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News for Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 21:58

We've seen it referred to as the Wasteland Reboot, or Wasteland Project, or Wasteland 2, as people were left guessing at what InXile's Kickstarter Wasteland Project would be named. InXile CEO Brian Fargo confirmed to No Mutants Allowed that the game (if funded, naturally) will be named Wasteland 2.

A direct sequel 20 years later that is actually in the style of the original? Crazy.

News for Monday, February 27, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 22:52

Well, it didn't take long InXile to unveil one of its exciting hires, as Fargo lets us know the company hired Mark Morgan, composer of the Fallout 1/2 and Planescape: Torment soundtracks.

It's official! Mark Morgan who composed the music for @Fallout 1 and 2 has signed on to help do the same and set the mood for #wasteland.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:41

Bethesda has just published a job posting for a programmer on "an unannounced game on future-generation consoles", with "experience playing Bethesda Game Studios games" listed as a plus:

Bethesda Game Studios is looking for experienced programmers to work on cutting-edge technology for an unannounced game on future-generation consoles.


• At least 5 years of game development experience with multiple titles shipped
• Extensive experience programming and optimizing for the Xbox 360 and PS3
• Experience with DirectX 11 a plus
• Passion for making GREAT games, and being part of a GREAT team
• Ability to contribute innovative ideas towards all aspects of game development
• Must create amazing things with minimal oversight
• Experience playing Bethesda Game Studios games a plus
Considering Bethesda Game Studios pretty much work exclusively on The Elder Scrolls and Fallout and Skyrim came out in November and will be supported with DLC, this most likely means Fallout 4 will be a next-gen launch title. Make of that what you will.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:09

Brian Fargo estimated a few days ago that it'd take "2-3 weeks" to put up a Kickstarter page, and he should easily hit that estimation, as he's filming for the presentation video this week, which will be the last major item to prepare.

I'm filming my bit for the #kickstarter video tomorrow and Wednesday. This is the last major item to prepare for our launch on Kickstarter.
We should be hearing about additional (exciting) hires leading up to the Kickstarter launch.

News for Sunday, February 26, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 22:08

We haven't been following The Age of Decadence's monthly updates closely despite us covering the game, but this is more than worthy of being posted, as in this month's installment Vince just announced that the demo of the title will be released in public beta form in only 2 weeks.

Short version: the wait is almost over; the demo will be released in 2 weeks.

Long version: I’ve just realized that it’s been seven months since we’ve started testing. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, that the fall and the winter seasons are already over. You get so focused on daily tasks, which pile up faster than you can handle them, that you don't really notice how fast time flies. You look back, but you don't really feel it. Only when you actually count the months, you realize - in shock - how long it's taken.

So, 7 months, 1,900 posts in the beta forums, and 12 builds later (Oscar has just uploaded a new update), we're getting ready to release the demo - as public beta - to our audience.

I'd like to use this opportunity to thank our testers (whom I really can't thank enough). Their input has kept us very busy all these months, kept us working/reworking/tweaking/adding/fixing/breaking shit accidentally and fixing again. Looking back, I realize that back in August we gave the testers a very flawed game and they helped us turn it into a game that we're proud to give you now. It's not perfect in any way, but it's solid.

There were a lot of great ideas and suggestions and I wish we could implement them all, but there is only so much four people can do, even in seven months. Special thanks to people who have encouraged us to take more time to get it right.

I hope you’ll enjoy the game.
If you're wondering what the team will actually do during the public beta, here's what Vince had to say:
We'll only fix bugs. We don't have time for anything else, no matter how good some of the new ideas might be.
And finally, here are some juicy screenshots:

Posted by Tagaziel - at 13:08

This issue of Fallout Archaeology is brought to you by Taylor Anonymous, also known as The Obsidian Raven, who obtained the rough notes and general outline of Circle Junction from Chris Avellone. The Junction is an old railway hub that was one of the more important locations in the roleplaying campaign that formed the basis of Van Buren's plot and setting.

The Iron Rivers tribe fled southeast. When the children grew tired, the men carried them on their backs. They retreated to their former hunting grounds, a stretch of badlands many miles to the southeast. There, they met up with Long Walk, a tribal who had been able to gather many of the tribesmen and women and flee during the initial attack. The reunion was a joyous one, for both groups had feared for the death of the other.

