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Taking Back Fallout
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Taking Back Fallout

August 2, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

I think what some people mean is that Fallout 2 pushed the tongue-in-cheek material more.

FU: Too much, actually. [laughs] In my mind, it did. I don't want to make excuses, but we were working pretty fast.

Ultimately, we had to restart the game twice because we had started it before Fallout was done. Then, when it was done, [original Fallout leads] Tim [Cain], Leonard [Boyarsky], and Jason [Anderson] originally didn't want to go off and make Fallout 2.

But after things got a little more positive, and we weren't crunching anymore, they said, "No, we want to do Fallout 2." Then they decided, "No, let's go start our own company," and they started [now-defunct RPG studio] Troika.

Then we really had to restart it again, and so we only had about eight months to make Fallout 2, which is not a long time to make a big role playing game. We divided the work a lot -- one of our mistakes.

I was the lead designer and running [Black Isle] at the time, and I made the mistake of not looking enough at what each of the designers was deciding to do. So they each thought, "Well, I'm putting some slapstick stuff in my area, but not everybody else is." Before you know it, everybody is.

In my demonstration of Fallout: New Vegas, it looks like you took a lot more influence from 1950s sci-fi, which I associate with the older Fallout games. The gecko lizard monster and Rusty the Robot looks very vintage, more so than Fallout 3, I would say. Were you really trying to home in on that?

FU: Exactly. Whenever I used to sell Fallout in the years of bygone, the idea was that it had sustained the 1950s for a hundred years. That's how we always looked at it. What Bethesda did is still the '50s; it's still that vibe, but I think actually where you see the difference is that we're doing it with Las Vegas. Vegas is supposed to be more... I don't want to say "campy", but it's supposed to be more "surface". You've just got to keep pushing it.

Well, there's a bit of camp, right? When the gecko is standing up, it looks like a cheesy swamp monster out of an Ed Wood movie or something. That was great!

FU: It does, yeah. Exactly! [laughs] It's just that overall vibe of taking the setting from Washington, DC to Las Vegas, in lots of ways. One thing the [Bethesda] internal team did, which I think was an awesome thing, was to use the Washington Monument as a way to remind you, "I'm in the world! Oh, that's where DC is." You can always orient yourself by these landmarks. But they were all serious things. That's not any sort of criticism, because that's DC; that's the vibe.

Well, instead, we can use Dinky the Dinosaur as one of those things. That's how we've taken what they did, and still made it of the '50s. We've added more of that feeling that people get when they look back and think of Leave It to Beaver, and stuff like that.

Did you ever play Sam & Max Hit the Road? LucasArts developed it in 1993.

FU: I did not.

The reason I ask is because its structure was a big road trip through chintzy, forgotten Americana. Very few games are directly influenced by those weird, backwoods American roadside attractions. Sam & Max Hit the Road was all about that, and Fallout: New Vegas is one of the only other games I've seen that also has that vibe.

FU: Yeah, exactly. It's funny that you should say that, because one of the things that we really did early on was make sure we were thinking about things like how people got around the world in DC versus how they got around the world in Vegas. DC has lots of highways, but it's more compact. It's got a lot of little two-lane highways. It was more about just going across the wasteland to get from place to place.

When we were looking for the Vegas wasteland, we were thinking, "Okay. We need to look at it from the standpoint of these really big freeways." And that's how we ended up structuring it.

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