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News for Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 18:33

For those of you who perhaps want more recognition from game critics or proof that Fallout is indeed wonderful from people other than yourself IGN's recent "Top 100 Games List for 2007" mentions Fallout as number 33 right after Deus Ex and just before Halo.

The list itself is worth perusing as there are plenty more great games listed many quite old and obscure. Many of you may be surprised to see Planescape Torment there as number 71 also a Black Isle production.

If you have friends that refuse to play PC RPG's, but love console this list would be a great way to expose them to Fallout by pointing out the good console RPG's on the list right alongside good PC RPG's.

Link: Spot #33 of the IGN top 100: Fallout.

The Vault Dweller

Posted by Brother None - at 16:33

Quite a while ago, held a big interview with Intoxicate, developers of Afterfall. It was supposed to be translated right quick, but instead it took quite a while. Nonetheless, the Afterfall official site finally has the full translation for you.

Klecha ( How would you briefly describe Afterfall: Prelude and Afterfall to those, who are yet unfamiliar with your projects?

Koloska (Intoxicate Interactive):
Unlike Afterfall, AF: Prelude is going to be a short cRPG, for a few hours of play. The idea for its creation came up when we were considering the question of a demo. The Prelude will be out before the unveiling of Afterfall, instead of a demo, and will introduce the players to the world we have created, as well as reveal some aspects of the game. The Prelude’s plot, the story of two looters exploring some ruins untouched since the atomic war, is going to be connected with the events of the proper game.

Klecha ( The plot of Afterfall is about…

Koloska (Intoxicate Interactive):
…the fate of a human who is suddenly stranded in an extremely hostile world. He can depend solely upon himself, and the world around him for some reason will not stop harassing him. The plot of Afterfall tells also of humanity and of being stripped of it, of survival, of mutilation, and of the strive for perfection. It is about ambition which requires the sacrifice of many lives to fulfill. It is about people and societies put in extremely hard conditions, about how those conditions changed them, and continue to change and re-shape their children.
Klecha ( How are we going to conduct fighting? What opponents are going to stand in our way and what will they be capable of?

Koloska (Intoxicate Interactive):
Fighting will be facilitated by the mechanisms of dynamic turn-based combat. Only a turn-based system allows for the use of as wide a range of possibilities as the one our combat affords. Gamers have expressed their concern about this element from the beginning – today turn-based games are associated by many of us with a want of dynamics and action, or with games tending towards oldschool or radically niche. We have the ambition to show to the players that this solution has been undeservedly abandoned. In Afterfall you will see many revolutionary ideas, the implementation of which would have been impossible in real-time – ironically, due to interface limitations. Combat in Afterfall, in spite of being turn-based, is going to be full of dodging, seeking cover, counter-attacking and evading. The ballistics simulator will make you want to duck, seeing bullets hit right next to your character’s head. Increased muscle mass, resulting from mutation, will allow throwing your opponents against walls. An assassin appearing behind and struggling with the character, or an enemy opening fire through a wooden wall because he heard you, can give you quite a scare. Combat is also influenced by the equipment you use. Apart from classic weapons there are numerous home-made devices such as catapults, customized nailers, spring-powered launchers, or bearing-ball shooters. There are grenades, including smoke, gas and flash, heavy powered armor, and even vehicles, which also function in turns. The opponents you are going to encounter will often surprise you with their skill at coordinating their actions, seeking good positions, setting traps, and often… with a complete lack of combat skills. In the end, a trained soldier is a rarity in a post-nuclear world. Often you will see an opponent fleeing in panic and tripping over a comrade’s body, an enemy trying to hide from you while loudly panting from fear and thus revealing their location, discharging in panic all of their ammunition within seconds and without accuracy, escaping their own grenade, begging for mercy… sometimes, only to mysteriously change their mind as you turn your back, and shoot you in it. In Afterfall you rarely fight with the ‘bad guys’. More often with ordinary people, sometimes crippled by mutation, who just like yourself are trying to survive. It is just that their method requires you to die or give up your food or valuables. It is worth to remember that a desperate or panicked person can be much more dangerous than ten rational and therefore predictable people. Underestimating the enemy can cost you everything. Another group of opponents are different mutated animals, of varied intelligence and physical strength. Some of them attack in packs, others hunt by lying in wait and attacking by surprise. Some jump at their victim with extended claws. Some others will attack you only if in spite of roars and warnings you get too close to them.