Establishing a camp, they posted guards and talked worriedly amongst themselves. Many tears were shed for the fallen, and praise and wonder for the tribe of the 13 that had delivered them from slavery. Some talked of attacking the slavers and driving them from Circle Junction, but the two chiefs, Big Circle and his son, calmed the warriors. The men of the Caesar tribe would leave for the west soon enough, as they had in the past. They merely had to wait them out. The talk of fighting drifted back to more mundane matters, such as getting food and water, and reclaiming the brahmin that had been driven out of the Junction when the slavers were sighted.
You can read the rest of the outline, notes and check out the map and reference photos here.

Link: Circle Junction

Posted by Brother None - at 2:11

RPGCodex is next up with part one of an interview on Wasteland with Brian Fargo.

- Being pessimistic for a moment; if the crowd funding approach fails to take off, but you instead attract the attention of a publisher and hammer out a deal, do you feel that the resulting version of Wasteland 2 would differ in terms of style? How do you think crowd funding will affect the type of game produced?

RPG Codex being pessimistic.. cmon.. never. I guess one has to ask the question if the game would have been a sales success if there wasn't enough fan support to fund it. Many RPG players love and respect Wasteland yet many Fallout players don't realize its roots. If the Fallout community truly knew then it would probably will be a successful funding. However, if we took your pessimistic scenario I think it would be a mistake to take this game in another direction other than what we have been discussing with the fans. The fans have made it clear that they want a certain kind of game and if publisher X popped up and said "Good news we are going Wasteland and its going to be an FPS", they would be incurring quite a wrath. Keeping it closer to the original game just seems right.

- Reading your tweets and social media correspondence, it sounds like you will be creatively involved in the project. To what extent will this be? Will we see you as creative director?

I am almost always involved in the creative aspects of the projects. My role in games is often very strong in the front and back end of production. At the start I make sure we have the right team and stay true to the tenets of why the game should exist. Once everyone starts clicking on the sensibilities then the game takes a life of its own and I give it the room to fly. A good example of this was when we were making the first Fallout and Steve Jackson objected HEAVILY to the opening scene of the guy being shot in the back of the head with the soft music playing. I called him up and said "if you don't like that then you haven't seen anything yet" so we parted ways to use GURPS and I told the guys to use a different game system. A good producer will step up in the key moments and make sure the vision stays true. I will be heavily involved in this project from every step of the way to art design, writing, audio, story arc, etc. But my favorite moments in production are when the team come up with brilliant ideas that I had nothing to do with because that means the game has achieved that magical tipping point of gameplay production.

News for Friday, February 24, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 17:38

No Mutants Allowed got a chance to interview InXile CEO Brian Fargo about his Wasteland Kickstart project. The answers we received did not disappoint.

It's been years since the old Wasteland so no one is expecting a carbon copy. What would you say are elements in design or setting from the original that absolutely must make it back in, and what elements would you say are most likely to change?

Party and turn based combat is an absolute critical requirement for me. I like finding the right mix of Desert Rangers combined with NPC's and I enjoy the tactics that come from that dynamic. Players will spend more time doing combat than most anything in an RPG so it needs to be deep and rewarding. The skill based system is another must have to me as it opens up the world to be explored in ways that the player wants to do. You can have someone picklock the door, use demolitions on it, sneak over the back wall or try and let a rocket loose to blow the door off. A good RPG always offers many options for the player to move forward and with some of their choices may open or close off entire areas. I think the 3rd element is the way NPC's had a mind of their own within combat or game mechanics. The best storytelling often comes from the moments that happen from within the system. Almost everyone remembers when Angela Deth would empty an entire Uzi clip into a rat and completely waste hard earned ammo.

Things that will have big changes will be the use of audio and how you communicate and receive missions from the Desert Rangers HQ. I won't go into detail yet but we have some innovative ideas that will make that whole aspect of the game become more entertaining and meaningful. We also plan to dial up the things that NPC's can do or cause affect the party. We will have some NPC's that you will love in combat but be looking forward to snuffing out once you get the chance. We will also have a more cohesive story thanks to all the efforts that Jason and Mike have already put in. We have learned a lot more about storytelling than we did back in the day.

Posted by Brother None - at 11:18

For general perusal, we have added a single zip file containing all the Fallout 3 art Bethesda released in tribute to Adam Adamowicz. It's a hefty 2.5 GB download so only for people who want the full collection, full-resolution shots are all available on Bethesda's flickr.

