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News for Thursday, April 29, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 18:57

BethBlog interviews a new face, Obsidian's Senior Artist on Fallout: New Vegas, Joe Sanabria.

What games have you worked on?

The first game I worked on was called the Neverhood Chronicles, a cool little PC title done entirely in clay. After that I worked on Skullmonkeys, which was a side scrolling platform game on the PS1. In addition to being one of the level designers, I was also a level boss named Joe Head Joe.

From design and art I moved into a Producer role and worked on Boombots. After that I worked on some more main stream titles, Test Drive Off-Road and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, in which I got to create the some of the in-game characters including the Governator himself.

And now I’m working on this game called Fallout: New Vegas!

News for Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 1:57

Cheat Code Central previews Fallout: New Vegas, though nothing indicates if it's from first-hand or if it's another summation piece.

The V.A.T.S. system from Fallout 3 is returning in New Vegas, which allows you to freeze the action and strategically target specific enemies and their individual parts. A new upgrade to V.A.T.S. adds special attacks with unique effects to melee weapons. For example, a golf club weapon called the 9 Iron has a special attack that can potentially knock enemies off their feet. If getting up close and personal isn't your thing, New Vegas still has plenty to keep you satisfied. New Vegas features twice as many firearms as Fallout 3, including ridiculously powerful weapons like a rapid-fire grenade launcher and the Helios One orbital laser. You can even customize your weapons with scopes, larger magazines, and more.
(...)
The reputation system is a good yardstick for Fallout: New Vegas as a whole. It, along with most of the other changes, seems like natural extensions of the core Fallout gameplay. Fallout: New Vegas looks like it will offer up more of the same gameplay that players loved in Fallout 3, while offering up new content that keeps things fresh without feeling out of place. More of the same would be enough to make another Fallout game one of our most anticipated titles of 2010. The fact that Obsidian went the extra mile makes us want to play it even more.

News for Monday, April 26, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 17:21

Earlier on, J.E. Sawyer twittered this tidbit, which is a nice launch-off point for debate.

it is fine to have a formulaic dialogue tree structure as long as the content is not formulaic. that's my opinion, anyway.
True? False? Anyway, more musings on dialogue through Formspring, on minor NPC dialogue.
Do you have any particular approaches to NPC dialogue/chatter to help with immersivity and without them coming off as useless bots, taking up space, and never adding much lore or relevant information?

I am a believer in what Obsidian calls "barkstrings". Generic, rank-and-file characters in the world typically do not have full dialogue trees. Instead, they have a large list of reactive one-off lines that they will say either in passing or when you interact with them. As long as barkstrings react to things in a meaningful fashion, it's usually more satisfying than drilling generic characters for generic information through a dialogue tree.

Background characters should also be engaged in meaningful action. A world where people endlessly, randomly mill about feels like a world without purpose. Communities should have a focus and characters within communities should have roles that they fill.

Posted by Per - at 3:48

A man comes walking out of the desert... carrying potatoes! And a gun! And potatoes! Such is the plot of Desert Story, a short Fallout-inspired film by Phil and Tim Pape:

A post-apocalyptic dark comedy about a man trying to get some hookers. Part of a series entitled "Nuclear Coleslaw."







Link


If you watch it, that will be roughly 6:23 you will not spend doing something else.

News for Sunday, April 25, 2010

Posted by Tagaziel - at 15:20

Furries have fursuits, Trekkies have Klingons foreheads and Vulcan ears. What do Fallout fans have? Well, nothing for now, but there are dedicated individuals like weaponx who set out to fix that mistake and fill the gap with really good stuff. Here's a small teaser:



Yes, that's the frame of a PIP-Boy 2000 replica. Looks interesting? Drop by his thread and leave a comment or two!

Link: Fallout props/costume for Comic-con

Posted by Brother None - at 14:12

Resolution Magazine has a fairly negative and pretty asinine retrospective/review-esque thing on Fallout 3.

In Fallout 3, however, shooting is key. Sure, some weapons work better than others, but once VATS has run its course and I have to cower behind a rock while I wait for it to recharge, I have to trust in my FPS skills. Only, Fallout 3 isn’t an FPS. It’s an RPG, and the floaty crosshairs reflect this. None of the weapons have any real heft, and the controls slide around without weight or substance. It creates a disconnect that I can’t get over, but – more importantly – I keep bloody missing whatever I’m shooting.

