Fallup 3: Mothership Zeta

By Alec Meer on July 21st, 2009 at 4:26 pm.

NALIENS!

We don’t waffle much about Fallout 3 here, as it wasn’t a game that especially grabbed any of us. Which hardly matters a jot inna final analysis: the rapturous reception from other critics and gamers alike has meant Bethesda have cheerfully been DLCing up it to the eyeballs since release (with, I gather, wildly varying degrees of success). The upcoming Mothership Zeta caught my eye more than the others (aside from the ‘yeah, we did mess up Fallout 3′s ending’ admission that was Broken Steel), simply because it takes us out of that desaturated post-apocalyptic wasteland and onto a fully armed and operational alien battlestation, via the fun plot-twist of having you suffer alien abduction. Are there colours in space? Find out after the break…

Well, to call Mothership Zeta colourful would be pushing it, but certainly a switch to a pristine environment based around other-worldly tech rather than the 50s steampunkery of the traditional Fallout world seems to create a whole new sense of place. Apparently, Zeta will reuse very few existing Fallout 3 assets, and going on the most recent screenshots may even have dispensed with the sepia.

A genuine encounter with the aliens who’ve left so many traces of themselves on post-apocalyptic Earth but have very rarely shown up in person may a bit of a game-changer too. They’ve been something the games have used as a fun-but-sinister background element for some time, so to (hopefully) finally work out why they came to Earth and what they’re up to now will answer some long-standing questions. Fallout 3 actively presaged this with the Recon Craft Theta Crash Site special encounter, even including an alien corpse to gawp at. Which Fallout 1 had also done, interestingly.

So will Mothership Zeta do something with the playful governmental interference hints of the first game, or tread a whole new path? If the latter, this is a risk it becomes too incongruous with what has gone before.

A reason to go back to Fallout 3, then? Or just Oblivion With Guns On A Spaceship? We find out on August 3rd.

Official details of the 800 Micro-points add-on, because we all like lists:

Description: Defy hostile alien abductors and fight your way off of the massive Mothership Zeta, orbiting Earth miles above the Capital Wasteland. Mothership Zeta takes Fallout 3 in an entirely new direction – outer space. Meet new characters and join with them in a desperate bid to escape the Aliens’ clutches. To do so, you’ll wield powerful new weapons, like the Alien Atomizer, Alien Disintegrator, and Drone Cannon, and deck yourself out in brand new outfits, like the Gemini-Era Spacesuit and even Samurai Armor.

Story: A strange Alien signal is being broadcast throughout the Capital Wasteland, originating from a crashed UFO. Is it a distress call, or something far more sinister? That question is answered when you find yourself beamed aboard an enormous Alien spacecraft, with only one alternative – to fight your way to the bridge of the ship and secure your escape.

Key Features:
Find and exploit new and destructive alien technology, like the Alien Atomizer and Drone Cannon.
Explore the vast Mothership and learn the secrets of the Aliens’ master plan.
Thwart the Aliens’ attempt to stop your escape, and take over the Alien ship before it wreaks havoc on the unsuspecting Earth below.
Fight against the Alien Invaders, their robot drones, and turn their own horrible experiments against them.
Ally yourself with an unexpected array of characters, both from the Capital Wasteland and from Earth’s past.

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176 Comments »

  1. DMcCool says:

    Different shaped corridors with different shaped things to kill with BRAND NEW GUNS.

    Bethesda still haven’t got their heads around this whole DLC-in-RPGs thing, bless ‘em.

  2. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    It’s an embarassment of riches, alright.

  3. MrBejeebus says:

    looks fun, i only recently got fallout 3 and all the dlc’s and im looking forward to this one, point lookout has been the best so far, because of its change of environment and the size of it all, plus blowing up a mansion is awesome

  4. phil says:

    The aliens remind me of Cryto from Destroy all Humans, though I suppose the key question is whether the gun flights in hard vacuum will be silent.

