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News for Friday, October 31, 2008

Posted by Per - at 22:55

Be sure to read Matt Peckham in PC World, 90%.

A workaround of sorts is to dial the difficulty setting up, which makes chipping away at enemy health bars akin to jackhammering slabs of rock into pebbles. This is where the game's super mutants and slobbering bear-things and leering demonic reptiles regularly pound you into blood sausage because they've simply got more time to. You'll have to respond by employing smarter tactics like arm shots to momentarily knock weapons down or leg shots to hobble dogged sprinters and give yourself those precious seconds essential to finish them off. The downside's that battles look a little silly, as adamantine combatants square off just yards apart, taking turns plugging each other with guns that could just as soon pick each others' noses as pulverize heads that explode like grenades inside of cantaloupes.
360 Zine, 80/100:
We're used to games being hard, but at times Fallout 3 is just punishingly unfair. [..] On one occasion we unleashed a volley of miniguns shots into someone's face at point blank range, only for said enemy to brush it off as if we'd just thrown a pea at him.

Oblivion with guns, then? Well, not really. Fallout 3 doesn't really fit such a neat description - indeed, its more traditional RPG elements feel closer to predecessor Morrowind, while its harsh difficulty and the streak of black humour running through it are pure Fallout. On its own terms, it successfully melds many aspects of the old PC games with the first-person perspective and grand scope of Bethesda's most celebrated title to date. Whether or not the two should have been bolted together in the first place is debatable, but this is a fascinating mess - much like the dystopia it portrays, you might say.
Level 99.
While the review probably sounds like it has a very negative tone to it, I should talk about some of the great parts of the gameplay. Easily the best thing about the game is the sheer scope of the world that you are in. Once you leave Vault 101, and get that first look at the Wasteland with DC off in the distance, the size of the game really hits you. I don't know what it was, but I always seemed to gravitate towards where people were in the game, and when you were alone, you felt alone. There were also a ton of moments within my two playthroughs of the game, which made me actually think to kill someone or not, and more so than how it was in Bioshock when you had to save or destroy the little sisters. I knew that taking out that one person may have an impact later on in the game, and I always had to think out things, which was an interesting morale issue with ones self. The choices may be limited in what you can do, but doing things have repercussions, which doesn't happen in some games with similar "choices" you can make.

The voice acting in the game is top notch, with all the main characters and side characters giving their lines perfectly to you, as if you really were the character. You have the occasional person who is alittle to over happy for the character, but it still fits (and boy is it great to shoot them in the face when you don't need them anymore).
Orange, 10/10.
Bringing together excellent combat, complex role playing, a strong story, realistic and compelling characters, humour, fascinating environments, strong atmosphere, graphics and sound, as well as a truly memorable plot and ending is no mean feat. Fallout 3 is a masterwork. You simply must buy this game!
The Sun, 94%.
OK, it certainly follows the tried and tested futuristic shooting path that we've seen many times before.

But it ticks every box along the way with glorious space-age battles, enemies and crucially exhilarating firepower.

And full marks to the person who concocted the VATS system that allows you to see which body parts of your enemy are the weakest before you target them.

It means you can unleash the full force of your armoury and ensure a spectacular kill!

Posted by Per - at 2:19

Paste Magazine, 100.

Fallout 3 is, hands-down, the richest, deepest, most captivating game world I’ve ever explored. You’ll have that same feeling of awe you experienced after reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s appendices at the end of Lord of the Rings. Middle Earth really did exist, if only in the head of a mad artist dreamer from Oxford, England. The world of Fallout 3 must never exist. Consider Bethesda Game Studios the Ghost of Christmas Future.
Forbes Digital Download.
There is almost too much good to be said about Fallout 3. It presents the best sandbox (open-ended, do whatever you want to do) video gaming experience ever.

The voice acting is also superb. More than anything else, it pulls us back into that world. It’s clean, crisp, and straight-faced enough that the series' wry sense of humor shines through.
Scripps News, 5/5.
It would be easy to just say that "Fallout 3" is "Oblivion" set in post-apocalyptic Washington. If you didn't play "Oblivion" (Bethesda's award-winning RPG set in a mythical realm of swords and castles), you missed out on something beautiful. But "Fallout 3" takes this even further and delivers probably the largest explorable game world ever, and it never gets boring.

Publisher: EA Games
The Bitbag, S.
The Fallout series goes back 11yrs. It has always been a highly acclaimed PC title and would continually get better with each new game.

It’s funnier how a year after Bioshock we are seeing something as amazing as Fallout 3. Just when you thought the next generation hit a threshold, Bethesda breaks through it showing us that they have staying power in this business. They initiated us into the next generation with Oblivion and now they have us drooling on our second course. Fallout 3 is a truly engrossing title that will have you stuck in a chair for hours on end. If you are a fan of western RPG’s and want something different, add Fallout 3 to your list.
Only the Games, 5/5.
While in function it’s nothing like those that came before it, Fallout 3 captures the only thing that was fundamental to those beloved isometric masterpieces of the past: a world reborn from apocalyptic ash.

With minds in the right place, detached from primordial mechanics, developer Bethesda isn’t interested in the irrational expectation that the Fallout series will, always and forever, be stuck at an archaic plateau. Through a tersely envisioned world, where people praise undetonated bombs as relics of their creation, where slavers and raiders seek nothing but pain and bloodshed, Fallout 3 touches on every dark and dank place spawned by a desolate existence, but never does it lose touch with hope. Through retaining the essence of Fallout, and presenting it for a new era, the setting resonates as deeply as ever.

The futility as a straight shooter is slightly offset by VATS (Vault Tec Assisted Targeting), which has you queue up individual body parts of enemies for a more efficient, targeted, and cinematic result. But a mix of the two never quite comes to fruition without the right balance or feel.
Strategy Informer, 9.0.
Fallout 3 is a stand-out RPG that offers a heaping amount of replay value and entertainment. The NPCs that fill the world are natural jerks and it makes the experience all the more entertaining as they are humorous and nihilistic. The voice-acting helps take the game to new lengths and the VATS defines how players will think about Fallout 3 long after they complete the title. Fallout 3 is an outrageous game that’s a joyful ride until the closing minutes of the game.
Mirror/Techno Techno Techno, 5/5.
Combat is just as satisfying as exploring too.

News for Thursday, October 30, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:58

An assuring but mostly trod ground post from producer Ashley Cheng.

For Fallout 3’s copy protection on PC, we use the same security model as we did for Oblivion - a simple disc check. We only use SecuRom’s disc check functionality for copy protection. We do NOT limit the number of installs. We do NOT use online authentication or any other SecuROM functionality except for a disc check when you install the game and when you launch the game. We do not install any other programs and we don’t have anything that runs in the background while you’re playing the game.

If you experience issues installing the game, try running setup.exe directly off the disc. That will resolve most compatibility issues.

Posted by Per - at 23:29

Variety.

If the main story's plot twists are sometimes hokey, at least they fit with the '50s nostalgia that guides the design -- emblemized by an ever-cheery mascot. The style is rooted in the naive early days of the nuclear era, when optimism and the fear of annihilation went hand in hand. In "Fallout 3," the American Dream is a charred blueprint survivors are struggling to follow. But hope never dies, and the final stretch of the story includes a Strangelovian display of national power that's spectacular, ironic and heartfelt. The player leaves thinking America might just survive this war, right in time to start some new ones.
360 Gamer, 9/10.
As we’ve mentioned, though, it’s not just your character creation that makes Fallout 3 an incredibly personal experience – the choices you face in the wilderness are every bit as important. On the simplest level, these would be things like where to go and who to talk to but it runs far deeper than that, with some of the things you’ll be asked (or even forced) to do raising moral issues or just being downright wrong. Every choice naturally has repercussions but don’t go expecting to be able to simply pay a fine and wake up outside the jail when you do something wrong as you might in Oblivion. This wasteland makes its own justice and if you get caught robbing or killing the wrong person, you could lose access to an entire settlement, if not lose your life. Townsfolk tend to kick off and band together at the first sniff of trouble so unless your plan is to slay everyone you meet, you need to either play by the rules or keep your dirty deeds as covert as possible.

Another must-have title to make wallets weep and players rejoice, Fallout 3 live up to expectations and only seldom stumbles, even then in expected areas where scale and scope get the better of it slightly. Regardless, it’s an undeniable classic and if you only plan on buying one or two games this winter, we couldn’t name a title that could give you value for money in the way that Fallout manages.
360 Rant Rave blog, 8.75.
Unfortunately, the game suffers from several of the same flaws that plagued Oblivion. The characters sometimes seem to be animated like walking mannequins. Several of them will even stop whatever they are doing and talk to you if you walk up to them, even if you are already talking to someone else. Thus, it’s like trying to listen to two or three people talk at the same time. It can be very difficult. Their path finding is much better in this game, but when they run into each other they still look rather amusing.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:30

Press releas'd.

Fallout 3 Now Available in Europe
Most Anticipated Game of 2008 Hits Retailers

30 October, 2008 (London, UK) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, announced today that Fallout® 3, its award-winning post-apocalyptic video game, is now available online and in retail stores across Europe. The game will be available in the UK and Australia on 31 October. Developed at Bethesda Game Studios – creators of the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® – Fallout 3 is now available on the Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows.

Fallout 3 has captured audiences worldwide with its dark humor, compelling storyline and stunning visuals. The game features one of the most realized game worlds ever created. Set more than 200 years following a nuclear war, you can create any kind of character you want and explore the open wastes of Washington, D.C however you choose. Every minute is a fight for survival as you encounter Super Mutants, Ghouls, Raiders, and other dangers of the Wasteland.

Fallout 3 has already won numerous awards including Best of Show from the official Game Critics Awards at E3 2008 and Eurogamer (UK) and GameSpy (US) awarded the game a perfect 10 out of 10 review score. The game has been featured on more than 100 covers worldwide and continues to receive outstanding review scores including a 10 out of 10 in Official Xbox Magazine (US) and five out of five stars in FHM (UK).

For more information on Fallout 3, visit http://fallout.bethsoft.com and www.prepareforthefuture.com.

About Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda Softworks, part of the ZeniMax Media Inc. family of companies, is a premier developer and worldwide publisher of interactive entertainment software and has produced numerous award-winning titles, most recently with 2006 PC and Xbox 360™ Game of the Year and RPG of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®, and the 2002 PC and Xbox® Game of the Year and RPG of the Year, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind®. Among Bethesda’s more popular franchises are The Elder Scrolls® series and Fallout®, as well as its licensed properties, such as Star Trek®. Its product line spans the sports, racing, RPG, strategy, and action genres. For more information on Bethesda Softworks’ products, visit www.bethsoft.com.

Fallout® 3 © 2008 Bethesda Softworks LLC, a ZeniMax Media company. Bethesda Softworks, Bethesda Game Studios, ZeniMax and related logos are registered trademarks or trademarks of ZeniMax Media Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Fallout, Prepare for the Future and related logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Bethesda Softworks LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other product and company names referenced herein may be trademarks of their respective owners. All Rights Reserved

Posted by Brother None - at 19:03

The 9th inning and the ball's in court. G4 X-Play 5/5.

At long last Fallout 3 has arrived, and the post-nuclear wasteland has never looked better. So to speak. The first two games were by the late, great Black Isle Studios, and built on the setting pioneered by Electronic Arts’ Wasteland in 1985. After publisher Interplay sold the rights to Fallout to Bethesda, makers of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, much controversy arose in the Fallout fanbase. Would Fallout 3 be a worthy sequel? Would it be dumbed down for console players? Would it simply be Oblivion with guns? Thankfully, these fears have proven baseless for the most part.
Big Download Blog.
The biggest issue we have with Fallout 3 is that there doesn't seem to be a massive improvement in terms of Bethesda Softworks previous games. Oblivion was a great game but Fallout 3 almost seems at times to be a total conversion of Oblivion. The AI of the many NPCs in the game seems to react in the same way as those in Oblivion. Many of the quests have a familiar feel. Even the game's introduction, as we mentioned before, has a lot of similarities. This is a quibble, however. Most game developers would be very happy about a game as well designed as Fallout 3 turned out to be.
Spike.
While the majestic dread of the badlands and its topography of secrets is simultaneously charming and intimidating, it’s how you operate that cinches the deal. For the most part, your stats, observations, and resolve will steer the course of events through handy, context-sensitive button presses. Dodging into the shadows turns the “talk” option into “pickpocket,” while mini-games present the challenge of a lock tumbler or secure terminal.
Guardian 5/5.
These are exciting times for fans of role-playing games. Fable II raised the bar and Fallout 3, if anything, lifts it higher. It's the perfect game for those who love the depth and immersion that RPGs provide, but have a phobia of orcs, goblins and the like. It is set in a gloriously devastated Washington DC after a nuclear war has driven people into underground vaults. You're born in Vault 101 and set up your character during a clever accelerated childhood. When your scientist father escapes when you hit 20, you follow him. What ensues is state of the art, featuring an incredibly convoluted storyline, with vast numbers of side-missions, great control over character development, amazing visuals and an unusual but effective shooting system. Moral dilemmas abound. For example, the first location you find is Megaton, a rickety shanty town constructed around an unexploded atomic bomb. Should you defuse the bomb or explode it, obliterating Megaton? This is the perfect credit-crunch game, as it contains vast amounts of gameplay and replay value.
Bright Hub.
The one thing that surprises me about games like Fallout 3 and Oblivion is the capability that each game has of sucking you into the world that the developers have so meticulously created. I've already lost a good amount of time just wandering the vast wasteland in search of optional quests. I can scarcely imagine how many more hours await me. The other interesting thing about this game is that for the first time, Bethesda has really made a conscious effort to define the boundaries of what evil and good are. In Oblivion, you could easily go either way and switch in-between whereas the new "karma" system rewards you for the things you do - whether they be good or bad.
GIN 5/5.
I had agreed to a seemingly simple request, to deliver a letter from a pretty young girl, her blonde hair standing out in the muted tones of the irradiated Megaton settlement. She was worried about her brother and needed the neatly folded note delivered to him at his home, several miles away. Though she seemed pleasant, the barkeep in town, an insidious man whom I trusted only so long as I kept a hand on my trusty 10mm slugthrower, told me she was hounded by a haunting fear that betrayed her calm demeanor. For once, I should have listened to him.

I got mixed up in a plot that involved murder, gang warfare and – if you can believe this – vampires. But I had delivered the damn letter, and had several new scars for my trouble. Now I was just trying to get back to Megaton, that horrible hole that had become my home. That’s when I saw the church. Like the cute blonde, it caught my eye. And like her, it was probably best avoided. But I kept thinking that perhaps things would be different there, that I could find some unreachable solace. Even the whitewashed walls of the steeple were still intact, surely a good sign.
Gaming Nexus A-.
Speaking of quests, you can sometimes find various ways to complete them. An early example is when you try to escape from the Vault. You can go all gung ho and take out any person that gets in your way. I decided to kill the Overseer of the Vault the first time and that really pissed off my friend who incidentally was the daughter of the Overseer. The second time around I snuck around and avoided conflict as much as I could bypassing the Overseer and going straight for the Vault door. My friend this time was a lot more sympathetic towards me and I also had better karma going this route. There was also a part where I helped a citizen of the Vault save his mom from roaches. The first time I played I charged in but I didn't get to her time. He wasn't pretty happy with me after that. The second time I was able to convince him to go in by giving him my baseball bat and he took care of the roaches himself saving his mom. To show his gratification, he gave me his jacket. As you can see by these two examples, you can really get a different experience each time you play the game. I could easily save his mom, kill the Overseer and changed a few other outcomes before leaving the Vault. One great thing about Fallout 3 is you are presented with many choices each with their own set of outcomes and within all the combinations that are available you'll get a different experience many times over. How do I proceed this time knowing what I know from previous games? How can I maximize my chances? What would happen if I do this instead of this? These choices and variations really give you a ton of replay value.
3DJuegos 8.9.
Fallout 3 brings back a legendary saga to the foreground of video games and it does it with remarkable successes. Graphically it is a very powerful title, the ambience is carefully planned, and its size, freedom and scope are its principal highlights. It is as captivating a game in the beginning as easy to forget in the mid term; despite this, we can say that it is a title that is worth trying.
FOX has a video review in which they praise the "biggest innovation", which is the combat, but criticize the unintelligent combat AI, some character animations, getting lost indoors and your map sucking, judging it as "Buy It".

Joystiq has done its traditional Nega-Review. Gathering negative quotes from multiple reviews to cut-n-paste into one article. Probably what you rabid haters would have wanted from the start, huh, you insane bastards?!

Posted by Pope Viper - at 19:00

MTV Multiplayer asked Pete Hines "why call it Fallout 3?" (mostly in the sense that the "3" might not be necessary).

“We do consider it to be part of the series and we are trying to continue the legacy of ‘Fallout 1′ and ‘2′,” explained Hines. “That’s part of it, which is that we wanted to fit in to what’s going on. We didn’t want to suddenly just call it ‘Fallout’ because then it’s like we’re trying to pretend like the first one didn’t [exist].”

The way Hines talked about the subject, you could sense that making Bethesda’s take on “Fallout” as an official third entry raised the stakes for them on a personal level. It drove them to make this a true “Fallout” sequel, not a mere reboot, even if the visuals had changed.

“There’s only one ‘Fallout’ ever. There’s only one ‘Fallout 2,’” said Hines. “Those games will always exist and we didn’t want to do anything that was seen as trying to start over again. Honestly, we never really seriously considered anything else. It’s the next ‘Fallout’ game, that’s what we’re trying to to, both for people who played the original games and people who never have.”
Well, Pete, based on what a lot of folks are saying, you did start over.

Thanks to B5C.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:09

Nothing like a good ol' cup o' joe and some spoilers to start up your day. GameVideos offers footage of all endings of Fallout 3, that is...all 4 endings, for people still confused about the "200+ endings" thing, the main plot offers one of 4 endings (still more than the originals) before moving into the clips.

Here they are for those who finished and would like to see the alternatives, or for those of you not afraid of spoilers: good, coward, bad and corrupt.

Posted by Brother None - at 10:23

The first episode of the Escapist show features video interview with Todd Howard and "exclusive" footage of the game (not sure how that works).

Posted by Brother None - at 7:58

Raven Software's Manveer Heir writes about lessons to be learned from Fallout 1/2 on Gamasutra.

In many games, this would be the end. The poor choice I made in talking to an official in a snide manner would result in the consequence of game over, since the critical information was hiding within.

However, in Fallout, while the consequence of making my life more difficult was apparent, the game wasn't over. There were other sources that had the same information elsewhere. I just had to explore some other cities to find them. I had to find an alternate path. A path that the designers made available, knowing that someone would talk themselves into a pickle inside Vault City.

The game never told me if I talked back to the man in Vault City that I would get the boot. It just did it. I made that choice. I remember clicking the dialog option and thinking to myself “Man, this guy is a little annoying. I'm going to be a smart-ass." Nowadays, many games would broadcast you the consequence of your choice before the choice is made. Give the player all the information up-front, and they can make the right decision.

Posted by Brother None - at 6:19

Aux fontaines les vieux - bardés de références - rebroussent leur enfance. A petits pas pluvieux ils rient de toute une dent pour croquer le silence autour des filles qui dansent a la mort de Fallout. bit-tech.net 9/10.

Fallout 3 is a tough nut to score because, on the one hand we think it’s utterly enthralling and breathtaking, but on the other we can see that it hasn’t been designed with the PC totally in mind and that really holds back the experience. Yes, mods will probably come out to rectify that - but should we be made to rely on modders to correct poor game design?

It’s a shame. Fallout 3 is a game from a company with a strong heritage on the PC from The Elder Scrolls series and Fallout is a recognised and highly regarded PC franchise – but this latest instalment is clearly made with the consoles as the primary platform. It’s just the way the market seems to be heading unfortunately.

Still, interface issues aside, there are a lot of things that Fallout 3 does excellently.
Telegraph 5/5.
To say that Fallout 3 is one of the most anticipated titles of 2008 is something of a gross understatement. The latest installment in this impeccable franchise from Bethesda Softworks has been had fans clamoring for information ever since the developer announced it. Following the promising previews, trailers and gameplay clips viewed by millions online, Fallout 3 arrives creaking under the weight of its own hype.

Well, fans will be happy to know Fallout 3 will probably exceed their expectations while staking a claim to being arguably the best game released in 2008.
GamingHeaven 97/100 Xbox 360, 92/100 PS3.
The main storyline is superb and clearly masses of time was pushed into the development and creation. Without ruining the final impact, the end scenes are so damn impressive I went to replay the entire game before writing this review, just so I could take a different path and see the world and the people within from a different angle. You can lie, kill, cheat, charm, hack and fight your way through a plethora of situations, so the alternative routes are varied.
PSX Extreme 9.6.
Fallout 3 is essentially Oblivion set thousands of years in the future. Instead of having swords, shields, and heavy chain armors, you have guns, reinforced military armor, baseball bats, pipes, and a slew of other modern-day and futuristic weapons. Just like Oblivion, Fallout 3 will also give you the option of choosing between good and evil, or an in-between, so you have the opportunity to approach situations from various angles, and directly affect your future. A Karma system exists in the game that'll affect your encounters with NPCs in positive and negative ways; regular NPCs will often find themselves disgusted with your presence if you've strayed towards the evil side, while raiders are more likely to ally themselves with you. On top of that, comes what Bethesda calls Limitless Freedom. Do you see something off in the distance? Go on and walk to it, because whatever you see in the world you can visit. And in Fallout 3, you'll see a great deal of ruined monuments and structures, all of which you'll be able to gander at.
Demon Coffee Reviews 9.5.
Weapons are certainly not hard to come by in the Wasteland and with enough knowledge you can even make your own. While you don’t have to make any weapons yourself (I myself never actually made one and instead opted to only use what I found) there are bonuses for making your own as you can use what miscellaneous and otherwise useless items in the wasteland into your own personal ammunition. Weapons do degrade overtime and must be repaired over time. I did find this particularly annoying due to the fact that weapons degraded at a much faster rate than they would in real life (then again this game takes place in 2277 and isn’t trying to be realistic by any means) yet it did add a sense of realism that sets it apart from other FPS games.
Associated Press via MSN Entertainment, 4/4.
That said, "Fallout 3" is much too grim and violent for the kids. Bethesda has created a vivid depiction of what America might look like two centuries after the end of civilization, and even hardened gamers are likely to find it quite disturbing. If you have the stomach for it, though, "Fallout 3" is one of the most absorbing and addictive video games in years.
GamePro 5/5.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The first two Fallout titles are classics in their own right but Fallout 3 might just be the best one yet. Heck, it might just be the best console RPG of all time. It's deep, complex and tremendously addictive. From the amazing character development system to the engaging and satisfying combat, Fallout 3 has everything you could want in an RPG experience. Play this game. Seriously. Do it.
Gaming Age B.
My issues with the game lie within the fact that whilst playing it, I wished I were playing something else. I wanted to play Bioshock for its heavy atmosphere and compelling story, or Mass Effect because I finally appreciate the dialog trees and voice acting. In Fallout 3, most of my decisions could be argued for the inconsequential feeling I associated with them. That's never a good thing, so it either means Fallout 3 wasn't my particular cup of tea or that it is actually that boring at times. However, I can appreciate that eventually the game had gotten its hooks in me, although it was mostly due to the fact that since I was reviewing I ended up actually play up through the initial five hours it took before I began to invest myself into the virtual world around me. After that, I managed to find things that interested me, which is at least an honorable mention that the game had redeeming qualities for someone who at first didn't care much for it.

Other decisive factors include the obligatory mention that there are no trophies or custom soundtracks supported within the Playstation 3 version. But if you really care then it shouldn't be a big deal, ya wimps.
BigPond GameArena 95.
Enemy levels in the game remain consistent within certain areas - so if you stumble across... say a town full of Fire Ants which routinely whoop your butt at level two when you return at level 10 they won't be any issue. You start to feel like a real hero - while at the same time ever watchful of your surroundings. You can still explore at early levels, you just have to be careful. I got wind of the Brotherhood of Steel (one of the military-like factions in the game) base "The Citadel" being located on the remains of The Pentagon (the game is set in the ruins of Washington D.C.) so I used Google Maps on my PC to get a map of the city, located The Pentagon and travelled there in-game. Low-and-behold there's The Citadel. When I arrived I promptly found out I wasn't allowed in, and I was sent off into the Wasteland. Where a Supermutant Master annihilated me.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:32

So turns out Bethesda's statement about Fallout 3 & DRM was somewhat less than accurate, ReclaimYourGame running the following story:

Earlier this month, Bethesda Softworks promised us that Fallout 3 would have no invasive DRM scheme, and that they would go for the 'mildest form possible'. These are nothing but broken promises! In fact, Fallout 3 is shipping with SecuROM 7! Someone already got bitten by it, with a known SecuROM error: Conflict with Emulation Software detected. Now, we all know what that means! Non-invasive DRM? Of course not, Bethesda. We had hope, only for it to be a let-down. Also, Fallout 3 comes with SecuROM 7.36.0006. In short, Bethesda has betrayed us!

Other links worth a peruse:
How Bethesda treat people with SecuROM problems — it's outrageous. Bethesda don't know anything about the DRM they use.
Bethesda's quick fix for people with problems.
SecuROM has released a patch for people who run into problems.

Spotted on Blue's News.

News for Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:20

Consider it unconfirmed, but from GI.

"At the moment we've got Fallout 3 for this year and potentially there's a new Elder Scrolls title in 2010," said Oughton.
Slip of the tongue from Oughton, but if it's true it is of interest to us because it means TES V has probably been in production for some time now and might well use GameBryo again - 2 years being a relatively short cycle for Bethesda. Also, hopefully it means no Fallout 4 before that time.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:34

Some interesting peripheral matters on Fallout 3 reviews. First, Pete Hines talking to Edge Online about being nervous about reviews.

"We're never really sure how these [reviews] will turn out," Bethesda PR boss Pete Hines told Edge in an e-mail. "So in general, we're always nervous/anxious.

