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Fallout 3 Q&A with Emil at GameTap

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Fallout 3 Q&A with Emil at GameTap

Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Wed 5 September 2007, 15:30:02

Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Fallout 3

GameTap has posted a very informative interview with Emil Pagliarulo, Fallout 3 lead designer:

How important is it to telegraph to the player about the ramifications of what they’re about to do when presented with these kinds of options? In other words, you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into if you decide to do something like blow-up Megaton--the first town you encounter outside Vault 101.

You never want the player to feel ambushed or cheated. That’s the bottom line. Everybody knows how much it sucks to have something bad unexpectedly happen in a game, and have no way to recover. With Megaton, it’s such an extreme thing; it’s pretty hard not to know what’s going to happen. I mean, if you nuke the place, it’s gone.​
The biggest problem I have with the Megaton quest is it's the first town you see in the game. So, you just get out of the vault, squint at the world with your unused to the daylight eyes, and see a town. A guy there tells you "Hey, wanna blow it up? I would be cool, trust me!" and you say ... "Sure, why not?"?

I'd understand if you had to make this decision later on, after you explored the wasteland and came to hate (or like) Megaton. Then, after your dislike of the Megaton ways became known, you are approached, and then and only then you'd have a *reason* to wipe the town off the map. Anyway...

Have you encountered any issues where you’ve come up with an idea, but later think that you shouldn’t implement it because it’s not what Fallout is about? Basically, how restrictive has it been to work within the Fallout universe?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!​
An honest answer.

One of my big responsibilities as lead designer is playing “content cop”--making sure I know what’s going in the game at all times. With the nature of Fallout, it’s easy to say “Anything goes!”--but if you do that, things become diluted. The jokes you do have become less funny, the profanity you have becomes less noticeable and meaningful. So really, any idea that comes up has to fall under the microscope.

That said, the Fallout world is the Fallout world; it’s non-restrictive by nature. There’s not a whole we couldn’t include, if that’s what we wanted. So really, for us, it’s always a matter of asking ourselves, “Do we really want this? Does it fit with the world, does it fit with our story. At the end of the day, does it make Fallout 3 better?” If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” it doesn’t go in the game.​
- Hey guys, how about Intelligence checks in dialogues?
- No. It doesn't fit a Fallout game and we don't want it there anyway.
- What about a nuclear catapult? It shoots radioactive Barbie-heads that explode on contact? They also sing 40's songs...
- Great idea. We definitely want THAT in the game.

GameTap: The VATS mode looks like a good compromise between Fallout’s traditional turn-based combat and modern, real-time first-person combat.
Modern? You mean games like Doom (1993)?

One of the most memorable parts of Fallout was the fact that you could convince the last boss to kill himself. This is part of a larger aspect of Fallout, in that you could conceivably finish the game without killing anyone. Without spoiling anything, would it be accurate to say that Fallout 3 maintains this tradition--that the endgame can be done without violence?

How do you know there is an end boss, huh? Huh?!

OK, let’s assume for a second that there is an end boss. And I’m a master of verbal manipulation. Will I be able to use these skills to my advantage, to maybe defeat my opponent without lifting a finger? You can count on it.​

Now, that’s not to say you can talk your way through the entire game without ever engaging in combat. ... But within the quests, and several other places, yeah--you can talk your way through, if you’ve got the skill.​
Hopefully, it's implemented better than in NWN2.

Thanks, Jaime.

Edit: Missed one:

...I’ve heard that in Fallout 3 intelligence doesn’t affect dialogue, that it’s almost all in speech or charisma. Is there a specific reason? Why can’t I wander around as some sort of nuclear cro-magnon?

It really all comes down to the best way to balance our resources and our time, and concentrate on the things that really matter (liek teh graphikz - VD). Throughout the game, the player has so many choices, so many ways to define their character, we don’t want to get hung up on something like that.​
Makes sense. I'm sure that most people prefer to define their characters through facial customization anyway.

There are 36 comments on Fallout 3 Q&A with Emil at GameTap

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