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Todd Howard on Fallout 3

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the storytelling-in-the-nukleated-future dept.

Role Playing (Games) 42

Mr. Teatime writes "I've interviewed Todd Howard from Bethesda about Fallout 3. It includes an editorial from DarkUnderlord, another staff member on the site. Todd mentions a number of new things, including the fact that they plan to use SPECIAL in Fallout 3." From the interview: "Fallout really set the standard for me on believable people, good dialogue, and character choice and consequence. With Elder Scrolls, we do aim for something enormous, and we simply can't focus on say - 20 to 40 really deep strong characters and just do them."

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Please don't be first person (1)

burrhead (848183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11572716)

IMHO first person just feels too much like a shooter.

Deus Ex (2, Interesting)

kaellinn18 (707759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11572790)

If it's done well, it really doesn't matter to me. Deus Ex (the original) was the perfect hybrid game. You had the action of a first person shooter, and the in depth character development and storytelling of an RPG. If Bethesda can pull off the same kind of thing with Fallout 3, it will just freaking rule.

Re:Deus Ex (2, Interesting)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11572827)

Yes, but Deus Ex 1 had a tight (as in narrow) storyline to go with its excellent engine. Bethesda is planning on giving us the entire irradiated country and saying "There's fifty cities! Go find them! Oh, and don't mind the bajillions of spawned monsters in between here and there!"

Bethesda hasn't yet proven that they can make a game with a good focused plot instead of hundreds of tiny plots thrown at the player simultaneously.

Re:Deus Ex (1)

kaellinn18 (707759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11572910)

You have a point there. While Morrowind did succeed in its grand scale, it was a little hard to keep up with the main plotline. However, I think I spent more hours just exploring and playing around in that world than I have in any other game. If you can create a world that immersive, you don't need a tight storyline. I kind of enjoyed having the choice to run off and explore on my own and completely ignore the main story for a while. I guess we'll just have to see how Oblivion handles its story to know if they'll be able to construct a world worthy of being Fallout 3.

Re:Deus Ex (3, Funny)

cephyn (461066) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574046)

Anyone who thinks it was hard to keep up with the main plotline in Morrowind didn't play Daggerfall.

Re:Deus Ex (1)

Jormundgandr (816741) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574890)

So... Fallout's random encounters in the desert were bad too?

Also, I find it amusing that the article mentioned Morrowind's plot being too narrow, and here you say it's too scattered. Though I'm inclined to agree with you on that point.

I'm just posting around here trying to get people to remember that Morrowind isn't the ONLY game Bethesda is capable of making. I think that the interview showed that Bethesda actually wants to make a game with a focused plot and defined characters, which is why they purchased the franchise.

Great. (1, Interesting)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11572799)

"With Elder Scrolls, we do aim for something enormous, and we simply can't focus on say - 20 to 40 really deep strong characters and just do them."

Considering my past experiences with Bethesda, this means they're going to create face templates for 100 characters and change their hair, eyes & skin colour in order to create thousands of "unique" characters.

The advantage of 20-40 well-developed characters in FO1 and 2 was the fact that they *were* well-developed and not just cookie-cutter characters with different lines. The fact that the original team focused on a smaller number of characters indicated that they wanted a few realistic characters instead of many obviously artificial characters. I guess Bethesda missed the point on this one.

Re:Great. (3, Insightful)

Gorelab (689501) | more than 9 years ago | (#11573004)

Doubting their ability to actually pull it off is one thing, but that statement sounded like they did get it. They didn't say they wanted to make thousands of "unique" charecters for Fallout 3. He was comparing and constrating Elder Scrolls and Fallout, and at least to me seems to be expressing the fact that he does understand that Fallout is at a much more personal scale and had a small number of charecters that actually try to be somewhat realistic, unlike their previous games.

I'm still a bit cautious about Bethsuda having Fallout 3, but there's no reason to scream about how horrible it's going to be before it comes out, especally when they are trying to go down the path the fans want rather than the one they used for their other games.

