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News for Monday, January 31, 2011

Posted by Nark - at 2:15

About the Fall of Interplay.

News for Thursday, January 27, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 15:27

Is ghoulification influenced by FEV or not? We'll never know, for reasons Fallout 1 programmer and designer Jesse Heinig explains here, giving his own perspective on the matter as well.

Notably, Fallout (as a franchise) has a lot of post facto development. The whole notion of the Vaults-as-experiments was largely introduced in Fallout 2, after all. If Fallout says that ghouls were products of huge overexposure to radiation, Fallout 2 hints that maybe some FEV is involved, and Fallout 3 says that there is also a mysterious X-factor (which is how they get the Lesser Rad Orb power, I guess), it's quite possibly just another case of post facto design: "No, wait, you thought it was this, but it's actually this other thing!"

I have a strong suspicion that FEV was not central to the ghouls in FO1, and here's why: FEV is an important plot point; the dip that the Master uses to create Super Mutants is a type of FEV cocktail. If FEV is that central to the story, then having another group that's FEV-affected -- the ghouls -- would mean that this connection should be somehow important. Dramatically, you can't just drop in a group that has some sort of tie to the central "prime mover" of the story's villains and then fail to explore it. I don't recall ever seeing any cut documentation for design of ghouls that would talk about FEV or their connection to the whole evolutionary project -- even as a failure or unintended side-effect -- which means that when the ghouls were first conceptualized, they probably didn't have an FEV connection. Instead, the importance of the ghouls is partly symbolic (as a prior poster pointed out, they show the burned-out remnants of humanity living among the burned-out remnants of the world) and partly as a moral dilemma for players who are given the choice to steal the source of the ghouls' fresh water and thereby placed in the position of pitting the interests of the home (Vault 13) community versus the community of "subhumans and monsters." The ghouls can stand on their own in that regard -- and the fact that they have a society shows that they are a self-contained story element; in a sense, ghouls are like the ultimate victims in Fallout: They are always getting a raw deal, first from flesh-rotting ghoulification, but then from Super Mutants, "smoothskins," even the damn trees. If FEV were responsible for ghoulification, then, it would be important to explore this plot thread. Since it was never explored, even in any design doc that I remember reading . . . probably wasn't an initial impetus.

That doesn't make it any less valid now, of course, if you can find an interesting way to tell a story about it while retaining internal consistency (in the same way that Zelazny does in his Amber novels, where it seems that every few chapters he turns your expectations of the world upside down while still retaining his own consistency).

News for Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 15:06

Here then is the full interview.

Onto Fallout. New Vegas shipped with a ton of serious bugs and glitches, and it’s been patched several times. Elements of the core gaming community probably feel this was to be expected. Isn’t this an expectation you’re looking to shake off for future titles?

Yeah, certainly. I don’t see there’s any product that we’ve ever made ever where we say, ‘Yeah, we’re fine, it’s got some serious critical bugs, but we’ll go ahead and ship it anyways.’

We have done a lot of work with Obsidian to try and address the issues as you mentioned, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that. I certainly don’t think it’s indicative of the level of quality of the product that we put out. We did release one or two updates for Fallout 3, but given the size and scope of that game it was a really well-done, stable, fairly bug-free experience.

Every game is different and every development process is gonna be different, but we have always, and will always, continue to strive for delivering to people the best game possible. That includes stability and performance and all of those things.


I realise they are independent, but do you see Obsidian very much part of the future of Fallout now in any way?

Our involvement with them right now is Fallout: New Vegas and downloadable content. We’re going to continue to work with them and what relationship we have with them on any possible products down the road is to be determined.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 12:08

Bethblog put together a short article on Dead Money's original song "Begin Again". It includes a brief interview with Mikey Dowling (audio producer) and Justin Bell (sound designer), who were both involved in the writing of the song, and the song itself for your listening pleasure.

What were some of your inspirations for the song?

Mikey Dowling: For me it was how sorrowful Justin’s music was that inspired the tone of the lyrics. I’m sure he could elaborate more on his end, but in terms of the lyrics, I knew Vera’s story and I knew that Chris had wanted the song to contain the words “begin again,” and “to let go,” somewhere within. I ended up listening to Justin’s song on repeat for a bit and came up with lyrics that I felt would not only capture what Chris had been looking for, but also capture something that could feel as though it would fit in an old Hollywood film.
Thanks Ausir.

News for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 18:48

Concept artist Wesley Burt has put a bunch of pieces he did for Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 3 up on CGHub. Check 'em out:

Posted by Brother None - at 11:34

In what will come as a surprise to no one, TES V: Skyrim's engine will be used for future Bethesda titles (read: Fallout 4, unless they buy the Arcanum license to make Arcanum 2 in the interim).

“Yeah, I mean obviously, whatever Bethesda Game Studios works on after Skyrim will take advantage of the tech that they have developed,” he said to us in a phone interview last week.

Hines continued: “But what that next product is or what it’s going to be? Everybody’s gonna have to wait and see.

“Right now, it’s been used for Skyrim and that’s what our focus is on. We aren’t saying what they’re going to work on next.”
Read up on Skyrim's Engine - dubbed the Creation Engine - on GameInformer.

News for Monday, January 24, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 22:52

Remember the trailer? The full, 16-minute fan film is out now.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:21

Honestly nothing new in these interview tidbits from VG247, as it confirms more DLC for New Vegas incoming (that is so obvious I don't know why VG247 thought it worth asking) and Pete Hines refusing to answer on a PC and PS3 release of Dead Money (he probably can't if it's an exclusivity deal).

“Oh absolutely,” said the company’s VP of PR and marketing when asked if we could expect more packs in 2011.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a product where we said, ‘Yeah, we’re just gonna do one DLC pack and that’s all she wrote.’ We like to support our products. We like to do a good job of that, and I don’t think putting out one DLC pack would reach that.
Spotted on GameBanshee.

Posted by Ausir - at 13:09

About Wasteland and Fallout.

News for Friday, January 21, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 10:37

By dint of incredible coincidence, VG247 conducted a phone interview with Pete Hines just last night. Pete Hines preemptively refutes Eric Caen's claims.

“We own the rights to the MMO,” he said when asked if Caen’s comments were true.

He continued: “We own the rights to everything Fallout. The licence is ours. Fallout belongs to us. That’s what I’ll clarify.

