Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Publisher: Zenimax Media
Similar to previous Fallout games, Fallout 3 takes place in post-apocalyptic United States. The player character is a member of Vault 101, a fallout shelter serving Washington, D.C. The player character lives with his/her father (the mother having died in childbirth) until, one day, the player wakes up finding that the father (voiced by liam neeson ) has left the vault and ventured into the wasteland for unknown reasons. The vault overseer becomes suspicious that the player had something to do with the father's disappearance, and the character decides to go out into the Capital Wasteland in search of him.Along the way, the player will encounter organizations seen in the previous games, including the Brotherhood of Steel, a group of technology-coveting survivors, and the Enclave, the elitist and genocidal remnant of the U.S. government.
Initial previews of Fallout 3 revealed that the game will feature both first-person and third-person perspective. Main character creation occurs as the player experiences the character's childhood. The character's mother dies in labour in the Vault 101 hospital, immediately after which the player decides the character's general appearance through a DNA analysis conducted by the father. Afterwards, the father removes his surgeon's mask to reveal a face similar to the one chosen by the player for the character. As a child in the Vault, the character receives a book titled "Your SPECIAL" whereupon the player can set the character's seven primary aptitudes. The character receives training weapons and a PIP-Boy 3000 later on during childhood, and the player's performance in various tests determines the rest of the attributes. Additionally, several quests inside the Vault will be able to influence the player character's relationship with his or her father. Skills and Perks are similar to those in previous games: the player chooses three Tag Skills out of 14 to be the character's specialties. Four skills have been cut out from the game (Fallout and Fallout 2 had 18 skills) but it is unknown which skills have been removed. The maximum level the player can achieve is level 20.The Traits from the previous Fallout installments were combined with Perks in Fallout 3, and the player can choose a new Perk each time after gaining a level.
The Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System, or VATS, will play an important part in the fighting phases of the game. While using VATS, real-time combat is paused creating a combat system that the Bethesda developers have described as a hybrid between turn-based and real-time combat. In practice, VATS is actually a real time with pause combat system, with no relation to actual turn based combat. VATS will also allow the gory deaths in the game to be shown in slow motion and great detail. Various actions cost action points, limiting the actions of each combatant during a turn, and both the player and enemies can target specific body areas for attacks to inflict specific injuries. The game will feature a new health and radiation system as well. The player can measure an object's radioactivity and gauge the effect it will have on the character.
Another facet of gameplay is that firearms wear out over time: as a weapon degenerates, its rate of fire slows and it loses accuracy. However, worn out firearms can be combined to make more reliable and powerful weapons. Weapon schematics can also be found and used to create various devices such as the Rock-it Launcher, created by combining a leaf blower and a wood chipper, that can fire various items such as lunchboxes and stuffed animals, or the Clever Shrapnel Bomb, made out of a Vault-Tec lunchbox and bottlecaps.Along with equipping various weapons, the player can also utilize different armors and clothing that may have effects that can alter various skills. For example, a pair of mechanic's coveralls may boost the player's repair skill while it is worn. Armor and clothing come in two main parts for the head and body, allowing a player to wear different combinations of hats and armor. Also, a player's inventory has a specified weight limit, preventing a player from carrying too many items. Items like weapon ammo have no weight, due to the developer not wishing to bog down inventory management
The player will have a maximum party of three, consisting of himself/herself, Dogmeat, and a single NPC. In addition to having Dogmeat in your party you will be able to send him out on his own to search for items such as arms and ammo, radiation medicine, and stimpacks. Dogmeat can be killed during the game if the player misuses him or places him in a severely dangerous situation and he cannot be replaced.Only one NPC can travel with the player at any time, and in order to get another NPC to travel, the first one must be "fired" by the player.
A karma system will be an important feature in the gameplay. The player's actions, including conversation and combat choices, will affect the player's status in the game world; a player who makes good choices will be received more positively by NPCs, and a player that makes bad choices will have the opposite reaction. Crimes can also be committed by a player, and whichever faction or group that is harmed by a crime will be fully aware of the player's action. Other factions that were not affected by the crime will not be aware of it, and since a town is usually its own faction, news of a crime committed in one town will not spread to another. Factions can range in size and boundaries, however, and may not be restricted to a single area.The game world itself was planned to be significantly smaller than that of Oblivion's but is now expected to be similar in size.