Re:Great. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11573108)

Umm, from TFA, the question he's answering:
"What, in your mind, are some of the things that differentiate the Fallout games (ignoring FO: Tactics and FO: Brotherhood of Steel, which didn't happen) from the Elder Scrolls series of RPGs?"

He's describing the DIFFERENCES between Elder Scrolls and Fallout. I think it's quite clear that he does understand. You're the one that missed the point.

Re:Great. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11573146)

How could you not read the second part of the paragraph? Good lord!

"So with Fallout 3, that's something we want to do well, a limited number of super-deep NPCs.

Re:Great. (2, Insightful)

Bluetick (516014) | more than 9 years ago | (#11576114)

I don't know, from the quote, it sounds like he got the point dead on for the difference between Fallout and the Elder Scrolls and he was sensitive to the more immersive characters in Fallout.

That's great, that's wonderful...one question (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 9 years ago | (#11572814)

Could you be any more self-centered than to think that we're all Bethesda fanbois who know what "SPECIAL" is?

Re:That's great, that's wonderful...one question (2, Informative)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11572853)

Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, Luck. S.P.E.C.I.A.L. It also includes the "perk" system that's been imitated many times since.

Re:That's great, that's wonderful...one question (2, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574078)

actually the perk system was taken out of the GURPS system. So it, in itself, is an imitation.

Re:That's great, that's wonderful...one question (4, Informative)

Dehumanizer (31435) | more than 9 years ago | (#11572906)

SPECIAL stands for:

Strength
Perception
Endurance
Charisma
Intel ligence
Agility
Luck

and is the RPG character system used in Fallout 1, Fallout 2 and Lionheart. (I think Fallout Tactics, too.) It's a lot like GURPS - that is, skill-based, with selectable advantages / disadvantages (why would you pick disadvantages? Because they have a negative cost, so you get more points for advantages, skill points and stats).

Re:That's great, that's wonderful...one question (1)

rakanishu (670638) | more than 9 years ago | (#11573412)

It's not surprising that it's a lot like GURPS. During Fallout 1's development, they were going to use GURPS but had a falling out with Steve Jackson Games.

Re:That's great, that's wonderful...one question (2, Interesting)

Sir_Brysonic (822946) | more than 9 years ago | (#11573590)

I was pleased to hear that they were planning to stick with the SPECIAL system since IMO that's one of the things that made the first (and second) so great. It allowed you to create whatever type of character you wanted, and the game felt quite different each time through as a result. Want to be a sharpshooter? Some points in agility gives your character more shots per turn, perception gives you better accuracy and a few points in luck result in a nice chance for a critical hit. How about a frontline melee character? Strength and endurance come in handy for that path, plus you can try your hand at boxing and become the New Reno boxing champ. Maybe you'd rather be a diplomat who talks his way through the surprisingly deep (and often hilarious) dialogue trees. Then you could try charisma and intelligence, and what you lack in personal combat ability is offset by your ability to recruit more followers. The fact that there were so many equally viable options was an important part of the originals, here's hoping Bethesda puts some effort into that aspect.

Re:That's great, that's wonderful...one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11573757)

I think it's reasonable to assume that someone reading a post on Fallout 3 would be familiar with Fallouts 1 and 2, which both used SPECIAL. Could you be any more self-centered than to think that we all exist to supply you with information, when you could RTF Fallout M?

Re:That's great, that's wonderful...one question (1)

Talondel (693866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574205)

Actually, if you're a fan of the Fallout series, than you know what the SPECIAL system is. It doesn't have anything to do with Bethesda. If you're not a fan of the series, then why do you care about this story?

