Previews// Fallout 3 Hands On

Posted 5 Aug 2008 17:12 by
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Games: Fallout 3
Pete Hines and friend.
Pete Hines and friend.
It was in a rather swish hotel that a gaggle of journalists were given access to play test an early Xbox 360 version of Fallout 3 in London – a far cry from the dilapidated, destroyed alternate world that players will soon be able to adventure in. An RPG by nature, but part-FPS in implementation, Bethesda's (of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion fame) much heralded full 3D version of the PC classic.

Fallout revolves around a post-apocalyptic America, following a war that eradicates the country. In preparation of the nuclear strike, vaults were made to protect the general public from nuclear fallout (hence the name of the game). Vault-Tec, a company that signed people up for spaces in these Vaults, used them as a front for sociological experiments. Fallout 3 takes place in 2277, 30 years after the previous instalment and 200 years after the bombs fell. Black Isle Studios developed the original Fallout games, but this will be the first title since Bethesda took reign of the series.

Bethesda’s VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines told SPOnG of the difficulties that lay in staying true to the original themes of World War II-style nuclear propaganda and apocalyptic world exploration. “It’s been challenging, certainly there’s plenty of reference material in terms of what that world is like and what it means to look and feel and I think we’ve spent a long time – over four years now – trying to make sure the game is true to that series and provides an experience that fits what Fallout is about.

“For us, creatively, it’s a nice break from The Elder Scrolls – we’ve been doing that series even before I joined Bethesda in 1999, we were working on Morrowind back then. We get a good change of pace with this post-apocalyptic world with a different system and vibe so hopefully our fresh insight will help in benefiting the game too.”

The four year wait has certainly done the project some good and, despite Fallout 3 using a tweaked Oblivion engine, the game does feel like it its own – graphically there is a similarity with the latest Elder Scrolls game in terms of style. The amount of detail that Bethesda has implemented into every broken-down structure and destroyed vehicle is immense. When your character – a vault-dweller suspected of colluding in the disappearance of his father from the metal cavern – ventures into the overworld for the first time, you see a huge expanse of rubble that you can freely explore.

“I’d say the changes we’ve made [to the Oblivion engine] are pretty substantial”, Hines adds, “Visually we have about twice as much stuff being drawn on the screen as we did in Oblivion, so graphically we really had to step it up to provide a level of detail that would make this world look and feel very realistic and alive. Destroying concrete and flying rubble is actually much harder to pull off than doing just trees. That minute level of detail has needed a ton of work.”
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Comments

x 5 Aug 2008 19:00
1/2
"We get anal about which buildings should be in Washington DC, with giant piles of books on architecture on DC and we ask what year buildings were made. 1955? It’s out – it wouldn’t have been in this universe."

So the Bethesda studios, mentioned in other previews as a place you can explore, must have been created pre-1955s... or this is a complete and utter lie...
Svend Joscelyne 5 Aug 2008 22:31
2/2
Yeah, there is a Bethesda building in there, but I'd treat that as a mere Easter egg more than anything else. ;)
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