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Noclip doc charts a path from Bethesda's Terminator game to Fallout & beyond

June 5, 2018 | By Bryant Francis

"This is how we start making our games. When we first decide on a game we start with a map."

- Ashley Cheng, studio director at Bethesda Game Studios

As game development present becomes game development history, the work of documentarians like Danny O'Dwyer and the Noclip team is helping game developers (and game journalists like ourselves) learn more about how certain landmark games came to be. 

Right now, Noclip is apparently wrapping up a documentary on the upcoming game Fallout 76, and while interviewing the developers of that game, host Danny O'Dwyer and company took the time to interview Bethesda team members about their work on classic (and not-so-classic) Bethesda titles as well. It's a work well worth watching for game developers, since it offers a rare look at the making of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Fallout 3, and beyond. 

In the documentary (which you can watch up above), Bethesda veterans like Todd Howard, Ashley Cheng, & Matt Carofano reflect not only on their experiences making these titles, but also lessons that have lasted from game to game over the years. 

In particular, there's an emphasis on maps and trying to understand how "role-playing" exists in the context of different genres. Cheng talks about the decision to set Fallout 3 in Washington DC as a process of mapping an area familiar to Bethesda staffers, and Todd Howard reminisces about working with Emil Pagliarulo to try and design a shooting system for the first time since Terminator: Future Shock (one of Howard's earlier titles at Bethesda Game Studios) game in the 1990s. 

It's a well-told story about the experiences of Bethesda's veteran developers, whose experiences still define the work the company is putting out today. 

(If you're looking for more Elder Scrolls history, be sure to check out our own interview with Ken Rolston about his time working on some of Bethesda's fantasy series).

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