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News for Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:33

As he promised after the Eurogamer preview, KG's interview with Pete Hines is up now.

Eurogamer: What I've never quite understood about Fallout 3 is why would Bethesda buy the licence? Arguably "Bethesda does post-apocalyptic game" is a bigger story than "Bethesda makes Fallout 3". Fallout is a relic to modern gamers. If you'd made your own world, you'd have sidestepped all the stress of dealing with over-protective fans.

Pete Hines: It's like, if George Lucas died tomorrow - God willing, he doesn't - and you're a film director. And you've grown up making big epic films - maybe you're Peter Jackson. And he finishes whatever his big next film is. And someone asks him, "what do you want to do next?" And he says, "I always wanted to make a big space movie. A big epic movie full of action." And they ask, "do you want to do generic space movie that you make up yourself, or do you want to do Star Wars." And he says, "I could do whatever, but I grew up as a kid and Star Wars made me want to get into making movies. It had such a profound impact on me, I would love to pick up this thing I loved and cared so much about and make the next one. And I'm not the guy who did the originals, but it means so much to me, and would mean much more to me to work in this world. It would be easier, perhaps less controversial and less pressure to do my own, but I'd rather do this thing that someone else did so much more."

That's the best analogy I can use. We could have made anything and people would have been interested in it, probably, but Fallout meant a ton to us, and we love the tone and flavour of that world, and how meaningful it was for its time, how different it was from other stuff that was out there. We said, "we could do anything, but what we'd really love to do is Fallout". Use that character system and that world that's so unique from anything else that we might come up with. We'd rather do that than come up with our own thing. Bring that to life - and bring it not to just people who played the it before, but people who've never got to play or experience it. There's this great game and world which somebody came up that we really think you'll want to play.

I love a party with a radioactive, toxic atmosphere.

Eurogamer: You're driven by love. Do you think that's something the very hardcore Fallout fans miss?

Pete Hines: I don't know whether they miss it or not - it may be that they don't care and think, "that's all well and good, but you're not the ones we wanted to make this". I don't pretend to know exactly what their motivations and thought processes are. Those guys are very enthusiastic - we're talking about the very hardest of the hardcore Fallout fan. They're very passionate about this thing and protective about it. And that's okay. It's something they've clearly got a lot of attachment too. At the same time, we are making the very best game that we can. It's not for any one group of folk - we're making the best game we know how for a lot of people who'll come to play and enjoy it.

Eurogamer: So do you blank out the criticism then?

Pete Hines: You never blank it out. You take all the feedback from Oblivion, and all the feedback from what people want from a Fallout game. And what you find is there's never agreement on anything from anyone. We get feedback from people who say you've got to have this. As long as you've got the SPECIALs [the game's statistics - Ed] and perks, that's Fallout. And some people say if it's not isometric and not turn-based, it's not Fallout. So you basically go and look at what made the game meaningful for them, and try as much as you can to match it with what you're doing, so you're doing what people remember and is important to them. But it's more of getting a vibe of what they want, rather than sitting in an art meeting and going, "What do we want this creature to look like... let's go and ask the fans". At some point we have seventy-five people making the game, devoting 3-4 years of their life and they're ultimately the tie-breakers. And it's not as if all seventy-five people think the same thing. We have big rows over should something work like X and Y or Z. And eventually a decision gets made, and we move forward with it. It's the same with feedback from outside the company - we take it all into account, but at some point you have to pick and direction and move on.
Link: Pete Hines on Fallout 3.

Thanks Mungrul, PlanHex, etc. etc.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:49

Here's Pete Hines on the opening of ZeniMax Asia.

"...The fact that [Oblivion] was well received critically, and had the sales numbers to back it up, is a very positive sign for us as we look to expand our presence there," Hines added.

He didn't disclose exactly how much business ZeniMax expects to generate from its new Asian arm, as the firm is privately held.

Bethesda's next high-profile title is Fallout 3, slated to arrive later this year in the US. ZeniMax Asia will be bringing the title to Asian territories.

Regarding the rampant piracy in Asia, Hines said it's an issue in every region of the world, not just in the East.

"It's a concern in any case, whether we were expanding there or not, so I don't know how much us expanding there changes that one way or the other.

"[Expanding] is more about our continuing desire to establish more direct relationships in a number of different territories. Obviously, the announcement about the establishment of a UK office to cover the UK/European markets was a big part of that, and this office just builds on that."
Link: Fallout 3 Dev: Asia "Gets" Our Games on Next Generation.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:16

A short Fallout 3 preview.

Character creation is a feature that seems to improve as more companies continue to enhance it. Bethesda was able to take it to a whole new level in Oblivion by allowing you to customize almost every aspect of your character, ranging from the shape of your nose, cheeks, and mouth to even your age. This time Fallout 3 will feature a new way of character creation that will be a first in games. Creating your character will literally start from birth. A hazy cinematic sequence will start with a perspective from the operating table as you are being born from your mother. This is where you will choose your character’s gender and name.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on VGM.

News for Monday, April 28, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:00

Great news for fans of Carnivale (read: me). Carnivale creator Daniel Knauf is turning his attention to a 4-hour post-apocalyptic mini series.

Sadly, it will not be a documentary about the Bay Area metal band, nor the story of the Promised Land, but rather Exodus will be a four-hour miniseries about, you guessed it, the End of the World. The story will follow survivors trying to track down a place where, presumably, they can continue surviving.

Knauf announced the tele-movie during the panel for Fear Itself, the NBC offshoot of Masters of Horror that will premiere this summer. Knauf wrote the Ronnie Yu-helmed “Family Man”, about a man who switches bodies with a serial killer during a near-death experience.
Considering the fantastic dark atmosphere and cinematography in Carnivale, this is good news for PAers everywhere.

Link: Exclusive: Carnivale Creator Announces End of the World on Dread Central.

Spotted on the really good post-apocalyptic news-aggregate Mega-Ton (learn to love it).

Posted by Brother None - at 19:32

After expanding into Europe, ZeniMax now expands into Asia.

ZeniMax Media Opens Tokyo Office

Bethesda Softworks Establishes Asian Publishing Arm

April 28, 2008 (Rockville, MD) – ZeniMax Media Inc., the parent company of Bethesda Softworks®, today announced it has begun direct publishing operations in Asia with the establishment of its Tokyo-based subsidiary, ZeniMax Asia K.K. ZeniMax Asia will be publishing titles throughout Asian territories under the Bethesda Softworks brand.

Bethesda Softworks has a successful history as a developer and publisher of award-winning titles, most recently with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®, which won critical acclaim and countless Game of the Year awards. While continuing to work with strategic Asian distribution partners, ZeniMax Asia plans to deliver a range of compelling titles in the coming years, including the highly anticipated Fallout® 3.

"Establishing operations in Asia is very important to us as we continue to expand our presence in markets outside of North America," said Robert Altman, CEO of ZeniMax Media Inc. "In addition to ZeniMax Europe Ltd., our direct relationships throughout Asia allow us to bring exciting titles like Fallout® 3 to gamers across the globe."

The Asian operations of the Company will be headed by Tetsu Takahashi, General Manager, ZeniMax Asia KK. "We are happy to be part of the ZeniMax family," said Tetsu. "Extending their direct reach throughout Asia is an exciting, new phase in the Company’s expansion and we look forward to building upon their excellent reputation."

For more information on ZeniMax media visit www.zenimax.com.
And soon, the world!

News for Sunday, April 27, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 4:28

The site of Fallout 2 total conversion mod is back, with the progress bar showing the mod as 45% done.

"When mutants kill and destroy all that matters in your life---What can you do? As the last hope of a dead town will you seek justice for the dead and help for the survivors? Or will you lose your way in this big nasty world that's waiting for you? Can anyone, for that matter, good or evil, survive for long in a world where most problems are solved at the end of a knife or with a burst of gunfire?"

Several years ago you were discovered outside the gates of Elko. You were an orphan, 11 maybe 12 years old. Nobody knew where you had come from, not even yourself. The people of Elko, in general, are a kind people, although they tend to be suspicious of strangers. Only one man had the compassion to take you into his home - Cassidy. Cassidy himself arrived in Elko only a few years earlier. Through hard work and generous behavior he earned the respect of Elko's citizens and is now an important part of their family.

After a viscious attack by a group of savage mutants, you flee with the survivors of the town to a small bunker. A few straggling mutants follow you, which you bravely fight off. Once the battle is over, cassidy suffers a heart attack and is in a critical condition soon afterwards.

The game progresses from there with three main objectives: Find a cure for Cassidy, discover why the mutants attacked Elko and some of the surrounding towns and discover who your real parents were.

As with Fallout 2, the mod can be completed in many different ways. Combat can be both embraced and avoided depending on how you want to play the mod. Developing skills that are seldom used may yield rewards later in the game.



Link: Mutants Rising website.

News for Saturday, April 26, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:35

X-Play has Todd Howard up on the stand for its Face Time feature.

Link: Todd Howard face time on X-Play.

Spotted on BethBlog.

Posted by Brother None - at 23:27

Play.tm has a pretty good interview with Pete Hines.

Reading feedback on our last Fallout 3 preview, fans seem concerned that the story will take a hit with this new RPG. What would you say to convince them that this isn't the case?

I don't know if anything I'm going to say is going to convince them of that. The story and characters and dialog and quests of the original Fallout games are a big part of what made them so memorable. We're fully aware of that and have spent years working on that aspect of the game to make it as good as possible. I imagine that if you need convincing then you probably won't be until the game comes out and enough people tell you that the story is really good, or you try it for yourself and decide.
(...)
What have you learned from Oblivion and how important a release was this, in relation to Fallout 3?


Every game we make always helps us learn how to make these types of games better. There are lots of things we're doing differently in terms of quests and gameplay balance based on our experiences with Oblivion, but also realize that Fallout 3 is a different game in terms of scope. There are fewer people living in this post-nuclear world, and so that change alone makes it a lot easier to give everything more depth and meaning that when you make a game like Oblivion that has so many more characters living in this one place, and all these big, thriving cities to account for.

Another one based on community feedback. Why a first-person perspective? Is this game going to be a first-person action title, first and foremost?

We simply felt that first-person was the best way to totally immerse the player in the world of Fallout. Not looking down on it from above, but getting you right in there where everything is big and real and in your face.

Fallout 3 is true to the Fallout series; it's an RPG. That doesn't mean that we don't spend a lot of time on the combat and making it as fun and as good as possible. Most people spend a lot of time in RPGs exploring around and killing things. We want to make that as much fun as it can be. But just because that's important to us doesn't mean that's all there is to the game.
Link: Peter Hines chats about Fallout 3 on Play.tm.

Spotted on Blue's News.

