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Default Fallout 3 - Preview @ The Escapist

July 14th, 2007, 06:24
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Surprisingly I actually agree a bit with the writer. The reason isn't graphics or any such thing, it's the gameplay. What can possible be wrong with FO gameplay? After years and years of playing RPGs, I've grown accustomed to fastpaced games, that still have a tactical element (such as BG2, NWN2 etc) - the combat in FO just becomes too tedious for me. Even when you put speed on maximum and go through the turns as fast as you can, it still becomes a timesink more than an actual challenge. And don't tell me it requires more tactics just because it's turn based - most fights can be won just by attacking the enemy and clicking through turns (if your character is combat based at least).
OK, not a flame but I'll respond. There's a big difference between some sort of "modern audiences want faster-paced games" comment* and "Fallout is unplayable". I know it was an off-the-cuff comment but it takes all the "Oh, the developers love Fallout. I love Fallout. They understand it. This is exactly the same!" and makes it hollow and disingenuous by saying "OK, truthfully, all that "I love Fallout stuff" is just for the intro…it's crap and I'm so glad Bethsoft is making an FPS instead".

Throw in an error on the date and thinking Van Buren is 10 years old and the article looks trite.

On the combat in the original Fallout - I honestly believe TB combat at its best is capable of being more tactical than RT at its best. That Fallout might not have achieved that doesn't mean TB needs to be thrown out - why not make it better?

*I'm also not sold that modern audiences always need fast-paced action when they are quite capable of buying Civ4 or even HoMMV.

That said, I never expected Bethsoft's mega-budget approach to be anything other than FP and action-based. But I'd much rather the press would just say "Man, blowing up cars with personal nukes is so cool that we love it and the old-school approach can take a flying leap - it's 2007, baby!" instead of "We love Fallout. We replay it every week. Bethsoft has produced an identical sequel - the VATS system is so close to turn-based you won't be able to tell the difference".

Just take the real line and go with it, instead of trying to feed me all this crap.

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July 14th, 2007, 06:30
Yay Dhruin!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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July 14th, 2007, 09:11
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Just take the real line and go with it
I think we agree then. I'll admit I don't understand why some feel the need to bury the first two games and those hoping for something similar. Is this some sort of exercise in group think?
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July 14th, 2007, 10:42
Comparing RPGs to strategy games is way off - it's not the same audience. There has yet to be a major success for a turnbased RPG and I just don't think there ever will be. In fact, even Fallout was hardly profitable back in the days. If Bethesda is going to make any money at all from this, and that is their goal I assume, Fallout 3 probably has to sell ten times what Fallout 2 did (Fallout 2 sold about 80.000 copies in the US the first year, Fallout 3 will probably sell 800.000+). It took years before the Fallouts reached a decent sales number, and most of those were bought out of the bargain bin, at a very cheap price.

I'm not saying they should change a whole lot about the recipe, but they have to change *something* for this to be worthwhile, and I feel combat is one aspect where there is room for improvement.
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July 14th, 2007, 12:12
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Comparing RPGs to strategy games is way off - it's not the same audience. There has yet to be a major success for a turnbased RPG and I just don't think there ever will be. In fact, even Fallout was hardly profitable back in the days. If Bethesda is going to make any money at all from this, and that is their goal I assume, Fallout 3 probably has to sell ten times what Fallout 2 did (Fallout 2 sold about 80.000 copies in the US the first year, Fallout 3 will probably sell 800.000+). It took years before the Fallouts reached a decent sales number, and most of those were bought out of the bargain bin, at a very cheap price.
Ok assuming your numbers are correct, then why the hell did Bethsoft bother spending all that money on a non-profitable franchise albeit revered as a cult game over the years. Fallout might not have been a huge seller, a mere niche game for a handful of hardcore tb crpg fans but it's THAT Fallout that became a cult game.
I truly don't understand Bethsoft, why spend so much money to buy a franchise that hasn't sold so much ? Don't forget that on top of the price of the franchise you have to add development costs. Are they hoping they can turn that franchise into a best seller to a larger range of gamers by changing its basic formula? But if they're aiming for new players why bother buying the Fallout franchise these players merely know "Fallout" anyway. I know these gamers, they're all the friends I talked about Fallout 1 and 2 and lent my CDs so they can try it out only to have the CDs back two days later telling me "the graphics suck, the begining of the game was so boring, killing rats/ants omfg I couldn't be bothered to continue past that, take back your crappy game".
To that crowd, making their own post-apoc game would have worked wonders. Rename "vaults" with "bunkers", PiPboy with "digifriend" and there you have your own tricks, you can keep the generic "mutants" and "zombies" without fear of legal disputes.
Now since buying the Fallout franchise and bothering to make a new one doesn't commercially et mathematically make sense, Bethsoft are telling us "we did it because we love Fallout", what Fallout do you love? The orginal Fallout? So the fact it was isometric, tb, and all that didn't bother you didn't it? You still loved it? If you loved THAT Fallout so much then why be so eager to totally change its gameplay?

