The VATS Pack- Fallout: New Vegas

By Alec Meer on February 4th, 2010 at 3:56 pm.

The trailer. The trailer never changes. Yes, the first teaser for Obisidian’s upcoming Fallout 3.5, New Vegas, has arrived. As has a release date, ish – this Autumn. I.e. yer traditional pre-Christmas silly-season, then. Find the video and some words about it above. I mean below. Gosh, you’d have thought I’d have learned that by now, wouldn’t you?

Here’s the only official blurb, though expect more within a few days as the various magazines and sites who have been deemed important enough to be given an exclusive story unveil their previews. I wish we had an exclusive story. Here’s one: I saw the dark-haired bloke with the big teeth from Green Wing going into a bank in Camden the other day. He was with a woman and everything. I know! Imagine!

Anyway:

Experience all the sights and sounds of fabulous New Vegas, brought to you by Vault-Tec, America’s First Choice in Post Nuclear Simulation. Explore the treacherous wastes of the Great Southwest from the safety and comfort of your very own vault: Meet new people, confront terrifying creatures, and arm yourself with the latest high-tech weaponry as you make a name for yourself on a thrilling new journey across the Mojave wasteland. A word of warning, however – while Vault-Tec engineers have prepared for every contingency,* in Vegas, fortunes can change in an instant. Enjoy your stay.

Which isn’t saying much, but at a guess I think it’s hinting at a relatively similar setup to Fallout 3, not the isometric, party-based play Fallout old-hands have a-wishin’ and a hopin’ for. Here’s the trailer too, which really only tells us that it’s dark but New Vegas has a lot of electricity.

(Bigger version here)

I know we’ve heard “war never changes” so many times, but it just wouldn’t be the same without it. It Is A Fine Meme. Very keen to hear more about New Vegas – I’m pretty sure Obsidian will have a better handle on writing and voicework than Bethesda mustered with Oblivion and F3. None of RPS (of those of us that played it, at least) felt real love in our hard hearts for Fallout 3, but a major part of that was due to the distractingly tepid writing and acting, not because of the game’s core mechanics. There’s a really good chance this’ll get it right.

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129 Comments »

  1. CMaster says:

    I’d have to agree that the pretty poor (though rareley cringeworthy) writing of FO3 made it merely good, rather than excellent. The other thing that let it down was the poor quality of the shotting outside of VATS mode – I got sick of shots not hitting because I was beyond maximum range or other similar issues. Still, FO3 was good. Obsidian are meant to make interestign quests and dialog, so provided they can keep a similar scale and level of production values, this could be very good.

    • Rich says:

      Oblivion was good for its eccentricities, such as an emotional moment when the local lord asks me to free his wife from immortality. She thanks him with tear filled eyes (OK an emotionless blank face) and then lets out a cry and keels over one the bed, so that her feet stay where they were and her head gets stuck in the pillow, bent over like an upside down U.

      Fallout 3 was more of a pain. I hated lining up a clean shot with VATS, only to empty my clip into the wall he just ducked behind.

    • Zerotime says:

      Rich: Or when you popped up from behind cover, and despite everything looking okay, having VATS put five bursts from your AR into whatever it was you were hiding behind.

  2. pkt-zer0 says:

    Shame it’s stuck with FO3′s crappy engine and mechanics. Could still be good regardless (like MotB or The Witcher).

    • itchyeyes says:

      Actually, I’m kind of glad they’re not bothering with the engine, in a way. Obsidian has a pretty solid track record of shipping unfinished, but otherwise excellent games. If they don’t have to bother with the engine, that gives them more time to maybe actually finish the game (though that didn’t really help with KotOR 2).

    • Whelp says:

      The Witcher wasn’t made by Obsidian…

    • Psychopomp says:

      @itchyeyes

      Nor did the publisher pushing their release date forward by months.

    • Wulf says:

      @itchyeyes

      Not at all true. It was always pressures from their publisher that did this.

      Publisher: How far into development are you?
      Obsidian: About 60 per cent.
      Publisher: Wrap it up and call it done!
      Obsidian: What?! No!!!
      Publisher: Too bad, do it, do it now.
      Obsidian: Give us a few more months so we can at least wrap it all up to offer something decent to the fans.
      Publisher: Well… all right.

      Whenever this wasn’t the case, Obsidian made games of unparalleled beauty, the only negative influences were outside.

      Eventually, they just said “Fuck this!” and broke off all previous ties and became as independent as possible for Alpha Protocol, they sought out a publisher that would allow them the time they needed. Sega has been very good about giving them the time they need to finish and polish their game.

      I always did like you, Sega.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      @Whelp: I know, it was just supposed to be another example of decent-game-in-crummy-engine.