Furthermore, we've put up a 26-page PDF file for R. Scott Campbell's Origins of Fallout. It contains no images or links, just simple formatting for easy printing.

In unrelated news, spittoonist has been posting regular updates for a pretty good-looking Fallout 3 comic on our fan art forum, check it out.

Be sure to stick around because NMA will have something big and juicy for you later today.

Posted by Brother None - at 9:15

The DeanBeat has interviewed Fargo and other small studio heads about crowdfunding.

InXile has a variety of properties that could use funding and 15 employees. Fargo shopped Wasteland around to publishers, but they were risk averse and really wanted to games that had a chance to rake in $1 billion in sales. If he does the project on his own, Fargo can make the game edgier, with a gritty world full of moral dilemmas for the players.

“The game industry has separated itself into the huge blockbuster companies and the independent developers in their garages,” Fargo said. “But it’s pretty hard to be in the middle. Is there any business model left standing for the mid-size developers?”

The important thing about crowd-funding is that it gives game companies in the middle an option that can preserve their creative freedom. Indie game developers might also turn to Kickstarter, but it could prove tough raising a ton of money for a game project if the developer is a relative unknown.

News for Thursday, February 23, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 1:38

After already adding Wasteland designer Michael Stackpole, InXile has further expanded the team working on the new Wasteland project with Wasteland programmer/producer/designer Alan Pavlish.

More good #Wasteland news! The original producer, programmer and designer Alan Pavlish has also joined the team.
The only name missing from the original core team is Ken St. Andre, though I do believe he retired from videogame making.

News for Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 18:29

Chris Avellone shares some thoughts about Kickstarter and Wasteland 2 on his blog, reminiscing about the excellent first title.

So the whole Kickstarter model, Double Fine’s adventure game, and now the hopes of Fargo bringing Wasteland on-line is amazing. It’s probably no secret after Old World Blues how much I enjoyed Wasteland and giant scorpions and proton weapons, but Wasteland has a lot of my childhood tied up in it. To explain: I was in early high school, I was coming off of the Bard’s Tale series and needed another fix... and from what I saw of Wasteland on the back cover of the package, it seemed to fit the bill. I was wrong.

Why? When I booted it up, I found it confusing and not like Bard’s Tale at all - (well, beyond the combat), and the navigation especially threw me off a bit at first. Separate the party? What did all these skills exactly do? Where was I supposed to go? I was prepared for several more hours of disappointment and thought I’d wasted my money. I was used to the faux-3D corridors and environments... then a number of things happened that woke me up to what this title was doing, and I realized Interplay had made something different and well on par with Bard’s Tale. Such as...

- I was placed in an unpleasant moral situation early on in the title when I hit Highpool. I had to put down someone’s pet, and just as expected, the owner wasn’t happy about the situation I was placed in. And I felt horrible. This was in the first 15 minutes, and the game had caused a new reaction in me I’d never had when playing an RPG.

- Skill progression started defining my character’s personality. There was enough skill choices for me to start imagining what these Rangers had been trained in, what their talents were, and the ability to choose nationality of the characters fleshed them out even more, especially my RPG-toting near-silent Russian demolitions strongman, Romanov, who I began to build an increasingly-complex backstory for. (And yes, my Mom probably worried about me.)

- Despite the graphics at the time, the locations were areas I couldn’t have imagined, certainly not in a computer game. Here was a game where I could use my Intelligence to fight adversaries, transport my consciousness into an android’s brain and battle my character’s childhood fears, contract some serious post-apocalyptic STDs, use a mortar to blow up sections of towns, help a nomadic tribe of railroad tribals predict the future with snake-squeezed moonshine, and navigate a mine-covered golf course only to come face to face with a giant robotic scorpion in the middle of Vegas. Not to mention the range of enemies, personalities, and allies that can join you – all of these things didn’t require some high-tech solution, only a different approach to the game context.

In any event, hats off to Fargo and InXile, I’m definitely putting my money down when they start up their Kickstarter fund, and I’ll donate just as much as I did to Double Fine. Give me Wasteland 2 already.
In related news, Fargo revealed that the $50 tier for Kickstarter donations will be an old-fashioned boxed copy.
It looks like a few of you have figured out one of the tier awards. The $50 tier gets full box, docs and maps the way games used to be.