"Obviously, we had some early indications from folks that played the game first for print magazines here and in Europe. The 10 out of 10 from Official Xbox Magazine here in the U.S. gave us an indication that at least somebody really liked it.
Of more interest, Neocrisis noticed the PS3 review from IGN has been edited to remove harsh judgements on the PS3 version of the game (thanks Kotaku).
Before: "Fallout 3 is such an engaging and fantastic experience that it's easy to overlook its few minor flaws, but they do exist and should be mentioned. With any game of this size and scope, you can likely expect a few bugs to slip through the testing process and that is the case here. I had the game crash a couple times. I, and other editors at IGN, have also experienced an annoying number of bugs on the PS3 version that have prevented the game from progressing or have broken the world. In all of these cases, reloading the game has been enough to fix the errors and nothing was frustrating or detrimental enough to give me thought of not recommending the game. However, there is one major issue with the PS3 version that can't be fixed with a reset. Every time anybody on your friends list signs on or sends you a message (or any time you receive any network notification), the game freezes and the screen blurs for a few seconds. If you have a lot of friends signing on and off all day, this will completely ruin the game. The only way to circumvent this is to either play offline or turn off notifications entirely."

After: "Fallout 3 is such an engaging and fantastic experience that it's easy to overlook its few minor flaws, but they do exist and should be mentioned. With any game of this size and scope, you can likely expect a few bugs to slip through the testing process and that is the case here. I had the game crash a couple times, amongst other small bugs. In all of these cases, reloading the game has been enough to fix the errors and nothing was frustrating or detrimental enough to make me not recommend the game."

Posted by Brother None - at 22:31

Hold your breath, here we go. GameSpot 9.0. (PS3 version gets 8.5 because of "visual blemishes".)

Although some of that trademark Bethesda brittleness hangs in the air, the mature dialogue (it's a bit unnerving but wholly authentic the first time you hear 8-year-olds muttering expletives) and pockets of backstory make for a compelling trek. There are more tidbits than you could possibly discover on a single play-through. For example, a skill perk (more on these later) will enable you to extract information from a lady of the evening, information that in turn sheds new light on a few characters--and lets you complete a story quest in an unexpected way. A mission to find a self-realized android may initiate a fascinating look at a futuristic Underground Railroad, but a little side gossiping might let you lie your way to quest completion. There aren't as many quests as you may expect, but their complexity can be astonishing. Just be sure to explore them fully before pushing the story forward: Once it ends, the game is over, which means that you'll need to revert to an earlier saved game if you intend to explore once you finishe the main quest.
GameTrailers 9.4.
The other side of VATS is that while it slows down time, enemies can still be mauling or shooting you, albeit in slow-mo. So, shoot from the hip, or rely on VATS, either way is balanced, and you’ll be switching between the two to keep things from getting stale. Just get one thing straight, though all the footage released up to launch looked otherwise, this isn’t a first-person shooter. You won’t be circle strafing. It’s more like a gentleman’s duel--a bloody gentleman’s duel.
Gamerevolution A.
And even if you ignore everything I’ve written so far, do yourself a favor: listen to Galaxy News Radio. Even if you think DJ Three Dog is a liberal heretic and think The Brotherhood of Steel are some overzealous paladins with an itchy trigger finger, it’s the only radio station that’s worth a damn. Go ahead and tune into the Enclave station if you want, but for those who live in reality and not in some preachy, patriotic, apple-pie paradise, the music alone is all you need. There’s nothing like decapitating a couple of smack-talking Super Mutants to the smooth voice of Billie Holiday – it’s the kind of scene cigarettes were made for. Three Dog will even throw in some rumors for you explorer-types and give a shout-out to your exploits. It’s called recognition and respect. So yes, please, holla’ at your dog.
AtomicGamer 96%.
Sure, the game has some pretty obvious flaws and issues. The character animations aren't quite up to par for today's standards, the game focuses more on combat than previous games in the series, and both enemy and friendly AI is a little strange (but few games even bother to try to do AI "right"). Considering the number of little issues with Oblivion and how well-received that game was, though - and just how many of those Oblivion issues were avoided or fixed here in Fallout 3 - I can't help but come to the same conclusion. Sure, this game isn't perfect, but its strengths far overpower its weaknesses. From its sweeping, epic score to its ridiculously gory and amusing death scenes and on to the many thought-provoking moments of what life could be like after a nuclear detonation on US soil, this game holds sacred all that is great about RPGs while delivering that action-based punch that keeps you coming back. I just can't find a good reason not to recommend Fallout 3 to any serious gamer out there.
Gamers With Jobs.
Because VATS is so satisfying, I’ve rarely played Fallout 3 like a typical shooter. In VATS mode, it’s easy to spend your action points on tapping a couple shots to the enemy's head, then to his arm to make him drop his weapon, and then to his legs to slow him down. I’ve even shot a primed grenade in a super mutant’s hand, which blew him up in a volcanic explosion of limbs and blood. There’s plenty of time to appreciate the carnage as the camera swings around and cuts to different angles as your choice shots play out in slow motion. I’ve killed hundreds of enemies this way. It never gets old.
Ars Technica (thanks tfp).
Nonetheless, like every other RPG lover out there, I have been anticipating the release of Fallout 3 since Bethesda first announced it was working on the title back in 2004. Poised to use gameplay elements and upgraded technology from Oblivion, including Gamebryo, Havok, and Speedtree, I could not help but wonder if the team would alter some of the maddening game play elements I felt hindered Oblivion’s experience. Previously, enemy skill levels automatically adjusted to match the player, destroying the player's ability to overpower enemies who once proved difficult. Or how about enemies repopulating dungeons that were cleared out during a prior quest? I felt Oblivion pleading with me to paint all over its huge canvas, but despite my effort, it would inexplicably wipe my work clean. I want to exist in the world in a way that makes more sense, and that's what I was hoping for from Fallout 3.

The only thing more pronounced than the hand-wringing over this title was the hope that it would actually live up to its name. We're happy to report that the humor, violence, and open-ended nature of the original games arrived intact. While most $60 games only last eight hours or less, we put 50 hours into the game before writing this review. Come with us to see what we found.
Game|Life 8/10.
And then it dawned on me: Nothing in Fallout 3 is funny.

Certainly, you'd expect a post-apocalyptic wasteland to be depressingly bleak. But what the first two Fallout titles did so well was to show that even in the darkest of times, the irreverent human spirit remains. Interplay was very good at crafting a number of fun in-jokes and meta-references — the encounter with Dr. Who's TARDIS, for instance — that elevated the series above the average RPG.

Fallout 3, by comparison, is much darker. In the first hour of gameplay I encountered no less than three drug addicts -- not including my own character, who picked up a nasty Jet addiction. As if to drive the darker theme home, Bethesda even included a side quest where you're given the option of becoming a vampire. This kind of thing is quickly becoming a trademark of the publisher's titles, but in a futuristic world it seems out of place.

Fallout 3's story isn't bad. Actually, it's incredibly deep and nuanced, and stands up against any recent RPG's. But it just isn't as good as those of past Fallout games. It's not enough of a flaw to deduct points from the game's score, but longtime fans should be aware of the issue.
GameZone 9.4.
The story of Fallout 3 isn’t as epic as I first imagined, but it’s at least satisfying when you get deep into the title. Players will experience a heaping amount of choices they’ll have to make and several of them surround the life or death of an NPC. You see, Capital Wasteland isn’t a cheerful place to live – everybody hates everybody. This dog-eat-dog world is all about survival and the only person anyone cares about is themselves. So NPCs will provide you secrets and insights about other people to better their own lives. Whether it’s a henchman of a bar owner telling you how to steal his money and kill him or a bigot giving you information on where to find a party of ghouls to murder, Fallout 3 is an a extreme world that doesn’t like to take “no” for an answer. Within the first few hours of gameplay, you’ll learn that the best way to play Fallout 3 is to play as the anti-hero (i.e. Wolverine, Gambit, and The Punisher) who is only needs to look out for number one (a.k.a. yourself).
HEXUS 8/10.
Primarily though, the characters lack, for want of a better word, character and the desolate brown coloured wasteland never feels that exciting to explore.

It’s easy to play Fallout 3 with Oblivion in the back of your mind, but if you do that, you’ll regret it. It simply doesn’t live up to its impeccable standards of gameplay and presentation. Still, if you can get past the first couple of hours of slow gameplay, you’ll still spend hour upon hour exploring the vast wastelands, enjoying the new combat mechanic and collecting anything and everything you can lay your grubby hands on.
Platform Nation .
Fallout 3 does not really have too many flaws which hurt the game. In fact, I would almost say that this game is almost perfect, almost. The biggest negative think about Fallout is the amount of time that you will have to put into the game, but you can not really fault Fallout for this as it is a RPG, and an amazing RPG at that. For myself, I accrued a little over 20 hours of gameplay to finish the main story and only a couple of the many side quests. For the casual market this will be an issue, that and the complexity of the game. Flaws are just not something that I noticed in Fallout. I had a single game freeze, the load times were on par with most other games. My only real complaint is the lack of a flashlight. At times it would be hard to see and the only thing I could do was to raise the in-game brightness . As you can see, I am reaching for a complaint as there are few with this game.
Total Video Games 9/10.
The Karma system however is perhaps an area of contention for long-standing fans of the series. Adding or deducting points based on your good or evil acts the setup is a little too clinical for its own good. It’s all too easy to change your alignment as and when you need (purified water to beggars or stealing), and whilst we can understand Bethesda not wanting players to become too restricted by one or two choices, the setup may be a little too 'black and white' for fans of Fallout. Morality is a grey area in reality and it would have been more satisfying to see things a little more muddied up instead of the calculated approach that Fallout 3 adopts whilst adding some weight to your decisions wouldn't have gone amiss – Megaton aside.
Crispy Gamer.
A lot of the gameplay involves picking your way through the sad leftovers of civilization, looking for things you can use. Ammo, raw meat, liquor. Cigarettes and sensor modules to trade for gun repairs. That one guy said he wanted Sugar Bombs. Oh, and you need a pilot light from a stove to make a flamethrower. Wasn't there an old stove in that diner shell to the northwest? It's a hardscrabble existence. Inflation might kick in by the end for power gamers, but otherwise, it's a delicate barter economy struggling its way into currency, using bottle caps as money to even out the trades.
Kotaku.
With Fallout 3, Bethesda hasn't so much created a game as they have created a living, breathing slice of post-apocalyptic America for you to survive in. Much like a Vault dweller taking his first steps into the sunlight, it's easy to be initially overwhelmed by the sheer size and scope of the game, but once you learn the ins and out of life in what's left of the Washington DC area, you'll find that you aren't so much playing the game as you are living it. While it only took me thirteen hours or so to complete the main storyline from start to finish, that's not the way to experience Fallout 3. Be prepared to invest a large amount of time and you'll be rewarded accordingly.

Posted by Pope Viper - at 3:45

To “celebrate” the release of Fallout 3, the staff of No Mutants Allowed is proud to announce our "Caption Contest". Since every site seems to be running Bethesda funded contests, we needed to keep up! The goal is that you come up with a clever and witty caption for a screenshot of your choice from Fallout 3. The screenshot may either be taken by yourself, or found on the web, but may not be edited in any way. The slogan however needs to be your own (in case of doubt, you'll be disqualified). A maximum of three (3) entries will be allowed per participant, only members (new and old alike) are eligible. The winner will be selected by our highly qualified staff after meticulous scrutiny of all entries (gauged by how much their jaw hurts from laughing out loud). The entries have to be mailed to contest@nma-fallout.com or posted in this news thread before the 14th of November. The winner's entry (and the most meritorious runners-up) will be published a few days later in the following weekend.

But what will the winner get in return you ask? This lovely sky blue article of clothing has been used to demonstrate the exact feelings that NMA, and the many loyal fans have towards the newest spawn of the already much abused Fallout franchise.

This Vault 101 shirt is an authentic Fallout 3 shirt as provided by Bethesda (though not for the purpose of this contest) to one of our reporters during the sneak-preview at the Games Convention in Leipzig last year, and has been lovingly stored up til now. Today however, it has been ventilated in a random pattern by a Colt 10mm Auto by said reporter, expending 13 rounds in memory of Fallout 1, and another 13 rounds for Fallout 2. No Bethesda staff were hurt during this incident (as NMA staff harbors no ill will towards them) and the reporter in question let us know that he felt a certain feeling of release and closure as he riddled the Vault attire with bullets.

The winner of the contest will receive this tastefully and expertfully customized item, personally autographed by as many members of the NMA team as we can muster!

Here are some shots (pun intended) of the prize.


So get those creative juices flowing!

This contest is now closed

Posted by Brother None - at 1:26

The final chapter on the writing of the prima game guide explains the end of the guide contains fascinating stuff like Todd's favourite armor, blablabla whatever, but this picture does catch the eye:


Wah-huh? Real power armor?

Posted by Brother None - at 1:22

Press release.

Fans Celebrate Launch of Fallout 3 at Midnight Sales Events

Thousands of fans jammed stores to purchase one of the most anticipated videogames of the fall, Fallout 3, at midnight launch events across the country last evening. At the Best Buy in Rockville, MD, which is located near Bethesda Game Studios, members of the development team, along with Lynda Carter, actress and wife of ZeniMax Media CEO Robert Altman, were on-hand to celebrate with hundreds of fans who lined up in the rain as early as 1:00pm and came as far as North Carolina to buy the game and meet the developers.

Fallout 3 is now available in stores and online in North America and will be released in Europe and Australia on October 30 and in the UK on October 31. Developed at Bethesda Game Studios – creators of the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® – Fallout 3 is available on the Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION 3(TM) computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows.

Fallout 3 features one of the most realized game worlds ever created. Set more than 200 years following a nuclear war, you can create any kind of character you want and explore the open wastes of Washington, D.C. however you choose. Every minute is a fight for survival as you encounter Super Mutants, Ghouls, Raiders, and other dangers of the Wasteland.

Hailed as one of the most anticipated games for 2008, Fallout 3 has already won numerous awards including Best of Show from the official Game Critics Awards at E3 2008 and a perfect 10 out of 10 from Official Xbox Magazine. The game also scored perfect marks from Gamespy.com who awarded the game a 5 out of 5, Eurogamer.com who gave the game a 10 out 10 and the Associated Press who rated the game a 4 out of 4.

Fallout® 3 has been rated Mature by the ESRB. For more information on Fallout 3, visit www.BestBuy.com/Fallout3, http://fallout.bethsoft.com and www.prepareforthefuture.com.

About Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda Softworks, part of the ZeniMax Media Inc. family of companies, is a premier developer and worldwide publisher of interactive entertainment software and has produced numerous award-winning titles, most recently with 2006 PC and Xbox 360™ Game of the Year and RPG of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®, and the 2002 PC and Xbox® Game of the Year and RPG of the Year, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind®. Among Bethesda’s more popular franchises are The Elder Scrolls® series and Fallout®, as well as its licensed properties, such as Star Trek®. Its product line spans the sports, racing, RPG, strategy, and action genres. For more information on Bethesda Softworks’ products, visit www.bethsoft.com.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:56

Round 6, fight! ActionTrip 8.7.

However, this begs the question whether or not Fallout 3 walks straight into the same trap as Oblivion. To anyone who played Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion this should be a familiar symptom. Playing Oblivion is simply breathtaking in the first few hours, but soon enough players realize there are tons of generic-looking Oblivion gates to go through and the story takes too damn long to get going. Now, whatever Bethesda did this time around, they sure as hell managed to tone down on such aspects in Fallout 3. The story is well-structured, though a bit short if you minimize exploration and stick with the main quests. At any rate, while there are plenty of indoor sections that look similar, it all felt far less generic than the countless Oblivion gates in ES IV.

Now for the bad news. Although Fallout 3 works at a rock-solid frame-rate, the game isn't technically flawless. Sadly, occasionally quirky AI behavior caused certain enemies to jam between rock formations or objects that got in the way of their movement. That's not all. Companions assigned to head into combat with you tend to get lost, confused and often fall behind while you're out there doing all the hard work. One time a friendly character couldn't make a simple jump to reach lower ground. Instead he took the long way around and... pretty soon a message appeared on the screen, explaining he plunged to his death (WTF? How? Where? Dumb ass!). Other technical issues surfaced. Frequent glitches were noted when my character aimed with VATS while behind cover. When pausing the combat, my character had a clear shot at his target and yet when firing, the bullet never reached the enemy. Well, apparently it was supposed to hit the cover, but it was blocked by thin air instead (???).
GamerEncounter 5 (out of 5 I guess; warning, unreadable site design).
But it's best not to get too hung up on the intricacies of gunslinging. It's the world of Fallout that sticks in your mind when you turn off the game. The Atomic Age educational film iconography and paranoia-humor (see also: BioShock). Your first step into the big world, that seminal Oblivion moment when your irises adjust to the glare and you look out to the horizon and understand that you can go there, or there, or over there. And especially the quests, which sometimes push against the "that's just too f***ed up; I'm not doing that" boundary and can shock and surprise you with unexpected or uncomfortable outcomes.
Xbox Evolved 9/10.
Those of you that have played the previous titles in the series before Bethesda Softworks took the reins will be happy to know that there are plenty of elements and nods to the old series. The Brotherhood of Steel, a band of men and women that are on a mission to restore stability by peaceful means will pop-up in your adventure. Plus, there are a lot of mentions and hints at how previous events in the Fallout universe have affected Fallout 3. The weird retro-pop 50’s pop art is there also, with illustrations showing what to do in case of a Fallout, and helping to convey the dark humor that the dialogue and gameplay is completely soaked with. By talking to non-playable characters (NPCs), you will notice that more than one voice actor does the work for most of the characters. Nevertheless, all the voice acting is done very well, and there is still much more variety than there was in Bethesda’s Oblivion. Talking to them isn’t particularly engaging though, and it is a shame the developers didn’t try to expand on the dialogue systems that were created in Oblivion. The audio is wrapped up with an incredible and varying soundtrack with the brash title theme as a basis for a great soundtrack that revs up during battle, and accompanies you well along your journey. Of course if you don’t like the orchestrated pieces, you can always listen to some of the old 40’s music, with each track kind of summing up a different part of the game, despite being real tracks from the likes of Billy Holiday.
About.com Computer Action Games 5/5.
As with most role-playing games, Fallout 3 has a system for earning experience and leveling up. Upon leveling up, characters are awarded skill points and perks. Skill points are used to increase your ability to perform certain tasks. Hacking into a computer will require a good Science skill, while picking the lock on a door will requie a high skill level in lockpicking. Simliar to skills, perks are earnd with each level advancement and give you more options for character development such as enhancing ability scores, skills groups, combat situations and many more. How you assign your skills, perks and develop your character is entirely up to you. In addition Fallout 3 allows for NPCs, enabling you to have a party of up to three characters.
PSM3 UK's review is now available online, 9/10.
Fallout’s genius is that there’s so much to see, do and discover, and it’s rare you’ll find a character who doesn’t have a quest or directions to a new location. The game buckles under the weight of its own ambition in some of the epic scenes at the end, but wandering the wastes, finding new towns and getting involved in the world’s politics is a thrill. The role-playing isn’t as far-reaching as Oblivion and as an FPS it’s merely above average, but there are almost no other shooters of recent memory as deeply imaginative and rewarding. Only BioShock offers such a consistent, well-designed world.
Dutch site insidegamer.nl praises every part of the game, only naming "Oblivion mistakes" as a drawback and giving it a 10- (thanks Dutch Ghost).
Thankfully, the levelling system is different than Oblivion's. In that game, I used the first six hours of my gaming time lockpicking every door and stealing all kinds of possessions, with the consequence that I went up levels when I went to sleep. I was a master thief, but the moment I went into the wide world I would be killed in an instant. In Fallout 3 they chose a more traditional experience-system. With everything you do (from successfully opening locked doors to killing enemies) you gain experience points. When you have enough, you'll go up a level and be offered the possibility to invest a number of skill points into your skills. There's about twenty, giving everyone the possibility to create their own character. I am someone with a high skill in lockpicking, gifted in convincing people and master of melee and energy-weapons. I don't really understand anything about computers or small guns and thus I play differently than if I were a sneaky whizzkid.
UGO Games Blog A+.
Visually Fallout 3 looks leaps and bounds more interesting than Oblivion did. The character models are much more believable and you’ll find very few clones in the Wasteland. Generally the wastes look pretty consistent (nuclear bombs tend to give the world a pretty consistent coat of paint), but once you go underground you’ll definitely see more variety. Burned out buildings and pristine bunkers make each new map a big unknown, and you’ll really enjoy digging in to whatever dwellings you come across. The art design, on the whole, seems to nail a post-nuclear 1950s (even though the game is set in the 2200s) and Fallout fans could hardly complain that the game doesn’t do the series justice.

Posted by Per - at 0:04

Eurogamer has a three-page retrospective that paints the previous games in a rosy light. Scott Bennie speaks a little.

Practically nobody bought the Fallout games. Lifetime sales in the UK, for instance, barely topped 50,000 units for the pair of them. Commercially, they were utterly disastrous. But if you can find one person who did play them and talks about them with anything other than near-rabid devotion, it'd be quite a feat. Few games inspire such passion, but embarking upon a search for its source, it's difficult to find anything that's not worth loving about Fallout. From the unrelentingly bleak, darkly ironic tone to the novelty of the open-world, post-apocalyptic setting, from the inspired, cerebral turn-based combat system to the immense degree of variety and personality in the character-customisation, the superbly-written quests and characters and the gallows humour that underpins the games without lessening their emotional impact, even the well-placed, gritty violence; there's very little about the games that doesn't command as much respect now as they did a decade ago.
Wow, they must be great games! If only they were on sale somewhere, somehow. [/whorery]

News for Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:18

Yeah, this one is out there, isn't it? But with Fallout 3 hitting us all smack-dab in the face, it's important to remind our influx of readers that this is - in fact - a sequel, and the originals are pretty good. And this one is also for the golden oldies amongst you who lost or scratched up your Fallout discs.

Good Old Games has moved from closed to open beta (read: launched) and anyone is now free to sign up and purchase the classic games they've made available.

NMA is taking this unique opportunity to work with Good Old Games in promoting Fallout to the masses and the elites, and will be running a some ads for Fallout 1, 2 and even Tactics, each available DRM-free with a fixed-up installation procedure for XP/Vista at 5.99 USD.
Apologies if the banners bother you a bit. And we remind everyone: Fallout 1/2/Tactics are being sold by Interplay, not Bethesda.

Posted by Per - at 19:37

Voodoo Extreme flesh out their new screenshots with an opinion piece and several videos.

GameTrailers put up three new HD videos showing ants, a Megaton rampage and some other stuff.

IGN has a bunch of videos including a gushing video review.

And while we're talking videos, the first bug videos à la Oblivion have started to appear on YouTube and elsewhere. You can find a few here, here and here, but expect spoilers.

Thanks to Dr.Oblivious, Kashrlyyk, Ureshi and Malcolm_x.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:32

Trying to keep these going in an orderly manner. IncGamers 8.3.

VATS has two problems. The first is that its stats-based nature makes it quite possible to miss with a point-blank shotgun blast, which looks faintly ridiculous. The second is that your Action Points quickly run out after a few shots. You are therefore forced to use the real-time shooting while they recharge, which is twitchy, inaccurate, and subject to the same stats-crunching as the VATS percentages. Missing when you see the aiming reticule directly over an enemy’s head is even more annoying than a nailed-on 95% VATS flub. Unfortunately, as soon as Bethesda decided that real-time shooting was in, it chose to go up against the likes of Call of Duty and Halo, and Fallout 3’s attempt at FPS combat is markedly inferior.
The Escapist.
Bottom Line:After the apocalypse, only the strong will survive. Fallout 3 gives us a glimpse of whether we'd really want to. It is, by turns, hilarious, enthralling, and downright terrifying. And it's easily one of the best games I've played all year.

Recommendation: If you like role-playing games, the post-apocalyptic genre or both, then this game is a must-own. For those unfamiliar with either, I can't recommend it. It's far more user-friendly than the originals, but still not for casual players.
WorthPlaying 9.5.
The audio aspect of Fallout 3 is a bit mixed. The actual sound work is fine and lends some rather impressive atmosphere to a few areas. As for the voice acting, some of the actors are fine, but others are heartless and awful. Thankfully, the important voices tend to be quite good, with noted actor Liam Neeson headlining the bunch as your character's father. The use of music is really quite interesting, with many of the '50s-style throwback tunes emanating from portable radios or other music sources. You can even use your Pipboy 3000 as a radio to listen to the various ham radio stations being broadcast around the wasteland.
CVG Xbox World 360 9.3/10.
To arms then. For starters, Fallout 3's Capital Wasteland is a considerably smaller, albeit denser, environment than Cyrodiil. As for the main quest itself, we're talking proper short - in head-down slogging mode we caned it within a paltry nine hours. It gets worse - unlike Oblivion, once finished the game ENDS FOR GOOD - a real step backwards in our humble opinion. Worse still, it's not until the closing stages that you're really gripped by the seismic events overtaking DC. We know perfectly well that that's not the way you're meant to play the game, but we'd be lying if we said we weren't ever so slightly disappointed. Worse still, we're totally mystified as to the complete lack of any guild-style quests in the game - especially when the various factions (Brotherhood of Steel, Enclave, Raiders, Slavers) surely offered every bit as much questing potential as Cyrodiil's Thieves, Mages and Fighters' guilds.
Joystiq (thanks Jabu).
Considering my satisfaction with the new combat and beautifully detailed wasteland, imagine my surprise to find that (despite a completely ingenious opening half-hour) the first few hours of the post-apocalyptic adventure left me just the slightest bit cold.

It's not a result, as you may suspect, of trying to stretch the Fallout skin over the Oblivion skeleton. By lifting some of Fallout's core systems and aesthetic cues, this current-gen entry does an admirable job of capturing the spirit of the series. Honestly, if you're still wishing for an isometric, third-person view by the end, you're just being contrary.

No, the problems didn't come in the merging of setting and engine, they're the problems that Oblivion already had and the baggage that Fallout 3 is still saddled with.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:58

This is what happens when you lift an embargo. GamingTrend 9.5/10.

