The wonderful world of Fallout 3
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The wonderful world of Fallout 3
Preview - posted by Vault Dweller on Thu 30 August 2007, 18:40:37Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Fallout 3
The wonderful world of Fallout 3
There are many articles dedicated to Fallout 3, discussing topics like "Where is all the role-playing at?" and "Why is it called a Fallout game again?". My answer is - who cares. If you are a passionate gamer like me, you can't wait to play this game and want to know about it as much as possible. Well, let me tell, friend, you came to the right place. Let me walk you through our Fallout 3 exhibition:
Life in Vault 101, where your journey begins
The vault is an amazing place. It has everything you need: a paranoid Overseer running the operations, his "thugs", whoever they are; genetic scientists (a testament to the vault's education system), and even a "greaser gang". The idea of a gang fits perfectly well into the vault concept and goes to show how good Bethesda is at designing things.
CVG: "200 years of isolation have bred a sense of claustrophobia and paranoia, with an almost dictatorial leader who has an intense mistrust of the outside world."How radiant.
Pete: "The overseer who is in charge of the Vault is obviously very upset that somebody has broken the cardinal rule, “Nobody enters, nobody leaves”..."
Ron: "In Vault 101, no one ever enters, and no one ever leaves. It is here you were born, and it is here you will die."
Emil: "The Overseer is pissed off. He thinks you had something to do with it and he sends his thugs after you. The Vault is no longer safe for you."
Pete: "The overseer’s thugs are out to get you..."
IGN: "...the Tunnel Snakes, the gang of bullies who inhabit the Vault, and the object of their attention, the young girl with whom you've had a lifelong friendship."
IGN: "Those very bullies who showed up at your tenth birthday eventually develop into a gang of obnoxious greasers who delight in terrorizing young girls..."
Gaming Trend: "...a local ‘greaser’ gang called the “Tunnel Snakes” giving a friend of yours grief because her father is the overseer."
NMA: "...a large number of vault guards patrol the hallways, and during the demo one passed by the girl being harassed and completely ignored the situation."
NMA: "As the PC leaves, the guards cry out "he's opening the door!" and call for someone to warn the overseer, draw their batons, but don't really do anything otherwise."
Meet the Parents
You're no longer alone in the harsh, post-apocalyptic world. You have a father and not just any father. He's a scholar and a gentleman - voiced by Liam Neeson!!! - and you just can't live without him. Your love for your father is so strong that when he leaves you and the vault one day, you blindly follow him into the wasteland.
Twitch Guru: "The main character's father, a genetic scientist, mysteriously departs... "It's about time game developers start promoting strong family values and sending messages to people. Someting like "violence is fucking hilarious", but maybe a little less edgy.
Worthplaying: "......your father, one of the most important people in Vault 101..."
Emil: "So take the relationship with "my" father. He's my moral compass..."
Bethesda: "Neeson will play the role of the player's father and will appear prominently throughout the game. ...and provides the dramatic tone for the entire game"
RPG Vault: "The critical path, which involves finding your father, will have a fairly linear sequence of key events."
Gavin: Your dad is like this warm, inviting guy. He's Liam Neeson! Who wouldn't want Liam Neeson as their dad, right?
Emil: "Fallout 3 is really strongly character driven, and we really concentrate on the relationship between the player character and his/her father, voiced by Liam Neeson."
Pete: "What was so important? Why did he leave me behind? What did he need to go and do? Where is he?” These are the questions you ask yourself and these are your reasons for leaving the Vault and venturing out into this post-nuclear wasteland."
Gavin: "What happened to him? That's one of the central themes of the game. We wanted the relationship as a central point of the plot, so we don't want you to be able to say, piss off your dad and ruin the plot."
Pete: "Whereas in this game Liam Neeson is the impetus for the majority of the main quest – it’s about finding your father, finding out what he is up to, finding out if you can help him."
Dialogue bonsai trees
Dialogues play a very important role in any RPG and Fallout 3 in particular. Without dialogues you can only stare at your enemies angrily as you empty your magazine in their direction. With dialogues, you can throw awesome lines like "Nice hat, Calamity Jane!" at them. And then empty your magazine in their direction.