Early on, this aggravation is compounded, not eliminated, by the turn-based VATS. I queue up a long line of attacks, only to see my laser beams fly off into the distance like a light show at a rave. In Fallout 3, this translates into dying a lot. It introduces the paranoia of constantly having to save every five seconds, which breaks any immersion. In some ways, this is a masterstroke of mercy. I’m constantly at odds with the cloying animosity of my surroundings, and any interruptions are a welcome relief.
Yeah, VATS is totally turn-based, and the odds of dying while in VATS were so high! Oh wait...
In total, I’ve put well over 25 hours into Fallout 3 so far, and I’ve managed to get absolutely nowhere. It’s difficult to summon the courage to return to a world so ruined – and so ruinous – as that of Bethesda’s. Endless foraging, punishing combat, the chores of simply existing – can you blame me? It’s all so wearying. I just don’t have the energy for it.

Like I said, it’s probably my fault. I understand; I just don’t enjoy it. Perhaps I just prefer my games to be shinier, lighter, fluffier excursions: ones that lie glittering in my pile of games, winking at me, alluring and infinitely more inviting than the iron grimness of Fallout 3. I fondly scratch Dragon Age: Origins under the chin – a game positively merry by comparison, but undoubtedly informed by Bethesda’s Fallout – and make a genuine promise to return to that soon.
Calling Fallout 3 too dark, ok, but is he seriously calling the game too unforgiving and difficult for him? Giddings my man, try this, it'll be an eye-opener.

Spotted on GameBanshee.

News for Saturday, April 24, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 20:39

Games Radar has placed online a preview of Fallout: New Vegas from one of its many affiliate magazines.

Well, in some respects anyway. With New Vegas, Bethesda (and new developer Obsidian) are walking a very smart, if safe, path. It’s obvious from our first look at the game that, although the new Mojave Desert wasteland is clearly a brighter place to be than the Capital Wasteland of Fallout 3, the core game has remained very much intact. You still navigate through menus via a PipBoy, you still level up and add perks to your abilities, and you still use VATS to blow the limbs off anyone dumb enough to mess with you. Sure, your PipBoy now has a pleasing rusty orange glow instead of a low-fi green, but everything else is as it was.

For us, this is the right move. Obsidian have kept Fallout 3’s game mechanics intact because, aside from the complaints of a vocal minority, they worked beautifully well. This also means that, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, the new developer is free to focus on what they do best – telling a story with style and panache.
(...)
There are three main groups here: the New California Republic, Caesar’s Legion and (although not yet confirmed) the Brotherhood of Steel. During one part of our demo, we visited an NCR power-plant/research lab called Helios One. It’s run by a chancer called ‘Fantastic’ who seems to have blagged his way up the New California food-chain. After some amusing dialogue (something painfully missing from the po-faced Fallout 3) you agree to help Fantastic increase the output of the factory (currently running at 3% efficiency under his leadership) and divert the power to the NCR’s interests in New Vegas. Well, that’s what you tell him.

Once into the central control room you have a number of options that will either cement your relationship with the NCR, or damage it. We go for damage. Big damage. Our man reroutes the power to an orbital laser, which he then uses to incinerate the NCR troops stationed outside the power plant. It’s spectacular as the giant beam sweeps over the baked floor, evaporating the opposition. Later on in the game, we’re told, that orbital laser can become part of your arsenal as you develop a portable control device for it. Like the Hammer of Dawn from Gears of War, only far more powerful.
Edit: It seems the article was taken down. Feel free to view a mirror here.

News for Friday, April 23, 2010

Posted by jero cvmi - at 20:42

AVault Podcast #75 (direct link) interviews Chris Avellone, mostly on Alpha Protocol, but they chat a bit of New Vegas as well. At about 35:10 in.

