Written by: Michael Moody
Fallout 3 is a huge success, and with the release of the Operation Anchorage downloadable content pack, Bethesda Softworks is providing even more opportunities for players to dabble into its dark and sadistic world. Bethesda public relations VP, Pete Hines, was nice enough to take a break from his busy schedule to answer a few questions related to DLC and Fallout 3.
M: First off, I would like to congratulate you and Bethesda Softworks for the enormous success of Fallout 3. But now to the nitty gritty. Were you concerned that the chosen format and game design, i.e. similar to Oblivion, was appropriate for the evolution of this respected franchise?
P: Not really. I mean, there’s always someone, or several someones, who will say “it’s a PC franchise and they’re dumbing it down for consoles.” We just focus on making the kind of game we want to make, and putting it out on whatever platforms we can. Gamers are gamers. If you make something cool they’ll want to play it, no matter the platform.
M: Even with all the praise, most reviews have stated if Fallout 3 was stripped of V.A.T.S. (the Fallout franchise’s unique targeting system); it would merely be a mediocre shooter. Do you agree with this? How do you guys plan to address this in the future installments?
P: I dunno. We’ll have to see when we release future installments. We like to make a lot of changes from game to game. Doing an RPG with guns is no easy task. You have to balance the impact of the player and the impact of the character. That’s two different sets of skills you have to take into account, and if you don’t account for both, you’re in trouble. So we don’t have the luxury of just being a good shooter.
M: Downloadable content exclusivity is all the rage right now. From a development standpoint, what are the benefits of allocating resources to develop a game for multiple platforms, while at the same time providing DLC to only one?
P: It’s not a DLC thing. We’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but our preference would be to make all of our games for a single platform. Having to support multiple platforms is a pain. DVDs work in all kinds of devices with a single disc; games take a helluva lot more work than that. As to the specifics of why we chose Xbox 360 and Games for Windows for DLC, that’s not something I’m going to get into here.
M: Reviews were mixed with the recent Operation Anchorage DLC, citing its linear progression, no replayability and short play time. What have you and the development team learned from this experience?
P: Well, we said it was going to be linear, so if anyone was surprised by that they need to pay more attention. We never wanted to, nor would we, have every DLC be just like Fallout 3…more of the same. There needs to be variety. Variety in terms of what the DLC offers from the base game, and variety from one DLC [installment] to the next. So we always said Anchorage would be a linear experience, very combat-heavy. The Pitt will be different, more akin to the Fallout 3 experience, allowing the player to choose their path, pick sides, moral choices, ambiguity, that kind of thing.
M: Recent screenshots from The Pitt seem to pay homage to the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers with a yellow and black color palette. What in The Pitt is different from Operation Anchorage in terms of content? Should we expect a linear design like Anchorage or will The Pitt be more fleshed out?
P: I think it really pays homage to Pittsburgh, and in that sense the Steelers are really just a reflection of the town they are from. It should feel true to what Pittsburgh might look like in that universe, and so if it feels “right” then we’ve succeeded. We have a number of guys from Pittsburgh on our team and I assure you they weren’t going to let us get anything wrong when it came to The Pitt. As far as the content, I think it will be a big shift from Anchorage and more like the original game in terms of giving you choices, letting you decide how you want to play it, etc.
M: Will PS3 owners get their hands on any future content?
P: The Fallout 3 DLC is for Xbox 360 and Games for Windows. That hasn’t changed. Sorry.
On behalf of the Avault Team, I’d like to thank Pete Hines for his time and comments. We wish only the best for the future installments and games from Bethesda Softworks.