Keeping Faith in Fallout: What happens when our favourite games change hands

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Bethesda and play Fallout 3. I’ll shortly be posting extracts from an interview I did with lead designer Emil Pagliarulo, and you can read my hands-on impressions of the game in an upcoming issue of the Official Xbox Magazine. But for now I want to discuss what happens when one major developer inherits a classic series from another major developer.

I’ve been thinking about change recently, and how gamers tend to be somewhat frightened by it. We want to be dazzled by new technology and we say we want innovation and originality, but it seems what gets us most excited is something familiar given a new lick of paint. So, on the one hand, Fallout 3 should be exactly what gamers want – an old idea updated with cool new graphics; on the other hand, it’s kinda scary. How do we know Bethesda isn’t going to ruin an old favourite?

When we talk about a company making a sequel we know it’s not really the exact same people involved. Staff turnover at the completion of one project often means a sequel is never entirely designed by the same personnel responsible for the original. Increasingly, as in the case of Call of Duty being split between Infinity Ward and Treyarch, a publisher will have two separate teams working on alternate iterations of the same franchise. However, in the case of Fallout 3, we’re looking at a wholly new team tasked with building the third in a series and managing a legacy they played no role in forging.

What’s notable with Fallout 3 is the length of time between Black Isle signing off on Fallout 2 and Bethesda applying its own seal to the series. Ten years is a long time in gaming. It’s enough time for entire genres to rise and fall in popularity; for new technology to change our perception of what makes for a modern game; for development studios to have created a history of their own, with all the expectation and baggage that entails; for new platforms to arrive and shift the commercial landscape; and for older games to be deified on the altar of nostalgia.

Bethesda has to combat all these factors. They have to bring a new Fallout into a world where multi-platform development is vital; where RPGs flounder without production values as high as the next big budget FPS; where many of the play mechanics of the original games now seem anachronistic; and where Bethesda has charted out their own successful course of what a role-playing game can be.

Other games and developers have survived such battles though, and perhaps more often than you think. Ion Storm took over development duties from Looking Glass for the third Thief game, although there was certainly some cross-pollination between the companies. Still, Thief: Deadly Shadows turned out to be quite a different experience to what the Looking Glass folks had envisaged. It kept some of the open world structure of the original design, but reined it back and applied a more discrete mission progression. Ion Storm were faced with the additional challenge of developing for a console as well as PC which no doubt had an impact, especially from a technology point of view. But ultimately, Deadly Shadows was a genuine Thief game, just served with superior lighting and some minor tweaks to the mechanics.

In a similar vein, Obsidian assumed responsibility from Bioware for both Neverwinter Nights and Knight of the Old Republic. Those guys had worked closely together at Interplay’s Black Isle RPG division and the development of both series continued fairly seamlessly. Fundamentally, the sequels really aren’t that different and, for the most part, merely benefit from newer technology.

Then there’s Tomb Raider, where Crystal Dynamics has done a terrific job rescuing the series from the disaster that was Angel of Darkness, while of course Eidos remained on publishing duties throughout the developer switch. You could see that Core Design was desperately trying to refresh the formula with AoD, whereas Crystal has given us a bona fide reinvention of a stagnant series. The difference is that Crystal went back to basics and built upon the strengths of the early Tomb Raiders, while Core lost its focus and took Lara in too many directions that were completely ill-suited.

Silent Hill is perhaps an even more interesting example. A Japanese developed game that draws heavily from American film and literature is now being developed by an American studio. The Collective is currently working on the fifth Silent Hill game, Homecoming, with Team Silent veteran Akira Yamaoka again overseeing production. It’s perhaps too early to judge the success of this move – after all, the game has yet to be released – but it does appear that Homecoming will adhere closely to the Silent Hill formula in terms of play mechanics. Whether The Collective – best known for its work on Marc Ecko’s Getting Up and Buffy the Vampire Slayer – can compose the hauntingly ambiguous atmosphere to match Team Silent’s best work remains to be seen.

