Since we learned about the title called The Fall we have covered most news about it, since it was a post apocalyptic game ala Fallout.
So we just had to take some time to talk to Carsten Strehse (Lead Designer) about this title.
Please State your name, and your role in the making of The Fall:
My name is Carsten Strehse and I’m the Lead Designer of The Fall.What projects have you worked on before?
Well, I developed my first game 1987 on C64. Since that day I worked on more than two dozen game projects. Often in a leading position. My last game was Soldiers of Anarchy.What got you started making computer games?
I had fun playing, so I thought it should be even funnier to develop them. Today I know that I was wrong. Just kidding. Developing games is a tougher job than most people think, but it’s still fun.Who's involved in making this game?
19 people are working on The Fall at the moment. 7 programmers, 8 artists, 3 designers, 1 project manager.Tell us about the story in The Fall, what let to the world as it is in The Fall.
Since the pre-game story of The Fall is a little bit longer (but worth reading), I would suggest the interested readers should take a look at http://www.the-fall.com/e/index.php?menu=story. So I don’t need to shorten the story here.Tell us about the character creation, the different attributes and skills one can select.
The character creation is embedded into the game. You create a character by applying an ID-Card at the “Government of the New Order”.
You have to tell them your name, nationality, last residence and if you allow that your body can be eaten after your death. Since food is rare, the new Government gives everyone who allows that some extra items and fresh water. It’s also of importance for some quests.
After you chose you primary bodily feature (tall, small, thin, fat etc.) and life experience (military knowledge, engineering, trading etc.) you can take care of your 6 attributes and 14 skill. The attributes range from 1 to 20, the skills from 1 to 99.
The attributes are Strength, Agility, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence and Charisma. The skills are Close Combat, Light Weapons, Heavy Weapons, Sniper Weapons, Special Weapons, Throwing Weapons, Explosives Survival, Stealth, Pick Pocketing, Lock Picking, Engineering, Driving and Medicine.
Since we often get request to our point of view regarding “Agility” and “Dexterity” I suggest the interested readers to read the following thread . At the end of page one 1 I explain how they work in our system.
For the readers that miss a “Trading” skill: We haven’t implemented one, because we think it wouldn’t bring any gameplay advantage.
All dialogue interactions with NPCs are regulated by the attribute “Charisma”. We think it’s not necessary to have a separate attribute to convince ordinary people and than another one only for convincing traders. I you are a clever guy and able to manipulate people, you can do it with everyone.
If you get enough points on a single skill, you can choose a special talent. The talent relates to that skill and can be chosen when you raise a level. You can get up to 3 talents for each skill. Examples:You have reached 75 points on “Survival”. Now you can choose between the talents cooking (you can cook meat etc. and get 50 % more healthpoints out of it), higher perception (10 % higher chance to spot foes), influence animals (animals won’t flee, aggressive ones swill not attack) Or you have 75 % on “Light Weapons”. Now choose between the talents targeted precision (+10 % on far targets), positioning shooting (shoot kneeing or lying without handicap) or headshots (+5 % chance to place headshots)Every time one of your skill reaches 75, 85 or 95 points you can choose one talent for it.
How much depth is there to the NPC interaction?
Really a lot! We have more than 1000 NPCs. Every single NPC has it’s own work to do over the day, has social contacts and reacts on changing game situations. I will give you an example:Combat, how is that handled in The Fall and how did you came to select this specific combat system:Family Smith is sitting next to the camp fire of their enclave in the morning. They have breakfast together.Imagine this with more than 1000 NPCs and you can guess how alive the world of The Fall is.
If you talk to them father Smith will tell that he’s in a bad mood, because he has to hack wood today. And after that he has a long walk to the next village to get some fresh water. Mother Smith will tell you that she’s always worried when her son Timmy goes playing at the junkyard. And she’s also worried when her husband to travel to Dustville to get some fresh water (ironic, he? ).
This afternoon it’s time again. If you talk to Timmy he will tell you that he's excited, because he will meet Sara at the junkyard today. They want to play the “Seeker Game”. Father is finished his breakfast first and leaves to get his axe. He has a lot to do today. If you talk to him know, he starts swearing, he really hates hacking wood.
After mother Smith and Timmy finished their breakfast the kid leaves to the junkyard, the mother goes home to get her gun. She has to go hunting today.
To shorten this whole thing: Father Smith will travel to Dustville later today. There he gets some water, but that’s not the only thing he gets. We can only guess what he’s doing in her house… Mother Smith shoots a bear and guts it to get some flesh. And she make a necklace out of the teeth in the afternoon. Timmy plays with Sara at the junkyard till the evening. If you talk to him he asks you to play with them the “Seeker Game”. In the evening the whole family meets at the camp fire again. They listen to Bog who’s playing the guitar. And when they get tired they go sleeping.
Even if The Fall has its primary focus on the story, quests and dialogues combat is an important point.Will there be an in-depth story line like Fallout 1 and 2 or just an endless story of quests/missions/adventures for the player?
We are using a special menu which we call “Battle Bar”. It includes all controls for Auto-Pause, Auto-Behaviour, the most important camera controls for combat and a controller for the speed of the battles.
The Auto-Pause offers the player 15 different events, where the fight can be paused automatically (some examples: “Enemy spotted”, “Char has only 25 % healthpoints left”, “No ammo for the equipped weapon” etc.). One of the Auto-Pauses is very interesting for the TB fans, since it pauses the combat after each battle-round. Every time all PCs and foes had one action, the combat gets paused and you can plan the tactic for the next round. During the pause you can change weapons, armors or prepare for using items.
The Auto-Behaviour offers the player 15 different AI setting for every single PC. So you don’t need to take care of everything in combat if you don’t want to (some examples: “Fight kneeing if possible”, “Flee when 25 % healthpints left”, “Always attack the weakest enemy first” etc.). Using this feature every single PC will behave in combat like the player told him to.
To even enlarge the control over the battles you can regulate the speed of all characters actions. The camera control or UI isn’t affected by it.
Like I explained at the RPG roundtable at IGN (forum discussion) storytelling is something we have a strong focus on. The story of The Fall is very deep, has a lot of twists and very strong characters. All in all it has more than 3000 DIN A4 pages of content.How will quests, the storyline unfold? Will you go on mission after mission or can you also roam free?
You can wander free through the wastelands. For travelling longer distances you use a map where locations appear when you hear of them. It’s your decision which quests you want to solve first, which battles you want to fight last.
Who actually came up with the idea of this title ?
Well, the general idea was born by me, but from that point on it’s a team production.If you look at the industry and the different titles that are out there, what makes this title special. Why won’t The Fall fail where other titles failed?
In most cases quality assert on the market, that’s why The Fall will succeed. And the game will be the first 3D RPG with an post apoc/endtime scenario ever, so I feel quite confident that it gets the right attention on the market.Will this game be made in only English or translated to other languages as well?
The Fall will be released worldwide. We have natives specialised on translations for each country.The inventory in the Fallout series have usually been filled with lots of guns, chems, medic kits etc..How much will The Fall have ? And are the special items?
At the moment we have around 70 weapons implemented and another 10 to 20 will come. We ask the community which weapons they want to see and the most requested will find their way into the game. Overall we have more than 600 items (yes, I know, the website says more than 300… we have to make an update ), also some very special ones.Lastly, why should we buy this title?
Your friends will laugh at you if you don’t, because you’ll miss a great gaming experience.
I'd like to thank Carsten for taking some time to do this interview and will follow this title more as time moves on..