What I'm Doing Right Now

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Vault - Entry 11 - The Courier of PAL Gamerz

EDIT: I know I've been posting a bunch of old interviews, but I gotta keep info on the table.

The TF141 Media crew got featured on the British mag PAL GAMERZ, in one of the single most extraordinary gaming events of 2010, in preparation of Fallout: New Vegas. Also featured are gamers masterofencalve and ENclaVe TeslA, who attended the E3 for New Vegas. Here's the transscript:

PAL: One of the things that made us wait in anticipation of New Vegas was the continued expansion of Fallout 3. That happening?

"No. New Vegas is nowhere related to the events of the Capitol Wasteland in Fallout 3. It'll be set around the area of Arizona, Nevada, and California, whereas Fallout 3 expanded furthereast, into Philidelphia, Maryland, and Virginia."

PAL: Could you explain anything from the gameplay of New Vegas?

"New Vegas will still take some time to get adjusted to like in the last game. There's some new tactics: you have an entire reputation system with various factions and towns. You can be loved by the Brotherhood of Steel, and hated by the NCR. Caesar's Legion takes on Roman civilization culture, further east, while you can also go the 'I'm neutral and in-the-middle' route. Survival is still the same. You will have to drink water more than you have to in the last game, you can suffer side-effects from not going through a regular sleep cycle, and you can starve yourself.

PAL: What about the environmental differences?

"The level cap will be raised to 30. You can fight with different factions, as I said, and if you're following a main quest, you'll have various side-quests within. For example, in order to complete a massive faction main quest, you have to complete various other side quests and mini-objectives within in order to progress. For example, if you're totally hated by one faction, you only have a certain amount of time to help improve your rep with them without lowering your rep with their enemy faction, or else they'll all be against you and shoot you at sight.

PAL: Which brings us back to another question: How is Fallout Online going along?

Right now, it's pending. Interplay and Masthead Studios from Bulgaria are going to work on the project with us. Bethesda is in danger. They dropped half of the charges at the Maryland District Court earlier in 2009. And it appears it's still going to be an MMO. *sigh* We miss Bethesda already.

PAL: And what about the dangers of New Vegas, besides the usual Hardcore Mode needs?

"For starters, you have new problems to deal with. The usual raiders, radscorpions, and wild dogs still appear, but you also have to deal with enemies that will have different skills. Geckos, Scientific Creations, and anybody who's against you.

PAL: What about the survival in Fallout? Has that changed any?

First of all, your skills still matter. No matter what your level, it's recommended to have a good bag of stimpaks with you. New weapons and your skills with them also force you to change tactics once in a while. Become too used to a weapon under 'Big Guns', and when you find a gun under 'Small Guns', you won't exactly be the best. How you keep your hygiene is up to you. Drinking water and sleeping regularly is important. Another thing to know is that your armor condition is a lot more important.

PAL: Any new enhancements to anything?

You can add up to three attachments, such as extended mags, sniper scopes, and recoil reduction. Ammunition will have different properties. Newly added is the addition of different mags. If you run out of regular ammunition for a regular Assault Rifle, you can attach Incendiary and Explosive ammunition and add a little punch while you continue to find regular ammo. Also included are hollow and armor piercing magazines. Your exploration will have a large effect on the experience. Find more towns, and the more your reputation will differ. The game will get harder depending on how your paths differ.

PAL: Do the radios return, like Galaxy News Radio?


PAL: When did your crew start gaming?

That's a tough one. We started sometime in 2000 or 2001, way back when systems like the Dreamcast and PC reigned supreme. Doing some various work for other games, like online multiplayer tweaks in those shooter games like Halo, eventually we worked our way to Fallout. We had done some work originally in the second and third Elder Scrolls games, and Tactics. So we kept Fallout close to our heart. We discovered Bethesda when we showed them some design decisions for Elder Scrolls IV. We did some level design and story progression, not to mention some side quests, and we soon got into the world of Fallout 3. They were so impressed that we continued forth into New Vegas. Unfortunately, we have to work with Masthead and Interplay for the questionable Fallout Online.