Closer to the mark, Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia revivals almost replicate what Bethesda is doing with Fallout, and not just because of the similar time difference between original and sequel. You can see a clear evolution from 2D to 3D in which many of the defining tenets – the fluid animation, the balance of platforming and combat, the distinct aesthetic – have survived intact. Although in this case it may help that Jordan Mechner, the Prince’s original creator, apparently consults on the projects.

For me, based on what I’ve seen of Fallout 3, the nearest comparison is with Retro Studios taking on Metroid. Although Retro certainly didn’t have the pedigree of Bethesda when they took on the project, they opted for overhauling the existing template to the same degree. Metroid Prime was just about as perfect a re-imagining of the series as you could have hoped for, regardless of your personal position on the 2D vs 3D debate. The move to first-person afforded a new perspective on a familiar world that resulted in a freshness and originality that another side-scrolling iteration would not have achieved.

So there are plenty of similar stories for Bethesda to look at and learn from, even if none mirror their specific circumstances precisely. History shows us there’s no reason why Fallout 3 can’t be a great game; equally, there’s no reason why it can’t be a great Fallout game. Everything I’ve seen so far points towards Bethesda accomplishing both those objectives. More often than not, change is nothing to be afraid of. After all, wasn’t the original Fallout merely a modern update of Interplay’s own Wasteland? And that seemed to work out quite well.

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35 Comments on “Keeping Faith in Fallout: What happens when our favourite games change hands”

  1. flexiblestrategy Says:

    And now here we are with Diablo III, a modern update that sticks to the familiar mechanics of the originals. It looks to be a tad more than a lick of paint, though the basics still revolve around that good old mouse bashing technique…

  2. Ivpiter Says:

    Yep, Diablo 3 refutes all this crap by it’s mere existence. A true Fallout game would have rocked the ever loving hell out of the industry, just as D-3 is doing right now.

    I lost all faith in Beth after that 2nd rate console slop Oblivion that was a 3rd rate port with 4th rate game-design and 5th rate mini-games all sold to us by a 1st rate marketing team working with 6th rate shill psudo-journalists claiming to be the media.

  3. Garfunkel Says:

    How about X-Com? Catastropic “new” direction for the series after two good games and one mediocre one.

    How come you only wrote about the successes and not the failures?

    Anyway, Kotor and NWN should not even be here, Obsidian might as well be part of Bioware, since they collaborate so much. Kotor2 was Kotor1 with a new plot and NWN2 just had a fresh coat of paint and some 3.5ed rules added.

    Now, from the little we know about Fallout3, Bethsoft took an excellent RPG and turned into a FPS with some “skills” slapped on it – kinda like a Stalker.

  4. garren Says:

    Change is nothing to be afraid of? Exploding nuclear cars, radiation magic, miniature nuclear explosions, good and helping brotherhood of steel, automatically evil super mutants (no dialogue), FPS gameplay, limited companions and the list goes on and on…

    Bethesda is dumbing the game down for the FPS crowd and Oblivion fans while ignoring the original fanbase.

    “Fallout is Oblivion with guns, in all the best ways”
    – Todd Howard

  5. garren Says:

    Since I can’t edit my previous post, I meant “Fallout 3” in Todd’s line.

  6. David Wildgoose Says:

    Guys, I’d like to think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Fallout 3 once you play it. I’m a Fallout fan myself and have always preferred the Black Isle/Troika/Obsidian style of RPG over Bethesda’s take. So, yeah, I was sceptical when I sat down to play Fallout 3 a few weeks back…

    But it felt like Fallout to me. Sure, the presentation and vague look of the game can be reminiscent of Oblivion (they use the same base tech, after all), yet the experience – the way the interaction and RPG systems and mood and atmosphere all intertwine – is Fallout through and through.

  7. Stu Andrews Says:

    “I have no strong feelings either way.”

    Oblivion was okay. I can see what Bethsoft were trying to do. I love Blizzard cause they are sticking to the formula that sucked more of my life than anything before and after .. but Oblivion and Morrowind were a lot of fun. Sure, Diablo 3 shows that Blizzard can give the big finger to everyone else. Course they can. Not just due to the financial awesomeness of their bank account, but because still, even after the supposed diablo guys left, they love making great games and won’t release before it’s ready.

