Fallout 3 Q&A - E3 Thoughts and More

Executive producer Todd Howard discusses Fallout 3's impressive E3 showing and what's next for the promising role-playing game.

Fallout 3 had a big showing at last month's E3 Business and Media Summit. It picked up numerous awards and nominations, including GameSpot's Best Role-Playing Game and Best PC Game. That's high praise for an RPG that's due out in fall of 2008, but developer Bethesda Softworks gave an impressive demo. Fallout 3 is set hundreds of years after a nuclear war, and you'll play as a vault dweller, the descendent of survivors who fled to the safety of vast underground fallout shelters known as vaults. You'll leave the safety of your vault to explore and adventure in a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of mutants, monsters, friends, and foes. To get more information on Fallout 3's E3 appearance, as well as more details on the game itself, we turned to executive producer Todd Howard.

GameSpot: By the looks of it, Fallout 3 had a great E3 demo. What did you demonstrate at the show and what was some of the more interesting feedback that you received?

Todd Howard: We showed about an hour of the game, which is by far the longest E3 demo we've ever had. So for a "first look" at the game, we certainly showed a lot. We showed about five different areas in the game and showed off the new combat system, dialogue, and such. Feedback? I was happily surprised that so many press guys were big Fallout fans and really knew the series well. The game is a blast to show off, and you'd think I'd be sick of the same demo by now, but it actually plays a bit differently each time.

Fallout 3 was one of the most impressive games at E3.

GS: What platform was the demo running on? What's the primary development platform? Will there be any major differences among the three versions of the game?

TH: We showed it on the 360, which is the platform we do a lot of the initial work on, as it's very developer friendly and contained…unlike a PC, where even in the office it can be hard to get the same results on everyone's system. That's one area the 360 really excels--awesome development tools. In the end, all three versions (PC, 360, PS3) should look the same.

GS: The Fallout community can be pretty vocal about its favorite game. What's the feedback been based on what you've shown of the game thus far? Have you managed to make some converts?

TH: Most haven't seen it yet, so I don't know if they'd be converted by screenshots or a teaser. Perhaps, but I doubt it. My general impression is they've hated the idea of us doing anything at all with it since 2004, so there's not much you can do about that except make the best game you can that is true to the series and yourself. To any fan that's actually seen the game, like many of the press guys, the feedback's been great…far better than any game we've ever shown. And it's pretty nerve-racking because you work for years on something and then pop your head up like "ta da!" with your fingers crossed. All the E3 awards certainly make you feel good because you really have no idea how you compare at the actual show. But to be called "best in show" so many times…and with hundreds of great games at E3, it definitely gives the whole team something to be proud of…to know we're heading in a direction a lot of people like.

GS: Everyone's interested in the VATS combat system. Can you tell us more about how the system works? For instance, you go into battle, pause and access VATS, target an enemy's body part, and then what happens? Does the game take control from there? Does it automatically pause once combat actions are complete?

Your character's abilities will be determined by a truly special set of rules.

TH: It's hard to describe without seeing it, but you stop time and are allowed to queue up attacks based on how many action points you have. And then you press the "go" button. The actions you chose are then played back for you cinematically--but fast. It only lasts a few seconds unless something amazing happens, like someone's head explodes. Once the playback is done, the camera warps back to where it had been.

GS: We've heard that the gameworld will be slightly smaller than that of Oblivion's. How does it compare in terms of the amount of stuff that you'll be able to do or the number of quests that you can pursue?

TH: It's a shorter and smaller game than Oblivion, and that's intentional. Don't get me wrong, it's still huge. On the quest side, we have a lot less but are pushing more on the quests being solved in very different ways. So in Oblivion, we have good and evil quests, but Fallout is much more about quests that allow you to do both within a single situation. So, [it's] smaller than Oblivion but much bigger than the previous Fallouts.

GS: It's been said that the first Fallout, rather than Fallout 2, was the model that Fallout 3 was built on. What's the reasoning for that?

TH: I think the first one has the right tone, and the ones after it tend to drift. I liked being a vault dweller, searching for water. That was a theme I wanted to pick up on again…someone who's lived his whole life in this out-of-touch underground world, who's thrust suddenly into a wasteland.

GS: It's also been mentioned that the Radiant artificial intelligence system has been improved considerably in Fallout 3. What sorts of improvements are there? How does this translate into better gameplay?

TH: [We're] not talking specifically about that yet. But it is a mix of new features and just us getting better at using the system itself because as is in Oblivion, it's extremely powerful, but only shows itself off in select instances.