Fallout 3 was initially under development by Black Isle Studios, a studio owned by Interplay Entertainment, under the working title Van Buren. Interplay Entertainment went bankrupt and closed down Black Isle Studios before the game could be completed, and the license to develop Fallout 3 was sold for a $1,175,000 minimum guaranteed advance against royalties to Bethesda Softworks, a studio primarily known as the developer of the The Elder Scrolls series, Bethesda's Fallout 3 however, was developed from scratch, using neither Van Buren code, nor any other materials created by Black Isle Studios. In May 2007, a playable technology demo of the cancelled project was released to the public.
Leonard Boyarsky, art director of the original Fallout, when asked about Interplay Entertainment's sale of the rights to Bethesda Softworks, said:“ To be perfectly honest, I was extremely disappointed that we did not get the chance to make the next Fallout game. This has nothing to do with Bethesda, it's just that we've always felt that Fallout was ours and it was just a technicality that Interplay happened to own it. It sort of felt as if our child had been sold to the highest bidder, and we had to just sit by and watch. Since I have absolutely no idea what their plans are, I can't comment on whether I think they're going in the right direction with it or not ”Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda Softworks stated it would be working on Fallout 3 in July 2004, but principal development did not begin until after The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was completed, Bethesda Softworks has announced their intention to make Fallout 3 similar to the previous two games, focusing on non-linear gameplay, a good story, and black comedy. Bethesda has also stated the game will be rated M for mature, and will have the same sort of adult themes, violence, and depravity that are characteristic of the Fallout series. They have also decided to shy away from the self-referential gags of the game's predecessors that broke the illusion that the world of Fallout is real. Fallout 3 will use a version of the same Gamebryo engine as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion,and is being developed by the team responsible for that game. Liam Neeson has been attached to the project as the voice of the player's father.
In February 2007, Bethesda stated that the game was "a fairly good ways away" from release, but that detailed information and previews would be available later in the year. A teaser site for the game appeared on May 2, 2007, featuring music from the game and concept art, along with a timer counting down to June 5, 2007. The concept art was commissioned before The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was released, and has been confirmed by the artist and developers that the images do not reveal anything from the actual game. When the countdown finished, the site hosted the first teaser trailer for the game, and unveiled a release date of "Fall 2008."Controversy
On July 4, 2008, Fallout 3 was refused classification by the OFLC in Australia, thus making it illegal to distribute or purchase the game in the country. In order for the game to be reclassified, the offending content in the Australian version of the game would have to be removed by Bethesda Softworks and the game resubmitted to the OFLC. According the OFLC board report, the game was refused classification due to the "realistic visual representations of drugs and their delivery method (bringing) the 'science-fiction' drugs in line with 'real-world' drugs." A revised version of the game was resubmitted to the OFLC and reclassified as MA 15+ on August 7, 2008, or not suitable for people under the age of 15; this new rating ensures that the game can retail legally in Australia.According to the OFLC board report, the drug content was not removed entirely from the revised version of the game, but the animation showing the actual usage of the drugs was removed; the minority view on the decision stated that the drug content was still enough to warrant a refused classification rating, despite the admission that the portrayal of the drugs was appropriate within the context of the game.
On June 5, 2007, Bethesda released the Fallout 3 teaser trailer. The press kit released with the trailer indicated that Ron Perlman will be on-board with the project, and cited a release date of Fall 2008. The trailer features the InkSpots song "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire," which the previous Fallout developer Black Isle Studios originally intended to license for use in the first Fallout game. The trailer, which was completely done with in-engine assets, closed with Ron Perlman saying his trademark line as the narrator of the first two Fallout games: "War. War never changes." The trailer shows a devastated Washington, D.C, evidenced by the partially crumbled Washington Monument in the background. It has been claimed by US-based monitoring group SITE that the Washington Monument image appeared on a militant Islamic website, although SITE made no mention of the fact that it was a Bethesda image
A second trailer was first shown during a GameTrailers TV E3 special on July 12, 2008. The trailer zooms out from a ruined house in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, providing a wider view of the capital's skyline including the Capitol Building and Washington Monument in the distance On July 14, 2008, an extended version of this trailer was made available, which besides the original content, includes a Vault-Tec advertisement and actual gameplay. Both versions of the trailer feature the Bob Crosby recording of the song "Dear Hearts and Gentle People.E3 2008
On July 11, 2008, as a part of promoting Fallout 3, Bethesda Softworks partnered with American Cinematheque and Geek Monthly magazine to sponsor "A Post-Apocalyptic Film Festival Presented by Fallout 3." The festival will take place on August 22-23 at Santa Monica's Aero Theater. Six post-apocalyptic movies made over the past 40 years will be shown which depict life and events that could occur after a world-changing disaster, including Wizards, Damnation Alley, A Boy and His Dog, The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, and Twelve Monkeys] Versions Features Standard Collector's Survival Game Disc & Manual Yes Yes Yes Bonus DVD No Yes Yes Concept Artbook No Yes Yes Vault Boy Bobblehead No Yes Yes Lunchbox Case No Yes Yes PIP-Boy 3000 Clock No No Yes
Fallout 3 will be released in three separate versions. The Standard Edition will include the game disc and manual.
