What I'm Doing Right Now

Friday, March 18, 2011

WMD interviews me

The excellent online blog WMD Interviews gives an outstanding interview to me. We talk about Fallout, my current life, behind-the-scenes TF141 Media work. This guy is always full of questions.

Hello, Alec. What's going on?

Well, hard at work for Fallout Online, or Project V13. But I'm doing good. Tired, barely standing, but otherwise good.

Could you give some behind-the-scenes info for V13?

Don't expect a lot, though. Okay, so our job is to help on anything. Level design, interface animation, weapon drawings, character models, mulitplayer enhancements, quests, scriptwriting, anything. Masthead is there to help us. We do the scriptwriting and mulitplayer animation in the TF141 Media US studio, in New Jersey. Interplay's in Beverly Hills, so it makes it a little easier. We can animate and ship entirely in North America, whereas Masthead's in Bulgaria, so overseas shipping is needed. We're in charge of that, too, shipping overseas. As for quests, we're still working on them. So far we've already gotten down at least fifty.

Wow. That's a hell of a lot. When did you start working with Online?

2009. It's been pretty rough.

What about the constant disputes going on between Bethesda and Interplay?

Well, as of right now, everything is going to Interplay. See, Bethesda bought the entire Fallout contract. The Fallout MMO was not included. They had rights to 3, New Vegas, and eventually Fallout 4. The MMO was not included. However, they bought the rights for that too. Interplay continued development, so a lawsuit went on in the Maryland District Court.

Will Bethesda see a happy ending?

In all honesty, I doubt it. It sucks for them right now.

About TF141 Media, I heard you have a recording studio somewhere, is that correct?

Yeah. It's called Media by the Atlantic.

Are there any big recordings you guys made? Major label bands?

For starters, the biggest could be Gemini, the alternative rock band by Axl Long and Simon Travis. They're awesome. We've also done work for Primal Fear, Angels & Demons, and Radio Daze. It's in Pittsburgh, a fairly populated area. It's awesome working with bands like them.

Remember when we talked once back in San Francisco? You were talking about Black Isle's attempt for Fallout 3?

Yeah, Van Buren. I don't exactly see that ever happening.

So, what other behind-the-scenes info can you give without spoiling it? Like, what kind of special features are you planning?

A decision of vehicles has actually been made. See, in the last Fallout games, electricity only worked in various cities and houses. Vehicles didn't work at all. Masthead has submitted the idea. One idea we're planning to have arenas, like they did in The Pitt, only you can battle either hordes of enemies to get some XP or battle your friends.

We're also planning factions to return, and you can actually join the ranks of a faction if you choose. Like the Enclave, Brotherhood of Steel. Here's an idea I suggested, is to make your own faction, where you can create your own faction, if you have enough experience or money, and people can join you online. All of their progress will follow through from your faction.

Do you think that will ever go through?

We're not exactly sure. So far, the most progress we've made with decisions are vehicles.

Anything else?

We're still planning some customization options for the game. But outside of character customization. We're planning a create-a-weapon system, where you can spend caps to make your own weapons, using attributes from other kinds of weapon types, like Assault Rifles.

One other thing: Fallout Online is so far an entirely an online game. There might not be any main story.

I heard that this will be the first Fallout game that TF141 Media member Evan Sentan will be working on, and he's been with you a long time, correct?

Well, he's been busy with other projects. An example is the new Elder Scrolls. But he seemed pretty excited about V13 and decided to join the war. It's great having him as a worker.

I also heard that Gemini member Axl Long is recording footage of behind-the-scenes V13 work, right?

Only at the TF141 Media studio. Basically our experiences with writing scripts, storyboards (if you want to call them STORY boards), and voice acting.

Voice acting? There's going to be voices in the game?

Well, the furthest I've gotten is a leader's voice from one of the military factions: Enclave. Other than that, the only "voices" are going to be on the mic. I've been thinking about character creation voices, though, and people seem to dig the protagonists talking. They did that in Borderlands, y' know.

How's the family?

Great, thanks for asking. Just livin' with my wife is all. No kids for me to feed.

Where do you live?

In the UK, actually. I have a second home here in New Jersey that we're currently living in. I bought it some time ago.

Aren't you worried about your current house getting robbed?

Ha ha, not a chance.

Back to the dispute: Bethesda dropped the Fallout IP appeal, right?

Yeah, so it'll be a Fallout game without you knowing it is a Fallout game. Without the elements that made the first 3 games so great, not to mention Tactics and New Vegas, but that's old news, bro. Anyways, the game will be released somewhere around June, July, or August of 2012. Right before the end of the world. Heh.

As for Masthead, they are stationed in Bulgaria, right?

Yeah. They got founded sometime in 2005. They're some of the greatest programmers and designers in Europe, hands down. Did I tell you they're also making an MMORPG called Earthrise?

Yeah, I think I heard sometime.

Yeah, we're not fans of MMOs at all, but we do like Masthead. They know what they're doing.

I got a look at the concept art. Aren't you guys supposed to stick to Fallout?

Like Oasis was in Fallout 3, we want it to be different. We want the game to be more unique and original. Adding snow, cities, everything, helps make the experience better, apparently.

Do you think V13 will be good?

You know, that's a really good question: will it? Bethesda arguably improved an already-awesome game, and without Bethesda, I don't know what it ever will be like. Designing and writing events for Online are quite different than the Wasteland attributes Fallout 3 had. There's going to be all kinds of new stuff. It's an ONLINE Fallout game, developed by a major-label company. Imagine how big that would be for the fans and critics if it pulled off.

And we want to take suggestions from fans. We're trying to take the suggestion from the fans on the Interplay forums, and we want Interplay to also take our suggestions. It would be a game that everyone wants to play. After five f-in years, I hope it does pull off. We're trying hard, and working like hell. I've literally stayed up from 9:30 in the morning to 2am at night. It's crazy, I'm exhausted.

New ideas are always being taken from fans and Masthead. It's hard to say, though.

You aren't trying to clone other MMOs, are you?

Excuse me? World of Warcraft, among the TF141 Media studio and a good half of Masthead, all agree that WoW is the saddest excuse for a game I've seen in a long time. It makes me want to scrape a litterbox with my teeth.

Like I said, we're trying to make it unique. Totally different. That's why suggestions out there are being taken at the moment. Unless it involves Call of Duty elements.

You said before that there's not a whole lot of chance of being a solo environment.

Slim to none. I mean, it's Fallout ONLINE. The freakin' name should at least give a hint. But considering how addicting the last games were, I want to cruise around our new, more lush wastelands, fight against new enemies with new kickass weapons, and level up without somebody screamin' into the mic ("All the n00bs just got pwned, dickhead!), while spamming and lagging the game. And when I get tired of playing alone, I go online and just follow the ways of the idiots.

Couldn't agree with you more. Is there any chance of there being co-op, as I read before in your web log?

That's funny. The whole make-a-faction idea was BASED on cooperative modes. All I can say is: a decision's been made on that. Nothing more!

Is there anybody else involved in making V13?

We've gotten the members from Gemini to help do some voice work at the recording session of the studio, and the fans have a part in it. That's nice. Oh, and a few people from Freshly Made Studios in Finland are helping out. We've got a LOT of people helping.

Well, thanks for answering our questions, and I'll talk to you some other time! Good luck with Online.

Yeah, we'll need it.


Many thanks to Jorge for making this awesome interview.

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