I don't get it, to me it sounds more logical to make your own post apoc sci-fi game, less hassle, more freedom, and no worries about angering a handful of nostalgic Fallout fans. "By the developer of Oblivion" would have been enough to sell a lot anyway, Bethsoft doesn't need the "Fallout" name to make a commercially successful and hyped about game.
Or you make a Fallout sequel, and stay true to the series, Fallout isn't just the setting and the atmosphere, and from all I've seen in the previews the only thing Bethsoft is trying to keep from the original Fallout is that atmosphere "retro sci fi post apoc gore but humorous feel" while scraping the rest, and yet even in that regard, judging from the very blunt and generic look of the mutants as opposed to the grotesque cartoonish mutants of Fallout 2 they don't seem on the right path of truly capturing the Fallout feel.
Oh they're also telling us we're staying true to Fallout becasue we're putting a lot of "choice and consequence" and "deep and meaningful dialogues", ok Fallout had that, but that's not something specific to Fallout. ANY and ALL RPGs MUST have choice and consequence and deep/meaningful dialogues otherwise you're not playing a "role" anymore, you're a spectator of prewritten story a la Half Life/FEAR/FarCry etc… sorry if you failed to understand that when you made Oblivion. So just because you're improving that aspect doesn't mean you're suddenly doing a Fallout sequel.

They're also filling us with the PR crap that "we're keeping SPECIAL" what's special ? Special isn't just about having 7 stats called "Strength, Perception, etc" it's about how these stats interact and affect your play through. These stats and their effect played a huge part in making Fallout replayable. You could either choose in spending 10 points in agility and thus having lots of action points during combat or you could choose to spend those precious points in luck charisma and intelligence instead and be more effective in the non combat areas of the game to the extreme of avoiding most fights altogether.
So okay you kept the name and the numbers of stats as in "SPECIAL"… so what? That's not it, that's not why SPECIAL was so important, it's not because the first letter of each stat made a word that it was important. I have yet to see HOW they'll implement it in their Fallout. I fail to see how much they can fully make it affect the gameplay of an FPS game. How can perception affect your chance to hit with ranged weapons anymore when it's player's skill to place his mouse over the enemy that matters. How can agility be such an important part of action when VATS is -as described in the previews- an optional extra tool at best to help you make the difference in tough battles.
How can intelligence still be meaningful when it doesn't change the number of answers available in conversations (as written in one of those previews)?

The closest thing to "skill affecting twich gameplay" I know/played is Deus Ex, so Fallout 3 is going to be a Deus Ex clone? Ok fine, it was a great game, but Deux Ex definitely was NOT Fallout so again why bother make a Fallout sequel when what you're aiming for is a Deus Ex with less linearity and more RPG aspects. Again, the way Bethsoft seems to be making Fallout 3 doesn't explain WHY they bothered to do a Fallout sequel instead of creating their own post-apoc IP.
Last edited by Hedek; July 14th, 2007 at 12:43.
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July 14th, 2007, 12:21
You make very solid and salient points. I have wondered the same thing, and so have many others, I'm sure!!

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July 14th, 2007, 12:46
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Comparing RPGs to strategy games is way off - it's not the same audience. There has yet to be a major success for a turnbased RPG and I just don't think there ever will be. In fact, even Fallout was hardly profitable back in the days. If Bethesda is going to make any money at all from this, and that is their goal I assume, Fallout 3 probably has to sell ten times what Fallout 2 did (Fallout 2 sold about 80.000 copies in the US the first year, Fallout 3 will probably sell 800.000+). It took years before the Fallouts reached a decent sales number, and most of those were bought out of the bargain bin, at a very cheap price.

