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Fallout 3 Preview
publisher: Bethesda Softworks
developer: Bethesda Softworks
PIV 2400, 1GB RAM, 256MB video card
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Oct 28, 08 (released)
|» All About Fallout 3 on ActionTrip|
After witnessing the debut showing of Fallout 3 at this year's E3, it quickly became clear that Bethesda's upcoming post-apocalyptic themed RPG is finally beginning to take shape.
More than one month has passed and we thought it would be a good idea to catch up with Gavin Carter, Lead Producer at Bethesda. Gavin was kind enough to answer a few questions for us. We've broached several interesting topics, including the game's combat system, character customization, quests, NPCs and how the highly-anticipated project is going overall.
ActionTrip: We are very excited about Fallout 3, especially after seeing your demonstration at this year's E3. How far along are you in the development process, and roughly how many people do you have working on the game?
Gavin Carter: Development is going well, and we're nicely into the meat of what we call the "production phase." That's where we've nailed down the majority of our content creation pipeline, and our artists and designers are now quickly turning out content to fill out the world. We've got around 70 people working on the game full-time at the moment, and that's not counting numerous QA personnel who are playing the game and giving us feedback every day.
AT: As we understand, the team is also keeping itself busy with balancing combat in the game. If you can, please tell us about the advantages of V.A.T.S. Do you think hardcore RPG fans will enjoy the cinematic aspect of it?
GC: A big advantage is that during VATS mode, time is paused and you're given a wealth of information about your situation. Every targetable enemy and object is highlighted and you can pan around and get a sense for where things are coming from. For each individual target, you can see their overall health, and the condition and the likelihood of landing a shot for each body part. This is the part that I feel separates VATS from standard "real-time with pause" systems in that it gives you information to base a tactical choice on. You may find that you have a high chance to hit a mutant's torso, but then you notice that landing one more risky shot to the arm will cripple him, severely reducing his ability to aim. Recently I've been replaying Oblivion and find myself hammering the VATS button unconsciously whenever I get jumped by an enemy.
The other advantage to VATS is, of course, that it's just pure unadulterated fun. Landing a shot to a mutant's head, watching it fly apart in slow-motion, having an eyeball go spinning past the camera - there's just some kind of visceral satisfaction that the experience brings.
AT: We're interested in knowing more about character customization. Is the character creation system similar to Oblivion?
GC: Visually speaking, character customization is very similar to Oblivion, with the ability to push and pull and prod your character's face into any shape you desire. You pick your character's race, and then have a host of options for skin tint, hair color and face shape. We also want to provide a number of pre-made faces that have been lovingly massaged by our artists here, so people have more palatable options to use as starting points.
As far as customizing your character's stats goes, it's very different from Oblivion. You distribute points to your SPECIAL attributes, as well as pick a few skills to boost. Traits and perks then allow for further customization with interesting effects.
AT: Is it possible to know, at this point, how many quests we will see in the final version of Fallout 3?
GC: Giving you a specific number wouldn't paint an accurate picture. Each quest has multiple paths to completion, and how you choose to complete one quest can affect what quests are available later on. In addition, we have a new category of quests that we term "freeform encounters." As you travel, you'll come across these encounters all over. They're not as big as a full quest, but they will present choices, opportunities for reward, interesting sights and sounds, and more. It should be quite some time before you run out of things to do in Fallout 3, and there will always be more to hit when you play through it again.
AT: Since we're talking about quests, can you speak a bit on the structure of quests? Give us a few examples of what the player needs to do during some of his endeavors.
GC: The main example that we're talking about now is the Megaton bomb quest that we featured in our demos. A town in Megaton has sprung up around a nuclear bomb that never went off. A man from a competing settlement has a way to detonate the bomb remotely, and offers to reward you handsomely for helping him. Agreeing means erasing the town and all its inhabitants off the map, and cutting off services and quest paths. But it opens up another location with its own set of qualities that you wouldn't have been able to access.
Other quests run the gamut of possibilities that a war-ravaged wasteland offers up. For each quest, we try and provide opportunities for as wide a range of playstyles as we're able (Stealth Boy, Combat Boy, Science Boy, etc).
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