  5. Nick says:

    The aliens hip/blaster were just one of the little easter eggs in Fallout.. it’s a shame they led to this.. which both looks and sounds utterly out of place and frankly idiotic.

  6. cyrenic says:

    The alien mastermind is Elvis, obviously.

  7. Alaric says:

    So you can buy mutating an already existing organism into a supermutant or a ghoul, you can buy a giant walking robot, you can buy virtual reality, ai, laser pistols, etc., but you can’t buy aliens and spacecraft?

  8. Tei says:

    I reminds me of a 80′s serie. “Logans Runs”, about a guy escaping from a vault city. One one episode ( Stargate ) the guy meet some aliens, on the apocalyptic earth.

  9. Elman says:

    It does look completely out of place. Maybe they’ll surprise us, but still…

    Fallout 3 didn’t have good shooter mechanics, so why would they make singleplayer FPS campaigns for it as DLC?

  10. Optimaximal says:

    I’ve been reviewing these add-ons for Computers N Stuff – only Point Lookout really got its head around what made the main game interesting, which was allowing quests and storylines to be resolved without shooting everything in sight.

    Broken Steel didn’t start too badly, but I was just fed up of cutting down Enclave soldiers by the end and it looks like Zeta is going to send the DLC packs out with a whimper.

  11. Taillefer says:

    “Thwart the Aliens’ attempt to stop your escape, and take over the Alien ship before it wreaks havoc on the unsuspecting Earth below…”

    Just when they thought a mostly-dead Human civilisation, almost destroyed by nuclear war and populated with giant, killer mutants; free-roaming, psychotic gangs; slavers, technologically-advanced, military expansionists; the living dead, rad-infected wastelands with no drinkable water, insane robots looking for excuses to turn on their masters, aggressive mutant-wildlife which will eviscerate you on-sight, weren’t quite havoc enough…

  12. Nick says:

    “but you can’t buy aliens and spacecraft?”

    Ah yes, trot out that tired old argument, why not. Just because something contains elements that are far fetched does not mean that every far fetched element fits into the same world just as well. Sense of place, “rules” of setting, callit what you will. I suppose I’ll just add giant farting worms because they are just as unrealistic as mutants, that won’t jar at all.

  13. James O'Hare says:

    It’s a bit of a shame to see a sly homage/easter egg turned into a full-blown aknowledgement of active alien life in the Fallout universe. But I’ve thoroughly (and unexpectedly) enjoyed F3 so far, along with most of it’s DLC. So, I think I shall be getting this, too.

    I do wish some of the better open world or RPGs got this treatment (Stalker, for example, and Bloodlines in my wildest dreams).

  14. Morph says:

    If the tone was cheesy b-movie aliens or little greys abducting everyone for probing then this could be great.

    Doesn’t really look that way though, does it? And I’m someone who loved Fallout 3.

  15. Pax says:

    @Alaric
    It’s not so much about believing in a crazy thing in an otherwise crazy game, it’s about something being appropriate for a setting or genre. If you were watching a Mad Max movie and an alien saucer swooped in and started shooting up Bartertown, that would seem a little out of place, no? Wouldn’t fit in with the kind of world that’s trying to be shown, or the type of story that’s being told.

    This applies more to the Fallout series as a whole and how it’s going to reflect on the first Fallouts though; Fallout 3 is pretty much a lost cause when it comes to having a consistent setting or sensical story.

    Of course, with all that, I’m still probably going to buy it and enjoy it to some degree, and then mess around with the new assets in the editor afterwards, so what do I know. :P

    -Pax

  16. Nick says:

    The next DLC will be a full re-enactment of A Christmas Story, afterall there was a Red Ryder BB gun, it makes perfect sense.

  17. Dood says:

    I would buy this if the aliens from Mars Attacks! were in it.