Klecha ( Can you reveal to us something about the quests?

Koloska (Intoxicate Interactive):
Practically any group of people has some kind of job to offer to you. Everybody needs a helping hand, everybody has problems, therefore there will be plenty of quests in Afterfall, quests of all sorts. From the schematic ‘go, kill, get’ kind, to missions which seem simple at the beginning, but turn out to be a load of trouble. The thing that is going to surprise the player in comparison to other games is that virtually no one can be trusted, and the greater the reward for a seemingly easier task, the more probably there is a catch, something is amiss, or the employer is simply going to try to get rid of you after the job is done, or at best renounce the whole thing. Verifying and figuring out the employers’ true intentions is going to be paramount. Another thing is to consider if you were told everything about the quest itself, for example about the person you are supposed to kill, or the sealed cargo you are to transport. Do you really know the consequences of what you are about to do… Of course, moral dilemmas do not have to concern you at all. It is worth to mention the so-called ‘bypasses’, which could come as a reward for quest completion. These are events relating to important quests and influencing the options available in them. Let me give an example. You have a quest requiring you to infiltrate the structures of one of Warsaw’s gangs. The employer will usually suggest 2 or 3 methods of achieving that. However, if at some point the hero becomes the champion of the Warsaw combat arena, the boss of that gang will come to him on his own, with a proposition of membership and high status. That is going to create a shortcut, bypassing a dozen or so tasks that you would otherwise have to perform for the group before you got close enough to the boss. There is going to be a lot of such bypasses interweaving different threads, including the main one, and discovering them all will be very difficult even with several passings of the game. Thanks to this method, the more important a quest, the more ways there will be to complete it, both obvious ones and ones scattered across the world as bypasses. There will also be solutions available to characters with special abilities. Seeking access to a guarded building, a stealthy player will use lockpicks, and sneak behind the guards’ backs; a technician may divert their attention with sabotage; a hero skilled at hand to hand combat may jump them by surprise and knock them unconscious; an able soldier, attack frontally; a strong mutant, uh… throw a table at them?; a speaker, convince the guards to let him in, etc. Most often, the players will employ combined approaches, just as the abilities of their characters are going to be. A character who is a speaker and a thief may first persuade the guards to leave their post, and then open the door with a key stolen from one of their pockets. Career quests in different organizations deserve a separate mention. Each major organization, if you hadn’t antagonized them before, will be willing to accept you in its ranks. In some cases advancing high in the hierarchy will allow the hero to solve many of his problems with the help of the organization’s contacts, and sometimes even its military might.
Klecha ( Aren’t you afraid of exaggerated reactions after the unveiling of the game? I mean the plans of introducing slave trade and sex into the game world, which can cause an uproar, especially among non-players.

Koloska (Intoxicate Interactive):
The game will be rated 18+. We certainly will not give up our plans on that account. Besides, the game will not contain anything more drastic or ‘dirty’ than some movies set in similar conditions (the ‘Mad Max’ series, ‘The Postman’, ‘Waterworld’), which were sometimes allowed for 16-year-olds, or than certain literary works from the post-apocalyptic genre, without age limits. As for the pseudo-experts who have little scientific methodology under their belt, or politicians speaking out on these matters without knowing anything about them… we simply do not care about their opinions. Especially that we are going to introduce a series of filters, which can turn off most of the gore in Afterfall.
Klecha ( What would you say is the current stage of the game development?

Koloska (Intoxicate Interactive):
We have concluded the preproduction process, as well as world design on the level of detail which we call ‘preliminary design’. Currently we are completing the set of materials presenting our game, and the first of the planned technical demos, which we shall demonstrate to the publishers interested in our project. The future of the enterprise hinges on the outcome of these negotiations.
Link: “If you are disappointed with the Fallout 3 preview, check this out…” - full interview on Afterfall official site.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:36

In huge news for our modders, the Russians again managed another crazy feat and imported Fallout 1 to the Fallout 2 engine. If you run Fallout 2 with this, you will need to copy your original msg files from Fallout 1 to run it in English.

