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Default Fallout 3 - Exploring A Devasted World @ Gamasutra

April 25th, 2009, 06:29
Exploring A Devastated World at Gamasutra is an interview with Emil Pagliarulo on the creative prcoess of writing for Fallout 3:
A number of facets of Bethesda games are not particularly in vogue in a broad design sense — lots of text, a relatively low proportion of scripted sequences, and so on. How do you know that stuff will work?
EP: That is true. I think about that a lot, actually. For a lot of console games in particular, it's all about level of polish. We know sometimes that our games don't have the production values of Metal Gear Solid or something.
We don't have those kinds of production values. That's just a fact. But what we do have with our games, partly because we're an older company and we've been working together for a long time, are very strong PC roots at Bethesda.
If you look at Daggerfall and Arena, those were both PC games. We're all sort of old-school PC gamers that added consoles. I think a lot of our sensibilities are based in old PC games. And I think that Fallout 3 shows that.
There are a lot of PC game sensibilities in that game. I think what that means for gamers is that there's a lot of inherent depth there. It's not just systems, it's not just graphics. It's like there's a little bit something extra.
Our goal, anyway, is to capture a little bit of that magic of PC games. I think a lot of our audience is in that same category. They see what we do and appreciate it. I think there's definitely some of that going on. There's not a lot of that on the console, so it's almost like we have that novelty quality, too. We have those niches — the giant open game niche, and also this PC game novelty niche, too.
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April 25th, 2009, 06:29
Is this guy for real? They abandoned PC "sensibilities" whatever that's suppose to mean, in order to reach the wider, general audience; to reach the maximum potential buyers by filling their game with retarded mini games, banal and boring "OMG 50's SUCKED CUZ DEY WERE INTOLERENT LOL," and dumbed down, let-me-help-you-aim shooting that doesn't challenge anyone. I dare someone to say they actually encountered any challenge in this game. It was like some sort of social experiment where the ultimate goal was that the player feels good about themselves. Walking away from completing Fallout 3 means you can say "Hey, I accomplished something that literally only a few million other people can say they did: I beat a video game."

This game is bad and if italics doesn't make the point then let me just say that this game is so fucking stupid that it doesn't even realize that the player character probably wouldn't know about such things as, oh I don't know, that bottle caps are the commonly accepted currency? Your character never considers this strange little nuance. Or that the first town you enter into, your character, after saying "HI MISTER BLACK SHERRIF" some how already knows about the huge nuclear bomb in the middle of town even though no one told him/her about it yet?

This is a game that replaced political intrigue, awesome caravan treks, sensible skill checks, with lock picking mini games were you have to be mentally challenged not to get that when the pick starts to shake when you move it one way, TURN IT THE OTHER WAY.

Jesus, I've never played a game that infuriates me so much. But of course "OMG U CAN GO ANYWHEREEEEEEE!" meaning you can walk, what 2 or 3 square miles? 2 or 3 square miles filled with boring dungeons with raiders that do nothing other then sit around in dark fucking caves waiting for characters to come and kill them easily with one of 6 or so boring weapons?

How about that typical 50's black and white flashback whatever it is? OMG the Chinese come and kill them all! If America is going to produce shit like this then I wish they really would invade.

So yeah, BAWWWWWWWW says me… and even though nearly everyone says that this company produces, at best, shit DLCs everyone still buys. BARF!
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April 25th, 2009, 06:49
Deja vu. I thought I was on Bethesda's board for a second there.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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April 25th, 2009, 06:52
No u! U r the 1 that is wrong!
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April 25th, 2009, 08:52
Originally Posted by Thoth View Post
No u! U r the 1 that is wrong!
i asume you dont like fallout 3?
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April 25th, 2009, 08:55
Originally Posted by ikbenrichard View Post
i asume you dont like fallout 3?
Nah man, it's a great game!
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April 25th, 2009, 09:05
Can you voice your opinion without acting like an angry foul-mouthed teen?
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April 25th, 2009, 09:08
Thoth might be a bit emotional (ok, a lot), but he's got a point.

I have no idea what kind of sensibilities Pagliarulo is referring to, as they certainly escaped me.

Is it how they took SPECIAL from a PC game and reduced complexity until everyone could grasp everything without reading a manual - and until you could max out pretty much everything without really planning your character. If that's what he means, then I must say I don't agree with him about what they're doing.

I was sort of getting used to the willful corporate mindset, but when the developers aren't even aware how they're EXTREMELY insensitive to enthusiast gamers, it's approaching bad humor.
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April 25th, 2009, 10:57
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Is it how they took SPECIAL from a PC game and reduced complexity until everyone could grasp everything without reading a manual - and until you could max out pretty much everything without really planning your character. If that's what he means, then I must say I don't agree with him about what they're doing.
I think it's very clear that's NOT what he means, or he wouldn't have excluded 'systems' from his definition of that PC depth. But we're all welcome to ignore what he says if it suits us

My opinion is that he's not talking about any one thing you can put your finger on, but an underlying depth to the world that you sometimes get with PC RPGs - not that it's got anything to do with the platform, more the history of it and the fact that it was mostly geeks who made the first games for it
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April 25th, 2009, 11:59
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
I think it's very clear that's NOT what he means, or he wouldn't have excluded 'systems' from his definition of that PC depth. But we're all welcome to ignore what he says if it suits us
May I suggest you read it again?

He says "not JUST systems" - so they're not excluded they're INCLUDED.

But sure, it's open to interpretation. Accusing each other of ignoring things might not be the most productive way of approaching a common understanding.

