaceful, and seldom will you find that a mixed approach is rewarded. Special powers are given to players who direct their character to behavioral extremes.

Morality-coded video games like “Fable” or “Knights of the Old Republic” encourage you to be a Luke Skywalker or an Emperor. They seldom dole out a specific reward if you choose the Han Solo path instead. But isn’t the morally mixed path the most interesting one? Isn’t it the most life-like? Or even the path most of us walk in real life, being nice to some people and not so nice to others?

This is what I confronted “Fallout 3” executive producer Todd Howard with in the middle of an interview about his team’s upcoming game: “Can we take a middle path, and will you, unlike most developers, reward us for it?”

You can read the interview here. Spotted on the BethBlog.

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.

Interview with Todd At Joystiq

You can listen to an interview with Todd Howard at Joystiq, a few points that are discussed:

  • Fallout 1 and 2 both contained a lot of humor… but will Fallout 3 have any? Yes. Although they won’t be breaking the fourth wall like the other games did.
  • What’s the exploding pants achievement? You can sneak up to unsuspecting mutants and drop a grenade in their pants. Why isn’t this in other games?
  • Interplay worked on this game for a long time, did Bethesda end up keeping anything? No. However, they did have a playable build of the original F3, which you can find here in all its bug-laden glory.
  • Interplay is developing the MMO, and Bethesda has approval over everything. It’s a strange reversal of licenses and fortunes.[…]
  • Will this game appease Oblivion fans? “If they’re mainly into swords and elves, I don’t think they’ll like it.”
  • When the Bethesda folks finish a game, they have a contest to see who can run through all the main quests in the fastest time. The winner gets a pie of their choosing. Can we instigate this policy at Joystiq?
  • They considered doing dual-wielding, but the trouble is that you have to then add two animations, one for each weapon. It might make an appearance in their next game.
  • Did they think about calling it something besides Fallout 3? Like, Fallout: Origins? They did, but Howard is “not a fan of that… I like Halo 1, Halo 2, Halo 3. It didn’t hurt Grand Theft Auto 3, did it?”

There’s more, head for Joystiq for the rest.