News for Friday, April 25, 2008

Posted by Sander - at 16:39

Amongst the dozens of nearly identical previews, Eurogamer has decided to fill the niche of even more previews.
This preview goes into a bit more detail about dialogue options, though:

It's at your birthday party, and you've just received your Pip Boy wrist terminal and promised your first work detail, but between the amusement of robots ruining birthday cakes, you get your initial conversations. The first one is standard enough (though it introduces the concept of lying), but the next one we're shown is with a bullying peer by the name of Butch, where you appear to have at least six cake-related options available; everything from a diplomatic, sharing-it-fifty-fifty option, to the openly perverse provocation of spitting in it and then giving it him. Bethesda's Pete Hines, demoing, stresses that these options will all play out differently down the line. The point is to show that we're a long way from the "Yes, I'll help you"/"Yes, I'll help you for three pounds fifty and a cheeseburger"/"I WILL KILL YOU AND TAKE YOUR STUFF" conversation options with which most modern RPGs satisfy themselves. Hines and co. have talked about the game being a much more dense conversational game than Oblivion, and this is them showing how they're walking the walk as well as talking the post-apocalyptic talk. About talk.
Of course, they're also a bit confused about the meaning of 'turn-based':
It looks actually stylish - in fact, this turn-based-game with 360-era graphics makes me even think that a fully turn-based game would have worked. Why can't we have a turn-based game which goes for a crazy graphic effect? It'll have the attraction of being distinctive, anyway.
And.
This is especially pointed as the non-turn-based side fails to convince as much as you'd hope. While "Oblivion with guns" has been the rather sarcastic description from cynics, my personal take was... well, I'd kill for Oblivion with guns. Probably using a gun. It'd be everything we traditionally have to opt for an RPG to get at, but with a setting that's a little less derivative. Sold. The problem only struck me after watching a battle with mutants. You see, at the time of release, Oblivion was probably as good as a first-person sword combat game as we'd had. It wasn't mind-blowing, but no-one had done it better. Even now, only the PC version of Dark Messiah is a peer. Conversely, everyone in the world has done gun combat - and the second you take this angle, you're immediately competing on some level with Valve, Bungie, et al.

Which is unfair, but that's how it is. On a personal level, I found Mass Effect had a similar problem - the hope has to be that Fallout has a similar grace to Bioware's game. That is, the combat is just about good enough to serve the purpose the game demands of it, and leaves the rest of the game's charms to get its hooks into you. When there's elements like the nuclear rocket launcher - with very rare ammunition, obviously - which irradiates the area of the strike, you begin to see how placing this sort of combat in a larger setting could lead to something with a character and appeal of its own.
Fallout 3 preview at Eurogamer.

EDIT: Kieron Gillen was kind enough to clarify his remarks on turn-based at his (excellent) blog, Rock Paper Shotgun.
In passing, if any of the NMA guys are reading, the bit where I talk about how I’d like to see this turn-based thing go further, was me badly phrasing that the “Give orders/see results cinematically” is a bit like how turn-based games work. Clearly the pause-time attacks of VAS aren’t a true turn-based game, but it shows that a turn-based like interaction lead to cute results, at least on first impression. Since that’s relatively strong and the normal-combat is relatively weak, I’d have been interested in seeing them pursue it a bit more.

I should have been a lot more explicit with what I said.

News for Thursday, April 24, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:46

Morpheus has finished the first scene of his tribute to Fallout 3D film project. It's pretty damned cool, except for the narrative, which is done dispassionately by some guy with a thick Russian accent.









Link



Link: Tribute to Fallout scene 1 thread on NMA.
Link: Tribute to Fallout scene 1 medium res (55 MB) on NMA files.
Link: Tribute to Fallout scene 1 hi res (55 MB) on RapiderShare.

Posted by Brother None - at 6:36

Kikizo has something they call an interview but which is actually a preview with a Q&A stuck in it.

"The thought of doing anything with Van Buren was never even considered. We're not going to pick up something someone else started and try to make something out of it. We got it because we wanted to make Fallout 3 and so we're going to start from what we know and what we do," says Hines.

"We were going to make the game we wanted to make," he says. Our first few minutes with the game leave us in no doubt of that.
I have no idea what they mean by that.
Dogmeat is your canine companion in Fallout 3. He's a loyal attendant who will do chores for you, fight alongside you, and generally make your life easier. "It's basically an extra pair of helping hands, so to speak," says Hines. Dogmeat can keep you alive by scrounging for food or help you in battle by attacking enemies directly or bringing you ammunition and weapons. And it's all real stuff that you could find yourself, says Hines. "We're not magically creating things for him to bring back to you."

Probably the most interesting aspect of Dogmeat, the one that speaks most to Bethesda's vision, is his mortality. To keep Dogmeat by your side, you'll need to treat him well and think about his welfare. Sure, you could send him in to a Super Mutant camp and order him to attack, but he probably wouldn't last long. And once he's gone, he's gone. "Forever," Hines says. "There's only one Dogmeat, so you're not going to meet another one just like that one." And there won't be some other sort of replacement either. If Dogmeat dies, that functionality is lost forever.
And again, everyone is in shock and awe that an NPC is actually mortal.

On combat
You can play the entire game in first- or third-person, and Bethesda has put extra effort into making both play well. "Much more finely tuned and playable than what we did for Oblivion," says Hines. It's also here where we get a first real look at what playing this RPG as a shooter would be like. So far, we're not convinced.

Let us preface these comments by saying that we didn't actually play the game ourselves. But watching Hines play, we got the impression that the shooter system is still very loose. It doesn't seem to flow as well as you would expect a dedicated shooter to and enemies don't seem to show any outward signs of being damaged by repeated gunfire before they finally fall into a pile on the ground. In one scene Hines fires a chain gun at an enemy who fires back but is otherwise unperturbed until he drop dead.

V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System), too, isn't perfect yet, Hines admits. Those familiar with the original games will feel comfortable immediately with V.A.T.S., which exactly replicates the body-part-specific targeting system. Percentages show your probability of success, taking some of the action out of the mix but allowing you more time to think things through - very helpful if you find yourself in a tough spot. If that's not your thing, don't worry. "You don't ever have to use V.A.T.S.," says Hines.
On the game.
That's because, and this is a point that Hines comes back to again and again, Fallout 3 is about choice. It's about creating a real world for RPG and shooter fans alike to have fun in. Sure, it doesn't look anything like the world outside, but it's been designed to react realistically to your presence in it - no matter what you're doing.

"The idea is that we create a big sandbox game where you can create whatever kind of character you want and spend all your time doing whatever it is you want to do," he says. "We're not going to tell you what you have to do. We don't put time limits on it. We don't say you have to do this quest next. Just go have fun doing whatever it is you want to do."

"It's not like we're asking to see your RPG genre card at the door or you can't buy a copy. We're making the best game that we can, that we think is a lot of fun, that is true to what we think a Fallout game should be and should include and is true to the type of games we make."
Link: Kikizo Fallout 3 interview that's actually a preview (watch out for snakes!).

Posted by Brother None - at 4:23

Good news for all fans who always wanted a piece of Fallout on their wall. The better-than-official-stuff Fallout fan artist defonten is now offering the opportunity to purchase his 3 famous Fallout fanpieces, as well as 2 other pieces, as A2 or A1 size posters.



Link: purchase posters on defonten.az.

News for Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Posted by Morbus - at 20:42

RPG Codex has interviewed Vince D. Weller who you all should know as the lead developer of Age of Decadence, putting up an insightful piece. Here's a snippet:

With the idea formed in your mind, how did you actually go about developing it? How did you recruit your team, and what difficulties did you face in doing so? How did you approach technical concerns, such as choice of engine and tools?

I've started with the setting, main story overview, and major design elements (character system, combat, multiple ways to handle quests, non-linearity, etc). I didn't do all the quests or ways to solve them, of course. I'm talking about the concept phase here. For example, one way to keep the main quest non-linear is to have multiple factions interested in it. These factions shouldn't want the same thing as that would make your choice of a faction less important. So, they should want different things which would give you different reasons to pursue the main quest and would require you to make very different decisions once you are at the end of your journey. At the same time you can't be sent to several different directions at once, so your final destination should be able to offer and support different outcomes, etc. In other words, you develop the frame of a game first and then fill it in with the actual content.

Then I showed what I had to a few hand-picked Codex members and asked to tear it apart. Find flaws, stupidity, weak spots, underdeveloped spots, missed opportunities, and criticize the fuck out of it until what's left was rock solid.
Don't miss the rest.

Link: An interview with Vince D. Weller @ RPG Codex

Posted by patriot_41 - at 12:51

I know, posting way too much peripheral news for Interplay now, but they just keep coming out of nowhere with this stuff.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., April 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Interplay Entertainment Corp. (OTC Bulletin Board: IPLY - News) announced today that the company signed a partnership arrangement with Earthworm Jim creator Douglas TenNapel to relaunch the videogame icon.

TenNapel will serve as a creative consultant on Earthworm Jim 4, and will simultaneously develop an animated series and feature film to expand the well known brand.

TenNapel created the original Earthworm Jim character, which Interplay developed into a video game with Shiny Studios for the Sega Genesis console in 1994. The game became an immediate hit, and later spawned sequels on various computer and video game platforms, including Earthworm Jim 2, Earthworm Jim 3D, and Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 the Galaxy.

The iconic character became a virtual hero whose popularity took him far beyond video games into TV and toys. An animated Earthworm Jim television series, produced by TenNapel, aired for two seasons from 1995 to 1996, on The Kids WB! with Dan Castellaneta of "The Simpsons" providing the voice for the title character.
Link: Earthworm Jim Lives! Interplay Inks Deal With Creator to Relaunch the Legend on Yahoo! financials.

News for Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:26

Yet another preview. Nothing new, really, though here's a reviewer who's honest about not knowing what the heck Fallout is.

It'll take something pretty special to follow The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Bethesda Softworks' must-own next-gen RPG ushered in the new generation of consoles spectacularly well, offering hundreds of hours of gameplay in a world impossible to imagine only a few years ago. Its success, though, must have put some pressure on the developer. With a legion of new fans and a hardcore army of long-time followers, only something of truly epic proportions could follow Oblivion. It's a good job Bethesda had Fallout 3 up its sleeve then.

For Fallout 3 to have the success of Oblivion it's going to have to be more than a game for hardcore fans. Vault 101 and Pip boy mean nothing to most people, and they didn't to me either. This didn't stop the game, demoed by Bethesda's Peter Hines, looking extremely promising and very different to the fantasy setting of Oblivion.
(...)
On to the dangers you'll face then. During our demo these came in the form of mutants and Ghouls. Super mutants are your biggest foe in the game, with super mutant strongholds being set up across the wasteland. You'll also face Ghouls (humans exposed to extreme amounts of radiation), with one particular variant being so full of radiation that it glows. How easily you spot these enemies depends on your perception stat, with high level characters seeing enemies on their radar much sooner than beginners.
(...)
Despite the lengthy demo, it still seems as if we've only seen a fraction of what the final game will have to offer. Bethesda is currently targeting an autumn 2008 release on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, although it seems as though it won't ship until everyone is completely happy with it. There's no denying its potential to be a grittier, more action heavy RPG than Oblivion, but until we get some extensive hands-on time, it's hard to say if it'll be just as epic.
Fallout 3 first look on videogamer.com.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:20

Bethesda community manager Matt Grandstaff clarified some remarks from previews. The question was: E3 will have a hands-on playable version of Fallout 3. But will it be on the floor or press only?

Yeah, some folks were able to get their hands on the game last year. As you said, part of that criteria was that judges had to be able to see that the game was "playable."

Talking with Pete, at this year's E3, folks will be able to play the game. To what length they'll be able to play it, I suppose that depends on how much time schedules permit, how many folks are checking out the game, etc. E3 can be pretty hectic.
(...)
As it was last year, E3 is a press only event, so Folks = Press.
How Bethesda.

Link: Thread on BGSF.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:14

IGN. Interview.

IGN: Was anyone from the original game's developer Black Isle Studios consulted?

Pete Hines: We've talked to some of the guys from the original – there's pretty much two different teams – we have talked to some of those folks from a casual standpoint.
I should note here, as I always do, that NMA is still in contact with most of the important original developers of Fallout 1 and 2, and we can't for the life of us figure out who Bethesda talked to.
IGN: Fallout's got a massive following and quite a vocal community. Have you at any point consulted the fan-base to see what they want from a Fallout game?