My opinion is that he's not talking about any one thing you can put your finger on, but an underlying depth to the world that you sometimes get with PC RPGs - not that it's got anything to do with the platform, more the history of it and the fact that it was mostly geeks who made the first games for it
I would agree that it's something you can't put your finger on, because it's not there.
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April 25th, 2009, 12:18
Spelling in the subject line could be fixed.
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April 25th, 2009, 13:05
I don't play on consoles, but I simply do not understand the distinction he makes. So PC games have more depth, but console games have higher production values and more polish?

Isn't it the case that PC games pioneered cinematic and polished experiences? I am talking about PC titles by companies like Origin, LucasArts and Valve. It might be possible that the console market focuses on these features and have less depth (I really don't know), but the PC certainly has no lack of these features.
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April 25th, 2009, 13:14
Originally Posted by Grandor Dragon View Post
I don't play on consoles, but I simply do not understand the distinction he makes. So PC games have more depth, but console games have higher production values and more polish?

Isn't it the case that PC games pioneered cinematic and polished experiences? I am talking about PC titles by companies like Origin, LucasArts and Valve. It might be possible that the console market focuses on these features and have less depth (I really don't know), but the PC certainly has no lack of these features.
Many console games have higher production values, and the polish is implicit because developers are making the games for a platform with 100% established hardware. It's easier to make a relatively bug-free and well performing game on a console, by FAR.

The reason for the production values is simple: more copies are sold on consoles.

But I still don't see how Fallout 3 is an example of showing PC sensibilities. Not at all, in fact.
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April 25th, 2009, 13:48
Fallout 3 IS consolized Fallout… I mean, by definition. It has all the hallmarks… streamlined interface that doesn't require a manual to dig into nuance, emphasis on fast, teen-level dialogue that "gets you to the plot" as soon as possible, and a production budget focused mostly on look-n-feel and less on character depth and backgrounds.

I'm not necessarily saying that's a bad thing… I enjoyed parts of Fallout 3 for what it is… but Emil is definitely stretching things to say they pulled in some (any) PC sensibilities into Fallout 3, because they consciously left all those things behind and have the great sales numbers and praise from console critics to prove it.
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April 25th, 2009, 15:27
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Is it how they took SPECIAL from a PC game and reduced complexity until everyone could grasp everything without reading a manual - and until you could max out pretty much everything without really planning your character. If that's what he means, then I must say I don't agree with him about what they're doing.
I just have to add for the sake of the argument that I never read the Fallout 1 or 2 manuals and I managed to understand and enjoy the games just fine anyway, it just took a bit more time. Having to read a manual is not my definition of a game being complex enough. For me it's just a sign of not making the game intuitive enough. But I do like reading manuals

I agree that the "maxing out everything" made it a bit boring, but I expected that anyway.
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April 25th, 2009, 15:45
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
I agree that the "maxing out everything" made it a bit boring, but I expected that anyway.
I didn't, not that fast. Even comparing it to other Beth games it's at ludicrous speed. With about 25% of the map explored and I hit 20th level. One guy beta testing this game could of told them that the leveling scheme is wacked out of proportion. I guess they figured they would let the fans fix (mod) their obvious mistake.

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April 25th, 2009, 15:58
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
I just have to add for the sake of the argument that I never read the Fallout 1 or 2 manuals and I managed to understand and enjoy the games just fine anyway, it just took a bit more time. Having to read a manual is not my definition of a game being complex enough. For me it's just a sign of not making the game intuitive enough. But I do like reading manuals

I agree that the "maxing out everything" made it a bit boring, but I expected that anyway.
I hope you're not assuming it's my definition - it's a symptom.

But I think it's key to note that you might not cover the category "everyone" by yourself, and as such you being able to grasp the previous Fallout games fully without reading a manual, doesn't mean everyone would - and this is directed at casual gamers in particular.

I'm a gamer of the old school, and I take it as a positive sign if there is stuff in the manual that enhances my experience - because I like to discover the depths of a game as I go along. If the game is such that I never need to be in doubt, and I know pretty much everything from the start - then I think it's a symptom of a game being too simplistic.

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever played a truly rich and complex title that covered everything with in-game tutorials.

Even less complex games are like that - and if you think of something like WoW (which is extremely easy to learn), even that game has untold secrets by the thousands that can only be learned by reading forums.

Yeah, games that tell it all in a tutorial tend to be oversimplified and shallow. Fallout 3 is an excellent example.
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April 25th, 2009, 22:47
I agree with you. Tutorials can only explain so much and discovery (as well as well thought out complexity) is something I like immensely as well. I hope I did not offend you by (accidentally) implying anything and if I did I sincerely apologize.

I was gonna write a thorough answer, but my girlfriend is nagging me about coming to bed. I guess it beats writing answers on a forum
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April 25th, 2009, 23:44
You guys are defining things too narrowly. Spend a little time around console developers - some of them will talk about things like the six-axis controller being too complex for broad audiences, hence the success of the Wii, save-anywhere systems being too complex for new users, requiring players to only remember one or two game "rules" and so on.

On the entire gaming spectrum, FO3 definitely represents a more PC-like experience. That it isn't as hardcore as we'd like, or that it doesn't compare to the best cRPG ever made, are different arguments.

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April 26th, 2009, 00:28
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
You guys are defining things too narrowly. Spend a little time around console developers - some of them will talk about things like the six-axis controller being too complex for broad audiences, hence the success of the Wii, save-anywhere systems being too complex for new users, requiring players to only remember one or two game "rules" and so on.

On the entire gaming spectrum, FO3 definitely represents a more PC-like experience. That it isn't as hardcore as we'd like, or that it doesn't compare to the best cRPG ever made, are different arguments.
But, isn't that sad? I mean, don't these kids know how to save a Word document let alone a video game? And sixaxis is too advanced? Do they know about keyboards yet? I hear you can actually spell out words with a keyboard…

This is why mainstream PC gaming is in serious trouble…
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