  3. Anthony says:

    Considering how many hours I sunk into Fallout 3, I’m more than a little happy to get to do it again in New Vegas.

    • Monchberter says:

      Agreed. Stop whining everyone. ‘Different’ and ‘bad’ do not have the same meaning, as i’ve been saying for near on 2 years now to all the die-hard Fallout 1 and 2 vets.

    • jalf says:

      You’re right. Different doesn’t automatically imply bad. But bad does imply bad.

      Fallout 3′s problems were not that “it’s different”, but that “it’s just not all that good as a game”.
      And most of that is not due to “it’s different from Fallout 1/2″, but “it’s borrowed a lot of flaws from Oblivion”.

    • Psychopomp says:

      You get 149782390570237 post-apocalyptic action RPG’s a decade. We’re, apparently, never getting another game like Fallout 1/2.

    • Monchberter says:

      But when most people moned about the differences, they moaned about the lack of the same freedoms that you were offered in the first two games which admittedly were decent; ‘Child Killer’ and all that, but would never have got in the very much console focused game which happened to still work OK on PC that Fallout 3 happened to be. (See also Far Cry 2 and it’s flaws).

      But yes, Fallout 3 does have it’s flaws, but it’s still a resoundingly strong game as a whole.

    • Monchberter says:

      …unlike my grammar and sentence structure

    • Flameberge says:

      @ Monchberter

      Grammar and sentence structure are the first casualties of the post-apocalyptic future.

    • Jeremy says:

      Here’s what I realized as I played FO3. I loved the game early on into the middle portion, because it was a bunch of exploration stuff, I was wandering around not paying attention to all the quests and having a good time of it. There were a lot of interesting things going on, plus strange bugs that broke quests which sort of added to the chaos of the open world. I accidentally skipped parts of quests, ended up doing them in the wrong order, etc. etc. It was fun though because I played it as I wanted to, and it gave me the freedom to do that.

      Then I turned into a headshot machine and it wasn’t nearly as fun.

      That’s what I loved about Stalker. No matter how decked out you were, the game could still annihilate you whenever it desired.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Yep, I’ve spent like…70 hours with Fallout 3…good times.
      Hahaha, I loved the moment when I was just fooling around and I accidentally stumbled upon the main storyline by finding the vault with Dad…quite a unique situation

    • Nalano says:

      Hey Monch. Us naysayers will speak for ourselves, thanks.

      No, it’s not the FPS or TPS style that bothered me – in fact, I heard more blowback from that than I heard actual complaints on that front; like an O’Reilly-esque paper tiger. It’s not the bugs – the originals had bugs! It’s the crappy writing. Bethesda don’t rite gud. They make pretty games! They can’t make a plot worthy of the name. The sheer number of headbanger moments made all that scenery work pale in my book.

    • Fumarole says:

      @Frankie

      Not unique at all. I did the same thing while actively trying to avoid the main quest. I hadn’t even been to Rivet City yet when I found Dad, which lead to interesting dialogue options about returning to someplace I had never been to. This was around level 15 or so. In fact, when I hit the level cap (Grrrrr…) and stopped playing I still had not been to Rivet City.

  4. Greg Wild says:

    Looks spiffy.

    NCR against a largely developed looking New Vegas? I’m excited.

    • jeremy says:

      i dunno man, is it NCR versus Vegas or NCR versus Vault City over Vegas? The soldier turning his head and revealing the number 17 on his helmet seemed pretty significant.

    • jeremy says:

      oh my mistake Vault City was vault 8. color me crestfallen.

  5. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Are they updating the engine at all for New Vegas or is it going to be exact same tech, just different story?

    Regardless I’m very much looking forward to this, Fallout 3 took a while to grab my attention but when it did it sucked a month of my gaming life away in an instant, loved it.

  6. skinlo says:

    I enjoyed FO3, played that and the expansions or around 70 hours. Loved the atmosphere of standing on a hill in a sun set with the wind around you over an apocalyptic scene. Almost brought shivers to my back.

    Storyline was ok, nothing amazing, but the advantage of this type of game is that you can pop in and out of the story line when you feel like it!

  7. jsutcliffe says:

    Hmm, I still need to give Fallout 3 a proper shake. I got tired of being killed by weak-looking enemies and started to cheat my way through it, then had to quit because cheating removed all fun from the game.
    There are also mods that make the world less grimy, which I would like to try.
    Maybe I can queue it up after ME2.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      … How? Fallout 3 flaw was it was too easy. I remember the first big fight that i had in the game, against the bandits camped in a school near Megaton. I killed all 20 of them without problem! 20 vs 1!! You never could that in Fallout 1 or 2.