The Collector's Edition will include the game disc, manual, a bonus "making of" DVD, a concept artbook, and a Vault Boy Bobblehead, all of which will be contained in a Vault-Tec lunchbox\
The Survival Edition will include everything from the Collector's Edition, as well as a model of the PIP-Boy 3000 from the game which will function as a digital clock The limited Survival Edition is available exclusively from Amazon.com to U.S. customers only
In Australia, the Collector's Edition is exclusive to EB Games. A preorder bundle is also planned for other retailers, which will include a Brotherhood of Steel figurine instead of the Vault Boy bobblehead. This preorder bundle has yet to be finalised, according to Australian distributor Red Ant.
We stick to it pretty close, so the Supermutants in this game definitely have an agenda. It really depends on the creature, and many come in different flavors. I guess I can say that, yes, we do have ghouls in the game, and most are used as NPCs you talk and interact with. We use them heavily. But there are also other ghouls, the Feral Ghouls, these are more “creature” like, and are aggressive.
1. Will there be NPCs that you can hire/recruit to join you in your quest? If so, how many NPCs will you be limited to at once and approx. how many joinable NPCs will be available in the game? Also, will there be more detailed behavioral settings as in Fallout 2?
Yes, and like I mentioned above, they have personalities, and you can give them a host of directions for how they should help you. I’m really encouraged by how cool they are. Right now we limit you to two with you at a time, because there are also other quests where you get more people with you, and we obviously need to limit it. Total number in the whole game to hire? As of today there are only six, but we’re just focused on getting them working great and being deep characters. Wouldn’t surprise me to see that number go up.
QUESTS & STORY
2. Is there going to be any character type specific quests that other types of characters will not have at all, or will all the quests be open to any type of character?
Depends on what you define as a quest, we mostly design situations that can be approached from a number of angles, so we have “quests” with very different paths in them depending on your character.
3. Who wrote the main story, or is it a group effort? Are you not afraid that introducing a father figure limits the freedom to imagine your avatar and imposes motivation on the player that may not be in keeping with the avatar he imagines?
Emil Pagliarulo, the lead designer, does the bulk of the writing. I can’t say enough good things about his stuff, it’s fantastic. We both wanted to do a father/child thing very early on, with you growing up in the Vault. We also have three other designers working on large chunks of the main quest; Kurt Kuhlmann, Alan Nanes, and Brian Chapin. In regards to pushing a persona on the player, yes, that is a concern, and we’re pretty careful not to do that. You don’t have to be nice to your father. I think you run that risk with any character driven story, the risk that the player doesn’t actually care about the characters, or isn’t motivated to follow them. You’d be surprised how much that enters our conversations about any quest, “What’s my motivation? Why do I want to do this?” The answer sometimes is “because the game told you to”, but that’s never a good answer, so we keep pushing until it feels right.
I did love how Bioshock handled the “because the game told you to” dilemma. They twist that brilliantly halfway through the game. If you haven’t played it, do so.
MAP TRAVEL & SPECIAL ENCOUNTERS
4. What exactly will the map travel look like - will we see 'Indiana Jones' style dotted line travel across a stylized map or something like Oblivion fast travel and will there be a quest compass that we can turn off and how will the random/special encounters work?