Pete Hines: Back when we first announced we were doing it in 2004, there was tons of feedback with people saying here's what we want and here's what we don't want. We're not really into consulting, in that we've got 75 people who spend all day every day working on this game, so we look for information and feedback for the kinds of things the fans are looking for, and feedback from the last game that we made. Even though it's an Elder Scroll game, we've looked at the things they liked or didn't like from that, and we have our own opinions about what we liked and didn't like, and look at what things may be applicable to Fallout. Whether its how fast travel works, or for example how we've changed the way leveling works, so it's very different from Oblivion.
Fair enough.
IGN: Has it been restrictive working with a canon as well defined as Fallout's?

Pete Hines: It's more just a pleasure to be able to work in that fantastic universe, and the canon is not that restrictive to work with. We obviously took it to a different coast for a number of reasons, but the canon itself is a lot of fun and there's still a lot of opportunity to play and we're pretty used to that with the Elder Scrolls, with the canon that we ourselves have created.
Created? I'm sorry, but last time I checked Christopher Weaver and his compatriots created the Elder Scrolls lore, and none of them are around anymore. Hell, I know some Elder Scrolls fans who aren't happy at all with how ZeniMax-owned Bethesda has treated the canon.

And once again, Pete Hines tries to clear up the 500 endings thing.
IGN: How's that going to work? Is it going to be permutations of different elements?

Pete Hines: It'll be like in the original games, where the ending that you got was a compilation of different things that you would have done along the way, main quest related or not main quest related, you piece it all together so it's custom tailored to what you did. We want player choice to be meaningful, so anything that you get will be based upon what you chose to do – did you save this town, did you blow it up – and taking what you did and retelling it back to you so that it's meaningful to you as opposed to having one generic ending.
To repeat what Per Jorner said, Fallout had 360 permutations, Fallout 2 has 1,105,920. 500 is nice, but it's not "a lot".

Now, honesty bids me to say I like this answer:
IGN: Moral choices play a large part of the Fallout experience – how does this compare to games such as BioShock?

Pete Hines: I thought BioShock was terrific. It obviously draws some amount from Fallout, which is part of the reason why I like it, in that they borrowed the holo-tapes and stuff like that. I think the thing about Fallout that's unique is that is very much open-ended and up to the player in that there's moral choices and they're not in linear fashion, so you feel you have a lot more choice in terms of where you're going to go and what you're going to do. BioShock is very much a linear experience, you can harvest the little ones or you can save them, but still at each point you're going point to point and making that decision. To that end, that's where the difference in ending comes about. If you harvest the first little sister but save the rest of them, you still get the bad guy ending, and there's no ending for the guy who started harvesting little sisters but then had a change of heart and decided to save them as the story went on – where's that ending? That's where the 500 endings of Fallout come into play, we want to take into account if you started playing the game really evil and then turn into a good guy, then the story that you told is very different. Those endings are all different flavours to how you played the game, as opposed to whether you were good or you were evil.
Link: Fallout 3 Q&A on IGN.

Thanks Specialist and Lingwei.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:35

Our good friends at Strategy Informer have done a Fallout 3 preview/interview and...uh...well...

After seeing the demonstration, it is clear that Fallout 3 is going to be a great RPG and an even better return for the much-loved series. After Oblivion, it would be hard to think of a developer better suited to bringing Fallout back that Bethesda and from what they have so far, even the most hardcore Fallout fan will find a lot to love here. In closing, I asked Pete what they wanted to get out the release of Fallout 3.

Pete Hines - “I'd like to see two things. I'd like to see people who played the original Fallout and say “That is exactly what I wanted from a new Fallout game” or maybe be so bold to hope that folks will think it was even better than what they expected. We want fans who loved that series to find a game that is true to what they remembered. We also want bring a bunch of new fans to this series – maybe people who weren't old enough or weren't into it ten years ago that now have a chance to experience this really great world that Tim Cain and all those other guys created and hopefully have a great time playing our game.”
Fallout 3 preview on Strategy Informer.

Spotted on BethBlog.

News for Monday, April 21, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:27

Well I'll be a monkey's uncle.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., April 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Interplay Entertainment Corp. (OTC Bulletin Board: IPLY - News) announced today that four of its franchise titles for the classic Sega Genesis videogame system will soon appear on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console.

Earthworm Jim, Earthworm Jim 2, Boogerman, and Clayfighter, all popular Interplay titles on the Sega Genesis in the 1990s, will be available later this year on the Wii Virtual Console.

Nintendo's Virtual Console makes some of the greatest video games in history available for Wii. Users can download and play many favorite NES, SNES, N64, NEOGEO, Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx 16 titles.
Man, Boogerman...$.05 for the person who can tell me (without cheating) what eminent Fallout artist also worked on Boogerman.

Link: Four Interplay Classics Arrive on Wii Virtual Console.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:22

Videogaming247. Preview.

Fallout 3’s premise is thus: mankind blew itself up, and some humans retreated to Vaults. You are born in Vault 101, a sealed bunker which no one enters or leaves. The game begins with your birth, a blurred image of your father hovering over you as you open your eyes for the first time. Your parents’ joy is short lived, however, as mother Catherine dies after your arrival, leaving father James to bring you up.

Your choices begin immediately: you decide if you’re a boy or a girl, then select facial features based on a Vault impression of how you’ll look when you’re an adult. Neatly, the game then procedurally generates your father’s face based on your choices, meaning James looks like Dad when the newborn fog clears.
He goes on to mention the game will be playable at E3, and:
Fallout 3’s been stamped “game of the year” with good reason. The moniker’s subjective, obviously, but there’s no doubt that Bethesda’s RPG is up there with the likes of GTA IV and Gears of War 2 as one of the most anticipated of 2008. Now we’ve had a chance to see why, there really isn’t much more we’re looking forward to playing.
Yeah, why wait for it to be, y'know...released. You saw, what, a full hour of the game? Well then. Game of the year!

I hope this was the last of vg247's fragmentary Fallout 3 coverage.

Link: Fallout 3 dazzles at London showing on VG247.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:10

Speaking to Eurogamer (Kieron Gillen), Pete Hines explains that Bethesda doesn't like people playing games before they buy them.

"When you build it as one thing, there's no way to portion off a section and have it stand on its own without putting the whole game in the demo, which we're just not going to do," said Hines.

"And it doesn't really capture the fun of a game like an Elder Scrolls or a Fallout, where you can go where you want and do what you want. So no demo, sorry."
Link: Fallout 3 demo not possible on Eurogamer.

News for Sunday, April 20, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 18:05

bit-tech.net has done a preview for Fallout 3. One should not bit-tech.net usually focuses in their reviews and previews on the technical aspects, and normally put a lot of care and thought into every article. Let's see what they come up with.

In this line of work, it's very easy to start taking things for granted. Every day it seems like you're being shown another exclusive game or you’re meeting your heroes. Free games come through the post regularly and your workmates practically sit on thrones carved from super-expensive graphics cards. Every day is another battle in the war to keep a sense of proportion.

But, let me tell you, getting to see Fallout 3 before it was released was like a dream come true and, as one of the biggest fans of the series in the world, you can take it as a huge endorsement when I say that the game looks fantastic.

The sequel to Interplay's classic RPGs of the early nineties, Fallout 3 has been a controversial game to say the least. The sale of the game license to Bethesda may have revived the failing Interplay, but it also incensed fans who reacted strongly to the shift of developer and perspective.

Can one company's seminal isometric RPG be another company's first-person sandbox RPG? Never mind the fact that it has shifted to the makers of The Elder Scrolls series – is such a thing even possible?

Yes. Yes, it is.
Good start.
S.P.E.C.I.A.L. is the skeleton on which Fallout is built on; a system of statistics which govern all the players’ attributes and abilities. It stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck and by upgrading or degrading each stat players can create an alter-ego that is truly detailed. One of the classic mistakes that new Fallout players would make is to think that it was just like in Dungeons and Dragons where it only affected player actions – everyone would turn down Intelligence and beef up Strength.

The unwitting result of this tinkering would then be a character so stupid that he could not make himself understood, would struggle to get new quests and have constant setbacks on the route to victory. He’d hit like a sledgehammer dropped from a height though.

How much of this that Bethesda has really taken on board was something we didn’t really get to see and, because the game is still in alpha and filled with placeholder dialogue, Pete was understandably wary of showing us much of the game’s dialogues.
(...)
Combat in Fallout 3 has been one of the most looked at areas of the game, mainly because as a concept it’s so hugely different from the original games. What was isometric and turn-based before is now a first-person real-time kind of affair.

Well, that’s true for the most part.

Combat in Fallout 3 can actually change depending on how you want to play the game and, while the default is a first-person real-time kind of shooter, it’s not the only option. Players can switch to third-person over-the-shoulder viewing angles whenever they want if that’s their preference and the game can also be switched over to a turn-based mode using the VATS function of the PipBoy computer the player constantly carries.

Switching over to turn-based isn’t permanent though and players have a set amount of action points to use for shooting at enemies before the game reverts back to real-time so the AI can get a shot off. Your action points will then recharge after a few seconds and you get a chance to queue up your attacks once more, unleashing crippling blows however you please.
Yip. There we go. "Turn-based".

Well done. But here's the seminal quote:
On the downside, it does seem like Bethesda has polarised the enemies a little if you ask me. One of the things that made Fallout stand out was that there never was a true sense of right and wrong as such things as chivalry had long died in the wasteland.

On the one front, Bethesda has mirrored this once more by using Karma to track the player’s actions and popularity, but on the other you won’t be finding any friendly mutants like in past games. Pete confirmed with us that all the Super Mutants are dead – “Once a creature, always a creature.”

While that definitely makes the game a lot simpler and more accessible to players who want to boil Fallout 3 down to little more than a shooter, it does kind of feel like some of the greyness has been lost as a result. A world of black and white and clearly defined sides isn’t bad, but it is a little less involving.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on bit-tech.net.

Spotted on Fallout 3: APNB.

Posted by Morbus - at 17:05

...of Fallout 2. In an article to gather the “15 end-all, be-all of tales to titillate your inner literary critic”, Games Radar chose Fallout 2 as a worthy entry for the list:

Why it's the best:
Fallout 2’s amazing opening scene mimics its predecessor, explaining the nuclear holocaust in simple terms, as something we all knew was inevitable, a battle for resources and two super powers finally losing their cool and utilizing nuclear weapons. “War, War never changes.” (...)
Well, you know the plot. You can find the rest here.

Link: The Best Videogame Stories Ever @ Games Radar

Thanks Ezekial and the guy of the blog.

News for Saturday, April 19, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 1:22

videogaming247 severely tested everyone patience with the way they release the Fallout 3 Q&A, but I guess that's Web 2.0 for you. At least they had the decency to put it all in one place now. We missed the last bit, which also happens to be the only bit with new information.

“There’s old roadside diners that you can find, and just different stuff like that. The baseball field is one we haven’t talked about, but you’ll find guys out in the wasteland with baseball bats that’ll attack you.”

Hines showed us both outdoor and “dungeon” style encounters in buildings, and confirmed that the two will be treated differently.

“The outdoor is seamless, so the entire world is non-loading: it’s just one big world to explore,” he said. “The indoor environments we treat separately, so whenever you enter buildings or locations you get a load screen.”

The number of encounters is yet to be fixed, however, and it sounds as though there’s still plenty of “fiddling” going on.

“I don’t actually know how many [encounters] we’ve got, partially because we’ve been adding them and moving them around, and like, this area feels too cluttered, this area needs more stuff to do,” he said.

“We came up recently with new types of random locations to put in the world, just different stuff to come across… The number’s still a bit fluid, but all told there’s just a ton of different locations to find and places to explore.”
Link: Baseball fields and roadside diner encounters revealed on VG247.