What's mostly good about this is that it's something that's been often requested. It opens up Fallout 1 to the kind of modding we've only seen for Fallout 2 yet (adding new locations and/or NPCs, that kind of stuff), not to mention being able to run Fallout 1 with Fallout 2's improvements, like pushing around NPCs.

Wild_qwerty has already made the brilliant suggestion of turning Dogmeat into a car so the player can ride him across the world map...ehr...yeah.

Anyway, this won't be of immediate use to Fallout gamers, but it opens up a world of opportunities.

Link: Fallout import on WebFile.RU.
Link: discussion thread on (Russian).
Link: disccusion thread on NMA.

Thanks Dude101.

News for Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 16:17

Interplay is actively recruiting again, as can be seen on gaming developers site Gamasutra. Right now the jobs list includes Environmental Concept Artist, System Designer and Content Designer.

More interesting is that Jason D. Anderson is listed as the contact guy, which would make him the Human Resource manager and in charge of who he works with.

Link: Company profile: Interplay Entertainment Corp.

News for Sunday, November 25, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 17:02

Jesterka wrote in to tell us he wrote a Fallout 3 new summary for the Czech Tiscali, using the standard screenshots. However, his editor replaced them with a handful of screenshots (low-quality scans) that are said to be from Games for Windows.

Normally one would have his doubts, but I immediately recognised these screens as showing stuff from the demo. The enormous mutant is the Behemoth, the building behind the Brahmin is Megaton.

Sorry for the low quality, it's all we have.

Link: Fallout 3 gallery.

Lots of thanks to Jesterka (and his editor)!

News for Saturday, November 24, 2007

Posted by Morbus - at 21:50

The indie RPG developer Iron Tower Studios, responsible for the upcoming “Age of Decadence” has opened their new official forums. You can register here or go directly to the forum board.

Plus, Iron Tower Studios is currently working on a new gameplay trailer of AoD, so keep your heads up.

Link: Iron Tower Studios Official Site
Link: Iron Tower Studios Official Forum
Link: Old Age of Decadence Forums

Thanks anonymous.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:59

Really, really new site (as in opened just before thanksgiving) sure knows how to kick off to get people's attention, with an editorial and comic on why Fallout 3 will suck. Skip if you're sensitive to swearing, because there's lots of it here.

So here’s the deal. I’m an old-school RPG nut. I love fallout 1 & 2. I love Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2. Planescape: Torment? Yes please. But the new RPG’s? No. KOTOR is solid stuff, but aside from that we’ve got crap. NWN 2 was a giant piece of garbage. I attempted to play MP with two of my friends, and while we were going through the story it was actually impossible to keep certain characters out of your party. So here we are, playing a game with 8 party members, which given the weird AI in NWN 2 is almost impossible to manage with three people.

But really, my biggest gripe is with Oblivion. Don’t even get me started on it because I could write a thesis on how it is the most over-rated piece of shit you ever saw. I’d be willing to call it a good game if the world at large didn’t make it seem like it was the second coming. Anyway, the whole notion of paying for “additional” content really irks me. I mean, usually extras like horse armor or a few new quests are things developers release to the people who bought their game for free. I look at it as continued support for your product. Bethesda has separated the patching process. Things that need “fixing” are free, but things that add a little extra to your game add a little extra to Bethesda’s coffers. I mean I payed 50 bucks for your damn game, do you really need to charge me 2 dollars for some wizard’s tower? Why not just roll that into the patch, so that people can actually get jazzed about your companies support for their games? I dunno, sounds crazy.
Upon close inspection, that article isn't really about why Fallout 3 is going to suck, it's a piece against DLCs. Well, ok then, bit of a contentious title then.

Link: Why Fallout 3 is Going to Suck.
Link: Why Fallout 3 is Going to Suck comic.

Spotted on Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog.