    There’s a great interview here with Paul Sams, who I’d never heard of before. He’s the COO .. which means bigwig in my understanding. Anyway, it’s a pretty good snapshot of their thoughts.

    Back to Fallout. I’m kind of excited. Bethsoft can make a good game. Not fantastic, and not awesome out of the box. Last night I downloaded over 600 megs of mods to go with a fresh install of Oblivion. Some people get annoyed by that, but for me .. I like a big modding community. Which reminds me, I love that people are still making mods for Diablo 2 (the Phrozenkeep site, PlanetDiablo).

    Hopefully people will agree with you David. There’s too much hating going on in the gaming industry at the moment. Course, not without reason. But maybe Bethsoft will pull this one off and please the craziest fans in the gaming universe.

  8. WickedEEL Says:

    The real question isn’t does it look like a fallout game or does it play like the old fallout games. The real question is, is it going to be a fallout game. I could care less for graphics or if it is first person or third. What I am looking for is a game not only play through once (which is hard enough to find) but a game I’m still talking about, making posts on and above all still playing 10 years from now. And no offense to Bethesda but they haven’t shown me a single game with that kind of staying power. I hope its all the originals were and we will just have to see. And as for me I’ll be waiting for it on midnight of the release date with high hopes and a healthy dose of scepticism.

  9. w Says:

    Oh, “Metroid: Prime = Fallout 3”. Haven’t seen this one before… Hey, how about comparing Fallout fans to the Battlestar: Galactica “In Name Only” crowd while your at it. Jeez, what is this 2006?

    “But it felt like Fallout to me.”

    Good for you, but we – well, most of us – haven’t even seen the game in action, let alone played it. All we have to go on are 100+ previews that say it’s Oblivion with guns and a shitload of developer quotes and screenshots that do little to contradict them.

    Sorry, if you want to sway Fallout fans’ opinions, you’ll have to do a lot better than to give us a list of completely different games made by completely different studios that didn’t really change as much as Fallout 3 has.

    “Although in this case it may help that Jordan Mechner, the Prince’s original creator, apparently consults on the projects.”

    Funny you should mention that… Did you know that Bethesda refused Leonard Boyarski when he offered to consult with them on FO3? Anyway…

  10. flexiblestrategy Says:

    The thing I think you’ll discover when you see Fallout 3 in action is that it is much more of an RPG than people seem to be assuming. As a massive fan of the first two games, I was surprised and delighted at the hands-on presentation I attended. Yes, it’s first person and has some real-time combat (if you choose to play it that way), but that’s almost the only change. Otherwise, they look to have captured everything I loved about the Fallout originals. I am surprised at the savage reaction from fans, I mean, this isn’t Shadowrun we’re talking about here – now THAT was a mistake!

  11. flexiblestrategy Says:

    Oh and just to clarify – my original reply mentioning Diablo 3 was to point out that Blizzard have obviously avoided an outcry by basically delivering the same game all over again, with updated graphics and physics. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I personally was dissappointed that they had an opportunity to do something innovative and chickened out. I’ll still play Diablo 3 – it looks like a good game. But I know Fallout 3 is also going to be a good game – and Bethesda have proved that to me – even though it has brought the game into the 21st Century. 🙂

  12. w Says:

    “but that’s almost the only change.”

    FAR from the only change.

    In no particular order: They’ve removed the text descriptions box, at least 4 of the skills, groin shots, and eye shots. You now pick 1 perk per level and you can speak perfectly even if your INT is less than 4. They’ve added a hacking minigame, a quest compass, radiant ai, a modified version of Oblivion’s level scaling, V.A.T.S. (It’s “a glorified aimed-shot mode”, not the full-fledged combat mode you seem to think it is.), toilets that heal you when you drink from them, a giant mutant that eats dead bodies, a handheld nuke-apult, radiation powers for glowing ghouls, and plate armor and helmets for mutants (who you can’t talk to btw). Also, all the cars are nuclear now and they explode in “miniature nuclear explosions” when you shoot them (even though they’ve been broken for 200 years).