I'm not saying they should change a whole lot about the recipe, but they have to change *something* for this to be worthwhile, and I feel combat is one aspect where there is room for improvement.
Yeah, maybe. So strategy games can be turnbased, handheld games can be turnbased, JRPGs and console games can be turnbased…but CRPGs have to be action fests? I don't really buy that. The lack of big-selling TB CRPGs doesn't really prove much to me — noone has actually released one in a competitive position to be able to gauge the reaction.*

And don't tell me that noone releases them because publishers know they won't sell. Publishers work on historical data and there just isn't any, so it's self-fulfilling. I don't blame them - perhaps if it were my $10M**, I wouldn't take the risk either but it isn't proof of much other than publishers play it safe and like to simply release Madden 20xx over and over and over.

Anyway, all that is beside my point. I knew Bethsoft would design a FP, action combat game and they have done just that. Some of it looks better than I'd hoped (seems to be a better emphasis on multiple quest paths, decent art direction and so on), other stuff less than (they don't seem to get that Fallout wasn't made by BioWare and shouldn't have clear good vs evil, excessive emphasis on silly weapons and slo-mo head explosions).

My complaint is the press. Don't piss on my leg and tell me its raining. Tell me you think VATS is awesome because [insert awseomeness] but don't try to kid me its the same thing as TB. Those who hate TB couldn't care less and those that love TB know its not even close. Don't tell me it's so Fallout you can't tell the difference between Bethsoft's handheld nuke launcher and Interplay's, because the FPS players reading the article don't care and the "real" Fallout fans know it sounds pretty silly and nothing like the original.

*I see a lot of people around the web going back to ToEE, saying it's actually better than they expected. Released with clean code and some decent story exposition, I think it could have done very well. But we'll never know.

**Which is why I'd develop modest CRPGs with a $1M-$2M budget, but publishers aren't interested in that.

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July 14th, 2007, 12:49
Indeed Hedek, I have wondered that myself as well. Bethesdas own fanbase is many times bigger than the Fallout fanbase, so they could just come up with their own thing and it would do great.

Then again, Bioware is developing a Sonic the Hedgehog RPG, which makes even less sense than Bethesda developing Fallout instead of their own franchise. In other words - I've given up trying to understand these things, hehe.

I never said anything about VATS or what's better or more fun. I'm just saying that the Fallout recipe never really sold well, so if they stuck to it 100% Fallout 3 wouldn't sell well either, and when you pay the kind of money Bethesda must've paid for Fallout, it has to sell a whole lot more than Fallout originally did. This means that, in order for Fallout 3 to be a big enough success to justify buying the lisence, they have to change certain elements in the recipe. From my point of view, the only thing they can change without ruining the game is the combat. What would you have them change instead? I know the answer, nothing, but as I've explained already - changing nothing would make it impossible to pay for the license + development costs, and in this case there's more than enough data: Fallouts original sales.

As Hedek said though, it doesn't really make sense for Bethesda to make Fallout 3 at all. Financially speaking, that is.
Last edited by Maylander; July 14th, 2007 at 12:58.
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July 14th, 2007, 14:52
The closest thing to "skill affecting twich gameplay" I know/played is Deus Ex, so Fallout 3 is going to be a Deus Ex clone?
I wouldn't say clone, but instead evolution. The game seems to be more grounded on the System Shock/Deus Ex school than on Fallout or TeS, although elements from these series remain. But they are taking the Deus Ex ideas to a new plane, giving it more freedom and more endings, making the experience a bit richer. It's just what I'm beginning to perceive from the info, but of course this impression might change.
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July 14th, 2007, 15:41
I loved Deus Ex, fantastic game. It is funny to think though, in F3 your skills control your accuracy? That was perhaps the most frequent complaint against Deus Ex. When you present something that looks like a shooter people expect it to behave like one.
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July 14th, 2007, 17:21
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Comparing RPGs to strategy games is way off - it's not the same audience. There has yet to be a major success for a turnbased RPG and I just don't think there ever will be.
The gold-box games were a major success on every platform they were released on and often featured in the #1 monthly sales slot for close to 6 years.

I believe it was "Curse of the Azure Bonds" that spent 3 months at number 1 for all platforms. Not bad for a turn-based RPG huh?