News for Thursday, November 22, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 22:35

Another inspired piece from Defonten, famous for his earlier City Ruins and Cafe of Broken Dreams, Brand New Reno:

Well, I'm back into my tenderly loved "fallout" genre ;) A few words about the painting. Did this for personal satisfaction and fun for about two weeks. The initial very rough sketch on paper was done while I was on the plane returning to my home country from New York city. So it was definitely NYC that inspired the initial sketch and composition. Due to my daytime freelance work I was able to work on this piece only at nights which regularly brought tonns of slippers thrown onto my poor head by my wife ;) Another great thing that inspired me and kept me in the right "mode" are two iconic songs - legendary song by Ink Spots - "I don't want to set the world on fire" (1941) and Lois Armstrong's "Hello Dolly" (1965). I didn't use any photo references or photo footage but did use 3D throughout the composition. The biggest 3D element in the scene is the foreground "RENO" signboard (fully overpainted though).

In the "fallout" universe, New Reno setting is definitely one of the most impressive and dramatic places that the central character encounters on his quest. So I thought it would be fun to kind of improvise a little on the idea and concept of post-apoc New Reno and try to make a little "research" on the way it could look in real life.

News for Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 14:20

Games For Windows magazine of December 2007 has an unranked list of the top 10 (PC) games of 2008, with Fallout 3 amongst them.

THE GOOD + THE BAD: The last Fallout game came out 10 years ago, so you are forgiven, sort of, if you don't quite know what the big deal is. For those of you who did play these classic RPGs, set in burned-out, mutant-filled, postapocalyptic 22nd-century California, the very idea of a Fallout 3 has been one of PC gaming's holy grails. When the original developers moved on and the publisher flamed out, it seemed like the franchise might be gone forever. So it was huge news when PC RPG developers Bethesda Softworks--makers of Oblivion, our 2006 Game of the Year--announced that they had acquired the rights and were, at last, going to deliver a third Fallout game. Since the announcement and the first early previews, the reaction to Fallout 3 has been all over the map. Some gamers (including us) are thrilled by how faithfully Bethesda is preserving the look and tone of the old games while bringing the franchise into the current millennium, while others (especially some of the more rabid Fallout fan communities) continue to deride every new fact, screen, or random piece of info that comes out of Bethesda about the game. The truth of the matter is no one knows a damn thing yet about whether the game will be good or not. Everything crucial to the success of the game ("success" being measured partially in terms of how much it lives up to the series' pedigree)--the storyline, the combat system, the dialogue--is still a huge unknown. Not that there's any reason to be defensive. Bethesda has been making great RPGs since the original Fallouts were around. They love the old games, just like you do. And if Fallout 3 sucks, they'll be letting themselves down along with everyone else. And we do like what we've seen--so for now, we're keeping hope alive, and keeping Fallout 3 on this list.

SOMETHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW: "We can confirm that, yes, you can have a dog," says VP of public relations and marketing Pete Hines, "and yes, his name is Dogmeat."

THE PC FACTOR: Fallout 3 is being developed from the ground up as a multiplatform title for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. Don't fret, though. What this means is that, as they did with Oblivion, Bethesda is customizing the entire experience and user interface for each particular platform. You're not going to be playing a console port. -Jeff Green
Actually, the Dogmeat in Fallout 3 fact was already public knowledge amongst a lot of Fallout fans. About time someone confirmed it, though.

A bit odd to place a game of which "everything crucial to its success is still unknown" in a top 10. But I guess that only applies to criticism, not praise.

Thanks ETHugg.

News for Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:40

Bethesda has announced the winners of the anniversary contest. That's not very interesting, except that this perk will be in the final game:

Grim Reaper's Sprint
Everytime you kill an opponent, all your action points are automatically restored.
Link: And the winners are... on Bethesda's official site.

Thanks Briosafreak.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:04

The second part of the CVG v Pete Hines is up, and contains absolutely no new info except for the already revealed talk of downloadable content for Fallout.

You said during the demo that Fallout 3's game world is smaller than Oblivion's. Was that a conscious decision to make it more focussed?

Yeah, for two reasons. First of all, it makes more sense. We're talking about a post-nuclear world. It ought to feel a bit more sparse and less populated than Oblivion where you're talking about the capital province at the height of the empire. It better fits what's going on in the world and in the story.

And then we really just try and find a good fit for, still, really big huge worlds - but just how far should you go before you can find different things to do?

I think we've found a good balance of, big enough that you think, "holy crap this world is huge", but not so far that all you're doing is walking.
Link: Bethesda - thumbscrews applied (no idea what that's referring to, the questions aren't exactly tough) on CVG.