    Did I mention that the Enclave from Fallout 2 now runs a radio station with music and news? They do.

    Now there are quite a few people who think child killing and sex is out as well, but after the list above who gives a shit?

  13. flexiblestrategy Says:

    Half the things you mention in that reply sound fine to me…

  14. WickedEEL Says:

    That doesnt sound fine to me that sounds like a hack fps to me. Those are what set the game apart and with out it, it is nothing but oblivion with guns.

  15. WickedEEL Says:

    if I wanted more oblivion I would have paid for the expansion. I want a real true fallout game I cannot pass full judgement yet because I haven’t even seen it yet let alone played it. But reading the 100 recycled reviews it only seems like Bethesda is sticking to their guns and killing what a real fallout game should be.

  16. flexiblestrategy Says:

    Well I’ve watched someone play it for about 2 hours and David has played it himself for about 4 hours I think, and as fans of the original games we are both confident it is exactly what a Fallout game should be. Have a little faith…

  17. Garfunkel Says:

    Wouldn’t call myself a fan if even after everything W and WickedEEL wrote you still just say “have a little faith”. Sounds more like you are so desperate for a PA-game that anything goes.

  18. acabaca Says:

    “…(snip) toilets that heal you when you drink from them, a giant mutant that eats dead bodies, a handheld nuke-apult, radiation powers for glowing ghouls”

    I don’t get how people who loved the hell out of Fallout 2 can complain about these. They seem positively mundane compared to FO2’s absolutely ridiculous parody of a world, full of talking plants, talking deathclaws, radscorpions that play chess, cartoon mobsters, cartoon boxers, real ghosts etc. etc. Hell, drinking water to gain health seems like something that oughta have been in FO1, what with its emphasis on dehydration in its story.

    Way too much of the hate aimed at FO3 is concerned about trivialities like minor lapses in continuity. The real reasons to hate it, or at this point more like _distrust_ it, get lost in the mix. Let me remind you of some of them:

    – This isn’t a new and untested rookie developer, out to make it big with an old franchise. This is a house that has made half a dozen RPGs or RPG/action hybrids before and they’re reusing the engine from their previous one, so we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect. And what to expect isn’t a game with good writing and rich content, the two main attractions of Fallout 1 and 2.

    – Bethesda is the sort of company who never admits its mistakes, and if you can’t admit them, you’re not going to learn from them either. The game-crippling level-scaling (that effectively removes the whole point of gaining experience and exploring, probably the two main attractions of an RPG) was universally panned in reviews, and unofficial patches to remove it from Oblivion came out almost overnight, yet they never released an official patch to remove it – and they have already said that FO3 will have pretty much the same thing.

    – One of the few things they seem to have kept intact is the hated list-based inventory that requires you to scroll back and forth and, as a new touch, flip through tabs. For fuck’s sake, developers, not using a point-and-click paper-doll inventory where every item is visible at the same time in 2008 should be a capital offense. Dungeon Master did it in 1987, you don’t have an excuse anymore.

    – They have a character-generation screen that shows you _one stat_ at a time. ONE FREAKING STAT. This would be a shockingly stupid stunt for a PD game, let a lone a multi-million dollar megaproject.

  19. JJ Says:

    We can’t anticipate a Fallout game AT ALL from this next installment. The original team, the masters of the series, aren’t even involved, leaving Bethesda to peace their game together from all the leftover scraps they can find. But, why bother? Why bother spending extra time and money making a game authentic and fan-worthy when they’ve already bought the name that guarantees them the sell? I’m not saying this game won’t be fun, but I’m sick and tired of an industry that exploits successful game titles from the past as a way to sell watered-down ‘innovative’ versions of those titles to the ‘gaming community’. If content is the price we pay for better graphics and a more realistic environment, then why are we paying it? I’ll play a crappy looking game with loads of content any day over the next Halo.
    In addition, I don’t appreciate comments geared towards putting a Blizzard game on-par with this flashy $60 shelf space. Perhaps Blizzard is staying committed to the formulas that they’ve had success with. I’m not about to criticize that, because most of the games that have promised unique gameplay have ended up as a grand disappointment. Perhaps Blizzard’s decision to keep Diablo in its familiar environment was a move they made independently of the fans, but that just tells me that they’d rather make a game right the sell a game broken. So I’d rather challenge the industry to provide me with a game that IS genuinely entertaining, that I’ll enjoy finishing, instead of inviting me to pay for their yachts and their manicures.