Avault #1: ...even from the screenshots I saw [New Vegas] looks really awesome, it looks like you guys are doing a lot of old skool Fallout ideas.
MCA: You know I never thought we'd have a chance to revisit the franchise and when the opportunity came up and I can't tell you how many people here were excited .
Avault #1: I know you worked on Fallout 2, what aspect of Fallout 2 did you work on?
MCA: I did the city of New Reno, I worked on Vault City, a lot of special encounters and I did a few of the endings of the game.
Avault #1: Did you do more storytelling or is it art directing, on the creative end
MCA: I guess what the term nowadays is, narrative designer, they do the quests, layout, reputation, mechanics, the actual conversation with various characters .
Avault #1: OK, that's cool. I actually spent a lot of time with the first Fallout and by the time Fallout 2 fell into my lap I just wasn't able to play it at the time because I had a terrible computer...
MCA: Awww.
Avault #1: It wasn't a very demanding game just you know my parents old gaming rig didn't play it, I dunno.
MCA: When I first played Fallout, it totally just changed my idea of what rpgs could be, I was totally blown away.
Avault #1: Storytelling, and the way you felt you can power yourself up and up yourself was great.
MCA: All the RPG mechanics, and like every choice you made in that game and just how you built your character, like you could see exactly how it played out in almost every area you went to.
Avault #1: Oh yeah
MCA: Just the fact that your intelligence stat could affect your dialogue option, I thought that was brilliant. I love Tim Cain, I'll marry him.
Avault #1: I'm glad they got someone passionate working on New Vegas.
(...)
Avault #1: Bethesda is obviously publishing New Vegas, are there any guys from the Fallout 3 team, are they kinda working with you at all or has Bethesda just kind of passed it off to you, you know, you guys are just kinda doing your thing and you're just kinda checkin in every once and a while?
MCA: To be honest they review continuity at various points, and sort of check our documentation, but to be honest they've been pretty hands-off with a lot of stuff, and our producer-liasion, who works with Bethesda, he's a pretty sharp guy. So generally it has been pretty smooth
Avault #1: That's cool man. You seem to be someone who is very passionate about fallout, that's great, they're kinda letting you take it into the direction where you really think that it should go. That's great.
Avault #2: I can't wait to play that game (laughing)
Avault #1: I don't wanna get into the specifics of the game, but basically, what I've read about it is, Vegas is up and running right? I mean Vegas is there, right? It's not like, in fallout 3 you're walking around the wasteland and everything is just desolate but somehow Vegas is running.
Avault #2: That's what I saw, without Chris having to answer, from what I've read on game informer is yes, it's already published that yes, it's much brighter and much less run down and much less...
Avault #1: awesome
Avault #2: ...war torn looking than fallout 3
MCA: There are many secrets in the world of New Vegas...
Avault #1: I can't wait to help people in that game and then as they run away just shoot them in the back just over and over again. (laughing) Pwned.
Avault #2: extra limbs and other things, awesome (laughing)
MCA: Other things? What might be those other things?
Avault #1: (laughing) I dunno, Chris. You can just run with that one.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:00

From the left-field of totally unexpected rumour country comes this Rumour Mine bit from PocketGamer, which brings us rumblings that the iPhone game Bethesda is known to be working on is a Fallout spin-off set for simultaneous release with New Vegas, bizarrely called Fallout Tactics: New Vegas.

Bethesda gambling on Fallout Tactics: New Vegas

It's been several months since Bethesda announced plans to release a major iPhone and iPod touch game, providing little information as to exactly what the lauded developer is creating.

The company has gone silent while it hunkers down to finish the game in time for a simultaneous release with console role-playing game Fallout: New Vegas.

Fallout Tactics: New Vegas promises a new game for iPhone and iPod touch that takes the tactical role-playing of the 2001 PC title Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, while using the south-western locale of the upcoming console game.

It's a brave venture given the company's lack of experience developing portable games, though if this iPhone spin-off is anywhere near as good as its console releases then we're in for a treat.

Bethesda feels that turn-based role-playing works better on portable than real-time, hence the decision to go with a new take on Fallout Tactics. Additionally, the PC game was well-received, and addressing some of the complaints lodged against it - linear structure, major bugs that we never fixed, etc. - with a new instalment seem like a good way to go.