    • Jeremy says:

      I think they scaled the storyline quests though, because I found myself, rather early in the game, in a lot of near-death situations off the beaten path. Or maybe I was just trash at Fallout 3 :)

  8. kalidanthepalidan says:

    You’re “big toothed Greenwing man” exclusive is way better than any dumb ol’ Fallout 3.5 exclusive. Journalism at its finest. :)

  9. Flameberge says:

    Despite its flaws, I loved Fallout 3, and despite never kindling the same degree of devotion in me that FO1+2 managed, I think I enjoyed playing it more than either of the old games. If that makes any sense at all. I guess I’ve never really looked back at old games with the rose-tinted nostalgia glasses.
    Aside that, any more time spent in the Fallout universe in RPG form is what I would consider A Good Thing.

    • archonsod says:

      To be honest, having gone back and played both the original Fallouts recently for the first time in about four years, I’m starting to wonder if maybe a large reason they appealed at the time was their unique non-use of the words “Dungeons” and “Dragons” anywhere in the title.

  10. moo says:

    FO3 was plenty fun. Still working through all the frickin’ DLC — Broken Steel’s uber-zombies are kicking my ass.
    The first time I got out of the vault, looking at the desolate wastelands and broken radios and crumbling highways seemed sooo surreal.
    I barely followed the main storyline to find my dad – just sorta bumbled my way and explored, like a real wastelander would have done. and raided the raiders for supplies. muahaha.

  11. simonkaye says:

    By the way, guys, that’s an excellent pun in that there title.

  12. Lewis says:

    I thought Fallout 3 was an astounding game, ever-so-close to being a real masterpiece. If anyone can take it that one step further, it’s Obsidian. I hope.

  13. Vinraith says:

    I loved FO3, if this is as good (or, even better, manages to capture the same sense of exploring desolation but with better writing, acting, and story) then it’ll be a must-have. The two lingering questions for me, which we won’t know for awhile I’m sure, are 1) will there be a set of mod tools (seems like a no-brainer since it’s on the same engine as FO3, but you never know) and 2) will it be saddled with GfWL or something equally horrible. Here’s hoping for good news on both fronts.

    • Monchberter says:

      From the looks of the trailer credits, GFWL is a no brainer.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Monchberter

      Let me rephrase that, then. Will GfWL be used as copy protection, and will GfWL be given control over the save games. With the original FO3 you could pretty much ignore GfWL completely, but it seems like subsequent implementations of it have become more and more intrusive.

    • Hattered says:

      @Vinraith:

      The version of GfWL that came with the original FO3 was decent, but installing RF:G, for example, seemed to update GfWL for all games using it. When I went back to FO3 some time afterward, it had the same nonsense as RF:G. I’m guessing New Vegas will have whatever happens to be the current implementation of GfWL.

  14. Blah says:

    Can’t wait for more how the New California Republic has expanded. They were set up to have an air of ambiguity in how they might develop in Fallout 2, from the looks of that soldier fella it’s pretty clearly set.

    That flag is seriously the most excited I’ve been throughout hearing of new Vegas’ development

  15. Bobsy says:

    I think I could handle the “War never changes” line a lot better if they were more creative with the delivery. Would be much better if the geezer said the line with a cynical, hollow chuckle.

  16. HexagonalBolts says:

    No love for Fallout 3, Really? I LOVED it. In fact, I probably love Fallout 3 more than any other recent RPG, it was vast with huge amounts of interesting side quests and unique side quests to find. The acting was never *that* bad. It was essentially ‘oblivion with guns’ with less level scaling and more unique quests – and that can’t be bad.

    Dragon Age, by comparison, may have some snazzy acting, but the side quests were pathetic, the main story was predictable (go to the three kingdoms and solve a task for each one to defeat the archetypal villified demon blah blah…), and I found the fighting to be highly repetitive.

    • Meat Circus says:

      When you say “that can’t be bad”, that doesn’t really apply if the same things were just as shit in Oblivion. Which they were.

  17. Vinraith says:

    It sounds like this is going to be fairly rooted in FO2 lore. I may actually have to go finish an FO2 play-through, finally.

  18. kedaha says:

    WHY ISN’T IT CALLED NEW RENO?

    :(

  19. Bhazor says:

    Hey everyone! Peggy’s 18!

    Happy birthday Peggy!

  20. GYAD says:

    Gee, glowing eyes and a Nazi helmet (albeit a Nazi Paratrooper helmet), I do love me the sheer creativity. I enjoyed the last game but always felt that, gifted with the chance to really go to town with the retro-futurisms, they were instead pretty conservative in the art design.

  21. LionsPhil says:

    Silly bipolar cowboy robot—your grippers are bad at moving sand!

