Happy Birthday Fallout! Who Wants Cake? Fallout Perk Contest Announced

bloodymesscake_small.jpg

10 years ago Fallout was finished and began making its journey into the hands and hearts of RPG fans everywhere. Seems more like a birthday than an anniversary. Perhaps it’s both. I do actually remember the release of Fallout in part because at the time I was working (part-time) at The Adrenaline Vault and Interplay was one of “my companies.”

In other words, I was our main point of contact for them, reviewed and previewed most of their games, etc. (along with 3DO, Interactive Magic, MGM Interactive, 7th Level…I sense a trend here). I don’t think I reviewed it because we had someone at AVault who was focusing on RPGs at the time and I let them review it, since they had primarily played every other RPG that was out at the time. But I did play it and I kept my copy, which sits proudly…somewhere in my office, I think. Sorry, off on a tangent here…where were we?

Fallout. 10 years. We bounced around a lot of ideas on how we could best honor Fallout and its 10th Anniversary/Birthday. We decided that we should do something we’ve never done before for any of our games (that I’m aware of anyway): give fans a chance to create something we’ll use in the game. We talked about it and we thought perhaps the best option was to do something where folks could be creative in a way that is very much Fallout, and not have it be overly complex. We also didn’t want it to be trivial (e.g., “name this person, creature, thing”).

Continue reading full article ›

Gavin talks Fallout 3 with Gameshark

gavin2.jpg

With most of the big gaming events (TGS, Leipzig, E3) behind us, the trickle of coverage for Fallout 3 has subsided a little bit. That said, this week Gameshark was able to sit down with Lead Producer Gavin Carter to discuss a few items about the game. Here’s a sample of what he had to say:

Gameshark: The SPECIAL character development system from the first two Fallout games is back. How will it be different (if at all)?

Gavin: We’re using the SPECIAL character system and making few changes to it. The stats all play nicely with our gameplay design. For instance, Perception still feeds into seeing enemies and Agility still affects your action points, which are used for VATS mode. Any of the SPECIAL stats (as well as skills) can be polled in dialog and give you access to different options. Some perks also require a minimum score in a SPECIAL stat for you to use them, as well.

Head over to Gameshark to read the rest of the interview

Inside the Vault: Mark Lampert

mark.jpg

Today’s Inside the Vault is with Mark Lampert, our sound engineer. Mark actually wrote a team diary on Elderscrolls.com about the sound effects and voice recordings for Oblivion – a great read. Another fun fact: Mark was our first mocap stunt man – in early Fallout builds, it was Mark’s walk and crouch that were in the game.

What’s your job at Bethesda?

I’m the sound engineer, and I handle all aspects of the sound design for Bethesda Game Studios. In addition I do the voice casting, recording and editing, plus any post processing such as voice effects, and I share in directing, typically with the lead designer of a project. There’s also a little bit of music work in terms of mastering our chosen composer’s tracks for the game, and sometimes I end up writing little bits and pieces of things here and there as needed.
Continue reading full article ›

Going GameCrazy in Vegas

vegas 001.jpg

You may have noticed that I hadn’t posted anything new on the blog for a few days. I was out in Las Vegas for a GameCrazy retail event. The event pulls together folks from their stores around the country, and gives them an opportunity to take a look at what game companies have coming out.

Above is our booth from the event. There was some initial panic on my end because it took awhile for our monitors to arrive, and when they did, I realized they didn’t have any speakers. Thankfully, everything came together before the show started.

Continue reading full article ›

Fallout Community Q&A Arrives

thoward-08.01.07.jpg

As many of you know, we announced a community Q&A for Fallout 3 a couple of weeks ago. Since Blinzler was so eager to see a community Q&A, I put him in charge of compiling questions that YOU wanted to know about. Not an easy task, considering he (with the help of some folks he selected) had to filter through pages of suggestions in the forums, as well as look at stuff I forwarded from our inbox, and of course, this blog. Did I mention he did all of this while living through a hurricane? Big props to Blinzler!

So head on over to our Fallout forums and take a look at the answers that Todd came up with. Here’s a sample:

14. You have talked a lot about choices and consequences in the quest design. Are you aiming for immediate feedback, or long term (and possibly unforeseeable) consequences? In addition to moral choices, will different characters be able to tackle tasks using their different skill sets? [GhanBuriG]

It’s a bit of both, overall I think the player needs something immediate, or they don’t know if they actually accomplished anything, or felt what they just did had any meaning whatsoever. The longer term stuff is great to surprise the player with, whether it’s positive or negative, but if it’s a surprise, you need to be careful, because that can be frustrating, so you give the player another route, or simply treat the consequence as a flavor thing, and not a game-changing thing.