First person shooters are routinely the strength of the PC platform. There is no substitution for the mouse and keyboard interface, but as controllers have gotten more accurate, this advantage gap has certainly lessened. Fallout 3, at its base, looks like a first person shooter, but it really isn’t as simple as that. The turn based nature of the Fallout series meant that Bethesda Softworks had to build some sort of turn based system or they could lose the entirety of the old school Fallout fans. To that end, they have integrated something called the Vault Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S. for short. The V.A.T.S. system is essentially the body part targeting system present in the previous titles, with a few differences. No longer can you target the groin or eyes, so you won’t be able to complete the entire game using eye shots and the BB gun. There are often specialized areas such as the combat inhibitor on robots, or the antennae on giant ants, but the face is your primary target for the vast majority of the game. When you start creating your own ambushes using landmines, you might switch that up to tear off the legs of your incoming enemies. I can certainly say that the V.A.T.S. system is not a get out jail free card, and once you start engaging multiple enemies you’ll find out why. You can split your attacks between multiple opponents, or different body parts, but once those action points are used, you’ll have to wait until they regenerate over time. You can use items to instantly regenerate your AP, but many of them have negative effects including radiation, or worse yet, addiction.
GameDaily 8/10.
Fallout 3 wasn't created as a firstperson shooter so V.A.T.S. is a balanced way to solve the game's lack of shooting accuracy. Most of the time, it's a great tool for eliminating threats but shooter fans may find the lack of accuracy frustrating at times -- especially when your character misses near point blank shots. V.A.T.S. also has an issue with your player is near corners or if there's an obstruction between you and the target -- when it indicates that you're likely to hit it, your character pops up and wastes ammo by shooting a rock, wall or other item. The other problem with V.A.T.S. is that weapon damage is listed as number values during combat; your target's health is represented by a list of red numberless lines. Unfortunately, with a limited amount of creatures in the Wasteland, the only real challenges are found when Super Mutants sport better weapons or several mole rats attack at once.
Planet Xbox 360 9.8/10.
Creating “Oblivion with guns” was no easy task. The developers answer to all the problems created was the innovate V.A.T.S. (Vaultek Assisted Targeting System, a way to have turn-based battles without the boredom. Basically Fallout 3 can be played through the entire game using only the first-person shooter style of gameplay, or by using V.A.T.S. players can really experience the game for everything it is. By clicking the RB button the game will freeze, zooming the camera in on your nearest enemy. Next you must choose what specific part of the body to target, each region being represented with a percentage of successful attack. The amount of times you can use V.A.T.S. is not unlimited and must be recharged before use in battle again.
VideoGamer 9/10.
These instances of Bethesda dropping the ball are certainly irritating, but the truth is that they will only really hurt hardcore Fallout fans. The use of the word "only" in that last sentence will probably put a few noses out of joint, but it's true: most people who play this won't care a bit - because they never played the original games in the first place. That will be of scant consolation to those of you unhappy with the direction Bethesda has taken, but perhaps you'll take comfort in the fact that the original classics are surely bound to receive new attention in the months following Fallout 3's release. Personally, I'm having a ball with this game. I've been playing it pretty much non-stop since our review copy arrived at the office, but I'm sure as hell not going to stop any time soon. There are elements here that are significantly altered from the first games - some pleasant, some not - but I ultimately find the game to be a good thing: it's a different experience, yet one with many familiar ingredients.
Team Xbox 9.4/10.
You’ll happen across pockets of humanity, mostly banded together against the numerous dangers in what’s become a true survival-of-the-fittest situation. Even if you find somewhat solid structures on their own, there’s a good chance you’ll have to fight with giant mutant bugs, “Super Mutant” humans and Wasteland raider squads before you can pillage for any goods left behind. Thankfully, items can be found nearly anything with a lid or a door, such as a mailbox, garbage can or dumpster. You’d better have a good supply for weapons and ammo, though, because the Wasteland is a survivalist’s nightmare. Red blips on your compass indicate when you’re close to a threat (or two or three or four…), and it’ll come in handy, especially if you can sneak up and get a critical first hit (or first critical hit) to tip the advantage to your side.
Shacknews.
Now, if I was looking for a reason to dock percentage points from a great game, I could pick out some flaws in Fallout 3. The stiff character animations that often lead to embarrassing mid-hallway collisions. The repetitious dungeons, in the form of the ghoul-infested metro tunnels.

But despite its flaws, the game more often surprised me with its polish. Every time I tried to creatively "break" Fallout 3, it defied me. When I jumped into a slave pen from above, trapping myself inside, a guard was triggered that opened the door from the outside before attacking me. When a quest took me deep into a dungeon, and then left me wandering all the way back out after completing it, the game interjected with a scripted sequence that whisked me off to another location--one of, if not the only time this happens in the game.
Cheat Code Central 4/5.
Outside of the fully realized, detailed world, the game's presentation suffers from an outdated engine: Gamebryo. The resolution is crisp and the landscapes are impressive; however, the unrealistic ragdoll physics during the V.A.T.S. animations, flat and generic textures, repetitive environments, and poor, emotionless facial expressions combine to make the visual experience decidedly less than stellar. The background music, radio function, and sound effects are all nicely captured, but the star-studded voice acting is fairly grating; the silly comments made during fights and the consistently inane conversations detract from the overall sense of accomplishment.
GamePlasma 9.8/10.
The only way to describe Fallout 3’s graphics is “jaw-dropping.” There are moments where you will find yourself completely infatuated with the terrain, detailed buildings and creatures. Seeing the Potomac Bridge in ruins or walking through Georgetown was a treat and was created in, what appears to be, painstaking detail. Every graphical element in Fallout 3 helps create the feeling that you are actually in a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. and you must be weary of what lurks in the dark corners of the wastelands.
Kikizo 9/10.
Whilst Fallout 3 does suffer the same failings as Oblivion, and one can't help but think these could have been improved upon, it's easily forgiven when Oblivion was such a outstanding game to begin with. It brings with it the same awesome scope; the 30 hour or so main quest really is nothing compared to what the side quests and exploration have to offer. Every player who creates a character will find their own playing style and perks to carve a niche into the Super Mutant Behemoth's forehead. It is a game which successfully replaces fantasy for science fiction, managing to create a dissonant yet familiar and completely immersive world.
GamingExcellence 9.5.
One of the most talked about features in Fallout 3 is V.A.T.S. - the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, and it's slick. During combat, V.A.T.S .allows you to freeze frame the action, and enter a targeting mode to queue up attacks on your foes. Given a certain number of action points, you’re provided hit percentages on different parts of their body, and once activated the game enters a slow-motion cinematic perspective that shows the debilitating hits in gruesome detail. If you enjoy gore and lots of it - this is where you’ll really have some fun. Once consumed, the action points will slowly replenish themselves. As such, V.A.T.S. really needs to be used sparingly to be most effective. Outside of V.A.T.S., the real-time combat system is solid, albeit less predictable in terms of damage delivered. Third-person combat is a bit of a mess, and the game does offer a few cheap tactics (like the ability to run backwards at full speed), but all in all the combat system works. Besides, you’ll never get tired of watching Super Mutants explode into a bloody pile of guts.
GameFocus 9.8/10.
Some gamers might say Fallout 3 is The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion with big booming guns and they will not exactly be wrong. The game feels like Oblivion in many ways, but it is so much more then just switching off swords for shotguns. It actually has some interesting gameplay additions which take it above and beyond the last Elder Scrolls game.

Posted by Per - at 18:31

Giant Bomb. 4/5

You know, let's just break it down up top. Fallout 3 takes the base level action of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, changes the setting from knights-and-wizards fantasy to mutants-and-raiders post-apocalyptic Washington DC, sprinkles on a handful of systems and references that are designed to remind you of the previous Fallout games, and sends you on your way. It's successful at giving you meaningful moral choices that, in a lot of cases, reshape the game pretty dramatically. But at the same time, by trying to be a wide-open game that accounts for multiple play styles, you really notice it when you bump up against the technical and storytelling limitations of the game and its narrative structure.

You may have heard the talk from the developers about how the game has "hundreds" of endings. But the ending is comprised of brief static images and some bits of voiceover that detail what you did over the course of the adventure, and it sort of poorly stitches these moments together to form a stilted, jerky look at a few of the key things you did over the course of the game.
Gamer.no (snippet translated by ericjones). 9/10
This is not the first time Bethesda delivers a phenomenal RPG. What is truly admirable is how they have managed to capture the atmosphere and feeling of the original Fallout games. They have done the impossible by creating a sequel to some of the most recognized games in gaming history and still land on their feet. Yes, Fallout 2 may have been deeper and more strategically demanding, but Fallout 3 sucks you in and really holds you there. The sum of story, challenge, graphics and audio equals a fantastic atmosphere. This just has to be experienced. Be prepared for blood, tears, deceit, proud moments, defeats, bitter power struggles and innocent victims. Because war, war never changes.
Finally, here's the PC Gamer Sweden review that we covered before, now online, but still in Swedish.

Thanks to Jabu.

Posted by Per - at 18:02

GamePlayer. 9.5

For example; rather than looting treasure from caved dungeons filled with murderous trolls, you’re now scavenging for scrap metal and water from subways filled with cannibalistic super mutants. Rather than chatting about virtuous quests with noble knights and chaste village maidens, you’re now haggling for a discount with the Bartertown prostitute or telling your arch enemies to go fuck themselves. Rather than elegantly swinging a sword at miscreants and firing arrows at a pesky rogue, you’re belting the pus out of giant radioactive scorpions with a sledgehammer and messing up some punk’s hairdo with a .44 magnum to the face. Needless to say, this is all quite different to what we’ve previously seen from Bethesda, but it works.

Make no mistake, Fallout 3 stays true to the edgy source material - and if you thought the dismemberment in Brothers in Arms was vicious, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. It’s so deliciously gory in fact, that it is quite possible that the turn-based haters out there will come on over to the dark side, just to watch enemies get shredded into chunky kibbles.
IGN. 9.6
The conversations you'll have with the various people you meet in Fallout 3 range from disturbing to hilarious, but they all have one thing in common: fantastic writing. You'll want to hear everything every person has to say, but to do that you'll have to play the game more than once and likely more than a few times.

Unlike many games that offer the level of freedom and choice found here, Fallout 3 has an exciting, top-notch main story. It all comes together for a spectacular climax that is just flat out awesome.
GameSpy. 5/5
Given that it uses the same Gamebryo engine that powered Oblivion, it's probably not surprising to learn that Fallout 3 is a helluva great-looking game. Sure, the characters still look a bit weird while they're talking, and you'll likely notice some draw distance issues no matter which version you play, but this is still one of the most visually impressive games of 2008. The PC version looks particularly nice, especially since it runs at a smooth and steady 60 frames per second with only occasional dips. That's not to say, however, that the Xbox 360 and PS3 games don't look good, as they still blow just about every other game this year out of the water in the graphics department.
Thanks to Jiggly McNerdington.

Posted by Pope Viper - at 17:37

IGN AU has released their thoughts on Fallout 3. Their conclusion - 9.5/10.

Fallout 3 is one of the best games of recent years – in a year that's certainly been blessed with some excellent releases. It's a game that stands on its own without prior knowledge of the series - though Bethesda has crafted an adventure that still aims firmly at fans before all others. It's not without some faults however, and the recipe isn't to everyone's tastes or pace. The third-person perspective remains as useless as it was in Oblivion, for example – but if you can put in the time and commit to exploring this detailed and carefully designed wasteland, then Fallout 3 can't help but satisfy and engage you in ways that very few games ever have.

Posted by Per - at 16:56

GameShark. B+

Given all this, is Fallout 3 worth playing on the PC? Clearly the answer is yes whether you’re a fan of the first two games, a fan of Bethesda’s past work, or a fan of other PC RPG-shooters with a story, like Deus Ex and BioShock. Don’t let the fact that there are undeniable problems with the plotting and some of the game mechanics sway you. This is a good game. It’s a really good game. It’s only failing is that it has a mark of greatness upon it and, ever so cruelly, fails to completely achieve it.
Eurogamer. 10/10
Fallout 3 has been by some margin the most enjoyable game I've played since BioShock - a game with which it shares a similar artistic vision and ambience. Despite so many worries, Fallout 3 almost effortlessly succeeds in its central aim of reviving a much-loved brand to appeal to the vast majority of players. It's a thrilling, all-consuming experience that will absorb you for weeks, whether you're attracted by the action, the adventure, or the role-playing, as you fall in love with the relentless excitement, incredible atmosphere, sense of place and sheer choice.

Bethesda has once again delivered a game of life-affirming brilliance that will be heralded as a classic, and talked about for years to come.
1Up. A
If you seek to break the world, you'll occasionally find a way -- which is understandable, given the limits of time and tech -- but it does pull you out of the otherwise broad and engrossing experience. Faults be damned, though; this is the kind of hugely ambitious game that doesn't come around very often, and when it does, you'd be a fool not to play it and enjoy the hell out of it and look forward to the day (next-next-gen?) when the fidelity of open-world RPGs takes another big step closer to the uncanny valley's far side.
Thanks to Mike and Jabu.

Posted by Sander - at 15:37

IGN UK has reviewed Fallout 3, giving it an 8.8/10.

The review notes quite a few problems with the game, but ultimately decides it is still a must-buy title.


Although this is an RPG and that’s an FPS, Bioshock ends up being the best comparison. Not so much because there seems some definite cross-pollination of ideas and style, but rather because it’s the big Christmas action game with brains and choices, and with an interest in constructing a refreshingly different world from all those austere near-future manshoots that clog up the shelves. In many respects, it’s a far better game than Bioshock, most of all because you get the endless choice that promised but didn’t deliver. So it’s tragic that the often awful production values make a fool of it so regularly. Whenever you’re really settling into the game and thinking what a wonderful world it is, it goes and does something incredibly stupid and clumsy, and the whole illusion shatters. It’s a truly fabulous RPG in so many ways, but we desperately wish Bethesda had saved the money they burned on unnecessarily hiring Liam Neeson and Malcom McDowell to voice a couple of key characters, and spent it instead on more actors, rehearsals, better script-writers and animators, another proof-reader… Clearly, it’s one of the must-buy games of the year, and it’ll prove impossible not to lose yourself to it for a good couple of dozen hours. If only Bethesda could escape their own bad habits and sloppiness though – then it would have been one of the must-buy games of the decade.

Posted by Per - at 5:54

Shacknews reports that Bethesda has sent out emails to gaming sites calling for the removal of any and all Fallout 3 trailers:

Censorship and Bethesda's Fallout 3 (PC, 360, PS3) are good friends, and the two just got a little closer: Bethesda has asked gaming websites including Shacknews to pull all trailers for the open-world RPG.

[..]

The full e-mail from Hines follows:

"In connection with ESRB's advertising guidelines, you are instructed to remove immediately any of our Fallout 3 trailers from your website, pending further notice.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Pete"
PC World comments:
Censorship? Maybe, but maybe not. After all, the MPAA puts rating cards in front of movie previews (though off the top of my head, I don't recall if they're consistently in front of every online trailer). Of course there's also no such thing as an R- or NC17-rated movie trailer, but then not every Fallout 3 trailer is saturated with gore, either.

Still, Bethesda said "all." No exceptions. Which also poses something of a logistical enforcement problem. This is a popular, high-in-demand game. Several of those trailers are practically embedded.

[..]

Why did Bethesda wait until the midnight hour to pull the ads? Either they didn't see the ads as non-compliant until someone at the ESRB made a zero-hour fuss, or they've been quietly battling/debating/negotiating with the ESRB behind the scenes, and this is the public sound of Bethesda capitulating.
Thanks to the Ausir.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:06

There have been multiple questions submitted asking whether NMA was just going to ignore Fallout 3 like it did Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.

Well, we're not planning to, though we're not hootin' or hollerin' either. We plan to provide our readers with clear and concise info of everything they need on Fallout 3: quests, items, weapons, walkthroughs, the whole shebang.

To get to an early start on the dawn of release, we have opened a Fallout 3 character page with (well-known) info on stats, skills, perks (including a few of the quest-gained ones) and radiation effects, with a big thanks to TwinkieGorilla for handiwork on that one. Expect more after release.

And don't forget, we're encouraging everyone to get revved up for Fallout 3 modding.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:42

Coming out tomorrow, it's already a smash hit.

Bethesda Softworks Announces More Than 2,000 Fallout 3 Midnight Store Openings Across the Country

Fans Nationwide to Help Usher in One of Year’s Biggest Videogame Launches

October 27, 2008 (ROCKVILLE, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, has announced that in response to huge demand for it’s award-winning game, Fallout® 3, more than 2,000 stores across the country will open tonight. Starting at midnight, customers can pickup pre-orders and buy the game at retailers nationwide. The retail chain, Best Buy, plans to have special midnight events at stores in the Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Dallas and Chicago metropolitan areas.

“Fallout 3 has been a labor of love for the team at Bethesda and we can’t wait to get the game into the hands of consumers,” said Todd Howard, Game Director at Bethesda Game Studios for Fallout 3. “We’re looking forward to celebrating the launch of Fallout 3 with the fans.”

Members of the development team at Bethesda Game Studios will appear at the Best Buy store in Rockville, Md., near the studio’s offices, to meet with fans. Special festivities will include game kiosks, giveaways, contests, and a live radio broadcast from the event with DC 101 FM. Game director Todd Howard will be on-hand along with other key members of the development team to sign copies of the game and chat with fellow gamers.

Fallout 3 will be available on store shelves and online in North America on October 28, in Europe and Australia on October 30 and in the UK on October 31. Developed at Bethesda Game Studios – creators of the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® – Fallout 3 is slated for release on the Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows.

Fallout 3 features one of the most realized game worlds ever created. Set more than 200 years following a nuclear war, you can create any kind of character you want and explore the open wastes of Washington, D.C. however you choose. Every minute is a fight for survival as you encounter Super Mutants, Ghouls, Raiders, and other dangers of the Wasteland.

Hailed as one of the most anticipated games for 2008, Fallout 3 has already won numerous awards including Best of Show from the official Game Critics Awards at E3 2008 and a perfect 10 out of 10 review score from Official Xbox Magazine.

Fallout® 3 has been rated Mature by the ESRB. For more information on Fallout 3, visit www.BestBuy.com/Fallout3, http://fallout.bethsoft.com and www.prepareforthefuture.com.

About Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda Softworks, part of the ZeniMax Media Inc. family of companies, is a premier developer and worldwide publisher of interactive entertainment software and has produced numerous award-winning titles, most recently with 2006 PC and Xbox 360™ Game of the Year and RPG of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®, and the 2002 PC and Xbox® Game of the Year and RPG of the Year, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind®. Among Bethesda’s more popular franchises are The Elder Scrolls® series and Fallout®, as well as its licensed properties, such as Star Trek®. Its product line spans the sports, racing, RPG, strategy, and action genres. For more information on Bethesda Softworks’ products, visit www.bethsoft.com.

News for Monday, October 27, 2008

Posted by Per - at 23:32

At this point I guess no one really cares a lot about screenshots except as random eye candy for newsbits, since in a day or so we can get any amount of them, but Voodoo Extreme put up a whole lot of them anyway. Random eye candy for newsbit:



Edit: Well, what do you know, they took them down again. Apparently they're meant for the midnight release event and were displayed by teh accident.
Edit again: Back up now, obviously.

Thanks to Ausir.

Posted by Per - at 23:10

In the latest developer diary from Bethesda, world artist Nate Purkeypile describes how, true to the Fallout roots, you can play through the new game as totally different characters. These include an outlaw sniper cannibal, a mêlée guy who turns alcoholic because it "made him swing his hammer harder", a bespectacled pacifist who was once forced by Liam Neeson to kill an insect, an unarmed punk chick who punches cows, and a chick who took to energy weapons because she was ugly.

This is when things started to turn sour. He decided that if they thought he was evil, he was going to show them just how evil he could be. He joined the slavers, he grew a beard and he started stealing things. He was no longer a hero to the people.

The more crimes he committed, the more he enjoyed it. He started amassing more and more wealth from all the people he killed. One day he made a wonderful discovery… people tasted great!


Thanks Ausir.

Posted by Per - at 22:52

In a giant sellout move or something, The Vault announces a competition to navigate the wiki in some manner and thus win prizes from Bethesda. These prizes are games, T-shirts and stuff. Puppets. Live baby deathclaws. All it costs to enter is your immortal soul.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:13

WorthPlaying interviews Pete Hines.

WP: Going from the style of Fallout 1 and 2 to the style of Fallout 3, where you're using an updated version of the Oblivion engine, how did your developers and designers attack that, and was there any concern of alienating fans who are used to the style of the first two games with such a drastic switch?

PH: We said, what is the best way to bring this world to life and make it as real and immersive as possible, and we felt that a first- or third-person approach, since you can play the game in both, was most appropriate and the thing that we would be the most excited about and wanted to do. As far as if that alienates fans, I guess if you're beholden to one perspective and say, "I will only play the game if it's this," then yeah, you probably could be alienated, but if you're willing to at least open your mind to the possibility of making a Fallout game that doesn't look exactly like the originals, I think there's something to be said for what we're doing with Fallout 3.

We felt that, to make the best game that we could, we had to take advantage of what games today could do and how they could look and feel as opposed to what they could do 10 years ago, and we're trying to hold onto and really adhere to a lot of the ideas of the first Fallout games. They were pretty graphically advanced for their day for what PC games looked like, and they were really violent and presented it in a rather interesting way that, for its time, was very different from other games. I think we're trying to do those same kinds of things in Fallout 3, given the environment that we're in today, what other games look like, and the technology that we have available.
If only Bethesda had been willing to open its mind to alternatives to the first-person perspective they've used for 10 years now. Talk about being beholden to one perspective, Pete.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:06

Emil Pagliarulo explains his views on mature-rated gaming in an op-ed piece for Edge Online.

Fallout 3 is an M-rated game—made for adults. Its violence is over-the-top and has been a central focus of not only our game, but the entire franchise. This is a series that in previous installments allowed players to kill children, right? When Bethesda first started developing Fallout 3, we had early conversations about whether you’re going to be able to blow the kids’ heads off . (Let’s be clear, with the ESRB’s rating system, that’s not something that would fly anyway.)

But then we began to think, really what benefit would there be in killing the kids in the game? It just seems gratuitous, unnecessary and cruel. The reverse of that is some of the great stories that have been told that involve kids. Look at George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books. Kids play an important part in that series, and violence to those kids is an important part of those stories.

You really have to balance out and consider if doing violence to a child in a game is so important to your story that it outweighs any kind of social responsibility you might have.

Posted by Per - at 16:37

Part 6 is about the game world of Capital Wasteland.

Written with the map poster in mind (although all the poster maps also appear inside the guide too), the Tour begins with explanations on the information each location has to offer. To start with, if the location is featured in a Main, Miscellaneous, or Freeform Quest, this is noted. Then comes the Threat Level (rated from one to five), so you can quickly ascertain whether to bring a 10mm Pistol, or a hulking great Follower armed to the teeth with a Minigun and a bad attitude. Then comes a Faction flag; showing you which Wasteland group controls this area; especially useful as you can bring preferred killing equipment to the expedition. Services are flagged for each location, too; so you can instantly know whether you’ll find a Healer, Repairer, or Trader. Next up are possible dangers (aside from the regular enemies); such as the types of traps to watch out for. Finally, the type and number of Collectibles the location has is shown, as well as more “miscellaneous” information; like whether you can find a Follower, sizable ammo caches, Perks, Radio Signals, and even a place to live in.

For larger settlements, such as Megaton, every single location within town is revealed, the type of Terminal and Locked Doors are shown (so you know whether your Skills are good enough to allow you access), and more importantly still, every location that needs it gets its own map. Maps have waypoints labeled on them so you know where every major occurrence is. With well over 150 “interior” maps (that aren’t on the poster), it took a team of four map makers around three months to finish them all, and they look superb. Naturally, they’re all extremely detailed (down to computers on tables, floor tiles, and debris piles), and are a great way to learn the topography of a location without blindly trekking through increasingly hostile corridors without any knowledge of how vast an area is.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:58

GameSpy interviews Fallout 3 sound designer Mark Lampert.

GameSpy: What real-world weapons did you use to create the sounds of the ones in the game?

Mark Lampert: Quite a bit of the action on the game's small arms (pistols, rifles, shotguns, etc.) is actually recorded from real firearms. A colleague kindly brought two pistols and three rifles over to my place where I could set up a couple of mics and record the sound of the bolt being opened and slammed shut, magazines sliding into place and being taken out, dry firing, etc. The actual sounds of the game's weapons being fired were composited together from field recording libraries, as well a as little bit of Foley recording in places where I might want to add some extra bass or exaggerate the sound of the weapon's action.

Even in the cases of the game's more exotic firepower such as energy-based and custom-built weapons, I still came back to those small arms recordings in order to add different "clanks" and "ka-chunks" here and there. I'm happy to say that the bb gun which the player receives for their tenth birthday was composited together with a mix of two different pellet guns that a couple of other co-workers brought in for me. I was looking for something that sounded sort of cheap and flimsy, and both of these guns were definitely that. Still, anything that can take care of a RadRoach is nothing to sneeze at.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:53

Part 5 is about quests.

Perhaps the coolest element of these chapters is the Quest Flowchart. For every part of the Main Quest, and every Miscellaneous Quest, there’s a plotted-out series of boxes and arrows, in one of three colors (white, red, and green). White boxes refer to Objectives you’ve unlocked (or yet to unlock) on your Pip-Boy. Red boxes indicate actions you need to attempt, and green boxes reveal the rewards you receive if the action is successful. As every major path variant is showcased in these flowcharts, and you can easily figure out your next course of action without wading through pages of text. Main and Optional paths are shown in this flowchart, along with the characters you need to interact with, the locations to visit, any recommended Skills and Items you might want to use, possible enemies to encounter, and whether your path has a particular Karmic influence. More often than not, checking these flowcharts gives you enough encouragement to continue playing the game with minimal interruptions.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:22

Coinciding with the interview, the Washington Post does an editorial on Fallout 3.

Industry analysts predict this title, the sequel to some computer games that were popular a decade ago, will be among the top 10 or five bestselling games of the year. While the reviews aren't out yet, I've played a dozen or so hours wandering the streets of this world and would bet you a hundred bottle caps that the reviewers will show their approval soon. The new title hits retail shelves this week.
(...)
Fallout 3 costs $50 or $60 (the PC version is cheaper than the Xbox or PlayStation versions), though Bethesda Softworks and the Fallout game franchise have enough of a following that the company is offering some pricier collector's editions. The deluxe package comes with a lunchbox, a bobblehead figure and a digital clock that's modeled after a wrist-mounted computer device used in the game. The $130 "survival package" is available exclusively at Amazon.

