Interviews// Bethesda's Pete Hines: The E3 '07 Fallout 3 Interview

Posted 25 Jul 2007 17:59 by
"War. War never changes."

Fallout 3 was the game of E3 2007. Pretty much everyone who saw the brain-meltingly awesome demo at this year’s show is in agreement on this.

Fans of the original Fallout games and fans of role-playing games really have no choice in this – they are going to have to spend the next fifteen months soaking up every last morsel on Fallout 3 while they patiently wait to play it when it gets released in late 2008. Let’s also not forget the legions of casual (or lapsed) role-playing fans out there – many of whom Bethesda has managed to rope back in with the mighty Oblivion in recent years.

Hell, once you have seen Fallout 3 you will soon realise that this is not even a genre game. The storyline, the characters, the graphics, the combat system, the mind-blowing attention to the smallest details all scream it. I walked out of the E3 demo of Fallout 3 shortly after conducting the interview below, and I had a sh*t-eating grin on my face the likes of which I seriously cannot remember since I first saw Half Life 2 some years back.

That’s what I think, but what does Peter Hines (pictured), vice president of public relations and marketing for Bethesda, think?

SPOnG: Before we talk more about Fallout 3, what are your general impressions of the new E3 format?

Pete Hines: Well, I actually love it! This is my favourite E3, ever. But then I have the benefit of not actually having to leave this lovely hotel – I actually get to sleep in the same building that my booth is in, so it's much easier and much more convenient. I definitely appreciate the tighter focus on press stuff and not being so crazed with all those other folks we used to have to deal with. It just fits better with what it is we like to do, which is nice presentations of the big stuff we have going on. The press response seems to be mixed – I mean, obviously having to jump from hotel to hotel is pretty inconvenient, but some people seem miss that loud, chaotic insanity from past years!

SPOnG: For those that don’t really know about the history of Fallout – can you give us a quick potted history?

Pete Hines: The original Fallout was released in 1997, developed by Black Isle Studios for Interplay. The team changed a little, some of the principals from that team left, and Fallout 2 was made by a slightly different team. F2 was put out in 1998 and then, after that, there were a couple of what you might call ‘derivative’ games: there was a Brotherhood of Steel game that was kind of like a hack‘n’slash – it was supposed to be kind of like Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance but in the Fallout universe. There was a Fallout Tactics game, which captured the turn-based strategy part – but there’s been no true Fallout game, no true role-playing game in the Fallout series since 1998. So, it’s been sitting around for a long time with nothing happening.

A lot of us here were – are - big fans of Fallout, and we finally said, “Well if nobody else is going to do another one, why don’t we do it?”. So, we went out and acquired the rights to do it and we’ve been working on it since 2004, in some way, shape or form – and now we’re finally at a point where we can start showing you guys where we’re up to.

SPOnG: Do you have any of the guys from the original Fallout or Fallout 2 teams involved?

Pete Hines: No, it's our team. Mainly the Oblivion team.

SPOnG: What’s the whole deal with rabid Fallout fanboys desperately worried that Fallout 3 is not going to be a proper RPG?

Pete Hines: Well, at its core Fallout 3 is definitely a role-playing game. If you are of the opinion that any Fallout RPG has to be exactly like the games that came out in 1997 and 1998 down to every feature and detail, that’s definitely not the game we are making. We are trying to make a true successor in the Fallout franchise, something that is a true role-playing game that immerses you in this world, and hopefully brings out the best of what that series is about – which is great tone and setting and themes and characters and player choice… You know, it’s a really interesting, special role-playing system.

If folks are interested in a new Fallout game (as opposed to being slavishly interested in a specific list of demands relating to Fallout or Fallout2); or [they] are just interested in role-playing in general but may not have played the original games; or they are just looking for the next big RPG or the next big RPG coming from Bethesda… we certainly hope all of those folks are interested in what we are up to with Fallout 3.
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