This is Vault 101, the starting area of the game and the only home that your character has ever known.

GS: Now that E3 is over, what is the team working on? It sounded like you're almost at the stage where you need to build the rest of the game's world, or are you still trying to iron out all the gameplay mechanics?

TH: We're in full production, cranking out content and features daily. The E3 demo is essentially how our preproduction ends: Here's a big chunk of the game, how it looks, feels, plays, etc. Now we need to make the rest of it. We have yet to balance a lot of the combat and overall gameplay, and that gets tweaked until we ship, but the systems are working enough for us to play with them now.

GS: The game will come out for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but PC fans would like to know if there's going to be any support for DirectX 10 graphics hardware or features.

TH: To be determined. You will not need DX10 to run it.

GS: Finally, is there anything that you'd like to say about E3, or about Fallout 3 going forward?

TH: E3 was great this year. I would hate to go back to the circuses of the previous ones. I just want to show the game off and chat with folks, and that was much easier this year. Also, big thanks to everyone here that's continued to support us. We know it's a game everyone wants to see made well, and I hope you give it a shot.

GS: Thanks Todd.

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342 comments
jazno1
jazno1

I think that Bethesda will do a great job making this game. I'm a little too young for the original fallout but old enough to appreciate the Elder Scrool series and I'm sure if anyone could bring this game to the new era of gaming and do justice to it, Bethesda will shine above all others.

TheAnimalWN
TheAnimalWN

I don't know why everyone is worried that Bethesda will rush to get it done to meet the deadline I hate to tell you uneducated knobs but Bethesda post-poned Oblivion multiple times to make sure it was done right and it was. So why would they not do the same for this game.

13ozzy
13ozzy

STALKER RIPOFF!!!

Amir29
Amir29

Sounds like too much hype for a simple foundation. I admit that it DOES sound promising, but we're talking about one environment here. Opening up the game, bringing in new areas to use the mechanics already in place, and building on top of that promising foundation is a daunting task to say the least. Getting "Best In Show" is impressive, but only in the final product will we truly know whether the product rushed to meet deadline or took it's time to truly shine.

NUTTY_POO
NUTTY_POO

also. if this game doesent have dogmeat making a cameo (npc from fallout 1 and 2) im gonna kick someones ass.

NUTTY_POO
NUTTY_POO

they should have the original turn based method. and after combat you can view it in a rerendered cinematic camera. that instead of showing dogmeat running around car biting him and then hero shooting enemy in turn based. it gives you the option to rerender your turn based decisions in real time. so dogmeat jumps over the car bites enemys arm while you come round from corner and shoot him in the balls. (shooting people in the balls in fallout 2 was very very effective. it usually dropped them to the ground and was quite funny)

isahunt
isahunt

So, until Bethesda took over you never even heard of Fallout. Uh. The reasons you gave thinking it will be good are the same reasons it will probably end up sucking scrotum. Besides, "it sounds cool" isn't even a reason, plus Oblivion and KotoR are not litmus tests for RPGs OR Fallout.

Ghosthunter54
Ghosthunter54

To people like Shouter202368. If it weren't for Bethesda you wouldn't even have a Fallout 3, plus, how does it hurt the game if more people can play it? Not everyone has a top of the line PC that can handle something like this so not only will it make more money but it will be more accessible. I think the whole KOTOR like combat system won't be as good as real time, but what do I know? Until Bethesda took over I'd never even heard of Fallout. I think it'll be a great game because it sounds cool and Bethesda makes great games and I think people should play it before making irrational and completely baseless judgments.

Shouter202368
Shouter202368

I am pissed. Bethesda is going to make this new Fallout suck. They are going to take Oblivion and skin it over to be post-apocalyptic and then put in guns. I don't want real-time combat. No loyal Fallout fan does. I want the classic overhead view as well. It shouldn't be on consoles either. Fallout is first and foremost a PC game. Nonetheless, I am going to buy it, because I need more Fallout and this is the closest I am ever going to get to getting a true sequel.

guardian777
guardian777

To be fair, even if it was just "Oblivion with guns", it would still be freakin awesome.

ACES_of_CRIME
ACES_of_CRIME

Its fine with me that it comes for the consoles to. the only way the game would lose quality is for it to come for wii wich it isnt. I´ve got a powerful PC and a 360 wich puts me with a choice. The 360 and ps3 are powerful so I think it will be ace. Bethesda is top class, so I´m in!