News for Monday, February 20, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 22:42

Chris Avellone just tweeted that Tim Cain has decided to stay at Obsidian:

My heart grew three sizes today when Tim Cain said yep, it was official - he was going to stay and work with us full-time.
Admittedly, normally posting about a developer not moving would be downright bizarre and not news, but considering Tim Cain had commented during an interview that he was only on a temporary contract with Obsidian and considering joining another company, I think it's warranted.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:52

IGN is pushing for the prospect of an old-school Wasteland sequel pretty hard, which seems very unusual of them, and have another editorial explaining why it's great news.

Wasteland had no levels and no checkpoints, and you soon learned that every little thing you did was being recorded to the disk as you went along. In fact, your very first task upon booting was to make copies of all four 'sides' of the disk so that you didn't permanently overwrite the originals. It felt like a strange thing to have to do, but we were used to having to do peculiar acts to work around technical limitations in those days.

On that note, the paltry memory of my Commodore 64 (64kb!)meant that the game could barely store any text, and for the sake of a meaningful narrative, Wasteland prompted the player to turn to a specific paragraph of the physical book included in the rather lavish gatefold packaging. (To avoid spoiling things for you, much of the text was a complete red herring, and nothing to do with the game whatsoever.)

As is so often the case, though, all this misty-eyed nostalgia comes at a price. Trying to play the original game now would be step too far into the past for many players, with mechanics, visuals and audio intolerably primitive by today's standards. As someone with unwavering respect for Wasteland's place in gaming history, it's painful to see how unkind time has been to it. Even the rosiest of tinted spectacles can't save it. You had to be there, man.

But the prospect of an all-new Wasteland game? That's a different matter entirely, especially given Brian Fargo's desire to ensure that a new version would stay true to the spirt of the top-down original. Much like Nintendo continues to make extremely good new top-down Zelda games, there's absolutely no reason for modern players to feel put off by the determination to stick to tried-and-trusted methods from the past.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:12

As most have (hopefully) already noticed, Bethesda put up a tribute page to concept artist adam Adamowicz, who died of complications of lung cancer. They put a grand total of over 2000 pieces of concept art online, from Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim. 809 pieces of Fallout 3 concept art are available. We have added a selection to our local concept art gallery (note: they have been resized for our gallery to have a maximum width/height of 1900, larger versions are often available on flickr):

Thanks The Vault.

News for Sunday, February 19, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 14:54

inXile's Brian Fargo has recently tweeted on the estimated timeframe for Wasteland 2's actual Kickstarter crowdfunding to start, and, assuming it all goes well, it doesn't look like it will take too much:

@BrianFargo I just started playing Wasteland again a bit ago. And now I hear about this! Any idea when the kickstarter page will be live?

@JonasCalhoun We hope to get it live in the next 2-3 weeks. We are thinking through the tiers and making a video.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:33

By way of twitter, InXile's Brian Fargo shares a piece from the Wasteland project the company was working on a few years back, when Fallout artist Jason D. Anderson was with the company.

News for Saturday, February 18, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 4:35

Designer Michael Stackpole, who worked on Bard's Tale III and Wasteland, has joined the new Wasteland team over on InXile, per Brian Fargo.

One of the original designers of Wasteland is @MikeStackpole and he has signed on as a designer for the new Wasteland!

Posted by Brother None - at 3:08

First, the bad news: voice actor David Anthony Pizzuto, who did the voice of Lily in Fallout: New Vegas, has passed away, per Jason Bergman. Our condolences to his family, friends and co-workers.

The Vault has some comments from Chris Avellone talking some tidbits about Dead Money and Old World Blues, including a cut ending where you joined the Think Thank. You can see details on it here.

Bethesda has announced a dual-pack of Oblivion and Fallout 3. It will be available in North America only, $30 on Xbox 360 and $20 on PC. It seems to not be the GotY edition of either one. Not great value, but decent enough.

Finally, the Fallout 3 Marathon just kicked off, and will be going for the next 60 hours. They're already over $1300 of their $2000 goal, and I put in my $20. Consider joining and/or donating.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:55

J.E. Saywer writes on his own website about his thoughts on the weapon skills in Fallout's SPECIAL.

