Stolen Pixels #194: After Curfew, Episode 8

By Shamus Posted Friday May 14, 2010

Filed under: Column 168 comments

Breen is back.

Like I said in the text, I should know better than to be excited about Fallout: New Vegas. There are a tremendous number of things that Obsidian could do wrong here. Say, for example, everything they’ve done in the past.

But they’re saying all the right things in interviews and talking about all of the common complaints with the game. As before, Obsidian is proving to be a seductive developer. It won’t be until you enter the third act and you crash to the desktop with a pop-up ad selling the DLC that contains the rest of the game that you’ll realize that once again, you’ve been had.

Or maybe this will be their chance to redeem themselves? I can’t help but feel like an abused spouse. He’ll change this time for sure. He promised!


From The Archives:

168 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #194: After Curfew, Episode 8

  1. ToastyVirus says:

    I’m also filled with this false hope.

    They can do it this time….hopefully

  2. pkt-zer0 says:

    Planescape: Torment and Mask of the Betrayer were pretty awesome, I’d say, so there’s plenty of potential for greatness here. I’m more worried about them building on Fallout 3 and the seemingly short dev cycle, which has screwed them over previously.

  3. mark says:

    pkt-zer0, PS:T was black isle, not obsidian. :(

    also, as a generally-not-really-that-much-of-a-fan-but-i-guess-its-alright of the breen comics, i liked the background activity in today’s strip. :)

    1. Raygerieo says:

      Obsidian is founded by former Black Isle studios people.

      1. acronix says:

        Founded by doesn´t imply they have the same ammount of talent in their lines.

        1. Garden Ninja says:

          Even if it is most of the same people, PS:T had the same problem. I just finished it for the first time a couple weeks ago, and that ending (from Curst, after Ravel’s Maze onward) was garbage. They took all the story, world building, characters and dialogue that the game had been built in until that point, and replaced almost entirely with unavoidable combat sequences.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Except for the finale(when you meet your past three selves)and the final boss,I agree.Its a shame to get such a small world after such a huge city you start in.

            1. Garden Ninja says:

              Yes. That’s what the “almost completely” was about, but I probably should have been clearer. There were some interesting things in Curst. The bit where you meet your incarnations was excellent. And the conversation bit with the final boss was also very interesting, but is was annoying that it devolved into simply trading blows. Although, at that point I was so annoyed with the combat, and ready for the game to end that I may have missed a non-combat ending.

              That said, the rest of the game was amazing. But next time I play it, I will probably stop after Ravel’s Maze. That was the primary thread of the story up to that point anyway, and I think it could have ended there.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                There are a few non combat endings.You can intimidate or persuade the boss to join you,or persuade it it doesnt exist.Or,kill yourself.But joining with it is the best,since you become like a god.

        2. Raygerieo says:

          Well, does founded by and employing pretty much all of the former Black Isle people imply it better?

          Obsidian does have the creative talent; the writing in Kotor2 and Mask of the Betrayer for instance is excelent (that is subjective off cource, but if you disagree with that statement you’re just wrong). Yeah, you can nitpick the hell out of both games – even Planescape Torment had it’s flaws, but it’s still miles ahead of other games.

          Code monkey talent, no. Now Obisidian got screwed by LucasArts with Kotor2. But they really didn’t have that excuse with NWN2 which was an unfinished buggy mess at release and with so much cut content there was hardly a story left (yeah, Atari did do it’s darndest to mess things up – by giving Obsidian an older codebase of the original NWN, amongst other things – but Obsidian did have the time.

          1. Joe says:

            KoTOR II had such great potential, and had well-written dialogue. The plot, however, (at release) was veritable crap. Especially the very end (Malachor). They had to cut too much to make it work…

  4. Drexer says:

    I truly feel scared every time I think that so many player-developer relationships in the videogame business can be equated to an abused spouse situation. Specially Obsidian which well, really fits that description.

    Actually now that you’ve put that idea into my head, I think that what I’m more scared of is a situation created by DRM like in “Gerald’s Game” by Stephen King. What happens when the developers die on us while we’re handcuffed to a bed and in a remote cabin out of the woods?

  5. -F. says:

    I for one really love Obsidian games. I prefer a company that makes great but flawed games filled with good ideas and good writing over the same bland muck with a shiny new shader. I will gladly accept bugs and a less-then-perfect endgame for that. See also: Troika Games.

    Feargus Urquhart, the man behind Obsidian, was also a key developer on Black Isle

    1. Mari says:

      You know, to a point I agree with this. But then there’s Obsidian.

      I’ve played KOTOR II through a half dozen times and started it dozens more. It seems like every nine months or so I start thinking to myself, “Haven’t had a really good RPG with lots of real choices and character building in a while…hmmm…what’s easy? Oh, hey, I’ll go fire up KOTOR II! That was such a great game. Lots of complexity and depth.” Somewhere around 2/3 of the way through I usually remember why I quit the game in disgust nine months ago. The story is being avalanched with bull cakes and I’m having to run to a FAQ every 5 minutes to remember how to get around this, that, or the other broken quest, bug, or other problem. Usually by this time I’m disgusted because despite the fact that I’ve done everything right something glitched along the way and two of my companions simply WILL NOT finish their dialogue trees, leaving uncompleted quests on the books, NPCs perpetually on the verge of Jedi-hood, and story threads unresolved.