  18. Serondal says:

    This actually look’s like it could be fun, but it won’t be as good as Prey ;)

  19. Vinraith says:

    I’m still waiting for the disc-based DLC collections so I don’t have to deal with GFWL. I enjoyed FO3 enormously, though, so there’s no question I’ll be getting all of them. I went out of my way, in my first 100ish hour playthrough, to leave some areas unexplored so that when I came back modded and DLCed up that I’d have a few corners of the old game to experience fresh along with all the new stuff.

    Damn I love Bethesda RPGs.

  20. ascagnel says:

    @Nick:
    OMG YES AWESOME. I triple-dog dare you.

  21. Alaric says:

    Gentlemen, I respectfully disagree.

    Fallout setting is a post-apocalyptic one, which in itself is a subset of larger science fiction setting. I understand your argument when you say that the plot has to be kept within certain guidelines appropriate to the genre, but in this case there isn’t any contradiction.

    If one of the DLCs included an Elven wizard riding a dragon, I’d join you in being displeased. However, non-terrestrial life does not contradict any cornerstones of the Fallout universe.

  22. ascagnel says:

    @Vinraith:
    They release pairs of DLC on disk for $20US (same as buying online). I got Op:Anchorage and The Pitt that way. From wikipedia:

    A retail disk was released at the end of May, 2009[63] containing this and the Operation: Anchorage expansion packs. It was released for Xbox 360 and Games for Windows. The expansion packs are copied to the hard drive and function as it would had it been downloaded.

  23. Vinraith says:

    How can anyone argue this is inappropriate to the setting?

    Has there every been a Fallout game that didn’t have an alien spacecraft (and the requisite alien blaster) in some corner of it?

  24. Wurzel says:

    And never mind easter eggs, I remember fighting many aliens on the tanker in Fallout 2 (though I guess those might have been weird mutants).

    In any case, remember that the ‘setting rules’ are pulp, early-20th Century sci-fi (atomic cars and giant ants!). Being abducted by a flying saucer fits entirely within this.

    The only concern I feel about this dlc is that it seems Bethesda have again mistaken their rpg for an fps.

  25. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    It’s not about being appropriate or not, it’s a question of theme. Alien presence in Fallout has been mostly a curio, and at some point someone in the Fallout 2 dev team even said the Wanamingos in Fallout 2 were a bit overboard. Even if you’re keen on ignoring the difference between setting and easter egg, making an entire game – or in this case an expansion – based around it is like picking up on Silent Hill’s UFO ending and making an entire SH DLC based around alien abduction. Yeah, aliens featured in Silent Hill. Hardly means they’re an appropriate subject matter in regards to the rest of the themes explored in the games.

    Then again, hey. We already had Monty Python references in Fallout so I’m sure an entire DLC about searching for Holy Hand Grenades of Antioch is not out of place in post-apoc wastelands. Seriously – medieval knights in a setting that went out of its way to detach itself from medieval-styled RPGs at the time? Can hardly wait!

  26. Dominic White says:

    @Vinraith – “How can anyone argue this is inappropriate to the setting?”

    I’ve seen crazy Fallout ‘fans’ argue that Fallout 2 isn’t series canon. There’s easily ten times as many people who would swear blind that Fallout 3 raped their dog and shot their parents.

    Personally, I’m rather glad that they’re not only adding a bunch of weird new stuff for their final DLC, but also stopping with adding new stuff, as this will allow them to finally release a static ‘Game of The Year’ edition and that’ll become the new baseline upon which mods can be built, using all that lovely new content to tweak and abuse in new and interesting ways.

    I’ve said it elsewhere, but the Fallout 3 modding scene is rermarkably organized and industrious (compared to the Oblivion modding scene, who were industrious and chaotic), even if they wouldn’t know how to write an intelligible readme file if their lives depended on it.

    Tangentially, it just occured to me that we’ve seen very little in the way of ‘THIS IS HOW THE GAME SHOULD BE’ mods from the NMA crowd, even now that they’ve got access to the full modding toolset. Those guys know how to make a noise, but tend not to actually produce much of note.