“Beyond that, I’m not commenting on anybody else’s comments. It’s a legal matter. A specific MMO or project or any of that stuff, the lawyers are all going to sort it out.”
Listen to it yourself.

Posted by Brother None - at 10:07

How's that for an attention-grabbing headline? Eurogamer exclusively interviews Eric Caen.

"But in that case, the IP will come back to us, and of course, we will complete our work and release Fallout MMO."

Caen's Fallout 5 refers to the next Fallout game from Bethesda, with last year's Fallout: New Vegas considered the fourth game in the hugely successful series.

"The original licensing deal was for three games and their DLC," Caen continued. "So they already did Fallout 3, then Fallout: New Vegas, and they can only do one more Fallout, 5, if the sale of the IP is cancelled by the court.


Interplay has so far refrained from showing much from Fallout Online because "anything we show will help Bethesda in their fight".

Caen refused to comment on his commitment to launch the game during the second half of 2012, but insisted the game was well into development.

"Since early 2009, we have a virtual Fallout world that exists and grows every day. We don't want to release too many elements because of the litigation. We don't know yet when we will reveal more. Sorry!

"Our team, led by Chris Taylor and Mark O'Green [two of the creators of the original Fallout], loves Fallout and what we are putting together. We all hope we will be able to show you soon more of our work, and that you will like it."
So basically, nothing new there.

News for Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 13:21

While Fallout: New Vegas isn't comparable to Fallout 3 when it comes to the length and prestige of its list of awards, it certainly scored a lot of nominations, the latest being for the Best Writing category of the 11th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards. The other nominees are: Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego), Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream), Mass Effect 2 (BioWare) and Costume Quest (Double Fine).

Here's also a round-up of some of the awards Fallout: New Vegas has won:

The Guardian puts it at 5th place in its Top 20 of 2010 games.

The game's appeal is similar to Red Dead's – as Jake Arnott put it in his review, "Perhaps its greatest strength is the fact that everybody can play it differently. Rigidly follow the main storyline – or wander off and ignore it entirely. Try and be as moral as possible – or kill and rob the first merchant you come across. It's a tailor-made gaming experience where everything can be done at your own pace and in your own way."
Wired puts it at 20th place in its own Top 20.
With Fallout 3, Bethesda planted its flag in the wasteland sands, reviving the venerable PC franchise for a new generation. Fallout: New Vegas brings the game back to its roots. Obsidian, a studio founded by folks who created the original games, took the West Coast homecoming seriously, delivering plot, characters and places that are harrowing, creepy, quirky and sometimes altogether odd. Fallout: New Vegas may be buggier than a Radroach nest, but wading through the pests is totally worth it.
Platform Nation has a top 10, Fallout: New Vegas scoring at the bottom.
Let’s be clear. On a purely technical level, this is a horrible game. It’s broken in a way I haven’t experienced from a top-tier release in a LONG time. The thing is, I couldn’t stop playing it regardless of this cold, hard fact. New Vegas is an amazing tale- compelling in a way that few other games were this year, while surpassing Fallout 3 in the process. I lived in this world for over a month, and I can’t wait to jump back in for a second run.
G4's Eugene Morton puts it in his Top 5 games of the year.
The only thing I didn't like about Fallout 3 was how depressing it was. I had to take three different kinds of an antidepressants to keep me from shooting myself in the face with a plasma rifle. I'm so glad Fallout: New Vegas is set in Nevada. The sunshine, desert air and prostitutes roaming the New Vegas strip really do a lot to elevate my mood.
Maximum PC included it in an interesting piece about the games of the year 2010.
Looking back, of course, I see it as an example of modern-day Fallout's storytelling style perfected. An utterly engrossing trail of environmental clues, a narrative that doesn't unfold unless the player takes an active role in discovering it, and a horrifying (though undeniably provocative) examination of what humans are capable of when their backs are against the wall -- Vault 11 had it all.
Splintside includes Fallout: New Vegas at 10th place in its Top 10 of the funniest games of 2010.
The game is packed with jokes, and the exploratory nature of the game makes finding them all the more special. Unlike many games that try to be funny, the humor in Fallout: New Vegas works because it's optional. You feel like you're participating. It's your choice to name the sex robot FISTO. Or not. You can embarrass a cannibal by faking human meat. Or not.
Gamasutra's includes it a place 7th of their Top 10 of the Games of the Year 2010 (surprisingly enough, Mass Effect 2 was 9th).
The distinct influence of Rome's tragic story of out-of-control power on the gameworld is well-thought, and appropriate, and the game offers enough freedom that the player can choose to make it either a celebration or a condemnation of all kinds of excess. And as the game starts to draw a story of factions warring for control, the loyalty system in which the player participates provokes lots of thought on the nature of power in a world with laws upended.

So maybe it needed a little more time, but in a year of big blockbusters, a project with a little subtlety, a richly-realized world and a thoughtful, multilayered story came much appreciated.
PC Gamer US chose Fallout: New Vegas as its RPG of the year.
Obsidian’s writing sparkles with fascinating characters and quests that pay loving homage to the franchise’s PC roots at every opportunity. Its main quest begins as a small-scale tale of personal revenge in the Mojave, but blossoms into an opportunity to decide the outcome of a wide-open conflict that will upset the balance of power of an entire region.


And while it’s a cross-platform game, Fallout: New Vegas reminds us why the PC is more often than not the best place to experience an openworld RPG like this one. It looks far better on the PC than any other platform, and mods step in afterward to unlock its full potential. Fallout: New Vegas is truly our adventure.
The Escapist's Russ Pitts puts it among his five favorite games of 2010.
In New Vegas, you can choose to side with one faction or another. Or another. Or go it on your own. Or ignore the main story and collect rare guns, make your own ammo, meet a large cast of party members and an even larger cast of secondary characters, and generally "wander the wastes," just like in the good, old days.