      Sometimes that’s the point where I chuck it. Other times I stick it out because I’m stubborn that way. Then I get to the end-game. It is so incredibly stupid it makes me ill. The first time I was speechless with horror. The second time I actually laughed, “Really? Seriously? This is how they resolve this fascinating story??”

      The painful thing is it would have been a great game if A) it weren’t so darned buggy and B) they hadn’t crufted in the nonsense part of the story, which unfortunately is pretty much the main plot because it revolves around the main character and C) the main character had been the player. Making an NPC the main character of the plot was an unusual move and it failed badly. Not to mention the fact that I’m asked to believe that one of the most powerful people in the galaxy, a superbly trained Jedi, can’t come up with a better strategy for defeating an enemy than three floating swords.

      1. krellen says:

        Had Obsidian had the extra year to work on KotOR2 that BioWare had on KotOR, you wouldn’t have that problem.

        New Vegas is coming out pretty quickly, though, so I’m not sure we’ll avoid that pitfall this time either. But I’m still going to enjoy the heck out of the 2/3rds of a game that’s better than multiple entire games by other developers.

  6. Kjetil says:

    Totally agree. After all the Fallout IP was alway heavily dependent on typical Bethesda strenghts like roleplaying and engaging dialogue, and clearly, you have a responsibility to push the series forward, but there’s also nothing worse than a misguided attempt to differentiate a folow-up that only ruins what everyone loved about the original. Throw in a new developer – New Vegas is being developed by Obsidian rather than Bethesda’s in-house team – and there is no doubt that a fair few Fallout fans will be more than a little concerned that this could be a recipe for nuclear disaster.

    In short I hope that Obsidian will stay true to Bethesda’s original vision. We don’t need any more of these new unremarkable mainstream developers destroying yet another franchise in hopes of a quick buck.

    1. Tizzy says:

      That’s a permanent risk with follow-ups like this. I played Fallout 1 & 2 when they came out, so at my age, my memories may be a bit vague, but although I enjoyed both, I could not help being a little let down by F2.

      Sure, some gameplay mechanics were improved.

      The size and scope was much bigger, but there was a certain charm to F1’s very contained story line. Not to mention the increase in size did nothing good to the number of bugs and broken quests.

      And most importantly, I found the change in tone jarring. I appreciated F1’s humor especially because it was subtle and did not feel the need to beat you over the head with it. I don’t need to run into Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in my post-apocalyptic games.

    2. eri says:

      Bethesda’s “original vision”? What are you on about? Bethesda damn near ruined Fallout. While they did have some good ideas, they systematically destroyed the canon in the name of putting in “cool shit”, they simplified the gameplay to a point where Fallout might as well not even be an RPG anymore, there’s an incredible lack of balance or difficulty, it’s full of bugs, it’s got ugly artwork and a dated engine, the music is pretty poor compared to the original titles (download the remastered OST that just came out, it’s great), and it’s got downright miserable writing and voice acting.

      Turning the game into an open-world shooter wouldn’t have even been totally horrible, if not for the fact that Bethesda utterly failed at producing even a passable shooter. The one thing you do the most of, in Fallout 3, and they messed it up. I had to get a mod to add in iron sights and proper weapon recoil, kickback, etc. just to make the combat enjoyable, but even that can’t fix the near-broken AI that fails to navigate anything but a straight line.

      The one sole strength of Fallout 3 is atmosphere. Bethesda, for all their problems, do have some great environmental artists and some creative designers. But even some breathtaking vistas and fun ideas aren’t enough to save what is one colossally confused train-wreck of a game.

      You know why I’m so confident in Obsidian? It’s because they actually have good writers, they have smart designers, they understand how to create and balance game systems, and, most importantly, they have people who worked on the original Fallout games. At worst, we’re looking at a game that has the same messy gameplay as Fallout 3, but a good storyline and characters, as well as a world that operates under logic. That’s enough for me, at this point.

      1. Someone says:

        You should have realised its sarcasm after “Bethesda’s great dialogue”.

        1. eri says:

          I can’t take that risk. You don’t realise how many people genuinely believe the things this guy said. Just visit the official Bethesda forum…

          1. Someone says:

            I was on the official forums. Though I was mostly in the technical problems section, which obviously doesnt hear much praise for the big B.

            1. Audacity says:

              That was not sarcasm guys. That paragraph Kjetil posted was taken from a recent OXM – Official Xbox Magazine – article. I remeber because until a few days ago, NMA had it on their homepage as a joke.

              I honestly don’t understand how people can be worried about Obsidian developing the game instead of Bethesda. At best it will be an improvement, at worst it wont have changed at all and will still be an idiotic POS.

              Here’s how I see it…

              – Obsidian makes buggy half finished games in development times of less than two years that have excellent, albeit partially incomplete, interesting premises and writing. Just so you know KOtOR II is the only game of theirs I’ve played.