PAL: What could you say was the best experience working in Fallout?

It took us a while to get into Fallout. At first, everything looked really difficult and way too complex. Working on design choices for the Wasteland and quest choices seemed confusing. The karma system that continued through said side quests seemed odd. We also had to deal with the now-understandable concepts of various factions in New Vegas' reputation, and Pip-Boy 3000 design. Pretty soon, though, we embraced the concepts and found out it was subversive and hooking, very diverse. Further and further we worked, but I'm going to have to say working on side quests for Fallout 3 were the best experience we've had so far.

PAL: I know that some people consider me brain dead, and so do I, but didn't you work with Jack Mamais on the designing of the PC game Crysis?

Yeah, actually! That was were I met the level design god Nick McCarthy! Ah, the good times we shared. All the frustrations and work on the Crytek engine.

PAL: About the writing in the Fallout series, what's your opinion?

At first, all the events going on, not to mention the Great War and numerous quests and armies in the wastelands, Fallout can be totally understandable, and hooking. The scriptwriting in Fallout 1 and 2 were some of the greatest we have ever seen in a video game. Where as games like Left 4 Dead, despite my respect for the game, is completely non-linear. Games like Modern Warfare tend to linger on the scriptwriting rather than storytelling, which makes it all the more confusing and generic. Fallout, though, has a million little things going on at that moment. The main quests aren't overlong or too complex.

Still, there are some stories that are amazing, both in writing and storytelling. Take Valve's Portal, or Bioware's Mass Effect. They know how to write an innovative, much more creative story. The idea of fighting armored creations in an underwater city in BioShock, or the story of a war against the Helghast in Killzone, are all inventive and sometimes looked over to the gameplay elements. Multiplayer sometimes just take the innovativeness away, for addictiveness and totally unrealistic gameplay settings.

PAL: Fallout 3 is considered the first "role-playing shooter". Do you agree?

Hell no. There's been some games before Fallout 3's time. There's a lot of games that combine role-playing elements in a shooter setting. Take Far Cry 2 for example. You're completely free to explore and take on numerous quests like in Fallout, but still follow short main quests and shoot baddies like in Call of Duty. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is another good example, but the best example is probably Borderlands, which feels exactly like Fallout, but just a little more expansive, weapon-and-character wise. So I don't agree with that at all.

PAL: And yet, Fallout Online can't seem to even one idea out there without being delayed over and over again.

It's really, really sad. In all honesty, Online could quite possibly be the saddest creation in all of MMO history. And the idea that Interplay decided this to be an MMO is beyond me. World of Warcraft could be the worst game in history. Ever. Of all time.

PAL: It seems like the gaming industry is really lost now, mixed up with big dudes, guns, and ignorant hackers on multiplayer matches what do you think?

Yes and no. For starters, over 80% of popular games nowadays are either guys who have guns, knives, and is a first-person game. And while they can be good, there's no message being sent out at all. Other games like the Metal Gear Solid series, for example, takes on a new challenge, that stealthy games, focused with an excellent storyline and non-disruptive character moments can be achieved.

Fallout sends out a message: War Never Changes. The apocalypse and repetitive hordes of raiders and Enclave are supposed to show you that just because you have a gun in a Wasteland doesn't mean everything's good for everybody else. Said messages can be copied in games like inFamous. You have powers, and you can either use them to your advantage, or to help others. Either one comes with consequences. Borderlands sort of sends out a message: greed's a damn evil thing, can drive people to bad decisions. Even the Mario series, which follows the same formula: Princess Peach is captured, Mario sets out on adventure, is unique because there's a real story behind it. Good writing in games seems lifeless, distant.

PAL: Well, good luck on Fallout!

It's been a ride. An emotional, interesting, frustrating ride, but nonetheless rewarding.


EDIT: I'll update this later using questions that fans asked in the interview.

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