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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Falling For Fallout: A (Post-Nuclear RPG) Retrospective

Default Falling For Fallout: A (Post-Nuclear RPG) Retrospective

December 7th, 2006, 01:39
In what we hope is the first of an ongoing series of retrospectives, Kawika takes us back to reminisce about playing Fallout and what made this title so special:
I know it’s cliché to start a Fallout article with that endearing quote, but can you think of any words more fitting? I sure can’t. An unmistakable chill went up my high-back leather chair-cushioned spine the moment Ron Pearlman (yes, Hellboy himself!) spoke those words immortal to CRPGers everywhere old enough to remember them. How does one define a game like Fallout? Wow! It’s an eclectic collection of “what-ifs”, “where-tos” and Easter eggs…lots and lots of Easter eggs. It’s the past, the present and the future. It’s science fiction and it’s fantasy with a tinge of reality as often uproarious as terrifying. It was the impetus of a new CRPG development company and the inauguration of a new era in CRPG design and story telling. Perhaps most importantly, however, Fallout is arguably the Godfather of witty, innovative computer gaming as we know it today.
Head here for the entire article.
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December 7th, 2006, 01:39
I should do one of retrospective things myself one of these days, I have been delaying it for too long.
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December 7th, 2006, 02:15
You guys forgot "Remember Wasteland?"

Oh, and Fallout d20.
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December 7th, 2006, 02:17
Picky, picky. But a good point.

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December 7th, 2006, 04:02
I wonder how many of our readers played/remember some of the great classics like Bard's Tale and Phantasie!! Some REALLY old retrospectives might be fun too!!

Great article by the way!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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December 7th, 2006, 04:11
Great article, great writting. Very interesting and enjoyable read. I'm glad to hear someone else isn't angry at a possible FOOL (if done right).

One note though: they were going to use the GURPS system but lost the contract or something happened. So SPECIAL is a modified GURPS system. If your fimiliar with gurpgs you can definitely see the crossovers and resemblances. I forget where I read this, bit I know I did. And it makes sense if you're fimiliar with GURPS.
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December 7th, 2006, 05:11
Originally Posted by Kharn View Post
You guys forgot "Remember Wasteland?"

Oh, and Fallout d20.
I actually read a bit about Fallout d20 and had thought about including a blurb about it in the Fallout retrospective, but then decided to add it in more detailed form in a future Fallout 2 retrospective. By then, there would (hopefully) be more info and images to work with. I will be following the progress of Fallout d20 with great interest in the meantime.

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December 7th, 2006, 05:19
Originally Posted by roqua View Post
Great article, great writting. Very interesting and enjoyable read. I'm glad to hear someone else isn't angry at a possible FOOL (if done right).

One note though: they were going to use the GURPS system but lost the contract or something happened. So SPECIAL is a modified GURPS system. If your fimiliar with gurpgs you can definitely see the crossovers and resemblances. I forget where I read this, bit I know I did. And it makes sense if you're fimiliar with GURPS.
Thanks, and good point. The way I understand it, Steve Jackson, creator of GURPS, agreed to the full use of his GURPS system in Fallout, but then pulled out of the deal once he realised how violent the game would become. What a wimp!

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December 7th, 2006, 07:32
Never played Wasteland, but the Fallouts have all been fun. The console one was pretty lame, but I played thru it anyway.

Nice article btw. I actually didnt know about the "Fallout: Warfare" game. I'll have to look that one up!
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December 7th, 2006, 14:48
Originally Posted by Kawika View Post
The way I understand it, Steve Jackson, creator of GURPS, agreed to the full use of his GURPS system in Fallout, but then pulled out of the deal once he realised how violent the game would become. What a wimp!
The way you "understand" it is just plain wrong. From Steve Jackson himself:

February 12, 1997
Rumor Control about Interplay
Executive Summary: We wish we knew.

I had problems with a couple of features of the otherwise very impressive alpha version of GURPS Fallout. As I corresponded with Interplay staff about this, I got handed up the ladder but their responses remained puzzling — and that is the most detail I'm going to give for now.

Just before leaving for Europe last week, I got a call from a reporter asking me to comment on the Interplay decision to drop GURPS. I told him this was the first I'd heard of it. Calling Interplay, and talking with the last man I'd corresponded with, I got first "We haven't decided that, where'd you hear it?," then "Well, we have been talking about it and somebody must have gotten the idea it was decided," and finally "Yes, we have decided to drop it, so sorry."

The statement on the Interplay web site, to the effect that this was a mutual decision of SJ Games and Interplay, is not true. Scott Haring tells me that no written correspondence from Interplay has YET been received at our office. We are not clear what their proposal to finish and release the game without the license entails, for us or for the game, and have absolutely not agreed to it.

I can't imagine how Interplay could take three years working on a GURPS. computer game, and then be able to create and install a completely dissimilar game engine in a few months. Nor have I read (or heard) any explanation of how they might plan to do that. So "no comment" on that for now, too.