              – Bethesda makes buggy half finished games in development times of five to six years, that have absurdly stupid premises and craptastic writing. Then they milk the game for all it’s worth with buggy half finished DLC with absurdly stupid premises and craptastic writing.
              Of their games I’ve played Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion and Fallout 3; the last two follow this formula and TES V probably will too.

              …What can we possibly lose?

              1. eri says:

                It gets better. The Elder Scrolls V will be an MMO, so you won’t even be able to use mods to fix the game. You’ve be forced to revel in stupidity, with thousands of other people, forever.

                Oh well. At least in The Elder Scrolls, I can stomach it because magic is a convenient plot device, and it’s all about exploring a huge fantasy world, not so much being a challenging, well-balanced pen-and-paper role-playing game. In Fallout, where they have actual rules governing the world? Not so much.

              2. Nalano says:

                Obsidian’s been plagued its entire existence by the demanding deadlines of its publishers (which is why it’s always the endings that fall short).

                Bethesda has no such excuse.

      2. Kjetil says:

        Actually, Eri, I was just trolling. I friggin hate fallout 3, Obsidian is the only hope of getting something remotely positive out of it. Not only that, but I know they will do better than Bethesda since they couldn’t possibly do it worse…

        I’m glad you took the bait though, I know that on other pages people would probably have agreed with me :/

    3. Gandaug says:

      Did you play Fallout? Bethesda ruined everything that was good about Fallout.

      Nothing could possibly be better than if Obsidian made a game completely different than Fallout 3.

      1. Rosseloh says:

        I tried playing Fallout and Fallout 2 several times back in 2003 or thereabouts.

        I couldn’t stand the turn-based combat and isometric camera. Never was able to really get past the first town in Fallout because of that.

        I really enjoyed Fallout 3, even if it took liberties with the source material. Large world to explore + real-time combat + great setting equaled a good game.

        Basically what I’m trying to say is not every gamer is the same, i.e. not all of us look at the first Fallout game(s) as the best thing on earth.

        1. krellen says:

          So why do you get to steal our game? Fallout isn’t your type of game, that’s fine. There’s thousands of other games out there that aren’t Fallout.

          The issue is that Bethesda took away our game, and made it yours. Now you have this game, along with those thousands of others, and we have nothing.

          1. ps238principal says:

            Bethesda bought it. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, but you can’t accuse anyone of “stealing” it. I don’t like what George Lucas did to “Star Wars,” but in the end, it is his property to do with as he pleases.

            I can, however, complain heartily about it, as can you about “Fallout 3.”

            1. krellen says:

              Neither Bethesda nor Lucas own the properties they ruined. Not really. Oh, the law says they do. But the law is wrong: unjust.

              Both Star Wars and Fallout had lain fallow long enough before their horrible follow-ups that no one person should have owned them any more. IP laws are completely out of control; some things, especially those that remain untouched for a decade, belong to the people, not corporations.

              1. eri says:

                To sum up, Bethesda releasing Fallout 3 is kind of like if Led Zeppelin were reformed as a sugary boy pop band headed by Justin Bieber, and released a “Led Zeppelin V” album.

                1. Rosseloh says:

                  That’s a good analogy.

                  Interesting, I’ve never been the source of a flamewar before.
                  Please note that it was not my intention. Not quite sure where all this “stealing the game” stuff came from.

                2. krellen says:

                  Here’s how your post sounded to me: “I hated Fallout. I’m glad Bethesda did something completely different for Fallout 3 so I could have another game I enjoyed. Why shouldn’t I have more games I enjoy?”

                  From your point of view, you just wanted a game to enjoy. So you don’t see the problem. But Fallout stood in a very small circle of games I enjoy, which are different from the ones you enjoy (which is a much larger group), and Bethesda decided, for your benefit, to move Fallout from my group to yours.

                  So that’s where the “steal the game” thing came from.

                3. Rosseloh says:

                  You have my apologies then. I was simply trying to mention that not everyone is on the same field. Obviously Bethesda picked up on that.

                  For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t be surprised if I would have been able to get into Fallout if the combat wasn’t turn-based. Well, that and maybe if I was a little older when it actually came out…I was a whole 8 in 1997.

              2. ehlijen says:

                Lain fallow?

                So what about all the star wars computer games? The star wars books and comics?

                Star wars was anything but nonexistant in between Episode 6 and Episode 4b

                1. krellen says:

                  And how many of those was Lucas involved in?

                2. Roll-a-die says:

                  Actually almost all of them krellen, Lucas has a large say in almost all SW related things. His job is basically administrating over one of the largest 21st century franchises. Writers generally run drafts by his assistants who forward the questions the authors have to him/forward the entire thing to him if he needs to see it or if it is a hot property. Almost nothing in star wars has not sat on Lucas’ desk at some stage of design/writing.

                3. krellen says:

                  That explains why so much of the Extended Universe sucks.

                4. ehlijen says:

                  What he said and what you said. But at least some of it sucks less then the new movies…

                5. krellen says:

                  The issue with Star Wars actually stems from the fact that it was never Lucas’s (sole) brilliance that made it great in the first place. It was a joint effort of awesome, and then became his sole property and started to suck.

