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Interview Deiley on His Deathclaws

Saint_Proverbius

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Tags: Fallout 2; John Deiley

The Gamer has posted compiled interview with former Interplay game designer John Deiley, the inventor of the Talking Deathclaws in Fallout 2. In it, he goes over various things like his relationship with Monsignor Chris Avellone, why he made the things in the first place, and so, so much more... Like this:

“In later games, the players could meet up with them and they could be a source of support,” Deiley says. “Depending on what the player did, they could say, ‘You’re not the type of individual we want to associate with, leave or we’ll kill you, period.’ I mean, that was their mindset. They were intelligent, but still aggressive.

“There was going to be an internal conflict with them, the devil within. They were planning, once they were more secure, on altering power armour to fit their physique. And then they were going to pay the Enclave a visit and get as many vials of the FEV virus as they could, kidnap a scientist or two, and make some improvements.”

Whoa, Nelly! Now there's a few spicy meatballs in this one. Anyone else think that maybe, just maybe, where we stand today, the FEV should have been a one-and-done thing for just the first game? Instead, it seems to have evolved itself in to the "explain your bad idea" virus.

Thanks, Roguey!
 

Sweeper

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Anyone else think that maybe, just maybe, where we stand today, the FEV should have been a one-and-done thing for just the first game?
Fallout itself should have been a one and done thing.
Wasteland as well, now that I think about it.
Nothing good ever comes from sequels.
 

ShaggyMoose

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Frankly, if you go to the trouble to create a well-realised world and environment, its a waste not to utilise it for further stories. Plenty of sequels out there at least as good as the original.
 

H. P. Lovecraft's Cat

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Talking Deathclaws is the dumbest thing I ever heard of. Imagine if the main characters in Jurassic Park could have a conversation with the T-Rex and Raptors.
 

Saint_Proverbius

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Wasteland as well, now that I think about it.
I actually enjoyed Wasteland 2 and Wasteland 3. I actually liked Wasteland 3 just a little more than the second one.

The Wasteland setting seems to be a lot like TSR's old Gamma World setting. It's way more "Anything Goes" than Fallout's. Even in the original one from the late 1980s, there was some fairly off the wall stuff. The tech level was all over the place.
Fallout 2 was full of stupid things, and the talking Deathclaws were one of them.
Talking Deathclaws are dumb, but for some reason I really thought the chess playing Spore Plant was funny. Probably because it was an oddity. It was unique, so I let it slide.

The really dumb thing is, if you really REALLY wanted talking deathclaws, you have The Enclave which is at the height of developing post war tech, at least they were in Fallout 2 before Bethesda retconned everything The Enclave made in to being pre-war. We're talking a universe where brainbots exist, so why the Hell didn't they brainbot-ify some Deathclaws? Dead Enclave trooper, put his brain in a brain case, wire that up to a Deathclaw's head? It would make more sense than them taking a virus designed for humans, getting it to work on Deathclaws, and have Deathclaws being the only thing that just simply got better with no downside. Not to mention it's a novelty that ends with the last of them getting killed by the player. It would also make more sense if you wanted to put them in power armor as well, since they were loyal troopers before this and knew how to use power armor.

The idea of taking a very hard to kill creature like a Deathclaw, then making it smart, and then giving it power armor just seems like a really bad idea from an in game perspective.
 

Harthwain

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The idea of taking a very hard to kill creature like a Deathclaw, then making it smart, and then giving it power armor just seems like a really bad idea from an in game perspective.
From an in-game perspective it looks like an idea for increasing the difficulty curve in a way that could be somehow explained to the player.
 

Lemming42

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Frankly, if you go to the trouble to create a well-realised world and environment, its a waste not to utilise it for further stories. Plenty of sequels out there at least as good as the original.
With Fallout it's tricky though because Fo1's story is so complete and fully uses the setting. It starts to strain badly under the weight of sequels because there's nothing you can add without it coming across as weird and extraneous, and there's nothing you can modify without fucking up the plot of the first game.

Especially given the whole plot of Fallout 1 is about asking whether or not humanity deserves a second chance after the war. After that chance is granted with the death of the Master, seeing what they actually "canonically" do with that chance just messes with Fallout's premise.
 

Paul_cz

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Interesting how "The Gamer" was the site that falsely accused Avellone of "raping multiple women" only for that to be proven false, so here they are with another hitpiece.
 

Hydro

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I’ve just realised that the whole FEV thing was completely gone after the first Fallout, as if it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Despite me not liking Fallout 2 as much as I like the first one, I never had any problems with the talking deathclaws. Furthermore I kinda like the idea of them wearing a modified power armour and becoming a big actor in the Fallout world. This sounds very much in line with what the first game had established at that time and billions years better than any of the shithesda’s attempts at expanding the narrative.
 

