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Thread: Fallout 3 interviews: TeamXbox, VideoGamer.com, Gamasutra

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    Fallout 3 interviews: TeamXbox, VideoGamer.com, Gamasutra

    TeamXbox interviews Todd Howard about rounding up the game, with some general questions.
    What are you doing right now, just tweaks and bug fixes?

    Todd Howard: Yeah, bug fixes. And making sure because we have the three platforms – 360, PS3 and PC – that, you know, it’s going to be consistent quality across the board. Because we might tweak one thing on one of the platforms, and it has to trickle through the other ones. So that’s kind of the stage we’re in; late play bugs, things like that. Because the game is so big, and there are so many ways to play it – at the end of the day, no matter how much time we put into it, you get it out there to millions of people and if somebody is gonna find something they will, and we’ve just got to keep it to something that is not that embarrassing.

    At this point you’re sort of content complete, but you guys are pretty creative. Do you find yourself still having ideas and saying, “oh man, we should do this, but it’s sort of too late.”

    Todd Howard: Yeah, we put those right now in our downloadable content stack, because you have to stop at some point to be able to handle the bugs that come up from long term play. So now they go in the stack of “what do we want to do with downloadable content?” Because we’re definitely going to be doing a bunch. And we’d like to put them in meatier packages than just doing a one-off. Like, “here’s a weapon and here’s a new enemy”. We want to put them in themed packages that gives the player four or five hours of something that feels tight.
    VideoGamer.com interviews Pete Hines and asks a lot of interesting questions.
    VideoGamer.com: How much do you feel that the game is a continuation of what existed in the Fallout series before, and to what extent do you think it's evolved into something new?

    Peter Hines: Well, my hope is that it's 100 per cent a continuation of what was there before, that even with some new ideas injected into it, or some new ways of doing things, that it's a sequel to the Fallout games or to the Fallout universe. That was every bit our intention. We didn't think, "Ok, we'll keep 60 percent of the old games and the rest can be new stuff. Everything we do, even when it's new, needs to be in the tone and of the original games. Take VATS, for example. The violence is almost like Kill Bill , kind of silly and over-the-top - but that was how it needed to feel for Fallout. We didn't want it to just be violent; Fallout was violent but was also funny, like when you blew a guy away and his body split in half before it toppled over. We wanted cool stuff like that, and we wanted to really immerse you in this world. We wanted to make it more daunting, so that when you are walking through the destroyed streets of DC and the blown-up buildings are looming over you, you get this claustrophobic feeling.
    (...)
    VideoGamer.com: Interesting moral choices have always been a big part of the Fallout series. The whole Megaton situation has been given lots of coverage, but are there a lot of similar decisions to be made in this game?

    PH: There are various parts of that spectrum. It can be as simple as the fact that the first time you show up outside of Megaton, there's a beggar asking for purified water - which is really hard to come by in the wasteland. If you want to, you can give him some and get good karma, and he'll be like, "Wow, I can really have this?". Or you can tell him to got to hell and screw himself. At another moment you'll meet a ghoul bartender. Ghouls are sort of outcasts in the Fallout universe, looked down upon by human NPCs. When you talk to him you can choose to be horrified by his appearance, or you act along the lines of, "Hey, it's alright man - you're cool," and you'll get karma for being a decent guy. It's really about how you're going to treat people in the world. The Megaton thing is sort of the ultimate example, but there are a lot of variations along the lines of moral choice, and how they are reflected in your karma.
    And Gamasutra interviews Emil Pagliarulo (thanks Ausir), publishing a bit now with more to come later.
    Part of that distinction means that "we needed some level of profanity" (which is certainly confirmed by preview sessions with the game), but Pagliarulo is wary of indiscriminate use of swearing in game writing. "I did a profanity pass, cutting out half the profanity in the game," he says. "Unless it's written well and voice acted well, it comes across so cheesy."

    Speaking more broadly, the writer acknowledges that video game writing is "coming from such a low place," and still has a long way to go -- but thinks it's unrealistic that "some people want to go from where we were two years ago to Hollywood level."

    Rather, he believes it is more crucial to improve the way stories are told in games, avoiding what Bethesda calls "lore bombs" (when "you talk to an NPC, and they just drop 50 lines of dialogue on you"), and striving for storytelling through gameplay. Pagliarulo points to recent games like Mass Effect, BioShock, Call of Duty 4, and Valve's titles as examples of what he sees as the right direction.