  27. Vinraith says:

    @Dominic

    Good point, Fallout does seem to inspire a certain crazed fan response in some quarters.

    I agree that I’m glad to see something exotic added, and I’m glad to see the DLC officially stopped so we can have a “complete” edition. Any good balance mods your aware of, by the way?

    And yeah, the NMA types are notoriously “all talk.” I think the “AIM” meme is too often used and too often misapplied, but if ever a crowd deserved it it would be them.

  28. Alec Meer says:

    Now, now – please don’t antagonise people with sweeping generalisations.

  29. jon_hill987 says:

    I’m waiting until they do an expansion pack (disk or Steam) with all the DLC in one, it is overpriced at the moment and I refuse to use GFWL to get it.

  30. JonFitt says:

    Sweeping generalisations?! On mah interwebs?!
    Say it ain’t so.

  31. F0nx says:

    To all the people complaining about the DLC being out of place am I the only one here that realizes that you do not have to download the content and thus not let its outofplacaness spoil “your” version of the game ?

  32. Jeff says:

    I think Bethesda should fix the DLC for the PC first before making more expansions. I’m unable to play any DLC for more than a couple minutes without it crashing.

  33. Jeremy says:

    This is more of a general statement, but we really need to stop with the “but Fallout 1 and 2 did things this way” talk. Let it go. It will never be again. Bethesda, for better or worse, is now in control of the lore from here on out.

    In a more direct statement, how can we say that because Fallout 1 (over 200 years in the past according to the timeline) had no direct contact with aliens, that Fallout 3 shant better never have aliens in it. Eventually, the aliens would have made an appearance, no matter who was devvin that B, let’s just hope that they do a good job with the story rather than lament pointlessly that the aliens should never have been in the game at all.

  34. Clovus says:

    @jon_hill: Ya, I only paid $25 for the full game. I’m hardly gonig to drop $10 per expansion. Bleh. Especially since I’m afraid I’ll be burnt out by then. I really enjoyed Oblivion (vanilla!), but only started on Shivering Isles before I suddenly got bored with the game.

    I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Fallout 3. Several of the areas you can stumble onto (Vault 106, Tenpenny’s Hotel, the “trapped in the computer” bit) have been really fun. The main story is kinda’ meh. It is the first time in awhile that I spend every free moment I have playing a game. I know a game is good when I’m annoyed to stop playing in order to watch some HBO (True Blood, Big Love, etc.) with the wife.

    And yes, please put the DLC on Steam. I will not be purchasing any Microsoft Points, or being involved with LIVE if at all possible.

    Bring on the shiny alien ships too.

  35. Joflar says:

    The concern that this will be another Anchorage-style FPS lite is pretty fair, the press release is pretty ecstatic about blowing things up. The blurb about allying with members from Earth’s past sounds like it has good potential though. Hopefully it will be fun.

  36. Nalano says:

    I bought the first three add-ons (crying about M$’s GfWL “buy an $8 add-on with $10 worth of credits!” bullshit all the while) but I couldn’t even drag myself to play the game another time through to even see the retconned ending of Broken Steel.

    It felt all so damn samey after a while.

    In terms of writing, there are ways to make people think your work is quirky and stylistic, and there are ways to make people think it’s just a hodgepodge jumble of memes.

    To do the former, make the world run in a rational manner except where your fancy takes you – 50′s retro-future computers, lasers, etc; but logical explanations for food, protection, etc – and people will more readily accept the suspension of disbelief needed for the parts you found fun.

    To do the latter, take every little in-joke and make it canon, ’til the entire world runs on some ridiculous phlebotinum. I see this as that.

  37. Clovus says:

    Oh, and why is the retard in the screenshots wearing a Vault 101 suit? He literally never found a better piece of armor for the entire game?!?

