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News for Saturday, February 26, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 17:20

Time for some news about Fallout Online that don't involve legal hijinks as another newsletter, or rather, Armageddon Rag issue is out.

As always, it's rather flavory and cryptic and seems to mostly concentrate on atmospheric short stories, but the part about equipment seems to hint at what we're going to see in the full game.

Here's a snippet:

Super Duper Stimpak¹
The absolute BEST life-saving healing drug available on the market today! One shot of this, and even the dead² will rise again! This is a clone of the MedTech 2000 model, not those cheap models. The needle alone will wake the dead² and provide life-saving stimulus. If you’re looking for the one medical item to carry at all times, this is not the GUN FOR YOU, but it is the best stimpak you can afford!

Available Now! Carrying backpack rig not included.
¹ The Super Duper model adds the Duper company logo.
² The standard “Mostly dead” disclaimer applies. Mostly dead is slightly alive.
Thanks Ausir.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 15:01

Chances are, if you are on this website and you are not deaf, you heard his voice at least once, but Vault 13 Overseer's voice actor Kenneth Mars died at the age of 75, this 12th February.

Aside from his role in Fallout, Kenneth Mars was also known for starring in several Mel Brooks movies such as Young Frankenstein and the original The Producers.

This is the second death of a voice actor involved in Fallout, after that of Tony Jay (the Lieutenant, or Lou Tenant, in Fallout and the narrator and Attis the Super Mutant in.. you know what, that game doesn't exist anyway).

Thanks Ausir.

News for Friday, February 25, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 21:23

With Dead Money now released on PC and PS3, reviewers are revving to try out the DLC on the new platform. GameSpot is underwhelmed enough to reprint its Xbox 360 version for PC, 6.5/10.

You spend most of your time in the streets of the casino's surrounding villa, making your way to important locations while avoiding a number of dangers. One such danger is your collar, which begins beeping--and eventually explodes--when you wander too close to radios and other devices that trigger its self-destruct mechanism. You can destroy most of these instruments, though locating them during the small window of opportunity can be a challenge, forcing you to put yourself in temporary danger to find the offending radio and shoot it down. Your collar isn't the only reason to proceed cautiously, however. The streets are dotted with bear traps and mines, and doorways might be protected with shotgun traps. And then, there's that feared red cloud, which reduces your health should you breathe in its vapors for long. The pace is slow and methodical, and at first, the resulting tension makes for a pleasant twist on the typical New Vegas exploration. Gunning down a speaker as your collar signals your impending demise provides relief to the rising stress, as does spotting and disarming a bear trap before it harms you.

The tension turns into tedium with time, however. This, in part, results from the sameness of the corridors you traverse. The villa is separated into a few different sections, but the maze of streets and balconies looks much the same everywhere you go, and the imprecise quest marker doesn't always provide a clear sense of direction. The red cloud and subdued lighting are atmospheric at first, but because there's so little to break up the view, the muddiness loses its short appeal. After hours of slow progress--punctuated with frequent saves and reloads--you long to explore without so many stringent rules holding you back. Once you make it into the casino, your eyes will thank you for the visual variety, but the invulnerable holographic sentries you encounter don't ease the frustrations. A forced stealth sequence in which being spotted means an instant fiery death is New Vegas at its worst, as are multiple timed escape sections that test your patience and have you cursing the game's clumsy movement mechanics and vague sense of direction. The casino trip rewards you not with fascinating exploration, but with excellently written backstory uncovered at terminals and in voice recordings. The Sierra Madre's riches aren't the resources locked in the casino's vault--they are the glimpses of past greed and deception, as well as the drive of one man to protect the woman he loved.
PSU covers it as a weekly PSN highlight without too much commentary.
Dead Money puts you in the company of several local misfits also sporting explosive neck pieces, whom you must work together with to plunder the delights of Sierra Madre in order to remove the collars. However, you’ll have to be extra vigilant – all your collars are linked, so if one of your companions ends up brown bread, you’ll quickly find yourself decorating the walls too. Like New Vegas, the game limits you to one chum at a time, with each one packing their own companion perks. Elsewhere, Dead Money elbows bottle caps to the side in favour of the more thematically suited Casino caps, with ammo and weapons remaining a decidedly rare commodity. Needless to say, there’s a fair amount of leg work involved in acquiring additional items, especially Stimpaks, which require special codes that are dotted around the sprawling city.