Here's a typical fan: John Terrill, a 25-year-old who lives in Reston, says he's been waiting for this game for, oh, about 10 years. He used to stay up all night playing the original games, when he was in high school, and he's been following the development of Fallout 3 online with keen interest at fan sites with names like No Mutants Allowed.

"The whole retro '50s thing, playing off the fears of our parents, that's just fascinating to me," he said.
Thanks Matt Grandstaff.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:35

The Washington Post technology blog Post I.T. offers an interview with Todd Howard.

Q: What sort of audience are you trying to reach with Fallout 3?

Howard: Ourselves? [Laughs] I think, it's people who are really into video games. We cut a pretty wide arc among people who are gaming fans.

It's got a lot of depth to it, it's fairly easy to pick up and play, if you play video games. But I think people who don't play a lot of our stuff, or things like this, are very shocked at how much you can do in the game and how much depth there is and how big it is. There are very few barriers, compared to other video games.

Q: Do you think a casual audience picking up your game might be intimidated by the number of decisions you have to make?

Howard: Potentially at first, yeah. Yeah, I think they would. At first, people want to be told, well how do I win? And so there's this moment of, well, it's really up to you,
Some people just want to know how to win, but I think the game does a pretty good job of teaching itself. But there is definitely a hump to get over... they need someone to push them and say, you should try this out.

News for Sunday, October 26, 2008

Posted by Tagaziel - at 14:17

For all fans of post-apocalyptic media, there's a treat for you; the first episode of the flash Fallen Angel series has been released on Newgrounds, split into three parts.

A remarkable achievement given the limitations of Flash.

Link: Fallen Angel homepage
Link: Fallen Angel Parts 1, 2 and 3

Posted by Tagaziel - at 12:53

GameTrailers has prepared another installment in their retrospective series, this time, focusing exclusively on pre-Bethesda Fallout titles. The material itself, despite a few factual errors, is quite good:



Link: Fallout Retrospective at GameTrailers

Posted by Morbus - at 12:50

More than a month after the last one, we're at it again talking about Age of Decadence, which you all should know as the upcoming indie RPG from Iron Tower Studio, with Choices&Consequences™, turn based meaningful combat, multiple non-violent ways of solving quests, and stuff like that.

Remember the Ruins of Zamedi? Well, GameBanshee has an article (full of screenshots) about it.

Welcome to the ruins of Zamedi. It used to be a large city, but that was before it was hit by three 1D4+1 magic missiles in a row during a decade-long war. So, nothing survived but this tower. It's rumored that such towers had wondrous machines that channeled power from other planes and used it in many different and creative ways, including but not limited to raising protective shields when under attacks.

The tower's machines didn't fail, but the hellfire unleashed by the enemy's magi consumed the city and the army defending it. House Aurelian claimed the tower after the war and being weary of what they couldn't understand and control, sealed it to make sure that the knowledge and the power contained within would die there.


Speaking of ruins, there's also a new thread in their forums about the Maadoran ruins, with three new screenshots.
Here are several shots of one of the Maadoran concepts I'm playing with. We have tall pre-war buildings (they really don't build like that anymore) and the new ones added during the last hundred years or so. While Teron was a small "frontier" town, Maadoran should show you what the Empire cities looked like, what was lost when the Empire fell, and the contrast between new and old "towns". As usual, suggestions are welcome.


The Portuguese gaming site No Continues interviewed Vince D. Weller about Age of Decadence. It's a long, 14 question interview with no new screenshots but a few insightful answers about the development of Age of Decadence and of RPGs in general.
No Continues: How has been the experience of handling your own community and having your creations subject to criticism, as opposed to working on someone else’s community while openly criticising other studios’ videogames and design methods – as you did during your tenure at RPG Codex, known for its open criticism of major titles and trends in the genre? I know you’re still enthusiastic and opinionated as ever, but has anything changed about how you perceive what it means to be a gamer and a designer?

Vince D. Weller: Nothing has changed. Working on AoD for several years didn’t make me appreciate Space Siege or Oblivion design more. My criticism was never based on some impossible to achieve fantasies. It was based on a simple fact that games like XCOM, Darklands, Fallout, Ultima Underworld, Daggerfall, Planescape, etc. were a lot deeper and better designed that 99% of games you see on shelves today. Sadly, trading design depth for better graphics and all the bloom my eyes can handle didn’t really work out for me.

As for the incoming criticism, I have absolutely no problem with someone saying “hey, this thing sucks, how about…” Sure, not every suggestion is brilliant and worth looking into, but we’ve got so many truly great suggestions from people who are interested in AoD that discussing everything with our fans has become an important and integrate part of game development for us.

I’ve seen our game being torn to pieces on some forums. It doesn’t bother me, to be honest. Some people like certain games, some people hate certain games, and AoD is not one of those “let’s hope everyone will like it” sort of games, so…
On other news, there's a video on YouTube showcasing many screenshots from Age of Decadence. None of them are new, but it's still a nice thing for those of you who haven't seen them:







Link

News for Saturday, October 25, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 16:38

Edge Online interviews Tim Cain about Carbine studio, plus here's the two questions we saw snippets of before:

What are your impressions of what you’ve seen of Fallout 3? Do you think that they’re doing that franchise justice?

TC: I do like what I’ve seen about Fallout 3. I’ve talked to those guys at Bethesda about it and they know that it’s their IP now and they’ve gone in a certain direction that I find very intriguing. It’s not necessarily the direction I would have gone, but I can tell you I have my Fallout 3 pre-ordered. I want my life-sized Pip-Boy and I’m going to be all ready to play that at the end of the month.

What direction would you have taken it? The way that they describe it is they’re basing it more off of the feel of the original Fallout rather than Fallout 2, obviously with their own twist on it. But what would you have done different?

TC: I’m not sure. I’ve hardly thought about Fallout. I did think more about the online version of Fallout, because I’ve also talked to the guys at Interplay about Fallout Online. The biggest problem I have with expanding the game currently is the single player games were designed to make you feel like you’re one of the last people on earth. With Fallout 3 and the online version, I’m curious how they handle making the game not feel too crowded, like there’s not a lot of life out there that’s left after the war. But I’m not sure. I like how they did called shots. It’s an interesting way of adding called shots into a game that otherwise has real-time combat. I’m still waiting to see how the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. survives the transition into real time, but to be honest I’m approaching Fallout 3 as a consumer, not a developer. I just want to play it and enjoy it.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:57

Not a lot of details in these, but a few more magazines have reviewed Fallout 3, including OXM UK giving the game a 9/10 (thanks princess_stomper).

"and while Bethesda has learnt a bunch of lessons from Oblivion, the biggest one is clear from the start. It's now really rewarding just to explore the world that's been built."

Guesses main quest length at 20 hours if you "really blitz the game, but you'd be mad to play like that ... the really fun stuff is off the beaten track."

Doesn't like VATS because "watching your stationary character get mauled and shot at before you regain control is frustrating." Also doesn't like time-pause in menu mode (i.e. when using the Pip-Boy).

"We've no hesitation in slapping on a Must Buy badge ..." but criticises some plot holes, frustrating urban mazes, and the occasional bad voice actor. "It all means that Fallout 3 doesn't quite rank as a true classic, despite its obvious potential; you'll have to settle for it being merely excellent. That's a compromise we're happy enough to make."

+ Ridiculous value for money
+ rich, rewarding world
+ some moments of true genius
+ plenty of rollicking action
- some sloppy execution

"A real blockbuster of an open-world RPG"
Two Czech magazines have reviewed the game (thanks paul_cz), Score giving it a 93% and LEVEL giving it a 10/10.
A vast and open world of unimaginable possibilities opens in front of you in Fallout 3. Great story, flawless combat system, and the option to choose your own way makes it a hot candidate for game of the year.
Other reported scores include GMC Italy 9/10 (Good atmosphere and turn-based combat, lackluster AI and mini-games) and PC Gamer UK 90% (Excellent dialogue, combat, depth and minigames, but MQ is shortish and it's easy to miss things if you're not paying attention).

News for Friday, October 24, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:24

Fallout is up for pre-order on Steam. Not necessarily of interest unless Steam has one of their weekend pre-order discount dealies, but what it is interesting is that they also chucked up the PC manual. Not a lot of info in there, but worth a look if you're interested in the game.

Thanks Jebus and Gizmojunk.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:01

Press release.

Bethesda Softworks and Best Buy Bring Fallout 3 to Fans with Midnight Launch Events Across the Country

Fans to Help Usher in One of Year’s Biggest Videogame Launches

October 24, 2008 (ROCKVILLE, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, and Best Buy Co., Inc. have announced that in response to huge demand for Bethesda’s award-winning upcoming game, Fallout® 3, there will be midnight openings at Best Buy stores across the country the evening of October 27. Best Buy customers at select stores in the Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Dallas and Chicago metropolitan areas will be among the first to play one of the most anticipated videogames of the year.

“Fallout 3 has been a labor of love for the team at Bethesda and we can’t wait to get the game into the hands of consumers,” said Todd Howard, Game Director for Fallout 3. “We’re looking forward to celebrating the launch of Fallout 3 with the fans.”

The Fallout 3 team’s hometown Best Buy in Rockville, MD will serve as the flagship location of the midnight events, with special festivities including game kiosks, giveaways, contests and a live broadcast from the event with DC 101 FM. Game director Todd Howard will be on-hand along with other key members of the development team to sign copies of the game and chat with fans. In addition to the Rockville event, 11 Best Buy stores across the country will be hosting special midnight sales events.

Midnight sales event lines will begin forming at 3 pm local time, October 27 at the following Best Buy locations:

Washington, DC area

· Rockville, MD - 1200 Rockville Pike

· Tysons Corner, VA – 8449 Leesburg Pike

New York Area

· New York, NY – 44th And 5th

· Westbury, NY – 1100 Old Country Rd.

Los Angeles area

· Glendale, CA – 2909 Los Feliz Blvd.

· Pasadena, CA – 3415 E. Foothill Blvd.

Chicago area

· Chicago, IL. – 1000 W. North Ave.

· Downers Grove, IL – 1432 Butterfield Rd

Dallas area

· Plano, TX – 2800 N. Central Expy.

· Fort Worth, TX – 6750 West Fwy.

Minneapolis area

· Roseville, MN – 1643 Country Rd. B2

· Richfield, MN – 1000 W. 78th St.

Fallout 3 will be available on store shelves and online in North America on October 28, in Europe and Australia on October 30 and in the UK on October 31. Developed at Bethesda Game Studios – creators of the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® – Fallout 3 is slated for release on the Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows.

Fallout 3 features one of the most realized game worlds ever created. Set more than 200 years following a nuclear war, you can create any kind of character you want and explore the open wastes of Washington, D.C. however you choose. Every minute is a fight for survival as you encounter Super Mutants, Ghouls, Raiders, and other dangers of the Wasteland.

Hailed as one of the most anticipated games for 2008, Fallout 3 has already won numerous awards including Best of Show from the official Game Critics Awards at E3 2008 and a perfect 10 out of 10 from Official Xbox Magazine.

Fallout® 3 has been rated Mature by the ESRB. For more information on Fallout 3, visit www.BestBuy.com/Fallout3, http://fallout.bethsoft.com and www.prepareforthefuture.com.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:34

Pete Hines agrees that the "Fallout 4 in 2011" headline was jumping the gun a bit.

"I’d call that jumping to conclusions, and then some," said Bethesda PR man Pete Hines in an e-mail to Edge.

In the report, Howard did say that he believed that the 10 years between Fallout 2 and Fallout 3 was "a bit long," however.

To that, Hines said, "An accurate headline would probably be, 'Fallout 4 before 2018,' since that’s what he really said (10 years is too long)."

Posted by Brother None - at 20:03

Two more in the pre-release interview wave of Fallout 3. GameSpy interviews Emil Pagliarulo.

GameSpy: The Fallout franchise is known for its use of dark humor, and we're assuming that we'll see more of that in Fallout 3. How hard is it to write humor, both the situational and dialogue-driven varieties?

Emil Pagliarulo: It's incredibly difficult. The biggest problem is trying too hard. You do that, and any jokes fall flat. So a lot of times it's best to just play it straight. With Fallout, the jokes are very situational. The humor comes naturally from the environment, and the violence, and the situations these people find themselves in. So a lot of times, we can simply create a unique character, maybe an eccentric character, and dark humor comes from seeing how he or see is coping with the world around them. I think one of my favorite examples of this is Andy, the Mister Handy robot you meet at the beginning of the game, in Vault 101. You have an opportunity to catch up with him later in the game (I won't say where or how!), and you can sort of see the predicament he's gotten himself in.

GameSpy: As the writer, what do you personally think is the most entertaining path to take the first time you play through the game: Good, Neutral, or Evil?

Emil Pagliarulo: I think taking the evil route is always a lot of fun, simply because you can let your inhibitions go and do whatever the hell you want. Be a murderer, be a thief... just go nuts and have fun with it. Of course, I say that, and then when I go to play the game myself, I take on the role of a complete goody two-shoes.

I think for a lot of people it all comes down to how they feel about Mister Burke. You meet him really early in the game, in Megaton, and he wants you to destroy a whole town. So he sort of sets the tone of true evil for the entire game. Burke makes a pretty convincing pitch, so if you hear him out, and take him up on his offer -- and it's kind of hard not to -- then I think you'll stay on that dark road through the entire game.
As does Gaming Nexus.
Like Oblivion the game has a moral choices though out the game, based on customer feedback/your own stats do most people tend to play it good, evil, or somewhere down the middle? Does that impact your design decisions at all?

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, I love designing “evil” gameplay. I love letting the player get into that really dark place, and experience something really sinister. I always have a sense of humor about it, but it’s something I can’t resist. That sort of started with some of the work I did in Thief 2, and definitely carried over into the Dark Brotherhood questline in Oblivion, and boy of boy is there some of that stuff in Fallout. I mean, even beyond the gameplay videos that have been released. You have no idea! But part of this – and this is the interesting thing – I have real difficulty playing an “evil” character in a game. So I love designing that stuff, but when it comes time to playing it, I just can’t do it. I think I have a serious Catholic guilt complex, to be honest.

Fortunately, most people don’t seem to share my aversion, and love to play the evil characters, so at least I know it’s not wasted work! Bottom line, it’s just really fun to let loose and be evil and do whatever the hell you want – which is to say, everything you can’t do in the real world.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:04

Paste Magazine interviews Todd Howard, with some fairly interesting questions in there.

P: Was there a fundamental question or filter that you used to determine whether or not a gameplay feature or story element belonged in Fallout 3?

TH: Art-wise, design-wise, we typically have a design aesthetic for why would they build this and how would they build it. And then when it comes to story stuff and the people, our big themes were sacrifice and survival. What are these people sacrificing to survive? How are they surviving in a unique way so that each town or settlement has their own kind of belief system? Each one has to be bent in some way, they need to be sacrificing something to survive at the level they are and we hope that the player feels the need to make similar choices in what they're going to do to survive.

P: Also, you have the quest of trying to figure out your father’s motivations for abruptly leaving the vault, which takes the narrative from a massive scale and makes it very personal.

TH: That's the hope, yeah. Because the game is so wide open, we wanted to try to do something that is personal to you and not just deliver this or go here. We wanted to make it, you know, a really kind of driving curiosity. Like ‘why would he leave me? Why would he do that to me?’ The player can have different emotions about that. You know, curiosity, anger or wanting to help their father, assuming there was a very good reason he left.
Spotted on Planet Fallout.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:22

Nicolas Intoxicate, the studio working on Afterfall, opened up a devblog with future updates coming.

After long negotiations with our marketing department, we managed to successfully negotiate our own private devlog. For us - Nicolas Intoxicate team, it will be a place where we can receive massive feedback regarding progress and the effects of our work. This website has been created also for all of those, who are interested in developing video games and would like to know how some stages of design and production of a huge, ambitious game look like.

For a start, I would like to write about the media hype that had started in our country after our publisher issued few press releases during last couple of months. Here and now I would like to explain one thing - we don’t think we are some pioneers of gamedev in Poland, we are NOT superstars, we don’t wear gold chains and we never said that Afterfall will be the greatest game in the history of man kind. Of course we want our product to be as good as it can be and we put all of our heart and spare time so that Afterfall can meet the requirements we had set in front of us. We always say only one thing: we are making a game from gamers for gamers.

We are just regular guys (just like You and Your mates) who happened one day to get the bright idea to create a video game. Thanks to our persistence, crazy ideas and luck we managed to get to a place where I now write this note - to our own studio in Dabrowa Gornicza. Every team member is still learning (and most probably we will continue to learn until the day we die) and we know, that there is a long journey still ahead of us.

We would like to help the development of polish gamedev and we hope, that with time people who are working in the same line of business, in other companies all around the world will find this devlog and this website will become a place where all of us can share our experience.

Here we will show a lot of screenshots, renders, concept arts and descriptions in ‘Work in Progress’ version. When the time will allow us to (and that always lacks in this line of business Razz ) we will write what problems we encountered during our production and how we solved them. You can expect reports from various events, and notes about random ideas we keep in mind. Probably from time to time we will post a full article of some kind regarding game developing itself.

News for Thursday, October 23, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:57

The 4th blog piece on the Fallout 3 prima guide details the bestiary (minor spoilers).

But to begin with, there’s some highly detailed “canon” about the variety of Wasteland Factions that battle the irradiated hellscape for supremacy (or in the case of feral ghouls, fleshy morsels). This is the section with revelations about the government forces known as The Enclave. There’s background information on the Brotherhood of Steel, as well as an “Outcast” contingent that have been spotted in the wilds of the Wasteland. The Vault Dwellers themselves get a good going-over; then it’s back on the surface to read the raison d’etre of the Raiders, and other scum that shoot first, and ask questions after they dance on your entrails; the Talon Company Mercenaries.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:28

Reuters has a piece up on game developers cashing in one sequels, including comments from Fallout 3 executive producer Todd Howard.

Gamers have been waiting 10 years for Bethesda Softworks' "Fallout 3," for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

"I think it's good for people to miss things," said Todd Howard, executive producer of the game. "Ten years between 'Fallout' is a bit long, but I think there's this nostalgia factor."

Fans of the post-Apocalyptic game, set in Washington, D.C., won't have to wait another decade for "Fallout 4." Howard said he believes three years is a good time frame between games.
Shacknews interprets this as Reuters saying "Fallout 4 in 2011", which seems a bit out there for me; I'd interpret what Todd Howard is saying as "TES V in 2011, Fallout 4 in 2014", unless Bethesda sets up another studio/dev team.

Thanks darkphilly.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:23

I figured these were fake at first glance but they appear to be real; Pete Hines talked to Italian community Evereye.it and Spanish community Meristation. English Meristation answers.

Staff: Peter Molyneux rated Fable 2 with 9/10 and for the reviews so far, it seems he was pretty honest. What rate would you give to Fallout 3 if you have to write a review?

I would never even think of giving a score publically. Not my job. That's for the press and folks like you to decide and debate.

After all this time, I still enjoy playing it. I took a break from work and played for a couple hours last night and had a lot of fun. That's all that matters to me.

I think that's all the time I have for today. Thanks very much for the chat and for your interest in Fallout 3. Only a little over a week to go before it's here. Hope you have a chance to try it and enjoy playing it as much as we enjoyed making it.
English Evereye.it answers.
leaving the decisive influence of Ultima Underworld apart, what were the reasons and the first ideas that you had back then that pushed you toward this direction?

We don't think the things you're talking about are mutually exclusive. First of all, Fallout wasn't a game about precise party management. You could have companions, but the focus of the game was still on you and your character since you had limited controls over your companions. We felt the heart and soul of the game was about going where you wanted and being whatever kind of character you wanted to be in this world and having to make some tough choices.

Yes, we wanted to create a really amazing visual world, but that has nothing to do with characters or story. The people who make the art and graphics aren't the same people writing the dialog or stories. We wanted one to compliment the other, to have the visuals held immerse you in this world, to help you suspend belief and place yourself in the game. So we focused on keeping as much of the original games alive as possible, while adding some new ideas...1st or 3rd person to really put you in the world, a mix of real-time combat and a paused-mode that is similar to the turn-based combat of the originals, but which allows the player to choose when to pause the game instead of stopping the action every time you see a rat, etc.
Spotted on Planet Fallout.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:03

Bulgarian site 3dzone has an interview with "Bethesda team" about Fallout 3.

3dz: Which are the elements that can point as “flesh and bones” of such enormous world?

BT: Well, one is combat. In a game like this, most folks like to run around and kill stuff and take their loot and use it, or sell it and get new stuff to run around and kill stuff with. So we spend a lot of time making sure that basic activity is fun. Beyond that, the world has to feel fleshed out, lived in, there has to be lots to see and do. We always want there to be something new to discover just around the corner. And we need to make sure we do a good job organizing information so you feel like you have the freedom to go wander off and still be able to find your way back to what you were doing an hour ago, or five hours ago.

3dz: OK, let’s talk about the balance between role-playing and action elements in Fallout 3. It seems that RPG elements are a bit hardcore, while the action feels more like a FPS. Is this intended?

BT: Well, we want people to feel like they can play the game however they like. If you’d rather play it like a story-driven FPS and not get into the stats and role-playing, feel free. If you really want to power game and get into the stats and numbers and how best to buff out your character, or spend all your time in dialog, or however you want to roleplay, you can do that too. We don’t think it’s up to us to tell you how you should play the game. We want to give you that freedom and let you go, and do, whatever you want, however you want.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:01

Planet Fallout asks respected RPG journalist/Fallout fan Desslock about his thoughts on Fallout 3.

PF:The “keep it dark and violent” tip sure seems to have been taken into account. Is the violence satisfying or does it goes over the top, as a few others are complaining?

Desslock: Both? It’s definitely over the top – there are far too many decapitations and dismemberments to be realistic, but as I said previously, I really enjoyed that violence. I wouldn’t say the violence is “dark”, but it’s also not sanitized and rated-G, which was a bigger concern.

PF:And the atmosphere, is it really dark? Less space for humor this time, as Bethsoft seems to imply in their interviews?

Desslock: Definitely less humor, and the setting is darker. It’s still Fallout, and there’s some goofiness like the rock-it launcher, but for the most part it’s played straighter. Bethesda’s strength has always been world-building, and this is the first Fallout where the world/setting actually seems remotely plausible as well – you learn more about the pre-war culture, the actual war and the Chinese opponents, the different Fallout factions are all well development and interesting, etc.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:48

GameBanshee's Jon "Buck" Birnbaum and Thomas "Brother None" ßеекers have interviewed Fallout 3 lead producer Gavin Carter.

GB: The storylines of Fallout 1 and 2 are fairly basic, non-linear, and remain in the background of the game itself. Have you stuck with this approach with Fallout 3? Or have you chosen a more linear, narrative style for the main storyline?

Gavin: We want all of our games to have a compelling central narrative to drives the events of the gameworld along. To that end, the central storyline is a bit more structured than the rest of the game. The more linear structure allows us to build in drama and character elements, which suffer in a more non-linear arrangement. That said, we took great pains to make sure that the player is minimally constrained in their exploration of the world and pursuit of the plot. There are very few places that are off-limits until specific sections of the story.

GB: In Fallout 1 and 2, certain dialogue choices could potentially close off or open quests and dialogue paths. Will we be seeing this sort of thing in Fallout 3? If so, how often does it occur?

Gavin: Yes, we tried to implement choice as much as possible. Virtually all quests in the game have some branching aspect to them, and you can and will lock off certain quests and their rewards depending on the choices you make.
(...)
GB: You've talked about giving players "second chances" for a lot of choices. Other than game-changers like blowing up Megaton, does this mean the player can diligently move between good/neutral/evil during the course of the game without reprecussions? Additionally, can a player leave a faction to join another without consequence, or will the player wind up being alienated by either faction?

Gavin: The player is not locked into any course of action, so a good player can commit an evil act whenever they choose, or vice versa. It is up to the player to decide how their characters would react to certain situations. Each individual good, evil, or neutral decision can carry its own rewards or consequences. These all add into your karma level, which is an overall value that can also affect people’s reactions.

There’s no Oblivion-like factions in Fallout 3 that the player can join. The player is free to take quests and tasks from anyone they choose, though many choices (blowing up Megaton for instance) can cause repercussions down the line, locking you out of certain quests or rewards, while opening ones you may not have been able to obtain otherwise.

News for Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:24

Author of the Fallout 3 guide David Hodgson continues his Fallout 3 guide highlights.

This is followed by a massive and meticulous section on Perks. Mining the Bethesda development team for information, I was able to reveal every single Perk, the character level the Perk is available, how many times (or “ranks”) the Perk can be chosen, and any other requirements needed to receive the Perk. Then comes the crazy part; there’s advice on whether this Perk is going to help you in gameplay situations, and how. Every Perk gets its own tactical advice where appropriate, so you end up choosing only the Perks that benefit your style of play, and you never waste points. Is “Commando” a better Perk than “Gunslinger”? You’ll know when you’ve digested this section! Oh, and the Perks section ends with a list of Perks you can only receive during specific Quests, which is handy.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:23

The PMS3 blog replies to the responses to their own remark about the PS3 version, by comparing all three versions.

The PC version of Fallout 3 is gorgeous. The colours are vivid, the draw distance is endless, the textures are high-res and the lighting effects are beautifully subtle, especially when you're gazing over the Capital Wasteland at sunset. It's the best-looking of the three.

The Xbox 360 version's textures are noticeably rougher than on PC, and objects in the distance aren't quite as clear. It does, however, boast an impressively solid frame rate. The game is, otherwise, identical.

NOW, the PS3 version looks the same as on Xbox, but things in the distance are slightly jaggier/rougher, the textures seem 'muddier' up-close and the frame rate is choppier, especially during the last few story missions (which may be the same on Xbox, but we've not seen the equivalent scenes to comment). We won't spoil anything, but the set-pieces here are MASSIVE, and the engine quivers under the weight of what's happening.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:53

We put up a few quotes from PSM3's 90/100 Fallout 3 review earlier, but here's a lot more of it and let me tell you, it's the most negative, criticism-filled 90/100 review I've ever seen.