News for Sunday, November 18, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 22:59

CVG has published the first part of their interview with Bethesda PR head Pete Hines, of which we've earlier seen a quote.

Fallout has a real hardcore fan base. Would you say the biggest challenge has been creating a sequel that appeals to those fans but not at the expense of alienating a new audience?

Our philosophy with Fallout 3 was to make it as if we'd made Fallout one and two. Which obviously we didn't but we couldn't really spend a whole lot of time worrying about what we didn't make or what we didn't have control over.

We approached it the same way we approached Morrowind or Oblivion - we are doing the next game in the series, this is what the series has always been about, what are we going to do with the next one to make it cool and fun and the next big step for this series?

That was our approach for Fallout 3, was to say "What's our next big thing going to be for this series". What are the things we need to stay true to and can't change, and what are the things we maybe want to change or update and do differently.

Ultimately, that was our approach, to make to make the kind of choices to make the best Fallout 3 game we thought we could make.

To date that's what we've done. We've definitely changed some things, but we feel like we've stayed true to the things about Fallout that make that series memorable - which are the setting, the characters, the tone, the feats, the moral choices, the player choice.

The character system is the same, the dialogue system works the same. We didn't want to change the stuff we felt didn't need to be changed.
You'd wonder where this sense of entitlement comes from that Bethesda thinks they have the right to determine what the series is about.

Link: Going nuclear with Bethesda's Pete Hines on CVG.

Posted by Brother None - at 13:41

Gamasutra has a fairly good editorial on expectations for series and franchises.

Nintendo’s Metroid series changed more considerably when it finally made its way into the foray of 3D on the Gamecube. While past Metroid games had been 2D action platformers using the same viewpoint as its contemporaries, the new Metroid, dubbed Prime by developers Retro Studios, was presented from a first person view, akin to shooters like Quake and Halo.

When the game was first revealed, many long time Metroid fans demanded and explanation for such a drastic shift in the gameplay. Some even declared that Metroid proper was dead, and this new series was nothing more than a shadow of what 3D Metroid could have been.

Retro and Nintendo fired back with a simple explanation: both companies felt that Metroid was not defined by its viewpoint or its graphics. Such changes were only cursory and did not take away from what really made Metroid: a sense of exploration, and isolation. Thematically, the argument was air tight. The series still featured heroine Samus Aran as well as her long time enemies the Space Pirates, and of course the alien metroids. Many still condemned the series, and some outright ignore its current iterations.

For developers, it can be hard to understand what it means for a specific iteration to be part of a series. Many times developers want to take a series in a new direction for the sake of their own sanity, and for the sake of growing the series to be something more. The danger, of course, is in angering fans. Nintendo has been given a tremendous amount of latitude when defining what made a Super Mario game. The series’ progression from Mario Bros., to Super Mario Bros., to even Super Mario Galaxy, the series has time and time again thrown out what it considers the Mario canon and given us a whole new world to explore.


Perhaps game series with a very consistent make-up from game to game tend to attract fans that expect a specific type of atmosphere and gameplay, and want it over and over again. They consider the series’ synonymous with a certain type of gameplay, story and protagonist. While Super Mario Galaxy seems on its surface like a strong departure from its past entries, each game does still adhere to certain thematic and gameplay related elements far beyond simply ‘jumping on mushrooms with eyes.’

Maybe the key to giving yourself room for reinvention in later iterations is not to adhere particularly to a given concept from the very beginning. By constantly changing what people expect out of a series, it becomes difficult for gamers to complain that some stale and stagnant gameplay mechanic defines the series, and thus allows developers to continue being creative, and reinventing the series their fans love and desire.
Dictatorship of progression. You will conform!

Link: 'Series Loyalty and Straying from the Path' on Gamastura.

Spotted on RPGCodex.

News for Saturday, November 17, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 14:53

The revived Shelter project by Shihonage seems to be progressing well. Still using assets from the Fallout games, the new engine's combat is shown here:


Link: Shelter thread on NMA.