  22. Michael says:

    The Internet hates everything. Fallout 3 was great. Sure VATS was patchy but when it worked it was terrific. I know I should have got fed up with the slow motion deaths but I never did. Frankly I’m worried that I enjoyed them a little too much. And yeah, the dialogue was standard crappy game dialogue, performed by the same three actors that did all of Oblivion but at least there were plenty of characters and side quests and stories and stuff to explore at your leisure. The game never felt like a chore which, sadly, is a great achievement for a game these days. I look forward to more of the same.

    I’m just a little concerned about the claw vending machine come to life. Come on lobster harmonica.

    • admanb says:

      Some people consider writing more important than a lot of side quests and exploration. To those people, FO3 was meh.

  23. LionsPhil says:

    Look at that glowing tower and tell me you don’t want to snipe from it, throw people off it, base jump from it, drop comedy physics items on people’s heads from it, or otherwise smoothly transition (and shoot) between it, its outside, and the surrounding plains.

    I sure hope they don’t chop it up with Oblivious’ isolated little cells. (A particularly weird design decision given that the wider world was all streamed and dynamicwise.)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Oh, you comedy reply system. That was, natch, w.r.t. people on about tech updates.

      But other than that, sure, there’s Black Isle and Troika heratidge in that team, unless I’m mistaken. Please to be leaving the engine alone and focusing development effort on finishing all the lovely dialoguewords, thinkyquests with more complex morality than “kick puppies (y/n)?” and characters more interesting than planks of wood, for this you excel at. Else there will be bugs. So many of them. Yes.

  24. Wulf says:

    Fallout and Obsidian, eh?

    We’re in for something very, very wonderful. Wonderful like a rainbow after a rainy day.

  25. Joe Russell says:

    I can’t really read “Explore the treacherous wastes of the Great Southwest” without laughing and thinking of Cornwall.

  26. Navagon says:

    There are many games that are looking to be outstanding this year. But this is the only one so far that has been a guaranteed must have since its announcement. Fallout by Obsidian? Oh hell yes!

    My only concern is that both Fallout and Obsidian have a history of being bug riddled…

  27. Derf says:

    Early signs of artistic failure?

    - The robot is retardedly faffing without effect.
    - The buried hand looks fresh.
    - The dudes cloak is pristine

  28. Frankle says:

    I hope they make it as true to the origionals as possible. I’m all for them adding new ideas to an iconic game but the origional ideas need to be there still. And not have Ghoul’s that could sprint and throw radioactive poo, Like monkeys at a zoo. Bugged me no end. and make ghouls and supermutants to be feared like in the old games and not so easy to kill.
    The biggest failure of fallout 3 was Bethesda. all there games lately seem to need mods to feel like a finished game and not make you bored after an hours play. I desperately tried to like fallout 3 but with so many bugs and things out of place that all the good things were out weighed by the very bad.

    Plus they gave “TWO” of the greatest computer games characters the worst send off in history. Harold and Bob deserved better, and as far as im concerned they were never in Fallout 3.

  29. Premium User Badge

    sendmark says:

    I love Obsidian’s writing and especially their characters. I avoided Fallout 3 as I hated Oblivion’s bland and soulless world and I loved the original Fallouts too much, but this will tempt me in.

  30. Jeff says:

    Unless they fixed the bugs thought caused the PC version to crash every 5 minutes, i’m not touching it.

  31. Anthony Damiani says:

    I do not like the “war never changes” meme.
    It is inaccurate, annoying and repetitive. I did not like it the first time, nor the tenth, I sure don’t like it now.

    • Patrick says:

      Bethesda actually trademarked it, so expect it on absolutely everything Fallout.

    • Kanamit says:

      War. War has changed.

      Wait, that’s a console game joke. Dammit.

  32. Adam Whitehead says:

    “War, war never changes. Apart from the fact that we don’t have any natural resources to fight over, everything’s been pretty much destroyed, and we didn’t have two-headed cows and giant albino radscorpions before. Also, my gun fires railway sleepers into people’s faces, what the hell is up with that? But, apart from those minor elements, war never changes. Much.”

    (partially ganked from Stolen Pixels)

  33. disperse says:

    OK, now I have the desire to go back and replay FO1…

  34. Wednesday says:

    I didn’t find fault with Fallout’s writing.

    The point when you encounter an that old nurse’s diary was one of the most quietly moving points I’ve encountered in a game. I also deeply appreciated being able to beat the final boss by convincing him he was guilty of circular reasoning.

    • bhlaab says:

      Really? Because I beat that boss by telling him “What you’re doing is wrong!” to which he responded “You know what you’re right. I’m gonna blow myself up”

    • MWoody says:

      That’s weird, when I played the final boss was a room full of poison gas. And he KICKED MY ASS.

  35. Vinraith says:

    While I thought a lot of FO3′s writing was weak, it did have its poignant and effective moments. That, and any game with a protracted call back to “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” is ok by me.

