x360a Meets: Pete Hines, Fallout 3, Part 2
Written Monday, August 04, 2008 By Dan WebbView author's profile
So here we are, Part 2 of the mammoth interview with Fallout 3's Product Manager, Pete Hines. On the cards today, we discussed achievements, the rabbid Fallout fans, the release date and the three versions overall.
Going back to the original Fallout, the view was looking down...
Yeah. Did you decide to make it like Oblivion because you’d done it before? Was this a conscious choice?
I’m sure that the fact that we had done our last game liked that played some part. But at the same time, we also felt that like if you’re really going to create this believable world, that you’re going to put a person in and expect them to suspend belief, then there is no better way to do that than first person where you’re really down in the world. When you’re walking down the ruined streets of a blown up DC, you’re not just looking down on somebody walking down a street, you are that guy and all that destruction is everywhere around you, it just makes it come to life in a way that you can’t do any other way and so that was possibly the biggest thing for us. It’s just the kind of experience we were trying to provide and how to best get that across to the player. I mean that’s why we do it in the Elder Scrolls, we could use any perspective we want but there is nothing quite as immersive as seeing the world through your character’s eyes and experience it that way.
There’s a North American release date?
Fall 2008. We haven’t given anything out other than Fall 2008 anywhere.
When will you be in a position to get that down?
I don’t know the day exactly, but it’s coming soon because it needs to be because Fall isn’t that far away.
It appears to be coming to London quicker than other places.
Yeah, I would say, within the next little bit which a nicely undefined period of time.
*yet more laughter*
But yeah, we’ll have a specific date for PC, 360 and PS3.
Is the intention for all versions to come out at the same time?
Regarding the PS3 version, we’ve seen the 360 version here today and at E3. How’s the PS3 version coming along?
It’s coming along, we’re getting down to the final strokes on all three versions, so they’re all, you know, the goal is to have all three of them be the same game, the same kind of performance on all three platforms.
Graphically, how’s it measuring up? Will you notice the difference?
That’s the goal that you can’t tell the difference.
What about Trophies? Is that something you’ll be adding?
Errrr... I don’t know. I can’t tell you for sure whether or not we’ll have them or not.
How are the achievements shaping up then? Are they nearly complete?
They’re mostly complete although we like to mess with that stuff sometimes in the late stages just in terms of... “yeah, it’s taking a little too long to get this one” which is why we didn’t want anybody looking at them cause I wouldn’t want you guys to put something out there that we then change and its completely different. Yeah, they’re largely in there and there are some really good ones in there. Some that I rather enjoy?
You know I actually think that the achievements that we had in Oblivion were really good in terms of being cookie crumbs down the path, where you always felt like you were just this far from getting another one which is what I really liked about it. Fallout is a bit different because we don’t have all these guilds to progress you along and to give you achievements for each one. We do a number of different things, first of all, it’s impossible... *ponders* No it is... It’s got to be impossible to get them all on one playthrough. So you have to play through the game multiple times to get them all.
Some of them are for karma and different levels of karma you can get. So achieving certain ranks of good or evil or neutral karma, you get an achievement and so I think it’s impossible to move up and down each of those... Although somebody will figure out the exact order of good and evil things to do to get you up and down all three, but yeah, it’s thing where you’re going to have to playthrough the game more than once in a different way. Play once as a good guy, play through it again as a bad guy. And there is also just achievements for doing cool stuff out in the world... Blowing people’s pants up and things like that.
So, the game world, obviously it’s massive and you can go anywhere you want. Is there a danger you have gone too far?
Did we go too far? *laughs* Ha ha, I don’t know.
It’s like, you’re walking through the world, but it seems barren and apart from the main storyline, there is no real direction?
Well, a couple of things, first of all, you know, we sort of take a risk and have you guys [editor’s note: Pete is referring to the editors attending the event] go out in to the world having not experienced the first 30-45 minutes where you get everything explained to you, so if you pay attention to your compass and where it’s trying to direct you to unknown locations out in the world, you actually come across a lot of that stuff. It’s fairly easy to walk past it without even trying and you know, in Oblivion, it’s a little easier because there is a mountain and there is a cave in the side of the mountain. Where as in Fallout, it’s not as “beat you over the head” obvious but I do think it’s a combination of using your compass to recognise when you’re walking past lots of things for you to see and do.
Also, we’re preventing you guys [editor’s note: Yes, he means the editors again] from doing anything in the main quest which is pretty prohibitive in that we use the main quest to send you out into parts of the world which intentionally run you past a lot of other things to do. So when we keep you from doing that, we keep you from going right past all this stuff that we lead you to in the main quest. We take you out to this part of the map that we know you are going to go this way and come across all this stuff here. And then we know you’re probably going to fast travel to here and then you’re going to do this and then you’re going to go to this point in the map... We’re kind of smart about using the map as the setting for different parts of the main quest and how you’re going to get there and what you’re going to uncover on the way. So preventing you from doing the main quest is also very limiting in terms of running you right past the other stuff there is for you to do out there.
Like in Megaton, there is like a good 5, 6, 7, 8 hours worth of quest stuff that you can get just like that from them. This lady’s putting together a wasteland survival guide... This lady wants you to go to Arefu [editor’s note: another settlement town in DC]. The next thing you know you’ve been playing the game for a long time, so it’s there.
Obviously, Oblivion was very well received and enjoys a very high metacritic score and this game is coming out soon. I guess you guys can make a decent call about whether or not it will improve upon Oblivion’s average?
I do have my opinions on that but will keep them to myself. I don’t have any doubts that on the whole and I think this is a belief universally shared on the team, that Fallout is a better game. But we’re also not oblivious to that fact that we have a lot of extra baggage that we’re carrying; being the guys that are picking up this franchise that are imagining it from 10 years ago and that there is something that comes along with that. We’re very well aware of what we’re up against. I have no doubts in my mind that I think at its core and for everything that it provides, Fallout is a better game than Oblivion was, for sure.
You talk about the hardcore PC gamers who played the first two, but this coming out on the Xbox and Playstation, for a lot of people it will be their first taste of Fallout. So does it really matter so much about those people who obsessed over the first two because so many more people are coming in to this fresh?
Well, you know ultimately, it’s up to everybody to make up their own mind whether or not Fallout is a game they want to play and whether or not it’s a game worth playing. And how good or not good it is. There is no one source in this world that I determine the falloutness of any game in this universe. No-one gets to do that. Everybody has to decide for themselves whether they... you know, I’ve had people sitting here saying “I have a friend who is a hardcore Fallout fan and he says what he remembers most about Fallout is X” and whatever he says ends up being slightly different or completely different from somebody else. Everybody takes something different away from every experience, so our thing is this... We’re going to make the best possible Fallout game we can. We believe it is a game that if you love the original Fallouts you will see lots of things here that will remind you of the previous Fallouts. If you’ve never played Fallout, there is a lot here to make you become a big fan of Fallout in this universe and vibe and kind of gameplay experience. But, we just get to make the game, we don’t get to make that call, on how good or not good it is. We just focus on what we’re doing and guys like you will decide if we’re right or not.
A big thanks to Pete Hines for such a fantastic interview. We look forward to Leipzig for our next hands on.