Posted by Brother None - at 12:16

Pixelrage has previewed Fallout 3 and swear to take a neutral stance between two extremes:

Lot of things have been said until now. On one side we have the old-school gamers that crave for real Fallout and not a remake of Oblivion and, on the other side, we have the “other” gamers, not familiar to the Fallout universe, that have nothing against Bethesda's new project. Writing a review you always have to be impartial and, that said, I will pick the middle path, somewhere between the angry mob waiting to slay Bethesda at the first sight of an Oblivion with guns and those that wait for a shinny new Post-Apocalyptic RPG.

When they started work on F3, Bethesda wanted to make sure they wouldn't make the tabloids in a mass murder case so, in an old fashion tradition, they got their hands on all the things that were labeled as Fallout. These included original plans, documentation, art-works and probably even made a synapse scan of those involved in the first Fallout.
The action will take place 30 years later from the first games and, kinda sad for us, it wont link to the first story lines. There will be no direct connection to The Vault Dwellers and we wont see the famous Vault 13 either. Not all is lost considering the fact that we will still have the Brotherhood of Steel and some minor references to other parties involved in the first two games.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on Pixelrage.

Spotted on RPGWatch.

News for Friday, November 16, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 0:57

"Hay let's not ask Fallout 3 developers about Fallout."

Another dev profile, Orin Tresnjak.

What would you say is your personal favorite game of all time?

There are so, so many games I love that it’s really hard to choose. The first to come to mind is Out of This World (known outside the US as Another World), an odd, hyper-stylized little platformer from Delphine Software circa 1991. One of the unique things about it is that, with its simple, clean vector graphics, it still holds up visually even today. Its creator, Eric Chahi, currently sells a high-res Windows XP version of the game on his website, so you can check it out pretty easily. (And oh, for the days when one person could make an entire game!)

The remarkable thing about the game is the way it tells its story–you play a physicist whose experiment goes horrible wrong, stranding him on an alien planet. However, there’s no dialogue in the game, no text past the brief intro movie, no intelligible speech. There’s no HUD or other on-screen information, and no tutorial. Nothing but the game’s stark, angular world. It’s purely visual, and it forces you to figure everything out completely on your own. (Not coincidentally, it’s also a brutally hard game, but very rewarding.)
Link: Inside the Vault - Orin Tresnjak.

News for Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 3:47

Not surprisingly, Pete Hines more or less confirms to CVG that Fallout 3 will, indeed, feature downloadable contents, unless it doesn't sell (duh).

"We had the same approach with Oblivion, which is if we f*** this up, nobody's going to want to download anything for it anyway. So let's focus on the first thing we're doing, get that absolutely right and then we'll have time for the other stuff", Hines added.

He continued, "Obviously you're not building content all the way up to release; at some point you stop.

"Every time you touch the game you're breaking it so at some point you do stop on the content side and just focus on polishing and bug testing and so forth. At that point it may be something our content folks start to look at."
Link: Bethesda talks Fallout 3 DLC on CVG.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:03

From Gamasutra:

Publisher Interplay has announced its third quarter earnings, showing sales falling 86 percent year over year to just $47,000, a period CEO Herve Caen calls "an important milestone" in its "difficult turnaround," as it reopens in-house development and prepares to launch development of its Fallout MMO.

The company's quarterly sales are down sharply from the second quarter, where its sale of the Fallout brand to MMO developer Bethesda saw it take in $5.9 million, a yearly rise of 872 percent.

Though the company is in somewhat of a holding pattern with few products actually on the market, chairman and CEO Caen said Interplay is "now focused on a two-pronged growth strategy."

"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 not of its Fallout MMO, but of another yet unannounced MMO.
Link: Interplay 10-Q filing (SEC).
Link: Interplay Reopens Inhouse Development, Hires Former Fallout Designer.

News for Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 19:25

It's been a while since we posted on the now-released Hellgate: London. And with good reason.

The average rating is 71% and that's fairly flattering since the universal call on the game is that it sucks badly, was released way too early and the way they charge people for playing the game is a rip-off. The well-executed setting might be its only redeeming factor, as even the plot is paper-thin (well, ok, it's an Action RPG, so no great shock there).

The best preview read is probably the article on Something Awful, which uses their usual humour to cut the game into bits by making a fake advertisement for it.

Made by the creators of the Diablo series! But please don't compare Hellgate: London to Diablo, because it's not a fair comparison.