Memoryitis
Memoryitis

I trust bethseda because they make awesome games, so I am not worry about Fallout 3; it will be good.

NUTTY_POO
NUTTY_POO

dont tell me they ruined the game to make it console friendly. thats not good. that has killed so many other games. the only reason i still have hope for the game is because a. its a fallout title and b. bethesda is probably the only other company that could pull it off.. consoles are made for simple folk. that being said. ill still buy it. id buy fallout 4,5, and 6 etc too. fallout tactics was bollocks but i still played it through cause i had such fond memorys of fallout 2. i think i played through fallout 2 maybe a half dozen-dozen times. i reinstall it on average every year or 2. please tell me sulik or cassidy make it into the game somewhere. them dudes where badass. peace ladds. DONT RELEASE IT UNTIL ITS READY. youll know when.

graavigala
graavigala

only thing im worried in this game, and call me stupid, wanker, a-hole and all those if you like, but this is the only thorn in my rose sort of speak and that is the Power Armor looks... its looks horrible on the screens that have been shown. compared to 1,2, and BoS the power armor have looked good on concept arts and even in-game. now it looks like trashcan that has been mauled to look like mailbox.

Andrija83
Andrija83

hanoel i suggest you read this interview : http://www.bethsoft.com/bgsforums/index.php?showtopic=755135 Combat cannot be played in 3rd person (and frankly i doubt that non-combat will be playable in some zoomed out mode making it more fallout style), it isnt turned based so its pretty much standard Oblivion crap going on here, from what ive read the only thing that keeps it from being pure oblivion style is VATS system in which if you have enough APs you can pause the game and queue up couple of shots which will end up in a nice and entertaining series of shots and thats about it. Combat is pure real time action besides this little nugget of entertainment.

LPH79
LPH79

I'm really interested in this game...

Hellspawn_1581
Hellspawn_1581

Yesterday i was checking out the fallout 3 official web, and it make me feel better (i just hope they keep their word) because it showed how much they cared about the "fallout feeling" and the humor and the ambience (and of course the story) which are the things that make me wanna play all the fallout series again, by reading the fallout bibles and every single part of the story of the series. So i don't really care if the game doesn't look like the old fallout graphics, as far as the game stays true to the things i've said earlier. Chau

chipone
chipone

I agree tht the power armor looks a bit odd. But I hope that the game is going to be a good one. I am a fan of Fallout1&2, played them a lot of times. If this game has the same post apocalyptic feeling like the fallouts before it, it is going to be as great as they were. By the way for those of you who haven't yet seen the fan art picture, GO see it. The best fallout fan art I have ever seen! It's under the images tab.

graavigala
graavigala

the only thing that is bothering me in this game is the "power armor" or what ever its called. in all the screens ive seen it is ugly as hell compared to the previous games, i mean the desing of that armor is just hideous

wars45
wars45

wot his it rpg or not

hanoel
hanoel

To all of those people that dont have a clue. Please before you say is this gonna be "oblivion with guns" and such, do everyone a favour before you post, play the fallout games. As other have said they are two completely differant types of games. As the dev's had said theyre massive fans of the series, so i very much doubt they'd balls it up. Combat is turn based and this is a good thing, just play the originals, as for the first person view, never fear "First, here are some key basics about Fallout 3. Yes, it's a first-person game, but it also has a third-person camera if you like to play that way, and the camera can be moved so that it almost mimics the perspective of the original Fallout games", so thats sorted. This type of game would never work as a full on FPS, tho if you like the idea of a post apocolyptic world with strong fps/rpg elements check out fallen earth plus its an MMO. Dont slag FO:3 just yet lets see where they go with it, if it sucks i'll join in the slagging match and burn my copy in some sort of ritual.

Newestech
Newestech

please don't miss the scenario part we do not want to play an action rpg fallout 1 scenario was full of fun and drama

NUTTY_POO
NUTTY_POO

"LorenaLarue I am still very disappointed that there are no crotch shots!" haha. yeh they where handy. usually dropped em to the ground. peace.