Sorry, but not ready to discuss that stuff yet. I will say the feedback from the Oblivion map system was really good, and I think it struck a good balance of finding locations while wandering and quickly get back to ones you’ve been to already. Regarding the quest compass, you always need an easy way to tell the player where you want them to go, so we’ll use something similar. I don’t think it’s a question of the system, it’s a question of how often/specific you want the player pointed. Sometimes we want the location to be a mystery, sometimes we don’t.
5. How will the endings work out? Will the 9-12 different endings be like Fallout's ending slides, or will it be a Daggerfall-esque, whoever gets the MacGuffin at the very end triggers what ending? (Frank Horrigan)
The ending is based not only on specific choices you made, some of those near the very end, but also how you acted as a whole throughout the game. So it’s permutations of a number of things, and that’s why the number of endings is still fuzzy, some of them are only slightly different than the others.
Shotgun on Robot
1) Which of the following, if any, will be featured in Fallout3? Romance, Sex, Homosexuality, Nudity, Prostitution, Slavery, Cannibalism, Children, Child killings, drugs, addictions? And of the things that won't be featured, can you explain why they won't be included in the game?
It touches on most of those. Slavery, children, drugs and addiction more than the others, as those factor for into the setting more. In regards to nudity and child killings, no, it features neither of those, as they don't really add to the flavor of the game (I'll get into children in the next question more). I think if you look at Fallout 1, and the footprint it has with the topics you ask about, Fallout 3 is pretty much the same, in that it features the types of things you mention at about the same rate, no more, no less. Drugs and drug addiction play a larger role perhaps, as it's a key gameplay device. I think the heart of this question is "has the harshness and maturity of the world of Fallout 3 been tempered from the earlier games?" and I can certainly say "No, it hasn't been."
2) Are children and otherwise non essential or non-quest related NPC's vulnerable or invulnerable to accidental or purposeful (deadly) harm? And how about quest essential people? Please elaborate as much as you can, especially on why you choose to do it that way.
You will not be able to be a child killer. There are several reasons for this, some of them are very basic, like we wouldn't be able to sell the game, anywhere to anyone, if the children could be killed. I'm not using that as a scapegoat. We never wanted the game to offer any incentive or desire to be blowing kids away, so from our initial designs, we didn't know how we were going to handle if you shot them, we just knew it was going to be a big no-no, especially with a system like VATS and the graphic fidelity the gore has. Anyway, when attacked, all children flee and any regular NPCs friendly to the children will instantly attack you, so it feels good in the game, in that there is an appropriate response.
In regards to essential NPCs, it works like Oblivion, in that when they "die" they get knocked "unconscious" and get up a little while later. It worked well in Oblivion, so we kept that system, as you can still attack everyone that you want, and get at least a small benefit (being able to avoid them while they are down). I will say that the number of essential characters is minute compared to Oblivion and we've gone to pretty big lengths to cover a lot of people's deaths, but sometimes that's just not possible.
3) Could you outline your thoughts on the matter of ensuring that choices and consequences provided by the various quests within your game are crafted so as to be more nonlinear than simply the superficial choice between "good, bad and neutral"/"affirmative, negative and nothing?" Also, will there be other aspects to choices in Fallout 3? Political? Philosophical? Exactly how far will you go with the player's moral freedom, the "gray" solutions?
That really depends on the quest, so it's hard to say. There are certainly some that are clearly good/bad, like blowing up Megaton. It's clearly bad to nuke an entire town. It's clearly bad to kill innocent people throughout the game, and your karma is affected. It's also clearly good to help people in need, giving to charity, passing out clean water, and more. Those are specific examples in the game. I think many people want to play "good" and want to play "evil". Both are fun in different ways. The gray area comes into several quests, where the situation is just "bad". Some feel like no-win situations and they come across as "make a hard choice." I think that's where it feels best honestly, but we do need to mix it up between that and simpler good/bad.
4) Are most of the non-human entities in the game of hostile intent, or can some be reasoned with, or even recruited as companions under the right circumstances?
Most are hostile, but not all. Yes, some can be reasoned with and even hired.
5). Will crimes committed in one place automatically be known everywhere and by everyone? Or is this limited to the zone the PC committed the deed in?
It's limited to the faction you did the crime to, and we also put towns into their own faction. So a crime committed in one town will not affect another, but crimes committed to a group will be known to that group (say the Brotherhood of Steel) throughout the world.