The iPhone game, which sets up the story for the start of Fallout: New Vegas, will also help to promote the console release expected some time this autumn. More details could be coming as soon as June during E3.
It doesn't make no sense, but take it with a hefty helping of salt.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:07

This is a correction post for those who missed the update earlier and are still labouring under the assumption that the lawsuit is finished. As clarified earlier, Interplay's 8-K clearly states that all that has been dropped is the appeal to the permanent injunction, the main lawsuit is still ongoing unchanged.

Pete Hines affirmed as much to Kotaku.

Not so says Bethesda's Pete Hines. "That is still ongoing and has not been resolved. It is a minor procedural thing that took place, not a dropping of the lawsuit."

So the lawsuit still lives on, and the future of Interplay's Fallout MMO still hangs in the balance, and at the moment there's no end in sight.

"The bottom line is it's an ongoing legal matter, it's in no way, shape or form done," Hines continued. "We're going to let the process play out in the courts, which is what we've said all along, but beyond that I can't give specifics as to procedures. That's not my domain."
Another bit of misleading news based on misreading of court documents. Let's hope that from now on they'll be read more carefully, or by people who actually understand them.

News for Thursday, April 22, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 21:35

No, not from the Vegas showing yet (that'd be damn quick). Hooked Gamers has had a preview up for a while now that reads like a summation piece based on other previews, so not a "real" preview but more a discussion piece based on previews. But I might be wrong. Give it a read regardless.

KansasCity.com has made the Game Informer magazine preview available to us.

The two big alterations Hardcore mode employs are a realistic approach to healing and the addition of a hydration meter. This subtle change has a huge effect on how combat plays out.

If you don’t take the time to drink water or eat specific foods on your quest, your character will become dehydrated. Much like “Fallout 3’s” radiation poisoning, the effects of dehydration are tolerable at first, but increase in severity the longer you suffer.

Even before stepping foot outside of the game’s first area, I found myself thinking that “New Vegas” will be a much different game from its predecessor. One look at the world outside of Mitchell’s house confirms this. New Vegas is not a war-torn, post-apocalyptic wasteland. This world suffers more from deterioration. The color palette is warmer. Most of the scenic views offer an inviting golden glow. It’s almost peaceful.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:07

Eurogamer Czech provides us with one screenshot and four pieces of concept art. We've glimpsed them before in magazines but now we have 'em in decent quality.




Thanks smejki.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:03

Duck and Cover reports via tweets and otherwise that the Vegas event is indeed a press event. Since an Escapist editor is there, we can finally look forward to non-magazine previews.

Posted by Sander - at 18:51

According to Duck and Cover, Bethesda has dropped its appeal against Interplay after settling out of court. The details of the settlement have not been made public.

The undersigned hereby moves that the above appeal be dismissed upon such terms as have been agreed to by the parties. FRAP 42(b). Undersigned counsel represents to the Court that all appellate counsel of record consent to this dismissal.

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov
Howard H. Stahl
Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov

STEPTOE & JOHNSON LLP
This might mean Interplay is now free to continue development of their MMO Project V13. But depending on the exact terms of the settlement it could also mean Bethesda paid Interplay some fees to just finalize the purchase of Fallout.

UPDATE: Interplay filed a current report, which still doesn't clarify the resulting license state and, but does state - to my surprise - that Interplay is still pursuing its counterclaim, and that the dismissal is only in regards to Bethesda seeking to overturn the preliminary injunction. If that is indeed all that is being dismissed, then the earlier report is completely wrong in stating the entire case is over, as the rest of the case would continue.
On April 21, 2010, Bethesda Softworks LLC (“Bethesda”) dismissed the appeal it filed seeking to overturn the Order of the Hon. Deborah K. Chasanow, Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, denying in all respects the motion filed by Bethesda to preliminarily enjoin Interplay Entertainment Corp. (“Interplay”) from continuing to sell FALLOUT®, FALLOUT® 2, FALLOUT® Tactics, and FALLOUT® Brotherhood of Steel and to prevent Interplay from creating a FALLOUT®-branded massively-multiplayer online game pending a final determination of the respective claims of Bethesda and Interplay on the merits, in the action entitled Bethesda Softworks LLC v. Interplay Entertainment Corp., Case No. 09-CV-2357(DKC). Interplay will continue to defend its rights and to pursue its Counter-Claims against Bethesda, for among other things, Breach of Contract and Declaratory Judgment and an award of damages, attorney fees and other relief.

