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Default Fallout 3 - Interview @ GamePro

March 11th, 2008, 23:32
A very short new Fallout 3 interview can be found at GamePro, with Todd Howard seemingly embracing the "Oblivion with guns" meme, at least for the mass media:
GamePro: To Oblivion players, what will Fallout 3 feel like? It's obvious (to us at least) that combat mechanics and design play a much larger role in Fallout 3 than Oblivion.
Todd Howard: The overall game flow feels like Oblivion, in that you make your own character and then explore a huge open world and do whatever you want. The basic gameplay of Fallout 3 is similar, which is one of the reasons we really wanted to do Fallout in the first place. I'd say the amount of action is similar to Oblivion, not more, not less. The basic combat in Fallout 3 may seem more complex then Oblivion's, but at the same time, there is no magic in Fallout 3, so we felt we needed to do as much as we could with the guns and add a nice layer of being able to shoot body parts and feel the effects of a crippled leg and such.
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March 11th, 2008, 23:32
He had a blurb about it on the start of the OXM article, as well:
"When we started this, we would go to great lengths to explains the differences from Oblivion," explains Fallout 3's executive producer, Todd Howard. "If you're talking to an enthusiast, there are so many differences, and we feel it's under-selling the game to say it's Oblivion with guns. But when we started talking to more consumer-oriented magazines, we'd have, like, two seconds…and we'd say, 'it's like post-apocalyptic Oblivion with guns.' And they're like, 'Awesome!' To Joe Public, it's mainly first-peron, wide-open game and you get to do what you want. The game it's closest to is Oblivion. So now when someone asks, 'Is it Oblivion with guns?' my main answer is, 'in all the best ways.'"
Looks like they might want to try and claim the term since people won't stop using it.

I find it an inadequate term myself, a simplification of Fallout 3 regardless of if you use Oblivion with Guns with negative or positive connotations.
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March 12th, 2008, 10:36
I played Oblivion again last night. I don't care what people say, I'm looking forward to this Fallout 3 game!
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March 12th, 2008, 12:22
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
He had a blurb about it on the start of the OXM article, as well:

Looks like they might want to try and claim the term since people won't stop using it.

I find it an inadequate term myself, a simplification of Fallout 3 regardless of if you use Oblivion with Guns with negative or positive connotations.
How would you characterize it, if you had a five-second sound bite?
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March 12th, 2008, 13:47
'in all the best ways.'

If they get rid of the level-scaling and put more emphasise in the PC Version, making it less look like a bad console-port, then, yes then I would be looking forward to it.

Oh, and the NPCs, of course
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March 12th, 2008, 19:35
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
How would you characterize it, if you had a five-second sound bite?
Exactly. Gosh, those three words aren't enough?

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March 12th, 2008, 19:55
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
How would you characterize it, if you had a five-second sound bite?
Todd Howard has quite a lot more text than a five-second soundbite in both interviews, so that's not a relevant question.

Here's how I put it in the NMA preview, about as many words as Todd uses:
So rather than Oblivion with Guns, what we have here is a conglomerate of influences from a whole bunch of games. Oblivion in a lot of mechanics and perhaps in some deeper gameplay mechanics I have yet to see. Fallout in superficial style and look, occasionally. Some BioWare mechanics on combat. Add a sprinkling of Deus Ex for elements of combat, dialogue and choices. This is a big mess that can only be shortened to "Oblivion with Guns" unfairly.

I'm sure you could somehow put a positive spin on this "conglomerate of games" thing and hype it up.
Last edited by Brother None; March 12th, 2008 at 20:28.
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March 12th, 2008, 20:42
Sounds good to me. Perhaps they should hire you as their PR guy?
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March 13th, 2008, 01:30
Bethesda is about mainstream releases.

For the mainstream, Oblivion with guns is more than sufficient.

For anyone else, it doesn't matter.
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March 13th, 2008, 02:58
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Bethesda is about mainstream releases.
For the mainstream, Oblivion with guns is more than sufficient.
For anyone else, it doesn't matter.
Yes, I agree. Making Oblivion with Guns is a license to print money. Why wouldn't they create such a game?