It's a shame, then, that the game is so painfully broken that you'll frequently wonder why you bother. Hopefully by the time you're reading this, a major patch, said to fix a multitude of problems across all major platforms, will have been released. If this game had been released in anything approaching a perfect state, it'd be a shoe-in for GOTY. As it is ... it's not getting my vote.
IGN UK awards it the "Best Bang For Your Buck award.
With no subscription fee and no tiered payment system, what you get for the base price of Fallout: New Vegas dwarfs its competition. For over a hundred hours you could roam the vast wastes uncovering new items, quests, and points of interest. The best part is that it's not just a huge amount of content, but a huge amount of good content. Obsidian is no stranger to building role-playing games, and New Vegas is the best of its efforts. Whether you're looking to play blackjack in a dingy poker room, fire off energy blasts at monsters, chew on a new story, or simply aimlessly explore, it's all here. puts it at the 5th place of its Top 10 of 2010's games.
The relentlessly grim Fallout: New Vegas is packed with detail, forcing players to choose between a collection of rival factions, each with their own methods and motivations. This sequel brings a freshness to Fallout, including the ability to reload key moments, play the role of noble peacekeeper or immoral marauder, and see how the universe's time-continuum changes with each character.
FearNet puts it among the best games of 2010.
Despite being just as great as its predecessor, Fallout 3, New Vegas loses a few points for the unpolished state it was delivered in. While the story was fantastic, and the Mojave Desert was wonderfully fleshed out, it doesn’t change the fact that the sheer number of game-killing bugs that made it out the door. It’s like being on a date with a beautiful, intelligent woman who also happens to have gas: it’s a great time except for the occasional, derailing moment. also mentions it among the best RPGs of 2010.
More importantly, Fallout: New Vegas did something that Fallout 3 ultimately failed to do – use exploration of the wasteland to tell the story better than any narrative. Every place and person you encounter during your travels informs the post-apocalyptic world that little bit more, making the resolution, no matter which one you end up with, that little bit more satisfying.
Fallout: New Vegas also won the Best PC RPG of the Year award from RPGFan.
While it's certainly true that Mass Effect 2 was one of the best out-of-the-box titles for the PC this year, and Fallout: New Vegas struggled out of the gate with bugs and other issues, when it comes down to it, Fallout: New Vegas is the much more open game for PC, with mods aplenty and a great fan environment. Much like Obsidian's earlier title, Neverwinter Nights 2, Fallout: New Vegas gains a lot of points because of its openness that adds to the just-needs-a-little-more-QA readiness of the initial release. Is Fallout: New Vegas a better game than Mass Effect 2 out of the box? No. Is it the game that people will get the most out of for the PC? Absolutely.
Fallout: New Vegas is the Best RPG of the Year also for Playstation Lifestyle.
Wandering around the world of Fallout is as fun as it is rewarding — you never know when you will find a unique weapon, or a friendly NPC offering a special side-quest. Besides the exploration, the quality of the writing is spectacular. Every character has been meticulously crafted, and the backstory of some of the NPCs will rival plots of other full retail games. The main story line will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end of the game. Fallout makes you craft and manipulate relationships between rival factions in a way that no other game has achieved. Though maybe not as grand in scope as Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas is still a game that will be cherished for years as a fine example of how RPGs should be.
And while not technically an award, the game rental service GameFly listed it at 9th place on its Most rented crossplatform titles Top 10.

Posted by Brother None - at 5:37

This mod was first revealed as being worked on on December 20th last year, from the guys who brought us the highly popular Fallout 3 Wanderer's Edition, I'm not sure if this mods adds elements that our users would be particularly interested in, but it's worth a looksie as it's certainly ambitious: Project Nevada, a module-based mod in progress that changes quite a bit:


The Core module is the foundation of Project Nevada, and as such required by all other modules.

It adds the gameplay features found in popular first-person-shooter games that were yet missing in New Vegas. Some of those features are
improved versions of already well-known features from FWE, like the Grenade Hotkey, Bullet Time or Sprint. All of them are rewritten from the
ground up, with exciting new features like the support for several VATS perks in Bullet Time and support for throwing weapons with the
grenade hotkey. Others are brand new, like the Dynamic Crosshair that changes it size according to the current weapon spread. Each of
those features can be individually enabled or disabled in-game. They are fully script-based to play along well with other mods.

To allow customization, the Core module implements a Control Panel. For DarnUI users, it can be accessed directly from the pause menu.
Other mods may extend the Control Panel without conflict and make use of the provided methods for streamlined hotkey assignment.

Since the Core module avoids conflicting changes, players are free run it alongside any other mods, including their favorite overhaul.


This module aims to bring back the challenge and balance known from Fallout3 Wanderers Edition and includes many tweaks to the FNV
gameplay and difficulty. Combat will be quicker and deadlier and survival much harder. These changes are aimed to be very subtle and
non-intrusive, making the game more challenging without inconveniencing the player.


Even though humanity nuked itself back into the Stone Age, you don't have to fight with sticks and stones. Some of mans most
advanced technological creations have been preserved - and the Cyberware module gives you the chance to obtain them!

Practically this means new features are associated with cybernetic implants and high-tech equipment. Examples include enhanced
vision modes for power armor helmets and bionic legs allowing you to charge towards your enemies with super-human speed.

While for equipment existing items are used, the cybernetic implants come with a custom interface to attach and manage them.
The whole system is balanced by several mechanisms, like limiting the number of implants that can be attached at the same time, or
requiring energy supply for special equipment.


The Equipment module brings new weapons and armor to the Mojave Wasteland.
Source of these items are the many excellent creations produced by the modding community, as well as those created by our own team.

We aim to include only weapons and armor of high quality that fit well within the New Vegas environment and the Fallout universe in general.
To ensure a seamless integration, the new items are carefully balanced and placed at appropriate locations, including vendors and loot lists.

Spotted on BethBlog.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:13

A Dealspwn editorial deals with Harold, Fallout's iconic character. A good read if you only played Fallout 3 and only know him from that.

Yeah. That’s exactly who we mean. But what many of you trigger-happy newcomers don’t know is that poor old Harold is one of the longest-running recurring characters in Fallout history. His tragic backstory underpins many of the major events in the postapocalyptic canon- and it’s high time we gave him his dues. Many of you ripped out his heart beneath Oasis… but it turns out that Harold has the biggest damn heart in the entire Wasteland.

Before Bob
As a young child, Harold was raised by a goddess-like supercomputer deep within Vault 29. He survived the bombs and was eventually selected for a suicide run to the surface in order to terrify the other kids into servitude, but escaped to keep the nursery of uncontiminated children safe and secret. Harold thrived in the wasteland, becoming a successful trader and major player in The Hub; but frustrated by the constant mutant attacks on his caravans and friends, he opted to set out on a quest to make the world a safer place. This selfless act started him down the road to becoming one of the only true philanthropists that the Fallout universe ever had… and to his eventual martyrdom.
Spotted on GameBanshee.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:11

About Bard's Tale, Wizardry and the History of Interplay

It doesn't have much directly related to Fallout, but Interplay's history is of interest to many of us. He also mentions he'd approach a new Wasteland game differently than he did Bard's Tale, writing wise.