Todd: "...and conversations with NPCs use a similar [to Oblivion] style of dialogue tree..."Radical and extreme, but needs some collar grabbing action.
NeoGAF: "Branching dialogue tree, different choices/chances of success based on charisma and speaking skill. Poor INT will NOT affect your dialogue choices."
Emil: "We went back and forth with the impact of dialogue on the character, and ultimately decided we didn't want to penalize or reward the player for carrying on a conversation."
Emil: "...within the quests, and several other places, yeah--you can talk your way through, if you’ve got the skill."
Todd: "So if you’re talking to a scientist, your Science skill may give you an extra dialogue option."
Todd: "...there are “speech challenges” – these are for using your Speech skill when talking to NPCs, and they are specific things you can say with a percentage chance they will succeed. This chance is based on your Speech skill, how much the NPC likes you, and the difficulty of what you’re asking for."
Todd: "...your skills determine the “extra” dialogue options you get, so depending on the character you are talking to, and your own skills, you may get an extra choice based on any number of skills, karma, or perks. These choices are always successful, unlike the speech challenges."
Pete: "But obviously, when you're talking about supermutants, dialogue really isn't a viable option."
NMA: "An option to ask for 500 caps extra pay (29%), or to tell him the town is under your protection and he should get out. Stating that if he fails Mr Burke will like him less, Hines opts to ask for extra pay, and gets it."
Pete: "Well, you'll see that Science for instance can allow you to give a scientific explanation and to use that knowledge in dialogue. This will be very technical and not reliant on your Speech skill. The same is true for Repair and so on. So you'll be able to use those as well."
Gaming Trend: "Todd was quite tired of playing the nice guy and remarked to the sheriff “Nice hat Calamity Jane”. Our sheriff turned surly rather quickly and warned “This is my town – you so much as breathe wrong and I’m gonna fucking end you.”"
Shack News: "That's fine, that's fine, just as long as we understand each other," responds Simms. "These are my people. This is my town. You so much as breathe wrong, I'm gonna fuckin' end you."
Gaming Trend: "It was here that we met up with the Brotherhood of Steel. One yelled “That’s how we do it in Alliance Pride, you fuckin’ freaks!” as he gunned down mutants across the street from him."
Fallout 3 and The Nuclear World of Tomorrow
Fallout 3 takes place in the future. The timeline is somewhere between now and the Great Garbage Avalanche of 2505. The world has changed. Everything is nuclear: cars, catapults, and even can openers. Any malfunction and KABOOM! Instant mushroom cloud in your kitchen. That's a guaranteed recipe for a radiation poisoning and some headache. Thank God for Advil.
Games Are Fun: "Another element in battle is radiation. By blowing up objects in the environment (resulting in some really awesome-looking mushroom clouds), you'll release radiation into the surrounding area and damage all living things, enemies and friends alike."I'm sure the new residents of this prime real estate area wouldn't mind some radiation. The glow in the dark thing might even add some charm and increase the resale value.
Critical Hits: "...most radiation from things like blown up cars (nuclear engines) and the mini-nuke weapon will dissipate given a little time."
IGN: "...you might also consider making use of the derelict cars that line the streets. Some of the still have a bit of juice in their nuclear-powered engines. Hit them just right and BOOM! Instant mushroom cloud."
Game Industry: "At one point we set one of the exploding nuclear cars on fire and then hopped into a portable nuclear shelter (which costs a quarter to use and looks like a phone booth) to avoid the blast."
Gaming Trend: "Pulling the Fat Man from our shoulder pack, we launched several explosives roughly the size of footballs at the feet of the behemoth, making light work of the creature – it only took 5 nukes.
NMA: "At the end of the fight, a BoS soldier in the visual explosive radius of the Fatman (though apparently taking no damage from it) simply shoulders his assault rifle the moment the bomb hits..."
Game Informer: "...Mister Burke. He'd like to get rid of Megaton - something about "a blight on the burgeoning urban landscape." He's got a fusion pulse charge that could arm the live and ticking [nuclear] bomb at the center of town."