                  The same might be said of Fallout; it was only great while most parts of the original team were working on it.

              3. Soylent Dave says:

                New material doesn’t magically ruin the original stuff.

                If you love the original Star Wars films, you can happily pretend that Lucas didn’t make any prequels (or remaster the first 3 half a dozen times…).

                Similarly with Fallout – Fallout 3’s mere existence doesn’t obliterate all copies of Fallout 1 & 2 in the universe. You can still play them. You can still remember playing them, too.

                You don’t really get to insist that nobody ever creates anything new using existing intellectual properties without seeking your approval, or doing it in the exact way you want.

                Because that level of stagnation – or, more likely, no releases at all – is going to destroy the IP you love more readily than any number of ‘re-imaginings’.

                Just enjoy the stuff you like and stop whining about it…

                1. krellen says:

                  New crappy material does, however, ruin my chance of ever seeing new good material based on the old good material. With Star Wars ruined by the lame prequels with their Jar-Jar Binks and Midichlorians, I’m probably never going to get another set of films grasping the same essence of joy that came with the original trilogy, and so while the new stuff hasn’t ruined my old stuff (though, on this note, thank heavens I already have the original boxed set of the trilogy, since you can only buy the remastered version with all its fancy new and immersion-ruining special effects now), it has completely ruined my chances of ever seeing anything new that’s worth seeing.

                  And the same is likely true for Fallout. I hold a brief sense of hope for Obsidian’s version, but the realistic, pessimistic side of me keeps telling me it won’t be the same.

        2. ehlijen says:

          You kids get off my turnbased, isometric lawn!

          Those two things, after the good writing, are what drew people to those games.

          Bethesda threw out turn based combat (no, vats does not count), the isometric view (sure, the new one is nice, but the return rate in the nice/hardware requirements equation isn’t good) and even the good writing (though I am willing to admit that that last one wasn’t deliberate).

          Basically, they slapped a fallout sticker on something unrelated and asked us to like it in the same way.

          1. Gandaug says:

            Ok this isn’t a direct reply to ehlijen’s post, but the post continuity has gotten way too screwed to find where I should respond.

            If you enjoyed Fallout 3 then I’m happy for you. You got a game you enjoyed. I did not.

            My position on this is exactly the same as Shamus’ on Max Payne. Whether or not the product that was made is any good or not they pissed all over the source material. For those of us that enjoyed the source material it’s a bad thing.

  7. perry says:

    you write in the comic description that bethesda games are buggy and unpolished. fallout 3 is none of those. and since this is a fallout series game we are talking about, it seems a bit wrong to predict bugginess.

    1. Shamus says:

      Fallout 3 is indeed unpolished. Spoiler Warning has been a pretty good showcase of wonky behavior, glitches, and other problems.

      Then there are dialog trees that don’t make sense, ridiculous game balance issues, a handful of crash bugs, gaps in the level geometry, spots where you can become stuck in the geometry, poorly designed quests, and so on.

    2. Vipermagi says:

      Bugs: I couldn’t complete the RobCo part of Wasteland Guide until I installed an unofficial patch. I always crashed in the Mainframe room.
      Also, is a pretty decent list.
      Polish: I have over 20 screenshots of areas where I can blatantly look through the scenery into the endless abyss. Also found a place where you can easily walk out of the overworld (seemed like a hidey-spot for loot to me); I think it was the Museum of History. It’s best to assume I am wrong, though.
      If you want, I can get a screenshot of it and some more details.

    3. Shamus says:

      …stilted delivery of scripted NPC dialog, items “buried” or “floating” in the level geometry, quest hooks that don’t make sense, the screwy behavior of VATS at close range, the screwy leveling and perks system, the abominable ending…

    4. Shamus says:

      …now, you can argue that glitches like these are difficult to avoid in a huge sandbox game like this, and I’d agree with you. Games like this just have so many details that it’s difficult to give them all the proper attention. But that leads back to my main point:

      difficult-to-finish-game + developer with a history of unfinished games = disaster in the making.

      I’m not going to be happy if I’m right. I’m just pointing out the potential for disappointment.

      1. eri says:

        You underestimate Obsidian. The problem with most of their games in the past has been working with bad tools, with a low budget, and with very little time to actually finish the game. This time around, they aren’t under the same level of pressure; there’s not going to be any of this sudden “oh by the way, we cut six months of your development time” stuff that has resulted in some of their titles not reaching their potential. You have to remember that at this point, they’ve got tools to work with, they’ve got a huge amount of art assets, they have an engine and a direction for the game… it really comes down to content creation and tweaking, and I think a year and a half is enough time for that.

      2. GoodApprentice says:

        Bethesda has been making this type of game for years. They are the experts at dealing with the massive numbers of bugs that are created in their open-world game engine, but even they can’t get them all. Lord knows what could happen with an outside developer who is a rookie with the engine.

        Doom! Doom, I tells ya!

        1. eri says:

          Doesn’t seem too hard to me. Ever heard of the Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch? It fixes hundreds of bugs, most of them extremely obvious, and it is the work of one talented, unpaid individual. Bethesda could literally hire one or two people for this sort of testing and their games would benefit massively from it.

