Kelgray and Beyond

int game_engine(void) {

Fallout 3

It’s one of those games that I’ve been waiting for since I finished the last game (Fallout 2).  Unfortunately that’s been almost a decade now.  Interplay‘s Fallout series was, in many people’s opinions, the king and pioneer of open-ended RPGs.  You could be a righteous trooper for the Brotherhood of Steel and protect the post-apocalyptic Western united States from super mutants, or you could get married and pimp out your wife for a little extra spending money.  It was wonderful, it was beautiful, and it was well done.  With multiple endings based on what you did or did not accomplish, multiple ways of doing each mission depending on your character (blast your way through with a mini-gun or use your magnificently eloquent chatting skills to talk people into doing what you want), it was one of the trademark games of my video gaming career and will not be forgotten any time soon.  I waited so long for news of the next game coming out, but was disappointed again and again, first with Fallout Tactics, then with Brotherhood of Steel.  I was about to give up hope until 2004 hit.

In 2004 Bethesda, maker of Morrowind and Oblivion, bought the rights to make Fallout 3.  At first I was incredibly excited.  Oblivion hadn’t come out yet, but Morrowind was the largest and most open game I’d played since Fallout.  It pwned all other RPGs as far as I was concerned.  It gave me new interest in the genre.  Then Oblivion came out and I got even more excited as the gigantic world now had cool looking graphics as well.  So much to do, so many hours that could be spent on a single game.  It wasn’t until after I’d grown a liking for both these games that I renewed my search for information about Fallout 3.

What I found was anger and animosity from Fallout fans everywhere I looked.  They don’t want to trust their baby to a new mother.  They don’t trust Bethesda to stay true to the spirit of Fallout, and are deathly afraid of “Oblivion with guns”.  After much time spent surfing through various forums and seeing arguments for both sides, I’ve decided that I can see where these fans are coming from.  Bethesda does lack in some areas that are important to the Fallout series, and it’s possible that they won’t be paying enough attention to what matters to fix them.

Now I don’t have the same concerns that the loudest of the Fallout fans have.  Those concerns are, in my humble opinion, fairly idiotic.  They all want turn-based combat and an iso-linear display.  That’s silly.  The first thing I thought when I found out that Bethesda had the licence was “Sweet, first person fallout”.  We don’t need that old display just like Grand Theft Auto didn’t need the top-down display.  Moving to first person opens up more opportunities.  Real time combat isn’t something that’s bad.  Sure it might change the combat from strategy to twitch, but it doesn’t change the game from RPG to action.  RPG does not entail strategy, just like twitch does not entail action.

What I do worry about is something that I think all the fallout fans actually worry most about, though they talk about it the least, and it’s the reason why nobody who visits their forums understand what they’re really mad about unless they stay for a while.  The problem is in the dialogue trees.  The ability to screw yourself over and have to continue on without the help of certain people, or the fact that you can’t talk well enough to communicate being a factor in whether or not you can do certain things.  Or if your science skill isn’t high enough you have to get someone else to fix your shit.  Stuff like that.  Stuff where story-lines and dialogues change based on what type of character you’re playing.  These are things that Morrowind and Oblivion didn’t do to well at.  But that doesn’t mean that Bethesda’s not going to do them with Fallout.

Basically, if Oblivion with guns is the worst case scenario of what Fallout 3 will be.  I’ll still be happy.  Bethesda has already said that they are going to have a mature rating and will be including the important things like drugs and sex.  So as long as we have a setting that works with the Fallout universe and the humour and an open world,I’ll be happy.  Best case scenario, we’ll get a game that will redefine our current definitions of an RPG, just like Fallout 1 did when it came out.  I, for one, am looking forward to finding out what Bethesda will do, and am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until the product comes out.

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February 22, 2007 - Posted by | Computer Programming, Fallout, Games, Generalities, Technology, Videogames

7 Comments »

  1. Dude I’m not an idiot! :)

    Anyway check my new blog about Fallout3

    http://fallout3.wordpress.com/

    Comment by briosafreak | February 28, 2007

  2. Lol, never called you an idiot. For those readers who don’t know who Briosafreak is, he’s one of the loudest mouths of the Fallout community. He, however, more than most who are afraid of Bethesda, understands that the real problem is in the character development (the ability to go throguh the game without having to do much combat if you’re a smart talking character).

    What I was trying to say was simply that the community needs to bitch about the right things if they want something to get done. No one’s going to pay attention to you if you’re trying to change a format that’s already been decided on and which most people don’t have a problem with. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So try to influence the things that they’re still working on. That includes the story and the dialogue.

    Comment by Taylor | February 28, 2007

  3. Well like I said in the post you commented we’ll know soon enough, either from San Fran or another similar event.

    Comment by briosafreak | February 28, 2007

  4. if fallout 3 is first-person “twitch” combat… what’s the point of calling it fallout 3? at least the console versions of baldur’s gate and fallout: brotherhood of steel didn’t attempt to increment the series. they were obvious spin-offs.

    the problem is bethesda licensed the rights to fallout 3, not a game set in the fallout universe.

    i’m glad you enjoyed oblivion. i did too, after it was properly modified. don’t kid yourself into thinking that it is in any way an rpg the way that (for example) bioware’s games are. it’s like calling GTA an RPG because you have quests and collect stuff.

    speaking of GTA, your analogy doesn’t really work. you can move from gta 1&2 to gta 3 with little problem since the fundamentals of the game didn’t change. if they’d gone with a turn-based approach while changing to 3D… that i could understand.

    we realize that fallout 3 will have better graphics, and honestly… we want them. at the same time, we want fallout 3 to play and behave like fallout 1 & 2. is that too much to ask?

    Comment by jon | March 4, 2007

  5. Yes, I’m afraid it is too much to ask. Format does not a game make. Honestly, I don’t care about graphics and I don’t care about the format. i care about the story. The reason it’s called Fallout 3 and the other games weren’t is that it is expected to progress the storyline. The problem that I have with everyone who cares so much about the old combat system is that combat systems should not matter. The combat system has NOTHING to do with whether or not ANY game is a roleplaying game. It’s a way of settling things that are necessary in order to continue with the story. The story and having different ways to progress through it is what’s really important. I’ll be just as pissed as you if I can’t have a character that’ll be able to smooth talk his way out of almost any situation, and another that can say nothing but “Barugh?” and relies entirely on his fists and guns, but the combat? The combat was not what made Fallout great, and I will state here and now that anybody who holds that belief is not actually a Fallout fan and knows nothing about the game. Sure it’d be nice to have the same format, but it’ll be interesting to see what they do with it. Personally, I don’t think anybody actually has a problem with the format. I think it’s just a way of expressing their rage at Bethesda in general. Give it a chance. When you play it, assume that it will be a good game. If it dissapoints you when you come at it from a positive angle, then you have an argument.

    Comment by Taylor | March 4, 2007

  6. that’s why it will never wor. Andreina Cecilio.

    Comment by Andreina Cecilio | September 19, 2007

  7. oh lord my baby your driving me craz. Mihangel Caiaphas.

    Comment by Mihangel Caiaphas | October 21, 2007


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