Posted by Brother None - at 5:41

An event that might or might not be on New Vegas is taking place in Vegas, as per the Vault. Pete Hines twitters.

/ our Vegas event is off and running. So far, so good.
Let's hope for a new round of previews, the old one has grown stale.

News for Monday, April 19, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 22:03

No significant new info out there as we're still cycling through the same preview rewritten over and over. Duck and Cover bullet points the UK XBox 360 World magazine preview.

* The Hoover Dam is intact and produces electricity
* You can get a portable controller for the laser platform and use it throughout the game
* New Vegas will have different endings, "instead of the single, potentially anachronistic 'man/woman saves the Wasteland' finale."
* New weapon - The "All-American" - a rapid fire Sniper Rifle
Scans of the Japanese Famitsu preview have surfaced, no new screenshots, couldn't tell you if there's new info. Check it out via PS University or Gamekyo.

And an anonymous someone dropped in a tip that American gaming mag Game Informer is currently running a non-cover story (gasp) of New Vegas summarizing the info we've seen a few dozen times so far and giving us the same shots we've seen before. If you feel like paying for what's freely available, be sure to pick up the latest issue of GI!

News for Friday, April 16, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 16:41

RPGCodex looks back on a decade of RPGs and asks a bunch of developers (mostly indies) what their favourite RPG of the decade was. Amongst the list is Fallout lead designer Chris Taylor, who agrees with us curmudgeonly types that it wasn't that good a decade.

I’ll be honest. I haven’t played that many CRPGs this last decade. Started some, and finished very, very few. Call it burn-out, call it ennui, but for whatever reason, the ‘90s were a much more appealing decade to me for CRPGs. Still, one game stands out for the sole reason is that I actually enjoyed double-clicking on the game icon and playing for half an hour or four hours straight: Torchlight. It has simple mechanics, feather-weight story, limited character interaction -- but all that doesn’t matter, since it is hella-fun. Graphics fit the game perfectly. I grumbled about the interface at times, especially trying to target an enemy from a distance and instead running into battle mindlessly, but I didn’t care. I was having too much of a good time splattering my foes, looting their stuff and sending my dog back to down with a full backpack. Torchlight awoke that little 10 year old in me that fell in love with CRPGs to begin with.
And Fallout producer Tim Cain, whose answer will shock many.
There were so many good RPG’s released in the last decade that it is hard to choose the “RPG of the Decade”. I am embarrassed to say that I haven’t played some of them, and I only want to nominate a game that I have played. And that list is still large: Baldur’s Gate 2, Icewind Dale 2, Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age (Bioware is on a roll in my list, you can see), Fable, Deus Ex, Fallout 3, Geneforge. So I am going with a game that captured my imagination and that I played for many many hours, and that I think about when designing my own games. And that game is…
Read on to see what it is!

Posted by Brother None - at 1:36

WORDS BY: Ryan McCaffrey
INTERPRETIVE DANCE BY: Brother None

And it’s here that New Vegas slowly distinguishes itself from Fallout 3. After deciding whether to speak with Ringo to help the townsfolk or to the Powder Gangers’ Joe Cobb if you want to plunder Goodsprings (Obsidian took Ringo’s good-guy route for our demo), you’ll have to hustle — in our case, to convince the townies to help you in the imminent fight. Sunny and canine companion Cheyenne don’t need much convincing. Follow her to the Mojave Wasteland to kill a few giant mutated geckos, and she’s easily swayed. Better yet, you’ll get to test one of New Vegas’ unique weapons, the Varmint Rifle; this low-power .22 does significant damage to limbs and has a high critical-hit bonus.

Persuading the aging, apathetic Easy Pete to lend a hand is a bit trickier. Everyone knows he’s got a stash of dynamite, and it would really come in handy in the upcoming fight. He doesn’t seem to want to cough up the boomsticks, though. Remember when Obsidian chose Explosives as one of our character’s primary skills back in Doc Mitchell’s office? Here’s where we get to see it in action. Selecting the dialogue option with [Explosives] in front of it quickly changes Pete’s finicky tune, and he happily hands over his stash of dynamite.