News for Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 16:44

With the latest PSN Update in Europe, the Dead Money DLC is now available in the US and Europe (and thus worldwide? I don't really know how this works) on the PlayStayion Network.

The DLC is also available on D2D, for North and South America. Note it's a Steamworks game, so you'll have to play it on Steam if you buy it on D2D anyway.

News for Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 19:34

Oh yeah, breaking it down with our boy MCA Haters gonna hate

Regardless, we were shooting for a Horror experience with Dead Money. As for what we tried to do with Horror, to make the game scary, we tried to do two things - one, have enemies you couldn't headshot and required a different approach (holograms, toxic cloud), and worse, they could headshot you if you weren't careful (bomb collars + radios). My experience with most horror games is that the enemies become scarier when you can't kill the adversaries (which most role-players will try and do if the enemy has any number of hit points or any measurable way to hurt them, no matter how small). So what am I happy about, even if the final result ended up veering from the intention, is watching YouTube playthrough videos where folks (1) start panicking when they hear beeping (exactly the experience we wanted), and (2) seeing players take a step back, figure out the puzzle, and then study the environment to solve it (again, what we wanted).

As for Horror: Things get scarier and tense when you can't escape, no one's coming to help you, and your resources are limited, and Dead Money was built around this. Watching the YouTube playthrough footage where players started re-appreciating chems and Stimpaks made me happy - these things are miracles of medicine, and they should be viewed as such and appreciated for that in the world of Fallout. One issue I've always had with Fallout is it's really easy to amass a lot of chems and stims, so much so you lose the sense of wonder and relief when you get these items, and I feel situations like in Dead Money can give you a new appreciation for food, crafting (we put a higher priority on crafting and supplies to make crafting worth more in the DLC), unconventional water sources, and the joy at finding an otherwise common chem in the Mojave takes on a new level of preciousness when you're in hostile territory. One YouTube video showed someone finding Buffout - and to hear them say, "thank god" and hear genuine appreciation for finding something so rare is exactly the kind of value I want people to attach to these items... usually people seem to care less when they find Buffout, but it all depends on the environment context. I want players to attach value to them again rather than, "oh, more Buffout." It's BUFFOUT. It's a STIMPAK. Your character should be OVERJOYED to find these things, each and every time.

Posted by Brother None - at 9:04

Gamasutra offers an editorial on how New Vegas gives little feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment compared to Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.

But even after the above-mentioned event that filled me with a new sense of purpose, there was still something that left me wanting, and I couldn't figure out what it was. That is, until I read an article from G. Christopher Williams on entitled “Fallout, the 'To Do' List Simulator” that made me realize what was bugging me most: I never got anything done! I was apathetic because I never got a feeling of satisfaction or accomplishment. Even upon completing a mission, my quest queue was usually longer than when I started.

While I wanted to keep moving forward with New Vegas, I simply had to pick up and dive into some Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood as well. My plan was to check out Brotherhood for a couple hours then put it aside until I finished up New Vegas... But I didn't want to go back. When played back to back, these games shine an interesting light on each other, specifically on the biggest problem I have with New Vegas and one of the things I like most about Brotherhood.

I like the feeling of getting things done, and working towards a goal, and these are more satisfying in video games than they are in real life mostly due to their immediacy. As soon as I complete a quest I get money and items and experience, etc. In real life, rewards come at a significantly slower pace, and are rarely as materially satisfying as a shiny new sword.

Posted by Brother None - at 7:37

Get your red hots, for 9.99 EUR/USD. Availability depends on your region, so it might take a while for it to unlock for you.