Saint_Proverbius

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From an in-game perspective it looks like an idea for increasing the difficulty curve in a way that could be somehow explained to the player.
There's a problem when you "distinctionalize" game-logic and logic to the point where your game logic completely breaks actual logic. Maybe you can make the case where you have some scientist asshole out there that would think making Deathclaws smarter and tossing power armor on them is a good idea, but it gets more and more improbable when you factor in that this scientist asshole would be part of a larger group like the Enclave.

Speaking of breaking logic, it's really odd that people with radiation exposure that are also exposed to FEV get dumber, but creatures that are mutations caused by radiation somehow get smarter when exposed to FEV. If you read what Deiley said in that interview, he wanted to make them extremely intelligent to the point of some fairly complex planning and a fairly complex understanding of causality.
Interesting how "The Gamer" was the site that falsely accused Avellone of "raping multiple women" only for that to be proven false, so here they are with another hitpiece.
I didn't know that, but somehow I'm not shocked considering this interview. If you read the actual article, they're oddly focused on Chris Avellone. They even go out of their way to mention that Chris Avellone also started out as a QA guy just like Deiley as if that's something relevant to the article. I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar that if you ever saw the raw transcript of the interview, the interviewer is kind of pushing Deiley to cough up dirt on Chris Avellone.
 

Sinder Velvin

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They even go out of their way to mention that Chris Avellone also started out as a QA guy just like Deiley as if that's something relevant to the article.

Nah, it doesn't say that. Chris was never a QA guy and the article says Chris was a designer at the time:

John Deiley got his start at Interplay as a QA tester, but on a whim one day, he was asked if he’d like to try out for the role of designer (which was also Chris Avellone’s position at the time).

For a moment, it was weird to see RPG Codex post a news item from The Gamer about another person prone to exaggeration who has a grudge against Chris, but I think people here just read it as Chris being based.
 

Saint_Proverbius

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Nah, it doesn't say that. Chris was never a QA guy and the article says Chris was a designer at the time:
Ah, that is probably the case since MCA doesn't have any credits as a "QA" as far as I can tell. I read it as "which" was refering back to the "start as a QA tester" rather than "role as designer". It's still odd to bring Chris Avellone up in that paragraph. In fact, the mentioning of Chris Avellone in the first set of paragraphs seems incredibly odd. Of the first eight paragraphs, MCA is brought up in all of them except the very first one.
 

Sinder Velvin

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It's still odd to bring Chris Avellone up in that paragraph. In fact, the mentioning of Chris Avellone in the first set of paragraphs seems incredibly odd. Of the first eight paragraphs, MCA is brought up in all of them except the very first one.

It's bait. They wanted clicks and now they got some.
 

smaug

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Frankly, if you go to the trouble to create a well-realised world and environment, its a waste not to utilise it for further stories. Plenty of sequels out there at least as good as the original.
With Fallout it's tricky though because Fo1's story is so complete and fully uses the setting. It starts to strain badly under the weight of sequels because there's nothing you can add without it coming across as weird and extraneous, and there's nothing you can modify without fucking up the plot of the first game.
The plot isn’t that deep bro.
Especially given the whole plot of Fallout 1 is about asking whether or not humanity deserves a second chance after the war. After that chance is granted with the death of the Master, seeing what they actually "canonically" do with that chance just messes with Fallout's premise.
What the sequel did was fine. You got to see cool stuff like the NCR, Vault City and even smaller cities like Klamath did a great job on expanding the logical conclusion of the events in the first game barring the tribal stuff. Hell, even the other major cities like New Reno, Redding, Broken Hills and Gecko had a well done political dynamic that was logical. San Francisco was the only outlier, but oh well you can’t win at everything.
 
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In a series full of little green aliens, men who turn into trees, super mutants addicted to being invisible, and cryptids like The Mothman, the idea of deathclaws that could talk somehow crossed the line in Fallout 2. Nearly three decades later, their creator John Deiley still doesn’t get what the fuss was.

“I mean, you’ve got super mutants, you’ve got ghouls, why not have something that can stand up to the super mutants?” he tells me in our online interview, discussing the outspoken backlash from developers like Obsidian Entertainment co-founder Chris Avellone who deemed them “too silly” for a series with brains in jars and sentient toasters.
Most if not all of those are from Bethesda Fallouts. And people who were criticizing silly things in Fallout 2 hated Bethesda Fallout.
 

Zeriel

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Greatness aside, Fallout 2 was full of stupid things, and the talking Deathclaws were one of them.

With the hindsight of years, I'm not sure Fallout 2 was great at all. Remove all the shoulders it stands on (i.e fallout 1's asset, setting, and engine) and it's a pretty shoddy game. Everything it "innovated" on seems to have been a mistake.

It's like if IWD2 ended up more revered than IWD.
 

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