We got a chance to go see Fallout 3 in action recently, and obviously we couldn't turn it down. Though the event itself was the usual blur of excitement and curiously small burgers on cocktail sticks, we bemusedly came to the next day to find that not only had we done a hands-on preview of Fallout 3, but we'd also done an interview with Bethesda's Pete Hines.
How had this come about? Had we managed to make it through the interview without making utter tits of ourselves or fainting like 18th century bodiced ladyfolk?
The only way to find out was to listen to the interview, which we've helpfully transcribed for you below - covering all manner of Fallout 3 topics from downloadable content and launch platforms, to quest design and voice actor recruitment...
Pete Hines: Ok, fire when ready.
Bit-tech: Let's wade right in then – what’s changed in the game in the last six or so months when it was last really shown off?
Pete: Hopefully it’s gotten better. I don’t think anything has really changed dramatically, it’s been more about getting everything in and playing it, testing it and figuring out what’s good, what needs to be fixed. Just iterating on that over and over again, really.
BT: And the whole way you’ve teased fans with the teaser trailer and the staggered approach, is that part of a steady effort to keep people interested?
BT: And do you think it has gone well?
Pete: From my standpoint I think it has, yeah. We’ve done this ever since I’ve been at Bethesda. It’s our approach. We’ve seen far too many games that we feel we know everything we need to know about them a year before they even come out.
The thing is games in development are never pretty. It’s the old joke – if you like hot dogs then you don’t want to see how they get made. If you like video games you probably don’t really want to know how they get made because they are often broken and in states of flux and things are changing constantly.
We have no misgivings about changing things if it isn’t working right, so the problem is that the more you tell folks early in development, the higher the chance that you need to change it. Then people get upset because you’re breaking your promises.
BT: Has that been a problem with voice tracking then? Do you get the scripts set before, or do you do pick-ups later?
Pete: It’s a mix. Someone like Liam Neeson that we do early on we just end up doing pick-ups much later on and some people we just don’t really bother doing a recording until much, much later on. Other times, like with Malcolm Macdowell, we know exactly what he needs to say and its locked from early on.
BT: And how was E3 for you? Was it nice to see people play the game?
Pete: E3 was tiring, but really good. It’s always nice to see people play the game and react positively to it, so…
BT: And what sort of reaction have you been getting from the really hardcore fans?
Pete: Um, I don’t think that reaction has changed much since 2004. Y’know, I think that gets overblown a bit too much. Those guys get very excited and very passionate about Fallout, but what really defines a hardcore fan? It’s up to everyone to make up their own mind.
Everyone can decide for themselves, but if it’s not the game that you like then I’d suspect that you’re not going to play it, so…
BT: Did you worry about scaring people away with the title? If people haven’t played the first two games, I mean.
Pete: We didn’t really find that to be too much of a problem with Oblivion and that was the fourth game in The Elder Scrolls series. We had folks who’d been with us since 1994 and we had folks who’d never played an RPG before and they were still loving it.
Folks can come into the game at any point they want as long as what you’re doing looks interesting and is compelling, and I think we do that.