  20. dragonmaw007 Says:


    “They’ve removed the text descriptions box”

    The best games show and don’t tell. It’s much the same way a book is. If you can show the scene, don’t tell the scene.

    “at least 4 of the skills”

    A lot of the skills in Fallout and Fallout 2 were useless. Sounds like much-needed pruning to me.

    “groin shots, and eye shots.”

    Who cares?

    “You now pick 1 perk per level”

    Different game, different balancing. For all you know, 1 perk per level is the ideal.

    “and you can speak perfectly even if your INT is less than 4”

    I admit this is a little immersion breaking, but understandable. The average game player doesn’t care about that. Keep in mind that this isn’t a game for the slavering fan who likes to murder children in Fallout 2 or comes up with retarded perks, it’s a game for gamers in general.

    “They’ve added a hacking minigame”

    Sounds fine to me.

    “a quest compass”

    The game world is large, sounds fine to me.

    “radiant ai”

    As long as it’s fixed, I don’t care.

    “a modified version of Oblivion’s level scaling”

    Read better next time. They’ve publicly stated that Fallout 3 is not using the level-scaling Oblivion is. If you attack something that is a higher level than you, you WILL get your ass kicked. If you head into territory controlled by them, expect to get your shit ruined.

    “V.A.T.S. (It’s “a glorified aimed-shot mode”, not the full-fledged combat mode you seem to think it is.)”

    Looks fine to me.

    “toilets that heal you when you drink from them”

    And Fallout 2 had the TARDIS appear in random encounters. If anything, this is true to form.

    “a giant mutant that eats dead bodies”

    How is this bad?

    “a handheld nuke-apult”

    A shoulder-mounted rocket launcher is hardly handheld. It’s also a mini-nuke.

    “radiation powers for glowing ghouls”

    Sounds fine to me.

    “and plate armor and helmets for mutants”

    Sounds fine.

    “(who you can’t talk to btw)”

    This s the only thing on your list that bothers me.

    “Also, all the cars are nuclear now and they explode in “miniature nuclear explosions” when you shoot them (even though they’ve been broken for 200 years).”

    Do you know the half-life of uranium? 704 million years for 235, 4 BILLION years for 238. Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 20 thousand years. So after 200 years have passed, I’d definitely say that nuclear-powered cars can still explode violently

  21. […] Tensei-style of Persona and Persona 2. Sometimes the third time is the charm (something that rabid Fallout fans need to take to […]

  22. acabaca Says:

    “The best games show and don’t tell. It’s much the same way a book is. If you can show the scene, don’t tell the scene.”

    This is true on the technical level – but you just cannot show everything. Even if the technology for it exists, they simply don’t have the sort of money needed to hire the thousands of animators and voice actors necessary for demonstrating every little thing audio-visually. At that point, you’re left with two options: either tell, or don’t include it at all, and Bethesda (like so many current developers) chooses to not include it when what I, at least, would greatly prefer is “tell”. Having a vast amount of interesting content in your game is a crucial step on the road towards a satisfying experience.

    The main reason why RPGs of today feel so incredibly shallow compared to RPGs of ten years ago is the lack of text – not because of any inherent intellectual superiority in text descriptions, but because it turns into _lack of content_ due to how prohibitively expensive anything other than text is. Text is a dirt-cheap and very effective way to include content in your game, as evidenced by classics like Torment, Fallout, Baldur’s Gate etc., yet developers of today seem to be almost allergic to it. I have to assume this is some kind of a misplaced attempt to appeal to the younger players, yet I think they are severely underestimating their attention span. The kids read Harry Potter, I’m sure the can handle conversations of moderate length too.