In regards to using different skills, most definitely, yes. We’re really pushing on that, and I think that’s the crux of the game – what skills you use, so each quest or goal of the player’s can be accomplished in different ways using different skills. Even in dialogue we’re using a lot of different skills, depending on who you’re talking to So if you’re talking to a scientist, your Science skill may give you an extra dialogue option.

“The Feel-Good Hit of the Summer”

viggo_mortensen.jpg

In post-apocalyptic news, Emil dropped me a note that over on Dark Horizons there’s a post referencing an Entertainment Weekly story that Viggo Mortensen is in talks about playing the role of the father in a movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” a book that has been very popular around the office. I borrowed a copy from Josh Jones and finally got around to reading it during my trip to Leipzig.

Anyway, Viggo would be fracking awesome. He’s perfect. Hope they get him, and can’t wait to see who they get for his kid. Not familiar with the work of the guys they have doing the adaptation (Joe Penhall) or directing (John Hillcoat), but I’d love to see this movie happen. As bleak a picture as has ever been painted of a post-nuclear world.

If you haven’t read it already, you need to. It’s that good.

Continued Leipzig Coverage

screen06B.jpg

Thought I’d share a few links to some Leipzig coverage of Fallout 3 from the past week.

Spanish gaming site HardGame2.com seems to have enjoyed their screening of the demo at GC. The game walked away with their award for “Best RPG” on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. The game also captured their “Best Xbox” game award, as well as the “2nd Absolute Best Game in the Show” behind Mafia II. If you’re fluent in Spanish, you can also read Roberto Hidalgo Burgos’ preview that’s on their site. We’ve got a bit of it translated below:

“Even if at E3 it was barely shown, at GC we enjoyed an in-game demo of more than an hour, where Bethesda left us completely stunned in the same way they do about a year ago with Oblivion. Fallout 3 unites again in a title a wide and diverse gaming experience, with top-notch graphics, all wrapped with a rich and highly immersive background, promising dozens of gaming hours.”

In other international coverage, Scandinavian game site Game Reactor is hosting an interview up with Emil Pagliarulo in which Emil talks about his favorite elements of Fallout, some of the creatures that will appear in the game, and more.

Finally, back here in the states, GamePro writer Vicious Sid has put up his preview that covers some of the basics about the game:

“Just before the war, many sought refuge is massive underground bunkers called Vaults. Once sealed, the Vaults are sealed permanently — nobody enters, nobody leaves. This is the dark world of Fallout, a cult hit on the PC in the late 90′s and now an upcoming action-RPG from Bethesda Softworks, creator of The Elder Scrolls series.”

Update: Looks like there’s another Spanish preview up on Meristation. Time to head over to Babelfish.

Inside the Vault: Bruce Nesmith

theater.jpg

Today’s Q&A is with Bruce Nesmith, our Director of Design. I first met Bruce over a decade ago working here at Bethesda (pre-Zenimax). I remember Bruce and Todd Howard shared an office together back then. Bruce did a lot of system design and also worked on the Thieves Guild in Oblivion.

What’s your job at Bethesda?

I am the Director of Design, and a Senior Game Designer. It sounds cooler than it is.

Continue reading full article ›

Trailer Blazer

pleasestandby.jpg

On June 5th — three months ago today — fans may recall seeing the above image on our website – that is, when our servers weren’t crashing in anticipation of the teaser trailer.

Well, everyone’s seen the above trailer now, or so it seems. Today I got word that the trailer has been viewed more than 2 million times off our website (over 1.8 million downloads) and through Xbox Live (over 250K downloads). That doesn’t include YouTube views or downloads off of all the other sites that hosted the trailer.

To put it in context, in the first five months that we hosted the Oblivion teaser trailer, 800,000 views took place. So the Fallout 3 trailer has been viewed more than twice as many times in about half the time. Impressive…most impressive.

If you haven’t had a chance to view the teaser (though I’m guessing any visitor to our site has), check it out here:

Interviews Piling Up…

gavin.jpg

If you haven’t been looking around, there’s some interesting coverage for Fallout 3 this week…

Apparently there will be an interview with Emil on GameTap this weekend (I’ll update the blog when it surfaces). This morning, ActionTrip posted an interview with Lead Producer, Gavin Carter. Here’s a quick look at it:

ActionTrip: 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?

Gavin: 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.

Elsewhere this week, Eurogamer has followed up their E3 preview with an interview with Pete from last week’s GC in Leipzig:

Continue reading full article ›