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Taking Back Fallout
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Taking Back Fallout

August 2, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

The other big influence that shone through is the idea of the Western. You've got a ghost town, you've got a showdown, and so on. What led to that that?

FU: Well, I don't want to just say that sometimes this stuff writes itself, but if you're in the West, people expect the West. You don't want to just make it not the West. Again, it's fun. I guess that's what's great about making a Fallout; it's just fun. You get to do things like that.

But, more importantly -- and this obviously was not the only goal of doing that stuff -- it's another way to ensure that if you go into one of these Western ghost towns, it does not feel like a DC wasteland at all.

By doing that, now I really feel like I'm in this new place, not just somewhere where everything is churned out again, and it's just the DC wasteland but in Chicago.

Did you research actual ghost towns and surrounding environments?

FU: Absolutely, yeah. Josh [Sawyer] went off on this big road trip in which he basically took his motorcycle -- we're weird about motorcycles -- he took his motorcycle and just drove around the Southwest.

He camped out there and he took pictures all over the place. It really helped us get more of that vibe. It's interesting, I think, because often what people think of as the desert is not what the desert looks like out there.

Can you give me an example?

FU: A lot of it is that, often, when people think of the desert, they think more of the Mojave, which is sand dunes and cactuses. A lot of this desert is really scrub, where it's a lot of reddish rock and not just sand. The great thing about that is, again, that it makes it feel different; it doesn't make it feel like the grassy wasteland of DC.

I noticed you guys have a blue sky. How did you come to that decision?

FU: It's interesting that you bring that up! One of the first things we did was to say, "Okay. That first time that you're outside and you look around -- how do we make that feel different?" A lot of it is, well, let's have it more saturated. Let's go with the blue sky.

It's that Technicolor mentality.

FU: It makes it just, "Oh, this is different!" Immediately, you notice, "Oh, there's a tumbleweed, and a Joshua tree." I think it helps the immersion. You're not where you were before. Now you're in this new place, and the game can move forward from there.

You were saying earlier that you looked to a lot of what the PC modding community has done to Fallout 3, and you're taking some of the more interesting tweaks and putting them right in the game, like a hardcore mode and weapons modification. How did you approach that?

FU: It's great whenever you're working with an engine or tools that have actually been released to the community. It's the hacker analogy. It's like five programmers trying to stop a thousand hackers from doing something. It's the same thing here: you have all of these guys out there who are figuring out ways to use this technology and engine in ways no one originally intended.

And that happens internally as well, with our own internal engine, or when the guys are using the Bethesda stuff. You're just thinking, "What happens if I do this?" And you're like, "Wow! How did you make that?" You suddenly get these really cool things out of playing within this box. And that's what the modders do, because they can't recode everything. They don't have access to that, so they just start pushing and pulling.

You get some really interesting things out of it. It was a good place for us to start, to look at all of the strange things they've been doing, even just to help us learn this engine and see what it can do.

You're put into an interesting place, because you have all of this established design and technical framework already there, so you can drill down into the stuff that you find most important.

FU: Yes. Absolutely.

Is it mainly the ammo system and hardcore mode that you drew from the mods?

FU: Yeah. A lot of it was the hardcore stuff. And with the ammo, people were just making tons of guns, so it must be that people like guns. And, of course, everybody has to be naked. But the guns were a big part of it.

Then there was this feeling, with the hardcore mode, that some people wanted to be in the wasteland from the standpoint of: "I've got to worry about ammo weight and dehydration, and my stimpacks don't just heal me instantly. I can't pile them on top of each other."

What's great is that we can put that in as something that people can turn on, and now they get to have the game that they want. Everybody else who loved Fallout 3 can still play it the way they want.

From my perspective, there's a bit of a narrative here, where you guys made the original super-hardcore Fallout games -- those were not forgiving games. Then Bethesda gets the series, and people on the hardcore fan sites like No Mutants Allowed complain about it. Then you guys get it again, and you're saying things like, "We're putting in a hardcore mode!"

FU: Right. Yes. There were discussions early on, like, "Do we make stimpacks outside of hardcore mode?" That is, even when you're just playing on normal mode, maybe that's the one big change we make: stimpacks actually do take time to apply, no matter what. No more instant stimpack. There was a lot of talk about that, but in the end -- it's funny that it comes down to this one little thing -- it would just be too different.

I think with a change like that, people would get it and think, "What's going on?" They would charge into battle and get their ass killed, going, "Wait! No! Argh!" The [separate hardcore mode] is better for those people, and it's also a great thing for someone who wants to play through the game again. They can play through the game, or a good portion of the game, and decide, "Okay. Now I want this to be a real challenge." Because it can really change how you play.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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