on May 27, 2011
Rutskarn has wisdom at the end. Christine is much better with all of her emoting conveyed via simple text. If they had tried to animate all of her movements it would have been expensive, time-consuming, glitchy, and we would have ignored it anyway because we’d be reading the text. (And we MUST have the text. These 3d models are nowhere near sophisticated or detailed enough to communicate only via pantomime.)
One of my laments with the original Fallout was that they never really leveraged that text window. See, the original Fallout had this little text field in the lower-left part of the screen:
One of my favorite moments in the game was when it narrated the bit about you seeing natural light for the first time in your life. It was an excellent line that set the mood and drove home the point about how sheltered your life had been before now. I also missed it completely on my first play-through, because my first five minutes with the game had taught me, “This window is for combat messages and can be safely ignored”.
I loved the idea of a narration window, and I was glad when it delivered a little dose of flavor text. Sadly, the window was too small, the font was too blocky, and 90% of the text that appeared in there was useless. We can argue about what elements make a game a “true” Fallout game. Mutants? Retro-future? The Brotherhood? We can go around on this all day, but I think everyone can agree that the one common feature shared by all games is the idea of a horribly obtuse and difficult interface.
Text is a powerful tool, and game designers pretty much abandoned it in the late 90’s. Once in a while we get a game like Amnesia: Dark Descent that gives us some text worth reading. (Which is not the same as giving us text that we’re obliged to read.) But as someone who has played more than his share of MMO games and makes a point of always reading the quest text, I’d say prose is a lost art when it comes to game design. So it was nice seeing them do something interesting with Christine here.