Thanks Reconite.

News for Sunday, January 16, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 15:43

At this point, it's fairly likely that most of you will have made up their minds on whether they should get Dead Money or not, but for those who still haven't, and those who have to wait anyway because they're not playing the game on the Xbox360, here's another round-up of reviews of Fallout: New Vegas' first DLC.

Planet Fallout doesn't score it.

Dead Money’s lack of variety and content prevent it from being a stellar piece of downloadable content. However, if you liked Fallout: New Vegas and you’re willing to put up with some repetitive tasks, fetch quests and filler content, you’ll find that Dead Money’s atmosphere, franticness and intriguing story – providing you’re willing to put in the time to make sense of it -- make it worth your money.
LevelUp News, 4/5.
It won’t end up on my list of best DLC add-ons for 2010, but for fans of Fallout looking to expand on the New Vegas experience you can’t go wrong. If you play your cards right you will end up with an enjoyable 7 or 8 hours of new content, and once you are all done you may even end up richer to the tune of 100,000 caps (a high strength and a lot of Buffout and it is possible).
Videogame Talk, 3/5.
I’m curious if Obsidian led off with their weakest Fallout Vegas add-on pack as the repetitive, frustrating gameplay emphasizes the weaker elements of Fallout: New Vegas and seems even more buggy than the actual game. Raising the level cap by 5 does help extend the life of the first game though, even if the add-on pack is on the average side. On the positive side, the story is the strongest aspect of the add-on pack and makes the journey to finding the Treasure of Sierra Madre highly entertaining. (It’s also apparent that the developers are fans of the Bogart film.) You are looking at about 5 to 7 hours of playtime to finish the quest for $10 on the Xbox Live Marketplace. If you are a Fallout Vegas fanatic, you will probably enjoy the material. Just be wary of the frustrating trial and error format and you probably don’t want to attempt the pack until you have about 20 levels under your belt.
Left Right Up gives it a C. Also, nice screenshots.
In the end, the real question here is whether or not Dead Money is worth, well, your money. That's a somewhat difficult question to answer in this case. On the one hand, Dead Money is quite lengthy, clocking in at over 10 hours, and you'll get some good new gear as well as the chance to walk out carrying over 300,000 caps worth of gold bars. On the other hand, part of the reason Dead Money takes so long to complete is because it all but forces you to resort to trial and error in order to navigate the bland, winding streets of the Villa and the equally bland hallways of the Sierra Madre itself. You'll be constantly reloading your previous save as you walk into deadly traps time and time again. If you're simply looking to extend your time with New Vegas, then Dead Money is a worthy addition. If you're not a fan of trial and error gameplay, you may be better off skipping it. Either way, it'll be interesting to see what future add-ons bring to the table.
GameTactics, 8/10.
Overall this is a nice diversion from the norm. In the world of New Vegas, your character might have near-god status but here you’re brought down to experience some fear for your character. The experience took me a weighty 8 hours to complete but if you don’t explore, could take you a bit less. But for a modest 800ms points, it’s hard to say anywhere near this is a bad deal. The biggest question is if you are okay with the in your face simplistic gameplay design and fetch quests. For me, it was a great experience. Some parts may get you a little frustrated at but overall, well worth the trip to the Sierra Madre Casino.
We Rate Stuff, 3/7.
Luckily there were a few redeemable aspects of Dead Money that make me not want to call it awful. A level cap upgrade of 5 was nice, so it felt like my XP was actually going towards something, yet otherwise felt mostly useless. Four new weapons were also added, yet they're all based in different categories so you probably won't get use out of all of them. Funny that the two elements I actually enjoyed are the ones I'll use outside of Dead Money. That's also the only reason I would recommend this DLC, if you would like to sit through 4 to 6 hours of stress to make your main game more enjoyable. I thought I was a hardcore fan of this game, but even I wouldn't want to play Dead Money again. Unless you're losing sleep over the prospect of more New Vegas missions, do everything in your power to resist this one.
And to conclude, GameTrailers has a video review. The score is 6.7.

News for Saturday, January 15, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 21:13

No end in sight for the ongoing tussle between Bethesda and Interplay. The Vault reports that the court has dismissed both Bethesda's counter to Interplay's counterclaim. That is to say, Bethesda's claim that the contract unambiguously states Interplay has the right to Fallout's name only is dismissed, but the main claim and counterclaim will still both be considered.

Bethesda scored a win as Interplay's claim that putting certain info into court documents hurts its economic interests has been denied. This means a bunch of info will be open to the public as soon as Interplay provides them to the court, which it is obliged to do within 14 days. To wit:

* The monthly sales of pre-existing Fallout games worldwide, including Fallout Trilogy, in dollars and units in order to establish any damages from Bethesda’s trademark infringement claim
* A response to “contention interrogatory” that seeks to glean the factual basis for Interplay’s claim that it complied with the Trademark License Agreement’s (“TLA”) financing provision
* Facts concerning any financing it secured after April 4, 2009 and any development efforts after the same date
* Documents documenting the company's relationship with Interactive Game Group and Masthead Studios
* The long-form agreement with Masthead Studios
* Documents concerning packaging for the Fallout games
* Documents concerning distribution for the Fallout games
* Documents relating to Interplay’s affirmative defenses of estoppel, waiver, ratification, acquiescence, consent, laches, and unclean hands
* Documents relating to Interplay’s counterclaim
* Documents relating to Glutton Creeper, an Interplay licensee
The first claim is interesting as this might indicate revealing information from Good Old Games sales, something both GOG and Interplay are bound to protest to. Interplay's rather shady relations with investment group Interactive Game Group are another point of interest.

Duck and Cover provides quotes pointing out that "at issue" is the financing of FOOL, in answer to which Interplay can only provide spurious claims and a point of the case Bethesda should long have won in if it didn't keep getting distracted by making irrelevant claims.

News for Friday, January 14, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 18:30

The site finally gets a use again as J.E. Sawyer opens a blog. He sure likes that social thing. First entry is a counter to indie RPG developer Jeff Vogel's claim that developers should not read their own forums.

Many creators make products to sell to people. It's our job. Well over a million people just paid around $50-$60 USD for something I helped make. If it doesn't work right or if they feel the product was misrepresented, it makes sense that they would be upset. The extent to which their reaction is justifiable or reasonable depends on what's going on, but sometimes, we actually did do something really bad. Sometimes, we can step back and realize that if we experienced the same problem on our own, we would kick our own (collective) asses.

