Fallout 3 - No longer a Fallout game

I want to introduce myself, I am Joakim and I'm an experienced Journalist as well as a novice game developer. I have noticed something very disturbing with the game industry today which applies to Fallout 3 in the highest degree, unfortunately.

In the game industry today, we've got a big problem. Many developers gets forced to create a game which everyone will like, a game that have small parts of every type of game mechanics. The flavor that made Fallout 1 and 2 so great is falling apart as game developers cannot afford to create a game that only certain groups will love (and then i mean LOVE, just like Fallout 1 and 2). When I say that they cannot afford to do that kind of niched games anymore, it's because publishers demands are higher, the productions costs of the game is higher (really, there's A LOT of difference between a Fallout 1 and 2 engine and the Fallout 3 engine) and of course the competition is much greater than in has ever been.

Let me be clear with the fact that a game is NOT good because of good graphics, cool effects or super inventive game mechanics. A game is good because the concept is good, because the complete mix gives the game a flavor which touches the gamers soul. Just like Fallout 2 for example. The graphics isnt great, buts it's charming; the environment sounds are full of empathy; the story is brilliant and really makes you believe you actually are in another world, meeting people with different stories to tell, not just place able creatures with scripted conversations.

Fallout 3 has some good elements left from the past and some previously good elements, which Bethesda has modded and unfortunately exploited in a bad way and ultimately destroyed. The story in Fallout 3 seems to hold a very high quality. Actually, the story setting is the one thing that might save the game from being the game industry's "average joe". Though, the really brilliant great game mechanics like the perk-system or the fighting-system have unfortunately been destroyed - obviously not purposely. The perk system was great, because that was something you longed for when leveling up, like "bummer, no perk this level but may be next, gosh I really look forward to it! I will have to choose carefully as I don't get these so often". When you get it each level it will not be as great any longer, it will be more like "Yeah I leveled up, another perk, nice. Which one should I take. I'll just take that one, doesn't matter so much, I get another perk pretty soon anyways".

My point is: game developers tend to take an element that people like and "make it happen" more often. If a gamer says "I love it when I find magical weapons", the game developer thinks "Hmm, they like magical weapons, lets take away all non-magic weapons and only have magic weapons. That will make them super happy, right?". Truth is, it's more of the opposite. It actually takes away the "magic" of the element and makes it casual. That is exactly what Bethesda has done with the perk system. Though I have to give them credits for adding A LOT more perks to complement this. That's what might save the perk system from becoming "casual". I don't know for sure, but I really hope that it does and I'm almost sure it will as I don't think Bethesda are complete nut heads.

I mentioned something bad
about the fighting system, didn't I? Yes I did and by that I mean that a game like Fallout is not meant to be a first person shooter (FPS), that's a complete other type of game. Fallout is meant to be strategic, you should be relaxed while you analyze the situation, chooses your target and spending your action points carefully. When compromised with a regular FPS, the whole VATS or the strategic elements tend to blur away. As another person wrote in another tread, that will only make you use VATS at first because it's "cool", but in the end you will just play FPS as that's faster and ultimately more secure way of fighting as it doesn't depend on your characters skills as much as it depends on your own "mouse aim" skill. I'm sorry Bethesda, but you screwed this thing up A LOT. The game should be third person ONLY and when in a combat zone you should get the overview of the zone in peace and quiet before you start to fight. When you do, you CAN use real time fighting like in a FPS, but it should be MUCH harder and disadvantage full that you will prefer the VATS at almost all times and of course really be dependent on your action points, which are just some thing that currently exists so that the old Fallout-fans won't whine as much.

I would like to finish of with one thing I worry about: Misc game mechanic-wise useless content to be found everywhere, like fishes, tails, pocket lint and so on HAVE to remain the same way it always has. It should not have an immediate purpose, like Nuke Cola to be used as health packs. Nuke Cola is a regular drink that you should drink just for fun, not becuase you gain health. I really hope this "useless" content stays as useless as they were in Fallout 1 and 2. I really like that about the games. God bless pocket lint!

To summarize: the game industry is to "casual" nowadays and don't leave room for niche games that attract a certain audience ALOT instead of everyone just-a-bit. I'm sad to say that Fallout 3 has fallen victim for this and by that the game will be no different than a FPS with some extra features and a supér story setting. Fallout 3 is no longer a Fallout game, it is "some game that takes place in the world of Fallout, but doesn't really share the original concept of the REAL fallout-games".

This is actually a copy of a post I made on the Bethesda forums which got locked down because it led to fans starting to flame eachother instead of discussing the real subject of the tread. Find the forum tread here: http://www.bethsoft.com/bgsforums/index.php?showtopic=863531 (fun fact: I got over 100 posts in a matter of hours before it got locked down)

Postat av: Petter T

Hej hej Jocke,

Welllll, som spelutvecklare in the making vet du säkert också vad casualiseringen av spel beror på. Nu när PS3-generationen (också känd som "next gen", trots att den varit här i 3 år) är här måste ju spelutvecklarna fylla sina spel med 100 Gb content, eftersom hårdvaran nu tillåter det. Detta kräver också att PS3-gen-teamen måste bestå av jättemycket folk, som skall skapa allt detta content, vilket gör att det behövs jättemycket pengar för att betala alla i teamets löner. Detta leder till att spelet måste sälja i många fler exemplar för att kunna gå med vinst. För att det skall sälja i många exemplar försöker spelutvecklarna göra spel som alla gamers skall gilla, vare sig man gillar rollspel, action osv osv.

Som väl är finns ju också många independentspelutvecklare, vars spel går att få tag på mha den där flugan internet. Så det är nog dit man skall vända dig om man vill ha mer specialiserade, icke mainstreamspel.

För övrigt: Vad som gör ett spel bra är olika för olika personer. En del gillar spel för storyn, en del för grafiken, en del för att hitta mönster hos bossar, en del för att få ÖSA osv osv. Så det är nog inte rikigt rätt om en person säger "Det är inte det här och det här som gör ett spel bra, utan DET HÄR, det är ett faktum". Hint hint. ;)

2008-08-04 @ 09:24:30
Postat av: milliwayz

Hej Petter!

Jo jag är medveten om vad det är som händer och det är därför jag öppet protesterar mot det. Det är så synd att "den gamla goda tiden" håller på att försvinna. Jag hoppas att indipendentföretagen lever kvar och fortsätter göra briljanta spel, som jag blir nöjd med =)

Det är sant som du säger, jag ska inte komma och bestämma hur saker och ting ska vara, men jag kommer gärna med åsikter och berättar "så här tycker jag det ska vara". Jag hoppas att jag inte ses som en bezzervizzer (se, jag kan inte ens stava ordet rätt), utan mer som någon som har väldigt starka åsikter och vill berätta om dessa =)

Jag är för spel som är unika och starkt emot casualiseringen och så kommer det nog förbli för min del. Tack för din kommentar Petter =)

2008-08-20 @ 20:38:50
URL: http://milliwayz.blogg.se/

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