Favourite RPGs of all time: Wizardry 6, Ultima 7/7.2, Fallout2, Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate 2+TOB, Jagged Alliance 2, Ravenloft: The stone prophet, Gothic 2, Realms of Arkania:Blade of destiny (not the HD version!!) and Secret of the Silver Blades.
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July 14th, 2007, 20:37
As much as I like oldies, I don't think a publisher is going to care at all about a game 20 years ago, since everything was so different back then. In the 80s, geeks were the biggest market segment, today it's the casuals. That means you must be able to sell games to casuals today to stay alive (unless you develop indie games, small budjet games etc), but in the past you could sell exclusively to the geeks (people like us).

But allright, I see your point, there has been turnbased RPGs that have topped the charts. However, I don't think you'll find one after the market turned casual, during the mid-to-late 90s.

The closest thing we come is the system in the Baldur's Gate games, a system that is still being used today (the pause system). Of course, when a two-game-series has a total of over 5.000.000 copies sold, it's not hard to understand that people draw inspiration from that, rather than similar games that sell less.
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July 14th, 2007, 21:16
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Indeed Hedek, I have wondered that myself as well. Bethesdas own fanbase is many times bigger than the Fallout fanbase, so they could just come up with their own thing and it would do great.

Then again, Bioware is developing a Sonic the Hedgehog RPG, which makes even less sense than Bethesda developing Fallout instead of their own franchise. In other words - I've given up trying to understand these things, hehe.

I never said anything about VATS or what's better or more fun. I'm just saying that the Fallout recipe never really sold well, so if they stuck to it 100% Fallout 3 wouldn't sell well either, and when you pay the kind of money Bethesda must've paid for Fallout, it has to sell a whole lot more than Fallout originally did. This means that, in order for Fallout 3 to be a big enough success to justify buying the lisence, they have to change certain elements in the recipe. From my point of view, the only thing they can change without ruining the game is the combat. What would you have them change instead? I know the answer, nothing, but as I've explained already - changing nothing would make it impossible to pay for the license + development costs, and in this case there's more than enough data: Fallouts original sales.

As Hedek said though, it doesn't really make sense for Bethesda to make Fallout 3 at all. Financially speaking, that is.
I thinkthey bought the license to advertise the title….when they buy a well known/loved/controversial license like FO they made a namefor their upcoming title….I know they could've advertised their gamewithout it being FO and it would cost cheaper than buying the license but then maybe(or definately) they plan to make more than one sequel this means the costs of FO3 would not include license + development costs but only a part of the license and development costs….
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July 15th, 2007, 01:07
Originally Posted by POLYGON View Post
I thinkthey bought the license to advertise the title….when they buy a well known/loved/controversial license like FO they made a namefor their upcoming title….I know they could've advertised their gamewithout it being FO and it would cost cheaper than buying the license but then maybe(or definately) they plan to make more than one sequel this means the costs of FO3 would not include license + development costs but only a part of the license and development costs….
You still haven't convinced me. "By the creators of Oblivion" has way more selling power than "sequel to Fallout 1 & 2". No one knows about Fallout, no one cares about Fallout except a few hardcore nostalgic 20+ yo RPG fans. Except the fact that the folks at Bethsoft truly loved Fallout 1 & 2 I see no reason why they decided to make a Fallout sequel (which brings me back to my arguments in my previous post, if you bought the Franchise because you loved THAT game the way it IS/WAS then why change it, makes no sense). Bethsoft seems to me like that spoiled rich boy who bought that latest fancy toy just because his parents had the money to buy it.