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March 13th, 2008, 03:07
Originally Posted by Lord Alex View Post
Yes, I agree. Making Oblivion with Guns is a license to print money. Why wouldn't they create such a game?
Why not indeed?

But they're not.

Note I didn't say I don't understand why they want to use the term and use it with positive connotations towards fans of Oblivion, I'd just like us more discerning consumer-side to realise this game isn't "just" Oblivion with guns, not even if just "in all the best ways possible".
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March 13th, 2008, 09:29
Catering to retards is easy money ! Just wish they didnt have to rape a great game to do so.
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March 13th, 2008, 09:44
I hate to be pedantic, but they are NOT raping a great game; a franchise or IP perhaps, but not a game. The original FO's both great games are not being touched. Really, much of this discussion is hot air. WAIT till the game is released and then judge it on its merits as both a game and as a member of the FO franchise. Speculation is pointless!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 13th, 2008, 10:01
Originally Posted by The Watchman View Post
Catering to retards is easy money ! Just wish they didnt have to rape a great game to do so.
You don't have to be a retard because you spent your life doing something other than playing computer games with a passion.

If you've never played a "real" CRPG before, I'm sure something like Fallout 3 would seem enormously significant to you if you're just getting into that kind of game.

In fact, I think that's why Bethesda has had such success with Oblivion. They successfully introduced a subgenre with a history of being "hardcore" (freeform CRPG) to the mainstream. The same is true of Bioshock and many other recent blockbusters.

They're using established concepts, watering them down, and in effect they're remaking classics in exactly the same way Hollywood is doing it. It's not important to the new audience that they're getting significantly less challenging or complex gameplay, because they don't know any better. As long as they have top-quality production values, they only need a bit of magic dust from the essence of what made these classics, classics. It's indeed a magical formula.

The most interesting aspect of this, to me, is how Bethesda feel about all this. I'm very interested in human psychology, on a strictly amateur level, and I actually believe that Bethesda think they're making objectively great games (I'm not talking about level of success). They're able to delude themselves to the point where whatever compromise they're making to fit the market demands (as the perceive them) is necessary, rather than simply helping them make more money. They'll never - ever - acknowledge that they're doing something bad for gaming, because they see a bigger audience as a 100% positive thing.

It reminds me of when I was interviewed for a job by IO Interactive - the makers of Hitman. Now, whatever you think of the Hitman franchise, I think you'd agree that it's a highly commercial product. In any case, I was sitting there discussing their history as a company, and I was sort of suggesting that Hitman was a nice game, but that I considered it too mainstream for my tastes. Their reaction? Dumbfounded expression. There were four people present during that inteview, and I was witness to what I can only describe as collective delusion. They went on to talk about how their developers needed to be pampered, because they were so talented and were making, basically, great art. It struck me then, like it had never before, that these people who develop games are typically not able to see things from the outside. They're sitting there, spending their life making these games, and I can promise you that THEY believe they're making truly great art - or they'd VERY much like to believe that.

When we see commercial interests, they see 100% necessary compromises to survive. It doesn't enter into their minds that maybe they don't have to compromise to such an extent to make a profit, but to them it's about survival.

I find that fascinating, as I've always found the human ability to be in total denial fascinating.

Anyway, I guess that was a derail. Sorry about that.
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March 13th, 2008, 20:23
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Speculation is pointless!!
I think you just told 95% of the internet to shut up.
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March 13th, 2008, 22:12
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
I think you just told 95% of the internet to shut up.
I think that number is pure speculation!!!

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March 14th, 2008, 00:06
Perhaps, but what a wonderful idea!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 14th, 2008, 12:16
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The most interesting aspect of this, to me, is how Bethesda feel about all this. I'm very interested in human psychology, on a strictly amateur level
Why wouldn't Bethesda think that they accomplished something wonderful (outside their level of success with Oblivion)? I was just thinking about this recently. Oblivion is still the only game in its class that has ever been created. They set out to do this kind of thing, as can be seen in every Elder Scrolls game they ever did. Their goal was a huge, open-ended world full of quests and possibilities. That these quests and possibilities lack any form of depth was necessarily by design. What they set out to do they succeeded brilliantly in.

