Recently we've spotted a couple of interesting articles on the first and third titles in the Fallout series published on Kotaku. The first is an article from Peter Teriyas with contributions from Tim Cain, one of the series' godfathers. The article touches on the impact the game had on Teriyas and its development history and is an all-around good read: The end of the world was both darker and more humorous than anyone could have imagined, and in the original Fallout, released for the PC in 1997, gamers got to experience the apocalyptic future firsthand. The iconic, "War, war never changes," introduction set the somber mood, which came about, strangely enough, during an episode of The Simpsons. Tim Cain, lead programmer and producer of Fallout, explained over an email interview, "My assistant producer, Fred Hatch, brought me the opening narration lines for the next day's VO session with Ron Perlman. They had just been finalized that day, and Fred thought they weren't very good. I read them and had similar concerns, so," during commercial breaks, "I wrote an alternative opening narration. I thought about how war was a constant in human history and how the weapons of war changed, but the reasons for war and the goals of war did not." He asked Hatch to "record both sets of lines the next day, and we would decide later which one we liked more." [...] Character creation was one of the most integral elements in the gameplay. The engine was originally based on a GURPS model, but the violence in the game caused Steve Jackson games to withdraw the license. SPECIAL (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck) took its place. "There was not a lot of time to make SPECIAL," Cain explained. "Chris Taylor and I talked about the systems it would have to support (code I had already written), which helped define what skills would be necessary to include in the game. He came up with the initial pass of attributes and skills, but I asked him to include the Luck attribute, so I could include its effect in many different systems. Also, after seeing the system, Brian Fargo suggested we have something else for the player to acquire when they leveled up, and Chris came up with the perk idea from that suggestion. That was most of SPECIAL right there, made in two weeks under intense pressure." I wondered if the game would be very different if GURPS hadn't been there in the first place as a template. "It's hard to say how Fallout would have turned out without GURPS. I think the area design would have been identical, but the combat systems were already in place, so SPECIAL had to tie into those. This meant we had to have a skill for unarmed combat, and we have to have one or more skills to heal damage. Interestingly, most of tech skills were collapsed into a single skill called Science, since there were not a lot of opportunities to use all of the different skills. But by collapsing them, we made a well-used mega skill. The stats and skills all tie into specific parts of the game, either combat, dialog, or exploration, which Chris Taylor and I were in very close agreement about what needed to be covered. The skilldex, with its text and artwork, conveyed the dark humor of the game well, and showed the wonderful collaboration between design and art. In fact, the "vault boy" has become an iconic emblem for the series. That character creation screen let the player know exactly what kind of game they were going to get." The second is penned by Patricia Hernandez, who seems to have specialized in writing Fallout-related things lately, and it argues that Fallout 3's tutorial is near-perfect. I respectfully disagree: The first time I'm granted control in the game is during my birth—the game's intro wasn't joking about all that new beginnings stuff, eh? My father, taking a page straight out of Professor Oak's handbook, asks me if I'm a boy or a girl. Then, he pulls up a machine called a Gene Projector, which can display what a baby will look like when it's all grown up. Mechanically, it lets me determine what my character will look like as an adult. Thematically, it's some GATTACA-level stuff—the type of invention a society with the values of the 50's might genuinely come up with. Little boxes made of ticky tacky need their white picket fences and picture-perfect families, after all. The game defaults your character to "Caucasian," which I suppose could be vaguely problematic, in that standard video-game kind of way, save for the fact that everyone in the game sort of looks like trash anyway. Look, as great as Fallout 3 is, the engine has absolutely not aged well. The game looked kind of horrible back in 2008, when it was originally released, and it only looks worse now. There are mods, but...they can only do so much. I digress. A few moments after I finalize my looks, my mother dies—and then the game fast-forwards to a year later. My dad tricks me into crawling into my playpen, and so I occupy my time with a book on the floor. I'm a big fan of the SPECIAL book, which breaks down every character stat in the game with short, nursery-school like rhymes. I can easily imagine it as a real book back in the 50s, and I definitely appreciate its significance now, in 2014. As a millennial, I was constantly promised I was so fuckin' special. I just needed to take the right classes, pass the right tests, and do the right extracurricular activities to mold myself into that special person, right? Like building an RPG character or something... I break out of the pen, I look around and think, wow, a vault is a sort of grim place to grow up, huh? Harsh, sterile metal everywhere.