About the Game
As the victim of a raw deal you must work alongside three other captured wastelanders to recover the legendary treasure of the Sierra Madre Casino. In Dead Money, your life hangs in the balance as you face new terrain, foes, and choices. It is up to you how you play your cards in the quest to survive.

Welcome to the Sierra Madre Casino! The casino’s mythical contents are lusted after by desperate wasteland scavengers, who tell stories of intact treasure of the old world buried deep within its vault. Lured here by a mysterious radio signal advertising the long-awaited grand opening of the casino, you are thrown into a high stakes game where you’ll have to work with three other lost souls if you want to survive.

Key Features:
Take part in a suspenseful post-apocalyptic casino heist in which you’ll need to work with three companions, each of whom has their own motivation for helping you.
Add hours of extended gameplay where you’ll encounter the mysterious Ghost People, pre-war death traps and the holographic security system of the Sierra Madre.
Navigate your way through a challenging new storyline, with even tougher choices.
New perks, achievements, and a raised level cap to 35!
The Vault has found more hints to the second DLC in the game files, but there's not a lot of new, interesting stuff in there.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 2:31

Just as the PS3 version, the PC version of Fallout: New Vegas got updated too. There's no changelong at the moment, but as the PS3 version of the patch, this update should just be for compatibility purpose with Dead Money.

Also, in case you have the 1C/Cenega version, The Vault informs us that the update is still not available.

News for Sunday, February 20, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 1:31

The Vault has the transcripts of the court's denial of Bethesda's motion to dismiss Interplay's counter-claim. That's confusing, yes. This isn't: Bethesda's claim of "they can use only the name" is ridiculous, and even the judge openly says so.

But is the value of that -- unlike Walt Disney I do not necessarily agree that there is an equation here between Fallout and Walt Disney. There may be an equation here between Walt Disney and either Interplay and Bethesda as opposed to Snow White and Fallout. So, let's set that aside.


Let me ask you this about your analogy, what if someone was allowed to use the mark Snow White but none of the characters or pictures or storyline or anything else, so what they did is they labeled it Snow White but you look at it and it is Donald Duck?

News for Friday, February 18, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:10

As community manager Matthew Grandstaff informs us, the patch 1.04 for Fallout: New Vegas is out for PS3 in Europe and will be live shortly in the US. Apparently this is still not the real deal but just another patch meant to ensure compatibility with the DLC.

News for Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 19:40

The Smithsonian is setting up a 5-era exhibit for video games, and hoi polloi gets to vote for what makes it in. Wisely it's been split into eras so it's not just Halo and Call of Duty. Ausir says the candidates of interest to us include Wasteland in Era 2, Fallout in Era 4 and Fallout 3 in Era 5.

News for Friday, February 11, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 2:04

Why the patch would come to consoles before PC is beyond me, but there you have it, Patch 1.3 is out on Xbox 360 and PS3. Other than adding the Dead Money trophies on the PS3, its changelist is unknown.

Addendum: The Vault had it wrong, this was simply a Trophy update. Actual patch is still incoming. Nothing to see here, move along.

News for Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 23:24

Obisidian Project Director was talking to Eurogamer about their Onyx Engine, Dungeon Siege III and working with foreign tech, and working with foreign tech is quite a chunk of the reason.

"Stability and being bug free are extremely high priorities on this project, and we actually talk about it internally constantly," he explained to Eurogamer in a new interview. "The advantage here we have over, for example Fallout, is when we have a question about how something works, I walk 10 feet outside my office door and go talk to the programmer who wrote it. That's a lot different than trying to get someone on a mailing list, or get someone on the phone who's in a different time zone or across the country. Those sort of things have made it possible for us to stabilise things and keep things working as well as we like.

"Here we have the advantage of, no matter who runs into a crash issue, we're able to get it up on the screen with a stack dump and look at it and peel back the information on it, and identify exactly what happened and get it fixed. That's been a change.

"When we've worked with other engines sometimes you get a crash and you're like, well, I don't know. We didn't write this. Why is this happening? You get a bunch of engineers in there trying to reproduce something that takes hours to reproduce. Those kind of things can be difficult when you're not able to develop your own tech. But our crash and stability tools on this project have been phenomenal.
Thanks sampson70.

