Chris Taylor "Geek of the Week" Q&A

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by WorstUsernameEver, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. WorstUsernameEver

    WorstUsernameEver But best title ever!

    May 28, 2010
    Board Game Geek had a forum community Q&A with Fallout's lead designer Chris Taylor, and surprise surprise, it turns out people were interested in asking a few question on the franchise and even the Wasteland 2 revival. There's plenty of interesting tidbits there so I'll be generous with the quotes:<blockquote>What do you think of the resurrection of Wasteland?

    Oh, it's great. Wasteland was one of the games that made me want to be a computer game designer. There were a couple key ideas from Wasteland that formed the core of the work that I did on Fallout (player actions should have consequences and statistics matter).

    So to see the success they've had with their Kickstarter campaign is very heart-warming. I just got a chance to see their first screenshot and it looks very promising. I will be playing it the day it comes out.

    Now, for some inside dirt, I actually did a treatment a few years ago for inXile for a Wasteland 2 (along with Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky). Leonard did this concept art of a mutant dog riding a human that I will always treasure. (And an armed Nun that you would not want to run into in the middle of the night.) It was a fun pitch to make even if it didn't go anywhere.

    I understand they have Chris Avellone working on the new game in some capacity. If so, that's wonderful news. He is a great designer and should really have fun with the Wasteland world.


    I know that you were heavily involved in Fallout 1, mostly in designing the SPECIAL system from all I've read. Did you partake in any of the development of the plot? If so which portions of the plot did you have the biggest involvement in?

    I was the lead game designer for Fallout 1 after Scott Campbell left the project. Scott did most of the original story and areas. I edited his work, finished some areas (other designers finished other areas), wrote a majority of the spoken dialogue, did most of the work on SPECIAL after we lost the GURPS license (it was based on my homebrew RPG campaign), generated the weapon/armor data spreadsheets and wrote the manual. Oh, and did the HTML for our really cruddy website. That was my fault!

    I didn't come up with the original plot of a vaultdweller leaving the vault to get the water-chip. That was Scott Campbell, Tim Cain and Chris Jones, IIRC. I may be wrong.

    I was there for the original discussions at Cocos we were brainstormed various GURPS settings. Most of those were multi-genre and had to be discarded due to the cost of doing art for multiple worlds.


    Did you get to meet any of the voice actors for the game, like Ron Perlman, Richard Dean Anderson, or Tony Shaloub?

    Yes, I did. I went with Mark O'Green and/or Fred Hatch to the recording sessions to handle any last minute changes to the dialogue. Ron Perlman was the nicest person I've ever met. He gave us his Dodger's tickets and we went to the game after the recording session. My ass has been where Ron Perlman's ass has been.

    Richard Dean Anderson was a perfect gentleman. He was really interested in his character. We had some video of the 3d heads that we could show to the actors and he liked his Killian avatar.

    It was an amazing experience to watch the professional voice actors work. We had a really good voice director and watching him interact with the actors was one of the highlights for me.

    Do you ever speak with any of the Fallout 3 programmers at Bethesda (a few of which are members on BGG) or do they ever approach you for advice or knowledge?

    Not at all.


    Have you watched any of the Nuka Break independent Fallout movies they have on youtube?

    Yep. Good stuff. The whole Fallout fan movement is way bigger than I ever thought it would be. There are some really dedicated fans out there.


    1. You mentioned designing a Fallout Miniatures game, what's your take on a wasteland settling or scavenging New Vegas game?

    Any post-apocalyptic setting worthy of the Wasteland name should have guns with limited ammo; all sorts of odd scavenged weapons; mutants, mutated animals and icky green mutation liquid pools of some sort; vehicles that would make the Road Warrior proud and enough morale dilemmas to shake a snake at.

    I'd like to see a 4X style game, with players exploring nearby areas, sending out teams to uncover old technology or scavenge raw materials, and limited resources that can be fought over.


