Irrational Games talks with Todd Howard

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Per, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    The people of Irrational Games (of Bioshock fame) talked to Todd Howard in his role as a prominent person in the video games industry who is "well known for his sense of humor and his drive to make great games", and Fallout 3 is of course mentioned a lot. They share this with us in the form of a sound recording, but The Vault has taken notes. For instance:<blockquote>Todd Howard: Because it is a game the player needs these moments where they feel proud of themselves, like 'look what I did!" You don't want to stop their forward momentum. The little things we do, and it's easier in an RPG, [is] where you give them some sort of device that is very powerful, like in Fallout we give you the Fat Man very early - this nuclear bomb catapult, it's incredibly powerful - and in most games you would be like, well, we're not going to give you this incredibly powerful thing really early. But we give you... whatever it is, four or five shells for the thing, so you get to try it a few times, be like 'this is awesome' and then most people, if you're really stuck in the game on some hard combat, you could use the thing, but most people don't. They finish the game with a lot of the Fat Man shells. They didn't use them all because they didn't want to puss out. Like, 'I can do it, I don't need to use this.' But they kind of, in the back of their mind, know they have it as an out, like 'uh, this is too hard, I'll use one of my shells here.' So little things like that can make a big difference, and players often are kind of self policing in 'well I have this thing I can use, but I do or don't want to use it because I don't know what's coming around the next corner.'

    Ken Levine: If I recall, my experience was that I thought I should save these things, but I think having them is empowering for people because they feel like, 'look, if I get really ****ed there's something I can do about it', even if they do get kind of screwed and they are dying a lot, they kind of feel like its their fault, rather than the game's fault, which is better because they feel that they could do something about it.</blockquote>Next time I finish Baldur's Gate II with lots and lots of stupid potions to spare, I'll think of them as little empowering nuclear rocket launchers.

    Thanks to Oaktable.
  2. Nark

    Nark Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 6, 2008
    The last thing the industry needs is Irrational taking advice from Todd Howard.
    Well it's not like Irrational is any good anymore anyway.

    I can't believe Todd Howard actually believes that the recent Bethesda console RPGs are as "deep" as Computer RPGs from the 90's.

    Also, "Hardcore RPGs" "hardcore experience" "hardcore RPGs on consoles" "hardcore", "hardcore".
  3. DarkCorp

    DarkCorp Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Oct 27, 2003

    The Fat Man was completely un-necessary. With VATS being incredibly un-balanced as is, a few headshots kills any normal thing. Oh but wait, Beth needed SOMETHING to justify the Fat Man so in comes the Behemoths.

    Honestly the powered armor could have been enough like the previous Fallouts. Could you imagine how the originall Fallouts would have played like if weapons like the Fat Man were in the game?
  4. Nark

    Nark Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 6, 2008
    Also, I don't like how whenever he refers to Fallout 3 he just calls it "Fallout".

    Because everyone knows Fallout 3 was the first Fallout.
  5. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Trying to sell off the Fat Man as justifiable from a gameplay experience angle is hilarious.
  6. OakTable

    OakTable Vault Senior Citizen

    Nov 26, 2009
    I love how they admit they don't focus test beyond the first part. That guy talking to him's like, "Dude, are you sure? I mean, you did learn something from it?" and he's all like, "Naw, that would take too long. We just let the Devs to it, because they're totally objective and not busy with other things."
  7. Hellion

    Hellion Antediluvian Lurker

    Jun 20, 2003
    Taking Todd's quote and replacing every reference to the Fat Man with the words "CHEAT CODE" actually makes great sense.

    Fat Man: because having to type in your cheat codes is sooo last millennium.
  8. Blackened

    Blackened I should set a cutom tite

    Jun 29, 2008
    What, they have Fat Man in Fallout?

    Anyway, why would we need Fat Man if we can freely use any amount of stimpaks at any time, just for about 0.2 seconds? So theoretically, you can beat an enclave army, armed with gatling lasers, plasma rifles and such, armed with a rolling pin and dressed in your favorite pajamas, being level 1, with 3 strength, agility, and luck. Hey man, you can even punch angry alien robots to death!
  9. Mordegar

    Mordegar First time out of the vault

    Dec 23, 2007
    Todd Howard must really be an idiot if he thinks that the fatman was *needed* to make things easier.
    What's with that *forward momentum* shit? Where are the epic encounters and challenging quests, the storyline twists and the countless rocks in your way to victory?.
    That guy is really driving me nuts.
  10. Lingwei

    Lingwei It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Mar 5, 2008
    I think it's a perfect example of Bethesda's design philosophy. What drives the player forward isn't a desire to see the consequence of their action or read more of the game's 'intelligent' dialogue, but to find more Fat Man nukes.
  11. Jet1337

    Jet1337 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Aug 27, 2009
    I have over 100 mini nukes and that number rises every time I go to Rivet City.

    I need more stuff to kill with the fat man...
  12. MaToX

    MaToX It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 5, 2009
    Fatman could have been a good/balanced weapon if overlords and behemots had 10x more life, imho.
  13. Gaddes

    Gaddes Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    May 18, 2010
    Todd Howard is the last person people need to ask about game design, let alone interview. Although it does provide some great lulz every time he opens his mouth.

    Wait, what? Fallout 3 had hard combat?
  14. Leon

    Leon A Smooth-Skin

    Oct 10, 2008
    Don't forget those mutant hillbillies whose overalls can withstand more punishment than the most advanced of powered armors. :D
  15. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    yes, fallout 3 combat was hard, but doable

    even if you were a melee char with 3 str and no melee spec points

    for the whole game
  16. EKSelenc

    EKSelenc First time out of the vault

    May 17, 2010
    Yes, you had to move your mouse and point corsshair at your enemies and even click mouse buttons to kill someone. That is considered to be pretty hard these days, you know.
    I also like how they say 'like', like, in every sentence.
  17. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    It had combat that involved using more than one button. By most RPG standards today, that is unforgivingly punishing and way too old-skool.

    C'mon people, haven't we evolved past these stupid old RPG tropes? Sure, difficulty and challenge were good back in the old days, but this is the New Era of gaming. Challenge is scary.
  18. Cimmerian Nights

    Cimmerian Nights So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2004
    I just love when Todd Howard speaks on behalf of us as gamers. Thanks buddy!

    It's downright annoying, so let's not risk offending the sensibilities of the lower 20% percentile of the target market demographic and nerf the game down to their level. Why risk alienating the LCD when we can put training wheels on the game and pander to their gimmie-gimmie ADD attention spans.

    Irrational, please disassociate yourself from this schmuck immediately.

    Dumb it down, and whore it out for the LCD. Bethesda's overriding design principle in a nutshell.

    If you read more of the interview
    It gives you even more insight into what little regard they hold for the intelligence and attention span of the ass end of their target market.

    Let them eat cake, eh Todd?

    Wow, game design based on the assumption that you have to put training wheels on everything so as not to alienate the LCD.
    At what stage does marketing step in to start dictating changes?

    I'm glad Todd doesn't run a restaurant, all the steak would have to be put in blenders since infants can't chew on it.

    Thank you Todd for making RPGs handicapped accessible.
  19. DarkCorp

    DarkCorp Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Oct 27, 2003
    Wow reading some of those responses at the link site was just outright depressing.

    The early days: The great recovery and the renaissance.

    Back in the day, gaming was niche. Those who wanted to cater to this exclusive "niche" crowd knew that they had better deliver otherwise they would not make money. The videogame wars of the 80s and their effects were still fresh on gamer minds. Meanwhile, the rest of the mainstream world derided gamers as dice freaks who would never leave their parents basement.

    The dream grows:

    Gaming becomes more popular. Its still dominated by the niche (hardcore geek) crowd but newbs are moving in. Thanks to the arcades, new types of games are developed (such as the sidescrolling shooter/platformer) which is a good thing. Graphical capabilities continue to grow.

    The force has achieved balance:

    Gaming at some point in the mid to late 90s achieves a kinda of zen balance with a diverse game selection for almost everyone. Keep in mind nobody has been officially left out yet.

    Times are good as the gaming "force" is balanced and maintained. The gaming community continues to cater to everyones taste whether it be JRPGS, (western)RPGS, shooters/sidescrollers/platformers, etc. Companies make larger and ever increasing amounts of money as graphics and gameplay continue to evolve.

    The Coming Storm:

    Companies slowly begin to get blinded by $$. The balance that was vigilantly maintained in the past is now teetering. The dark side whispers into the ears of the console CEOS:

    "Look at those greedy PC bastards. For far to long they have dominated the multiplayer aspect. They slap us in the face with things like LAN gaming and dialup connection duals. They are hailed as innovators with their FPS graphics and gameplay. They offer blood and partial/full nudity and gratuitous swearing while mocking you as a "kiddy" system. Where is your pride? Where is your sense of greed? Do you not see opportunities?"


    Consoles initiate a pre-emptive strike. Their goal? To dominate the gaming field in all aspects. Graphics become the new god. Violence, sex, profanity, things that were mostly the PCs weapons, are now being developed for console games. There is a take no prisoners mentality with the console side. Grand plans are laid as consoles work out alliances with the growing internet to provide the masses their own version of multi-player gaming.

    The dark days:

    Taken un-awares, PC loses grounds in every aspect to the console forces. Consoles now dominate with comparative graphics, multi-player capabilities and adult content. Their machines, a much cheaper alternative to constant upgrades a PC requires. Gaming is now mainstream and cool. Companies are blinded by greed as they garner the majority of the gaming market. Breeding pens and farms are quickly setup to continue mainstream dominance. Graphic intensive, violent but simple games are craved by the mainstream masses, not unlike the mob of romes past. Carbon copies are soon cloned in massive tanks in the above mentioned farms. Gaming companies now adopt a "mutal fund like" approach to their business practices. Games are released in masse with glory to the strongest and the fittest. Costs from failed games are re-couped by financial successes like Halo, and Gears Of War.

    The Outcasts:

    The balance, once hallowed in days past, is effectively broken. Those who offered shelter and support to the battered remnants of the 80s crash are now abandoned and shunned. Companies once again turn to the practices of their failed forefathers. Making quick bucks catering to a crowd that only demands the the most debase of desires. The Roman mob rules.
  20. lemonold

    lemonold First time out of the vault

    Jul 8, 2010
    Bethesda ruined fallout , fallout 3 feels like oblivion with its name scratched out and a BIG 3 is added, hence Fallout 3, plus it have one of the most ignorant fan base i have ever seen other than halo fans, all they say it that fallout is the best RPG while they never played the old fallout(1,2) only fallout 3, which is NOT a fallout game in the eyes of real fans, and they think they know everything from the fallout universe, because it is in fallout 3, and worse of all they hate the old games because of their graphics and combat(which is better than fallout 3 anyway), Bethesda i only like you for Morrowind and Oblivion nothing more.
    Hopefully Obsidian/black isle can make Vegas a true Fallout title.