I've been invited to meet with Brian Fargo, who I understand owns Interplay, when I'm in LA in a few days. I'll be very interested to see what he has to say. I hope we will be able to announce that this was a tempest in a teacup.

February 19, 1997
Yes, I visited Interplay while I was on the West Coast. Marathon six-hour negotiating session with the programmer who is now in charge of the FALLOUT project. Clearly all the original problems could be resolved; I made a lot of concessions because I want to save the project. The GURPS implementation they've created is *worth* saving. But their decision won't be made by the programmers. All I can say is "wait and see."

March 14, 1997
Interplay Update
I just got a phone call from my contact at Interplay, telling me that they were indeed dropping the GURPS system from the project which has been going forward as GURPS Fallout since 1994. Sigh.

The stated reason was that they were "too far along" with the process of deGURPSizing the game. I asked if I could get any of this in writing. He laughed. But he said he'd talk with others there and "see" if he could send me a letter.
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December 7th, 2006, 15:19
Bill that's one side of the story. If you talk to the guys that were there at the time they will explain that for months Steve expressed concerns about the content of the game, not just the implementation of the mechanics, something they didn't like and I can see why. When he made clear one day that he could redraw from the game completely there was a meeting at Interplay, where they assigned a couple of members from the team to see if at that point it was still possible to create a system that could work in the game without breaking everything that was already made.

Since we are talking about a small team at the time where everyone helped out (Fallout was considered a B game inside Interplay, an oddity that Fargo allowed to be made as long as they would create the game with a low budget and without spending too much resources) , and comprised of many P&P and tabletop games fanatics, it wasn't difficult to create SPECIAL in a record time.

Of course Fargo saw the opportunity to get on with the game without Steve's doubts (and temper) hanging around their heads, and took it, that way he could save on royalties. Of course Steve didn't saw that coming, but it was his fault in the first place, when he tried to remedy the situation it was too late.

In the end fargo got a surprise hit made below budget and got the royalties for himself, leaving everyone happy at Interplay and Steve quite surprised to what had happened.

In the end that was one of the last good moves that Interplay made, but that's another story…

This is the original GURPS Fallout website
http://www.nma-fallout.com/content.php?page=fo-gurps
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December 7th, 2006, 15:51
Interesting article … I missed out on the Fallouts until just a few years ago!

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December 7th, 2006, 16:18
It's official: Fallout is now the Beatles for CRPG's. Does a week go by when someone doesn't get teary eyed and rehash everything -in a retrospective no less- that was great (and that's everything) about this game?
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December 7th, 2006, 16:42
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
It's official: Fallout is now the Beatles for CRPG's.
Which is only fitting, since "All You Need Is Love" is Fallout 2's major theme.
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December 7th, 2006, 17:11
Originally Posted by Briosafreak View Post
Bill that's one side of the story. If you talk to the guys that were there at the time they will explain that for months Steve expressed concerns about the content of the game, not just the implementation of the mechanics, something they didn't like and I can see why.
Care to provide a cite?
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December 7th, 2006, 17:37
If you talk to the guys that were there at the time
This is the key sentence here, if you want citations talk to them, here is some help
http://www.nma-fallout.com/content.p…=features&id=2

I never heard Fargo's version though, I wonder if he remembers what was going on at the time…
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December 7th, 2006, 18:45
A great read; it brought back a lot of memories. Thank you.

"Where we're from, the birds sing a pretty song and there's always music in the air."
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December 7th, 2006, 19:45
Originally Posted by Briosafreak View Post
This is the key sentence here, if you want citations talk to them, here is some help
http://www.nma-fallout.com/content.p…=features&id=2
You made the claim so you need to provide the proof not foist it off on me. Where'd you here what you claimed? From who specifically? When?
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December 7th, 2006, 20:24
Well, Fallout is still the best non-fantasy RPG out there, despite the fact it was released 10 years ago and I managed to get my hands on it 2 years ago. And I never managed to like the sequel.
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December 7th, 2006, 21:13
Bill the reason Kawika posted that version of the events, wich has been in the net for many years, with slight variations, is simply because that's how we heard the story in the first place. If you have doubts again I advise you to go and talk to the devs from those days, Boyarsky and Cain are still great fans of GURPS and like Steve Jackson, something that not all of of them did after a while, I'm sure they might give you some clues on the events.

The basic story reads something like this, from a post at NMA from an old Interplay dev:
Wasteland was more than a "spiritual ancestor" to Fallout.

The original project that Interplay started was going to be Wasteland 2, only at the last minute EA refused to let Fargo use the Wasteland title.

Interplay then renamed it Fallout: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure, and were going to use the Steve Jackson RPG system (thanks mostly to Tim Cain's love for the GURPS game system and Fargo's desire for a known product).

After a very rocky relationship between the development team and Steve Jackson Games, Interplay decided to drop both Steve Jackson and GURPS from the title.

The project finally became known as Fallout.
I only post public statements, for anything else again try the sources I showed you, and you can judge for yourself.
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