Guns to make the world a better place
Guns. Guns never change... Well, they kinda did, to be honest. It's a known fact that technological limitations prevented the original Fallout designers from including nuclear catapults, gravity guns, and silent, buy deadly Barbie-Head launchers. Now we can finally enjoy a Fallout game as it was meant to be.
Emil: "There are the Fallout weapon skills: big guns, small guns, energy weapons, melee, unarmed which are all fully exploited, so we have weapons for them all."You must research your enemies weaknesses. If you can't kill a mutant with 5 nukes, try throwing a Barbie head at him. It's so crazy it just might work.
NMA: "The main stat here is DPS, Damage Per Second, which seems to be about 20-40 for the rifles. It was higher for the Chinese assault rifle than for the hunting rifle. ... The Fatman's DPS is 3550, which stands in shrill contrast to the Chinese assault rifle's 41."
Emil: "We also have a series of custom made weapons that you can construct if you find a schematic and the right junk in the wasteland.
Emil: "Each set of schematics lets you build a certain, pre-determined weapon, as long as you've got all the components, and most of the components are junk objects you'll find in the world."
NeoGAF: "On the Energy Weapons skill info pane, it affects these types of weapons: Alien, [Cryo], Laser, Plasma and one other I think I missed."
NMA: "As seen on a loading screen: energy weapons include the alien blaster, cryolator and mesmetron."
GameInformer: "...a Fatman. Arming this portable nuclear catapult..."
GameHelper: "As an example Todd shows off the ‘Rock-It’ launcher – one of the weapons you can build yourself which shoots rocks and other items found throughout the game. Not sure what to do with it? Try firing off some records or scissors at an incoming mutant!"
WorthPlaying: "Another cool new weapon is the "Lunch Box Explosive," which consists of a simple lunchbox from the pre-war days that is loaded up with explosives and can send your enemies soaring."
Joystiq: "The demo showed off a few highly imaginative weapons, from the Suck-o-Tron, which lets you chuck useless items at enemies, to the Fatman personal miniature nuclear bomb catapult."
IGN: "All those pointless rocks and Barbie heads you find on the ground can be loaded into a makeshift Rock-It Launcher and put to good use."
Do It Yourself: Upgrade and Repair!
Here you can learn all you need to know about maintaining and improving your equipment. We can't teach a country bumpkin like you how to attach a scope to your rifle, but we can show you how to make a shiny daedric mace using nothing but an old chair leg, a bowling ball, and some silver paint.
Emil: "We don't allow you to modify existing guns to customize them. For example, you can't take a pistol you've been using and add a scope to it. It's more like finding an old motorcycle gas can and an old sword blade and creating an entirely new weapon."I wonder what you can make out of an old gas can and an old sword blade? Holy Avenger? (Edit: Apparently, it's "a shishkabob, it's a sort of a flaming sword, you know...")
Game Revolution: "If you already have a weapon of the same type, you can bust out some engineering skills, break it down into parts, and use them to beef up the strength, precision, and firing rate of your own weapon."
Shack News: "...Howard demonstrated the noticeable difference between a Chinese assault rifle that had been poorly maintained, and one that had been recently repaired, with the latter firing much more quickly and with a much tighter spread."
Game Helper: "Don’t worry – you’ll be able to tell when it’s time to repair your weapons – visually. They won’t shoot so well and your targeting will be crap so – not a bad skill to have Tex."
Meet the neighbours
The wasteland is a busy place. You've got all kinda people and creatures trying to mind their own damn business. Of course, more often than not their business is figuring out a way to put you out of business. Permanently.
Emil: "Your biggest foes in the game are these super-mutants that are invading the world and are in a constant battle to push humans out."Talk about me between songs? That's the Fallout spirit right there.
NMA: "Pete Hines pauses the game to zoom in on the mutant and explain that this is a supermutant, "the main bad guy in the game."
NMA: "Pete Hines also notes conversations with supermutants aren't an option, and they are presented in the demo simply as evil, swarming enemies."