“Using skills in conversations is an emphasis for us,” says Sawyer. The idea in role-playing terms, he clarifies, is that if you’re talking to someone about explosives and that happens to be one of your strongest skills, you’re going to know a lot about them. Apparently, having an emphasis in certain topics means that if they come up in conversation, you’ll have a higher chance of influencing fussy characters. Sounds logical to us!
A 7-page whopper, it's a copy of the OXM US magazine preview we've seen before, if you haven't read it yet, be sure to give it a read.

Spotted on Duck and Cover.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:32

Bethesda Blog inside the Vaults Obsidian's Larry Liberty, senior producer on Fallout: New Vegas and part-time superhero.

Any fun facts you’d like to share about Obsidian?

All of the owners remain involved in the day-to-day development of games, something that does not happen all that often once a company reaches a certain size. Perhaps as a result of this, there is just about nothing in the way of political intrigue, very refreshing and unheard of in a game company with well over 100 employees.

News for Thursday, April 15, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 1:11

There's a lot of "wishlist" type articles out there and they're not all worth posting. Our pappies at atomicgamer gave us their €.02, and it's worth a read if for nothing else than it's refreshing to read pieces by writers that actually know something about the subject they're writing on.

So now, the roles are reversed in the community; Bethesda fans are unsure of Obsidian, while the old-school Fallout fans, who generally disliked the third game, are happy with the decision. It's hard to take sides on this matter, but I think that if we look at how LucasArts basically crippled Obsidian's development of KOTOR2 by giving them only a year to complete it, we can forgive them a bit. To me, it's a pretty major feat to get even close to completing an epic RPG in only 12 months, and the fact that they got it good enough to get generally B-ish scores from most review sites shows that Obsidian got really close to their lofty goal.

What today's Fallout is and isn't
Some of the hardcore fans of the original games said that Bethesda may find some success in turning Fallout into a first person game, but that it'd be a hollow shell of its former self. It's true that the developers made a vastly different game than the originals, leaving behind the old turn-based, isometric view and changing up the storytelling to match their style of game. My contention is that the team left behind some of that depth on purpose with the intent to add it back in in entirely different ways: visceral combat, immersive 3D environments, and more storytelling through voice acting and level design rather than text-only dialogue options. In that respect, the game was a huge success.

It seems clear, then, that a merger of the two styles can at least partially be done. Increase the production values overall to cover some of Fallout 3's shortfalls and flaws, work on the dialogue, find ways to bring back some of those classic RPG elements, and then sensibly apply those new mechanics whenever appropriate.
The "merger of two worlds" paradigm sure seems to be amongst the most popular. Discuss.

News for Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Posted by Dude101 - at 1:27

A Fallout 2 mod by Rainman and Gumych, which was originally released in Russian last year. Kromgart has kindly translated it for our enjoyment.

If you know the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or if you have ever had any interest in this topic, then you probably have an idea of the noosphere informational field and its abilities, if not then you will learn about it during the main plot of the game.

Your main and only mission is the same - to save your dying village Arroyo. But how can you accomplish that? Again, you must look for the sacred suitcase - the G.E.C.K. but now there is entirely new way to find it. You get to the territory of the Chernobyl Alienation Zone, where you will search for that unique device. When the game starts, the Zone has been in existence for several years, changing itself and it's inhabitants...

The question is not how YOU get in the Zone, but how the Zone got into the "territory of post-nuclear North-America". The answer to that question can be found deep in the Zone, in dialogs, or in few notes which miraculously stayed intact. This mod features:

12 new locations
38 new maps
one new critter
105 new items
72 file dialogues



This is a major mod that features some impressive low-level engine hacks much like those of Mr. Fixit.

Download (41.0 MB)

In other news Continuum has exported more Van Buren Resources, courtesy of Senpay's new 3dMax Trimesh import script:

News for Thursday, April 8, 2010

Posted by Per - at 0:49

At the Bethesda Blog, MCA takes the stand and Perry Mason confuses him the heck into confessing to everything. People who have read more than half an interview with MCA will find the entire thing unnervingly familiar, although I can't remember his favourite games list being quite that good.

What’s your job at Obsidian?

I’m Creative Director. I direct creativity, sometimes in a positive direction. I also ask “why should the player give a crap?” a lot.
People looking to give a crap about New Vegas will find nothing here.