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    I should set a custom title Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!
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    Re: TeamXbox interviews Todd Howard

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    Todd Howard: Yeah, we put those right now in our downloadable content stack, because you have to stop at some point to be able to handle the bugs that come up from long term play. So now they go in the stack of “what do we want to do with downloadable content?” Because we’re definitely going to be doing a bunch. And we’d like to put them in meatier packages than just doing a one-off. Like, “here’s a weapon and here’s a new enemy”. We want to put them in themed packages that gives the player four or five hours of something that feels tight.
    Hmm...

    I know speculation is frowned upon, but still:

    Perhaps they will change the "you cannot play after having completed the game" decision after some time then?

    If not people would have to start again (or reload a save) every time they want to enjoy new content ...

--Daimyo of the Quintumvirate--
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    Why would the game not simply have an automatic Endsave right before you reach the ending point-of-no-return, like Baldur's Gate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    Why would the game not simply have an automatic Endsave right before you reach the ending point-of-no-return, like Baldur's Gate?
    Good point - I guess we will have to wait and see how this will play out.

    --Daimyo of the Quintumvirate--

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    1/1 4/3 3/2 2/2 Vault Fossil
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    no matter how much time we put into it, you get it out there to millions of people and if somebody is gonna find something they will, and we’ve just got to keep it to something that is not that embarrassing.
    I guess they failed at that, because the quality of animations is simply embarrassing.

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    Is it just me or is Bloody Mess the thing they seem to have liked the most about the first two games? It's brought up in every damn interview, either directly or indirectly. It's also amusing how they tie someone getting blown in half to their idea of immersion.

    Is Bethesda ran by 12 year olds or what?
    I'd rather make a smaller dedicated fan base ecstatic than worry too much about the larger audience. --Brian Fargo, one of the good guys.

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    Administrator Brother None's Avatar
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    Eh, lots of people like bloody mess. I like bloody mess, though I think they misunderstood the charm of it: carefully crafted, personalized bloody death animations, not chunks and gore flying everywhere.

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    Eh, lots of people like bloody mess. I like bloody mess, though I think they misunderstood the charm of it: carefully crafted, personalized bloody death animations, not chunks and gore flying everywhere.
    Yeah, they are not the best when it comes to crafting, sometimes.
    Just look at the faces. I would prefer 10 pre-made faces with few options over those unlimited amount of faces that all look somehow strange.

    Also, are there any non-athletic people confirmed or do we get another Oblivion-like blooded toughened people?
    "Aren't you supposed to work?" "Compiling."


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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    Eh, lots of people like bloody mess. I like bloody mess, though I think they misunderstood the charm of it: carefully crafted, personalized bloody death animations, not chunks and gore flying everywhere.
    I liked Bloody Mess too, but it isn't the reason I still play Fallout 1 and 2 at least once a year.
    I'd rather make a smaller dedicated fan base ecstatic than worry too much about the larger audience. --Brian Fargo, one of the good guys.

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    1/1 4/3 3/2 2/2 Vault Fossil
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSHEEEP
    Also, are there any non-athletic people confirmed or do we get another Oblivion-like blooded toughened people?
    I'm sure you know the answer to that question yourself

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    Realistically, if you were to survive in the hostile fallout wasteland, you'd be pretty fit. I see the goof-off appeal of creating a fatty character, but it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.

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    Administrator Brother None's Avatar
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    I agree with eff-out. Fallout itself was obviously mono-model since it was 2D, but dang were people fit in their.

    Still, a handful of Gizmo-types wouldn't hurt.

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    The violence is almost like Kill Bill , kind of silly and over-the-top - but that was how it needed to feel for Fallout. We didn't want it to just be violent; Fallout was violent but was also funny, like when you blew a guy away and his body split in half before it toppled over.
    That's exactly what I was expecting from violence in Fo3. But we all have seen gameplays. And it's insolence for both Fallout and Kill Bill to make such comparison.

    Rather, he believes it is more crucial to improve the way stories are told in games, avoiding what Bethesda calls "lore bombs" (when "you talk to an NPC, and they just drop 50 lines of dialogue on you"), and striving for storytelling through gameplay.
    It should be "50 lines of monologue". Like in this old game Oblivion. But after that, games developers found that dialogues are better for storytelling and we have games like Bioshock. Next step was giving players some choices and that's how dialogue trees were written in Mass Effect. But hey, it's even better when you give player even more choices so he can role-play more than one of two pre-defined characters, like in one of the newest games that is believed to revolutionize storytelling in computer games - Fallout.

    Maybe it's not true but it makes sense and tells something very sad about "improving the way stories are told in games".

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    Still, a handful of Gizmo-types wouldn't hurt.
    Yeah and don't forget that it's been awhile since the end of Fallout 2 so it's bound to have at least some leeches that survive like Gizmo did, hiring thugs and eating all day.
    Off topic Gizmo always reminds me of that clerk in Bartertown, without the glasses.