1) In a game where a player makes an investment in a variety of skills, I believe those skills should be applicable from the beginning of the game to the end of the game. In F1, that wasn't the case with Small Guns/Big Guns/Energy Weapons. In F:NV, it was true for Guns and EWs, but it resulted in a lot of weapon role redundancy between the two skills.

2) I believe taking different skills should change the gameplay of the character. This really has never been true between Small Guns/Guns/EWs. You pretty much use all of them the same way, especially because of role redundancy or application overlap (cf. Laser and Sniper Rifles in F1, Anti-Materiel Rifle and Gauss Rifle in F:NV). It's also not true of Unarmed/Melee Weapons.

3) Not really my beef, but often comes up from other players: EWs in F:NV don't feel suitably powerful compared to conventional firearms. This comes from 1), where I wanted players in the early game to have access to items that consistently made use of their EW skill. Thus, you end up with Laser Pistols and Plasma Pistols that don't feel dramatically different from 9mm Pistols and .357 Magnum Revolvers. They're all starter weapons.

4) Again, not a personal concern, but an issue for many players: there are a ton of weapons and ammo types in F:NV. Even taking subtypes out of the mix, there are far more base types than in any other Fallout game, and an arsenal of weapons -- some people like this, some don't. My concern as a designer is that people are overwhelmed by the number of items and cease to be able to sort, distinguish, and make intelligent choices about what to use, and when. And the more weapons there are, the more difficult they are to balance.
Thanks GameBanshee.

Furthermore, a second, equally interesting exchange is taking place on J.E. Sawyer's Formspring:
We often develop technology not because it's great immediately, but because developing that technology helps us move toward its potential. We've had various forms of hybrid vehicles (gasoline combustion engine + ???) around for a long time. Most of them were pretty bad and impractical. We've had biofuels around for a while, but most of those are STILL bad and/or impractical. We saw tanks developed in WW1 that were absolute garbage.

All of those things were kind of crummy for a while, but if we hadn't gone through the stage of "Yeah... this is... okay, I guess," we would never have reached the subsequent stages. Coil/rail gun technology used to be completely impractical. Now it's reached the stage where maybe/sorta we could mount an enormous one on a destroyer and blast through a bunker with a huge slug from miles away. We're probably not going to have Eraser- or Fallout-style Gauss rifles for a while, but we see the potential.

In the Fallout universe, I think that the military appeal of weaponry that uses a small number of more-or-less universal ammunition types would be great. Today, we have NATO standards so that allies armies can share ammunition. But what if you could use the same ammunition type for powering a sniper rifle that you'd use for a devastating close-range weapon (e.g. a Microfusion Cell powering a Laser Rifle or a Plasma Rifle)? For a military force in the field, the flexibility of that would be immense.

Anyway, I considered the EWs in F:NV to have reached the point where they were starting to replace conventional weapons, but had not yet completely eclipsed them -- sort of like the early days of firearms, when they were still being used concurrently with bows.

News for Friday, February 17, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 19:37

The third part is the shortest, but also the densest, as lead designer R. Scott Campbell answers the questions most frequently asked of him, explaining why China is the main enemy, where FEV and the Brotherhood of Steel come from, and talking about various bits of cut content, some of which we'd never heard of before.

Bottle Caps as currency?

I remember my fellow Fallout designer, Brian Freyermuth, asking how much something will cost in a shop. I remember thinking, “cost what?” What was our game currency? We went through a few ideas:
  • A pure bartering system? Nah, that would be difficult for the player to understand the worth of anything. (Two molerat pelts for a cup of coffee? Is that good?)
  • Bullets as the currency? I gotta admit, bullets are definitely useful in the wasteland. But that idea was shot down (sorry) when we realized that people would be very hesitant to use things like machineguns, since every trigger-pull would directly lower their bank accounts! That level of financial restraint wouldn’t be enjoyable.
  • Credit cards ? – just the hard plastic cards, of course - but most would have probably been melted in the nuclear firestorms.
So, I thought, what shiny token-sized thing would you find strewn around the trash piles? Something common, but not so common as to be everywhere? Bottlecaps, of course! (That, and I liked the idea of a string of caps on a chord that jingled when people pulled them out.)

Two headed cows?