+ A free-roaming epic for FPS fans?
+ Almost 100 hours of gameplay?
+ Celebrity voices and '50s music?
- As consistently good as Oblivion

Fallout's one of the biggest, deepest RPGs on PS3. Not a role-playing fan? It's also a brutal and accomplished FPS. It tells an incredible story across 100+ hours, but it's also packed with Call of Duty-style set pieces. As we type, we're 20 hours in and have finished the main story, but the volume of worthy remaining side quests is boggling.
(...)
The Capital Wasteland stretches for miles in every direction, and what you do now is your choice. The game nudges you towards Megaton, a nearby shanty town constructed from the remains of a crashed jumbo jet, but you needn't bother. The main 'quest' features the game's best set-pieces, but if you want to build stats, gather weapons and money to buy supplies, it's wise to attempt one of the game's myriad side quests. The wastes look barren and empty, but every few miles you'll bump into someone looking for help or an offer of work. Problem is, the side quests aren't that satisfying. You can spend an hour traipsing through a subway tunnel fighting giant ants, only to find some low-level loot and a handful of bottle caps (the game's currency) at the end. Quests that offer up moral quandaries result in little more than raised or lowered karma (your character's good/evil meter) and an underwhelming reward. In Oblivion you felt as if your choices were affecting communities, but the scope of your actions in Fallout is disappointingly limted.
By any other standards, the game's ripe with highlight. In a town called Canterbury Commons, two rival superheroes (the Antagoniser and the Mechanist) are at battle, turning the streets into a warzone and terrorizing its residents. The mayor asks for your help, and you end up battling through each hero's secret underground lair to end their reign of terror. You even get their ridiculous costumes as a reward if you finish the quest in a certain way. And working for the slavers (human slavery is rife in the world of Fallout) is deliciously evil; especially when you're tricking hapless eight year-old kids into a life over eternal, thankless servitude.
(...)
Fallout 3's world looks incredible, tinged by the chill of the desolate, post-apocalyptic emptiness. But, sadly, the PS3 version compares poorly to its Xbox and PC counterparts. It's not a deal-breaker, but PS3 clearly wasn't the lead platform -disappointing since Oblivion looked better on PS3 than on Xbox.
(...)
Our only major gripe is the weak voice acting, which often doesn't match the face of the person it's coming from. Craggy-faced raiders will threaten you in a perfectly-intoned medieval brogue and every child has the same voice. It's a critical oversight, and shatters the illusion that you're in another world. The celebrity voice talent, however, is excellent. Liam Neeson has gravitas as your father, Malcolm McDowell is excellently pompous as the mysterious president Eden and Ron Perlman reprises his narrator's role from the first two games.
(...)
Fallout's genius is that there's so much to see, do and discover, and it's rare you'll find a character who doesn't have a quest or directions to a new location. The game buckles under the weight of its own ambition in some of the epic scenes at the end (it can't emulated Call of Duty-style set-pieceS), but wandering the wastes, finding new towns and getting involved in the world's politics is a thrill. The role-playing isn't far-reaching as Oblivion and as an FPS it's merely above average, but there's no other shooters on PS3 as deeply imaginative and rewarding. Only BioShock offers such a consistent, well-designed world.
Until you've sat with it for 30 hours, from birth to epic ending, you won't realise how engrossing it is. The freedom may scare people used to shooters like Resistance and the simplified customisation might disappoint hardcore RPGers, but if ever a game was worthy broadening your horizons for, this is it.
(...)
Better than Oblivion?
Find out how F3 compares to Bethesda's epic RPG...


Is it better? Well, frankly, no, it improves a lot of gameplay niggles, but the overall experience is less consistently entertaining. And also, because so much is unchanged, it doesn't feel as fresh as Oblivion did when we first played it. The dialogue is a lot better, as are the character models. They're still ugly and slightly emotionless, but a far cry from the sloth-mouthed meat puppets of Cyrodiil. But the quests they give aren't as interesting or memorable. Remember stepping into the painting in Cheydinhal? Or pirates hijacking the Bloated Float? And the Dark Brotherhood quests? There's nothing nearly as imaginative or memorably in Fallout, save for a few key missions in the main quests.
And the environment's just not as much fun to explore. It's gorgeous, sure, but the sweeping fields of Oblivion were a joy to ramble in, unlike Fallout's desolate wasteland. Cyrodiil was split into distinct, varied regions - the mountains, the swamps, the forest - whereas DC is all grey gloom and lots of scattered debris and rubbled.
Things that are superior include the loading times (probably improved byu about 70%) and how you can wait for a different time of day without the game having load in all the 'night' textures. Ranged combat is also a lot more robust, although the AI is still incredibly dim, with enemies rarelu making intelligent use of cover during gunfights. There's a lot of negativity here, but if you loved Oblivion, you'll love Fallout 3. Simple. You just won't be as enthralled by the world.
Thanks Ausir.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:29

GamingIndians.com reports that Fallout 3's Xbox 360 version has been cancelled due to "cultural sensitivities", while the PS3 and PC versions were never set to hit that country.

Here’s the statement from Microsoft India:

Microsoft constantly endeavors to bring the best games to Indian consumers in sync with their international release. However, in light of cultural sensitivities in India, we have made the business decision to not bring Fallout 3 into the country.

Games fail to release in India for various reasons - high prices, lack of distribution - but “cultural sensitivities” is a first, it would seem. With games like Postal, Bioshock, Grand Theft Auto and many more on stores shelves for anyone to purchase, it really makes you wonder what exactly it is that made the release Fallout 3 in India such a business risk.
Via Kotaku, thanks Confalone.

Blend Games speculates the Brahmin are the reason for this.
I consider myself largely ignorant about Indian culture but: could the cancellation have been about cows? In the Fallout games, survivors of the apocalypse use "brahmin" - two-headed cows mutated by radiation - as pack animals. In Hindu religion, cows are revered and it wouldn't surprise me if the ability of players to shoot up herds of "brahmin" in Fallout 3 factored into the cancellation. The name of the radiated cows probably didn't help matters, either, as the term originates in India. "Brahman" is the name of a breed of cattle from India and the name of a prominent concept in Hindu religion ("the primal source and ultimate goal of all beings"). "Brahmin" is also the term for "the class of educators, scholars and preachers in Brahminical Hinduism" according to Wikipedia, which is making me sound a lot smarter than I am here. Could any or all of this hit some sort of nerve?

Posted by Morbus - at 17:24

The Brainy Gamer has a very (very) interesting post about Fallout and Fallout 3. Interesting, not because of the conclusions, but because of the process used to reach them.

My students have been playing Fallout 1 and 2 for a couple of weeks, preparing for the release of Fallout 3. (...)

So when I handed them Fallout (half played the original, half the sequel) with no instructions or special preparation, they struggled. A lot. They had the original manuals, but almost nobody read them. After exiting the vault, they had no idea where to go or what to do. Their movements were limited for no apparent reason; "action points" made no sense; and they died within minutes nearly everywhere they went.

A few early posts from our online forum:
Idk if anyone else has this problem but I am having a hard time getting anything done... I started as Max Stone hopin to kill some things and level up... but there isn't much 2 kill... the redscorpians are owning me... Any way to move like a little bit quicker? (...)

I'm terrible about reading manuals and whatnot, so it took me forever to find out how to rest because the pipboy doesn't work originally and I didn't try it again until I clicked it by accident. So far, I appreciated being left to my own devices, but because the game is so old, with the graphics it has and whatnot, it sometimes is hard to recognize what needs to be done. Like it's only after you play a game like this that you realize how much easier having glowing objects of interest is.
(...) Suddenly, they got Fallout. They grokked the mechanics and embraced the non-linear gameplay. They made peace with uncertainty. But more importantly, they built a relationship with the character and the offbeat but perilous world. (...)

But this takes time. Fallout doesn't greet you with a getting-to-know-you opening level or a hand-holding tutorial. My students were willing - granted, at my insistence - to keep plugging away, and they were richly rewarded for their efforts. It's nice to be right. I may have even gained back the credibility I lost with Planetfall (which is a great game no matter what they say!)

And so we met again this morning. After a long and productive conversation I asked them how they were feeling about Fallout 3. "They're totally gonna screw up that game," said one student. "They're gonna say shoot this guy in the eyeball, like they're giving you all these choices, but you know they're gonna make it run and gun. You're gonna be running around blowing stuff up, and all the shooter players are gonna love it. But it won't be Fallout. I promise you. It won't be Fallout." "It looks pretty amazing," observed another, "and it should be fun. But yeah, it probably won't be Fallout."
If you're reading this, go read the whole thing. Now!

Link: Fallout 180 @ The Brainy Gamer

Seriously. Also, thanks Briosafreak

News for Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Posted by MrBumble - at 19:46

PSM3 have quite liked Fallout 3 since they gave it a 90/100 in their last review because, according to them, "Fallout 3 is as action-packed as a Call of Duty game"... However, it seems that they are also a bit concerned by how the game compares to the Xbox360 and PC versions. Here is what they had to say about it :

Fallout 3's world looks incredible, tinged by the chill of the desolate, post-apocalyptic emptiness. But, sadly, the PS3 version compares poorly to its Xbox and PC counterparts. It's not a deal-breaker, but PS3 clearly wasn't the lead platform -disappointing since Oblivion looked better on PS3 than on Xbox.
Coming from a Playstation dedicated magazine, odds are it might be true.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:15

PC Game Fun Time has an editorial about the sacrifices Fallout 3 had to make due the gaming censorship.

Undeniably, a part of that magic was the mature nature of the games. The original Fallout series featured many adult topics, including sex, prostitution, drugs, and drug addiction. Unfortunately, times change, and many of these topics are no longer considered fit for video games, at least if they want to avoid the instant death sentence that is an “Adults Only” (AO) rating. Games with this rating will not be sold in most brick and mortar stores, which means there is little hope of AO games achieving the kind of sales that less harshly rated titles often do.

Because of this rating stigma, there are a number of things from the original games which will not be included in Fallout 3:

1. Nudity - While you may not have even realized it while playing because the graphics were so primitive, in Fallout 2 if you played as a female your character would be topless for the entire opening sequence. (Actually, male characters were topless too). This actually fit in well with the fact that you were a member of a primitive tribal society.
2. Prostitution - Sure, there will be Prostitutes in Fallout 3. But will you, the main character, be able to pursue a career in making porn, like in Fallout 2? I doubt it. Also, in Fallout 2 seduction could be used to further a quest or just for your own amusement. It seems unlikely that these options will be present to the extent they were in previous games.
3. Child Killing - In Fallout 2, there were these annoying little pickpocket urchins in one of the major cities. While I personally never actually killed one of them, you could attack them, and killing them was on the table. It takes away from the atmosphere of the game if going in you know that some characters will be invincible for no apparent in-game reason.
#2 isn't fully correct, seduction will likely play a role though it's unknown if Fallout's "sleep with him, it solves everything" remains. Pretty sure #1 isn't correct about the topless PC, but I'll leave that to our pixel-counting brethren.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:10

Blend Games compares screenshots of the upcoming post-apocalyptic action-RPG titles Fallout 3 and Borderlands.

Look, I’m just going to come out and say it: Fallout 3 looks a bit like Gears of War, the original. It certainly isn’t criticism and you would have to be crazy not to take it as a compliment. The grey-scale shading and faded apocalyptic look gives the game a definite post-war feel. The screen blur and field-of-vision effect also work really well for this game. Toss in colors distinct enough to always look like a painting and some spot-on model and environmental texture work, and you have yourself one of the best genre-based visuals featured in a game, ever. Also, huge props to the art team for the poignant accents of the metal in this game. Crazily good.
(...)
Borderlands has a strange look to it. There’s definitely a steam-punk theme to this game, but the colors are much more vibrant in Borderlands to suit the different elemental effects some of the guns and equipment feature. There’s also a very nice aesthetic to the realtime shading effects; sporting tints and gradient blends that reflect the different atmospheric changes. Given the kind of lighting and texture detail in Borderlands, it’s tough to say which game looks better. I’m tempted to call a tie, but I would give a very, very, very, slight edge to Fallout 3, and only because it sports better illumination in the contrasting.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:13

RPG Vault offers an interview on the music of Fallout 3, talking to composer Inon Zur.

Jonric: Would you tell us about the various influences that inspired or otherwise came to be reflected in these tracks, especially the main theme?

Inon Zur: Some of it was inspired by the sci-fi music of Jerry Goldsmith, but I was really trying to take orchestral elements into no man's land, so to speak, and then combine it with some weird non-orchestral ones, so it has a futuristic approach, but in a retro kind of way.

You try to capture the reference of looking back to the past with lots of longing, looking at the present dark times while trying to look forward in a heroic way to the future. You are trying to capture all of that in the main theme.
(...)
Jonric: Based on your awareness of the universe, what impressions do you have about Fallout 3, aside from the music?

Inon Zur: The universe is the same one as before, but the treatment from Bethesda is harsher. It's more story-driven, less technical, which definitely helps separate it from the others. Also, the characters are being played by Liam Neeson, Ron Perlman and some other big names, which really helps. It's very cinematic and dramatic.

News for Sunday, October 19, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 19:29

PC Action Germany takes a look at Fallout 3. They give the game a 90%, explaining the detractions from 100% as -4% handling of the Pip-Boy could be easier; -2% some boring dungeon-crawling; -1% dreary environment; -1% player character moving too slow; -1% inventory has console-like feel to it.

Tidbits and translation by DJS4000:

[It seems the whole review had not been conducted “in-house”, but was a bethesda-sponsored event-like meeting in a luxury hotel in Nuremberg. They got to play the game for two days, which equals around 15 hours.]
[introduction and history of the fallout universe]
The tutorial is, literally, child's play. You will witness your birth, during which your mother dies, and then play through important parts of your childhood. But first you get to choose Name, Sex and Appearance, ethnic origin, hairdo, -color and one of ten faces.

[further description of the tutorial, how you learn to use WASD, the mouse-wheel, switch between first and third person. your 10th birthday, where you get the Red Ryder and learn about V.A.T.S.]

At the end of the tutorial you can either keep your stats or completely realign them. No big surprise for everyone who has played Oblivion. The tutorial is a strong indicator of the likeness of both titles, gameplay-wise.

[they go on explaining the first minutes after you left the vault, what perks are, etc. no criticism here]

The first settlement you see is Megaton, a city build around a dud nuke. But don't get us wrong, you don't have to go there. Whatever you do is completely your choice. The main quest creates its own story arc throughout the game, what you do apart form it is up to you. You can complete the game without doing any secondary quests, but we strongly advise you to do as many of them as you can. It's very rewarding.

[they explain choice and consequence by going through the megaton quest, and how you, as a female, can talk Bourke out of his fantasies with a high speech-skill and the “black-widow”-perk]

With this particular quest, both solutions lead to the same reward: some money, equipment, good or bad karma and, as the main prize, your own apartment. Here you can store items, rest to regenerate and even practice your Ikea-skills. You even get your own robot butler, who, on request, will tell you a lot of bad jokes. It is at this point, that you realize who the real stars in this game are: lots and lots of details, built into game with love. They put life into the twisted world. Part of this is the excellent dialogue [keep in mind, they have the German localization here, which, quite uncommon, seems to be excellent], the detailed, believable characters and the funny illustrations with the vault-boy, just to name a few. In only 15 hours of testing we experienced so much of the post-apocalyptic world, and everything fit together and made sense. This goes for secondary quests, too, and although they won't have so far reaching consequences like Megaton, they will almost always put you, the player, in front of decisions with moral implications. Re-playability is high.

Just one question remains: How good is Fallout 3 in direct comparison with Oblivion? Localization is excellent, and there are no unnerving abbreviations. Usability of the inventory is good, although the pip-boy-screen could have been bigger. You cannot quick-bind certain functions of the pip-boy, so you always have to go through the pip-screen, which gets boring after a while. Visually speaking, Fallout 3 is not quite up to Oblivion. Washed-out textures, and low-detail characters are a bit disappointing. What looks really good though are weapons and weapon effects, especially the Fat Man. Throughout the review, the game ran smoothly under Vista in a resolution of 1600x1200 with maximum details. The machine was 2.66Ghz quadcore with 4GB of ram and a GeForce 9800GT.

Reviewer's Commentary 1:

I bow down to the programmers! Fallout 3 came out exactly like I wanted it to be. Bethesda managed to force the look, feel and humor of the 2D-predecessors in a 3D-corset. I am especially turned on by the high replay-value. Good or Evil, Man or Woman, Action or Adventure – Fallout 3 offers you all of it, if you let yourself in. Not even Oblivion offered this much detail and complexity.

Reviewer's Commentary 2:

“[he begins the paragraph with insulting the first reviewer, who “drools more than a hungry Giant Schnauzer”] But I have to confess: I like Fallout 3 just as much. Not even for its looks, there are definitely better looking games, but the excellent story and virtually limitless freedom tickle my post-apocalyptic nature. The possibility to engage the hassle-free bodypart-targeting-mode in a firefight is brilliant. [he ends the paragraph by insulting the first reviewer, who is “worse than censored localizations”]

Posted by Adz - at 14:40

Amazon has sent out an email notifying its customers the CE PC cancellation was in error, and pre-orders have been restored.

We are writing with regard to your order xxxxxxxxxx which included the following item:

B0017Y38TI

Fallout 3 UK Collectors Edition (PC)

It has come to our attention that due to a system error, this item was erroneously cancelled from your order and an automatic e-mail informing you of this cancellation was erroneously dispatched to you. Please accept our sincere apologies.

We are happy to inform you that “Fallout 3 UK Collector's Edition (PC)” is once again available to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk.

To resubmit your pre-order for this title, please visit the following link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fallout-3-UK-Collectors-PC/dp/B0017Y38TI

Again, apologies for any inconvenience or confusion caused.

News for Saturday, October 18, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 18:46

In case you're interested in the Fallout 3 launch party for some reason, Joystiq attended it an writes up on the experience. Entertainment Weekly has a bit on Dave Grohl almost dedicating a song to Sarah Palin. And OMG Yahoo! has some photos of celebrities in attendance.

What does any of this actually have to do with Fallout 3? Zilch.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:42

We're on the threshold of full-fledged review wars, but GamingExcellence has a preview of Fallout 3 up just now.

I was also privy to the lockpicking and computer hacking mini-games. While both were challenging, I found neither particularly fun in comparison to the main game, and likely would have been happier with a simple skill roll. The lock picking game used the two thumbsticks on the controller as the lockpick and screwdriver, where each has to be turned at precisely the right moment to succeed. The hacking game was basically mastermind, which means your mileage will vary depending on you love of old-school board games. Search through some computer code for a password, and the computer would tell you how many letters of the password you got correct. I yearned for an opprtunity to shoot something.

Despite it's flaws and differences over the previous entries, this is a significant departure from the Elder Scrolls universe, and "Oblivion with guns" is a disgusting simplification of this promising game. While on the surface, it's easy to marginalize a game like this as re-invented to a flaw. I'm sure many people were aching for an overhead perspective and turn-based combat. I'd be lying if I didn't say that at some point, I was one of them.

Still, as much as I tried to dislike Fallout 3, I would start playing to find how many of the old audio cues are pulled from the first games and think "this is Fallout". I would score a critical on a bandit, blowing his head clean off and think "this is Fallout". I would come across a Brotherhood of Steel outpost, see a hulking set of power armor and think "this is Fallout".

Posted by Brother None - at 16:35

PC PowerPlay Australia gives Fallout 3 a 9.

Unlike Oblivion, enemy levels remain fixed for the duration of the game. Travelling back to lower-level areas as a seasoned veteran no longer runs the risk of being accosted by a noob raider with power armour and a mini-gun.
This does mean there are zones out there that are grotesquely dangerous to a Level 6, but knowing when to fight or take flight is all part of the fun.
(...)
Help is at hand in the form of the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (VATS). Combat takes place either in real-time, FPS-style, or through VATS. It's not exactly turn-based, but it works very well indeed (much better than real-time).
The system is powered by Action Points (AP), with a varying amount of points depending on proficiency, stat allocation and weapon.
(...)
If the standard level of grue [sic] isn't enough, a mid-level perk, Bloody Mess, will make kills even more, well, bloody, meaning even a humble pistol kill can make an enemy look like they just swallowed a family bucket of grenades.
There is something strange about the physics here, however, and it's a deeper problem than the unlikely body-popping that Bloody Mess can deliver.
Character models bounce around just a little too much, unless all that radiation has mutated the asphalt somehow. The added bounce gives the distinct impression of fighting puppets, as enemies flail around on the floor like marionettes on heat.
Combat often inflicts a heavy toll. Even a few stray shots from a distant Raider can have a marked impact on hit points, and players are just as prone to being crippled as an enemy.
Wise indeed is the player who invests a few points in the Medicine skill and keeps their reserves of Stim Packs, Pure Water and other assorted restoratives as well-stocked as possible.
In a post-nuclear world, these commodities are hard, and expensive, to come by.
A cheaper option is to take a nap on a bed where possible, but this can be difficult given that beds with an 'owner' are strictly off-limits.
(...)
On top of keeping tabs on all the other attributes, the Pip-Boy kindly monitors Karmic alignment. It's not hard to figure out what actions are going to affect Karma, for better or worse. In populated areas the consequences of your actions are made clearer still, with Karma negative actions flagged red on the UI.
(...)
Anyone opting to play a real "bad ass" will be glad to know that slavery is back, so dust off the old stun gun, wheel out those slave collars and get ready to kiss that Karma goodbye.
(...)
It is a testament to level design that the faster option between two points doesn't always feel like the best option. Trekking across the map on foot often brings up unexpected diversions and side-quests and greatly enhances your immersion in the game.
(...)
Having said all that, it's worth remembering that people in towns rarely turns aggressive unless they spot someone breaking the law. Committing a crime is one thing, but being caught is another matter entirely.
Get caught indulging in minor crimes, such as theft and trespass and the owner of the property will attempt to reclaim it, either by putting their dukes up, or running for help. Fighting back escalates the Assault, which is classified a major crime.
Assault someone and the victim's friends (basically anyone in the vicinity) will all get stuck in. The same applies for Murder. With a whole township on your tail the only options are to kill every mother-humping last one of them, or hide out and wait until they forget about that one time you slayed their best mate, and cease their hostilities.
(...)
That's right folks, the panic about the perspective-shift was totally unfounded. The game looks fantastic. It oozes Fallout from every pixel and the lack of self-referential hilarity only adds to the immersive effect of the world.
Fears about the Oblivion engine are partially justified, with the odd whiff of it in the omniscient town dwellers who keep managing to spot small-time larceny through three sets of walls and doors.
Fears about the removal of real-life drug references and a shift to first-person perspective are entirely unjustified. The third-person feels like a letdown at first, but once you get used to it, it's perfectly functional.
Minor niggles aside, Fallout 3 is almost entirely spectacular. Everything from the graphics, to the sound, to the plot is first-rate. The VATS system works like a charm and it's so easy to get the hang of, you'll be cracking skulls like there's no tomorrow. The depravity has escaped the censors block too, with slavery sneaking in through a back door.
(...)
System required: Beastly
Pros: Brilliant art direction; so much content!; Three Dog. Yeah!
Cons: Odd character physics; no timed autosave; map isn't too clear
He sure talks about the perspective a lot. As if that was the only or even the biggest concern about the game compared to it predecessor. Turn-based, Mr Reviewer?

Thanks Manticore.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:19

Although the OXM review still seems to be mostly hidden out of view (perhaps more from this magazine later), the 10 (out of a possible 11) score has been confirmed (in the same mag Fable II got a 9.5 and Dead Space a 6.5), and here is the conclusion and the bullet points:

By now, you've probably noticed that we're giving Fallout 3 a big ol' score, so in the interests of quelling any outcry - no, this game is not perfect. In particular, we really wish that Bethesda had worked more on the dialogue system. In this post-Mass Effect era, it's disappointing not to hear yourself talk and to have to pick your dialogue options from big blos of text. Other quibbles: NPC chatter often overlaps in a confusing tangle, the third-person view is more than a bit crap, and we were always bummed that in such an otherwise-detailed world, no one noticed the corpses of their friends who we'd just stealthily killed. The biggest annoyance, though, is not being able to fast-travel unless you're outside - commuting sucks enough in real life, so we really resent it in our games!

But those points really are quibbles at worst. Our 40-ish hours of game time over four days at Bethesda's Maryland HQ went on fast-forward. We often forgot to eat, and we begrudged bathroom breaks. Games this captivating don't come along often. Between its engrossing story, ginormous world, well-crafted RPG side, and white-knuckle FPS combat, Fallout 3 completely, utterly gives you your $60 worth.

+ A genuinely compelling story that you want to follow.
+ Massive, rich world that you'll explore for a loooong time.
+ Intense, challenging combat
? Can someone make a real-life Pip-Boy? That'd kick some iPhone ass.

News for Thursday, October 16, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 0:34

The newest dev diary comes from the Fallout 3 level designing team and talks about level design.

This exposed perhaps our most daunting design challenge; how do we communicate to the player who has been conditioned to expect to “complete” a level that D.C. is just too big to tackle in a sitting?

The game world is filled with tiny cues to try and communicate to the player that they should leave from time to time and return later. Most players realize soon into exploring downtown that the scope of the area is expansive. Character dialogue reinforces that the city is vast and dangerous. Connective areas are generally very short, and share a naming convention to reinforce that they aren't full-length level experiences, while full fledged levels are given names unique and more meaningful – such as the Museum of Technology or the Capitol Building – to hint at the nature of the level within. Expeditions into the heart of the city also tend to be much more trying than encounters in the Wasteland around Vault 101, the player's starting point. Low-level characters can expect to run home licking their wounds if they venture very far into the municipality of post-war D.C. There are also many discoverable map markers in the ruins. Each of these provides a fast travel point to return to as well as a small experience point reward for finding them. These cues serve as a sort of optional checkpoint system, reminding the player that they can take a trip to town, sell loot and rest up, then easily return to this spot to resume scavenging D.C. at a later time.

We also filled D.C. with small stories to help build the larger arc of the player’s experience. These stories are side quests from our quest designers, traditional levels with their own secrets to uncover, or one of numerous terminals, notes or recordings. Fallout is a world rife with the unfinished tales of lives cut short by nuclear holocaust, as well as those of unlucky survivors who scrabble out a meager life from such dire circumstances. With such a deep well from which to draw inspiration, time was the only limit on how many tales could be told. D.C. is full of these stories, told through any combination of text, dialogue, or more subtle venues.