  36. Jugglenaut says:

    As a new denizen of Vegas, I am completely looking forward to this. Should be awesome.

  37. John says:

    Is that a functional city i see? Interesting.

  38. Tei says:

    Interesting video. It follows the style of all fallout videos, with style, and add new things. More science fiction, some mysthery (for a moment, that robot looked like a zombie). I like this. now I read that is made by Obisidian, that is one of my favorite RPG creators, this practically guarantee a awesome experience. :-)

  39. ts061282 says:

    The writing is bad not because what occurs in the narrative is boring (i.e. convincing AI of its circular reasoning) but because the way it is executed, the specific words in the dialogue choices, are ham-fisted and unconvincing. Emil wrote an overarching story line which is more or less ok. Derek Zoolander (i.e. Todd) made an executive decision to limit all dialogue choices to 80 characters. All the dialogue writers (quest writers/underlings) then had to shoe horn Emil’s narrative into short dialogue sound bites that would be easily readable from across the room to Xbox 360 Elite players. This specific design decision essentially ruined the entire game (in terms of inheriting the Fallout name). Add to this the technical failings of the engine uncorrected from Oblivion and you have yourself a heaping helping of Bethesda Softworks mediocrity.

    • Vinraith says:

      There’s really no RPG on the planet where I’m satisfied with my dialogue options, I always just end up choosing the closest thing to what I want to say and then pretending I really said what I was thinking rather than what was on the screen. Consequently, the writing on my own dialogue options doesn’t bother me much, as long as the gist of what I want to say is there in one of them.

      I suppose this is why I dislike ME’s dialogue system, too, as it robs me of the freedom to do this and forces me to say what the writer was thinking, rather than what I was thinking.

    • Psyk says:

      “Xbox 360 Elite players”

      Who or what are Xbox 360 Elite players

    • LionsPhil says:

      The problem with Bethsda’s writing is not 80-character limits. It’s that they’re bad at it. Fanfic-grade bad. And they have all the imagination of a field of turnips once they move out of presentational-layer stuff into dialogue options and quest interactions.

      Consider, for comparison, the farm in Fallout 2 for something far more complex and interesting.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “I’m looking for my father. Middle aged guy. Maybe you’ve seen him?”

    • Wednesday says:

      Well, ts061282, I was talking about the writing specifically, not the narrative. There’s a fantastic line when you can tell the villain that “America is gone, the world is a wasteland” and his reply is a heartfelt “Don’t you think that’s a bit pessimistic?”

      Mileage May Vary and all that.

      Having played through Fallouts one and two after three I just did not detect this wonderous writing everyone was going on about.

    • EaterOfCheese says:

      @Lionsphil

      Amen brother.

      That said, the prospect of NCR being involved gives me pause to consider baiting my breath. Love to see how Marcus, Sulik, Myron etc are handled narrative-wise.

    • Wulf says:

      Fallout 3 is an interesting beast, isn’t it? The writing was ham-fisted and very cliché, this much is true, so very true, and one would be a fool to deny it, but what if–by some bizarre bout of serendipity–that actually added to the game? The setting, the world, it fits the writing style, consider, in a world where you might be backed up by Robbie the Robot, Knight Paladins, or a patriotic Western piss-take of Gigantor, silly–even bad–writing fits.

      it’s the B-Movie equation, and that’s what it seems like they were shooting for. What I can’t tell is whether the writing choices were intentional or not. It is bad, it is fanfic quality, but so are B-Movies, B-Movies are so bad that people make fun of them, this even spawned a show dedicated to making fun of them, and that, in turn, spawned a series of fanfic edits where people made fun of those in the spirit of the show. What I’m getting at here is that a fanfic can be hilarious for all the wrong reasons, and yet still hilarious. This is true of a B-Movie. This is true of Fallout 3.

      And you know? It made me chortle, it made me chuckle, and it made me laugh. It made me laugh often. And when a serious moment did arise, such as the fate of old Daddy-o, it was so striking against the sillier backdrop of the game that it actually hit quite hard. There were a few bits, here and there, that were poignant and moving enough to get a response out of me, and I was startled by them.

      I began to wonder if perhaps they were hamming it up so much just so that when they did attempt a more compelling scene one would be caught all the more unawares by it. This was an odd little world, a hammy, cheesy, silly B-Movie world, and yet one which could take a turn for the dramatic (and not even the terribly melodramatic, either) at any time. That, in and of itself, is… really rather absurd. If there was any effort to that, and I’m not just imagining things, then I appreciate the effort.

      To say that Fallout 3 has consistently good writing would be folly, it clearly doesn’t, but what I’m thinking is that it doesn’t really need to, except for the few, rare, wonderful moments where it does. And that’s going to make no sense at all, is it? Sorry.