    I know it is for marketing purposes, but still…..

  38. Serondal says:

    can’t wait to kill some aliens with Elvis and Michael Jackson (Or is it to soon for that?) As far as Shiving Isle goes you should go back and give it a try, I had more fun playing that expansion then I did Oblivion as a whole. (even if you just get to the main town and smack Sheogorath in the face to see how he responds it’d be worth it)

  39. Aharon says:

    How ridiculous to be arguing about the setting. I understand you enjoy Fallout, and I think we can all say the same. But that enjoyment doesn’t make it some masterpiece of storytelling or impressive narrative. A little divergence and fun isn’t going to ruin the OH SO GREAT mythos that is the Fallout Bible.

    I’m not worried about the “integrity” of the game, since I haven’t felt any reason to doubt Beth yet, since they at least made a story better than FO2 or any of the spinoffs. I’m just worried about whether it’s going to be another ridiculous shootemup, or a real FPS RPG experience, where the tongue is as mighty as the sword.

  40. Serondal says:

    I don’t think the tongue is going to be any good against aliens Aharon, unless they’re sicky

  41. pilouuuu says:

    Well, if Indiana Jones can meet aliens.

    Really, this is like jumping the shark, but I like it nonetheless. Variety is good and more FO3 is good too. I hope they keep making those DLC as long as they don’t make a prequel chapter showing your character when he was a kid and having a comic relief side kick.

  42. SirKicksalot says:

    Wanamingos were biological weapons made by humans, although they spoofed Alien.

    Real aliens were an easter egg in Fallout.
    I’m totally expecting a NEW!!! DLC featuring that Dr. Who time machine from the first game…

  43. Zyrxil says:

    Fallout 3 actively presaged this with the Recon Craft Theta Crash Site special encounter, even including an alien corpse to gawp at. Which Fallout 1 had also done, interestingly.

    It was a joke! Goddamn it Bethesda! Just like the TARDIS in the Wasteland, and Harold’s tree, it was a fraking joke!

  44. Nalano says:

    Easier to crib someone else’s ideas than to be creative yourself, Zyrxil.

    Sadly.

  45. Blather Blob says:

    @jon_hill987: I’m waiting on them to finish up the DLC too, that’s why I skipped the steam sale a week or two ago. They’ve announced a GOTY edition is coming out for this Christmas season and will include all DLC. The DLC is also being made available in boxes by itself, but at $20 for a box with two DLCs, I’m not sure you’d be saving any money. Though avoiding the GFWL experience is probably worth it.

  46. Serondal says:

    Obviously it wasn’t a joke. They probably had his planned all along.

  47. Clovus says:

    Hey, while we are at it, how about DLC based on a whale that falls from the sky and a pot of petunias!

    And a bridgekeeper with a smelly robe.

    Fallout is serious business…

  48. Dominic White says:

    Again, a reality check:

    This is an entirely optional addon. You don’t have to buy it. You don’t have to play it. You don’t have to enjoy it. It’s unlikely to be required for anything until the GOTY edition rolls round and mods start fully using the content within.

    Also, for those who consider Fallout 3 a watered-down abomination of a game, it also includes a very powerful mod toolkit. Isn’t that what you’ve wanted for years? A nuke-it-yourself Fallout development kit? You’ve got an engine, tons of resources and no shortage of documentation and help from existing modders, to get to it.

    I wouldn’t find the complaining as annoying if they were a little more proactive. This isn’t like Fallout 2, where the first decent mods didn’t come out until around a decade after release. They’re giving the setting to you on a platter. A silver platter. A POLISHED silver platter with parsley garnish around the edges.

  49. bansama says:

    I would buy this and all the other Fallout 3 DLC if only Microsoft would actually sell it to me. There is very little more annoying than a company selling a game worldwide only to then force regional restrictions on the DLC.

  50. Pijama says:

    All I see is a new stage to go guns blazing. :p

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