NMA: "...in walks a gigantic supermutant that Pete Hines identifies as the Behemoth. Armed with a fire hydrant as a club, a car door as a shield and carrying a shopping cart on his back to keep corpses in, Hines explains that this is the "boss creature for the supermutants," who can deal and take tons of damage."
NMA: "Pete Hines explaining the the supermutants have spread through the metro tunnels, but are locked in combat with the Brotherhood of Steel, "the noble knights of the wasteland" who are trying to drive out the supermutants.
Emil: "[The Brotherhood of Steel is a] “neo-knightly organization that is waging war in DC”"
RPG Gamer: Here we were assisted by the the knightly Brotherhood of Steel, a militaristic order whose goals are to drive back the mutants and reclaim this territory for the humans.
Emil: "New mutant animals. ... There's a full line of robots: you saw the Protectron in the presentation, Mr. Handy, Robobrain and Sentrybot. Right before E3 the rad scorpion just went in fully animated. There's also the classic deathclaw. There are lots of creatures are in the game."
Todd: "...there are also other ghouls, the Feral Ghouls, these are more “creature” like, and are aggressive."
NMA: "Still in Springvale, a giant ant with kind of horned-looking skin (about halfway between the size of Fallout 2's ants and Fallout's radscorpions) runs up from a distance..."
IGN: "...isolated transmissions in the wasteland. Some might lead you a new quest, others might alert you to the presence of a nearby Slaver patrol."
Gaming Trend: "A local station called Enclave Station played one of the 20+ licensed tracks from the 40s..."
CVG: "The way your PIPBoy can play holodiscs just as it could before, and pick up radio stations to boot - a DJ on one of which can give you missions, then talk about you between songs.
Life in the wasteland is filled with life-altering, fate-of-the-nations-affecting decisions. My buddy Gavin who actually played the game says so, and he sure knows what he's talking about.
Gavin: "Right at the top was, "choice and consequence in every quest line", as much as we possibly can. Every aspect of the game should have choice and consequence. Even choices like picking your character's stats."Fargoth's Gold or the Real Deal? You decide!
Gavin: "Each quest has multiple paths to completion, and how you choose to complete one quest can affect what quests are available later on."
Todd: "...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."
Gamer Node: "One instance of a quest-like encounter occurs when Todd runs into a group known as the Tunnel Snakes (a greaser gang, as he described them) tormenting your female friend. "You can help her," Todd says, "or you can join in, call her fat, make her all sad..."
Desslock: To elaborate more on the “Megaton bomb quest” — when you arrive at that town, you can greet and be friendly with the sheriff. When you get the quest to potentially blow up the bomb, you can instead inform the sheriff that these dudes are trying to blow up the town. Or you can decide to blow up the town, but actually be unable to because you lack the mechanical skills to activate the bomb. Or you could just decide to blow the sheriff away when you meet him, in which case you’ll likely be attacked by his buddies when walking through the town. Or you could, after blowing him away, decide to put on his sheriff’s uniform, in which case some NPCs may attack you for killing the sheriff, but others may actually defer to you as the new sheriff. In short - meaningful options and real choices, and interesting characters to interact with - in that respect, I think Bethesda is appropriately emulating some of Fallout’s best and most distinctive features.
Gavin: "You play [the Megaton quest] through the "bad" way and blow up the town, you erase everything in Megaton: all the quests that you might have gotten in there are now gone. But it opens up a new area, Ten Penny Tower, that you wouldn't have opened up if you didn't blow up the town. And that place has new quests, it has new items that you wouldn't have gotten."
NMA: "Pete Hines explains that quests can be solved in a lot of ways, not just one or two paths, naming the following options here: being nice to the sheriff can land the quest of disarming the bomb, you can betray Mr Burke to the sheriff, you can arm or disarm the bomb without getting a quest. Once at the bomb, he tries to use it and a big warning flashes that his skills are insufficient to even interact with it, and has to take some Mentats that he found in the mailbox earlier to boost his intelligence and thus his technical skills (no negative effects from using these drugs are seen). Clicking the bomb reveals a number of options, including disarming and attaching the detonator..."
When dialogue fails - and I have a feeling it will fail a lot, you'll have no choice but to nuke someone's brains out. At least that's what, I heard, they do in Alliance Pride.