6) Would you take us through a hypothetical dialog tree that demonstrates the typical choices made available to the player?
I don't have enough space to really do that. They are big. If you look at Fallout 1, it's deeper than that. To give you the scale, we have over 40,000 lines of dialogue, compared to a few thousand in Fallout 1.
Usually we start a conversation with an NPC with some flavor from the player, kind of the "how do you want to act towards this person?" Are you going to be nice, direct, polite, an ass? We cover it all. Some of my favorite player responses are simply "<Say Nothing>", and playing the silent type. But probably my favorite opening is the first time you talk to a Ghoul, one of the choices is "Gah! What the f*#$ are you?"
Depending on the character, there's usually a list of common questions about him or the town/area you are in. If it's quest related, it can get pretty deep with that character, as most have different paths to how you handle them. You can also use your Speech skill to persuade, and sometimes special dialogue options come up based on other stats, whether that is strength when talking to a tough guy, or options that come from perks you may have.
7) What can you tell us about the way Armor works, will it come as a full set or as parts, and how will it influence perception? Will there be a special HUD when wearing it?
It comes as two parts, the body part and the helmet. So you can mix and match. And then you can also put on things like glasses and other items. Different outfits also come with different stat boosts sometimes, and do more than basic "damage resistance". Like mechanic's coveralls that boost your repair skill, that kind of thing. We wanted a reason that you might wear clothes as well as armor. There's a merchant's outfit that ups your Barter skill for instance. When it comes to armor, and in particular power armor, yes it does affect some stats (Power Armor lowers your Agility). There is not a special HUD when wearing Power Armor.
8) How does the inventory system work? Is it slot based? Or a never ending back pocket like with the original games?
It's based on weight. No fiddling with slots. The Pip-Boy separates your items into categories for you – Weapons, Apparel, Aid, Misc, and Ammo. The "Aid" category is for things like meds, chems, food; anything that you can consume to modify stats. It also contains the books, as like Fallout 1, these are read/consumed and raise a skill (permanently). Also, Ammo has zero weight, as we didn't want the player having to micromanage that aspect.
9) Will the PC version of the game include some sort of SDK or level editor like Elder Scrolls games have? If not, might one become available via download in the future? And how about the console versions, what have you done to give them the same options PC players have?
It will definitely not be included on the disk. If and when one is available, it will be a free download. I wish I could promise that an editor will be coming and when, but I can't. Our focus is first and foremost the game, and it's a major undertaking getting an editor ready for release, and making sure the game plays nice with the data users create. That being said, we'd love to see it happen. We're really proud of our tools and what the community has created for Morrowind and Oblivion, it's really awesome stuff. It's one of those things that even if only a thousand people use it, they create enough great stuff that keeps the larger audience interested and going. I always found it a great "pure" RPG experience, creating your own stuff and sharing it, like a good DM. I still have "Stuart Smith's Adventure Construction Set" for the Apple 2 on my shelf. I have no doubt that Fallout would benefit from such a thing as well, so we'll see what happens, it's not something we can just throw out there.
As far as consoles go, that's not happening for this game and user content. It's something we keep talking about with Microsoft and Sony, but there are a lot of barriers there right now, from delivery to security. We'd love to see that happen. I'd love to see Oblivion content created by PC users available to all platforms, because the data is the same, most of them would pretty much "work" right away.
10) How advanced will the AI of NPC's be this time around? Are they really going to have a life? Speaking to other NPC's in a logical manner, traveling and trading with/in faraway places, Submitting to the player rather than fighting if they know, or think, they're no match for him?
I wish I could answer with a number, like "it will be 17 advanced." AI is difficult to define, the NPCs certainly appear much smarter than our previous stuff, by a lot. Much of that is us giving them better data, massaging what they do so the player gets to see more of it. We added a lot of animations, so people in town are doing more. They "seem" to be interacting with the world in a more realistic manner, but that usually means going up to something and playing an animation. It can be something really simple, like we added "lean against wall". It's funny how something that small can give life to a person. They walk into a space, and just lean against the wall, arms folded. Like Oblivion, we use our Radiant AI system, so most of the NPCs eat, sleep, work, etc. I think we take it for granted now, but it's pretty great to have that level of control. We've also done a lot to the conversation system, which makes them seem a lot smarter, but again, that's better data, not a new system.