News for Friday, April 18, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:06

Because this point hasn't been regurgitated enough, CVG asked Pete Hines if he could please repeat himself again:

"We don't want it to be the focal point of the game, but it is what it is. It's a violent world, and so the combat should be violent as a result.

"I think we've done it to the extent that it's not realistic. It's a bit more tongue-in-cheek. It's Quentin Tarantino. So it's not storming the beaches of Normandy in Saving Private Ryan, where it looks like it's actually happening. It's more Kill Bill. It's violence that's a bit more over the top so it's more comical than disturbing."

Covering all bases, Hines concluded, "It's definitely a game for grown ups. It always has been. I think we've been very clear about that. This is a mature title for mature audiences. It's not a game for kids."
Link: Fallout violence "tongue-in-cheek" on CVG.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:59

Kind of "yawn" because the CE was noticed much earlier, but now Bethesda confirmed it. Fascinating.

This premium Fallout 3 package, presented in a customized, metal Vault-Tec lunch box, includes the highly-anticipated game, a collectible 5" Vault-Tec Vault Boy Bobblehead, 'The Art of Fallout 3' hardcover book, featuring never-before-seen concept art and commentary from Bethesda Game Studios artists, and 'The Making of Fallout 3' DVD that includes an inside look at Bethesda Game Studios and the team behind the game.

"We're very excited about this collector's edition and believe it truly offers gamers an amazing mix of unique items from the Fallout universe, combined with a great behind-the-scenes look at what goes into developing such an immense title," said Vlatko Andonov, president of Bethesda Softworks.
Bethesda Softworks® Announces Fallout® 3 Collector's Edition on Bethesda Softworks® Fallout® 3 website.

News for Thursday, April 17, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:37

Ausir started a Fallout mod wiki called Vault-Tec Labs about half a year ago. It's been growing steadily (thanks to much care and nurture from dude101) and now has about 178 articles, with enough info to be a viable guide source for your Fallout modifying work.

Modders everywhere, use and add to this wiki. The horde commands it!

Link: Vault-Tec Labs - a Fallout modding wiki.

Posted by Brother None - at 23:32

Next up for Inside the Vault is character artist Jonah Lobe, aka KamikazeKangaroo. Since they're not asking about Fallout anymore, let's dig up an old Bethesda forum quote in which he answers this.

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?
It's been a while since I've played Fallout, but God what a game. I rarely think that excessive gore and violence are great things - there's enough of that in the world - man, it really had it's place, and the game probably would have been far lamer if they hadn't executed it the way they did.
So anyway...
Any other hobbies and interests? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’ve recently joined the army of wannabie script-writers, and I’m trying to learn digital painting. My girlfriend and I rockclimb, I play pickup soccer, I hang out with my friends and see my little brother, who’s nine and definitely not old enough for Fallout.

I just participated in the Dominance War, which is a 3D character competition… for those interested in seeing some of my work — since my only Fallout-related work that has seen the light of day was one screenshot of the feral ghoul — and seeing the workflow of a 3D artist, you can check out my progress here.
Link: Inside the Vault - Jonah Lobe.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:16

Hit.ro has an interview at GDC 2007 in Leipzig (where NMA was too) available on their site. We missed it earlier, but here it is. As such, keep in mind this is an older interview and some of this info could well be outdated (like the number of endings he mentions).

Part 1 deals with guns, aiming and how you can miss based on skill levels.

It's set up so that you as a player can't really - I mean to a certain extent you can but you can't really overcome your character not being good at something. So if you're carrying a big gun, and you suck at using big guns, you can fire away but your bullets aren't oging to hit.
Part 2 deals with environmental damage, most stuff can't blow up (only cars and stuff). The game activities are split in main quests, quests and random stuff. There are fewer quests than Oblivion, but you can do the quests in more ways. There's no "I'm joining this faction, they're evil, so everything I do is evil". You can do the main quest, ignoring the side quests.
If we lock you in an area you can't leave, we don't want the enemies you fight to be grossly out of proportion with your character, 'cause you can't leave. So if it's an area where you can leave and run away, that's fine, we don't care, you get your ass kicked, leave and come back later. But if you're locked in a room or some place, we don't want it to be "well, these guys are 20 levels higher than you, you'll never defeat 'em, the game is screwed, sorry, too bad." We try to be a little forgiving in those situations.
Bottle caps are in, Pete says "we'll see" to the final question "will we find some Geckos in the game?"

Link: Pete Hines interview on Hit.ro website.

Thanks stefix.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:34

Bethesda PR man Pete Hines is touring Europe with the new demo, so expect a lot of European previews with exactly the same info as the American ones soon. Paris was hit last week, and today it was London's turn. The (pretty good) newsblog videogaming247 rushed home with their notes to type out some factoids from a quick Q&A with Pete Hines. On console:

“The 360 is our lead development platform, so we got it working on that one first,” he said. I mean, we develop them all simultaneously, but one of them’s got to be the lead, so it was 360.”

The choice was made more by the timing of the console’s release than anything else, Hines added.

“We had a year’s head start on the 360 because it came out a year earlier, so we had final dev hardware to work with earlier on than we did with PS3,” he said. “But as this point all three of them are pretty much on par. The goal is that, if I get three versions in here and hide the console or PC and just had them running on the screen, that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”
On framerate:
“Thirty frames a second is our goal, so it’s running at 30 frames a second and it’s nice and smooth,” he said, talking of the PC version.

“Yeah, that’s the goal,” he added, when asked if the 30FPS target was the same for Xbox 360 and PS3.
On PC specs:
“The goal is that it’s similar to what Oblivion was for its time,” he said. “So, it’s not Crysis but it’s not solitary, and hopefully it’s as scalable as possible. So if you’ve got a shit-hot machine and you’ve got all the latest video cards, and whatnot, then it’ll look amazing, but if you’ve got a standard gaming rig then it still runs good.”

In terms of a final PC spec for the game, Hines said it was still too early in the development cycle to be able to give a definite list.
Edit in (apparently videogaming247 is a big of fragmentary coverage): On DLCs.
“Given how successful it was for us on Oblivion, certainly it’s a given that we’ll look into it and what we’d like to do,” he said, talking of extra content for the anticipated post-apocalyptic RPG.

“But I can’t tell you when, I can’t tell you what it would be, or what it would look like. Will it be bigger stuff like Knights of the Nine or smaller stuff? We’ve no idea. We’ll let folks know once we get down the road.”
Edit (ok they're starting to annoy me a bit now, why not just put all this in one post?): On Dogmeat.
What happens if he dies?

“Dead,” said Hines.

Is there another dog?

“Nope. One dog. Be careful.”

Dogmeat can be sent to find ammo, food, stimpacks, and so on, but if you don’t think about what you’re doing with him he’s not going to last very long, from the sound of it.

“So obviously you have to be careful about where you send him foraging for stuff,” said Hines. “If you’re attacking a Raider camp, or something, and you’re running low on ammo and you say, ‘Go find me ammo,’ and he goes running through a bunch of Raiders, they can shoot and kill him while he tries to do what you told him. So you’ve got to be smart about where you send him off.”

Luckily, our canine friend isn’t necessary to the plot.

“It’s an homage to the original game to have a memorable dog that you can have with you, and it’s a way to give you a companion.”
Wow, an NPC that dies and stays dead. What a friggin' novel concept.

Posted by Lexx - at 12:56

Is this Mr. Handy?


Remember GameSpot:
You'll even get to take on a few rudimentary quests at your party or just watch the many-armed robot of the future, Mr. Handy, mangle your birthday cake with one of its buzz saw-arm extensions.

News for Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:15

A thread on the Bethesda forums speaking on dialogue and intelligence managed to extract some fairly clear answers. First community managers Matt Grandstaff forwards a bit from Emil:

Anyhow, I just chatted with Emil on the matter and he had this to say:

We don't have full dialogue options for characters with low intelligence. That is to say, you cannot simply "Ughhh" and "Agghh" your way through dialogue. That said, there are some Intelligence-specific dialogue options in the game.

That's all I've got for now
And lead designer Emil Pagliarulo clarifies a bit.
I know you guys haven't seen a lot of dialogue, but I really don't think you'll be wanting for options in that regard. The dialogue trees are pretty detailed, and there are plenty of response options, including those that check for skills, perks, S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes, etc.

The one screenshot with dialogue that we did release -- shows a guy with a couple of "do you want to come with me" type of responses -- is actually an example of the smallest set of responses. The majority of NPCs have several more.

In general, what you can say depends on who the NPC is, all your combinations of stats and skills, events that have transpired, how you want to respond (different "attitudes" or "voices"), and more.
Sounds good.

Link: Thread on BGSF.

Thanks Grimhound.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:22

GamePro brings us their take.

Ghouls come in three varieties: harmless, "Feral" ghouls who consume human flesh, and "Glowing Ones" who absorb radiation and heal other zombies.
(...)
We can't help but notice that Fallout 3 looks better and better each time we see it. The latest version boasts improved graphics, which were so detailed you could practically smell the ash in the air as you walked through the decaying streets of D.C. The attention to detail is superb: while prowling through mutant-infested ruins, we trotted past lookalikes of famous structures such as the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The meat-and-potatoes combat looks impressive, too, with miniguns and rocket launchers that will make shooter veterans sit up and take notice. Yet despite the slick first-person combat, Fallout 3 is first and foremost a role-playing game. Upgrading your equipment and choosing the best skills are as important as having a speedy trigger finger. Judging by the success of Oblivion, we wouldn't have it any other way.
But also:
As in Oblivion, the world of Fallout 3 is an open book: you can theoretically travel almost anywhere, at any time, without waiting for new areas to be "unlocked." In a similar touch, many of the battles and events are unscripted and random. For instance, you'll meet a friendly companion called "Dogmeat" sometime early in the game, but the time and place of that meeting depends on chance
Unscripted? You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

Link: Fallout 3 preview on GamePro.

Thanks VDweller.

News for Monday, April 14, 2008

Posted by Morbus - at 20:07

Once again, Vince brought us a little something about The Age of Decadence through the Watch: the second part of the "Let's Play AoD" thread exposition. Lot's of screenshots, lots of info.

Where were we? Our brave assassin returns to the guild and reports that the mission is completed successfully and that the late merchant Gracius is on his way to the underworld. :salute:
Read on!

Link: Let's Play AoD #2! @ RPG Watch

Thanks Jedi_Learner

Posted by Brother None - at 18:02

The Bethesda forum was rife with speculation following this quote from GameTap:

One interesting side detail: A Bethesda representative was demonstrating the combat and had power armor equipped. While he was basically a nigh-impenetrable tank, his visibility was cut down, so the perception stat had a significant penalty--one that made VATS nearly impossible to use (...)
Luckily, lead designer Emil Pagiarulo was there to not really answer the question at all.
I know there are a lot of questions on this issue, and there's only so much I can say, but I will say this:

Giving any kind of specifics right now is a bit of an exercise in futility. I could tell you what the stats on the Power Armor are at this very moment, but then you'd get the game in a few months, see that they're different, and consider me a filthy liar.

The truth is, we're in the stage of development now where systems are getting constantly balanced and rebalanced. So Power Armor will certainly affect your abilities in some capacity, but exactly what it modifies has changed, and will likely change again.

Though I will clarify one thing -- nothing flat out prevents you from going into V.A.T.S. Some armors grant different bonuses and penalties, and that can affect your Action Points (and certain weapons certainly require more Action Points than others). But, as it's the player's job the manage this stuff, using V.A.T.S. (and using it effectively) is possible regardless of what you're wearing.
Thanks Lingwei.

