Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
N Amer - 03/10/2008
E3 2007 Preview
The year is 2077 and Earth is rebuilding in the wake of nuclear devastation. There were fallout shelters, known as vaults, scattered throughout the land and people took refuge there and, eventually, are returning to the surface. All except those in Vault 101. No one has left the vault. The motto, in fact, revolves around the fact that people are born in the vault and people die in the vault, no one leaves and no one enters.
Well, that is until you come along. It seems that something much deeper is going on and while you are off taking the tests that will determine your place in the vault’s society, your father finds a way out of the vault and leaves. Bam! Gone! And now you are not trusted. The head honcho of the vault seems to think you had something to do with it and so, give few other choices, you need to find a way out of the vault and find your father.
Fallout 3 is the next title in the franchise and though it is a little ways from release, Bethesda still took the opportunity during the E3 Media & Business Summit (held in Santa Monica) to show it off.
The first thing apparent is how deeply the characters have been crafted. There is a lot of attention to the details of making them look very realistic. And top-quality voice work has also gone into the production. The father is voiced by Liam Neeson, and because of the customization available in the creation process of you character, your father’s appearance will change to reflect a family resemblance.
“We’ve done a lot of work to make the characters come alive,” said Bethesda’s Todd Howard, who was the one demonstrating the title at the event.
Bethesda took everything it learned in creating Oblivion and is applying it to Fallout to create a true role-playing epic. In some cases, the rendering is new to the games that Bethesda is creating – like the true water system that employs true reflections and refractions.
“We’re trying to overwhelm the player with visual density,” Howard said.
While the game could be categorized as a first-person shooter, Bethesda has taken that a bit further and is letting players select the vantage point they wish to have during the game. There is the first-person look, but third person and (“old school”) top down is also available. But the game is skill based. Weapons that can be equipped and used are governed by the abilities and skills a player has. You can get a boost to your player stats in order to use certain weapons, and the game does have the action point system – whereby can stop time and use action points to select the areas where they wish to deliver a precision shot. In addition to the shooting elements, the game will also incorporate melee skills, thus giving players a broader experience in the world.
While the world is level based, it is also using a “tethering system.” What that means is that if you are a level 1 character and enter a level 8 area, the area will be level 8 to you. But if you are a level 15 character (the level cap is 20, according to Bethesda) and enter that same level 8 area for the first time, it will move up and appear as a level 12 area. Whatever your level, once you enter a zone, the zone will be locked at that level. If your level 1 character runs through that level 8 zone, but you leave immediately and then come back to it as a level 15, it will still be a level 8 zone.
The game has a definite story arc and definite ending, but just as the quests will challenge players with situations and allow them to decide how to handle that situation, the game’s ending will depend on the player’s actions.
In terms of land size, Fallout 3 will not be as massive as Oblivion, but it will still be a huge game based in a huge world. The adventure promises to be a grand one, and all the buzz about this game seems to be warranted. Fallout 3 should prove to be yet another hit for Bethesda.