The written word is a powerful and direct tool for storytelling. Much of our storytelling as level designers, however, is told with the voice of the world. For every space in the game, however minor, we asked ourselves “why is this here” and “what’s happened here?” Even when this back story isn’t conveyed directly to the player, it informs even minor level design decisions and lends an honest quality to the space. A lonely grave, a heap of human gore, or a long-abandoned outpost convey atmosphere and meaning without a single written word. These small stories all contribute to both the truth of setting and the unique narrative of each player’s experience playing Fallout 3. Their distribution through the world is designed to intersperse the player experience with more punctuation marks to keep time playing the game from blending into a hazy, forgettable miasma.


Thanks Ausir.

News for Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:53

Emil tells of the genesis of V.A.T.S. over on the BGSF. A bit:

With V.A.T.S., whether you love it or hate it, the fact remains that the system in the shipping game is one we played, and played, and played, and tweaked and tweaked and tweaked, until we found what we felt was the right balance between tactical combat and exciting gameplay. And that includes additional ideas and work by many, many people that go far beyond the original paper design. A big part of this, of course, is combat balance. I've seen some comments where people think Fallout 3 is too easy because of V.A.T.S -- I honestly don't think they'll get that impression after they've played the game, for a few reasons:

1.) We designed the combat balance with V.A.T.S. use in mind. Trust me, those who say they won't use it will. If there's one thing we learned throughout development it's that people use V.A.T.S. It just feels natural, and the camera playbacks are a kind of visual crack. So V.A.T.S. is one part tactical, one part pure visceral entertainment. Chances are at least one of those elements will appeal to you, and you'll end up using V.A.T.S.

2.) Don't forget, at any time, you can change the difficulty of the game. So Fallout 3 being too hard or two easy is really a non-issue. So if you DON'T want to use V.A.T.S. at all, there's a difficulty setting you'll be comfortable with.

3.) If you're not careful, you'd be surprised how completely torn apart you can get in those moments when your AP bar is recharging. When you're almost dead, and you're out of AP, you've got to play really smart or you WILL die. So believe me, V.A.T.S. is not some kind of endless "get out of jail free" card.

And there you have it. At the end of the day... screw the math, screw the numbers, screw what looked brilliant in a Word doc -- games are about sitting down with your hands on a controller or mouse, and playing. At the end of the day, that's how we designed V.A.T.S., and that's what we feel is the only way systems like that should be designed.

Posted by Brother None - at 23:43

Another review from Europe comes from Polish magazine Click!, who score it 8.75/10. Ausir translates.

To sum it up, Fallout 3 is not a perfect product and people will be as divided about it after the release as before it. The malcontents will harshly criticize Bethesda for simplifying the gameplay compared to previous iterations of the series, and the PC version will require a patch or two (one is reportedly to be released on day 1). (…) The most important thing is that the makers managed to keep the mature atmosphere of the series and its most important trait - the ability to shape the story yourself. The new game begins (and ends), just like its predecessors, with the legendary words: “War, war never changes.” The same can be said about Fallout.

Fallout 3 is a game different from its great predecessor, but it doesn’t mean it’s worse. It’s just a continuation of the series adjusted to an entirely new age of interactive entertainment - fortunately, it keeps the atmosphere of the originals. Despite minor flaws, it is a strong contender for being the RPG of the year!

Pros:

* A good recreation of Fallout’s atmosphere
* Freedom of play
* The VATS system

Cons:

* Somewhat simplified gameplay compared to previous games
* Slight technical problems


More tidbits here.

Posted by MrBumble - at 20:30

French magazine CanardPC feature a five pages article on Fallout 3. What should have been a review is actually a preview (the real review will come once Fallout 3 is released in Europe) because, it seems, Omar Boulon has had quite a hard time playing the game in proper conditions. Here are some excerpts:

Critical Hit on our hopes...

The more time passes, the more I feel like this dog, barking and foaming at every car that happens to be passing by. I run after them, trying to bite their wheel rims, to crush their tires, their muffler, but I miss.They are going too fast, too far from me. And even if I succeeded ? What would happen anyway ? I bite a moving wheel, it stomps my face, I assault some scrap, it smashes my teeth. Some things are so lifeless, so sluggish that you can't possibly let off steam on them. Fallout 3, anyone ?
[...]
This article is not a test. Just an "introduction for things to come". Why? Because the conditions under which I had to play this "RPG" were not acceptable: sixteen hours in a row in a luxurious hotel on an almost finished build, Bethesda asking to see my screenshots in order to "approve" them...These factors, going from obnoxious to truly scandalous would have made my review biased or even dishonest. Well, I mean a little more dishonest than what I usually do. But have no fear, even though I was deprived of my screenshots, I'm not deprived from my opinion. Condolences: Fallout 3 is a sluggish device, soulless, not exactly terrible, actually almost enjoyable, but totally forgettable because of uncountable dishonest compromises.
[...]
From what I've seen, Fallout 3 does not have any of the qualities of the previous episodes. But that was to be expected. However, it has none of the diffuse magic of the Elder Scrolls series. It feels like Bethesda made a break with this new title, a sad bend towards products multiplying "fan service", the dumb, goofy stuff that will make the client laugh, the "awsum roxxorz" elements and micro-gameplay to the detriment of world coherence and deeper mechanisms. To sum it all up, expect loads of shallow combat spoiled by VATS and slowmotion sequences as gore as pathetic, a terribly short main quest - a Spanish colleague has finished it in less than an afternoon, during his first playthrough - nice secondary quests, but which completely missed the intelligence and density of the series, the whole being flavored with failed occasions.
[...]
With technical means a lot inferior, Fallout 1 and 2 managed to depict this world in all its rococo excess and misery in a formidable manner. But no, despite the dismantled bridges, the huge depth of field, the buildings trying their best not to fall down, it just does not work. By the way, when I came back to CanardPC and people asked me "How is Fallout 3?", honestly, all that I could say at first was "Brown". These ochre shades smash, make the most eccentric idea - let's say, why not, the Washington area transformed into a battlefield scarred by trenches - bland, commonplace, immediately boring. Even worse, where the atmosphere of decay should have been palpable, when you are walking in a city overflowed by skyscrapers ruins, disembowelled roads, peopled by half-savages, one can focus on but one thing: ruins placed strategically to prevent you from crossing the street because designers decided that you shouldn't take THIS path.
[...]
Most locations you can discover are "raider dungeons". City ruins are copy-paste of the same and only model, here and there flavored by the same and only model of tricycle (the very poetic "Red Ryder") and even worse, the main quest will get you through an Hellgate London-ish nightmare in which you had to pass through kilometers of underground for hours and hours.
[...]
How about random encounters ? Well, I have yet to see one. Caravans wander in between cities, you can meet on or two non-aggressive guys in the underground but nothing original at a random road crossing, nothing spectacular at all. Worse than this, Dogmeat is to be found in the exact same spot at the north east of the map while we were originally told that his location is random. However, depending on your karma, you will come across bounty-hunters. I know that this is a cool thing, but remember that you'll never be attacked during fast travels.
[...]
Even when you want to explore things and let alone the main quest for a while, it still tastes weird. Besides the cardboard sets, the feeling of emptiness suddenly goes away. Just like in Oblivion and Gothic 3, adventure awaits at every corner of the street. Literally, unfortunately. A two minute walk and you're there! A design decision which probably has everything to do with the average attention span of the console gamer.
[...]
The Sims 2 : Apocalypse

The second element that makes me think that Fallout 3 is condemned to mediocrity, as a Fallout episode but also as an RPG, is the total lack of coherence between all the elements of gameplay. Just an example. Pretty soon, you'll discover that the game has more to do with a doll's house than with roleplaying: you spend your time picking up clothes or armor parts that, *magic trick*, influence your skills. Pick up a surgeon overall, gain five Medicine points. Wear a camping suit, your agility is increased. All of a sudden, the building of a "role" - a specialized but unique and believable character, exactly what made the core of Black Isle's RPGs - is blown away. You just have to spend your caps on weapons, but even that is not necessary...For the rest, everybody who thinks for at least thirty seconds can make a multivalent character. One just needs the appropriate clothes, drugs to suddenly turn into a pyrotechnician, scientist, or burglar.
[...]
On the other hand, don't expect to be able to convince anybody that originally does not like you. NPC reactions are determined by your Karma and even a professional liar won't be able to convince someone who does not like him to become his partner. But have no fear: you can change your reputation just like you can switch clothes. You're too good to obtain what you wish? Steal, kill generic NPCs (those with no name) and here you are: the incarnation of evil! But don't worry: after three days, people forget about your deeds and you are forgiven.

Your karma is too low for a particular quest? Just kill bad guys and give water to hobos (it comes for free if you have your own house) and there you go: holier than saints. Where the first Fallout episodes where built around balancing your own desires and deciding what sacrifices you were ready to do in order to fulfil them, Bethesda sweeps this and allows you to switch styles at will. Nothing is important any more, everything becomes relative. Everything black. Everything white. No need for grey when redemption and condemnation are made so easy.
[...]
Secondary quests are a bit more original, from the fight between a woman who thinks she is Queen of the Ants and a "graduated robotologist", to a black and white remake of Desperate Housewives flavored with Happy Days. Certain situations could lead to absurd results, like becoming the official crash dummy for a Wasteland Survival Guide. Unfortunately, everything remains nice and unoffensive. It echoes the impossibility of killing children and the completely avoided sex scenes - pay a prostitute and she will go to bed and sleep, not offering any particular dialog choice or text, not even a black screen. Bethesda's hero is apparently no hero in the sack...
[...]
In certain cases, I even feel like the usage of VATS is indispensable. Example: while underground, I come face to face with two gatling turrets and some feral ghouls. I kill the ghouls with the FPS view and then, unable hit the defense system, after several death and increasing frustration, gave up and switched to VATS. With hit chances like 3 to 5%: no way I'm going to succeed. Still, two critical hits. Gatlings destroyed. But only if you aim the sensors: elsewhere it does not work. Honestly it feels as if enemies had weak points and if you shot them where the developer expected you to shoot, then stats suddenly become useless, immediately replaced by critical hits. There we go: Dragon's Lair.
[...]
VATS slow motion may be the worst crime against video gaming since the invention of the auto-aim and checkpoint based save system.
I don't know what the people of Bethesda had in mind... Maybe they feared that the game would be too short and imposed a twenty seconds on us at each targeted shot to extend the gameplay length, maybe they really desire that we notice their face modeling with independent eye globes, maybe they simply suffer from blaring bad taste, from a love for Brotherhood of Steel they want to share at any price?

Either way, this "feature" that retarded teenagers and moronic fans of "self-confident but still crappy" violence will love (and even then, not beyond the 10 first minutes), guarantees that you will avoid using the targeted shot system at any price. It sucks, it's ugly, it's not funny, it's long et absolutely useless.
Worst of all, there's no way to skip it or deactivate it in the options. You will be then forced to endure these scenes not even worthy of Soldier of Fortune 3.
[...]
Lambda players will probably enjoy it. But, us? Well, we still cannot swallow it, this mucky heresy. Sure, I could destroy it, dip it into a vat of hatred just to clean the insult. But it wouldn't make it better. It wouldn't bring Black Isle back. So if you don't mind, I'm going to stop here and have a drink at the café of broken dreams.

Ouch !

Posted by Brother None - at 5:14

The G4 X-Play special feature on Fallout 3 is available in parts on the website. It shows little new footage and what it does show is in small fragments, and is mostly just a video interview with the Bethesda staff. View its different parts: The Open World, Art & Tech, Weapons & Combat, RPG Elements and the somewhat peripheral The Story of Bethesda.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:40

This is still a story that lurks quietly in the background. Glutton Creeper Games, who had to change their Fallout pen and paper game into Exodus pen and paper after it turned out Interplay did not have the right to license Fallout to them, is taking Interplay to court now that Interplay's cross-complaint to Bethesda fell short, their website informs us:

In 2006, GCG licensed the IP Fallout from Interplay (to include the IP from the Interplay releases Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics, and Fallout BOS) to produce a line of role-playing PnP games under the d20 license and other role-playing systems.

In April 2007, Interplay sold the Fallout IP to Bethesda. One month later near the launch date of the Fallout PnP d20, Bethesda sent GCG and Interplay a Cease and Desist notification threatening damages to the Fallout IP. The Fallout PnP d20 game was revised over the next 6 months removing the Fallout IP and becoming the Exodus d20 Post Apocalyptic Role-Playing Game.

August 2007, GCG filed a lawsuit against Interplay for Breach of Contract and damages, which was approved in Orange County, CA in January 2008.

June 2008, Interplay has filed a cross-complaint against Bethesda.

August 2008, Bethesda/Zenimax has filed a motion for dismissal against Interplay's cross-complaint.

September 2008, Interplay's cross-complaint against Bethesda/Zenimax has been dismissed. GCG vs. Interplay court date scheduled for March 2009.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:15

This has been sitting in my inbox a while (sorry guys), the guys from Fallout Resurrection sent over an update.

Although this update is arriving on the brink of the long-awaited Fallout 3 release, we hope that it won’t just get lost among all the fabulous news, previews and an avalanche of disagreeable debates and comments. Nevertheless... Firstly we would like to assure you that we are still persistently working on Resurrection. Since the last update we’ve made quite a progress towards the longed for goal, though we are not done yet. We are doing everything in our power to finish the game before the end of this year, so wish us luck!

To sweeten your waiting we this time offer something quite different (and hopefully interesting) – you can listen to some brand new Falloutish music, which will also be included in Resurrection. To celebrate the upcoming release of Fallout 3, Emitremmus, the composer of Resurrection music, has prepared a music project for the whole Fallout community entitled “Nuclearization – A Voyage In The Post Atomic Unknown.” As you can probably tell from the name, it’s a somewhat darker ambient tribute to the great musical accompaniment of the original Fallouts. You can download the whole project from the author’s website http://www.takusama.com Among many unique melodies you’ll be able to find those that Emitremmus composed especially for some of the Fallout 1.5: Resurrection locations. On this website you’ll also find other additional information and neatly compiled interview with the author. So we say to all those of you who like this kind of music or are just curious: enjoy!

Additionally I’m pleased to welcome a new character animator to our team – MarkDey. With this additional help we’ll hopefully be able to expand the number of usable weapons for certain, more interesting, types of characters and enrich your game experience.

The last thing that I would like to bring to your attention in this update is the still available offer for 3D graphics artists, who would be interested in helping us with the creation of the ending screens. This area is unfortunately proving to be quite a pain in the… shoe, and we’d appreciate any help. If you are interested, please head straight to this page.
Link: Fallout 1.5: Resurrection site.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:49

BethBlog has a post dedicated to the Bethesda metro ad campaign, with more pictures of the ads up in the tubes.

They also put up 3 new wallpapers in their gallery.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:28

Ausir pointed this bit of news from Cenega, and translates:

Cenega, the Polish publisher of FO3 confirmed that the release date will be the same as in Western Europe - October 31. They also announced that the actor to play Dad in the Polish version will be Grzegorz Wons. Funny thing is that like Neeson, he has a Star Wars connection - he was C3PO in the version dubbed in Polish.

Aside from Poland-specific stuff, the press release says that there are 1350 pages of dialogue in the game, and 2000 pages of text overall. Over 80 actors were used for the Polish dubbing, so it can be assumed that the number is similar for the original version.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:24

It would be nice if someone who pre-ordered this from Amazon could comment, but it seems like Amazon.co.uk has cancelled pre-orders of the PC version of the UK collectors edition. The item's status has changed from "available for pre-order" to "sign up to be notified when the item becomes available".

There is a thread discussing the email Amazon.co.uk sent out to pre-order customers, we'll await further word.

Oddest point being it is gone for PC but not for Xbox 360 or PS3.

Addendum: here is the message from Amazon (thanks Adz):

Dear Customer,

We wanted to give you an update on the status of your order #XXX-XXXXXXX-XXXXXXX.

We are sorry to report that the release of the following item has been cancelled:

"Fallout 3 UK Collectors Edition (PC)"

This item has now been cancelled from your order and we can confirm that you have not been charged for it.

Please accept our apologies for any disappointment or inconvenience caused.

News for Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Posted by Tagaziel - at 22:43

While generally we do not post rumours without concrete evidence to back them up, this deserves an exception. The Official Xbox Magazine has reviewed Fallout 3 and apparently it has rated it 10/10 in their exclusive review.

More to come as information becomes available.

Thanks to Tollbooth Willie for pointing this out.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:58

System Requirements Lab offers a doo-dad to check if your system is up to snuff for Fallout 3, as does YouGamers. Try either one (or both) to find out if your PC can run Fallout 3.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:47

There's a heavy dose of irony on this article that talks about PC piracy mostly, but still the central point stands:

Hines discussed the problem of piracy with MTV Multiplayer just days before, ironically, the Xbox 360 version of “Fallout 3″ leaked. Piracy is still far more prevalent on the PC side, which has serious implications for studios like Bethesda Softworks, whose development bread-and-butter has been PCs.

“It is probably the most…[long pause]…probably the most difficult issue specifically facing PC gaming right now,” said somberly-toned “Fallout 3″product manager Pete Hines to me after playing four hours of his new game a few weeks ago. “How are we gonna walk that line?”
(...)
“The amount of times we see stuff coming through where it’s like, the resolution to the problem was [the] guy had a pirated copy of the game…” said a visibly frustrated Hines. “The amount of money we spend supporting people who didn’t pay us for the game in the first place…it’s f–ing ludicrous. We talk to other developers, guys who are [like] ‘Yeah, it’s a third, it’s 50% of our [customer] support.’”

Posted by Brother None - at 1:35

PC World has an article on the 15 coolest games of this Fall, and naturalement Fallout 3 is in it.

Matt: This one has been steeped in controversy ever since a wildly vocal minority elected to brand it as "unfaithful" to the originals. Don't buy what they're selling. First, those originals got better press than they deserved because RPGs in the late 1990s were rarer than jackalopes. (Beware crabby fanboys swathed in blinkered nostalgia!) Second, Bethesda has already done a pretty bang-up job capturing the spirit of the originals in promotional clips, so this skeptic's cap is tipped, and his fingers are triple-crossed.

Darren: I've actually had the chance to play through about a half-hour of the game, and what a huge mistake that was -- I wanted more. Lots more! The thing that's most frightening about Bethesda: Those people make huge, massively single-player offline games that'll chew up well over 100 hours of your life. But you won't miss the lost time as you traipse around a nuke-blasted Washington, D.C. From what I've seen so far, the inky-black humor from the original games remains intact. One thing that the haters jump on is the notion that it isn't a turn-based strategy game. Wrong! Hold down a button in combat, and it stops the clock, allowing you to call your next targeted shot. If you want, you can play the whole game that way.
Many of us will remember Matt Peckham for either his false, baseless accusations towards NMA or his NWN 2 review that was so spectacularly bad and misinformed 1up pulled it not long after it was published. Chalk one more up for Matt, this may be the first time someone has gone so low in the hype department as to actually hate on the original Fallouts to praise Fallout 3.

Matt Peckham. A legend in his own time.

Thanks TheGM.

News for Monday, October 13, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 19:05

The first English language Fallout 3 review comes from...uh...some blog.

This Oblivion meets Half-Life free roam action rpg is the product of careful storyline planning and precise attention to detail. This long awaited game is huge, and when I say huge, I mean you can spend an entire day just walking around and seeing the new “America” that has been transformed into a barren, toxic, radioactive wasteland. This game is jam packed with side jobs and quests to keep you busy for what seems like a life time (only in my dreams can I find the time to get the full 100% be completed.)

“Karma”-Like in the TV series “My Name Is Earl”, Karma decides what kind of a person you are. Hep someone find their dog, gain karma. Kill that person, and you lose some. So if you don’t want to be hated by all mankind, don’t jump into pillaging and stealing binges.
No way of telling if this is genuine, really, but he gives it a 9.5/10.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:03

Gamasutra has a big, 5-page interview with Todd Howard.

As a game director -- and it's not like this is the first time you've done this -- how do you even approach something like this? It seems like such a fairly monumental task, on two fronts: one, it's just the issue of making a game this big, but you guys have done that before. But then there's also the issue of inheriting that IP. Not that you're doing it alone, but it seems like a pretty substantial undertaking. How do you approach that?

TH: The good thing with Fallout is that... from a workflow standpoint -- I mean how we go about what we do -- it's similar to what we do with Elder Scrolls, where it's very big, and it's an established world -- whether or not we've established it, or somebody else. The Elder Scrolls [world] is so big that no one person can remember it all, so when we think up stuff, we have to go research it. Like, "What did it say in this book in Daggerfall?" It's so much stuff. So we go through the same work with Fallout.

And frankly, it was a very nice change of pace for us. We were really excited to do the project. So, I think we're kind of used to doing it; I don't know that there's something specific I could point to, and go, "Here's how we go about it."

The one thing we do is we lay out the world. One of the first things we do is draw the map, and come up with the people and places. And the rest of it comes out of that. I mean, in Fallout, we knew we wanted to have vaults.

I usually come up with -- this is bizarre -- the first thing I always come up with is the beginning of the game, and the interface. I don't know why. Like, how does it start, and what's the interface. There's no reason for that; it's just what goes on.

And we knew we wanted to start in the vault, and play through. I've always been interested in games that just start, and you play them; the character generation is part of the game. An early influence is Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

News for Sunday, October 12, 2008

Posted by Sander - at 21:44

Gametrailers.com has separated their exclusive footage and released them without the commentary here.

Trench warfare in D.C.
Underground
Museum of Technology
Brotherhood of Steel

Thanks, EvilViking.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:25

Joystiq is reporting of the Fallout 3 launch party.

Bethesda is throwing a radiation-hot launch party for Fallout 3 next Saturday in Los Angeles, complete with even more Vault Boy retro graphics. The party features headline music by the Foo Fighters, and it's hosted by Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Odette Yustman, Ben Harper, and it's being co-hosted by the Bethesda / Zenimax board of directors, which includes bigwig producer Jerry Bruckheimer, bigwig CBS president Les Moonves, bigwig MGM president Harry Sloan and and bigwig baseballer Cal Ripken, Jr.

That's an odd mix of folks to kick off this post-apocalyptic video game, but given the current state of the economy, maybe everyone is embracing impending disaster and learning to love the bomb. Joystiq will be on-hand to take photos and collect thoughts about Fallout 3. Plus those frolic-inducing spirits sounds pretty damn goon.

News for Saturday, October 11, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 14:38

The exclusive Fallout 3 footage of Gametrailers.com is now up on the site: Apocalypse, Meet Fallout 3. The Fallout 3 coverage is spread out over the video but easy to navigate, and includes an interview with composer Inon Zur.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:36

All the world will be your enemy, Pirate with a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; stealer, leaker, torrenter, thief with the swift warning. Be an asshole, and full of tricks, and we'll hope your people will still be destroyed.

When we contacted Bethesda Software about the matter, Pete Hines responded "We're looking into it. Since we haven't sent out a single disc, it greatly reduces the number of places this might have come from." Time will tell if the version that leaked was an older build from Bethesda or retail copy that may have been swiped from a manufacturing plant. It's unknown on whether or not the leaked version is the final code for Fallout 3.
Link: Fallout 3 leaked.

Thanks a bag of tangerines.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:03

Based on the 7-hour playing time, VideoGamer.com makes a comparison between the classics and Bethesda's take.

We suspect the dialogue and tone will be the biggest bones of contention for hardcore Fallout fans. Pithy dialogue and description was a key part of the charm to the original games; there's a very distinct tone that was always going to be a big challenge for Bethesda to replicate. On a visual level, there's really no questioning the fact that the team has done an amazing job of recreating Interplay's post-nuclear-war world, but at times the dialogue is perhaps a little too theatrical for its own good. That's not to say it's badly executed - the standard of voice acting is very high, on the whole - but the actual tone of the script writing seems to vary quite a lot from area to area. An example: The ravaged settlers of Arefu seemed like a fairly miserable, desperate bunch - but on the way there we ran into a merchant named Crow, a colourful chap who seemed far too jolly for a man who risks his life by walking the wasteland for a living.

The point here is that Fallout veterans who come to this game expecting the same style of gritty patter are likely to get wound up rather quickly. For the rest of you, your reaction for the dialogue is going to be a matter of taste. To reiterate: there's no real problem with the way speech is delivered. It's more to do with the fact that what's actually being said can be a bit overly dramatic. Sometimes this approach works, at other times it's a tad hammy. If you've seen any video footage of Megaton's Mister Burke, you'll get the idea: as soon as he opens his gob, you know that he's a boo-hiss villain - and as boo-hiss villains go, he's really pretty well done. We've not heard much of Liam Neeson's contribution to the game, but we love the gravelly pomp of Malcolm McDowell's John Henry Eden - the leader of the fascistic Enclave. So far we've only heard his radio broadcasts, but we look forward to meeting him in the flesh (or pixels, whatever).

Posted by Brother None - at 0:57

PS3's Qore network has a video interview with several of the developers of the Fallout 3 team, available in two parts: part one, part two.

So, finally, any advice for navigating the wasteland of Washington D.C.?

Well, when you're down - actually in D.C., you want to look for the metro tunnels and head underground. They're filled with ghouls, but they're much easier than the giant supermutants that are up in the rubble of the city. So if you're not high level yet: stay underground.
Thanks Humpsalot.

Posted by Morbus - at 0:11

The Alley of Infinite Angles has put up a lengthy interview with Briosafreak, our beloved "Fallout diplomat", responsible for Fallout 3: A Post-Nuclear Blog and Site Director Planet Fallout (3).

4. As someone who's 'been around the block' in terms of Fallout fandom, how would you describe Fallout fans as a whole? (Yes, I know that we can't think of them as one group, but I'm sure you have your own categories in mind.)

Oh so many categories. You have the devoted and incredibly tech savy Russian fans, the gigantic number of Polish fans that cover all spectrums of gaming in Poland, the modders from other countries that don’t get all the attention they deserve, the old school roleplayers, either with a P&P background or that come from early CRPGs, the new waves of fans that show up with the almost yearly budget releases of the classic games, the people in small isolated groups and those that go to everywhere and want to know everything about the game, old BIS followers, old Troika followers, new Bethsoft fans, the GameFaq kids, the casual fans that show up for a brief time or once every year… there are just so many categories and crossed links between those groups that would be impossible to name them all.

So diversity is an important word, as resilience. That’s the most important feature of Fallout fans as a whole, they are incredibly resilient to time and adversities. (...)

6. What kind of impact do/did Fallout fans have on the production of Fallout, whether with Interplay or now with Bethesda? Do you think they've been able to influence the way the franchise has gone/is going?