FearlessVampire
FearlessVampire

/cocks flamethrower... What a load of garbage. Who said anything about using old graphics. Think before you post noobcake. All that was said is that a graphics overhaul with a rubbish storyline initiated by a soulless developer who wants to make a quick buck out of the good name of a respectable franchise is pathetic. Hence... yes, old graphics with a good storyline and character development would be better than the alternative being presented.

chig007
chig007

First of all; to Fearlessvampire. If u liked the 2 original Fallout games as much as u claim to that's all well and good. I love them too. and i love the story and adventures. and the character development system and everything. they are beautiful games. Now. u must be able to understand that making Fallout 3 with the same graphics would be....stupid these days. have u even seen what the developers can do? sure, the npc's in oblivion are a bit stiff, but it's a nice game nontheless. and who said the npc's in Fallout 3 are gonna be like that? DUDE!! start using ur damn brain, u got it for a reason! game systems and Ai's are being upgraded and developed continously. so take a hike and let them finish the game before u start talking bout how bad it is. Kavudx. ur comments on this are totally out of context. so what if they make it a bit different? we live in a damn 3d world. so piss off. to all of those who think this game will be good: KEEP IT UP!! and don't mind ppl that talk badly about a game that isn't even out yet...it just show how ignorant they are. well, i expect i'm gonna get killed for this, but hey. i had to say something. enjoy peeps. see ya'll on WoW :D

NinjaMunkey01
NinjaMunkey01

TG_T-Spoon oblivion was great! fallout 2 looks really good to me (though I have never played the previous game/s) and if it turnes out well then I might get it.

pederson
pederson

I can not wait for this game, it's the sequel to Fallout done the way I always wanted it to be.

FearlessVampire
FearlessVampire

meh... dont cry when there is no character development and the NPCs look deformed/are stale. The antithesis of Fallout.

TG_T-Spoon
TG_T-Spoon

BigBoss7460, I agree. This game looks like its going to be good to me too. And I love Fallout, well not tactics... or BoS for PS2 and X Box, but those were not Fallout because they lacked the retro futuristic feel to them. But at the same time I did not like Oblivion because they lacked a key feature in RPG's that is important to me, Character development. not to mention people looked deformed most of the time, and all of the NPCs were stale as stale can be. Oh and FearlessVampire Head-Eyes Left Arm Torso Right Arm Left Leg Groin Right Leg Nope don't see knees there, do you? Please quit trying to ruin things for people who might actually enjoy the game. Besides, they are keeping the Bloody Mess trait. What more could you want ; )

BigBoss7460
BigBoss7460

I know I'm gonna get killed for this, but..Why does everyone think this game looks bad? It looks pretty good IMO. I also thought Oblivion was a good game. What was so bad about it? I mean, sure, I like Final Fantasy games better because I just think they get the RPG element just right, but that doesn't mean Oblivion was a bad game. Also, you can't say that this game is bad, it's not even out yet. Just stop raining on our parades and let US play the game and decide for ourselves whether it's good or not. Just because it might not be like the 2 original Fallouts doesn't mean it won't be a good game.

FearlessVampire
FearlessVampire

Yeah, yet another major disappointment is that they have dumbed down the targeting system... so you cant target the eyes, crotch, knees...

asmodeus_z
asmodeus_z

I'm a Fallout fan and I hope this is as good if not better than the one developed by Interplay. :)

uwontevenfeelit
uwontevenfeelit

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

LorenaLarue
LorenaLarue

I am still very disappointed that there are no crotch shots!

kavudx
kavudx

Yeah Rentago, how about we put Will Smith for the main role of fallout 3? And we can also make a hip-hop gangsta soundtrack for the game! And how about we turn it into a paid MMORPG? Some people will never understand how important it is to the fans for the producer to remain true to the very essences of a unique game as fallout... I hope the community projects keep on rocking as they do, so we will always have some fresh Fallout, and as the game should look like...

FearlessVampire
FearlessVampire

Firstly, your introductory sentince is an enigma. I have no idea what you are getting at. Statements like "Oblivion with guns" make most fallout fans want to throw up. And no... the adventures will not be "better" because it is like Oblivion... the original fallout series is much better than Oblivion in terms of story and "adventure". I said nothing about finishing Oblivion fast... although I do wish I never wasted the time and money discovering what a pathetic excuse for an RPG it is. I would say my argument is lost on you Rentago. For those of you out there who understand it... I share your pain.