On the technical side we spent most of our time doing an all new pathfinding system. Morrowind/Oblivion use nodes for pathing and Fallout uses a navmesh. This is the difference between an NPC having a valid point to stand on (node) versus an area to stand in, or walk around (mesh). You can do much more sophisticated actor movement and behavior with a navmesh, and I think you'll see the results onscreen, especially when the bullets start flying. The actors do a great job of finding cover and using the space well, something we could never have done with pathnodes.
In terms of the NPCs traveling around, many travel around town, and some travel the wasteland. There are a few caravans in the game that go from town to town trading. Radiant AI handles something like that really well.
Lastly, as far as submitting to a more powerful foe, yes they do that, in that they run away. If they're overmatched, they holster their weapon, flee and try to hide. While this sounds cool on paper, it's often not fun at all, and we've ended up really dialing that back, because it gets really annoying really fast, to have people run away all the time. The main faction that still acts like this are the Raiders, the others don't do it so much.
11. How common are the 'Dungeon' areas, and do they play a part in the main story, or are they isolated side quests of their own with little bearing on the outside world. And regarding the creatures inside the dungeons, do they re-spawn or can players clear the area permanently?
They are common, and play a part throughout the game, whether that's the main quest, side quests or just exploring. To even get to downtown DC you're going to have to go through some metro tunnels. And then when you are downtown, the whole thing is like one giant "dungeon". Any structure of size, an office building, destroyed factory, school, hospital, you name it – we use all of these as "dungeons".
Most of these do not respawn, once they are cleaned out, they are clean. Some respawn for specific reasons, and some have a limited number of creatures respawn to keep it interesting if it's a huge area that we don't want to feel "dead" later on.
12) From the four archetypes (Charisma Boy, Stealth Boy, Science Boy and Combat Boy) which of these are carried over into Fallout 3 and to what degree will that change the gaming experience? Will it change our starting equipment? Will the rewards and/or results of quests actually differ depending on the way you play through it or the way you play at all?
Actually, we think of it purely in terms of skills. How useful is the particular skill? As much as possible we want the choice for which skills you are going to use to be even, so "Science" is one skill, but there are many combat skills. I can definitely say that what skills you focus on is the largest element in how the game plays for you. Skill choice does not change your starting equipment. And as far as quest rewards, yes, many, but not all, have different rewards for not only the outcome, but how you achieved it.
13) What will the map travel look like? Is it a dotted line that slowly crawls towards the destination on the map, or Oblivion-type fast travel? And will there be random encounters during said map travel?
It works like Oblivion, it's a system we got great feedback on from that game and while we tossed other ideas around, it works best for us. It has a different flavor than Oblivion, in that when the game starts you don't know any locations, so you have to discover everything on foot, by yourself. The world map only acts to get you back to places you have already been.
There are no random encounters while you fast travel, but there are random encounters while you walk around. We actually have a great system for random encounters in this game that we're really proud of.
14) How much diversity will there be in the factions (and structures of factions) found in Fallout 3? And what can you tell us about those factions and inter-faction politics?
They all have it to some level. Some of that is hard to see as a player unless you really look, we only shove it in your face where it makes sense. I think the Brotherhood of Steel is probably the one players will get a feel for the best. See Emil's dev diary for a taste of what the Brotherhood is going through.
15) How will the real-time combat skills work? Will the chance of missing be larger as the skill is lower, or does it affect the amount of damage done? Or will this be featured in weapons swaying and/or recoil compensation?
The skill affects both how well you aim (your hand wobbles on screen), and how much damage you do with a shot. Over the course of the project, we really dialed back the skill wobble, and dialed up the damage effect. It's really not fun to miss all the time, it just made the game feel terrible. You can also "aim", like many shooters. You use the right mouse button, or left trigger on a console, and your character aims at the target. You can't run while you are aiming, but it negates most of the skill wobble. Not all of it, but enough to compensate for a really bad skill. What you find is, as your skill raises, you don't have to rely on aiming as much, so it's a good balance.
Keep in mind the guns have condition too, which affects how much damage they do as well. The gun condition used to also affect rate-of-fire as well as the spread of bullets, but we took those elements out, it was just too much going on, and you usually started the game with a bad skill and a bad gun and it just felt "broken", with bullets shooting off in all kinds of crazy directions. Now the gun condition affects damage and how much the gun jams when you reload it, which ultimately equates to a rate-of-fire, but feels better when playing.