          1. Shamus says:

            The problem they face is that those “one or two more people” can’t really do their jobs until everyone else is done. Once the assets are in place and the code is more or less frozen, you hunt down all those rough edges and fix them. You can’t very well polish an area or a quest while it’s still in development for the same reason you can’t fine-tune an engine while it’s being assembled.

            So polish adds to the development time. Even if just a few people are working, they’re still holding up the release of an otherwise “done” game. The developer must be willing to say, “We COULD release this game now, but we’re going to spend X weeks making it better.”

            1. eri says:

              I considered this, but then the question arises of why they don’t just release a patch a couple of weeks after to clean things up. Oftentimes, bugs are well-documented before a game comes out, so it wouldn’t be a huge expense to keep a few people on board to fix them up. Hell, it might even be a great PR opportunity.

              1. Tizzy says:

                Tracking down and fixing bugs is probably a lot more involved than the general public imagines. I suppose broken quests might be the easiest part to fix because it’s easier to diagnose, but everything else (graphical glitches, stuck in scenery, etc…) is another story.

                I don’t know much about this firsthand, but a relative of mine is in the business, and his job is on the database side. Not testing, not fixing, but just keeping track of what is discovered and maintaining status. It’s a huge undertaking, hundreds of thousands of bugs to keep track of and make sure that every one of them is *uniquely* identified and findable (as in: “I’ve just encountered a bug, is it already documented?”)

                And the time before shipping is crunch time obviously, but if I remember correctly, they start working on this from the get-go, even when the game is in its roughest of rough stages.

              2. Shamus says:

                That’s a really good point.

            2. ps238principal says:

              What I’m interested in is the addition of mods that the community has made for F3. If I remember the article correctly (I think it was in Eurogamer), some weapon and combat mods from the fans are being included, as well as a “Hardcore” mode. This mode would make survival in the desert without water impossible, Stimpaks work over time (not instantly), and broken limbs can only be fixed by a doctor.

              1. eri says:

                It’s more like, Obsidian looked at what the most popular mods were on PC, and incorporated them into the game. A lot of mods were made to help rebalance Fallout 3 to make it more challenging, so Obsidian sort of took those into account when making hardcore mode, while at the same time leaving in regular mode for the fans who want it to play more like Bethesda’s Fallout 3.

                For me, “hardcore mode” is basically the only mode. You’d might as well call that one “normal”.

                1. ps238principal says:

                  I don’t mind there being variations in difficulty, especially in games with RPG elements. I’m sure we’ve all played games where the attempts to make things realistic do tend to outweigh most people’s idea of what “fun” is, descending quickly into the realm of micro-management.

                  I can’t recall the game at the moment, but one fantasy RPG required you to do stuff like maintain your bowstrings and mend your armor and clothes every night, not just for combat but for charisma/speech checks when interacting with NPCs.

          2. Vipermagi says:

            One person made it. How many people actually reported the bugs?

            On my first playthrough I didn’t find too many bugs; I didn’t look around every corner and looked around for quests and/or settlements. Having one or two people just playing the game isn’t really proper bug-hunting, unless you make them play 20/7 for half a year (4 hours of sleep should be plenty, no?).

          3. Robyrt says:

            It’s a lot easier for a million users to find bugs than your testing team. It’s also a lot easier to fix bugs when you’re one guy with free time. Bethesda may not have the resources to:
            1. Have the QA team and Community Manager decide which bugs are important/easy to fix
            2. Have the support team fix said bugs
            3. Have the QA team regression test the entire game, since the bugs are probably distributed evenly throughout the world
            4. Have Microsoft’s QA team review the new patch for several weeks
            5. Have the web team direct everybody to the latest patch

            This is why patches generally occur only when critical functions are broken, or when the dev team has some DLC they were working on and decided to fix some bugs while they’re at it.

            1. Sekundaari says:

              This- and the post above- has an important point. It’s easier to find and squash those bugs by this unofficial, “open source” method, as you don’t have to pay for millions of testers or rigorous QA. The unofficial patch very probably has that “use at your own risk” warning too. It would be hard to make an official patch of it.

              The other option would be an open, official, easy-to-use bugtracker available (I think Dwarf Fortress has one), maybe even accepting proposed fixes. This could be efficient enough to use.

              1. Felblood says:

                Nice namedrop.

                DF is using the Mantis Bugtracker, which is pretty popular on Sourceforge and other places where bugs need to be kept track of.

                It’s a little clunky, particularly as there’s no good way to merge two reports into a single entry, but it is a tremendous asset in a variety of projects.

            2. Roll-a-die says:

              Microsoft has no say in a Bethesda game. Why would microsoft have to say it. They are neither a publisher nor a lender to Bethesda. Bethesda’s team is published by Zenimax(A holding company that is essentially Bethesda proper) and for the console versions of Oblivion 2K Games. About the only thing they use Microsoft for a GFWL for DRM and DLC distribution.