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    Speaking more broadly, the writer acknowledges that video game writing is "coming from such a low place," and still has a long way to go -- but thinks it's unrealistic that "some people want to go from where we were two years ago to Hollywood level."
    It's funny how the visuals continue leaping forward, yet video game writing is stuck in the "every programmer thinks they're a good writer" stage.

    That stage was enough for me when I was 17, but not anymore... now I require actual writing and believability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Hines
    We didn't think, "Ok, we'll keep 60 percent of the old games and the rest can be new stuff.
    Not that I know what they were thinking, but I feel as though "60 percent of the old games" remaining might even be a bit more than what they have actually ended up with...

    I really liked VideoGamer's interview, though. I think it was had some really good questions, was well executed and seemed very objective (at least for a Fallout 3-related article)

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    I should set a custom title Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    Part of that distinction means that "we needed some level of profanity" (which is certainly confirmed by preview sessions with the game), but Pagliarulo is wary of indiscriminate use of swearing in game writing. "I did a profanity pass, cutting out half the profanity in the game," he says. "Unless it's written well and voice acted well, it comes across so cheesy."
    That's good news except that his standards are too low, the sheriff never should have passed the cut.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    Speaking more broadly, the writer acknowledges that video game writing is "coming from such a low place," and still has a long way to go -- but thinks it's unrealistic that "some people want to go from where we were two years ago to Hollywood level."
    Hollywood level writing isn't anything special and there's no reason that you can't be there (some games already are). What should be strived for is high quality book level writing with Hollywood level voice acting. Oblivion may have had terrible writing but I thought that many games that predated it (most BIS games) had reasonable to great levels of writing. Just because Bethesda sucks and has sucked for awhile doesn't mean that it's anywhere near the upper end of videogame writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    Rather, he believes it is more crucial to improve the way stories are told in games, avoiding what Bethesda calls "lore bombs" (when "you talk to an NPC, and they just drop 50 lines of dialogue on you"), and striving for storytelling through gameplay. Pagliarulo points to recent games like Mass Effect, BioShock, Call of Duty 4, and Valve's titles as examples of what he sees as the right direction.
    Unfortunately he only lists one RPG (ARPG?), the rest are FPSes, one with some weak RPG elements, which is really not what RPGs should be paced like. Also, are any of those games have non-linear stories (Bioshock's super good or killed any child doesn't count)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    Eh, lots of people like bloody mess. I like bloody mess, though I think they misunderstood the charm of it: carefully crafted, personalized bloody death animations, not chunks and gore flying everywhere.
    Indeed, they simply did what Soldier of Fortune did back in 2000, blowing off limbs that go ragdoll. The death animations in Fallout were cool because they blew the opponent apart, melted them, lit them on fire so that they'd dance around before turning to a plie of ash, or blew them completely to pieces. They weren't simply knocking off appendages where they're attached to the torso because that's pretty boring.

    "Pessimism is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst possible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, life becomes child's play."
    ~Thomas Hardy

    "Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows."
    ~David T. Wolf

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    Quote Originally Posted by UncannyGarlic
    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    Eh, lots of people like bloody mess. I like bloody mess, though I think they misunderstood the charm of it: carefully crafted, personalized bloody death animations, not chunks and gore flying everywhere.
    Indeed, they simply did what Soldier of Fortune did back in 2000, blowing off limbs that go ragdoll. The death animations in Fallout were cool because they blew the opponent apart, melted them, lit them on fire so that they'd dance around before turning to a plie of ash, or blew them completely to pieces. They weren't simply knocking off appendages where they're attached to the torso because that's pretty boring.
    They actually have implemented weapon-type specific death animations, it seems. One of the trailer videos showed the "vaporize" animation on a ghoul. Which looked pretty good, too.
    So, who knows what else they have done?

    it's the "standard" ones that look just awful and detached. There's nothing special about those. Basically, with todays graphics, they could've redone a lot, if not all, of the original 'bloody mess deaths'. I guess the way they went was just easier to handle?

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    Well I know they are not as "fancy" as the original fallout deaths, but one of the main things that limited them was that the new deaths in Fallout 3 are location specific. I do hope they have something special for a critical torso shot.

    Also I have not seen a "burst" death.. wonder if they do flailing like in fallout, probably not.. but not a big deal to me.

    I always wished that Fallout had location specific deaths (yeah wishful thinking), but something about shooting a guy in his eye and having his side explode was a "little" off.

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    I wouldn't count on there being any death animations that they haven't already shown. they've been trying pretty hard to show off all the big explosions and gore I don't see why they'd hold anything back. also they have a shitty animation department so I wouldn't be surprised if they just recycle animations for different contexts.

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