    You've probably been asked this before, but what are your thoughts on Fallout 3?

    I once said I'd only comment on Fallout 3 if I had nice things to say about it.

    I really liked Fallout New Vegas. I thought it was a very good game. They had a good story, the interactivity was much improved and the Fallout humor was there in the right amount. Obsidian did a great job on New Vegas. I'm biased, of course, and think that FO1 was the best of the series. New Vegas is very good and comes closer to FO1 for me than any of the other games.

    Personally, I liked the turn based combat of Fallout 1 & 2 (I have Fallout tactics, but never got round to playing it - should I?).

    I liked the turn-based combat of FO1/2 as well. I was a big fan of the Jagged Alliance games of the time, too. I'd rather you play JA than Fallout Tactics.

    Tactics wasn't quite finished. It was rushed out the door and didn't get the final polishing it needed.

    We also made a bad decision by adding the real-time gameplay about half-way through development. While that didn't take too long to implement (in fact, it was ready before the turn-based combat was), we didn't realize at the time that it was going to cripple playtesting. Instead of playtesting each mission once, we had to playtest it three times. We just didn't test enough to balance the game or fix all the issues.

    It's a decent game. Actually, Fallout Tactics a good game with some problems. There are better games to play unless you're a die-hard Fallout fan.

    I was very frustrated to hear the long awaited Fallout 3 was going to be real time in the combat - while I played both Fallout 3 and New Vegas I found the combat to be dumbed down, and VATS was a shadow of it's former self (ie VATS in Fallout 1 & 2 was superior).

    Much like the combat in Oblivion, I felt that instead of each % point put into a skill having an incremental effect (as it did in Fallout 1 & 2), in Fallout 3 & NV there were 'stat thresholds' where skills would have a noticeable improvement, eg shooting handling would improve every 25%.

    What is your personal opinion of these design changes? Do you agree that these things I've percieved exist? If you do, do you see them as a big flaw?

    I thought the combat in FONV was fine for being real-time. I understand the nature of the business that they felt they could't afford to go turn-based.

    I think VATS is overpowered. I tried not to use it, but it did seem better in FONV.

    I tried not to critically analyze the gameplay mechanics of the newer Fallout games. I just wanted to enjoy the games for what there were. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of both games. FONV did a great job with that.

    The big improvement from Fallout 1 & 2 to Fallout 3 was the way the inventory was handled - what are your thoughts on this?

    Yes. I take full responsibility for the inventory interface design in FO1/2. It worked okay in the beginning, but was too difficult to manipulate during actual gameplay. We didn't really notice it until it was too late.

    I would have preferred a Diablo-style inventory interface.</blockquote>
  2. Goral

    Goral It Wandered In From the Wastes

    May 5, 2008
    Wow, great stuff. Thanks for posting this. I hope he will work at inXile or Obsidian in the future.
  3. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Apr 3, 2003
    I wonder if he's still at Interplay. I'd like him moving to inXile, heh, following Jason Anderson's path.

    We asked Fargo about the pitch the Troika guys worked on, of course. We might get a peek at it later, though not right now.
  4. FearMonkey

    FearMonkey Vault Senior Citizen

    Oct 12, 2011

    Oooooh, sick burn. :p
  5. Radman

    Radman It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jul 12, 2007
    Yeah pretty funny stuff.

    Almost all Fallout 1&2 fans would agree though.
  6. Beelzebud

    Beelzebud A Smooth-Skin

    Mar 6, 2008
    That's the first time I've seen an original Fallout developer be honest about not really liking Fallout 3.

    I'll bet his opinion of Bethesda is less than zero right about now, considering they just shut down the Fallout game he was working on...
  7. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    We've only been over this every time some old Fallout developer has been asked about Fo3 ever. If they're positive, it's because otherwise they'd never work in the industry again. If they don't say anything, it's because they really hate it. I think the bone CT threw here has had every scrap of meat chewed off it a long time ago.
  8. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign Gonk 0 Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    Great article. Good to see him being honest about Fallout 3.
  9. Makagulfazel

    Makagulfazel Adept Bungler of Things Orderite

    Jun 14, 2007

  10. WorstUsernameEver

    WorstUsernameEver But best title ever!

