Fallout 3 ended up being one of last year's best role-playing games, and creator Bethesda Softworks intends to keep people playing it by releasing new downloadable adventures. The next downloadable content (DLC) will come in the form of Broken Steel, a new adventure that focuses on the mysterious wasteland knighthood known as the Brotherhood of Steel. Designer Alan Nanes gives us the details.
GameSpot: Let's start with the way players access Broken Steel. Will they need to have completed the main quest from start to finish?
Alan Nanes: Broken Steel is different than our other downloadable content offerings in that the main quest of Fallout 3 will have to be completed before the new story unfolds. However, since Broken Steel also raises the level cap, players who were previously stopped at level 20 will be able to start accumulating experience points right away and reap the benefits of attaining new levels.
GS: What can you tell us about the story in Broken Steel? Why the decision to explore the Brotherhood of Steel rather than one of the lesser-known factions?
AN: The story revolves heavily around the Brotherhood of Steel and its pursuit of the Enclave. After its victory at the end of the original Fallout 3 story, the Brotherhood feels that it needs to strike while the iron is hot and wipe out whatever remnants of the Enclave remain. What it discovers is that the strength of the Enclave hasn't been diminished [as much as it seemed to have been], so players become an integral part of the skirmish. As to why we chose to explore the Brotherhood rather than a lesser-known faction, the decision was purely for story reasons. Because of players' actions at the end of Fallout 3, the Capital Wasteland is on the brink of a huge change. That change heavily involves the Brotherhood of Steel, so we were obligated to include them in the continuing storyline. They were basically too crucial not to explore.
GS: How do you account for the variety of endings in the original game with this continuation? Are there decisions that players have made that have to be cast aside for the sake of storytelling?
AN: This was perhaps one of the toughest things for us to do when creating Broken Steel. We took great pains to make certain that the actions players made at the end of Fallout 3's original story are not completely invalidated. In fact, we took what players did into careful account and wove it into some of the quests. For example, if players decided to follow President Eden's advice and spiked the water with the Modified F.E.V., that decision will affect the Capital Wasteland and how the player interacts or perceives its inhabitants. We've also added some new decisions to the original storyline that players will be able to make to add some more variety and make the transition feel right.
GS: Can you describe the new geography? Will players access new locations from the original map or transport there by other means?
AN: Actually we have a little of both! In Broken Steel, players will be able to experience some new content in old locations as well as being transported to brand-new locations.
GS: Some of the new weapons and enemies we've heard about are a heavy incinerator flamethrower and a super mutant overlord. Can we take this to mean the action will favor heavy-weapon combat in the way Operation Anchorage focused on ranged shooting?
AN: The new enemies and the new weapons are present to provide a challenge to the higher-level players. We didn't want to simply crank up the statistics of the same old enemies and call it a day; we wanted to create brand-new versions of them to give players a real sense of progression. A great example is the aforementioned super mutant overlord. He's a huge brute, but we wanted to give him a powerful ranged attack as well. None of the existing weapons seemed to fit the bill, so we've created the tri-beam laser rifle, which is an extremely powerful ranged laser shotgun. This item will be fully recoverable and usable by the player. Broken Steel is certainly filled with plenty of combat, but no more than the original Fallout 3. Unlike Operation Anchorage, we are not shuttling you directly through the entire story without stopping. You can take your time with Broken Steel and experience all of the changes we've provided to the Capital Wasteland.
GS: With the level cap being raised from 20 to 30, what sorts of new perks can we expect to see?
AN: We had to come up with a group of new perks for Broken Steel to provide appropriate awards to players that have achieved level 20 and beyond. We also had to make sure they weren't simply adding points to a skill, which we felt may already be maxed out by some players, and therefore become instantly useless. So, we've come up with some fun and interesting ones, like nerves of steel, which increases the regeneration rate of your action points.
GS: Will the decisions made in Broken Steel affect future DLC?
AN: The decisions you make in Broken Steel can have repercussions on the Capital Wasteland and your character. If we decide to release future downloadable content, whether these decisions will have an effect remains to be seen.