Emil:"When Todd and I first started prototyping VATS, we played other real time games like Call of Duty and Halo."Imaginative and innovative! Two thumbs up.
Pete: "We don’t want something that rewards the ‘quick-twitch’ FPS player. We’re not trying to reward players who are good at Call of Duty or Halo or whatever."
Emil: "..we have V.A.T.S., the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System. Using this system, you can pause the action and make important tactical decisions."
Todd: "VATS is a glorified aimed-shot mode, and a pretty glorious one at that. You’ll be able to use it a lot, but not constantly..."
Pete: "V.A.T.S. was really born out of a desire to make the game work best as a first-person game..."
Emil: "Interestingly, what we've found playtesting the system is that V.A.T.S. sort of has this dual role: it's the skill-based targeting mode, but because of the third-person playback stuff, it's also very much a "my character is a complete badass" mode. Using your character's skills to get take out an opponent's arm is awesome; but then seeing your character unload on the guy, watching his arm explode in third-person... oh man."
IGN: ..the impressive Vault-Tech Assisted Targeting System (VATS). The feature is essentially a more detailed version of the combat system in Knights of the Old Republic. ... Using a pool of action points determined by your Agility, you'll queue up fire actions to the targets you want to hit on your enemy.
I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore
As you know Fallout 3 takes place in an alternative timeline. That means that you may see and experience strange things falling under the "crazy shit" category. Don't freak out, these things are completely normal and happen all the time in this exciting new world.
Worthplaying: "For example, a city called Megaton was built around a crater where a nuclear bomb fell but never detonated.Kids, don't try that at home!
Pete: "...set in a post-nuclear world where things were blown to hell and people were doing anything to survive - but they still cared about their hairstyles."
Pete: "...it's really just a tomorrow-land version of the 50s that’s all blown to hell!
And then when you come back into this destroyed world you still have people trying to preserve their 1950s hairstyles and listening to the same music and whatnot – that’s ‘the shtick’ of it..."
NMA: "Entering the toilet there, Hines announces he can take another sip of water as he is hurt, but not hurt enough to warrant use of a stimpak. Despite the fact that the toilet is obviously filthy and might be full of germs or at least somewhat unhealthy, Hines notes "water from the toilet actually has the least amount of radiation per health,"..."
Games Are Fun: "...the key to restoring health is to find the cleanest water you can (sometimes that may be out of a used toilet bowl, as Bethesda eagerly displayed)."
You are SPECIAL!
One of the biggest concerns of the Fallout fanbase was the fate of the beloved SPECIAL system. One really couldn't imagine a Fallout game with 6 or 8 stats. It MUST be 7. Lucky for us, Bethesda developers are true Fallout fans and they assured us that the SPECIAL is in!
IGN: "The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system makes a triumphant return from the original series offering up some 14 different skills to choose from."We'll continue updating the article, adding new facts as they became available, until the game is released, so drop by every now and then to see what's new and exciting.
Todd: "When you create your character, you get a total of 35 points, we go with the assumption you can make every stat a 5 if you want, so 5 is the “average”."
IGN: "...you'll need to hack into one of their control terminals. Once you find one, you'll have to play a short mini-game to gain access to it."
Emil: "...you can create the weapon, and your Repair skill dictates its condition."
Gaming Trend: "Utilizing the science skill check we worked through what looked like the classic game of Mastermind. The word that we were looking for is within the screen, but we only get so many chances to hack it and the computer gives us feedback by telling us how many letters of the word are in the right place."
IGN: Your basic stats aren't going to change much during the game (except as a result of radiation poisoning), but you can collect bobble heads found throughout the game to bump the stats up a bit.
TenTon Hammer: "According to the VP, there will be a bobblehead styled to represent every single SPECIAL and skill in the game, and they’ll give you bonuses when you find them."
Pete: "You also get titles, so like Scourge of the Wasteland if you're this really evil bastard and blew up Megaton..."
Gaming Trend: "Everything appears tracked, just like previous titles, including corpses eaten, locks picked, Mysterious Stranger visits, and much more."