Rentago
Rentago

FearlessVampire, because you'll never see another fallout EVER. Also fallout was fun and all, but this seems to make it much more better. Think of it as oblivion with guns and better adventures. Though you probably won't like it from what you've seen, I but when ingame trailers come out you'll be all over it like ugly on a monkey. So cut the crap, you know you want this. Also if you wanted to do oblivion in a week, it means having the game on as easy as possible, exploring all the dungeons, seeing all the shrines, doing all the downloadable content, joining all the guilds, completeing the story, completeing all side stories, and much more. To beat the game in a week, I don't think a strategy guide could actualy speed up the process. Infact wasn't one of the shines like glitched, even so I could never find the last shrine, I found 2 of the same shrines though. Anyways, my point is, shut up your lying. The max amount of days I could stay up were 3 without passing out when I blink. So yeah, it could be possible to finish oblivion, not 100%, but finish the main story. Many games require co-op, I don't know why they don't put co-op, they could, it would be awesome. Like Gundam Dynasty Warriors, it would sell like wild fire if it only had ONLINE co-op. when will the world learn?

FearlessVampire
FearlessVampire

Question: Why would Bethesda pick up a well loved and respected franchise and then proceed to alienate all of its loyal supporters by stripping it down to some pathetic abomination. It doesn't even really make sense money wise... I certainly will not purchase this steaming pile of inhuman excriment. Its like sending a mint condition Rolls Royce in to 'Pimp my Ride' so some dropkicks can pimp it up for some idiot to ride around in. Why not just make Oblivion 2000 and leave the Fallout franchise to a developer who will continue on the legacy of excellence?

Esteban011487
Esteban011487

E3 is over for this year!. I would like to go to the Tokio Game Show!.

AnnoyedDragon
AnnoyedDragon

@ spelledarn - Finally getting their act together? They lessoned the RPG aspects and made Oblivion more about action and plundering dungeons than story and exploration. What type of game is about exploration when it encourages fast travel and points you in the direction of every item of interest? You couldn't even role play or make choices in that game, you were just following the leash the quest compass was using to pull you around.

spelledarn
spelledarn

Looks great. I really hated all the old Bethesda games, like Daggerfall and Morrowind, but they're finally getting their act together with Oblivion and this. RPGs should be about plot and exploration, not endless grinding and looting.

LateSplinter
LateSplinter

"Oh yeah and i cant belive that River_Horse reckon he'd 100% oblivion in a week. If you did that then you had a guide. " -CapcomGroove2 You didn't need a guide, the game held your hand all the way through it. You open up map...oh what is this? The marker pointed out the EXACT location of where you need to be. Not to mentions those annoying pop ups that give you step by step instructions to all the quests in the game. Who needs a guild when the game is retard proof? Shows who their target audience is...

SmArTaLeC1321
SmArTaLeC1321

I love Oblivion and this should be just as amazing.

CapcomGroove2
CapcomGroove2

Fallout was a really great game, i remember palying that game over and over on my pc using several different character builds. So cool frying enemies with a laser and exploding torsos with a mini g. I like the fact that the storyline is not linear that is one thing i beleive bestheda are excellent for because of the freedom in the elder scrolls series. Plus the sheer size of the game was imprseeive and the lighting in the caves especially. But there are certain things that let the game down that i'm hoping wont crop up in fallout. 1. The voice acting was bad in oblivion plus many characters had the same voice. and say teh same thing over and over and over..... 2. The pop up when moving around the world. (especially on the black horse) - it is really really off putting. Now whilst i'm sure that bestheda are already aware of these faults, im just making a point of it anyway because these faults are what gave oblivion a 9.4 was it? instead of a 10.0 in the review. Oh yeah and i cant belive that River_Horse reckon he'd 100% oblivion in a week. If you did that then you had a guide. i had 200+ hours on oblivion and i hadn't found all the daedric shrines. Although i had done everything else. I have some question too does anyone know about online support fro this? Any co-op missions? will this be in full 3d like oblivion???

LateSplinter
LateSplinter

I really hope they do a good job on this. I was horribly disappointed by Oblivion; it just outright sucked and a lesser of it's predecessor in every aspect. I am however glad to hear they'll be adding more story branches instead of hundreds linear stories...I mean you can literally do everything there is to do in Oblivion with one character, so this will add some much needed replayability to the game.

River_Horse
River_Horse

Oblivion and Morrowind with all their expansions is both great games that you have to try. No real gamer can say Oblivion is a bad game, atleast not without trying it. Sure every game has good and bad sides, like the awfully annoying voices for the characters in oblivion. I think bethesda are going to do a better job than black isle. Too bad that the world in Fallout 3 are going to be small and short. They said that Fallout 3 are going to be shorter than Oblivion, thats really bad since i completed oblivion 100% in about a week in all sides

Vortec33
Vortec33

"what you think us olde fallout fans are a bunch of freaks who like to live in the 90's and play 480x600 isometric 2d games all day?" Pretty much.. Yea.