News for Sunday, April 13, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:30

Señor DeLuxe has been providing us with some great art shots released weekly on his post-apocalyptic art site, Glowing Grounds.

Today is the day I´ve been looking forward to quite some time: I just launched my website www.glowinggrounds.com, where I will showcase my postapoc art...

For now it´s seven images I made during the last years, inspired by FO (among others) but not set directly in the FO universe. I´m sure you´ll spot the references. I´ve been working on these pics nearly every minute of my spare time (which has been not all that much recently), I guess I really have to thank my wife for being so incredibly patient.

When I started with "EVACUATION ROUTE" more than three years ago I had no idea that it would take me so goddamn long to actually show it. At some point, when I thought it was done and ready to be posted on NMA I thought I could make some more images and post them altogether. And so I ended up working on seven images simultaneously. When I had finished the last one the early ones didn´t seem to keep up in terms of CG quality with the later ones, so I reworked them. When I had done this I found glitches and flaws here and there and continuosly went back to every single image again and again, with my own demands continuously increasing...
Finally it just has not been possible for me to keep pace with the rising standards in CG art. So while initially I had three more images in mind (even started two of them), I feared I would never finish my project and dumped those to focus on the ones that where nearly done.

I do have plans to update my site with more postapoc art in the future, although taking more creative freedom, maybe trying some NPR techniques, maybe reactivating my long-neglected 2D skills. There´ll always be more stuff I´d like to do than I will have the time to I guess.


Fantastic stuff. Be sure to keep an eye on his site, Glowing Grounds.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:24

Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog points to a 1up podcast on Fallout 3. Bethesda producer Ashley Cheng notes:

I like the 1UP Yours podcast, and was surprised to hear them talking about Fallout 3 in the latest. They have Geoff Keighly (from the awesome Gametrailers TV) and N’Gai Croal from Newsweek as guests. It sounds like they all got to see Pete during the press tour - good stuff. Great podcast, highly recommended.
Didn't listen to it, but thankfully Briosafreak gives a short rundown.
If you are a regular gamer then it’s an interesting discussion (from minute 15 to 32) on the demo they all saw of Fallout 3, with their take on the ups and downs, of things they liked and things they think could be improved or changed. They don’t like the game being called Fallout 3, since it might cut on the sales because of people that never heard of the other games not wanting to pick up the third in a series.

For someone that played Fallout 1 or 2 recently, or is a hardcore Fallout fan, the podcast is a bit funny at times. They aren’t very knowledgeable regarding the series, that’s for sure.
Per's snippets for great justice:
They use the words "procedurally generated" about Liam Neeson's face. Everyone else has used those exact words, so either that's the exact technical term to describe it and calling it something else would be silly, or else Pete Hines used those words and everyone just noted them down and have to use them like that since they don't know whether changing them a little would be wrong and stupid.

They think the tutorial stages are an example of powerful storytelling in games ("gametelling"), using the word "seamless" repeatedly. They don't entirely agree, though, for instance one of them thought even having to click to select a sex takes you out of the experience.

The birthday party is where you start using dialogue trees. Karma points will be handed out already at this stage depending on whether you act mean or nice. One guy mentions being disappointed that you can't try to get along with the gang in preparation for meeting them again later in the game. Maybe the demo character just didn't have the right stats or karma?

They're excited that you can do different stuff because mostly in games you have a clear idea from the start what you can or can't do.

They use the word "masterful" to describe the idea of having Dogmeat scavenge stuff for you.

They think Fo3 will be "this year's Assassin's Creed, Bioshock even".

One of them thinks combat is "so much better" than anything from Elder Scrolls, "a mixture of tactics and action". The others observe that they haven't actually played it themselves yet. Third person perspective is "appliable", but on the other hand "you will spend some of the time playing as you would a first person shooter".

They note there are only offensive options in combat, not defensive ones like dodging or leaning.

You're not going to walk very far in the game world before you "get to a place where something happens".

According to Pete Hines the game has 70 hours of gameplay ("Oh my God") for someone who will do every possible quest.

They have basically understood how the "500 endings" will work, but one of them still makes an aside as if he hadn't ("Will the game really come out this year?").

They think the game might be "weird" because you'll only be "going around and simply shooting", and in the absence of magic or psionics you won't be able to do "combos" or "abilities".

They think the camera works somewhat awkwardly while in dialogue and also a little in combat. This part is a bit hard to follow, but I gather they think the fact it's not a dedicated shooter may turn off shooter fans who expect more solid shooteriness. Poor shooter fans?

One guy liked playing Mario Kart with a wheel.
Link: 1UP Yours Podcast.
Fallout 3 Appreciation Festival on F3: APNB.

News for Saturday, April 12, 2008

Posted by Morbus - at 14:10

As you may know, the Let's Play thread has come to an end, so we were open for any new info about AoD that may come our way. And here it is:

Vince asked me to post something to keep discussions going, so here is the Maadoran palace. Maadoran was one of the largest pre-war cities and its palace was an architectural and technological marvel. Four towers surrounding the palace were ready to generate shields, protecting the palace from arcane attacks. Eventually the towers were disabled, but the palace survived.

House Aurelian claimed Maadoran after the war and took over the palace and its famous library containing thousands of scrolls from all known lands.

Link: Location: Maadoran Palace @ AoD Forums

Posted by Brother None - at 0:29

Veritech_Ace mentioned a rumour of an October 7 release date for Fallout 3 on GameStop. While that's highly unreliable, the site also has another interesting tidbit: a collector's edition?



Link: Fallout 3 Collector's Edition (PC) on GameStop.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:25

Responding to the Play Magazine's statement that the developers "are considering making the player able to complete the game without killing anyone, using only dialogues, sneaking and hacking" [quoting Ausir's translation], Emil Pagiarulo quickly explains: "no".

I've found that, occasionally with European non-English mags, some stuff gets lost in translation. I think this is one of those cases.

We've been pretty upfront before about the fact that we haven't designed the game so you could complete it without killing anyone. You can play MUCH of Fallout 3 without killing people, and there are options to talk your way through just about every situation in the game. But it's a crazy, violent world out there, and you're going to have to defend yourself at times.

Just wanted to clear that up.
The amount of inaccuracies in the recent coverage keep stacking up. Keep that in mind when reading.

Link: Emil Pagiarulo post on BGSF.

Thanks UncannyGarlic.

News for Friday, April 11, 2008

Posted by Per - at 23:57

UGO and Crispy Gamer preview Fallout 3, and they are impressed! Mostly!

UGO: The last time I saw Fallout 3 was last E3. It’s been almost a year since then, and that brief glimpse was plenty to keep me obsessing about it. It was precisely the game that Fallout fans were looking for, from the aesthetic to the gameplay to the PipBoy. It was proof enough that Bethesda knew what it was doing.

Crispy Gamer: Visuals are looking fantastic, even at this early stage of development; Story looks very intriguing; Character creation system is really cool; Dogmeat!
What will those game makers think of next? Here's a little bit on stuff:
Crispy Gamer: Though the game doesn't directly resemble those [Fallout] classics of the computer role-playing genre, an air of familiarity is bound to hit you with this one, as it shares a great deal in common with Bethesda's wildly successful The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

UGO: By the end you’ll lay out your 7 stats how you want them, but again, this happens all within the environment. You’re not staring at a generic menu screen, you’re actually looking at a book, making the experience feel a bit more “real.”
Actually looking at a book? Not a menu screen designed to look like a book?
UGO: It’s here that we encountered our first ghouls. Basically they look like zombies, but can act incredibly intelligent or incredibly deranged, depending on how much radiation they’ve soaked up. [..] Their boss, however, is a glowing ghoul who, upon encountering him, caused us to get a brief glimpse at what his life was like before the attacks, as he looked normal and worked diligently in a laboratory. Now, though, he’s all about yelling and trying to kill us.

Crispy Gamer: A few select ghouls still have some semblance of humanity buried within their frail bodies, and these creatures will be NPCs with which you can interact. The rest are purely animalistic, more zombie than anything else.

UGO: Apart from the giant minigun we were toting, we also had Power Armor, the most protective armor in the game. Unlike Fallout 1 and 2, though, this is not always the “best” armor, as it does limit your perception and agility a good deal (apart from being a bitch to lug around).

Crispy Gamer: If you frequently help NPCs in trouble and do good deeds, you'll be a good guy. If you're a cold-blooded killer who murders ruthlessly and talks mean to people, you'll be a bad guy. If you try to avoid conflict and rarely take sides, you'll be neutral.

Crispy Gamer: Incidentally, your companions are entirely mortal, meaning once they die, they're dead.
ERROR ERROR CANNOT GRASP CONCEPT

And of course, the combat system is impressive.
UGO: Activating VATS, the game’s turn-based combat system, we were able to take a few aimed shots at his head with a laser rifle, but, lacking a decent Energy Weapon stat, did little damage. So we did what anyone would do in this situation...we tossed a crapload of grenades at him until he exploded in a pile of limbs, oozing green, glowing radiation. Huzzah!

UGO: At one particuarly heated moment in the battle, one of the mutants flipped us the bird, which even surprised Pete Hines of Bethesda, who had never seen them do that before. It really goes to show you how much effort the devs are putting in to make each battle unique and the AI feel believable.

Crispy Gamer: [The Fat Man] essentially launches a miniature nuke at whatever you're aiming to obliterate, and its destructive power is hysterically entertaining. If watching mutants blow apart or seeing burnt out cars explode with spectacular effect ever gets old, then we'd like to grow old right along with it.

Crispy Gamer: If we had to name a concern, it's simply that the unique combat system might not completely pan out. It could strike a great balance between RPG conventions and traditional action, or it could end up being a case of, "You got your shooter in my RPG, dammit!" We think it looks like a cool system, but we'll reserve judgment until we get real hands-on time with the game [...]
Well, that last one was a bit of a change from the usual fare. Toss in some confusion about the number of endings for completitude, but not much fan-bashing at all really.

Link: UGO: Fallout 3 Updated Demo Impressions
Link: Crispy Gamer: Preview: Fallout 3

Spotted on Bethesda Game Studios Forum

Posted by Per - at 19:37

GameTap and WorthPlaying preview Fallout 3, and they are impressed!

WorthPlaying: On Apr. 9, Bethesda invited journalists to the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco to check out their progress on Fallout 3, and to tell us that we'd be allowed to go hands-on with it at this year's E3 [...] Bethesda won the bidding war back in 2004, nerd rage ensued, and now we have this: a first-person shooter with heavy RPG elements (or perhaps it's the other way around), a huge open world set in and around the radioactive ruins of Washington, D.C., and a fan base that may actually be legally insane. [..] It's a solid project with a good pedigree from a proven developer, though, so it's almost certainly a sure bet.

GameTap: Much like both the previous Fallout titles and the previous Bethesda games (Oblivion, Morrowind), player choice will be significant. [..] Up to now, the developers have shown mostly combat, as that is infinitely easier to demonstrate than dialogue and quest solutions, but the simple fact that you can decide whether a town stays on the map or gets wiped out is already exciting enough to tide us over until the next time we see Fallout 3 before its fall release.
What will those game makers think of next? Here's a little bit on friends and enemies:
WorthPlaying: In the demo, the ghouls were holed up inside an old office building, where the Glowing One provided brief flashbacks to how the building looked before the war.

