Todd Howard Welcomes Us Back to Fallout
I’m sure you all saw that the new Fallout 3 site is live. Yesterday, Todd Howard inaugurated the Diaries section of the site with a fairly lengthy piece titled, “Welcome Back to Fallout.”
In it, Howard spends some time discussing the different opinions they’ve been offered on what Bethesda can do with Fallout 3. He also makes mention of the fairly…demanding nature of the series’ fans, saying, “The opinions, and I’ll put this mildlyâ€¦varied. A lot. But they would all end the same, like a stern father, pausing for affect â€“ “but do notâ€¦screw it up.” Gulp. Let me write that last one down a few times.” Howard also mentioned that there is some conflicting information out there about Fallout 3 already, and that, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that the information never gets out 100% correctly, and you will certainly never be quoted correctly. For the record, I never compared the violence in Fallout to Jackass, I compared it to Kill Billâ€¦big difference. I also never said “fantasy is riding a horse and killing things,” but oh well.”
All that aside, the biggest thing in this diary is a clear look at where Fallout 3 is headed. Surprisingly, Howard is taking a fair number of cues from Interplay, in a matter of speaking.
Howard mentions that in everything they received from Interplay, they found a document that continues to be useful to them today. What was it? Howard says that they found, “the original “Fallout Vision Statement”, back when it was called “Fallout: A GURPS Post Nuclear Adventure.” This is the document detailing what Fallout was to be, and is a 14-point bulleted list. Here they are, in order, with direct quotes (enjoy â€“ I know I did):
1. Mega levels of violence. “When people die, they don’t just die â€“ they get cut in half, they melt into a pile of goo, explode like a blood sausage, or several different ways â€“ depending on the weapon you use.”
2. There is often no right solution. “Like it or not, the player will not be able to make everyone live happily ever after. ”
3. There will always be multiple solutions. “No one style of play will be perfect.”
The others are: “The players actions affect the world.”, “There is a sense of urgency,” “It’s open ended,” “The player will have a goal,” “The player has control of his actions,” “Simple Interface,” “Speech will be lip-synched with the animation,” “A wide variety of weapons and actions,” “Detailed character creation rules,” “just enough GURPS material to make the GURPSers happy. The game comes first.” That one is actually crossed out in the document, as they dropped GURPS, and lastly:
14. “The Team is Motivated” “We want to do this. We care about this game and we will make it cool.”
Ten years later and I don’t know that I would change a word of what we want to do today. Especially that last one. We have an incredibly passionate and amazing group here; I’ve been privileged to work with many of them for over a decade. Hopefully in another 10 years people will look back and say, “Nope, they didn’t screw it up.” Hopefully.”
The newest iteration of the Fallout series is setting itself some lofty goals, and their team is dedicated to achieving them. At E3 this year, we had a chance to chat with Todd Howard, Emil Pagliarulo (lead designer for Fallout 3), and Pete Hines (VP of PR and Marketing for Bethesda). Just from our few conversations, it was obvious that these guys are not only working on making a Fallout game, but that they were players of the original games. Their love for the series, and their desire to return it to us was evident.
There are Fallout fans that are crying doom and gloom over what Bethesda will do with the IP. There are Fallout fans who are excited over what Bethesda will do with the IP. There are also those adopting a wait and see approach. Whichever group you fall in, I can tell you this: No matter what Fallout 3 turns out to be, you can rest easy knowing that Bethesda will be putting together the best Fallout game they can envision. If their vision differs from yours a bit, it’s OK. Just relax, sit back, and enjoy the ride.