We have to accept that we make mistakes and we have to understand that it can really ruin someone's day. What we make is entertainment, but it's entertainment that can just as easily generate crushing lows as euphoric highs. A while ago, one of my co-workers received an e-mail from a gamer saying that she credits one of our games with saving her life. It shocked my co-worker. I've received similar e-mails in the past, going all the way back to to my early days at Black Isle. It shocks me every time it happens as well. I make video games, most of which I don't even think are anything to get excited about one way or another. Sometimes it's hard to accept how much what we make can impact people, positively and negatively, but this goes back to what I wrote above: reality is still out there. Sometimes we make people really happy. Sometimes we really upset them. Most people have no strong feelings about what we make. They look at it, poke at it, get bored, and move on. That's life. It's important to accept and understand these things.


And sifting through all of that stuff, you're going to see a lot of harsh words. Some of it will be at your company, some of it may be right at you. But after a while, you can take anything. You don't need to get angry. You don't need to feel bad. There's no word, no phrase, no type of insult, no emotion that you can't brush off. If you're honest with yourself and level with others, you can take whatever's thrown at you. Accept the helpful, even when it initially stings. Reject the irrelevant, even when it feels good. As long as we care about what our audiences think, we've got to be willing to dig through some mud to understand it. If it helps us refine our techniques, improve what we create, and be more honest with ourselves, it will all be worth it in the end.
Spotted on GameBanshee.

News for Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 21:31

An anonymous tipster sent in Bethesda's counter to Interplay's "this is absurd" counterclaim. To not put a fine legalese point on it, it basically repeats their original claim and goes "neener neener".

Ignoring these determinative facts, Interplay seeks to create confusion and ambiguity where none exists. Interplay’s opposition is in its entirety based on the unsupported contention that the term “FALLOUT-branded MMOG” is somehow “ambiguous.” Interplay seeks to introduce extrinsic evidence to alter the clear language and terms of the parties’ agreements. Parol evidence, however, is neither permitted nor warranted here. The term “FALLOUTbranded MMOG” is plain and clear on its face – it means an MMOG named FALLOUT. Bethesda gave Interplay a license to call its MMOG “Fallout” if it met the conditions of the TLA. (See Bethesda Mem. at p. 5.) Nothing else was licensed to Interplay. The APA and TLA also contain undisputed, unambiguous integration clauses prohibiting admission of extrinsic agreements or understandings.

Neither the APA nor the TLA creates any duty or obligation on Bethesda’s part to allow Interplay the use of any Fallout related intellectual property assets which it unconditionally sold to Bethesda. In its opposition, Interplay fails to cite one single contractual provision in either agreement that would create such a duty. Instead, Interplay engages in a convoluted analysis of simple and straightforward agreements in a last-ditch effort to present parol evidence. Given the clarity of the relevant agreements, parol evidence is unnecessary and inappropriate. Dismissal of amended counterclaims I and II is warranted as a matter of law.
Apply facepalms as needed.

Guys, seriously, this is a transfer of a license which always implies transfer of related assets except where specifically void. Bethesda is essentially pointing to a lack of unnecessary provisions as proof, even after Interplay notes how this is contradicting their earlier legal stance.

Posted by Tagaziel - at 16:49

GSC Gameworld has published the first Q&A with its developers on their Facebook profile, concerning S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2:

Q: What will be the biggest difference between S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and the previous games, if any?
A: In brief, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 will offer new story, new set characters (with some good old ones) and, of course, the new engine powering it.

Q: Will there be more of a survival element to STALKER 2?
A: Yes.

Q: What features have been removed/compromised in the PC version due to the multiplatform release?
A: Since we develop primarily on PC, you won't see any compromises in the PC version. The key difference between the PC and console versions will be the beauty of graphics (meaning PC will offer more of visual effects).

Q: Will there be any new kinds of interaction with NPCs?
A: How do you mean? It's difficult to answer this one.

Q: Will Sidorovich be in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2?
A: I will refrain from answering this one for now.

Q: Will the faction wars return?
A: No.

Q: Will the interface (inventory, map, etc) on the pc version suffer (like other games have) by trying to cater for console systems?
A: No, whatsoever.

Q: Will there be any new mutants?
A: Yes.

Q: How many weapons will be in Stalker 2?
A: It's difficult to give the quantitative figure at this point.

Q: Which part of the zone will it take place? Or is it the zone at all?
A: We'll be locating the game in the triangle of CNPP, the cities of Chernobyl and Chernobyl 2 (where the huge antenna is located).

Q: Is Zone going to be a large single [area]?
A: Let's postpone this question for now.

Q: Will it support DX11?
A: Yes.

Q: Will we see more X-Labs and secret underground complexes?
A: Yes.

Q: Will GSC expand on the import-a-weapon feature introduced with Nimble, and allow players access to more varied and custom weapons from outside the Zone by importing them through specialist contacts?
A: We have some interesting new ideas on this matter.

Q: Will artifacts be something we can go out and transmute through Anomalies?
A: No. However, the area of artifact application will expand.
Link: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Q&A with the Team #1

Spotted on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Wiki.

News for Monday, January 10, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:35

There haven't been that many lately, but we still have another batch of reviews for Fallout: New Vegas' first DLC.

The Escapist, "Buy it".

In short, Dead Money is a near-perfect expansion. It breaks the style and mechanics of the original game just enough to offer something truly unique - but not so much that it feels out of place - and adds enough new content to give players a reason to spend even more time with the game than they already have (I'm at 200+ hours and counting). The story is inventive and enjoyable (if a touch overwrought at times) and all of the new elements are welcome additions. I finished playing Dead Money wishing it had been longer - or that the main game of New Vegas had shown as much polish and inventiveness.
AVault, "Skip it".
Good length and getting value for your money only constitute a solid deal if the game is actually fun to play. So while it’s great that Dead Money is nice and long, it’s just so darn hard and repetitive, that it’s tough to get any real enjoyment out of it. I finished the entire quest and was more happy that it was over than feeling any sense of accomplishment. The game gives you a warning not to even try undertaking it unless you have an experience level of 20 or higher, and they sure do mean it. Also, Dead Money assumes that your character is proficient in skills other than weaponry (i.e. Science, Lock picking, etc.), which isn’t always the case for many players.
BeefJack, 4.0/10.
Generally, there’s just a lot of negatives surrounding Dead Money. I found myself lost for nearly an hour, unable to reach a marker for a quest – the only reason I was able to actually progress was because there was a dialogue-driven alternative. Once you actually enter the casino you’ll encounter invulnerable hologram guards, who, without your main-game equipment, will tear you apart. Your only option around them is to sneak, as they cannot be killed, and this feels terrible in a game that’s usually rich with options.