Sure, they're both about demons from Hell flooding onto the mortal plane, they both feature randomly generated levels with mobs that drop loot of varying color-coded rarity. Both are split into a small number of acts, with similar cinematics bridging each act. And yeah, the Summoner is basically D2's Necromancer, the Evoker is the Sorceress, the Guardian is the Paladin, the Blademaster is the Barbarian, the Marksman is the Amazon, and the Engineer is a mix between the Necromancer and Amazon (we got a little tired after all that innovation). Both allow you to play with only a handful of other people at once.

But they're totally different. Diablo 2 was a good game, and Hellgate: London offers a subscription model for $9.95 a month. It's like comparing Apples and iMacs. You can't do it.
Link: When There Is No Room In Hellgate, The Dead Shall Inhabit The Bargain Bin on Something Awful .

Posted by Brother None - at 18:57

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has been patched up to 1.005. The US Patch is mirrored on ActionTrip, FileFront, The Patches Scrolls, and Strategy Informer. Various editions can be found on FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls.

Spotted on Blue's News.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:25

Apparently Bethesda is still touring its demo of Fallout 3, as saw it in a theatre in London.

This is not Oblivion, however, and Bethesda will stand no more comparisons. Likewise, those likening the game to a first-person shooter will be forcibly removed, I'm almost warned entering the theatre. Though it has to be said that, purely from an aesthetic stand-point, Fallout 3 isn't dissimilar to an FPS, even if no one will thank me for noting it. Similarities are thankfully little more than superficial, and even the combat - which can be tackled FPS style - is more intelligently approached using the pseudo turn-based VATS combat system - which allows you to pause the action and select parts of an enemy to hit, with your timing and shooting ability effecting how likely you are to succeed with that tricky head-shot, or the disabling leg-shot. Likewise, enemies will lose percentages from every part of their body - meaning that you can save ammo and take fewer risks by concentrating on a foe's weak spots via the combat system. FPS fans may of course prefer to engage in more 'traditional fire-fights', which can still be impacted by a player's strength, skill, and various environmental factors (radiation from exploded atom-powered cars and the like).
From the description, it's the same build I've seen, which is, by now, 6 months old. I'm a bit surprised they're still renting theatres to show it, considering its age.

Link: Fallout 3 preview.

Spotted on Blue's News.

Posted by Brother None - at 13:07

MSN Tech and Gadgets UK interviewed Pete Hines to discuss the Fallout 3.

Pete Hines: We’re really encouraging people to play the game through a few times and see what happens if you take a different choice at different points. With Oblivion you could do every quest line and end up being head of every guild in the same character, but in Fallout 3 you can’t play every outcome at the same time – you have to make choices that you cannot go back on.

Hines is aware that, by hyping the product a year ahead of release, Bethesda are taking on a huge burden of keeping people interested, but believes that the already enthusiastic community and a slow trickle of information and game footage will keep Fallout 3 at the forefront of people’s minds.

“We’re holding a while lot of stuff back. We’ve shown off gameplay footage to the press but not anywhere else yet. We have lots of stuff planned and, hopefully, we’ll be able to keep people interested and pick up a lot more fans as we get closer to launch."

Having seen the footage, it’s easy to see why the buzz is growing around Fallout 3. The character driven story seems well rounded, the action scenes looked exciting and the karma system should bring a real sense of consequence to the gaming arena; roll on Autumn 2008.
Link: "Fallout 3: The game of 2008?" on MSN Tech and Gadgets UK.

Spotted on Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog.

News for Friday, November 9, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 20:25

Steve "MrSmileyFaceDude" Meister noticed this on the Bethesda Softworks Forums during a discussion regarding the soldier-like, machismo behaviour of the BoS identified in the demo by NMA.

Actually, only Initiate Reddin was swearing & all gung-ho in the demo. Vargas even told her to knock it off, more than once.
Now that is good news.

Link: forum post on Official BethSoft Forums.

Posted by Per - at 1:51

IGN has put up an interview with the vam... with well-known Bethesda frontman Pete Hines. You'll recognize a lot of it from previous interviews, "At the time, no one was doing anything with the licence", "our approach to Fallout 3 is as if we'd made Fallout 1 and 2", etc.

IGN: What are biggest differences between the original Fallouts and Fallout 3?