News for Friday, February 4, 2011

Posted by 13pm - at 17:23

As everyone has expected, the first DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, Dead Money, is no longer XBox exclusive and will be available soon for PC and PS3. Moreover, to noone's surprise too, three more DLCs were announced. No titles available yet.

This morning we’ve announced that Dead Money, the first game add-on for Fallout: New Vegas, is coming to PlayStation 3 (via PSN) and PC (via Steam and Direct2Drive) on Tuesday, February 22nd. Additionally, we will be releasing three additional add-on packs in the coming months. These packs will launch simultaneously on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
Link: Bethesda Blog

News for Thursday, February 3, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 23:20

The performance of Bethesda's lawyers in the Interplay vs Bethesda litigation over the Fallout MMO rights hasn't been so brilliant so far, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Bethesda has decided to change them. Here's what the latest filings say:

The Clerk will please withdraw effective February 1, 2011, the appearance of Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov, Rachel M. Hofstatter, Michael J. Allan and Steptoe & Johnson LLP as counsel for the Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant, Bethesda Softworks, LLC, in the above-referenced matter, in light of the appearance of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that Dougls W. Baruch (MD Bar No. 12554) is entering his appearance as co-counsel for Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Bethesda Softworks, LLC.
That said, it's the second time that happens, so the question everyone's going to ask himself is: have they picked the right firm this time?

Update: Turns out Bethesda changed law firm.. but not lawyers. The lead counsel on the case, Howard H. Stahl, moved to another law firm, and Bethesda's change of law firm was done only to keep him as their lead counsel for the case.

Thanks Ausir.

News for Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 13:58

As January has passed, the RPG-centric GameBanshee and RPGWatch have whipped out their own "Game of the Year 2010" awards.

GameBanshee chooses Fallout: New Vegas as their RPG of the Year, with these motivations:

Following the RPG Hybrid of the Year win by a shooter with RPG elements comes an RPG with shooter combat for our RPG of the Year. Ignoring its shooter combat for a moment, it is clear throughout this title that Obsidian was striving to bring back as much of Fallout's core PnP sensibilities as they reasonably could.

Some of these additions are rather tepid, such as the addition of a “hardcore mode” (a strong idea that fell short in execution), but the title goes well beyond that by offering a solid character system and presenting us with many opportunities to use various skills to resolve missions.

More than any Fallout before it, New Vegas is a faction-driven game, and it does this exceedingly well. While perhaps lacking in moral ambiguity, it does seek to avoid clearly offering right and wrong choices, and offers four major faction paths to make sure the player can find an option he is comfortable with. The factions, major or minor, are generally believable and well-written, and are at the core of what makes this game tick.

And we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Vault 11 is really awesome.
The game is also runner-up for the "Best Story/Writing" and "Best Sound/Music" categories.

Fallout: New Vegas is also RPGWatch's Editor's Choice and Gamer's choice for RPG of the Year category. Here's the motivation from RPGWatch's editors:
There's no doubt Fallout 3 offered a compelling vision of post-apocalyptic suburbia, the senses almost overwhelmed with jumbled, broken concrete and the distance framed with the twisted ribbons of old freeways. Fallout: New Vegas takes that sense of spatial immersion but connects back to the original games to create a truly satisfying RPG. Obsidian has coupled the freedom to explore an open world with deeper quests, interesting characters, a shades-of-grey storyline and competing factions capable of pleasing both fans of Fallout and those attracted to Bethsoft's open worlds.

The gameplay has been incrementally improved with tighter combat and (slightly) better balancing but the real pleasure comes from the greater range of choices and a better sense of continuity. From the "Novac" sign to Fallout character and location references to the almost-camp humour, Fallout: New Vegas understands the Fallout universe. There are some great set pieces, surprisingly complex quests with different resolutions and different character builds get to feel useful with a wide range of different dialogue skill checks from Doctor to Explosives. All up, Fallout: New Vegas is a deserving winner.