      Either way, I did like Fallout 3 far more than Oblivion, because unlike Fallout 3, Oblivion tried to be funereally serious almost all the time, and I feel that Bethesda–much like some other developers I could name, and much like a recent game… err… something about ages of Dragons or whatnot–fails at being serious, and these failings can take a turn for the painfully dreadful. I was beset by the urge to facepalm from the initial introduction of Patrick Stewart, and that didn’t let up at all.

      But in embracing a more silly world where they’re not trying to be serious, they succeed when they need to succeed, and when they don’t succeed… well, it’s funny anyway because the game isn’t taking itself too seriously. How about that? That make sense? If not, sorry, I can’t make another stab at this, it’s all ready giving me a headache. >..>

    • Wulf says:

      [REPOST! Apparently my emoticons caused the reply system to freak out. Oops.. Sorry!! D:]

      Fallout 3 is an interesting beast, isn’t it? The writing was ham-fisted and very cliché, this much is true, so very true, and one would be a fool to deny it, but what if–by some bizarre bout of serendipity–that actually added to the game? The setting, the world, it fits the writing style, consider, in a world where you might be backed up by Robbie the Robot, Knight Paladins, or a patriotic Western piss-take of Gigantor, silly–even bad–writing fits.

      it’s the B-Movie equation, and that’s what it seems like they were shooting for. What I can’t tell is whether the writing choices were intentional or not. It is bad, it is fanfic quality, but so are B-Movies, B-Movies are so bad that people make fun of them, this even spawned a show dedicated to making fun of them, and that, in turn, spawned a series of fanfic edits where people made fun of those in the spirit of the show. What I’m getting at here is that a fanfic can be hilarious for all the wrong reasons, and yet still hilarious. This is true of a B-Movie. This is true of Fallout 3.

      And you know? It made me chortle, it made me chuckle, and it made me laugh. It made me laugh often. And when a serious moment did arise, such as the fate of old Daddy-o, it was so striking against the sillier backdrop of the game that it actually hit quite hard. There were a few bits, here and there, that were poignant and moving enough to get a response out of me, and I was startled by them.

      I began to wonder if perhaps they were hamming it up so much just so that when they did attempt a more compelling scene one would be caught all the more unawares by it. This was an odd little world, a hammy, cheesy, silly B-Movie world, and yet one which could take a turn for the dramatic (and not even the terribly melodramatic, either) at any time. That, in and of itself, is… really rather absurd. If there was any effort to that, and I’m not just imagining things, then I appreciate the effort.

      To say that Fallout 3 has consistently good writing would be folly, it clearly doesn’t, but what I’m thinking is that it doesn’t really need to, except for the few, rare, wonderful moments where it does. And that’s going to make no sense at all, is it? Sorry.

      Either way, I did like Fallout 3 far more than Oblivion, because unlike Fallout 3, Oblivion tried to be funereally serious almost all the time, and I feel that Bethesda–much like some other developers I could name, and much like a recent game… err… something about ages of Dragons or whatnot–fails at being serious, and these failings can take a turn for the painfully dreadful. I was beset by the urge to facepalm from the initial introduction of Patrick Stewart, and that didn’t let up at all.

      But in embracing a more silly world where they’re not trying to be serious, they succeed when they need to succeed, and when they don’t succeed… well, it’s funny anyway because the game isn’t taking itself too seriously. How about that? That make sense? If not, sorry, I can’t make another stab at this, it’s all ready giving me a headache. I have great trouble explaining why I found Fallout 3 engaging.

      But there you have it.

      Maybe sometimes a game just benefits from not even taking itself too seriously. If a game laughs at itself and invites me to do so too, then I’m more forgiving of that game than a game that has an inexorably huge ego, despite still having depressingly deplorable writing.

      Fallout 3 was a fanfic, a silly, absurd, and ludicrously sensationalistic fanfic that’s been edited by a decent writer to have a few decent scenes, here or there, and the end result is bizarrely captivating. Sort of like what would have happened if Moffat had been allowed to edit bits of RTD’s Doctor Who scripts.

    • Fantastic Damage says:

      People shit on Bethesda way too much.

      I thought the writing in Fallout 3 was fine, in fact it was substantially better then some of the writing in Fallout 2, which had more peaks and valleys in terms of writing quality.

      Seriously, try and play Fallout 2 with a female PC and tell me that is good writing.

  40. Psyk says:

    Would love to see a fallout 1 or 2 guide done in the same style as the fallout 3 guide next to the fallout 3 guide then I would laugh in the collective faces of no mutants allowed.

  41. Nimic says:

    I didn’t mind Fallout 3 at all. Most of all, I loved the exploring. There just seemed to be so much stuff to find. I played it twice, and the first time was definitely the most fun. The sense of “what the hell is out there?” was great. I mostly wandered in the general direction of where quests wanted me to go, but I veered off the path whenever I saw something interesting.