The large audience, the millions that buy Oblivion, GTA, Halo or Gears of War, most don't know about Fallout, never heard about it, they don't care about Fallout. They're going to buy Fallout 3 because "nukes and mutants sounds cool and omg the graphics are gorgeous". Again, you don't need the Fallout franchise to appeal to the large crowd, "nukes, mutants, awesome graphs and by the creators of Oblivion" was definitely more than enough to make a commercially successful game.
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July 15th, 2007, 03:10
Most of that is true, Hedek (I mean regarding the Bethesda could have done it on their own stuff) but I believe you are wrong as far as Fallout's popularity is concerned. I believe that it is because of rabid fansites like NMA and because of a very vocal hardcore fan base and lastly also because of Fallout's long term sales success that Fallout is a pretty perfect target for an acquisition. The name (the brand) is gaming legend. It doesn't really matter how many people have actually played the Fallouts in practice. The games are popular just from hearsay. Everyone with a bit of interest in computer gaming will have heard of Fallout since it is permanently listed on top 10 lists and is constantly being referred to by people as a comparison to other games. Fallout is everywhere. Fallout is a legend. It is right on par with -say- Ultima. There will be many, many kids today who have never played a single Ultima game but they will have heard about it. It has this almost mythical, mystic sound to it that makes it cool and interesting to the kids even if they won't really know what it is about. Same with Fallout. It's a marketer's wet dream come true.
That's why I think it made sense (from a business point of view) for Bethesda to acquire the Fallout license instead of creating their own IP. They are working with a franchise that has a "legendary" reputation from the start. They don't need to build it up on their own. If there's one thing you will never be able to buy with money it's time. And it takes time for something to become a legend so Bethesda took a shortcut by investing in Fallout rather than taking the risk that their own project would never reach a similar level of popularity. It was a pretty smart move and with all the talk surrounding the game their plan is working out very well so far. The legend of Fallout lives and there is a very good chance IMHO that Fallout 3 will be a smashing success for Bethesda.
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July 15th, 2007, 06:06
I've come to agree since my initial reaction. I still think $5.75M goes a long way to marketing a new property and I still would prefer Bethsoft had done their own thing but from a business point of view, most of these threads wouldn't exist for anything but an Ultima or Fallout. Every time NMA or RPG Codex (or we) argue about the purity of the franchise is coverage they wouldn't have otherwise received. And then The Escapist or the Washington Post writes about the rabid fanbase and a whole new slab of coverage is provided to a different market.

Take those column-inches of editorial and multiply with some exploding heads, Bethsoft's own brand and FPS gunplay in STALKER-like environments and every mainstream gamer is in.

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July 15th, 2007, 06:23
So where's our kickback from Beth$oft for all this free publicity!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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July 15th, 2007, 06:30
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Every time NMA or RPG Codex (or we) argue about the purity of the franchise is coverage they wouldn't have otherwise received.
The mantrum "any coverage is good coverage" doesn't actually hold true if you're trying to create hype. You're trying to get a "I've heard this was good" reaction, not a "I've heard of this before" reaction. Two different things, one conductive of spreading free publicity, the other conductive of spreading hype. Despite the common misconception, they're not the same, and not freely interchangeable.
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July 15th, 2007, 08:58
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
Most of that is true, Hedek (I mean regarding the Bethesda could have done it on their own stuff) but I believe you are wrong as far as Fallout's popularity is concerned. I believe that it is because of rabid fansites like NMA and because of a very vocal hardcore fan base and lastly also because of Fallout's long term sales success that Fallout is a pretty perfect target for an acquisition. The name (the brand) is gaming legend. It doesn't really matter how many people have actually played the Fallouts in practice. The games are popular just from hearsay. Everyone with a bit of interest in computer gaming will have heard of Fallout since it is permanently listed on top 10 lists and is constantly being referred to by people as a comparison to other games. Fallout is everywhere. Fallout is a legend. It is right on par with -say- Ultima. There will be many, many kids today who have never played a single Ultima game but they will have heard about it. It has this almost mythical, mystic sound to it that makes it cool and interesting to the kids even if they won't really know what it is about. Same with Fallout. It's a marketer's wet dream come true.
That's why I think it made sense (from a business point of view) for Bethesda to acquire the Fallout license instead of creating their own IP. They are working with a franchise that has a "legendary" reputation from the start. They don't need to build it up on their own. If there's one thing you will never be able to buy with money it's time. And it takes time for something to become a legend so Bethesda took a shortcut by investing in Fallout rather than taking the risk that their own project would never reach a similar level of popularity. It was a pretty smart move and with all the talk surrounding the game their plan is working out very well so far. The legend of Fallout lives and there is a very good chance IMHO that Fallout 3 will be a smashing success for Bethesda.
I totally agree.I, for one, never played any of the FO games although RPG is my favorite genre, however I know FO and i know it's quite a big shot in TB RPG history. I think most gamers know Fallout although they might have not played them…
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July 15th, 2007, 09:38
So it's a publicity stunt? A part of their marketing campaign? Could make sense, and the hardcore Fallout fanbase that can't stand Oblivion is so small (quite a few Fallout fans also like Oblivion, so far from everyone will feel let down if it's "Oblivion with guns"), stepping on a few toes won't hurt their sales numbers. If they bought Baldur's Gate, with its millions of fans and turned it into an FPS, it would've been far more serious. Also, buying the BG lisence would probably cost a whole lot more.

They have stressed how much they love the series though, so it might turn out to be a good game. Bethesda isn't EA - they do care about the games they make, just look at the oldschool Elder Scrolls.
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