    5. swimon says:


      Ok I love Bethesda, together with Bioware and Nintendo they’re probably my favourite game company. But that doesn’t change the fact that their games are buggy and unpolished saying otherwise is like saying A does not equal A, it’s a logical axiom.

  8. Factoid says:

    I don’t think that Obsidian will screw us over KOTOR2 style this time…that was Lucas Arts’ doing. They wanted the game out NOW, and didn’t give Obsidian time to finish. Sure Obsidian probably blew past their agreed on deadline, but ultimately I think we all prefer a finished game.

    Unfortunately Lucasarts is relentless about their ship dates. They don’t let titles slip very often. They like to have one major star wars title released every year. If they go a year without one it really screws up their earnings reports (which shouldn’t be as big a deal as it sounds, because it’s a privately owned company)…and then the next year they’ll have two.

    It’s sad that accounting concerns often override the needs of the development process, but it happens all the time. Lucasarts isn’t an EA or a Ubisoft…they don’t put out enough titles in a year to be able to absorb those kinds of issues.

    I think Bethesda will be a better publisher, plus the Oblivion engine has really been around the block a couple times now and should be extremely stable, whereas KOTOR’s Odyssey engine was just coming off its maiden voyage, hence some of the bugginess.

    1. ehlijen says:

      I’m sorry but I actually thought it was the other way round for the engines.

      KOTORs engine had one mostly bug free game made by the RPG master Bioware to launch off from, while Fallout took the Oblivion engine that Bethesda didn’t even bother to finish, or so I’m told?

      1. eri says:

        The engine used by Knights of the Old Republic is buggy temperamental, and has tons of issues running on modern PCs. Bethesda’s own engine is pretty poor as well, and it can’t even handle quad-core PCs despite it being designed with them in mind, but its bugs are less of the “random crashes and hardware incompatibilities” variety, and more due to just plain sloppy coding ans scripting by Bethesda. I swear, their AI is programmed by a three-year-old… but honestly, looking at Dragon Age and the number of broken quests and skills, BioWare isn’t that much better.

        1. Michael says:

          For the randomly psychotic record, Oblivion/Fallout 3 run off a third party engine. GameByro I think (or something very close to that name), it’s also used in Divinity 2.

          KOTOR’s running on the same engine as Neverwinter Nights, though it may have been adapted out of an unstable itteration of it.

          1. eri says:

            Gamebryo is indeed a third-party engine, and it was actually very popular circa 2002-2004 for a lot of console games, especially on the PS2 and Xbox. It was made by Criterion (the Burnout guys) if I’m not mistaken, and a lot of people loved it because it was one of the better cross-platform engines at the time. Unfortunately, they stopped supporting it around 2006 or so, leaving Bethesda’s coders desperate to keep it modern by grafting tons of extra plugins (SpeedTree, Havok, etc.) on top. It’s really, really, really showing its age… seriously guys, just use CryEngine 3, it’ll run great on all platforms, look awesome, you can keep your RPG play mechanics, and you’ll have good shooting action to boot. The level editor is also a joy to work with.

            And yeah, KotOR’s engine is the same as Neverwinter Nights. The major differences come down to some visual upgrades, the transition to direct WASD/joystick movement, and a more dynamic combat system. A lot of the little quirks of the old version still shine through, though.

            1. Roll-a-die says:

              WRONG! You are thinking of Netimmerse not the gamebryo proper. gamebryo morphed out of netimmerse into it’s own engine. It’s still updated quite frequently and indeed uses some legacy feature from netimmerse such as the .NIF format models. The extra plug-ins themselves are patched in by emergent and then licensed by bethesda. Now Fallout 3 was made with the 2006 version of it.

              As to KOTOR’s engine it is a slightly upgraded version of NWN Aurora. Modified mainly for Joypad support and higher level GFX features. Interestingly the witcher actually came out of NWN engine as well.

              1. eri says:

                Well damn. :( Thanks for setting me right. I knew I probably should have looked it up again before writing.

  9. Volatar says:

    Made me chuckle yet again Shamus :)

    One criticism: In most of the panels, Breen’s right arm is hanging totally limp, as if he is not even holding it up. Stand up from the computer for a second, straighten up your body and shoulders, as if your in front of an audience. You don’t let your arms and shoulders hang totally limp next to your body, you hold them up slightly.

    Just a tiny tweak, but it could help make him look more natural :)

    1. Shamus says:

      I do admit I have a lot of trouble with Breen. Not so much with other models. I’m not sure why. I fuss with him for ages, and he still looks like he’s “hanging” on strings.

      1. eri says:

        Could be the shape of his model? His suit has more angles and points.

        1. ps238principal says:

          It could also be the legs. The cloth doesn’t gather at the shoes and knees as it might on a real person, so his legs look like they’re dangling from his midsection instead of his weight resting on them.

      2. Volatar says:

        Fair enough. Garry’s Mod isn’t perfect :)

  10. ehlijen says:

    As many bad things about Obsidian as I we can all say, I have to admit I liked all their releases so far.

    KOTOR2, stands proudly next to its predecessor as a good RPG and finally a decent attempt at widening the star wars plot box in the computer gaming market. No, it was never finished and that’s not fair on us customers, but at least the parts it did deliver were good.