The way they followed the original is still available in the old newsgroups, but much of the FO2 data seems to have been lost forever.

The Interplay message boards during the Tactics days was a great loud party, with the AtheistsforChrisT (as in Chris Taylor) like Killzig or JC causing all sorts of trouble, Saint_Proverbius making some great posts, and the Baldurs Gate and Fallout fans always picking at each other.(...)

11. What role can Fallout fans play in this whole business – the making of Fallout, the way people see and understand Fallout? What do you see as your own role in the world of Fallout?

My role? Nothing special, I was the facilitator, the “bridgekeeper”, one of many “carrying the torch”, and sometimes the strategist, when it was needed; now just want to help out with Planet Fallout and hang around with my friends in the community.

Now any community as resilient as the Fallout community can make a difference, can really get things moving, and provide an alternate space inside the world of gaming communities. They set the tone, make others react to what they say and do, so they can do a lot. As long as they remain rowdy, defiant and critical that is, and start producing more in terms of content, on the classic games or with the new one. That’s harder to do, we’ll see.

Bethsoft actually read thoroughly what the fans said, and adapted a lot of things to the synthesis they would make of the information. I know this for a fact. But fans couldn’t change the outcome of how Fallout 3 will be, again different cultures, with difficulties in communicating, so in that particular sense fans did what they could, and it’s time to move on and judge what Bethsoft did with the game instead.
There's a lot more, and it's a very good read. Don't miss it.

Link: 'Briosafreak' @ The Alley of Infinite Angles

Thanks Ausir.

News for Friday, October 10, 2008

Posted by Morbus - at 23:58

Pete Hines answered a few questions from Big Download. Here's a snippet:

Many fans of the first two Fallout games have wondered if Bethesda Softworks will retain at least some of the spirit of the original titles in Fallout 3? Do you believe you and the development team have accomplished this task?

We certainly have, but our feelings on that aren't any different now than the were before. It's something we've worked hard to include and maintain, but at the same time everyone is entitled to their own opinion on what that is and whether we've retained it, so we'll have to see once the game comes out. (...)

Some people have actually wondered if Fallout 3 is going to be a "short" game compared to Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion yet it seems like it will be a very lengthy game experience. Why do you think people are so concerned about Fallout 3's length?

No idea. When there are any number of games out there that take 8, 10, 12 hours to finish, and you've got one you can play for over 100, I don't think I'd be concerned about it being "short." We have people here who have been playing the game for literally years and still are seeing things they'd never seen before, so I don't think we're too concerned about whether there's enough to see and do.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:17

So Fallout 3 is leaked now and the amount of information and impressions available has changed from Bethesda's controlled trickle to a veritable torrent. No doubt, there's a lot of ideas and suggestions going around now, people looking at Fallout 3 videos and thinking "here's something I would change".

The Fallout 3 mod kit has not been announced yet, and Bethesda is not telling either way on when or if we'll see it, but the NMA staff is assuming it'll be there in a while and we have good reason to.

For that reason, we decided now is a good time to open up a Fallout 3 modding forum. Post your ideas and suggestions there and - more importantly - if you're reading this an have experience with the Oblivion modkit and/or knowledge of Oblivion's modified Gamebryo engine used for Fallout 3, we invited you to register, join us and share your insights on how the game will likely work and what might be possible or not.

Posted by Brother None - at 15:45

Got this in the mail yesterday, so where it says tomorrow read today (got it?)

Hey! I’m from GameTrailers TV and I’ve been scouring the net for the best Fallout 3 sites out there! I wanted to let you know that this Friday, tomorrow night at 1am on Spike TV, we’ve got a whole show on Fallout 3! We went to Bethesda to talk about the game with the developers, received over 15 minutes of brand new, never-before-seen footage, and ask the questions that true Fallout fans want to hear. Trust me, I’m one of them. We unveil a new quest that takes you to the Washington Monument and get up close and personal with the Super Mutant Behemoth. Not only that, but we’ve got other exclusives in the show – everything from an interview with Tony Parker about NBA Live 09 to a brand new Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 trailer that features the remixed Hell March theme. It focuses on the Empire of the Rising Sun, and has to be seen to believe!

Check out the promo for the show here:

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/40937.html
It'll hit GameTrailers some time after it streams, so don't fret if you're not able to watch it.

Todd Howard has had a special feature at G4 X-Play for a bit now - we haven't been posting it because we don't care about Todd and it's not very good, but this episode's topic is close to our hearts: Todd Howard on his predilection to reinvention (thanks Humpsalot). Don't forget G4 X-Play will have a Fallout 3 special October 14th.

News for Thursday, October 9, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:56

Not a lot of new material in the Tokya Gameshow trailer: instead, they just recut the old one, though I think one or two scenes are new, including a very isometric view of the game in one shot.

Thanks (and well done) Humpsalot.

Posted by MrBumble - at 20:20

Bethesda Softworks have just updated their FAQ with the system requirements for Fallout 3 :

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP/Vista
1GB System RAM (XP)/ 2GB System RAM (Vista)
2.4 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 256MB RAM (NVIDIA 6800 or better/ATI X850 or better)
Recommended System Requirements:

Intel Core 2 Duo processor
2 GB System RAM
Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 512MB RAM (NVIDIA 8800 series, ATI 3800 series)
Supported Video Card Chipsets:

NVIDIA GeForce 200 series
NVIDIA Geforce 9800 series
NVIDIA Geforce 9600 series
NVIDIA Geforce 8800 series
NVIDIA Geforce 8600 series
NVIDIA Geforce 8500 series
NVIDIA Geforce 8400 series
NVIDIA Geforce 7900 series
NVIDIA Geforce 7800 series
NVIDIA Geforce 7600 series
NVIDIA Geforce 7300 series
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series
ATI HD 4800 series
ATI HD 4600 series
ATI HD 3800 series
ATI HD 3600 series
ATI HD 3400 series
ATI HD 2900 series
ATI HD 2600 series
ATI HD 2400 series
ATI X1900 series
ATI X1800 series
ATI X1600 series
ATI X1300 series
ATI X850 series
They also finally confirm the game has gone gold after Ubisoft already ruined the surprise. And, last but not least, the point out:
Also, be on the lookout for the first , exclusive Fallout 3 review in the current issue of OXM, hitting subscribers now
"But wait", I can hear you thinking, "I've already seen reviews of Fallout 3." Sure, but those weren't officially sanctioned. This one is, and it's exclusive! Anyone want to open a betting pool if it has a rating lower than 100%?

Posted by Brother None - at 18:05

VideoGamer.com has had about 7 hours of hands-on time with Fallout 3, and sums up their 10 favourite moments. Spoiler-heavy and with quite some bits of new info.

The last location we got to explore - and by far our favourite place in Fallout 3 thus far - was the National Guard Depot. After battling our way past two robots guarding the entrance, we found ourselves standing inside a large building that had been totally gutted by some form of explosion. Huge swathes of wall and floor had been ripped away to create an assault course of debris, and glowing green particles were still floating in the air. The design for this level has clearly been inspired by The Glow in Fallout 1 - there's a really gripping sense of mystery to the stage. It's pretty tough too - the abundance of gun turrets and chattering bots will take its toll on your health and ammo supplies. We managed to progress quite deep into the complex and even dispatched a psychotic "Mr Gutsy" bot that ate up most of our stimpacks, but we ran out of time before we could find whatever it is that's hidden away here. Given the level of security, we reckon that it has to be something pretty special. One thing's for sure: on October 31, we're heading straight back - and this time we'll be ready.
Thanks Ausir.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:10

Before I begin this newspost, let me make one thing clear: No Mutants Allowed is a gaming website on a gaming network, we do not condone piracy. I am making a high exception on normal policy by posting about this because in this one case the news-value wins out over normal policy.

This does not mean our normal piracy rules are suspended: do not expect to see any more news on this from NMA. If you post anything about having pirated Fallout 3 on our forums you will be banned, if you post any new videos from pirated copies you will be banned.

That said. VideoGamer.com reports someone of low morals values put Fallout 3 on torrent stream:

Fallout 3, Bethesda's eagerly-awaited post-apocalyptic RPG, has been leaked onto file-sharing sites less than 24 hours after going gold. Impatient gamers have rushed to download the ripped Xbox 360 version, with one site claiming that over 800 people are now sharing a complete set of files.

It doesn't stop there. One cocky gamer has even gone so far as to post a live streaming video of their first experiences with the game. Presumably they don't have a problem with advertising the fact that they're breaking the law.
You can view some dude playing Fallout 3 here, you can view quite a few Fallout 3 videos on Youtube - though I expect Youtube to remove said videos as infringing on Bethesda's rights.

PS: I do have to point out the irony of this being pirated on Xbox360, considering all the talk of PC having the big pirating problem.

News for Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:52

The Penny Arcade Fallout 3 comics end I have seen little but negative feedback on the whole affair. The Penny Arcade guys basically phoned it in, but if you liked it, tell Matt Grandstaff which one you liked best for a chance at free tchotchkas.

While you might be sad to see the comic go away, I’ll try to turn that frown upside down. At my desk, I’ve got some leftover goodies from PAX to giveaway. From amongst the schwag, five lucky winners will win a Vault Dweller’s Survival Guide. Additionally, three very lucky winners will win Survival Guide, a signed Fallout 3 poster, and one of the coveted Fallout 3 puppets.

Here’s the basic rules:

* Send an email to bethblog@bethsoft.com. In it, let us know which of the 12 comics was your favorite.
* All e-mails must be received by midnight (U.S. EST), Sunday, October 12th. Winners will be randomly selected and contacted shortly there after. Any foul play detected will result in automatic disqualification.
* All participants must be 18 or older to enter and verification may be required before the winner is announced.
Thanks Ausir.

Posted by Tagaziel - at 13:29

Both lead programmer/producer/original mastermind Tim Cain and lead developer Chris Taylor have pre-ordered Fallout 3 and reluctantly share a few thoughts. Edge did a short interview with Tim Cain (thanks Ausir), regarding his opinion on Fallout 3:

"I do like what I've seen about Fallout 3. I've talked to those guys at Bethesda about it. It's their IP now and they've gone in a certain direction and it's very intriguing.

"It's not necessarily the direction I would've gone, but I can tell you I have my Fallout 3 pre-ordered. I want my life-sized Pip-Boy. I'm going to be playing that at the end of the month."
(...)
"I've hardly thought about [what I'd do different] with Fallout 3," said Cain, "but I have thought about the online version. I've also talked to the guys at Interplay about Fallout Online.

"The biggest problem I have with expanding the game is that the original games were designed to make you feel like you were one of the last people left on Earth. And with Fallout 3 and the online version, I'm curious about how they'll handle making the game not feel too crowded--making it feel like there's not much life left out there after the war."
Over on the Interplay forums, Chris Taylor is even more reluctant to comment, other than admiring the marketing.
Personally, I have the deluxe edition of FO3 on order from Amazon. I can't wait for my PIPBoy clock... ^_^ I think Bethesda has done a tremendous job with the marketing, and, frankly, I'm jealous of what resources they have put into FO3.

As for the game itself, I'm reserving judgment until I get a chance to play it. Videos and images aren't enough for me to make a decision about gameplay... I need a hands-on experience. I am looking forward to playing FO3 as soon as it comes out.

Posted by Brother None - at 12:58

In case anyone was in doubt about whether or not Bethesda is throwing enough PR money at this title, never fear. Joystiq reports of a metro ad series.

We contacted Fallout 3's PR people and they sent us several images of various ads found in the city's subway. We didn't receive any details about which stations these images were taken from, but we've placed all the pictures we got in the gallery below. So, residents of D.C., can you name the stations you've seen the ads in while going about your pre-Vault lives?

Update: Pete Hines, Fallout 3's product manager, wrote us to say the ads are currently only at the Metro Center station. He explains the company took over all the ad space there for the month, adding that DC residents will start seeing bus and bus shelter ads in the near future. The company plans to promote Fallout 3 in other US cities soon.


Thanks Incognito.

Posted by Brother None - at 12:53

Not a big shock since we've seen the first reviews and we're nearing release, but here it is: Fallout has gone gold. Press release:

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.

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.

Fallout 3 features one of the most realized game worlds ever created. Set more than 200 years following a nuclear war, you can create any kind of character you want and explore the open wastes of Washington, D.C however you choose. Every minute is a fight for survival as you encounter Super Mutants, Ghouls, Raiders, and other dangers of the Wasteland.

KEY FEATURES:

* Limitless Freedom! – Take in the sights and sounds of the vast Capital Wasteland! See the great monuments of the United States lying in post-apocalyptic ruin! You make the choices that define you and change the world. Just keep an eye on your Rad Meter!
* Experience S.P.E.C.I.A.L.! – Vault-Tec engineers bring you the latest in human ability simulation – the SPECIAL Character System! Utilizing new breakthroughs in points-based ability representation, SPECIAL affords unlimited customization of your character. Also included are dozens of unique skills and perks to choose from, each with a dazzling variety of effects!
* Fantastic New Views! – The wizards at Vault-Tec have done it again! No longer constrained to just one view, experience the world from 1st or 3rd person perspective. Customize your view with the touch of a button!
* The Power of Choice! – Feeling like a dastardly villain today, or a Good Samaritan? Pick a side or walk the line, as every situation can be dealt with in many different ways. Talk out your problems in a civilized fashion, or just flash your Plasma Rifle.
* Blast ‘Em Away With V.A.T.S.! –Even the odds in combat with the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System for your Pip-Boy Model 3000! V.A.T.S. allows you to pause time in combat, target specific body parts on your target, queue up attacks, and let Vault-Tec take out your aggression for you. Rain death and destruction in an all-new cinematic presentation featuring gory dismemberments and spectacular explosions.
* Mind-Blowing Artificial Intelligence! – At Vault-Tec, we realize that the key to reviving civilization after a global nuclear war is people. Our best minds pooled their efforts to produce an advanced version of Radiant AI, America’s First Choice in Human Interaction Simulation™. Facial expressions, gestures, unique dialog, and lifelike behavior are brought together with stunning results by the latest in Vault-Tec technology.
* Eye-Popping Prettiness!– Witness the harsh realities of nuclear fallout rendered like never before in modern super-deluxe HD graphics. From the barren Wasteland, to the danger-filled offices and metro tunnels of DC, to the hideous rotten flesh of a mutant’s face.

Fallout 3 will be available in North America Oct. 28, while Europe gets it on Oct. 31, 2008.
Via WorthPlaying (thanks Ausir).

Posted by Brother None - at 1:22

It's been a while, so it's good to hear back from the guys over at Mutants Rising, the Fallout 2 total conversion modding project.

I realise that many of you have been eagerly anticipating this project and as such I have an apology to make. The website has not been kept up to date as was hoped and we haven't been around NMA for a while either. There has been valid reasons for this but rather than dwell on the past, we are looking to the future. The website will undergo periodic updates to keep everyone informed of what we are doing.

The key piece of news this month is the mod progress from the main page. This is not a lie: we are very close to the end of the project. The team has been very active over the summer and have spent countless hours on furthering the project. Only two towns are left to be worked on and all the others are either completed or well under development.

The artistic team, consisting of Continuum, Dopefish and Equilerex have completed countless pieces of art and each town (with one exception) now has a loading screen. It has almost reached the point where the writers can't come up with any new artwork for them to make!

Public, our new musician, is a one man musical army. He has created, along with help from Emink, new music for almost every town in the game. The atmosphere of Mutants Rising has taken on a personality all of it's own.

Animalize, our only full time mapper, has completed maps for no less than four full towns all on his own as well as maps for smaller, less involved areas. Whilst it is true that many of the team are capable mappers, none of us live up to his high standards.

Below are a few juicy screenshots and tidbits just to keep you all coming back for more!


The above artwork was designed for a disused train station. (surprised?) It plays an integral part in the completion of the game.


Above is a brief screenshot of the final area of the game. Continuum has taken it upon his shoulders to make a complete set of new art for this area to ensure Mutants Rising has the lasting effect that a mod of it's size deserves.
Thanks Chris Parks.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:03

With thanks to Tomaten for providing shots (including a shot of your appartment) and translated bits of the review of Fallout 3 from the Swedish PC Gamer, who give it an 81%.

I'm going to take the sting out of this review right now. Fallout 3 IS "Oblivion with guns". Whatever I stated in any earlier issue. So, with that said, there is no going back.

Regardless of your orientation, frames of reference and your expectations, you are sitting and screaming inside right now. I know it. But do you scream of happiness or horror? Are you the little naive, new kid on the block that loved Bethesda's last blockbuster to the core, or are you an old dusty turn-based- and topdown purist from No Mutants Allowed and always stated that Fallout 3 will be the spawn of Satan?

No matter orientation- read on, I'm going to take you to the radioactive wasteland. And when we're finished you're going to cry instead. Of happiness or sorrow.
(...)
EXPECTATIONS ON SHAME

The search for my father which has left the "security" of the Vault for his ambition to change the world is leading me deeper and deeper in to what once was Washington DC, the centre of USA's political force. Every dawn in the radioactive wasteland offers new adventures, every night something is lurking in the shadows, ready to devour me whole. And it would all be wonderful if it wasn't for something unidentifiable that just isn't there. Call it "spirit", call it whatever you want. But when the gates to Vault 101 are far away from me, my eyes have become used to the sunlight and almost 15 hours have passed come the thoughts. As if the expectations had gone a bit awry.

Because in Fallout 3 I get almost everything served directly. Bethesda have tried to squeeze in as much as possible on area as small as possible. Substance enough for a lifetime in short-movie format, if you want to. And the result is an anticlimax, too much of the good in too short time. One minute I'm running into a nest of rad-scorpions, while there is a peaceful camp of settlers 30 meters away. Some slavers are walking around with their slaves just around the corner and some raiders just settled down a bit farther away. A quick jog and I'm a nest of deathclaws. It's compressed, maximized and anonymized at the same time. It feels like a enormous orgy where nobody wants to fire away. There's tight and crowded, but no friction nor excitement. Many parts, but no entirety. And this feeling of getting the world pushed in my the face is the single largest weakness with Fallout 3, and every one that loved the original two games will scratch their head, wondering.
(...)
[reviewer's conclusion - NMA] Even if I can't leave my roots as an old Fallout-player when I'm sitting with the third part I do try to let go of the comparison, and the game is suddenly a lot more amusing.

Don't let your frames of reference limit you, but rather try to experience the game on it's own merits. No matter your story, Fallout 3 is for some moments a fantastic game, only limited by the prequels.

81% - Has to be experienced in spite of many small and a few big flaws.

News for Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:05

Not a lot of interesting questions in this Game Revolution interview with Pete Hines.

GR: What particular design philosophy, if any, did the dev team follow to 'reign themselves in', in terms of adding game-world detail upon game-world detail? Generally speaking, at what point do you have to tear yourself away from including all sorts of clever fan-service side-quest/backstory/environmental polish detials, and just go about making a solid game?

PH: Well, usually our design philosophy is to try not to do everything, but then we usually end up doing that anyway. At a some point Todd and the producers start saying, "ok, enough is enough, we're full." You have to stop adding content at some point, but a lot of that comes from playing the game. Making sure the world feels dense enough, big enough. So there were things added along the way because we were trying to address issues that came up in playing the game and the way it felt.

GR: There's an anwful lot of decidedly-not-for-kids elements in F3--explicit/implicit gore, language, innuendo, and plain old black humor--would you say that the amount of this particularly adult-oriented content has increased somewhat (from the previous games) as a natural result of the series' continued expansion into a more sophisticated console/market?

PH: I don't think it's increased from the previous games, especially if you go back and look at what the original Fallouts did compared to other games of that time. They were decidedly mature and violent and we felt it was important to stay true to those themes. Because it's now in 1st and 3rd person, it may make it more vibrant than before, but not markedly different.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:03

I'm not sure if a guide is interesting enough to warrant this attention, but the Bethesda Blog interviews David Hodgson (the guide's creator), who also put up part 2 of his making off bog posts.

Here’s what the final guide encompasses:

A comprehensive contents page and Foreward by Todd Howard.

A Training section where I mined the brains of designers at Bethesda, and offered meticulous advice on Attributes, Skills, Perks, the dangers of the game world, main tactical advice on V.A.T.S., information on Followers, and (naturally) a complete list of every weapon, outfit, item, Chem, Stimpak and Foodstuff in the game. I love stats, so we got a table with elements like fire-rates, ammo-clip totals, and everything the more deranged gamer needs to figure out which selecting the correct weapon to bring to a Ghoul massacre.

Next up, was a Factions and Bestiary, where the major warring forces of the game got an official back-story, and every single irradiated beast, mutation, and abomination received a thorough inspection. Can you check the health of a Super Mutant, compare it to the damage your favorite boomstick does, and then calculate how many shots it takes to kill one? Most certainly. There’s stats-aplenty.

Chapter 3 and 4 concerned the different Quests you undertake during the game, all of which are optional. These two chapters alone were large enough to be their own strategy guide, and every Karmic effect, Skill or Perk you can utilize at a pertinent point, and all the different outcomes are shown. Yes, including all the endings. Naturally, to avoid massive rage-filled forum posts, Spoilers are flagged throughout. Copious screenshots and Vault Boy iconography were used, as well as flowcharts. Oh yes, lovely, easy-to-read flowcharts showing every main route to try, and the rewards for trying for every single Quest in the game. The flowcharts (dotted throughout the chapters) take up over 30 pages on their own. Did I mention this game is big?
Thanks Ausir.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:08

Another "where are they now" update: Tim Cain joined Carbine Studios a while ago. There were some concerns Carbina Studios might be hit by the post-Tabula Rasa chaos in the North-America branch of NCSoft, but this does not seem to be the case as NCSoft sent out this press release:

NCsoft's Carbine Studios Names Tim Cain Design Director

Fallout producer and designer now becomes design director for unannounced Carbine Studios project

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., Oct. 7, 2008-Computer game developer Carbine Studios™ today announced the promotion of industry veteran Tim Cain to design director of the studio's unannounced massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. Located in Orange County, Calif., Carbine Studios is part of NCsoft, the world's premier publisher and developer of MMO games.

Cain, a 25-year veteran of the game industry, has been with Carbine since its inception in 2005 and has held the position of programming director. He is best known for his work as producer and designer on the highly successful computer role-playing games Fallout and Fallout 2. In 1998 he left Interplay and co-founded Troika Games, where he helped to design and program the award winning titles Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, The Temple of Elemental Evil and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines.

"I couldn't be more pleased," said Cain. "The team at Carbine is one of the most talented and experienced groups I've ever worked with. I'm happy to be a part of it and we're looking forward to the day when we can unveil this incredibly exciting project to the world."

"It's great to have Tim Cain heading up design at Carbine," said Jeremy Gaffney, executive producer at Carbine Studios. "Tim is one of the most respected guys in the business and his track record of creating hit products is well documented. Having Tim at the helm as design director makes an already strong team that much better."

For more information on Carbine Studios and current job openings there, go to http://www.carbinestudios.com.

About NCsoft
NCsoft, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, is the world's premier publisher and developer of massively multiplayer online games, including the critically acclaimed Lineage®, Guild Wars® and City of Heroes® franchises. NCsoft's NC West division holds operating responsibilities for North America, Europe, South America and Australia/New Zealand. More information can be found at http://www.PlayNC.com.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:03

MTV Multiplayer is next to preview Fallout 3 based on 4 hours hands-on time.

I had gone into my “Fallout 3″ demo intending to play it the same way I did “Fable II.” Because I’m almost always a good guy when I play games at home, I wanted to play “Fallout 3″ as a jerk. But because Bethesda blocked us from the main quest, I found being a bad guy in the early going meant I couldn’t find many missions. Reluctantly, I decided to help the citizens of Megaton. In the back of my mind, though, I wanted to turn on their nuclear bomb and blow the city to smithereens.

Many missions in “Fallout 3″ ensure you’ll be doing a fair bit of open-world wandering. The compass in the corner of the screen not only points out the direction of your primary objective, but sights to see along the way. If you follow the compass’ hints, you’ll be sidetracked pretty easily, discovering supermarkets, baseball fields, movie theaters and more. You gain experience for discovering landmarks, so there’s a good incentive to explore as much of the “Fallout 3″ landscape as possible.
Thanks Incognito.

News for Monday, October 6, 2008

Posted by MrBumble - at 17:58

The first ( ? ) review has dropped. It seems that french magazine PC Jeux has liked Fallout 3 since they gave the game a 93% score. Here are a few excerpts :

Quests are quite varied and go beyond the mere extermination of everything that shows up on screen. You'll have for instance to go through several tests for someone who is writing a survival guide, which includes getting exposed to considerable amounts of radiation, steal the Constitution of the USA in order to avoid anti-slavers getting their hands on it, or getting involved in huge military operations with dozens of belligerent parties. Everybody will get his share, with different ways to succeed : with brute force or eloquence. Sometimes you'll even be able to complete some quests by lying on the fact that you have indeed done what was expected of you.

[...]

Bethesda does not have the reputation of releasing finely polished games. Fallout 3 is likely to change that. The game, is not bug-free. There are still collision, pathfinding and lighting problems but they are not too numerous.

[...]

Thus, the fear that Fallout 3 could be a post-apocalyptic Oblivion is totally gone. A few hours with the game will be enough for Fallout veterans to get their habits back and be able to walk with confidence through the game. New players will not feel totally lost either because references to the previous games are rather scarce and discrete. If most changes brought to the series are technical, the spirit is still there, sort of. Indeed, it's a shame that this episode is so serious. It has lost, it seems, a good deal of the humour and even irony that was part of the series. Cinematographic references or completely twisted conversations with NPCs are gone. Aside from this, Fallout 3 is an excellent RPG and a good Fallout. The score is rather different but the music stays the same.

Posted by Brother None - at 8:30

The first open test for FOnline was quite successful, even getting a lot of love from the English-speaking community. The guys have planned a second open test for the 29th of November. No details yet.

Thanks Lexx.

Posted by Brother None - at 8:22

Fallout 3 is nearly gold, and for that GameSpot offers a video interview.

"The current scale of the game is not what we had really envisioned to start," Hines explained. "We actually envisioned the game would be smaller when we first drew it up. But we're never careful about being slaves to anything we write down. … So we made the game bigger than it was because we felt we needed to flesh it out with more stuff, with more locations in between, to make it more dense."