Thanks to Lexx.

News for Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Posted by Lexx - at 18:42

The Afterfall website is down, but here is the info on Intoxicate's first Afterfall project, originally announced under working title Rascall: "Afterfall - Insanity", a new and great third person horror shooter, to be published by The Games Company. Here are some amusingly bad screenshots:

The Afterfall universe celebrates its digital premiere with a third-person horror shooter to be launched early 2011
TGC – The Games Company secures the European rights on the tech and story driven horror-shooter Afterfall: Insanity.

There are big things on the horizon for fans of story based horror-shooters at the beginning of 2011. TGC announces the first game set in the popular Afterfall universe: Afterfall: Insanity.

Players face their destiny in the desolate ruins of once thriving cities and well-known areas - or to be more exact: in the sewers and tunnels beneath them. Decaying shelters and hideaways stage mankind’s struggle for survival after the nuclear holocaust from October 2012. Facing horrible mutants, bloodthirsty mercenaries and other threats, humanity fights for existence.

In this derelict world Afterfall: Insanity tells the hair-raising tale of a psychiatrist – the story’s hero - with unrivaled intensity. The intricate plot, defined by unpredictable events, story twists and narrative nuances are coupled with breathtaking graphics. Thanks to the latest Unreal engine, Afterfall: Insanity is full of stunning effects and skillfully crafted levels, which creates a dark and coherent atmosphere packed with thrilling fights against impressive enemies.
Afterfall: Insanity is scheduled for a release at the beginning of 2011 for PC and next-gen consoles.
The fact that Intoxicate managed to dupe yet another company is beyond comprehension.

News for Monday, April 5, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 17:36

Fallout: New Vegas lead designer J.E. Sawyer has joined formspring.me, yet another stupid awesome web 2.0 site that allows us to ask questions of him freely. Let's try to land some interesting questions, but stay away from New Vegas as a topic. Some good questions:

How does it feel to know you/Obsidian are one of the few great game devs us cynical WRPG fans have left, and that we're all relying on the likes o' youse to maintain quality writing in video games? Smile

I think it's sad, honestly. In my opinion, gamers set the bar very low for good writing.

From a design standpoint, what's your favorite game?

I think it's still the 1992 PC CRPG Darklands. That might seem narrowly-focused, but I love MicroProse for making an RPG that almost seemed like it was designed by non-RPGers -- like traditional conventions about how skills, leveling, races, classes, alignment, health, armor, etc. were "supposed" to work in RPGs really didn't matter. Being set in 15th century Holy Roman Empire didn't hurt, especially since they filled the game with so many details like canonical hours and Medieval currency.

Have you ever played the STALKER games, if so, what do you think of them? Somewhat related to New Vegas.

I only played a few hours of the original STALKER before my system died (for unrelated reasons... I think). I really want to play the newer games because I feel the series has a much different, and very interesting, take on a post-apocalyptic environments and gameplay than other PA games.

Is PC gaming dying? Merely taking a break before it's big comeback? Just fine as it is?

I think the PC market is definitely changing, mostly due to the rapidly rising ease of piracy in North American and European markets. There are some titles that do very well on PC, but I've seen some of the piracy figures for high-profile titles and they are depressing. Console piracy has been huge for over a decade in many Asian countries, but in North America and most of Europe, it's still far behind PC piracy. Publishers are trying a lot of different DRM schemes to combat it, but I honestly I think they need to take a step back and figure out a different profit model (and possibly a different high-level design aesthetic) if the want to focus solely on PC gaming.

As a Project Director and Lead Designer for RPGs, obviously you have to deal with games that are heavy in story and narrative, while not sacrificing gameplay. In current generation games, how relevant and important do you believe cutscenes are?

I think cutscenes are as relevant and important as developers and audiences make them. I believe that the library of top-selling games from the past few years shows that there's room for cutscene-heavy and cutscene-light game. Clearly Metal Gear Solid players don't mind cutscenes or they wouldn't keep buying games in the series. The Half-Life series is tremendously popular and it has scripted events, but virtually no "stop the gameplay" events.
Link: J.E. Sawyer on formspring.me.