Any ways, SPECIAL is the name given to the game system than handles character creation, development, skill use, combat, and all the rest of that stuff in the Fallout games. It's an acronym of the seven stats used by characters:

Strength

Perception

Endurance

Charisma

Intelligence

Agility

Luck

The reason this is mentioned, is that there was some concern amongst the Die Hards that Fallout 3 might not even use the SPECIAL system, and instead would use some lame Elder Scrolls style thing.

Re:That's great, that's wonderful...one question (0, Troll)

Quarters (18322) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574722)

Right, yes. Let's see, mobygames.com lists Fallout 1 and 2 coming out in 1997 and 1998, respectively. I bought and played/finished them both at release.

But woe is me for not devoting part of my long-term memory to storing the nitty-gritty particulars about the rule set of the game so I could match it against an acronym in a /. article 7-8 years later. Really, would it have been that hard for the submitter to write, "...they plan to use SPECIAL, the skill & rules system from Fallouts 1 & 2, in Fallout 3"?

In all honesty it's not even something I should blame the submitter for. The linked article did nothing to explain what the acronym meant. Instead assuming that anyone who is interested in Fallout has had nothing better to do since the late '90s.

"If you're not a fan of the series, then why do you care about this story?" Ah, ok, now I see. Unless I am the Fallout version of the Comic Book guy on The Simpsons then I shouldn't be interested in anything to do with Fallout. I am obviously a heretic because I enjoy RPGs without devoting my live to their design ideals and eccentricities.

You need to be beaten with... (1)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574357)

...a limb broken off of a Fallout Ghoul.

Don't know what "SPECIAL" is, indeed.

If you know Fallout, you know SPECIAL.

You are a Philistine.

Re:That's great, that's wonderful...one question (1)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11575059)

Several other folks have pointed out the SPECIAL acronym, as well as the source and meaning of it. However, the reason it wasn't really heavily detailed in the interview is because the website that did the interviewing is a site dedicated specifically to fans of Fallout and Fallout 2. Everyone reading that site, not referred from here at least - will definitely know what SPECIAL is, and be very hopeful to see it used again.

The other amusing bit about SPECIAL is that they never intended to use it in the first place. There was a licensing deal with GURPS that fell through late in development for Fallout, so they needed to drop in a whole new system in a hurry. SPECIAL was the result.

Icon (1)

BlueCup (753410) | more than 9 years ago | (#11573702)

Yes, but will it have the goofy little face Icon the previous fallout games had? =) That was what first made me love the series =)

Rated T? (5, Interesting)

Sir_Brysonic (822946) | more than 9 years ago | (#11573738)

One of my bigger concerns is what the game will be rated. Bethesda hasn't put out anything with a rating higher than Teen (to the best of my knowledge). Will they follow suit with FO3? I just don't think it would be the same without the foul-mouthed NPC's and the glorious critical hit kills that blew your enemies, quite literally, to pieces. Oh and lets not forget the prostitutes and porn stars!

They better aim for at least a "M" rating... (3, Insightful)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574426)

...otherwise they may as well not even bother with crafting a Fallout game. Fallout is so much more then just a vague place in space and time.

The gore, the profanity, the illicit substances, the very mild pornographic elements are all that solidified the series into what it is.

Fallout without all of that would be like watching 'The Terminator' where the Cyborgs did nothing but help the humans and give them hugs when they feel sad, instead of being hell-bent on destroying humanity. (When I say that, I am talking about ALL the cyborgs being friendly to humans...)

Re:Rated T? (1)

soccerisgod (585710) | more than 9 years ago | (#11590332)

Let's not make baseless assumptions here, shall we? If you took the time to actually check out Bethesda's past products, you'd have seen there are in fact several that are rated M, for example Daggerfall (Morrowind's direct predecessor).

Shame (5, Insightful)

Jormundgandr (816741) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574586)

It's so sad to see a fan base become this bitter. In the article and in the posts here, all you see is complaining about Bethseda and even bashing Morrowind (wtf? awesome game)

Come on guys, remember where Fallout 3 was BEFORE this press release? Nowhere. You have a beloved franchise owned by a failing company who are NEVER going to be able to do anything with. Then, lo and behold, it's swooped up by a respectable, wealthy company that - gasp - specializes in roll playing games! What is your response? Jubilation? Praise? or... whining. Yeah.