Pete Hines: It's really hard to say because those games are done and this one isn't. From a design philosophy standpoint we're still trying to stay true to a lot of thing that those did, in terms of the kind of moral choices you have to make, the kind of characters you interact with, the memorable locations… All the things that you experienced in the game, whether it was the people or the places or the things that you did and the decisions you made. Those are all things we're trying to capture again in Fallout 3.

There's probably nit-picky, little stuff that may be different but at the end of the day there are an awful lot of similarities. When you play the game, the intent is that you feel like you did when you played Fallout 1. Y'know, it's going to be a bit different because we're using the next iteration of our Radiant AI, so we've got people moving around more and doing stuff, plus there's Havoc, so the gameplay experience changes because you're introducing all these different things, but from a design standpoint it's all about that gameplay experience - what is the player doing, what is the player feeling, how are you developing your character and what are the consequences of all that.

IGN: When can we expect to see new stuff on Fallout 3?

Pete Hines: We're planning to show some new stuff off early next year. I'm not really sure what we'll show but it'll be something new but I'm not sure what.
Read! What could possibly go wrong.

Link: Fallout 3 Interview at IGN

News for Thursday, November 8, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 0:22

Community manager Matt Grandstaff is next up to the bat. We'll never know if he played Fallout.

What’s your job at Bethesda?

I’m the Community Manager here at Bethesda, so I spend a lot of time in the forums and then sharing information with the developers. No I can’t go downstairs and make the changes myself, but I can pass on what people are talking about. I also co-manage the Bethesda Blog. Gotta say, I have tons of respect for the bloggers of the world. It’s not easy trying to come up with new content all the time, especially since we’re trying to stay focused on Bethesda news. Maybe I should start posting about Britney Spears or iPods…that would help my dilemma. As a part of the marketing department, there’s plenty of other stuff I work on, but I don’t think you’d find it particularly interesting.

In the future, like maybe when Fallout is closer to shipping, I look forward to doing new stuff with the community: community events, podcasts, who knows?
Link: Inside the Vault - Matt Grandstaff.

News for Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 12:06

Briosafreak has finished compiling the answers given by Brother None and SuAside to questions asked on the Bethesda forum and elsewhere. The answers uncover some details about the demo and game not mentioned in NMA's preview, so it might be worth a look.

Link: Atomic Ninjas talk Fallout 3.
Link: Atomic Ninjas talk Fallout 3: The Sequel.

News for Friday, November 2, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 10:18

Another Inside the Vault, another strike for not asking whether people played Fallout anymore.

What’s your job at Bethesda?

Environmental/Dungeon Artist

What other games have you worked on?

Deathgate 1994
Shannara 1995
Mission Critical 1995
Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon 1997
The Wheel of Time 1999
Unreal II: The Awakening 2003
Unreal II: XMP Multiplayer 2003
Oblivion: 2006
Shivering Isles: 2007
Fallout 3…
Link: Inside the Vault - Robert Wisnewski

News for Thursday, November 1, 2007

Posted by Silencer - at 3:47

The site posted a preview of Fallout 3. While some information therein seems to contradict earlier findings (Lyons called a "he", demo ran on a "computer" instead of XBox, etc.) we should take this with a grain of salt, but there are a few interesting passages, for example:

You can walk around the Vault. This is a bit of a disappointment. Contrary to previous declarations, what we see here does not really resemble the views from earlier Fallout games. The graphic style of the Vault has been changed. It's more modern now, full of cables, pipes, equipment and junk. (...) No more clean and sterile Vaults.
One about quests:
If you've high speech and nearly maxed charisma, then you can convince the Overseer to let you outside (almost impossible, but...). Another way is to subvert the guard to open the door. Stealth characters can sneak to the door. You can hack the computer system of the Vault or use force. Still not enough? Hah! There is also a hidden passageway out. The new Fallout is even superior to the originals in at this point.
Among other things, the preview seems to distinguish between "V.A.T.S. attack" and "active pause" regarding the combat system, maintains that there might be "vehicles" (which conflicts what we've hitherto heard) and promises that "a supermutant we know will make a re-appearance", which must point to Marcus. Or not?

Link: Fallout 3 preview at (in Polish)

Spotted at Trzynasty Schron