Well, they weren’t initially. Early on, when I was thinking about the Shady Sands farming community, I wondered what kind of livestock they would keep to feed themselves. Just using cows and chickens didn’t seem very post-apocalyptic; we needed a critter that was hearty enough to withstand the wastes, big enough to scare off most predators, and dumb enough to be easily domesticated. Since Shady Sands was to have a Hindi/Tibetan feel to it, I couldn’t get the idea of a yak out of my head. So, the livestock became lumbering mutated gophers with long hair. Gopher meat? Now that’s post-apocalyptic! Since these beasts were what kept the villagers alive, they were considered almost holy – thus the name Brahmin. I was happy for many months – until someone pointed out that my Brahmin looked an awful lot like Banthas. Damn it! I’m not sure who came up with the two-headed cow thing… but at least it wouldn’t get us sued by LucasArts.

News for Thursday, February 16, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 20:21

In part 2 of R. Scott Campbell's writeup on the origins of Fallout, the game's lead designer explores the very first design and setting decisions, the core design principles, and the problems with GURPS later on.

Another core decision that stemmed from our Role-Playing addiction was the idea of creating your own characters. Sure, most RPGs allow you to allocate attribute points and choose a male or female body – we wanted you to be able to create a character that allows you to play the way you want to play.

How do you want to play the game? Do you want to be the gun-wielding tough-guy? The buff melee brute? Maybe the stealthy assassin? The nimble guy who can’t be hit? Or maybe the guy who can talk anyone into anything? All of these choices (and any combination between them) must all be valid. By simply choosing from a few skills and abilities, you can tell us how you want to interact with the game.

This also meant that however a player specialized their character, they still had to be able to get through the game. Initially, I underestimated all the permutations that this decision actually meant. What if you had a character that was really good at persuasion, but not trained in combat? If a player wanted that kind of play experience, we had to deliver. Thus, those “Charisma-boy” characters can easily gain allies that fight for them, and are able to talk their way out of most situations in the game.

Rule #4: Let the player play how he wants to play.

News for Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 22:41

IGN has some more comments from Brian Fargo on the idea of a crowd-funded Wasteland project.

He doesn't know if it'd be straight up called Wasteland 2, but he repeatedly emphasized that, despite having thought about it for only 48 hours, it wouldn't be a crazy genre change up. Wasteland, whatever its called, will be "100% faithful to its roots." This means a Wasteland game that "would be focusing on top-down, probably isometric, party based, skill based -- where if you'd just finished playing Wasteland and moved onto this you'd feel comfortable."


The big thing Fargo emphasizes, that the fans are often missing, is that "this process means we don't have to do it like the publisher wants." Fans on the boards are worried that the project will start out looking like a hardcore, old-school Wasteland title, but eventually turn into something more "mainstream." Fargo says that they don't have to worry about "will [the audience] get this or get that," they can just be "more like the old days...totally creative."

Posted by Brother None - at 18:36

Fallout 1's first lead designer R. Scott Campbell is often cited by other Fallout developers as one of the most underestimated key creators of Fallout. NMA and Michał "deadlus" Bielerzewski sent him the developer profile and other questions a while ago to get his take on the history of the game. Since answering the questions became quite a story in itself, he decided instead to write out his memories of the origins of Fallout instead.

The 25-page document was submitted to NMA (again with thanks to deadlus). We've split it into three parts, added some formatting, links and images, and now offer you the first part, which is mostly about his own history with Interplay and the very beginnings of the GURPS project, as well as the hilarious first drunk draft of the game's story.

When Interplay approached Steve Jackson Games for GURPS, they were extremely skeptical. They were told of the long line of great RPGs that Interplay had made. No response. They were told that they would have creative control over the game. Still no response. Then they were told the up-front license money they would be getting. Suddenly, there was a response.

With GURPS given a green light, Tim assembled a team, and (because SimEarth was just canned) chose me as the Lead Designer. It was a bit of a rocky start, as much finagling was needed to secure people for the team from other projects.

Once the contract was signed, Steve Jackson came to the studios for a meet and greet with the team. I remember him being extremely cool with our overall ideas about handling the game. One pointed question was, “What do you think about blood and violence in the game?” With a smirk and a wave of his hand, he answered, “The more the better!”

Words that would eventually come to haunt us.

News for Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Posted by Tagaziel - at 19:46

As reported by Daeity of the blog that takes its name from a Freudian anxiety, Brian Fargo (the father of Wasteland and the man responsible for not cancelling Fallout) is considering using Kickstarter to fund the development of Wasteland 2.