GameTap: Watch out, for there are creatures like radscorpions and deathclaws about. Beyond those, there are quite a few supermutants--slobbering freaks that wander around and kill people for the heck of it. [..] Your first [party member] will always be Dogmeat, a trusty canine from the previous games. [..] At the moment, the developers are still tuning the party members; you'll likely just have two at a time, and whether they join you in the first place is dependent on your karma rating.
And of course, the combat system is impressive.
GameTap: What we've seen of combat is pretty straightforward first-person action-RPG mayhem. [..] One interesting side detail: A Bethesda representative was demonstrating the combat and had power armor equipped. While he was basically a nigh-impenetrable tank, his visibility was cut down, so the perception stat had a significant penalty--one that made VATS nearly impossible to use, which was just one example of the hard tactical decisions you'll need to make.

WorthPlaying: Tossing a nuclear grenade in slow motion directly into a mutant's open mouth is pretty much the best thing ever.
Strangely enough GameTap's preview doesn't include a dig towards the fans, which is perhaps why WorthPlaying felt they had to make up for it by going the whole nine yards.

Link: GameTap: Fallout 3
Link: WorthPlaying: Preview - 'Fallout 3'

Spotted on Bethesda Game Studios Forum

Posted by Brother None - at 16:53

The new previews aren't exactly rich in new info and most of them aren't worth the read, which adds value to this post on the Bethesda forum outlining the new details.

Kotaku

"The Pip-Boy 3000 has many of uses for interacting with your character as well as emitting light for use in those darker areas of which there are many."

"If things get too dangerous, you can always have him (Dogmeat) wait nearby or send him back to Vault 101 where his safety will be assured." (Vault 101 = Safe?)

IGN

"This is when you get to actually choose your character's look, picking from either preset selections or creating a custom look by mixing and matching different attributes. There are plenty of options to choose from, some quite colorful, like the "gunslinger" option for facial hair."

"It's during your toddler phase where dad also introduces you to a quote that will apparently play an important role in the game (We won't print it here for spoiler reasons, but if you're curious and don't mind a spoiler, it's taken from the Book of Revelation in the Bible. Look for Chapter 21, Verse 6)"

"...the idea with Dogmeat is that you can converse with him (he'll answer in barks, whimpers, and other appropriate canine noises), and he'll be knowledgeable about the surrounding area."

"There are even grenades to help clear out rooms."

"Throughout this battle the demonstrator switched between weapons using the Pip-Boy 3000."

"The supermutants carried everything from sledgehammers to rocket launchers."

Joystiq

"...but Hines expects more than Oblivion, with roughly 50 to 60 different character voices."

GameShark

"You're given a final opportunity to make any desired changes to your character--confirm sex, name, attributes, perks, etc--and then it's off into what remains of the post-modern world." - Looks like you can pull the sewer gate trick instead of redoing the tutorial, but will skipping it altogether be an option?

"Once a popular tourist spot (mall of Washington D.C.) it has degraded into a war zone, ravaged by battles between the Brotherhood of Steel and legion of super mutant that have annexed the Capitol Rotunda as their headquarters."

1up

"However, I was a bit bummed when Hines said we won't be able to become mutants."

Shacknews

"But while the general background is the same, none of the characters or locales from the original two games will make an appearance."

"It may not be a lonely world out there--what with super mutants, the mercenaries of the Talon Company, and the cult-like Brotherhood of Steel all marauding across the landscape--and it sure isn't a friendly one, either."

"Abandoned vaults and bombed-out buildings are to Fallout 3 what the generic caves and decrepit Elven ruins were to Oblivion."

Gamespot

"You'll even get to take on a few rudimentary quests at your party or just watch the many-armed robot of the future, Mr. Handy, mangle your birthday cake with one of its buzz saw-arm extensions." - confirmation that "many-armed" device in birthday screenshot is Mr. Handy?

"...you can't have any meaningful conversations with him (Dogmeat) or have him carry a ton of inventory." - While you do interact with Dogmeat through the same conversation mechanism as other NPC dialog, thankfully the options are limited to commands. It is also mentioned that scolding and/or praising Dogmeat will not affect Karma.

"Feral ghouls are extremely swift and vicious, leaping at you with tremendous speed."

"...coupled with the weapon's (minigun) startup delay..." - A nice touch of realism for the minigun

"...you'll receive most of your alerts, such as new quests, as brief text messages that fade away, similar to friends notifications on Xbox Live."

Team Xbox

"...we were already impressed by little touches, such as how the loading screen offers a selection of statistics and your level progress taken directly from your gameplay."

"when 'Dogmeat' joins you on your trek, it isn’t something that’ll happen in the game at the same point if you play it three times in a row." - confirmation that Dogmeat is part of a random encounter as suggested in earlier previews

Gamespy

"Vault 101's overseer presents you with your very own Pip-Boy 3000, which will serve as your quest log, map, and radio receiver throughout your wasteland jaunt, sporting a handsome cathode ray tube display that doubles as a flashlight when clicked on its highest setting." - More on the Pipboy "flashlight". Confirmation that instead of a flashlight setting the players turns up the brightness on the display for a light halo similar to previous Fallouts (sorry if this is boring but I had been wondering about that for ages)

Games Radar

"We also toured a mall of Washington D.C., where we saw the Washington Monument. In the future, it's full of holes, but still standing, and the elevator will still goes to the top." - Confirmation (?) that the Washington Monument from the official trailer is in fact a playable area.
Not all of that is actually new (the PIPBoy weapon switching thing was in our preview, for instance), but that's about all the new information this dumpload of previews got us. Good job, Aonaran.

Also, Revelation 21:6 (King James):
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
The Book of Revelation 21 has many layers, and the famous "I am Alpha and Omega" statement is often used to indicate God to be beyond time. Revelation as a whole is about the end times and 21 is John's vision of heaven. Obviously, this all lends itself to a lot of idle speculation, but we probably shouldn't dig too deep, in which case "I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely" just rings G.E.C.K. I mean duh.

Posted by Per - at 13:39

Croatian magazine PC Play has published a Fallout 3 preview accompanied by a Gavin Carter interview. Our anonymous tipper sums it up:

They ask him what is Bethesda's target audience for Fallout 3 - RPG or FPS gamers? He answers that the game isn't a hardcore shooter but an RPG in its core with action-oriented combat. He says there's more to do than in any Call of Duty.

When they ask him about the game's 12 endings he states that there are actually 60 individual endings where some are more or less similar. (This information is totally confusing because it doesn't play well with 200 endings or so.)

He says that the differences between PC and console versions will be minimal.

He ranks the violence level of Fallout 3 as 7 or 8 on a 10-level scale. He mentions Kill Bill and Kurosawa's samurai epics here.

They ask him if he's afraid of real nuclear holocaust in the modern world and he answers that it doesn't concern him since he has no influence over it.

In the end they express their fear that consoles may badly influence Fallout 3 game mechanics.
If the cover seems familiar it may be because the same image was used on 360 Magazine.

News for Thursday, April 10, 2008

Posted by Per - at 21:51

A million gaming sites preview Fallout 3, and they are impressed!

Kotaku: After a series of simple tasks like playing with your toys and opening your playpen, you can explore the room a bit.

Destructoid: Eventually, your father returns to discover your breakage from kiddie refinement, but of course there are no negative consequences, since you can innocently burble back at him with "ga-ga's" and "da-da's", with the help of the trusty A button.

1Up: Seriously, though, the cunning way that Bethesda takes the thinking behind traditional tutorials and character creation interfaces and naturally integrates these game conventions into the game's narrative is impressive.

IGN: Nothing that we saw made us change our minds about Fallout: This is going to be a heck of a role-playing game, and the combination of Fallout's ironic sense of humor and cool setting with Bethesda's experience and expertise looks like a match made in heaven.

Gamespot: Though we've only had a few chances to see the game, Fallout 3 looks very impressive, seems to be shaping up to be what the Bethesda team has set out to make--a role-playing game with the exploration and real-time combat of Oblivion but the role-playing elements of the classic Fallout from 1997.

TeamXBox: There’s also a lot of humor in such environmental elements as the signs around Vault 101, bulletin boards and the like, and we were already impressed by little touches, such as how the loading screen offers a selection of statistics and your level progress taken directly from your gameplay. It’s really no surprise that the publisher behind Oblivion would pack every corner of the game with detail, so you can be assured there’ll be a lot to absorb in Fallout 3 as well.

GameSpy: The Fallout series is iconic, storied, and means a lot to a lot of people. The team at Bethesda, thus far, has seemed cautious about the liberties it takes with the series' basic elements [...] We know Bethesda is probably on the right track.

Games Radar: After the mercenary was killed, we reflected on how much we want the Fallout series to continue to be awesome. Maybe some of the younger players have no idea what Fallout is all about.
What will those game makers think of next? A little bit on stuff that goes down in the game:
Kotaku: As any of you who are familiar with Fallout will know, your enemies are mostly radiated mutants or "ghouls" as they are called in the game.

Gamespot: Feral ghouls are extremely swift and vicious and come leaping at you with tremendous speed.

GameSpy: Fallout 3's iteration of the beast is tied into one of the game's boldest ideas: its flirtation with definitive consequence. See, if Dogmeat dies in battle, he's gone forever.

IGN: If you don't want Dogmeat around, you can tell him to go to Vault 101 where he'll stay until you need him [...]

1Up: Note, however, that this is not the same Dogmeat, since this game takes place over 100 years after the first two games.

Gamespot: You can also praise or scold him--this won't affect his morale or loyalty, but it will reflect whether your character is naughty or nice [...]
Because scolding a dog is evil, and the permanency of death is a bold new concept in games. And of course, the combat system is impressive.
Joystiq: As Hines moved around dark corners, he showed off the system that lets gamers choose to play as a real-time or turn-based shooter.

Destructoid: Once your moves are queued up and activated, the camera pulls back in a variety of action-packed angles to fully illustrate the various ranges of bodily explosions that soon follow. Each individual weapon you use has a myriad of camera angles and post-limb-flying shots [...]

Games Radar: If you shoot off a leg your opponent will move slowly (and hurt a lot) or if you shoot them in the head it causes blurred vision.

1Up: And thank god for V.A.T.S., because without it, well, the game really is just a shooter. Which is another thing -- or maybe the biggest thing -- that is pissing off the angrier of the nerdcore fans.
Toss in various additional mentions of the evil fans and varying stages of confusion about the number of endings for completitude. In other words, your average gaggle of Fallout 3 previews.

Link: Joystiq impressions: Fallout 3
Link: Kotaku: Growing up with Fallout 3
Link: IGN: Fallout 3 Progress Report
Link: Destructoid: Pew! Pew! Preview! Fallout 3
Link: 1Up Fallout 3 Preview
Link: Gamespot: Fallout 3 Updated Impressions
Link: TeamXBox Fallout 3 Preview
Link: GameSpy Fallout 3 Preview
Link: Games Radar: Our second look at Fallout 3

Thanks to VDweller who provided the link to the Codex

Posted by Per - at 20:37

Shacknews previews Fallout 3, and they are impressed!

Bethesda Softworks has a lot to prove with Fallout 3. Not to regular hardcore gamers like you and me, of course, nor the millions of fans who have enjoyed the company's previous work with the Elder Scrolls series. It goes without saying that Bethesda's record for quality is proven.

I'm one of those people [for whom this Fallout will be their first], and as a big fan of Oblivion, it looks like Fallout 3 has enough of the same hooks--the open world, the freedom of choice, the action-based role-playing--to really pique my interest. Except this time around, you get the added benefits of handheld nuclear bomb launchers and grisly exploding mutant heads.

