Pete commented on the use of humour in the game, “The violence does help from keeping it all too serious, because it’s just so over the top that it’s funny. For us, we already realised that the game has tons of seriousness to it – the world is destroyed and everything is just screwed. All the humour is really important for us – there’s a billboard somewhere for Captain Cosmos Starring Jangles The Moon Monkey and that’s a bit of a light-hearted moment in a world full of depression and destruction.”
In the version of the game I played, I decided to visit local makeshift ‘town’ made out of pure scrap, called Megaton. I found all sorts of bounty hunters and drifters in this tiny place. As per last year's Leipzig closed preview, the first person I spoke to was the Sheriff, of sorts. Megaton is a town built around an unexploded nuke. A religious cult called the Children of the Atom stand around and pray next to it. When asked to defuse the bomb, you’re given a blatant moral choice – fulfil the side quest and save the people from a potential explosion… or blow up the nuke and kill everyone in the town.
I almost did the latter, until I realised I needed a specific tool and a proficiency in electronics to do it, so I saved them (how boring!). There will be many instances where you’re battling with your conscience – your character has a ‘Karma’ rating that informs you of the decisions you’re making and the consequences – so how difficult has it been to make those moral choices clear?
“One of the things we really tried to avoid, and that we don’t like, is surprising the player with whether they’ve been good or bad. We wanted to make it clear that you’re making a conscious choice to be one or the other, as opposed to being confused about it. It may be a surprise in terms of exactly how the character reacts or what they say to you, but not the inherent good, evil or neutrality of it.
“Megaton is pretty much an extreme and most clear cut example of this – we don’t have to tell you that if you decide to blow up the nuke that the whole town and all those quests will go away, it’s kind of obvious. But it’s also pretty fun to see exactly how it happens. You can also live with the consequences because you knew what you were doing when you pressed the button.”
My playtest ended all too soon, but Fallout 3
is turning out to be a very promising continuation to the series. I'm looking forward to facing the Enclave and finding out more about my missing father (well, my in-game missing father). There’s plenty of dark humour to go around too, and with a potential 500 endings based on what you do in your game, this is a game to get excited about.
I am slightly curious though. Will we see any of the strange pop-culture references that adorned Fallout 2
– and that appeared to be homaged in Bioshock
? Pete’s quite adamant that there isn’t a chance.
“No fucking way. Absolutely not. With our experience on RPGs like Elder Scrolls
, things like Lore and Canon we hold very dear. 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. If we’re going to be anal about the landscape in this game, we’re certainly not going to make jokes about stuff that would not have been part of this world at all.”
Sounds like Bethesda could well be the studio that can make Fallout
fans very proud, then. Fallout 3
is being released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this Autumn.