    NWN2 was great. I loved it, despite its many flaws. It sure beat the original for campaign story.

    We complain a lot about these games because we’d love to not have to. They were good enough to be liked, if not loved.

    And Obsidian so far has a better track record at plot writing than bethesda as far as I am concerned. So I’m actually optimistic.

    Shakily optimistic, but optimistic.

  11. Galad says:

    Fun comic, as usual(even to people who are not familiar with all the names, that’s one thing you’re awesome at, leaving no room for confusion). I’m just wondering, what was up with Metro coming up on stage and pointing a gun at Breen then giving up?

    1. GoodApprentice says:

      It was a near “betrayal of friendship” by a disgruntled employee mirroring what supposedly happened at Activision.

    2. Shamus says:

      It followed the thing that Breen was talking about. He said it was terrible for a subordinate to turn on you just because you were evil, and this shamed Metro into not assassinating him.

  12. eri says:

    I really have to disagree with your indictment of Obsidian. While I agree that they have had a lot of problems in the past, most of those can be blamed on rushed release schedules, a lack of funding, and having to work with downright bad technology. Their writers and designers are for the most part top-notch, to the point where I think their “licensed sequel” games like Knights of the Old Republic II are actually far more entertaining and compelling experiences than the originals. That doesn’t mean they are flawless, and in fact they are far from it, but I would take Obsidian’s solid, mature design over Bethesda’s trademark lowest common denominator approach (starting with Oblivion) any day.

    1. krellen says:

      I don’t even have to post any more. eri does it for me.

      I have a minion! :D

      1. Audacity says:

        It’s funny you think that, Krellen, because I don’t usually have to post my thoughts on Obsidian/Bethesda/Fallout/things in general. Instead I just wait awhile and you do it for me… :)

        1. krellen says:

          I just wanted to post that link. The gnome is so adorable.

          1. Audacity says:

            I have to thank you for posting that link, Krellen. I followed it all the way back to the Bitey Castle homepage and spent most of last night watching his videos. Mr Philips is one hell of animator.

      2. eri says:

        It seems that we share a similar form of misanthropy, a peculiar disposition that causes bile to surge forth from every orifice. When the Great Joining comes, you shall be among the first and most glorious of my Children to stalk the scorched earth.

  13. Hal says:

    I would just like to say that Feargus Urquhart sounds like the name of a Tolkien Orc, or at least an Uruk-Hai.

    Carry on.

    1. eri says:

      That is how you know he is awesome.

      1. Blackbird71 says:

        That logic really doesn’t hold. You could say the same thing about a name like “Uwe Boll”…


        1. acronix says:

          That sounds like the name of a D&D gnome.

          AHHH, gnomes! (flees in panic)

          1. Blackbird71 says:

            Well, either way it seems to evoke the appropriate response.

    2. Audacity says:

      But it’s a Scots name, doesn’t that immediately make it Dwarven?

      1. Felblood says:

        What are you talking about?

        All dwarves are named Urist, Cog or Reg.

  14. Irridium says:

    Shamus, I too am scared for the exact same reasons. If Alpha Protocal is relatively bug-free (god, how far have we fallen where “relatively bug free” is acceptable…) and has a half decent ending, things may look well. But I am cautiously pessimistic about this. Considering I had to install various user-made patches to get Oblivion and Fallout 3 to run, that doesn’t bode well for the stability of the engine. Not to mention its the first time Obsidian is using it (to my knowledge), that means its very likely for things to go south.

    Hopefully its as modifiable as Oblivion and Fallout 3 was, so the community can make up for the shortcomings with patches, but they really shouldn’t have to do the developer’s job.

    1. Miral says:

      I have Alpha Protocol on preorder. So I guess I’m optimistic… :)

  15. Crystalgate says:

    I’m going to do my usual strategy of holding off buying the game until others have played it and see what they have to say. There’s no shortage of people who buy the game at launch day and the game is at least just as playable a few months later.

    1. Joe says:

      Wait… you mean I’m not the only one who waits to see user reactions and potential patches before buying a game? Even if it means not having AWESOME V: THE AWESOMENESS* on launch day?

      *working title

  16. Gandaug says:

    So can someone explain to me why Fallout 2 is always compared unfavorably to Fallout? Every time Shamus mentions the two Fallout 2 is portrayed as some “dysfunctional younger brother” to quote Shamus directly.

    Also, why is IP being thrown about these days by absolutely everybody? I figure it stands for intellectual property right? Where did this new lingo come from and why is it so popular?

    1. eri says:

      Fallout 2 largely went overboard with pop culture references, it was too focused on combat, it had a relatively poor storyline with an arbitrary end boss, and it was of highly inconsistent quality and tone. I’m also pretty sure it was a buggy mess upon release. That said, it’s still an excellent game and well worth your time… just be sure to play Fallout 1 first.

      1. Gandaug says:

        I’ve played both repeatedly. I picked a double pack box years ago from a CompUSA for $20 on a whim one day when I was looking for a new RPG to play. I knew nothing about the games at all.

        Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised.