    May 28, 2010
    Yeah. Honestly speaking, while people here are less inclined to think that, you could make a similar case for New Vegas: Tim Cain works at Obsidian now, Chris Taylor could always end up working there, etc.

    To be honest though, I wouldn't be surprised if at least a part of the developers enjoyed Fallout 3. While to some here it might seem an heresy, it was still a pretty decent game with a strong atmosphere and plenty of stuff to explore, and it also had the best quest design in a Bethesda game to date.
  11. Lexx

    Lexx Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    I personally don't care if Fallout devs like Fo3 or not and if they talk about it or not. I mean, nothing will change for me, if I know they tell the truth or not... We know how the industry works (and it is totally normal, I also wouldn't want to work with someone who repeats how much he thinks my work is bad), so just stop asking them and they don't have to try to walk on a rope.

    This just ends in kind of a childish "HA HA Bethesda, look, even they hate your work!11" thingy.
  12. Bewitched

    Bewitched aka Vault_13

    Jun 13, 2006
    Well, let's be honest, there would be no FNV without F3, so if he likes FNV he can't say that F3 totally sucks.

    F3 was a big responsibility for a developer who never made Fallout games before, while FNV was made by people who partly created it. And this opportunity was also given by Bethesda.

    Yes, they are cruel businessmen, but it is unfair to say they are totally evil and give all the credits to the Obsidian.
  13. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Apr 3, 2003
    Evil? Taylor doesn't, or anyone else in this thread. They're just not very good at making a Fallout game. Yet. Maybe they'll learn, though I doubt it, they seem to be very proud and focused on what they actually do well even when that doesn't fit what Fallout is very well.
  14. FearMonkey

    FearMonkey Vault Senior Citizen

    Oct 12, 2011
    Yeah, I was gonna say this as well. Bethesda isn't evil, they just don't know how to make a good Fallout game. Skyrim is an excellent game (for the most part) and that's the kind of product that's right in their wheelhouse as they (for the most part) created the world of Elder Scrolls so they know that world. Fallout 3, on the other hand, is basically fan fiction, because even though they're fans, that doesn't mean they get what Fallout is supposed to be. For instance, their idea of dark humor is blowing up a nuke in the middle of a town. Ha ha?

    But yeah, maybe with more experience they can get Fallout right. I'm hopeful at least, because I doubt they're gonna let anybody else play in that world anymore after the New Vegas experiment.
  15. Surf Solar

    Surf Solar So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2009
    "The biggest improvment from Fo1/2 to Fo3/Nv was the inventory"

  16. maximaz

    maximaz Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Apr 2, 2006
    What heartless miscreation had the moral cojones to turn down that earlier Wasteland pitch? Man, I'd love to see that concept art.
  17. Guiltyofbeingtrite

    Guiltyofbeingtrite Vault Dweller

    Oct 13, 2008
    I can't really disagree, overall I liked the inventory system and interface in 3 and NV a lot.
  18. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign Gonk 0 Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005

    Same here. Not so much the interface though.
  19. WorstUsernameEver

    WorstUsernameEver But best title ever!

    May 28, 2010
    Sure, doesn't seem like a weird thing to say, if anything it's damning with faint praise since FO1/2's inventory was so bad that *anything* would have been an improvement over it. Games were good enough that one could easily ignore that but still: bad bad bad bad bad.
  20. Surf Solar

    Surf Solar So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2009
    And what it that it was so bad? They added mousescrolling in FO2 too which was the only annoying thing for me in FO. Or are they not "immersive" enough,ike this mess of a cluttered and clunky interface from Boreout 3 or Yawn Vegas?