  23. mcclaud Says:

    “Funny you should mention that… Did you know that Bethesda refused Leonard Boyarski when he offered to consult with them on FO3? Anyway…” – w

    You know, after having read the incredibly cross-hatched, self-conflicting, non-consistant Fallout Bible that has more than enough crap in it from Leonard, I wouldn’t want to consult with him, either.

    I’m just going to wait patiently for Fallout 3 and see if it meets my expectations after the fact. If it doesn’t, then I’ll say it isn’t one of the Fallout series. But I’m not about to act like one of the million vocal fantards like the ones over at No Mutants Allowed who constantly complain that if it isn’t 2-D isometric with turn-based action, then it isn’t Fallout, when none of us have even played the game.

    All the complaints I’m reading here and on other sites don’t even turn me off to the game although I bought and played the first Fallout a week after it came out.

    The reason there are a hundred copy-cat reviews of FO3 is because the media has only been allowed to play 10 minutes of a demo meant for E3.

  24. David Wildgoose Says:

    Actually, some media has seen a lot more of the game than a 10-minute E3 demo. My OXM cover story, for example, was based on five hours of hands-on time with the game. Of course, five hours isn’t sufficient to draw any firm conclusions about the game’s quality, but as a Fallout fan I found it very encouraging. Certainly I experienced a lot more of the game than the combat-heavy demos that Bethesda has so far elected to reveal to the public.

  25. mcclaud Says:

    Most of the media articles I saw about FO3 calling it, “Oblivion with Guns,” comes from the small time that some of them had playing the demo at E3 or watching other people play the demo (usually someone on their own staff). Most of those demos are all concentrated on combat, since that’s the largest complaint from the fancrowd.

    My friend at PC Gamer has also played a total of like 2 hours, and said that the conversation trees and the actual NPC animations are way better than they were in Oblivion. And that he got through two quests without firing a shot. Of course, he also MISSED using VATS, which is something I haven’t seen. The designer interviews I’ve seen – especially from E3 – have a staged set of material to show how VATS works everytime with the Bloody Mess perk, so it’s not a really good example of how VATS works. It’s a more dramatical presentation, but not a good example.

  26. David Wildgoose Says:

    Yeah, you can totally miss using VATS, since it takes into account your skills as well as distance and cover, then rolls the dice.

    It’s understandable, I guess, that Bethesda choose the most immediately impressive way of demonstrating the feature though. Imagine if Todd Howard was up on stage at E3: “Hey guys, check out the awesome combat in Fallout 3!” and then missed with all his shots…

  27. Russton Says:

    A lot of you guys are sort of being bitches. I don’t care how you feel about that. In fact, I probably won’t ever check this blog ever again. But, for God’s sake, just TRY the game before you start shitting all over the damn thing. Honestly it looks fine. So, take your dice shaped anal beads outta there and just try the game when it comes out. If you don’t like it, big deal who cares? Just return it (and then go whine about it on the internet, where your opinion matters). If you enjoy it great! You just bought a game that will provide it’s purpose. Entertainment. But until you actually play it you’ve got no place stinking up my bandwidth with your ignorant bitching.

    P.S. Bring on the flames.

  28. David Wildgoose Says:


    No flames from me, as the author of this blog I appreciate your levelheadedness. Keep it up.

  29. What? Says:

    Apparently the true purpose of leaving comments here is to see who can sound the most belligerent, which is too bad. Most of the people who left comments here had a lot to say, for or against the game, and I appreciate seeing what both sides have to say. At the end of the day, however, Russton is completely right. Bethesda doesn’t give a damn about any of this. What is really rewarding for them is the idea that on the release date, all those Russtons line themselves up outside of Best Buy, take the game home, play it for an hour or two, and then put it back on the shelf and wait it out for Fallout 4. In the meantime, Bethesda’s still making a profit, and that’s all that matters, right?