Bethseda software, winners of a bajillion awards for Morrowind, swimming in cash, with another hit game due to come out soon, picks it up - and all you can do is bitch about camera angles?

You hit the nail right on the head... (2, Funny)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574640)

...Bethesda specializes in 'Roll' Playing, which is not much more then combat. Ala, Morrowind.

Role-Playing consists of having engaging stories, typically filled with engaging characters and well thought out plots.

Role-Playing games can easily become Roll Playing games, the opposite is not true about Roll playing games.

Re:You hit the nail right on the head... (1)

Jormundgandr (816741) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574774)

Okay, sorry about the typo. But seriously, you're just proving my point by bashing Morrowind. Morrowind is not Fallout. Saying it over and over doesn't make it Morrowind's failure. And making Morrowind, which is not a Fallout game, does not somehow render Bethesda unable to make a Fallout game.

"Bethseda specializes in 'Roll' Playing, which is not much more then[sic] combat."

If you thought Morrowind was about combat I can see your disappointment, since the combat system is pretty basic.

Except... (2, Interesting)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11575785)

...I heard "eeehhh Outlander..."

So many times as to make me ill from hearing it, in that game. Almost every NPC greeted me the same way, there was a bit of a plot behind the beautiful engine, but little straight direction as to what to do and where to go to get things done.

Don't get me totally, wrong. The Morrowind, the Elder Scrolls was a great start to what could have been an amazingly awesome game. They had a level editor, they had slick graphics and some excellent opportunities for gameplay. They left out the Multi-Player bit, which ruined its long-term playability for me.

I have more fun with Neverwinter Nights then I did in Morrowind, the Elder Scrolls.

Heck, the game would have been hundreds of times better if they had included the ablity to have 3 other people join in a game with you. If they put that bit of code into Morrowind, it would have a rabid following, possibly larger then the following that Neverwinter Nights currently has.

Re:Except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11577329)

If they put that bit of code into Morrowind, it would have a rabid following, possibly larger then the following that Neverwinter Nights currently has.

Newsflash - it already DOES have a rabid following. And you know what the one thing the rabid following says most often that they want in the next Elder Scrolls game? No multiplayer.

Re:Except... (1)

soccerisgod (585710) | more than 9 years ago | (#11590432)

Right on, matey! We're a bunch of lone wolf players who want to get lost in an extremely huge world where we can do what we bloody want to!

That's us, the TES crowd. That's what the series is tailored to. That's what we want. That doesn't friggin' mean they can't tailor to other crowds (read: you Fallout people), too. Get that into your head already! These people actually CARE about their customers, unlike other companies. That's always been one of the things I loved about this company.

Re:Except... (1)

Jormundgandr (816741) | more than 9 years ago | (#11577435)

Okay, where to begin with this...

I've repeatedly said that Bethseda is a company with a good track record, who are practically doing you die-hard fans a favor by picking up Fallout. I then noted you were bashing Morrowind, which is stupid because Bethseda is done with Morrowind, and will surely make Fallout differently.

So you come back by bashing Morrowind. Touche.

(and somehow get modded interesting)

I was going to make a tit-for-tat response to your last post, but your comparison of Neverwinter Nights and Morrowind was so irrelevant I couldn't really get a handle on it.

So here's my point. Bethesda has picked up Fallout. Bethesda is a company that has a strong record in role playing games. Before Bethesda picked Fallout up, it was going down with Interplay. Now Fallout 3 will finally be made, by a solid, respected, and well-financed company. You should take a good look at yourselves and wonder why you are complaining about this.

