Bethesda spits on your fancy cityboy talk in Fallout 3

I really, truly, honestly meant to post this many weeks ago, so forgive me, but I’ve searched the archives and found no mention of it.  Aeropause reports (with a consternation that I share) that Fallout 3 might be too much shooty, not enough talky.  From an interview with the devs over on 1up:

 1UP: You’ve mentioned that the game will have multiple endings, perhaps as many as a dozen. Without giving away any spoilers, can you explain the sorts of things that will affect which ending the player reaches? For example, will conversations affect the outcome of the game, or is it primarily larger-scale, world-shaking actions?

EP: We went back and forth with the impact of dialogue on the character, and ultimately decided we didn’t want to penalize or reward the player for carrying on a conversation. What you say and how you say it will certainly affect how NPCs react to you, and whether or not they’ll give you quests, but not the ending of the game. [That] really depends on some of the big decisions you make during the course of the game, as well as your karma. And your karma changes based on your actions. So [if] you destroy Megaton [a city built around a supposedly inert atomic bomb], your karma plummets, so that will certainly affect the ending. But there are other moments too, key moments during the game, that greatly determine which ending you get.

Emphasis mine.

I maintain that sequels should never be expansion packs, and that Same Shit, Different Day (SSDD) is a terrible game development model.  But as much as I despise the kneejerk, nostalgia-mongering attitude of many gamers when faced with terrifying new additions to their favorite franchises (I’m looking at you, No Mutants Allowed, you bunch of cretins), the fact remains that the retention (or expulsion) of some recurring traits can make or break a sequel.  Rewarding or punishing the player for conversational decisions is a fairly major part of intelligent roleplaying games.  Particularly Fallout.

Now, Aeropause seems to go a wee bit overboard with their reaction to what is really a small part of a larger, more all-encompassing interview.  The interviewee does state that NPCs will be affected by conversation, but doesn’t particularly quantify the statement.  I will wait and see.  Dubiously.  Steepling my fingers and raising one eyebrow.

Fallout 3 to Eschew Long Dialogue Paths [Aeropause]

UPDATE: This interview sparked a shitstorm that caused the lead designer to issue a correction here

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Eliza Gauger
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