  42. Gritz says:

    Early signs of butthurt nitpicking?

  43. postmanX3 says:

    I honestly did not like Fallout 3. It felt like Oblivion was trying to be an FPS. And it was a terrible FPS.

    Also, I like how the trailer was a scene-for-scene carbon copy of the FO3 teaser. How about some creativity every once in a while.

    • Bhazor says:

      Which was a carbon copy of the original Fallout trailer. It’s a leit motif. One that could really do with being scratched out. Especially the voice over, I mean at least add a little sting to it to show the war has changed or something.

  44. Thants says:

    This is just Fallout 3 with guns.

  45. ohnoabear says:

    The main problem with Fallout 3′s writing was that it relied too much on gimmicks and didn’t pay enough attention to its setting. Oh look, this town is populated entirely by children; oh, these guys venerate, for no apparent reason, a radiation-leaking bomb that is slowly poisoning their town. Combine that with the fact that you never see anyone actually working (unless they’re a guard or shopkeeper) and you get a lot of dissonance between the realistically rendered post-apocalyptic wasteland and the fact that everyone in said wasteland appears to live a cushy middle-class existence, living off the abundant packaged food that somehow survived the past 200 years of chaos and destruction while they idly pursue their hobbies and cutting-edge science experiments. Turning the morally ambiguous Brotherhood of Steel into a bunch of fake medieval knights didn’t help, nor did the fact that the main thrust of the plot (irradiated water) probably wouldn’t be a threat that long after the bombs went off.

    The original two games had plenty of cheap gimmicks and in-jokes, don’t get me wrong, but they also had plenty of quests and missions that made living in the wasteland seem like a horrible struggle to survive. Fallout 3 is a theme park by comparison.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yup, I’m reminded of this description of Bethsda: huge and shallow.

      This is also the problem with their humour hitting wrong; in particular zany antics like the spaceship DLC.

    • Wulf says:

      Actually I thought that was a clever attempt at being true to the B-Movie setting.

      /shrug

      Everyone’s got their own opinion, eh?

    • jalf says:

      Don’t forget the “nuclear catapult”. “Hey, the setting is all about surviving after a nuclear war! That must mean nukes are everywhere, right? Surely people must even have nuke *guns* in such a setting”. And cars must have nuclear engines that cause nuclear explosions when shot, right?

      Gimmicks. The reason I found the FO3 world (ignoring the gameplay for now) so shallow and unconvincing was simply that it was all gimmicks, with no coherence. It didn’t even *try* to make sense. It didn’t try to follow the ideas of the first games. It’s as if someone at Bethesda had been given a list of five keywords that sum up the Fallout universe, and then built everything around that:

      - techno-knight sorta people? That must mean they’re noble and try to protect and aid civilians, right?
      - nuclear war, you say? We need a nuke throwing gun then, and maybe make old cars and stuff contain nukes too
      - radiation? Kay, let’s make every consumable item add to a radiation-o-meter, which doesn’t really *make a difference*
      - Mutated monsters? Bring out the mutant ants then!

      ok… I guess they were just given four keywords from which to build the world. Or at least, I can’t think of what the fifth might have been. But the point is that each of these is boiled down so much that all the flavor and all the nuances of the first games has been lost. Yes, nukes are part of the setting in in Fallout. But people didn’t go around tossing nukes at each others. Nukes were something that happened in the past, which wrecked the world. (Of course, the Master had a nuke under his cathedral, which just emphasizes their almost mythical status. Contrast this to the nuke circus of FO3 where everyone and his dog can set off at least three nukes just by throwing a rock)

      Actually I thought that was a clever attempt at being true to the B-Movie setting.

      Problem is it is *not* particularly true to the setting. Fallout 1 and 2 were humorous too, they had plenty of B-movie elements, but they also portrayed the world much more convincingly, and in a much more interesting way, than FO3.

    • Vinraith says:

      @ohnoabear

      The game was originally designed to be set 50 years after the war, instead of 200. When they got the Fallout license the only way to make it jive with canon was to set it much later, but the “temporal dissonance” is a result. It’s one more reason it would have been a better game if it had just eschewed the trappings of Fallout entirely, though it likely wouldn’t have sold as well.

      The other nice side effect would have been that the extremely vocal internet community which takes the original games so very deadly seriously wouldn’t have nearly as much reason to be upset about it. I like Fallout 3, probably more than the original Fallout games, but it doesn’t really gain anything by having the Fallout license. In a lot of ways I wish Bethesda had let the purists keep their franchise dead and just started something new, the result would likely have been even better. In other words, I suspect the Fallout franchise would have been better without Fallout 3, and Fallout 3 would have been better without the Fallout franchise.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The original Fallouts were not zany B-movie parodies, however. Humourous, yes, but darkly so (although FO2 was lighter than FO1).