And I just can't help but be annoyed by your evaluation of Morrowind. Just repetitive combat? Are you retarded? If I wanted complicated combat I would have bought Tekken 4. Could it be, you know, the role playing part that got so many people hooked?

Re:Except... (1)

Nephilium (684559) | more than 9 years ago | (#11577711)

Remember... we are geeks... sometimes it can be better that a sequal isn't made rather then having the franchise we know and love corrupted. (See reference: Deus Ex; Star Wars; Star Trek)

Personally, I think Bethesda went downhill... I much preferred the original Arena and Daggerfall then Morrowind, and I'm not even going to mention Battlespire.

Meanwhile... I await some screen-shots, a demo, and a wildly inaccurate release date (and to know what song they're using for the voice over intro...)

And I hope that it's not first person... they could even use the same engine, as long as it's got good writing, I'd be happy...

Nephilium

Morrowind is not Fallout... (1)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11578599)

...however, Morrowind is what we are all aware of what comes out of Bethesda Software.

I am not saying they are going to do a bad job, I just hope they stick more to what Fallout is, then to create another Morrowind based game, which is beautifully and immersive graphically, but terrible when it comes to NPC interaction...

My fingers are crossed and I wait with baited breath...

If they mess this up, it would have been better to have let Fallout lay to rest with the death of Interplay...

Re:You hit the nail right on the head... (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#11594722)

Role-Playing consists of having engaging stories, typically filled with engaging characters and well thought out plots.

Um no, you're talking about "character playing". "Roles" are not characters, and "role playing" was a well-defined psychological term well before Gary Gygax went into business.

A "role" is a fairly empty description of only the more superficial aspects of a character- RPGs where people are defined by their job (fighter, wizard, thief) are quite truely "role playing".

Re:Shame (1)

Veloxi (605211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11574758)

VERY well put, good sir. Bethesda has an excellent track record, and I for one will give them the benefit of the doubt.

Re:Shame (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11578206)

morrowind sucks you moron, go back to the bethsoft forums.

Re:Shame (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11583771)

Never much cared for Bethseda. I bought Daggerfall back in the day and it was so buggy and nearly unplayable that I gave up on the game and said I've never buy another product of theirs. To date, I haven't.

Re:Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11588859)

I think the fallout fan base are complaining more about the fact that Troika or Obsidian didn't get the license. If Bethesda didn't come along with thier $$$, Interplay might have been compelled to sell to Troika/Obsidian at a cheaper cost(considering how desperate interplay were/are for money). I think Bethesda are going to do a fine job anyway. Yes, I would have prefered it going to either of Troika/Obsidian, however, if Bethesda are going to dedicate as much of themselves as they say, it will be worthy(They love the originals, have good ideas, not going to do it half assed, etc). Anyway, TES series isn't that bad, it's open ended like fallout and as Bethesda has said recently, they know the differences between fallout and TES series(fallout having 20-40 well developed in game characters and heaps of NPCs and morrowind just having single serving NPCs).

Morrowind is not Fallout, sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11582411)

a company that made a great hockey sim buys a football license, you don't get people assuming they're going to make a game about football teams playing hockey!

So how are people managing to take an interview in which the Bethesda representative (a) explains that they bought the Fallout license because they love the games, (b) identifies all the things that Fallout fans dislike in Morrowind and says they won't be doing those, and (c) identifies all the things that Fallout fans love in Fallout and says they will be doing those, and somehow derive from that the assumption that Bethesda bought the Fallout license because they hate Fallout, and Fallout 3 is going to be Morrowind with guns?

Let's just say it doesn't reflect well on the group intelligence of the Fallout fan community...

Re:Morrowind is not Fallout, sure. (1)

Mitijea (718314) | more than 9 years ago | (#11587834)

Obviously you are assuming these people actually read the article. I for one think that, from the bit here, Bethesda actually cares about the series and doesn't want to do a diserves to it. But then I'm not completely impartial as I think Morrowind is the best game ever made, so I already have high expectations for them.
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