Really, what game of its kind exists today beside Oblivion? The closest thing I can think of is Morrowind. Two Worlds or Gothic 3 don't compare, because I don't mean fun level or open-ended world. Just the enormous scope of it, or everything you can do and see. Necessarily, all those things that you can do or see will have to pay for it in depth.
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March 14th, 2008, 12:28
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
Why wouldn't Bethesda think that they accomplished something wonderful (outside their level of success with Oblivion)? I was just thinking about this recently. Oblivion is still the only game in its class that has ever been created. They set out to do this kind of thing, as can be seen in every Elder Scrolls game they ever did. Their goal was a huge, open-ended world full of quests and possibilities. That these quests and possibilities lack any form of depth was necessarily by design. What they set out to do they succeeded brilliantly in.

Really, what game of its kind exists today beside Oblivion? The closest thing I can think of is Morrowind. Two Worlds or Gothic 3 don't compare, because I don't mean fun level or open-ended world. Just the enormous scope of it, or everything you can do and see. Necessarily, all those things that you can do or see will have to pay for it in depth.
I'm not trying to judge them as people, and if they think they've accomplished something wonderful, then that's great for them - and I mean that sincerely. Getting to do something for a living that makes you happy as a person is quite enviable, and I'd like that myself.

I'm in no way denying that there are great aspects of Oblivion, I'm just not particularly impressed, for several reasons.

First of all, they licensed a bunch of engines to make their games, including:

GameBryo - The overall 3D engine used by many other games.
SpeedTree - The software responsible for making trees that look great.
Havok - The physics engine responsible for… well.. physics.

Don't get me wrong, you don't just license these engines and a great game appears. It's also the 100% correct decision, and I'd do the same thing if I had the cash and was a developer. The thing is simply about how impressive their talents are when this is taken into consideration, and if they made the best use of these engines.

Of course they have talented developers and they did amazing things. You have to go photograph rocks and other things, and use complex software to convert them into textures. You also have to have talented 3D artists to develop meshes and whatever else is needed, and their weapon/armor models are among the best in the business.

I don't have much respect for their animators, though, but that's another story. Radiant AI? Well, an interesting experiment and I give them credit for trying, but the end-result was less than impressive. Their level designs were, mostly, horrible. The most incredibly dull and samey dungeons over and over again, with a few notable exceptions. Also, the Dark Brotherhood quest line was pretty cool.

Overall a mixed bag, but the heart of my problem is with the gameplay. They just don't know what makes an entertaining CRPG, which includes a rewarding character system, a great combat system, a viable and cool magic system, interesting NPC interaction, and not least of all an intriguing storyline.

What's worse, is that in a freeform non-linear CRPG such as Oblivion, the aspect of exploration is perhaps the most important one. You HAVE to make that aspect appealing and worthwhile. In that, they failed utterly. Yes, it's extremely pretty, but you hardly ever find anything interesting off the beaten path. Look, another cool dungeon, I gotta find out what's in there - and you get to yet another cookie cutter repeat of the rest. The same goes for their shrines and all the other things. They've cut and pasted so much of their content, that it all ends up being thoroughly unsatisfying as an exploration game. They should have made less content, with more detail - and they could keep the feeling of immense size. Gothic (1 and 2) did this infinitely better.

It just takes this kind of thing to impress me.

But you gotta appreciate that I grew up in a time where licensed engines didn't exist, or when they were a rarity at least. My favorite games, like System Shock, were based on engines that a MUCH smaller development team developed all by themselves. They also pionered in a very big way, and System Shock was the most advanced 3D engine back then, way ahead of its time. It wasn't as slick or fast as the Doom engine (Carmack is a genius, I guess) - but it did A LOT more and was almost true 3D years before Quake.
The same can be said for many other games from that time, and it was really more a passion than a business for many developers.