Everything broken about New Vegas itself is still broken here, even after multiple patches. I bought New Vegas on day one and it’s still riddled with bugs. And the few bits of Dead Money I enjoyed were ruined by how boring, repetitive, annoying, and busted the rest of the DLC is.
Capsule Computers, 8/10.
Now Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money may not have added a whole bunch of weapons or enemies but it does have plenty of other things to offer. Besides the raise in level cap to 35 there is an intriguing story hidden inside of the always similar looking ruins of the Sierra Madre. Plus the companions you come across to accomplish your mission have as much, if not more, in-depth of a backstory as companions from the main game. There are even some hints as to what the next DLC could be about hidden if you look hard enough. The intriguing storyline and companion characters are more than worth the price of admission to the Sierra Madre.
MMGN, "Good buy".
The atmosphere is bleak, the enemies are aggressive and the mood is tense. Dead Money introduces a survival horror theme to a game that previously focused on the survival. Now you have to survive shaking in your boots, fearing the horrors that lurk around the next corner. There are more traps in Dead Money, placed in both cunning and cheap areas that make everything that little bit harder.


For 800 Microsoft Points, and currently exclusive to Xbox 360, Dead Money is well worth a look for anyone who feel in-love with Fallout: New Vegas. It has a fairly engaging story, and injects horror into the survivalist style of gameplay. It’s not for the fainthearted or anyone who struggled with New Vegas, but more serious fans will be absorbed by the new mini-world of Fallout.
Battle4 doesn't seem to score it.
Dead Money does accurately what DLC is dictated to do. It extends a life of Fallout: New Vegas and gives we nonetheless another reason to come behind to a wasteland. It can be finished in around 6 hours and that’s utterly a bit of calm for pretty labelled DLC. Much if not all of Dead Money is new to a Fallout junkie. New weapons, quests, characters, and gameplay elements make a knowledge fresh. And if we have tolerated a imperfections in a categorical game, Dead Money is a no brainer. If we were a small incited off by some of a problems, like myself, we competence wish to take a second demeanour during Dead Money given it’s an glorious further to Fallout: New Vegas.
MSXbox-World, 7.5/10.
Annoyances aside, at 800 points Dead Money is a steal, one that could be taken fresh from the Sierra Madre vaults themselves! A story that runs ripe with danger and intrigue, established by an interesting mix of deep and interesting characters, set off great with a fantastic foreboding atmosphere and all the usual Fallout joys and rewards. For any fan of New Vegas wanting to expand their time exploring and surviving within the ruined wastelands, Dead Money is worthy of your time, which I await the next episode in the New Vegas DLC series with baited, yet irradiated breath!
Thanks GameBanshee.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 18:59

In case you hadn't heard enough about the Interplay - Bethesda legal case, The Vault reports that Interplay countered Bethesda's claims (to be more specific, the alleged fact that Interplay was only licensed the use of the Fallout name for Fallout Online). The article is much more detailed and clear than I could ever hope to be, so here's an interesting excerpt:

For example, J. Griffin Lesher, Executive Vice President for Legal Affairs of ZeniMax Media, stated that:

“ Upon information and belief, the name “Project V13” is a reference to “Vault 13,” which is both the starting location and the initial working title of the original Fallout game, indicating that Project V13” is based on the Fallout-related intellectual property elements in violation of Section 3.4 of the TLA” ”

Bethesda also claimed that it needed preliminary relief against Interplay because Interplay was using Fallout elements, violating Section 3.4, and because “five years down the road when [Interplay] has finished the game”, it would not be able to “simply flick a switch and suddenly have a non-violative game,” which would not be a concern if Interplay were not allowed to use any Fallout elements aside from the title itself in the first place. Therefore, even Bethesda's own statements prior to the most recent filings assume that Interplay did have the right to use the Fallout setting, even if they also claim that that right has been terminated.
Thanks Ausir.

News for Friday, January 7, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 20:15

A poster on NeoGAF noted that Zenimax has applied for three new trademarks, likely indicating the titles of the next Fallout: New Vegas downloadable content.

Honest Hearts (which was already hinted at by the names of some graffiti files)
Lonesome Road
Old World Blues

Right now it's impossible to tell if that's all the content that is planned for New Vegas or if there's going to be more (Fallout 3 had one more DLC).

News for Thursday, January 6, 2011

Posted by Lexx - at 22:35

Iron Tower Studio, the makers of Age of Decadence, released a new gameplay video:

To quote Oscar, AoD's Graphic-dude from the AoD forum:

It took us awhile but we've finally managed to put together a gameplay video from photoshopped screenshots (flip animation FTW).

The video shows the second Assassins Guild's quest, the game flow, a night map, fire particles for the easily amused, the PC fighting with allies (just because you don't have an entourage of emotionally scarred people with troubled past doesn't mean you have to save the world all by your awesome self), and an optional third-person view.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:57

Like Fallout 3 before it, New Vegas is nominated for the Writers Guild of America's Videogame Writing award. Again, only games with specific "writer" credits are eligible, a weird setup that makes for odd candidates. John Gonzalez steps up for Obsidian, along with 5 writers from Obsidian and 5 additional writers from Bethesda.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 18:40

It's been a while since we've done the last of these.

VGRevolution doesn't score it.