  30. mcclaud Says:

    I knew when I said fantards and mentioned a giant Fallout fansite of old women that they’d eventually come around and try to push people like Russton and me around.

    They try to discourage us from playing a game that they themselves have not played in the hopes that Bethesda will see a red figure at the end of the day and pass on the liscense to someone else who will make the game THEIR way with THEIR ideals from 1991.

    And I actually liked Oblivion. It had some flaws, but it was not so unbearable that I put the game back on my shelf to wait it out for Elder Scrolls VI. And I am not the only one who did that. It seems to me that their argument is based on the console version and not the PC version. I played it on both, and although I enjoyed it on the PC more, it wasn’t horrible. Only people with higher than God expectations say it was worse than average.

    Problem is with all video game sequels is that there is never a TRUE sequel to any video game released. All the fans have their shining vision of what the game’s sequel is supposed to be, which will never get made. Or it will get fan made, and chances are that only a tenth of the people who played the official liscensed sequel under the product name will play the fan sequels. And this makes them mad enough to take it out on everyone else who has hope that something will be good.

    Sorry to rant, but wow. I’m sick of the doom and gloom schtick of the overly zealous fanbases lately.

  31. […] reservations (Super mutants can’t talk.  What?), but I’m not badmouthing the game for completely retarded reasons.  It is for this reason that I give the middle finger to all hardcore Fallout fans.  Fuck you […]

  32. dragonmaw007 Says:


    The best games are subtle in both presentation and “telling”. If you play it and get a deluge of information, the story isn’t being told professionally. I realize that (some) older RPGs have better stories, but there’s a lot of things in them that were either redundant. They’d describe something I could see just fine. The dialogue (especially in Baldur’s Gate) was stilted and melodramatic.

    The best balance is between the complete information overload of old RPGs and the lack of description of (certain) modern RPGs. I think that the closest to this balance is Morrowind, actually, thanks to the journal and wide array of information you can glean from inhabitants that was stored in the journal. I guess it could be described as the Civlopedia from Civilization: the information is there, but it doesn’t force itself upon you.

    And games like Mass Effect seem to be doing fine without long text descriptions.

  33. David Wildgoose Says:

    @ dragonmaw007

    Not to mention Mass Effect does have a very comprehensive journal system in its Codex. It’s invaluable for those players who want to gain a greater understanding of the world.

  34. dragonmaw007 Says:

    @ David

    Absolutely. This is why I love Morrowind and Mass Effect and various other games that incorporate this journal system. It gives the player a breadth of knowledge, but those interested in just experiencing the game proper don’t have to deal with it.

  35. Adam K Says:

    Okay Wilgoose, lemme clarify a thing or two just about WHY Fallout fans are not thrilled with what bethesda are doing.

    I do think that we all can agree on the fact that a sequel should stay true to the original games, regardless of if they feel an urge to reinvent them or not. If they don’t there is no point in making a sequel other than using the name for fast cash.

    And how do you stay true to the originals? Well, what you need to do, is basically staying true to canon, game mechanics, and the setting of the original games. One needs to design the new game without loosing what the previous ones were aiming for. One of the core design descisions of the original Fallout games was to try to recreate table top RPG games, which is why turn based combat was choosen, as well as a isometric perspective. And let’s be honest, FO3 hardly seems to be a RPG at all, it is more of a shooter with RPG aspects.

    Apart from this, one of the things which really made the Fallout games stand out was the dialogue. You never really knew what you were gonna get, was the ‘right’ choice really the right choice. An example from NMA:
    “Kill Gizmo the meanie – Killian rules with an iron fist. Kill Killian the lawman – Gizmo makes the place prosper.”

    A good example in FO2, when the First Citizen of VC gets rather annoyed with you if you helt Gecko, or if you are non predjudice against mutants and ghouls.

    The is, needless to say, much more than this, and if you can be arsed all views can be found at nma or dac.

    It seems like bethesda are making a decent game. But, and this is a big but, it is NOT a fallout game, which makes it suck, much as a decent adventure game sucks as a FPS, a decent post apoc FPS sucks as a RPG. It isn’t that hard to get, rilly,

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