News for Sunday, April 4, 2010

Posted by Brother None - at 20:51

Our digital classics friends at Good Old Games are running a Spring Promo, with eight games 50% off and two 30% off. Amongst the 50% offs is Fallout, which is now available for $2.99.

Don't bother asking if it's worth it, the answer is yes. Sorry for not posting on this earlier, but heck, we kind of figure you all own Fallout already anyway. The promo will run until Tuesday, April 6 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

News for Friday, April 2, 2010

Posted by Per - at 12:34

Extremely hot on the heels of the unofficial patch update comes killap's Fallout 2 Restoration Project 2.0, which needed just a few more brahmin sacrifices to work properly. For those of you who are new to all this, it's a mod that adds to Fallout 2 a whole lot of stuff that was incomplete or unimplemented in the official release. More Kaga! More EPA! Much more submarine than ever before. So speaks killap:

The monumental day has finally come. Some of you lost hope; many patiently stuck around to the end. The beyond long awaited 2.0 release of the Restoration Project is at hand. This is a MAJOR release, which boasts overhauls to nearly all aspects of the content already in the mod. In addition, the eagerly awaited addition of the Shi sub can now be enjoyed, as well as several other minor/moderate new content additions. It seems like we're finally running out of cut content to add. Of course, no release would be complete without a slew of bug fixes to ensure a stable and enjoyable playing time. Not only were bugs fixed in the mod, but nearly a hundred bugs have been squashed that were in the vanilla version of the game and were not yet fixed by my unofficial patch. To me, this release is what I wanted version 1.0 of the mod to be. I'm extremely proud of what has been accomplished and ever so grateful to those who helped make it happen. It only took me about 2 1/2 years to get here.

To prevent delaying this release even further, multilingual support has been temporary removed. This means that the mod can only be played in English. Have no fear though, as a multilingual patch which adds back in Polish, French, and German (and perhaps others!) support will be released within a few weeks. Of course, this doesn't mean that those with non English versions of the game cannot enjoy this release. It just means that you'll have to play with English text until your language is supported.

A special thanks goes out to community members Dravean and Pixote. This release wouldn't be possible without them. Of course, I'm extremely grateful to many others who contributed to this release. Your names can be found in the readme as well as the game credits.

Please read the readme that comes with the mod. It is for your own good!

Windows installer (highly recommended): download
Manual install (advanced users): download

Update 2c (2.0.2c)
AtomicGamer have kindly provided us with download links, but I think they don't cover the sacrifice-boosted last minute updates, so please use killap's own links until we get our own files sorted out. I've had a look in the brahmin pens and they don't seem too confident that this is all over.

Link: Announcement with download links and change log @ NMA

News for Thursday, April 1, 2010

Posted by Per - at 17:43

Killap posted the 1.02.26 update to his insanely popular unofficial Fallout 2 patch. No longer will you be troubled by doors that don't open when you force them, bots that don't stand still when you pacify them, and T-Rays that don't swear when you go through their shit.

Time for an unofficial patch update! This is a pretty hefty release this time around thanks to Haenlomal, who went through the entire game with a fine tooth comb and found nearly 100 bugs in the original game that were not get fixed by my patch. Big thanks to him for doing this. I didn't think another update would be necessary, but I was wrong. A major highlight of this update is a workaround for the too many items bug and a fix for Cassidy forgetting his combat settings.

Another big change in this update is that the unofficial patch is now fully compatible with official 1.02 save games! This means that if you happened to start a game with the official 1.02 patch, run into a nasty bug, and want to fix it with my patch, you can now do so and don't have to start over! This of course comes at the cost of causing any previous save games with my unofficial patch to no longer work. I feel it is a worthwhile decision in the end though.

Windows Installer Version (highly recommended): download
Windows Manual Version (advanced users): download
Mac Version: download
The much anticipated Restoration Project 2.0 was scheduled for a simultaneous release but has been delayed by displeased rumblings from Interplay, who insist that the content must first be properly integrated with their downloadable Fallout Trilogy (which already has a now obsolete version of the patch on it). This should be taken care of in the next few days though.

Link: Updated corrections file
Link: Interplay 8-Z misclaimer injuncture

Update: The bit about Interplay was a bit of April Foolery.