Abandoned vaults and bombed-out buildings are to Fallout 3 what the generic caves and decrepit Elven ruins were to Oblivion [...]
What will those game makers think of next? Here's a little bit on the plot:
Not only does [using D.C. for a setting] give the writers a chance to start over with a fresh storyline grounded in Fallout's familiar milieu, but it also lets them address questions that never came up in the original games. For instance, what's been going on in the nation's seat of power since the first bombs dropped? What happened to the governmental infrastructure?
I don't know... did they move to oil rigs and start radio stations?
Early in the game, you'll find a courageous dog named Dogmeat and his master under attack, and when the master meets his inevitable end, Dogmeat will quickly become your loyal companion. [..] Of course, Dogmeat won't have lines of dialogue, per se, but you can still hold branching conversations with him, punctuated by barks and whimpers, that will let you build a rapport.
And of course, the combat system is impressive.
As it turns out, you don't gain a bonus to damage or anything else (except maybe thinking you're cool) by shooting from the hip with steady aim and fast reflexes. In fact, your damage and chance to hit are governed by your character's and gear's stats even when you're shooting in real time, so when you're fighting multiple enemies at once, you really ought to be pausing with the V.A.T.S. and setting up your shots. If anything, the real-time combat sounds like a good way to keep from needlessly interrupting your movement when you only have one or two weak enemies to deal with at a time.
Toss in mentions of the "outright fanaticism" of the "hardcore audience", psychic flashes from ghouls, and 500 ending variations for completitude. In other words, there is a little new stuff here.

Link: Shacknews Fallout 3 Preview

Posted by Per - at 19:39

GameShark previews Fallout 3, and they are impressed!

Last summer, Fallout 3 was a standout at E3 with its incredible visuals and remarkable gameplay potential. Nearly a year later, we're still amazed at the potential for this post-apocalyptic adventure. Bethesda offered a renewed look at the game Wednesday, showcasing the dynamics of its combat system and story depth.

The game does more than set you adrift in a massive world, letting you run wild without regard for consequence; on the contrary, it combines a dynamic system of interaction and morality for a compelling breed of role-playing never before seen. [..] Missions often force you to choose between branching paths that once selected, shut off possible outcomes and open up new avenues of exploration. Choose to kill a character and any associated quests are gone forever.
What will those game makers think of next? Here's a little bit on the environment:
Dogmeat, as well as any companions, should prove extremely helpful when venturing into the Washington mall. Once a popular tourist spot it has degraded into a war zone, ravaged by battles between the Brotherhood of Steel and legion of super mutant that have annexed the Capitol Rotunda as their headquarters. The Washington Monument has fallen to pieces, its wiry frame exposed by atomic blasts. Blown apart cars lie amid the ruins of government buildings. What once was a hub of human activity has become a front in a bloody war against hulking mutants that require intense firepower and clever tactics to defeat.
And of course, the combat system is impressive.
[V.A.T.S. is] a brilliant system, largely because it's entirely optional. [..] You could conceivably work through the entire game without every using it.
Toss in mentions of the "frighteningly rabid fan base" and "hundreds" of endings for completitude. In other words, there is absolutely nothing new here.

Link: GameShark Fallout 3 Preview

Posted by Brother None - at 14:54

This has kind of been floating around without us posting it, so here goes: poet-in-residence 4too pointed out the classic post-apocalyptic film A Boy and His Dog is now available as public domain on the Internet Archive.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:52

In honour of Charlton's Heston demise, dig up that classic Fallout 1 "Bob's Iguana Bits are people, THEY'RE PEOPLE!" reference and build your own Iguana Bob stand!

Hello there, Fallout Fan. Why so glum chum? What? You haven't gotten any Fallout swag?
Well, fret no more friend. You can make some yourself with the new Bob's Iguana Bits Market Stand kit. It's EASY and FUN! Best of all, it's FREE! Yes, that's right. So download yours today and enjoy the pride and prestige of owning your very own unoffical swag, suitable for office, den, trophy case, fallout shelter, Fallout shrine, etc.
Get yours today!

Available at an NMA download site near you.

Link: Iguana Bob Kit on NMA Nuclear Download Center, made by Octotron.

Posted by Sander - at 14:30

Here's the official translation of the press release of Nicolas Games incorporating Intoxicate studio:

Nicolas Games - Afterfall press info 1/2008

>>> Nicolas Games announces a new development studio - Aterfall the game begins!

Following a long-term growth strategy, Nicolas Games SA announces that a new development studio has been created, Nicolas Games Intoxicate. The studio shall focus on making an innovative computer game: Afterfall.

Afterfall is a Third Person Perspective cRPG (computer Role Playing Game), with its setting corresponding to the mainstream of post-apocalyptic fiction. Some other examples of this genre are: Fallout series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and Gears of War. Some claim that also Half-Life 2 belongs to the genre. This project brings together innovation, excellent visual effects and physics, plus tested and efficient solutions. This is certainly the largest fan project in the whole history of computer games, that has evolved to the stage of commercial production. Afterfall has gathered a constantly growing huge community of fans, started by Andrew Koloska who leads the project up to this day.

The game features a gripping, non-linear storyline with many turns of events. It also allows the player to create and develop his main character with use of wide selection of behaviours never before seen in any other game. Afterfall features hundreds quests and over a dozen organizations to join, infantry and vehicle fighting equipment, a random mutation system, cybernetic implants and prosthetic equipment.

Main features of Afterfall:

- the option to create and develop the main hero with unique capabilities never before seen in any computer game;
- a gripping, non-linear storyline with many turns of events, where your every decision has its consequences;
- hundreds quests to complete and over a dozen organizations to join;
- a "Dynamic Turn-based Combat" system with infantry units and vehicles;
- optional tactical game and stealth action features;
- a random mutation system, cybernetic implants and prosthetic equipment;
- around two hundred pieces of weaponry and over a thousand items, with the option of creating and modifying some of them manually;
- excellent visual effects and realistic physics, due to implementation of a state-of-the-art game engine.

The game will be published on PC platform, and the developers didn't forget about a Linux version.

The Afterfall crew – Intoxicate Interactive Group, currently: Nicolas Games Intoxicate – was an independent crew of game developers and gamers, who spent over 3 years on the project of a post-nuclear computer role-playing game with a storyline based in central Europe. Afterfall was announced by many Internet sites in Poland and worldwide. News also featured numerous interviews, amongst all an interview with the project’s lead designer, published in the prestigious "RPGCodex" magazine.

"I am very happy as father of Afterfall and Project Manager. My dreams came true!" - said Andrew Koloska. The whole team of 20 people working on this project at the beginning (plus 10 best freelancers in Poland) decided to take opportunity to create one of the biggest and absolutely best cRPG game ever. The process of developing will progress in brand new studio, located at Dabrowa Gornicza, Poland.

In the future we will issue detailed updates about the project and a dynamic growth of our company.
Link: Afterfall website.
Link: Nicolas Games website.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:24

The life and times of Jennifer Noland, QA tester.

How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?

I was actually told the company was looking to hire QA interns by my uncle and aunt — Steven and Christiane Meister — who both work at Bethesda. At the time, I was working in retail and hating every day of it. I immediately applied; I didn’t know what to expect, having never working in the gaming industry before, but I knew I had an addiction to video games and would love to have a hand in helping to make them, even just testing to make sure that they work properly. As luck would have it, I got the job and I quit my retail job as quickly as I could. I know — it’s not a very exciting story, but believe me, I was very happy to leave retail!

As for advice to getting in the industry — I am so awful with these kinds of questions, I never really know what to say, especially something that hasn’t been said already in the other interviews. I’d say be enthusiastic and passionate about the job. I think this is something very encouraging for your potential employers to see — of course they would want to hire someone who is going to love what they do!
OH GOD COULD THIS GET ANY DULLER?!

Link: Inside the Vault - Jennifer Noland.

PS: oh yeah, and no question about Fallout-playing experience. What's up, guys? Is it an intimidating question? Too kung fu?

News for Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 2:52

A press release available via Yahoo! sums up some points from Interplay's earnings and notes a full website should be launching soon.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., April 8, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Interplay Entertainment Corp. (OTC Bulletin Board: IPLY - News) recently announced its earnings for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2007, and its plan for the company going forward.

Net revenues for the year ended December 31, 2007 were $6,001,000, an increase of 520 percent compared to the same period in 2006.

The Company reported net income of $5.86 million, or $.059 per basic share and $.057 per diluted share, compared to net income of $3.08 million, or $.032 per basic and diluted share, in the same period last year. The net income reported in the twelve-month period of this year was primarily the result of the recording of $5,750,000 in income from recognition of the sale of the "Fallout" intellectual property.

In addition to reporting the annual results, the company also pointed to its two-pronged growth strategy. First, management is working to secure funding for the development of a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) based on the popular "Fallout" franchise. Interplay sold "Fallout" in 2007 while obtaining a license back, under certain conditions, to create and develop a "Fallout" MMOG.

At the same time, the company will leverage its portfolio of gaming properties by creating sequels to some of its most successful games, including Earthworm Jim, Dark Alliance, Descent, and MDK.

The company has recently reinitiated its in-house game development studio, and is hiring game developers.

Interplay Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Herve Caen said, "2007 set the foundation for our growth strategy. Going forward, we have the vision, unique intellectual property, and low debt and operational costs to help us pursue financing for our various projects. Our new Website will streamline our ability to communicate development progress with the public, share brand information with the fans and support our customers."
Link: Interplay Releases 2007 Earnings; New Web Site Launch Imminent.

News for Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 18:28

Ausir sent us some info extracted from a cover-page article on Fallout 3 from the Polish play magazine. Some bits are new:

* Same pics as in other magazines lately
* This cover
* Summary of the BoS article
* Super mutants kidnap local people and found a way to turn them into mutants
* You'll be able to issue commands to Dogmeat, e.g. tell him to bring you some items like ammo
* They use "active pause" instead of "VATS"
* The main statistic of weapons will be DPS or Damage Per Second. E.g. a shotgun has 20-40 DPS
* There will be addictions and diseases
* The world will have no invisible walls or other artificial barriers, instead of using the main entrance, you'll be able to climb over a wall or use another alternative way in
* The developers are considering making the player able to complete the game without killing anyone, using only dialogues, sneaking and hacking
* Conclusion: Despite the complaints of orthodox fans, hey're convinced that Fallout 3 is the future of RPG and will be great, but they're worried that while having awesome gameplay and atmosphere, the game will lack black humor
Bethesda sure is economical. Not only do they release only a handful of new screenshots but they actually get multiple magazines to do "exclusives" with the same screenshots. It's like a huge desert with a single oasis.

News for Monday, April 7, 2008

Posted by Per - at 17:08

As previously mentioned, 360 Magazine has a Fallout 3 special in their latest issue. Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog has procured a copy and shares the general information. The title of the article is apparently and oh so originally paraphrased from Dr Strangelove - "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Fallout 3" - and I'm not sure the irony in that works out how they intended. The article is characterized thus:

“Change is just about as inevitable as things come” is what we can read in the beginning of the piece. That sets the tone for a long introduction where the events that took place since Bethsoft got the license are shown, with a few historical inaccuracies in the middle.

This prepares a narrative that we can find throughout the entire article, of the “most rabid and dedicated fans” there is attacking Bethsoft for “the crime of purchasing the rights” of the Fallout franchise, while Bethsoft, that has key players that are “huge fans themselves”, try to reinvent and inovate.