    • LionsPhil says:

      @Vinraith: After all the effort marketing types put into “building brands”, some executive-types can be remarkably quick to throw that away by sticking them on dissimilar products. (The James Bond and Star Trek franchises come to mind, although inexplicably many people are wrong-headed enough to like the reboots.)

      The “people who dislike FO3 do so because it’s different to their precious” argument is long past its sell-by date, too. By that token, we shouldn’t like FO2, since it made quiet a lot of changes from FO1. (Hell, friendly NPCs actually got a control UI! You could ask Ian not to shoot you in the back, point-blank, full-auto! Sometimes, he might even listen!)

    • archonsod says:

      “Don’t forget the “nuclear catapult”. “Hey, the setting is all about surviving after a nuclear war! That must mean nukes are everywhere, right? Surely people must even have nuke *guns* in such a setting”. And cars must have nuclear engines that cause nuclear explosions when shot, right?”

      50′s Sci Fi. Ever heard of it?

    • Vinraith says:

      @LionsPhil

      The “people who dislike FO3 do so because it’s different to their precious” argument is long past its sell-by date, too.

      People that dislike the game dislike the game. People that vehemently dislike the game, on the other hand, are often partly reacting out of a sense of nostalgia for a game franchise they grew up with. And why not? Most of us have franchises that were dear to us in our gaming “formative years” that we wouldn’t want to see radically changed. It’s a perfectly normal thing to get pissed off about, and it’s always going to be incomprehensible and aggravating to people that don’t place the same value on those original games that they do. I’m not criticizing (because I’m guilty of it myself so often), but you can’t tell me nostalgia isn’t a big part of the vocal negative reaction to FO3.

  46. Anonymousity says:

    @Flameberge I went back and played the originals and enjoyed them all the more after playing fallout 3, I thought I would like fallout 3 more but it really didn’t click for me.

  47. cheap r4 card says:

    The SPECIAL system used will be similar to Fallout 3, but skills will be harder to cap and one character will not be able to become a master of all skills. The article is not very specific because apparently it’s something the developers are still tweaking.

  48. bill says:

    I’m trying to play fallout one right now. Where is the good writing?

    I’ve only gotten as far as junktown so far, and killed some big fat guy. But so far it’s a hugely disappointing game. Boring writing. Boring locations. Boring enemies. Boring combat which seems to have no tactical aspects at all.

    Is there really some kind of classic game that will come along later, or is all the Fallout1&2 love based purely on the fact that the setting and “maturity” were original at the time?

    I got bored of fallout and started messing around with Albion (an apparently pretty average RPG from around the same time) and so far i’ve had more fun and found more originality in the first 20 minutes of Albion than in the first 5 or 6 hours of fallout 1.

    Anyway, hopefully New Vegas can be as good as Bloodlines. (different black isle guys, right?)

    • drewski says:

      Now you’re going to make the AIM, er…angrier?

      Fallout 2 holds up better than 1, in my experience.

    • bill says:

      It’s honestly not meant to be trolling. It’s just that after hearing so much about the game for so long, and everyone criticising the writing of Fallout3, I somehow expected some great characters or writing from fallout 1.
      So far there seems to be little other than average conversations and dry descriptions. And my only companion (the excitingly named “Ian”) is a mystery to me. I don’t know what he looks like, what his personality is, or anything else about him. And none of the characters I’ve met so far, or the conversations i’ve had, have been remotely memorable.
      So I’m left wondering about what element of fallout’s writing is supposed to be good. Is it the dialogue, the characterisation, or some big complex plot that i’ve yet to uncover, and which will blow me away when I do?

      I have fallout 2 as well, but I wanted to try fallout 1 first so I could experience them in order.

    • Fumarole says:

      You’ve obviously met neither Harold nor Bob.

  49. DSX says:

    Fallout meets Rainbow Six? … could be worse.

  50. James says:

    Fallout 3 was a good game. It certainly had problems and areas that could benefit from more attention or better execution, but overall it was an excellent effort for what it was trying to be. I’m not just pulling the “trying to be” thing out of my ass, either (I followed its development about as closely as any game(ever(in the history of time))).

    I don’t get the sense of entitlement that so many people get when they are a fan of something…it’s almost like the closer something gets to being exactly what is desired, the more unacceptable any perceived mistakes become. Throw the baby out with the bathwater, Hitler. Yeah, I made that reference just now. Fallout 3 is the baby, and the bathwater is whatever part of it you think sucks enough that you avoid playing it at all. It’s a good analogy. Or metaphor. Except for the Hitler part.