16) What will be the interaction between two aggressive NPC's (or creatures) in regards to each other? On a scenario where a couple of ghouls and some mutants are at a close distance do they fight among each other? Do they ignore you? Do they both attack you? Will they follow you until you reach the next town?
They don't treat the player any different than anything else. In the case you laid out, they fight each other. One may switch to you for any number of reasons, but you aren't deemed "special." As far as enemies following you, yes, they can follow you for a while, but we eventually have them break it off so you don't train legions of mutants back to other areas.
17) How much can you tell us about the stats, skills, traits and perks featured in the game? And what skills/perks were carried over and which were dropped from previous Fallout games? And why choose the ones you did carry over and why did you not choose the ones that were dropped?
Big question, and I can't discuss all the specific stats yet. I do know the skill list is coming out in a few weeks, perhaps by the time you read this. Perks will not be until much later, as we're still doing some final tweaks on them. I think when you see the skill list, the choices will be obvious, and they're the ones most of you would agree with.
Ok, time for some, perhaps, bad news. Traits have been rolled into Perks. That was a hard decision for us, and one that took, literally, years. We kept coming back to it, and re-discussing it, and once we were playing the game, found that the difference between the two systems was so similar that even half the entries in the community "design a perk" contest were actually traits. Take "Bloody Mess" for example, probably the most famous trait. Is the game really more fun if that can only be taken at the very start? Why can't you pick it at level 6? What's so important about having it only at the start? The perk choice is probably one of the most fun parts of the game, and to relegate certain ones to only be chosen when you first start, before you've even played the game and know how any of it feels, just didn't prove as fun to us. How do you know you want Bloody Mess if you haven't seen how bloody the current mess is? (did I just type that?) Anyway, trust me when I say this one was a debate, a long one, and a decision we're not naive enough to think will be understood or applauded by everyone.
Anyway, many traits from Fallout return, but as perks. And many perks return, as perks. Another change over the last year is that you now pick a perk every time you level, and the perks have been balanced accordingly. Like I said before, we found the level-up-pick-a-perk experience to be so enjoyable, it was actually confusing people why they couldn't do it every level. Perks also still have prerequisites for certain stats, including your level. New perks open up at even levels, so while you still get to pick a perk at the odd levels, you won't see any new ones based on your level, but may see a new one based on say, your Science skill.
The good news is that there are a ton of perks, around 100 if you include the multiple ranks. And with a level cap of 20, you still have only 19 times you get to pick one, so you need at least 5 playthroughs of the game to use them all. It was important to us with all of this, that the choices were hard for the player, no matter what the skills/traits/perks were, and that you couldn't see it all the first time through.
18) How far will physical character creation be able to go? That is can we go so far as to add scars and tattoo's in player selected places? Can we decide the body type, facial appearance etc? And will stat changes or fights or anything else later in the game change that appearance?
You get to create your face, but not your body style. You choose your race (Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, or Asian) and sex (Male or Female). You can manipulate your face any way you want, shaping it to your liking. We also have a number of "preset" faces, so you can start with a decent looking face. You can also pick your hair style and color. There are not scars or tattoos you can pick. But, there are beards. And not just any beards. We have them all. We have the most ridiculous list of beards in any game, ever. One of our artists went crazy with beards and didn't stop. We've joked about making a prerelease video of "the beards of Fallout 3". Anyway, they look great. Lots of cool hairstyles as well, from 50s style normal, to half shaved wasteland Mohawks. There are also some ways to "get a haircut" and change your hairstyle later in the game.
19) Will the PC be able to crouch, kneel, lie down, and climb? And what are the benefits to that overall and in a combat situation?
You can crouch, this is good for taking cover and also acts as "sneaking". When you do so, you get an indication of how well hidden you are as well. You cannot kneel, lie down, or climb.
20) What sort of weather effects will we be seeing and will it effect the game play in some manner (e.g. change the landscape, people get off the street to take cover etc.) or is it more or less just 'eye candy?
Other than different cloud types that come and go, there are no other weather effects. We toyed with rain and windstorms but decided not to do them.
21) What can you tell us about companion NPC's? About their limits, their abilities, how everything works exactly.