The problem is, as it is with so many games, that they had the potential to make a marvellous game - if only they could comprehend game design and were willing to settle for merely a profit - instead of the most profit possible.

I'm the kind of guy who thinks of gameplay as the primary factor in any game, and no amount of visual quality will ever mean more to me than that.

If you have the means, as Bethesda clearly do, and you fail to make use of them to create a great game - well, then you fail overall.

I'm not saying anything about them as people, and I'm sure they're nice and all that. I'm just saying that for whatever reason, they didn't live up to their potential as game developers and designers. That's MY opinion, and nothing more.

My theory is that it's a mixture of failing to understand game design thoroughly, and the desire to make the game sell as much as possible. They clearly made compromises so their game would be popular to the masses. That's not a bad thing to do, if you're a business man.

That's what they are, business men. Great business men.

But they're not what I would consider great artists. That said, they DID manage to make the prettiest freeform CRPG in existence, and I have to give them credit for that. The same way I can give credit to the tech people who did the effects for Tranformers. Amazingly talented people, no doubt, but it wasn't a piece of art - not to my mind.

You don't have to agree
Last edited by DArtagnan; March 14th, 2008 at 15:05.
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March 14th, 2008, 19:03
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
They've cut and pasted so much of their content, that it all ends up being thoroughly unsatisfying as an exploration game. They should have made less content, with more detail - and they could keep the feeling of immense size.
Well, no. They're not in the business of doing that. That's what I'm saying. It was their decision (probably) to do this, and you didn't like it. Others did. But I don't think they wanted to make a focused story-driven game like Gothic. It's just like Morrowind. Overwhelming and with no hand-holding. They had to sacrifice something.

I think it'd be gaming heaven if every explorable place in Oblivion were unique with its own detailed background, puzzles and rewards. I don't think it would be feasible. So they could have gone with a smaller world (like a lot of people said about Gothic 3), but that's just not them. Well, I'm speculating, of course, but that's how I see Bethesda. They want to break records, push the limits. Almost be big for the sake of big, and as I understand, they did pretty well for themselves.

I don't know, I guess the Elder Scrolls just aren't really for you then. Did you like Arena/Daggerfall? I don't know that much about them, and it's different because times and tech were different then, but aren't they based on the same design philosophies? Even random dungeons and all (I think).

Everyone does what he does. I don't really believe that making money and being popular is the only thing that has an influence on that.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
…based on engines that a MUCH smaller development team developed all by themselves. They also pionered in a very big way […] it did A LOT more and was almost true 3D years before Quake.
The same can be said for many other games from that time, and it was really more a passion than a business for many developers.
I know, I know. I remember those times as well. Me, I guess I went with the times. I never truly lost my enthusiasm for new engines and technologies, but I remember the promises they made for Quake and how much I looked forward to seeing the engine. I remember running an optimized tech demo on my slow PC and the turtle icon in the corner of my screen indicating that it ran too slow. I remember running Quake in OpenGL mode with software rendering, not having any 3D hardware and going nuts about the graphics.

Oh, well. Now I probably focus on what a game does to me and Oblivion did make me go "Wow!" even if only for a short while. So few games do these days…

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The problem is, as it is with so many games, that they had the potential to make a marvellous game - if only they could comprehend game design and were willing to settle for merely a profit - instead of the most profit possible.
I guess that these days, merely making a profit doesn't give you financial security as it did in the old days. Yes, that's sad, but probably a reality. Look at some of the game studios that went belly up while their games weren't even doing that badly. I'm afraid it's become necessary in order to churn out these high-def, media-rich games that are mainstream in this day and age.

So yes, I do understand some of the devotion to indy releases, but frankly, that same passion for game tech and graphics engines that I had in the old day makes me want shiny games. I want it all. Someday I will get it…
Last edited by Thaurin; March 14th, 2008 at 19:15.
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