Bethsoft is lead by someone that “those that worked for him openly refer to him as a genius”, named Todd Howard, and they do take Fallout 1 as their standard for cannon. While they take into account Fallout 2, and even a little of Fallout Tactics and Fallout: BOS, they always go back to the original for inspiration.
The blog gives a rundown of sidebars and screenshots, noting that all the good stuff is old, and concludes:
If you want to have a mini Fallout encyclopedia, need an introduction to the Fallout setting and timeline, or still haven’t found all the scans with the new pictures than do get the mag, if not there’s nothing really special there.
Spotted on Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog, obviously

Posted by Tagaziel - at 11:12

The German PC Games magazine has several previously unreleased screenshots, showing (apart from several others) the application of a minigun to a feral ghoul, a feral ghoul in his natural habitat and a supermutant demonstrating his Big Guns skill.



Link: PC Games' Fallout 3 gallery

Thanks go to runab0ut and Yoni M., the ever vigilant.

News for Saturday, April 5, 2008

Posted by Tagaziel - at 21:58

Afterfall has not been receiving much coverage lately, but have no fear! The post-apocalyptic alternate history role playing game is not going to go down easily, as it's developers, Intoxicate Interactive were recently hired by Nicolas Games, a Polish interactive software publisher, and reformed into a fully-fledged development studio, Nicolas Games Intoxicate.

What does that mean for us, gamers? Simply put, one of the biggest independent projects that has been in development for the past three years will quite propably arrive at it's destination.

And, according to Nicolas Games, it will feature

- ability to create and develop the player character, playing him using possibilities never before seen
- an engaging, nonlinear and twisting plot, where every choice has consequences
- hundreds quests to do and several organizations to join
- a dynamic turn-based combat system against people and vehicles
- a random mutation system and cybernetic implants and prosthetics
- about two hundred weapon models and over one thousand items, with the ability to craft and modify some of them
- excellent graphics and realistic physics provided by the modern engine
Spotted by the perceptive Globbi.

News for Friday, April 4, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 3:54

Bethesda is turning to the magazines for exclusives in earnest now, and next up is EGM. I've glanced at the article, and can guarantee you it is not worth purchasing the magazine for. In fact, I'm pretty insulted that they expect people to pay for this crap. Here is the 1 (one) tidbit of new info from there:

The new issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly has a two page special with a lot of new pics from Fallout 3, and some new info, like the Glowing Ones, ghouls that glow radiation that heals other ghouls but hurt you, and radio beacons that lead you to some loot.
And that's about it.

Link: new Fallout 3 info and pics on Fallout 3: A post nuclear blog (contains one new pic).

Posted by Brother None - at 1:25

Yes, the moment we've all been waiting for, Interplay has filed another yearly report. A few snips:

As of December 31, 2007, we had 4 employees, including 1 in software engineering, and 3 in finance, general and administrative.
(...)
As of December 31, 2007, our cash balance was approximately $1.1 million and our working capital deficit totaled approximately $2.3 million. We have some significant creditors that comprise a substantial proportion of outstanding obligations that we might not be able to satisfy. There is a balance owing to Atari Interactive, Inc. ("Atari") of approximately $1 million, and we may be unable to satisfy this debt which became due on March 31, 2008. We are in dispute with Atari and believe we may have various claims that may offset some or all of this balance.
(...)
For the year ended December 31, 2007, our net income was $5.9 million, $5.75 million of our revenue was recognized from the sale of an asset, and $1.425 million was recognized from settlements with creditors, reversal of reserves, and prior year payables. However, since inception, we have incurred significant losses and negative cash flow. As of December 31, 2007 we had an accumulated deficit of $2.3 million.
(...)
We are planning to exploit our license back of "Fallout" MMOG and are reviewing the avenues for securing financing of at least $30 million to fund its production but no assurance can be made that we will be able to do so, and our license back may as a result be terminated.
(...)
The Company's headquarters are located in Beverly Hills, California, where we lease approximately 3,100 square feet of office space. The facility is leased through April 2008. We are currently subleasing approximately 1,100 square feet of our facility to an independent third party. We also have a representation office in France.
(...)
The litigation with Bioware Corp. was finally settled in March 2008, when $200,000 held in escrow subsequent to our bankruptcy proceedings dismissal order was paid to Bioware Corp.
(...)
Product development expenses for the year ended December 31, 2007 were $18,000, a 100% increase as compared to the same period in 2006. This increase was mainly due to the hiring of a software developer in the fourth quarter of 2007.
(...)
We currently have five new products in early stages of development. We have reinitiated our in-house game development studio, and have hired game developers for this purpose.
No additional details on the FPD sale.

So, to summarize: they hired Jason D. Anderson (that we knew), they settled with BioWare but still have a debt to Atari. They're still working with a deficit but now have an office to work from. Five new products "in early stages of development" should probably be interpreted in the broadest sense possible.

In other words, nothing much happened before the end of 2007. The debt to Atari is believed to be due March 31, so I guess we'll have to wait 3-6 more months to see what happened there.

Link: 10-Q filing on SEC.

News for Thursday, April 3, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 15:21

For those amongst our readers that have an Xbox, there is a video interview with producer Todd Howard and lead artist Istvan Pely available.

When the folks from Official Xbox Magazine (OXM) came to our office to cover Fallout 3 for their April cover story, they also shot some footage with Executive Producer Todd Howard, as well as Lead Artist, Istvan Pely. Originally, these interviews were planned to be included on the disc that comes with OXM. Instead, they were able to work something out with the guys over at Microsoft to put it up on Xbox Live.

So today, if you’re logged into Live, head to the Xbox Live blade, then select Inside Xbox to watch the footage. There’s some interesting stuff — plus it gives you a chance to see some of the OXM screenshots in HD.
Us PC grunts will have to wait for it to pop up on Youtube, I guess.

Thankfully, there is a summary of all new info here.
It is basically more hyping up the game and giving us information that we already know, and pressing the "A" button will make your character cry.
Amazing.

Posted by Per - at 1:44

Tonight on In the Vault: Michael Lattanzia, adept QA tester.

Nobody makes games as big as ours and our testers are vital to our success. After we shipped Oblivion, many of our testers could troubleshoot and debug quest issues better than the designers could.

What is the best part about working as a tester? The worst part?
The worst part of being a tester is how repetitive it can get. Most people rarely spend more than 100 hours or so on a game, but as a tester we have to spend literally thousands of hours on the same game before it’s released. That quest that was really fun the first time through seems a lot less interesting when you’re playing it again for the 20th time.

The best part is everything else. I love getting to see the changes a game goes through over the course of the development. It’s also very entertaining seeing some of the crazy bugs that pop up along the way.
My fondest memory of this episode is a rare Sea Dogs II Pirates of the Caribbean Sea Dogs II poster with a pirate chick holding a gun. Or at least that's what I think it is. Join us tomorrow as we cast the bones to see whether or not Michael Lattanzia has ever played the first two Fallouts and/or applies any such knowledge in his work.

Link: Inside the Vault: Michael Lattanzia

News for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Posted by Per - at 16:37

The Fan Made Fallout team decided it would be a neat idea to hold another contest. (If you don't remember, the last one was about rats.) This time it's an art thingy and contestants are being asked to design the "Wattz 1500 Prototype Heavy Laser Pistol a.k.a. The HAMMER". The best submission will then be used in the Fan Made Fallout mod. Rules:

1- You need to design the graphic for the Hammer. It should be larger then the pistol pictured and smaller then the rifle. It should have some visible characteristic to enbody the "Hammer" theme.

2- The graphics should 180 x 65 pixels so it can be used as a inventory graphic

3-You can make it in either 2d or 3d as its only the final result that counts. The art should be pressented in one final art piece with transperent background and saved as a .gif indexed using the fallout palette.

4- You can also show your consept art if you want. This should be presented as a single image (MAXIMUM 800x600)
The deadline is April 30 and the winner will receive, in addition to a game credit and a rare chance to join a modding team, a surprise gift! Is it worth more or less than a credit in a mod that may or may not be finished? We don't know and that's why it's called a surprise.

Link: FMF art contest thread

Thanks to Sebastian of the Wastes

Posted by Per - at 14:31

Australian site Gameplayer (which previewed Fallout 3 in February) has published an article titled "Can Bethesda do Fallout?", going through a checklist of things that weren't too hot in Oblivion, and should be in Fallout 3. It should be noted they gave Oblivion PS3 a 9 "beyond epic, absolute masterpiece" verdict here, but they actually confirm the old Rybicki Maneuver theory is true: game journalists are incapable of criticising a game until it's been out for a while.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was released two years ago to pretty much universal acclaim (its average ratio on gamerankings.com is 94%). It’s a great game, there’s no denying that. However, it wasn’t until we got over the initial ‘wow’ moment of playing this incredibly deep and immersive RPG that we started to pick out some rather glaring flaws. Hey, we still love Oblivion, but a blind man could see some of the shocking faux pas that become apparent after spending some time exploring Cyrodiil.
So they're now ready to actually judge Oblivion without hype. The title "Bethesda needs to Level-up for Fallout 3 to be a Hit" and the intro promise a lot, but it is soon made clear that the writer both liked Oblivion and is fairly confident that Fallout 3 will be good.
Engaging quests: We saw a few of these in Oblivion, those types of quests that are multifaceted and engaging, and which give you a real sense of accomplishment upon completion. Simple fetch quests aren’t going to cut it, Bethesda. That said, the promise of multiple endings in Fallout 3 (over 200 according to Todd Howard, the Executive Producer of the game) indicates that Bethesda is hard at work on developing the intricacies of player choice in the game – such as good, neutral and evil decisions. It’s a promising sign.

Humour: There were a quite a few humorous asides in Oblivion (who managed to find the guy singing about cliff racers?) so we’re confident that the Fallout brand of humour is in fairly safe hands. A recent demo shown to the press also revealed that one of the stats that the game tracks is ‘corpses eaten’ – how morbidly intriguing!
Good NPCs are on the list, of course:
Grand Theft Auto IV is putting a lot of effort into social relationships, making your friends like you by talking to them and doing missions for them. A similar system would be great in Fallout 3; imagine being able to strike up a conversation with one of your companions and have them mention a personal dilemma that perhaps you can help out with.
Wait, didn't Bioware already do this for like every one of their NPCs ever?
Maybe even a sex scene a la Mass Effect. Of course, this is pure speculation, but we can dream.
The writer encourages everyone else to chip in with the wish list, since "maybe Bethesda will actually listen to us!" Yeah! Maybe this is the perfect time for it, unlike - say - 2 years ago, when NMA was hoping to give feedback before the game was, y'know, finished.

Link: Gameplayer: Can Bethesda do Fallout?.

Thanks to Sucks2BU

Posted by Per - at 13:42

A car breaks down on a dusty road. A lone couple trudges on under an ominous sky. But even if they find transportation, will it be enough to keep them safe... from pirates?

Fallout1999 is a 7-minute home production by Xak Boundary and friends that offers some visual treats and walks the fine line between pulp and camp.

Thanks to Xak Boundary

Posted by Per - at 0:35

After a week of suspense, many questions were answered with the filing of a Form 12b-25 by Interplay's CEO Herve Caen - or, as we shall perhaps refer to him now, the Interim Chief Financial Officer! Those who had speculated in an upcoming 20-F, 10-Q or maybe even an N-SAR were thus proven wrong and this is sure to stir up many emotions among the usual suspects. Among the prime revelations:

The Registrant's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007 could not be filed within the prescribed time period because certain information and data relating to and necessary for the accurate completion of the Registrant's financial statements and management's discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations could not be obtained by Registrant within such time period without unreasonable effort or expense.
In addition to this admission of gross tardiness it is pledged that "any significant change in results of operations from the corresponding period for the last fiscal year will be reflected by the earnings statements to be included in the subject report or portion thereof". The stock market has at the time of writing responded with moderate caution but in light of the new details this is apt to change quickly.

Link: NT 10-K filing