There are a very limited number of them and they are hard to get. Not only do you have to find them, your often need significant money, and you also need to have the correct karma for many of them. Some won't come with you if you don't "match" with them.
They are pretty special though, they have great personalities and we've found them great fun to play with. You can also give them stuff, that they will use, so it's fun to give them weapons and armor you aren't using and watch them play dress up and use other weapons. But we're careful not to overpower them, so for them to survive, you need to manage them a bit. You'll want to give them stimpaks to heal, and better weapons, etc.
You can only have one follower at a time, you have to "fire" the one you have to get a new one. Except Dogmeat, he's special, you can always have him with someone else. Lastly you can also give them some basic commands, like how they should fight, whether to wait for you, or to go someplace else.
22) How much will the main storyline tie into the storylines of the previous games? And how have you worked towards making it both accessible to new players and recognizable for veteran players? And do you think it will feel more like a reboot of the series or a continuation from the previous games?
It has the themes of the previous games, but is not a continuation of that specific story and those locations. Events from the previous games are referenced, sometimes subtly, sometimes very specifically, but if you never played the first two, you wouldn't even know, it just feels like good history you'd see in any "first" game, for how the world is the way it is. If you're a fan, I think you'll get it all. At the same time, I've never really viewed Fallout 2 as a direct continuation, since it's not a "here's what the hero did next" sequel, it has a decent sized distance from the first. I think if you look at our Elder Scrolls stuff, and how we keep the timeline and overall world moving forward, but each game is its own thing, that's how we approach this.
23) One of the previews mentioned perception effects when you see enemies on your radar. How does the player's Perception affect the radar's maximum number of targets? Should we think of something along the lines of Counter Strike, or a quest compass like Oblivion had? And if it's the latter, are we able to toggle it?
It's most like the Oblivion compass, and "ticks" appear on it when you "perceive" other NPCs or creatures. If the creature/NPC is hostile, the tick will appear red. If not, it appears green. No, you cannot toggle it off unless you toggle off the entire HUD, which you can do.
24) Will it be possible to finish the game using no weapons but only hand to hand combat? And when you level that skill up, do you just do more damage with the attacks you already have or do you learn different and more moves?
Playing the whole game with only hand-to-hand wasn't a goal of ours. I'm 99% sure you can, but it will be hard. As your Unarmed skill number goes up, you do more damage. There are also weapons you can get to use with this skill, like brass-knuckles. Lastly, there are some perks that give you special things like new moves.
25) How much of a role does morale or fear play for an enemy? And how much difference is there in intelligence and combat tactics found in different enemies?
Like I mentioned before, they have a "confidence" setting that determines when and if they will flee, but we've dialed it down a lot. NPCs, for the most part, are much smarter than creatures, but mostly because they simply can do more. They can use any number of weapons, take cover, and use chems. They'll even pickup weapons lying around. Super Mutants can do the same. You think you've played it great when you take out the arm of one Super Mutant and he drops his mini-gun, only to see another one pick it up and use it on you. We've really tweaked how they play depending on their equipment and the area they are in, and I'm really happy with how that part turned out. I think that ends up being the pure "meat" of the game – exploring a space and using your skills and equipment to deal with the enemies there.
Vault-Tec engineers have worked around the clock on an interactive reproduction of Wasteland life for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own vault. Included is an expansive world, unique combat, shockingly realistic visuals, tons of player choice, and an incredible cast of dynamic characters. Every minute is a fight for survival against the terrors of the outside world – radiation, Super Mutants, and hostile mutated creatures. From Vault-Tec, America’s First Choice in Post Nuclear Simulation.Story:
Vault 101 – Jewel of the Wastes. For 200 years, Vault 101 has faithfully served the surviving residents of Washington DC and its environs, now known as the Capital Wasteland. Though the global atomic war of 2077 left the US all but destroyed, the residents of Vault 101 enjoy a life free from the constant stress of the outside world. Giant Insects, Raiders, Slavers, and yes, even Super Mutants are all no match for superior Vault-Tec engineering. Yet one fateful morning, you awake to find that your father has defied the Overseer and left the comfort and security afforded by Vault 101 for reasons unknown. Leaving the only home you’ve ever known, you emerge from the Vault into the harsh Wasteland sun to search for your father, and the truth.Key Features: