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.