If you enjoyed Fallout: New Vegas then the $10 for Dead Money is well worth the cost. It was a welcome change of pace for me from the main game’s play style. There were more puzzles and challenges that could not be completed just by shooting someone, but that made it more fun.
Elder-Geek, "Worth Buying".
All in all, Dead Money is worth the purchase, but it should not be on the top of your “must buy” list. The overall plot is interesting and it is nice to see Fallout go in somewhat of a different direction with its DLC, but it seemed like I was constantly going between having a lot of fun, and then being incredibly frustrated a couple minutes later. Also, if you do play it you might consider making a new character that specializes in melee or unarmed, and stealth. And if nothing in this game sounds appealing, then maybe the shameless bait that comes in the form of a level cap increase to 35 will coax you into dropping the ten bucks.
Off-duty gamers, 4.3/5.
Your allies and your antagonist are well-drawn and interesting. Each has his or her own good and bad points, fleshed-out backstory and abilities. The casino itself has a fascinating history which you can ignore if you want, but who would play a Fallout game if not for the great stories? The atmosphere of the place is great, very oppressive and noir, but at the same time keeping that flippant irreverent humor that so characterizes the Fallout franchise. To top it all, you get hints of future game content with oblique references to the Brotherhood of Steel and the Big Empty.
G4TV doesn't rate it.
Visually, this chapter is individual and distinct, but the character interactions are surprisingly well scripted and consistently engaging. The environments are moody and atmospheric. The set-up is unique. This isn’t simply some quickly constructed staging for a shooter scenario. In fact, at times, Dead Money shows more clever creativity than a majority of the game itself. In scope and scale it’s closer to The Pitt than to the expansive Point Lookout, but it offers a bite-sized portion of every single aspect of what we love about Fallout, wrapped in a shiny (well, let’s say appropriately rust-covered) and affordable package
PALGN, "Maybe".
Dead Money is a reasonably well-written expansion for Fallout: New Vegas, but it's one that comes with a disclaimer. If the thought of navigating traps, poisonous clouds, bomb-detonating transmissions and immortal enemies in a kind-of Saw/Ocean's Eleven hybrid sounds like fun to you, then proceed directly towards Xbox Live. If not, then this mightn't be the expansion for you. Hints are dropped in Dead Money about a climactic upcoming DLC pack which may prove to be more compelling, but for now you probably won't be missing anything by waiting for the inevitable Game of the Year edition of New Vegas.
Platform Nation, 8/10.
I had a good time with Dead Money. The story was pretty cool and the macabre atmosphere was a nice change of pace from the Fallout norm. If you are a fan of New Vegas, then you will more than likely pick this up. Throw in 5 more levels to the level cap and it’s definitely worth the 800 points.
Extreme Gamer, 7.5/10.
As a whole tale, 'Dead Money' can be overly tedious with some quests that take the focus away from the main story. This makes parts of the plot feel wishy washy and strangely rushed. Oh and did I mention there is no fast travel? so be prepared to spend a lot of needless time trying to navigate the confusing unfamiliar streets of Sierra. Truthfully, 'Dead Money' could have been a more focused and doesn't go above and beyond to be more than an average add-on for Vegas. Hopefully the next mouthful of DLC is more tasty.
Gaming Lives doesn't score it.
Dead Money is a strange beast, one that, in the end, left me with the bitter taste of disappointment. Certainly not the worst DLC released (that would be the one-sitting only, grinding hell of Mad Moxxi’s Underdome) and probably also not my least favourite Fallout DLC, but considering I classed New Vegas as my game of 2010, this DLC does not compliment it as it should. My verdict...get it on sale at half the price or bundled as a GOTY with the other DLC if you don’t already own the main game.
Cheat Code Central, 3.6/5.
Much like its primary content, this new experience isn't without its flaws. The textures are buggy and consistently popping in and out. Sometimes companions can even get locked in stairwells if you're not careful, and it generally feels unpolished. I even ran into a few bugs when aiming in V.A.T.S. that caused a few restarts, so you'll want to save early and often.


Even with the drawbacks, it's hard to deny the amount of fun you'll have experiencing this latest Fallout morsel. Fallout fans should be sure to check it out.
Gamespot, 6.5/10.
Dead Money represents a change of pace for Fallout: New Vegas, though it's not a consistently enjoyable one. Tense, deliberate pacing gives way to aggravation as the game forces you to watch every step while you meander through its dull surroundings. Lest you forget this content's Fallout roots, however, there are numerous technical oddities to remind you of them. Activating VATS targeting while firing at a turret may get the game stuck in slow-motion purgatory for a minute or more; companions might get mired in the environment or inexplicably make their way to the rooftops while you traverse the streets below. Nevertheless, Fallout: New Vegas - Dead Money's provocative characters and fantastic writing make it a tempting detour for Fallout fans aching for something new
Hooked Gamers, 6.0/10.
Although the game is brimming with excellent dialogue, which is an example of things to come I hope, everything about Dead Money reeks of money making. Obsidian has pushed everything they possibly could, from the same backgrounds and surroundings to the same similar quests time after time just in an effort to make this DLC seem more than it actually is.
MTV Multiplayer doesn't score it.
Looking strictly at the gameplay, "Dead Money" is probably the weakest Fallout DLC pack I've seen thus far. It's repetitive and uninteresting and the world you're exploring is literally lifeless. On the flip side, the story and writing are absolutely top notch and practically make the whole thing worth while. So should you plunk down money for it right now? Only if you're completely exhausted the content in the main game and are desperate for something new. "Dead Money" increases the level cap to 35, so you'll get more skill points and perks, too. If you're still working your way to 30, though, you'd be better off waiting for the inevitable price drop of this DLC pack in a few months.
The Mad Empire, 3/5.
The enemies really bring a challenge to the game since the Ghost People need to killed limb by limb and the holograms cant be killed at all, bit can only be handled by hacking nearby terminals, destroying emitters, and sneaking around them all together.. It seems like Blood Money is the first in a line of DLCs that furthers the story from the original game, carrying theme over like Father Elijah and the mysterious Courier who purposely turned down the job that nearly got you killed, knowing of the trouble it would bring.
Thunderbolt, 8.0/10.
Although there was a decent amount of it, Fallout 3’s DLC ranged from the good (Point Lookout, Broken Steel), the bad (Operation Anchorage) to the ugly (Mothership Zeta). As the first of New Vegas’ DLC, Dead Money fits firmly into the ‘good’ category and has set the bar at a high level for any future additions. As for what the legendary Sierra Madre treasure itself actually is, well, let’s just say be sure to leave at least 90lb worth of room in your back-pack.
Talking About Games, B+.
Overall Dead Money is a worthy purchase for any New Vegas fan. More importantly, with no game-breaking bugs to speak of it’s a safe buy as well which, given the game’s track record, is one of the best assurances possible. Despite the fact that it isn’t perfect, one can only hope that future New Vegas DLC maintains this level of quality.
Thanks GameBanshee.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 15:48

Now that the legal issues between Mark Morgan and Bethesda have been resolves the remastered Fallout 1 & 2 soundtracks are available again to download. Lossless versions of the tracks in FLAC format should be coming soon.

