Here at No Mutants Allowed we would like to thank J.E. Sawyer for taking the time to give us an interview on Project Van Buren and the Fallout game series, past, present and future, wich will help the effort in doing an unofficial Van Buren FAQ.
The interview was conducted by the Lead FAQ Team Member NCR_Ranger, we thank him aswell for the good work.
Here is Part1 of the interview:
Van Buren Interview-part 1What are the benefits of using a full 3D engine as opposed to using an engine like Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, which had 3D sprites on pre-rendered backgrounds?Stay tuned to Part 2 of this interview, and the upcoming Van Buren FAQ made by NCR_Ranger, Sammael and the NMA crew.Well, for one thing, it gives the player more ways to view and interact with the environment. 2D isometric engines can cause the player to struggle when attempting to interact with things in the enviroment due to occlusion of walkable terrain behind foreground objects and "wall backs". A fully 3D environment also allows for a more cinematic use of the camera in cutscenes.
Instead of simply having to scroll back and forth or go to a pre-rendered FMV, a 3D engine can move the in-game camera on three axes, change FOV, and other nifty tricks.
Of course, the benefits of fully 3D character models is versatility for
equipment socketing and animation. Adding a new animation onto a layered sprite character is a time-consuming process that involves rendering out each frame of the animation for each equipment combo the character can have during that animation. That problem is entirely avoided in 3D with the proper setup. A character with dozens of different equipment combinations can have an animation added with almost no difficulty.
In your opinion will the engine used in Van Buren capture the atmosphere of the universe it will entail?Yes. I think it already does. The engine is capable of rendering very detailed scenes. In giving demos to people, I often forget to rotate the camera early one. A few people have asked, five minutes in, "So are only the characters 3D? I thought the whole engine was 3D."
2D scenes will always have pixel-perfect accuracy, of course, but if our engine is good enough to make a number of people think they're viewing a 2D scene, that's not too bad.
So, it will really come down to the style and quality of the art that our team produces. They are capable of some great stuff, so I have no doubt that we will be able to capture the appropriate atmosphere.
Is the basic story for Van Buren laid out in this early stage of development?Yes.
Are there probable plans to release a demo in the future?I have no idea, to be honest.
Its no secret Van Buren will be a hybrid between Turn Based and Real Time, can you clarify for all the thousands of Black Isle Studio fans reading this, the reason for making it a hybrid as opposed to one or the other?TB is a niche that most publishers are unwilling to mine with what is supposed to be a "Triple A" title. Publishers generally cannot be convinced that it will sell well enough to justify the money put towards the project.
Publishers almost always want RT in games. If a developer tells them, "Well, we can only do one or the other," RT is the option they will pick. Given the choice between having a RT and TB component at 80-90% of their potential or RT at 100% without any TB component, we'd rather have the former.
How soon can we expect the first screenshots to be released / ”leaked” ?I have no idea.When will Van Buren be officially announced?I have no idea.Hypothetical Fallout Questions
If another Fallout game were ever made and you just happened to be the lead designer by chance, would it continue with the bloodline of the Vault Dweller / Chosen One?Probably not.
Would the game be a sequel, prequel or neither if you had the choice and why would you make this choice?I'd make it a sequel. I suspect most of the old time players would like to see how life in the wasteland has evolved since the destruction of most of the Enclave. A prequel could be cool but -- not right now.
Should you be able to choose different races as main characters, thus breaking away from tradition?I think so. I honestly don't think ghouls or super mutants are so fundamentally different from humans that they can't be made into balanced, fun characters.Are the Fallout Bibles still relevant now that Chris Avellone is no longer a BIS employee?Sure, they're relevant. That doesn't mean we would be slavishly devoted to them.
What is the “official” ending for Fallout 2?Oil rig goes boom. Enclave cries. Dogs and cats live together in harmony.How many times has Fallout 3 been in pre-production but cancelled?Twice, I think.To sum up all the debate, make a list of a few things that, in your opinion, would need changing regarding the SPECIAL system, given the opportunity?The number of skills and what they encompass (especially the science skills), the critical hit subsystem, the DR/DT/armor subsystems, range penalties, called shots, and the unarmed combat subsystem.What’s the BIGGEST problem with the SPECIAL system, in your humble opinion?The number of skills and what they encompass.What makes Fallout a unique RPG J.E?PLAMSA RIFLES!1!11
And lots of things to comment, don`t you guys and girls think?