This is following Obsidian's Chris Avellone talking about Kickstarter fever and looking for feedback. Obsidian's Kickstarter project is officially outside of our scope for now but we're following both of these developments with interest.

Thanks, anonymous reporter who may or may not be Daeity.

News for Monday, February 13, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 19:04

A bunch of guys are going to have a 60-hour marathon play through session of Fallout 3 starting February 17th, with the goal of raising $2000 for Child's Play. Take a look at the website and consider donating.

On February 17th, a group of gamers will be playing through the popular video game "Fallout 3" for over sixty hours, all while collecting donations for Child's Play Charity, giving entertainment and more importantly, hope, to those in children's hospitals.

Child's Play ( is a charity "dedicated to improving the lives of children in hospitals around the world through the kindness and generosity of the video game community and the power of play". Over almost a decade, it has raised over ten million dollars for those children, donations which Cameron D. Hosner, President & CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, says will "support seriously-ill children in hospitals by distracting them from their illnesses, and help them cope with fear, anxiety, and boredom”.

Over a period of almost two years, this marathon team has raised over two thousand dollars throughout three marathons. We have been able to do this both by showcasing the game and through audience interaction. The viewers of the marathon aren't just viewers, they are participants, and valued members of the team.

The event begins at at February 17th at 5:00 PM Pacific, and will stretch on for over sixty hours.

News for Saturday, February 11, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 4:34

Masthead's previous MMO, Earthrise, whose tech is or was being used for Interplay's Project V13, is now shutting down, failing to find the funds to convert to free-to-play.

“One year after the launch of the game, we have decided to stop the Earthrise servers. Earthrise was released too early and did not meet the expectations of its fans” said Atanas Atanasov, Director of Masthead Studios. “We did our best to revive the game in 2011, but the time was not enough to keep up with the user requirements. There is a huge interest in high quality open world sandbox MMORPGs, unfortunately the big publishers do not show any interest in the genre. It is unfortunate that low budget companies like ours are trying to bring innovativeness in the already saturated MMO market. I hope that one day an independent studio will be able to release the long anticipated open world sandbox MMO, which everyone is talking about, but no one is making. We tried, but did not succeed. We would like to apologize to those who were disappointed from Earthrise and to thank everyone who supported us during the years."
I wouldn't hold out too much hope for V13.

News for Friday, February 10, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 16:15

Bethesda Game Studios' concept artist Adam Adamowicz, who worked among other things on Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, passed away yesterday. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

News for Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 13:46

We don't often post on fan-projects, but MrBumble has been working with Fallout modders crafting soundtracks for their projects for a while now. And now, his work is culminating in a full album of Fallout-inspired music. Check out some samples here, and support it by ordering here.

'The Cockroach Sessions' is a collection of 21 songs that were, directly or not, Fallout-inspired. Some of the songs are remixes of songs that were featured in the forementionned projects, some others are entirely new creations...

News for Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Posted by Tagaziel - at 22:13

In this issue of Fallout Archaeology, we bring you a sample of foreign magazines from over a decade ago, showing how they covered Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout: Tactics. Without futher ado, we bring you titles from Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Russia, Denmark, Romania and France.


Fallout 2

Fallout: Tactics

Scans of polish magazines kindly provided by deadlus. Slovenian mags made available by vampyrian, while the ones from Bulgaria were sent to us by bmfof. Russian scans were received from jabrevno, whereas Czech scans were linked to and thus provided by JaW. French copies of Fallout material were submitted by Aguirre. Danish magazine was discovered by tbear-dk. The single Romanian magazine appears courtesy of Barnz. We would like to thank everyone for their outstanding contributions.

But that is not all. More is on the way. Something big. Stay tuned...

Posted by Brother None - at 17:55

Fallout: New Vegas looks to have an odd staggered release: it's out in North America now, and will be released in Europe in stages on February 10th and February 24th.

Get more bang for your bottle cap with Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition — available now available in North America on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC..

Ultimate Edition presents the definitive edition of Fallout: New Vegas — featuring the main game and all six pieces of game add-on content: Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, Lonesome Road, Courier’s Stash, and Gun Runners’ Arsenal.

New Vegas Ultimate Edition will be available in Germany, Australia, and Nordic territories this coming Friday (February 10th), and will be released in the UK, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands on February 24th.