Will this be enough to win over the most skeptical of Fallout fanatics? Hines hopes so. "I think we're going to get people who've played the Elder Scrolls and liked what we've done," he said. "I also think we'll get folks who maybe played Fallout and loved Fallout whether they played the Elder Scrolls or not. … Hopefully we've made a game that they can get excited about."

Posted by Brother None - at 8:19

Crispy Gamer just keeps it going, with part 3 of their preview (comments by Pete Hines).

I'm no mass murderer. (At least, not unless it's in self-defense.) I disarm the bomb and earn a bit of positive karma -- Fallout 3's way of measuring deeds both benevolent and sinister. I'm not sure how much of the stuff I've earned; I just know that I've racked up some good karma. I feel good about it.

We could have been very obvious. The game has numbers all over the place for everything else; it wouldn't have been a big deal to just say "karma" and a number. But it's not really what karma is. Karma is more of an ambiguous thing; it's much easier for us to do without a number, but still have it feel right for the player.
Thanks Dourvas.

News for Saturday, October 4, 2008

Posted by Morbus - at 12:57

Another four hour gameplay review, this time from GamesRadar:

You've probably read a lot about Fallout 3. Until you've actually played Fallout 3, however, you don't understand. You don't understand just how big the game feels, just how open the game seems and just how much freedom the game appears to offer.
Thanks Incognito.

News for Friday, October 3, 2008

Posted by Morbus - at 15:13

The Alley of Infinite Angles has a third editorial on Fallout 3. Since the first two were well received, we're posting this one too. It's a bit out there, but makes a few good points:

So, what about the press? This one's a pretty well-beaten track, too, in a way. Many gamers say that game journalism isn't 'real journalism', in that it's not as professional, as objective or as useful. Heck, you even get people in suits (ooh) saying that "game reviewers are lazy". And of course, there's that series of ex-journo Dan "Shoe" Hsu's insights into journos and developers sitting in a tree, popping out one mutated baby after another. (...) All good stuff. Basically, accusations include:

* Simple incompetence; no idea how to write or do journalism.
* Unprofessional: from personal bias/spite to downright corruption.
* Doomed from the start: reviews are just opinion anyway. If I disagree with you, your review's just worthless.

But for all that, we've got massive amounts of traffic on top of which game sites like IGN, 1up, Eurogamer, etc., thrive. (I swear, back in 1998 it used to be just Gamespy and Gamespot.) You've even got anecdotal evidence all over the place, with long-timer gamers saying they enjoy reading reviews or hands-ons, or find them useful (to varying degrees). So they're certainly doing enough to stick around (and a bit more), and there is at least a perceived usefulness. So what function does the press serve when it comes to what we think, know and talk about in terms of, say, Fallout 3? That's the topic of the day/week/however long I stick to this.
Link: Fallout 3: The Press @ Alley of Infinite Angles

Posted by Morbus - at 14:58

The second part of Crispy Gamer's 4-hour Fallout 3 hands-on has come up:

I find myself futzing with my swag frequently. When I grab too much stuff, I become overencumbered -- unable to run. But there are ways to deal with such problems. I can repair items, basically combining two near-broken items to make one less-broken item. The better my repair skill gets, the better combinations I can make. I also start readjusting the kind of stuff I pick up. At first I grabbed every little trinket I could find, but when space becomes more and more scarce, I start dropping spare combat knives and police batons. (They're a dime a dozen.) (...)

Down on the tracks, I am immediately beset upon by more Renegades who pick at me with firearms. When they're feeling brave they run up close to whack me, but with VATS, I'm able to stop most of them dead in their tracks. Rounding a corner I'm met with another nasty surprise: a giant mole rat. The hideous thing charges; I unload my pistol, but it's not quite dead. It makes a leap for me and I put one last bullet in its thick hide. The horror collapses to the ground quivering. I swallow my disgust and pull one mole rat steak out of the creature's hide.
Link: I Survived Four Hours of Fallout 3, Part 2 @ Crispy Gamer

Posted by Brother None - at 7:32

Take it with a grain of salt as this is the jokey, off-hand comment style usual to MTV Multiplayer's One-Liners, but Pete Hines on Fallout 3.

“You know, if we f— this game up, nobody’s gonna want to touch us with a ten foot pole. [Our attitude is] we’re a game company, let’s make the best game we can make and all that other stuff can sort its self out once we’re doing our job. Our job is not to try and make a thing that would make a great movie, we have to make a great game. If somebody says ‘we wanna do this, this is the guy who’s gonna direct it,’ then yeah! [laughs] If Quentin Tarantino wants to do ‘Fallout 3,’ yes, we will hear that proposal! [laughs harder] If Ridley Scott wants to do ‘Fallout 3,’ we will have that lunch!”
Wouldn't there have to be a Fallout film first, Pete?

Posted by Brother None - at 7:31

For more 4-hours hands-on previews. Crispy Gamer.

I'm under the shadow of a wrecked freeway overpass propped up by tilting concrete pylons. The road, maybe two stories up, comes to an abrupt halt. The husk of a ruined bus teeters on the edge. There's got to be something good up there, I think. Picking my way across the landscape, I eventually come to the spot where the ramp meets the earth. My suspicions were correct: The elevated stretch of freeway has been claimed by survivors. Barricades have been propped up along its length, transforming the interrupted roadway into a defensible position. There are a ton of obstacles between me and my goal, where imaginary treasure awaits.

Navigating around the burnt shells of cars, I come eye to eye with my first survivor -- a leather-clad villain straight out of "Mad Max." The Renegade comes at me swinging a pool cue. (Apparently the guy isn't happy to see me. His friend, somewhere off in the distance, drives the message home by taking pot shots at me with a sniper rifle.) It takes a little trial and error to effectively clean house. With judicious use of save files, I try to maximize my effectiveness as a killing machine. On one go, I use too many stimpacks to heal bullet wounds. Another time, I wander too close to a burning vehicle: The thing blows up in my face, leaving my lifeless body sprawled across the asphalt. And then there's the guy with the Flamer. It takes several attempts to snuff the guy before he gets within range. I kill them all, adding their sniper rifle and flamethrowers to my arsenal.
UGO Games Blog.
It was there that I discovered that a young boy had been chasing me for quite awhile. This young lad had quite the sob story. I’ll bore you with the details, but there’s some mess going on in his local town. His father is missing, giant “creatures” have killed everyone, and he has nowhere else to go to. Sheesh, I guess I’ll just have to step up and be the reluctant hero (note the sarcasm, reluctance at it’s best!).

Once I got to the boy’s southern town, the skittering noises all around me quickly clued me in to the current state of affairs. Giant ants were all around. But these were no normal giant ants, these puppies were breathing fire at me and doing quite the number on my health. After finding the boy’s father in the family house, I stumbled across a rather odd key that belonged to the shack outside. And it was in that shack that the mystery began to unravel.

The decrepit little building was nearly immaculate inside. Inside was a computer, a bunch of chemistry doo-dads, and an empty chamber meant to house a robot. A little investigating quickly revealed the computer’s password, and a scan of the hard drive clued me into a greater scheme at work. Somebody has been doing some kind of experiment with the local giant ant population. And they’re doing it down in the nearby subway station.
GamePro.
But enough with the preliminaries. The real question is, how does Fallout 3 play? That's the best news of all: controller in hand, Fallout 3 feels smooth, responsive, and highly intuitive, even for a jaded shooter veteran like myself. I played primarily from the first-person camera view, switching to the third-person view only in certain outdoor scenes. Though Fallout 3 is first and foremost an RPG, the gunplay-heavy combat quickly grabbed my attention. Using the standard first-person view, I blasted away at enemy mutants, cannibals, and squatters. The results were mixed - accuracy counts big when shooting - until I tried out the V.A.T.S. targeting system. With one button press, I stopped time and repeatedly targeted an enemy raider's head for maximum damage. The V.A.T.S. targeting allows you to cripple enemy limbs with surgical precision, a benefit that becomes apparent once you start fighting the mutated insects and beasts that plague Fallout 3's nuke-blasted wastelands.

News for Thursday, October 2, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 6:41

GiantBomb.

Fallout shares a load of similarities with Oblivion, and Megaton is where you start to see them. But you also see where Bethesda has improved on some of the previous game's rough spots. Character interactions are the same: the camera zooms in on a person's face, and you navigate dialogue trees to get information, items, and quests out of them. Unlike in Oblivion--where characters felt like they'd popped out of only about six different molds--every NPC I saw in the four hours with Fallout had a unique character model and voice.

And everyone had a story to tell. There was Confessor Cromwell, the leader of the cult-like Church of Atom, a group who worships the town's bomb. Moriarty is the tough-talking town saloon owner, an information dealer who you may have to work with regarding your father's whereabouts. Gob is a ghoul who works at the bar, lacks most of the flesh on his face, talks sort of like a New Yorker, and gets beat up on by Moriarty a lot. The place even had a whore-in-residence who offered her services to me, but wouldn't give the same courtesy to Gob. Due to the whole rotten-flesh thing, you know. A girl's gotta have standards, right? Then there was the town tinkerer with schematics for something called a "rock-it launcher," the frightened girl who wanted me to deliver a message to her family one town over, and the friendly town sheriff, who kindly asked me to disarm the bomb, if I had the know-how.

Oh, and don't forget Mr. Burke, the shady businessman with shiny wingtips hanging out in the corner of the bar. He instead wanted me to stick a little pulse device on the bomb so he could detonate it remotely and use the newly irradiated land for some other purpose. (A luxury high rise, perhaps.) Megaton, as you may have read, presents a tidy moral quandary in Fallout 3. You can save it, or you can blow it to kingdom come, and reap some kind of benefit either way. I've personally absorbed so much Fallout 3 coverage over the last year--and consequently read about Megaton so many times--that I made up my mind I was going to fix the town one way or the other by the end of my session.

News for Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:22

In case you haven't heard Pete Hines say "Fallout 3 DLC will be the size of Knights of the Nine", MTV Multiplayer asked him again. Y'know, just to see if he would answer differently this time.

Hines and I debated what would be the full “Fallout 3″ experience. Without the option for downloadable content, PS3 owners would be missing out on something. While Hines agreed they’re missing something, he didn’t see it as a negative.

“For us, with a game that offers 100 hours of gameplay, we don’t feel like we’re sort of short changing you up front,” he said. “You’re gonna get your $60 worth out of this game, no matter what platform you buy it for, because there is so much content and so much stuff to do. And you can replay it and have it play out differently. So I think we feel pretty confident in terms of, no matter which platform you choose, you’re getting a good experience that will hopefully be one of the best, if not the best game you play this year on that platform.”

Still … the PS3 version doesn’t have the content. Period.

“Beyond that,” he admitted, “if you really sort of deadlocked and you’ve gotta have your reasons to make a decision between one platform or the other, then yeah, DLC may be one that may push you towards one platform.”

Posted by Brother None - at 21:15

In case you haven't figured it out yet: yes, we're in another one of those Fallout 3 preview waves that roll in every now and again. Probably the last one before release, though. Kotaku offers a preview (thanks Incognito) entitled "How Fallout 3 Is Different Than Oblivion". Seriously, guys? Just let it rest already.

The big ticket item is the combat system that incorporates Action Points. I’m glad they decided to make combat real time, because nothing screams “I’m afraid of evolving” like turn-based fights. You might think, then, that strategy goes out the window and the game devolves into shootouts whenever an enemy is encountered. To a certain extent, it does (if you’re a trigger-happy spaz like me); but if you keep your cool long enough to press R2 instead of R1 (I was playing on PS3), you get a healthy dose of strategy by opening up VATS mode.
(...)
I arrived at the small northern settlement – a cluster of tin shacks out on a broken overpass. Right away someone shot at me, but then had the good grace to come and apologize. He thought I was someone else.

Here again is a place where Fallout 3 blends its Fallout roots with the best of Oblivion: the dialogue exchanges. In Fallout and Fallout 2, there were complex trees of lines that led to completely different outcomes. Being polite over being sassy could be the difference between a firefight and a gift. In Oblivion, the voice acting and facial expressions were visual cues as to what you should say to placate characters; but often as not, those conversations usually had only one outcome. In Fallout 3, you can hear how a character talks and reasonably predict which response in your menu they want to hear. There isn’t a charisma mini-game, alas, but certain dialogue options will open up based on perks or skills. (I heart Lady Killer/Black Widow because you can seduce people into telling you passwords.)
Also, Joystiq.
Conversing with NPCs was fairly basic stuff; we could ask them about the Wasteland, the town, themselves, and, in some cases, missions they had. It's not on the same level as Mass Effect's, but the dialog system does its job well.

A young lady in the saloon, who asked us to deliver a letter to her folks in a town called Arefu, gave our first task to us. It turns out that Arefu was actually built on top of what remained of an old freeway overpass, but that hadn't protected it from the many Raiders wandering the Wasteland. We ran into a few of them while en route (along with some mutated dogs and other radioactive beasts) which we took down using the V.A.T.S. (Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System).
GameSpy (thanks PlanetFallout).
I'm hesitant to reduce them to the sorts of courier runs, fetch quests, and hunting forays that have come to pervade MMOs, but I'm afraid that they're going to sound similarly prosaic if I give you a blow-by-blow description. At their best, the quests I played directed you toward sites where interesting things were going on. One started out as a "fed ex" quest from Megaton to a remote settlement built on a ruined overpass overlooking the Potomac. When I got there, I found that the settlers were under siege by a group of vampire people. My arrival triggered a far more interesting task: to go find their lair and slaughter them. I had three choices of locale. Behind door number one, an abandoned drive-in theater, were a pair of super mutants. Too bad that our play time ended while I was en route to the derelict metro station where I suspect they were hiding.

I may be wrong, but I'm inferring from what I've played that Fallout 3's world is designed around sites like these. In some cases, you'll be directed to them by quests. In others, you may just stumble on them in the middle of something else entirely. So long as players are not encouraged to bypass any potentially interesting scenarios simply because they're not on a quest to engage them -- a common problem in MMOs, once players learn that nearly every monster has a kill-quest associated with it -- then this could lend itself to some interesting meanderings in Fallout 3's world.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:38

Bethesda has put out some "new" screenshots for Fallout 3, and as per usual "new" is relative as you might well have seen this before in the magazine circulation.




Posted by Brother None - at 14:36

The Bethesda blog offers some magazine tidbits on Fallout 3, including a Play magazine interviews with lead producer Gavin Carter.

play: What gameplay situations in Fallout 3 really demonstrate the engine’s new ballistics and physics system?

Gavin: The best situations to see this in are during VATS sequences. VATS allows you to pause time, target specific areas of an enemy, and queue up moves that are then executed in a cinematic fashion.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:21

Two new Fallout 3 interviews, both with Pete Hines. Shacknews.

Shack: So what about Steam? Are you guys thinking about getting Fallout 3 on there?

Pete Hines: We're thinking about a lot of stuff. I don't actually know if any of that is set in stone yet, but hopefully there will be multiple digital distribution options for folks that want to go that route.

Shack: Did you put a lot of work into optimizing the PC version, and accounting for people with older machines?

Pete Hines: Yeah, we've been working with folks like Nvidia and having them do compat testing and optimization stuff, and looking at how the game plays on Nvidia cards. We've been doing some stuff with Alienware, specifically testing on different configurations of their machines. So we are trying to do our due diligence on the PC and make sure it runs as advertising.

But the problem on the PC, it's just not--you have a 360, you have the same thing that everyone else has. When you talk about a PC, how much RAM you have, do you have the right video card driver, the right sound card drivers, are you running all kinds of applications in the background that are eating up memory or trying to interrupt the process of the game and makes the game crash--you don't have any of those problems on the 360 or PS3.

So we try as much as we can for account for everything that we can account for, but the killer is all the variables you have no control over. I don't even know if I have the right drivers for anything on my home PC. It's something that you have to spend a bit more effort as a consumer.
Xbox Evolved.
XE: There are a lot of fans of the previous series that will be getting the game, but even more will be buying the game that never heard of Fallout before Fallout 3. How do you find the balance between pleasing the fans and easing in the newcomers?

Pete Hines: If we can make the best Fallout 3 game we can, we’ll be ok. People who played the originals will find plenty in there to make it feel like a true Fallout game, and people who don’t have a clue, just see a cool game they want to play. In our experience, millions of people got their first taste of The Elder Scrolls with Morrowind - they had never played Arena and Daggerfall years before. Millions more started with Oblivion. So people who know the series get more out of it, appreciate references and lore more, but the base game can still appeal to a wide group and not exclude one for the sake of another.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:18

Two more hands-on previews. 1up (thanks wasteland stories).

9:12am: For finding my way to the nearby town of Springvale, I earn my first level-up, with requisite points to add to my various character abilities -- I also get my first perk. Perks are like super value meals of character-building, bundles of trait-boosting that you pick at every level up. For yucks, I choose "Lady Killer," a creepy 10-percent damage bonus for attacks on the opposite sex. This will apparently affect my social interactions with female characters as well. Something tells me it's not an aphrodisiac.

9:20am: Fallout 3's about 1,000 times more appealing than previous Bethesda magnum opus Oblivion. Not that Oblivion remotely appealed to me -- it always felt like a graphical interface for world's loneliest LARP. I could never relate to magical elves and knights in shining armor. A vision of the United States as a smoldering ruin? That I can relate to.

9:23am: After wandering around a rusty, space-themed playground in the town's center, I take a shining to the nearby Springvale school. Within seconds of opening the door, I'm in my first firefight. A mohawked raider down the hall wants me dead. Only, he keeps yelling "Kick ass!" and "Let's do this!" like a tweaker on a sleepless, 72-hour meth binge. My pistol feels underpowered, and the aiming controls feel touchy, lacking a little in refinement. The game is practically shouting, "Don't play me like a shooter!" I obey, triggering Vault-Assisted Targeting System (VATS), the game's time-frozen, strategy-minded secondary combat system. I queue up a volley of shots to the raider's cranium and watch in slow-mo as a lucky one rips the guy's head off and sends it comically hurdling through space. F***ing awesome.

9:44am: My schoolhouse jaunt's suddenly taken a turn for the weird. Deep in the bowels of the building, I find a re-creation of Half-Life 2: Episode Two's antlion cave, complete with green glow and killer ants. I hit a dead end -- with no supercool items to show for it. I guess I should try to find a quest.
TeamXbox.
Though I’m not talking about following the main quest thread, I did follow in the direction indicated by the marker arrow on my compass. This led me to my first city discovery, which is the ramshackle community of Megaton. The city was literally formed around an unexploded bomb, which has also become the focal point for the Children of Atom church group. Talking to the various community members I happened across showed an overwhelming sense of concern and paranoia from most of Megaton’s citizens, though the city dwellers with names (other than titles such as “Megaton Settler”) brought the potential for more concrete info on my main quest, as well as other side quests.

I met a lady named Lucy, who told me about the lack of successful communication with her family, who lived a relatively short distance away—though in telling me that it wasn’t that far, Lucy confirmed my suspicions that it was going to be a dangerous trek (or else she would have done it herself, she said cheekily). While I had close to 200 bullets for my gun and a little more than a dozen stimpack healers, I didn’t have a lot of other protection, and it soon became clear that I probably should have spent more time rummaging around the vault and Megaton vicinity first. At the least, I figured I needed more Caps, which serves as the new currency in the Wasteland region. But, hey, it’s only four hours and how deep could the hole I put my character in get in such a short period?

The true answer is, pretty deep.
(...)
Speaking of Lucy’s family, I didn’t have a good result to bring back to her after I sought out her mother and father, but the journey also brought me to take on another quest within the city—to check on some of the residents and whether they were safe in their homes after an attack from The Family, a marauding gang that terrorizes the region. I wasn’t able to fully complete the quest, but I did manage to meet some of the endangered town residents, who gave me more vital info on the area.
And for some bizarre reason IGN has yet another preview, both on the PS3.
Fortunately, one of the raiders had left behind an extremely cool weapon against humans and dogs alike: a laser pistol. Much like its bullet driven counterpart, the Laser Pistol was very effective at close ranges, and had the added benefit of potentially blasting the opponent into a pile of ash with every critical hit. While the bodies might have been vaporized, their gear remained behind, so blasting these enemies was a satisfying way of quickly eliminating them. However, my skill with weapons definitely came at a serious price – while my character was extremely skilled at blasting creatures or picking locks, he was horrible at some of his other abilities, such as accessing computers. In fact, the few times that he tried to use computer terminals, he quickly locked them up. Ah well, who wants to be an egghead in this environment, when a good trigger finger will do?

Actually, I found that having an itchy trigger finger could accidentally get me into some quick trouble. As I wandered through the wilderness and crossed a hill, a laser blast flew past my head into the distance from behind. I immediately swiveled and targeted the offender, only to realize that it wasn't a raider or Super Mutant, but instead was one of the random Enclave robots that had been broadcasting the signal of the remnants of the American government into the vast wastelands of the country. Apparently, the floating Enclave bots have no problem attacking Mole Rats, RadScorpions or other animal life in the wastes, and if you happen to be in the way, they'll sometimes graze you as well. Although I was glad to see that the accidental shot was targeted for a Mole Rat up ahead, the droid's aim was too weak for my taste. So once the Mole Rat was dead, I immediately turned on the robot and attempted to blast it into pieces. It took a couple of shots, but I was able to destroy the droid and salvage some items from its innards.
And on the PC (thanks Dourvas).
Though there are plenty of statistics to bump up in the game as you level, it seems some of the most important are lockpick and repair. During my travels I ran into quite a few areas completely inaccessible without a high enough lockpick skill. Considering some doors lay buried within mysterious laboratories and blocked the entrances to curious spires topped with satellite dishes, I think it's pretty safe to assume that had I been able to get them open I would have been given some interesting rewards. Repair is another skill needed regularly, as it helps maintain weapon stability while in the field. By picking up versions of the same armor or gun type, you use your repair skill to consume one and improve the durability condition of the other. If you ignore these repairs, weapons will deteriorate to the point where they'll break, and then you'll be staring at a radscorpion with nothing but your bare hands for defense and only yourself to blame.

Depending on how high your repair skill is, you can continue to combine like-type weapons and armor to higher and higher durability ratings. This, in addition to keeping the weapon in a functioning state, also helps manage your inventory weight limit, since if you pick up too much and your character will be slowed down. By combining items with the repair skill, you can very easily lighten the load without the hassle of trying to find a vendor to sell off items or simply toss them aside. It seemed that after nearly every fight with humanoids it was a good idea to stop to combine weapons and armor to ensure you were in the best condition for moving forward. And of course stim-packs that regenerate health are also a big help, as you'll need to use them to inject yourself to replenish your general health or stick them into individual body parts to repair damage there. If you ignore individual body parts, they'll become crippled.

Posted by Morbus - at 11:59

It starts ok:

Somewhere between being attacked by giant rats and making awkward small talk with a trio of passive-aggressive radiation zombies, I began to regret my decision to leave the vault the other day.
Ah... If only it was an actual decision instead of an action forced by the game. Anyway, GameSpot has a nice and relatively long preview of Fallout 3, where the author assumes the role of the character in a witty piece of role-play.
I stumbled my way across the barren nighttime landscape, and just as the sun began to rise, I found a walled-off city called Megaton. The friendly robot patrolling the door could tell I was in a bad way (I think my busted and throbbing face tipped him off), so he let me in right away. Immediately inside, I was greeted by a rough-and-tumble-looking fellow in a cowboy hat. He introduced himself as Lucas Simms, Megaton sheriff and sometimes mayor (but only when the need for civility arises). I chatted him up for a bit, asking about the giant atomic bomb sitting smack-dab in the middle of the city as some sort of twisted town-square statue. Even among the makeshift scrap metal and airplane-fuselage houses, that thing stood out like a sore thumb. (...)

Thankfully, the shopkeeper managed to flush out most of my radiation with some Rad-X, and in the process I picked up a new mutant ability to regenerate crippled limbs. Score! Finally, I was sent off to the remains of a Super-Duper Mart store to find some old junk food and see if it was still any good. I ran into a big group of raiders camped out inside the store, but they were no match for the sniper rifle I picked up off of the guy back in Minefield. The best part is that taking care of these squatters gave me enough experience points to put my explosives level above 40. I found the food and rushed back to Megaton to put my newfound skills to good use.
Link: Fallout 3 Hands-On - Diary of a Wasteland Survivor @ GameSpot

Thanks Jiggly McNerdington.

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:27:50 GMT
Interview with Brian Fargo and our very own Brother None on Wasteland 2
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:30:39 GMT
Mad Max: Fury Road Comic-con trailer
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:39:43 GMT
Texas-based fan-made Fallout game: "Fallout: Lonestar" currently in the works
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:58:40 GMT
After Reset reaches and exceeds kickstarter goal in 10 days with 30 days to go
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 07:47:01 GMT
Fallout series on sale on Steam
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:21:23 GMT
No Fallout 4 at GamesCom
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:43:33 GMT
Fallout: Distress (A Fallout fan film)
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:38:38 GMT
Fallout: Van Buren being reborn under fan development (includes Q&A interview)
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:18:58 GMT
Post-apocalyptic RPG "After Reset" rebooted on Kickstarter
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:06:45 GMT
Underrail Development Log #52: Blood Sports
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:02:14 GMT
Wasteland 2 Update #53: Progress Report
-Opening Analysis: Fallout
-AMA Q&A with Brian Fargo and Chris Avellone
-Wasteland 2 Interview with Chris Avellone and Brian Fargo
-Circle Junction
-Wasteland Kickstarter Project Interview with Brian Fargo
-The Origins of Fallout
-Afterfall: InSanity review
-Afterfall: InSanity preview
-Lonesome Road Review
-Old World Blues review
-Fallout2 Hi-Res Patch v4.1.5
-Fallout1 Hi-Res Patch v4.1.5
-Falloup, a Fallout Comic by 'Ten'
-WayDowntown V1.1
-FO1 bos grenades quest
-FO1_pistol_sound_patch
-Fallout FIXT
-Graphics Viewer v1.36
-RobCo Systems Beta 1.0
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Anarchy Cell Design Document
-Koan's Gift: Oblivion Lost Design Document Pack
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost Design Document
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost Story Outline
-Uptown v1.4
-Fallout Script Editor 1.5a
-Mission Mojave Fixpack
-Garden Of Eden Creation Kit
-The Weapon Mod Menu
-The Mod Configuration Menu
-Interior Lighting Overhaul