Note that it now says "Original tracks © copyrights Bethesda Softworks LLC".

Thanks Ausir.

News for Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Posted by Atomkilla - at 15:37

Check out Romantically Apocalyptic, a post-apoc, dark humour web comic. It's written and ilustrated by Vitaly S Alexius.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 12:31

While lately the wacky legal shenanigans between Interplay and Bethesda have definitely been the focus of most of the news related to Fallout Online, Interplay is certainly still working on it. In fact, Ausir just rounded up some quotes from Chris Taylor on Interplay's official forum.

Playing solo:

We're going to have content for solo players (you will be able to play solo all the time, you just won't be able to do everything), groups and guilds. Groups will have access to a little more content than solo players.

Think of it as a pyramid. At the bottom is the majority of content that will be accessible by everyone. As you move up the pyramid, it will take more skills, perks weapons, armor and friends.

Being able to solo is important to us. I personally want to cruise the wastes, looking for trouble and running away screaming like a little ghoul when I find it.
Who writes the Fallout Online newsletter?:
95% Mark. You can blame me for the 5% that sucks.


pax, -Chris "More like 10% really" Taylor
Porting Fallout and Fallout 2 to iOS:
[...] the quick answer is no, we can't port Fallout to any other platform. We only have the rights to the original games on their original platforms and the MMO.

I would pay $4.99 for Fallout 1 on the iPad, however. ^_^

News for Monday, January 3, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:48

Have you ever wondered what Fallout 3 would have been if it was done by Japanese developers in 1987 or so? No? It's unlikely that anyone ever did, but Bethblog has the answer anyway, and the answer is: a flash game in Japanese.

Amuse yourselves with it.

News for Sunday, January 2, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 15:14

The Vault provides us with another round-up of developer quotes, though it's actually almost only J.E. Sawyer.

Here's an explanation of his approach to weapon skills in Fallout: New Vegas:

I've explained why the F1/F2 approach was flawed several times in the past, but I'll do it again here: F1 and F2 had phased obsolescence designed into their weapon skill system, but the player wasn't let in on it that design goal at all. The player was "supposed" to use Small Guns, then use Big Guns, then use Energy Weapons, but there's not much in the descriptions of those skills that would indicate a) how powerful those weapons are relative to each other b ) where those items are distributed in the world. So if you set off from Vault 13 for the first time thinking that you might find an Energy Weapon somewhere in the first few hours, you're dead wrong. If you made the terrible mistake of tagging Energy Weapons from the get-go on your first playthrough, you'll likely get nothing out of it for a long while. This essentially punishes players for "guessing wrong".

There are a few ways to address this: 1) keep that scaled skill/weapon progression and staged distribution of weapon types, but tell the player about it. This is problematic because it's the only set of skills that works like that in the game and it also limits the player's options rather than opening them up. 2) get rid of the scaled progression and staged distribution and try to make viable energy weapons throughout the course of the game. 2) is what I tried to do for F:NV, but there were a few problems. First, DT is extremely punishing to laser weapons and, unlike shotguns, there was no antidote to the problem prior to the latest patch. DPS and high accuracy could not make up for the dramatic effect of DT on lasers. Now, of course, all energy weapon ammo types (other than flamer fuel) have increasing amounts of DT bypass in addition to increased damage. Second, distribution in the early game was poor prior to the patch. It was very hard to find any decent Energy Weapons and/or ammo. With the patch, Bright Followers all along the early areas and into REPCONN HQ have leveled lists of energy weapons, so you find more ammo and better weapons much earlier. And finally, I didn't make plasma weapons do enough damage and had them consume too much ammo. Their high capacity was not a good trade-off. So now they do a lot of damage, especially the plasma pistol and rifle, and some of them consume less ammo than they used to.

I fully admit that energy weapons were not competitive with guns (with a few exceptions, like the laser RCW, gauss rifle, and plasma caster) before the patch. With the patch, I think they're certainly competitive from a combat perspective, but they are more expensive to maintain. Right out of the gates, a .357 Magnum revolver is doing 26 DAM compared to a plasma pistol's 33 (which is also negating 2 DT by default). That pistol also holds 16 shots and reloads in about second. The revolver holds six shots and is a looping reload. Add OC ammo into the equation and you're doing 41 DAM while negating 5 DT. The .357 Magnum can hold HP, doing 45 DAM, but only if the target has no armor. And you still have the looping reload to contend with. Both are great weapons. I can see someone preferring one over the other, and that is more than good -- that's awesome. But I really don't think one is a piece of junk and the other is awesome in comparison. You can take the Cowboy perk to help improve .357 Magnum revolver/cowboy repeater DAM, but that's at the cost of a perk, and there are obviously good/great EW perks that the player can take as well.

The plasma rifle/cowboy repeater show similar traits. The plasma rifle is doing 47 DAM to the cowboy repeater's 32. The plasma rifle holds 12 shots and reloads in a second. The cowboy repeater holds 7 (11 with mod) with a looping reload. Both have the same OC/HP ammo progression. And yes, you can upgrade your .357 Magnum rounds to JFP, but that costs a perk. You can make Max Charge ammo with just a good skill and enough ammo lying around. The cowboy repeater's certainly more accurate, and it certainly has a faster moving projectile an it's more durable. Those are all great traits, but I don't look at the two weapons and think, "Man, the plasma rifle sucks compared to the cowboy repeater." And if you want incredible accuracy, a high RoF, and can compensate for (or don't have to contend with) DT, that's why the laser rifle exists. You can also fire it 24 times before reloading, and the reload takes a second.

When you get to the mid-tier pistols, you have the .44 Magnum revolver and plasma defender. I don't need to break down their stats. You know where this is going. The plasma defender is a powerful mid-tier pistol. Post-patch, you can find them on Bright Followers in and around REPCONN HQ. It does more DAM than the .44 (while inherently negating 2 DT), holds more shots than the .44, is more accurate than the .44, and fires faster than the .44. This is a weapon that "sucks"? Really?

I'm sure there are still some weapons that need tuning, but without chalking it up to "feel", I don't get how EWs, post-patch, aren't good/competitive with Guns. If you want them to be demonstrably better than Guns across the board, rare, and only found late game -- well yeah, that's not going happen because that was never part of the goal of the design. If you'd like to mod it, that's your choice and totally fine, but my goal is still 2) above.
Happy new year.