And to further celebrates the game’s release, by popular demand, we’re releasing the sheet music for “Begin Again” — the Dead Money song from Just Bell, Mikey Dowling, and Chris Avellone.

Dead Money “Begin Again”_Sheet Music

News for Monday, February 6, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:27

The folks at "The Problem With Story" have penned a brief editorial dedicated to what they feel are some design decisions that make it difficult for the player to feel sympathy for your characters in role-playing games. It's not Fallout-centric, but it uses Fallout 3 as the primary examples and touches on some subjects that I'm sure some people here are interested in, so here's a snip:

Why? What is it that whenever my character is killed or damaged, I have absolutely no concern for his wellbeing?

It’s because the character building aspects of role-playing games are fundamentally broken and prevent sympathy from the player.

Consider what I’ve done with the character so far. I’ve created a façade for him, which is nothing more than an appearance. The fundamental nature of the role playing game is that you create a personality through your reactions to other NPCs, but even then, sympathy is hard to come by.

The character here is nothing but an avatar. When I respond to the Megaton sheriff asking me whether I can diffuse the bomb in the middle of tomb, I’m not responding whether my character can do it. No, instead, I’m wondering whether I, Patrick Stafford, can do it.


Perhaps we don’t play RPGs for rich characterisation. That’s fine. It’s been that way for years. But it can be done. Notwithstanding Mass Effect’s shortcomings, it places the player inside the middle of the action but without the abandonment Fallout 3 uses to create immersion.

Instead, we see your own face, reflect on the tone in your voice and become more of a puppet master than an avatar for your decisions. You’re here controlling the action in every conversation, but you’re not necessarily a part of it.
Thanks RPGWatch.

News for Sunday, February 5, 2012

Posted by Tagaziel - at 21:25

Having braved the Afterfall insanity, Tagaziel brings you the following review of Afterfall: InSanity:

Afterfall: InSanity is the first installment in the Afterfall series, which has had a rather troubled history. Beginning as Bourgeoisie: Pearl of the Wastelands, it was initially conceived as an ambitious isometric role-playing game in the vein of Fallout, set in the post-nuclear wastelands of Europe. Years and several major staff and design changes later (including the departure of Andrzej Koloska, the founder of the entire project), we are presented with InSanity, a third person perspective action game in the vein of Dead Space, set in post-nuclear Poland.
Link: Afterfall: InSanity review

News for Friday, February 3, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 22:08

It seems the way quests were handled in Fallout: New Vegas wasn't appreciated by Rowan Kaiser who, in an editorial over at Joystiq argues that Fallout 3's more exploration-based content had a better "rhythm" than the quest hubs of Obsidian's title. I'll freely admit I'm not sure I follow the train of thought, but here's a snippet:

The conventional quest rhythm of the modern RPG started with the original Fallout, back in 1997, as so many things did. It was refined by BioWare in Knights Of The Old Republic, and in multiple MMRPGs. The game's main quest guides your character to a central location – a hub – usually a town, where multiple characters offer you quests. If you're like me, you load up on as many of these as possible, and then try to clear them up as efficiently as possible.

Fallout 3 didn't follow this model entirely. Its rhythms were more based in exploration. Find a Vault, delve into the Vault, spend half an hour figuring out what's going on. Sure, it had quest hubs, but they were minor. Skyrim, when it's working well, follows the exploration model even better than Fallout 3. Fallout: New Vegas, to my disappointment, was not so exploration-based. It used the conventional "hub" form, with too-simple rhythms. Everything seemed to take the same amount of time, and if it was too hard – and it rarely was – there was another quest to do first, to improve your Courier just enough that you could handle whatever you were trying to do.


My journey into D.C. disrupted the rhythm of Fallout 3. It took the basic form I'd begun to learn, and it changed it. It added length and difficulty. Instead of spending half an hour clearing a Vault, I was spending three or four hours struggling against a seeming army of Super Mutants, underground. A relatively straightforward game became a much bigger challenge, forcing me to play in a fashion I hadn't anticipated.


Fallout: New Vegas didn't do this. Oh, sure, I still enjoyed the Fallout 3 engine, I was impressed with the writing, and I had great respect for the moral ambiguities of the choices in the main plot. But it didn't grab me; it didn't force me to pay attention. One quest hub tended to seem the same as the next one.