        I can see your points whether I agree with them completely or not. Perhaps because I got them both at the same time and played them back to back my perception is different.

    2. acronix says:

      What Eri said. Fallout 1 felt (and was) more serious than its sequel. The seriousness helped the post-apocalyptic ambien a lot. There was humor here and there, but it wasn´t the joke and reference tsunami they did later. It was also a lot more mysterious, and the main plot was better.
      Of course, it is also very very small in comparison, and Fallout 2 has a lot more content.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Its a good thing that(while very good)main plot wasnt the strongest part of original.And fallout 2 does deliver in the huge sandbox department.

        1. eri says:

          Yeah, it’s kind of funny that Fallout is constantly referenced as one of the best role-playing games ever, yet it actually has a pretty piss-poor storyline. You can play the entire game several times and never figure it out, and it relies entirely on you piecing it together based on a few random conversations and artifacts. The approach sounds great, until you realise that the side-effect is it has pretty much nothing to do with you at all.

          1. tremor3258 says:

            That… sounds a lot like how you actually save the day in Star Control 2 (another old, beloved, game with a…. I’ll be kind, ‘disputed’ sequel) Though most of the changes besides the big time-limit one are the Captain’s doing.

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            But that is the whole point.I dont know when role playing became a synonym for storytelling.Sure,some role playing games can have pretty nice stories,but that doesnt mean every role playing game should be just about the story.Fallout is an excellent role playing game because you have so many options,and no matter which you choose,you can have fun with it.

          3. Tizzy says:

            There wasn’t much of a plot, but to me that fit well with the post-apocalypse idea: everything is out there to be discovered and rebuilt, and it’s up to you to decide what to do.

            My copy of the game was bundled with BG1, I had never heard of it, and I was really surprised how quickly I was drawn into the atmosphere (and humor) of the game.

    3. Khizan says:

      I prefer Fallout II just because it solved several of the horrendous UI issues that Fallout I had. If I had a dollar for everytime one of my Fallout I party members followed me into a tight spot and necessitated a reload because they wouldn’t move and I couldn’t shove them…

      1. Sekundaari says:

        I was reluctant to search every room because of that threat. Another “favorite”: New things going to the bottom of my inventory. No fast scrolling either, I recall.

      2. acronix says:

        And don´t forget the fact that you couldn´t give them stuff to hold in their inventories, because they would ask you <bsomething of similar value when you wanted those things back. Of course, the workaround was to stole them…

    4. ehlijen says:

      I mainly preferred fallout 2 because it didn’t have a hard time limit. I know the 150 days thing wasn’t actually that tight, but I still never felt as though I truly had time to explore in the first game.

      1. acronix says:

        Only for the first part of the game. After retrieving the McGuffin, the time limit was gone and you were free to explore at leisure. It was hard to get in time in the first playtrough, however, if you went to “explory”.

        1. TSED says:

          Mmmmmm not true.

          I doubt you really want to reinstall and re-play the game just to find out what happens if you take forever, but… Yeah, just go look it up. It’s not timeless after the fact.

  17. DrinkingWithSkeletons says:

    I am an unabashed Neverwinter Nights 2 fanboy. It had some bugs, but I can’t think of any other game that sucked me in so much. What I really want to see is Obsidian’s ambition. Both expansions for NWN2 drastically altered the formula, with admittedly mixed results. Mask of the Betrayer had a fantastic story and a simple enchanting system, while Storm of Zehir had a barely-conscious story but almost perfect gameplay. Obsidian may screw up frequently, but I’ve never felt that they were just rehashing anything, even their own work.

    New Vegas may very well suck, but I’m confidant that it will at least be a unique, laudable form of suck.

    1. acronix says:

      I hated Storm of Zehyr because, after installing it, it broke up the toolset with constant crashes, error messages, etc, and then finished corrupting a mod I was working on.

      However, I´m confident New Vegas will be a can of horrible bugs, but it will have a better plot (or will make it less pedantic) and will be certainly a lot more roleplayable (with speech being useful instead of being only for “Give me more money for this quest!” )

  18. Allan says:

    “It won't be until you enter the third act and you crash to the desktop with a pop-up ad selling the DLC that contains the rest of the game that you'll realize that once again, you've been had.”

    What is this a reference to? It seems more like BioWare and their infamous Warden’s Keep guy in DA:O rather than the nice men who made Neverwinter Nights somewhat good for me(Well, I remember you weren’t too pleased with it, but compared to the first? The Aurora Engine tech demo? Compared to that it was awesome)

    1. Shamus says:

      The fact that KOTOR was buggy as hell, and the fact that you needed to but the expansion for NWN2 to get rid of the offensively idiotic “rocks fall, everyone dies” thing.

      1. tremor3258 says:

        Hey, that just means Obsidian was ahead of the curve, then.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        To be fair,the original nwn was pretty dull,but hordes of the underdark was an amazing expansion.Not to mention how many excellent fan made mods,scenarios and campaigns there are for it.

        1. acronix says:

          Modding Community to the Rescue! Very Bethesdic, if you ask me. Though they got better on HotU, I agree.
          And the MC didn´t need to come with an unnoficial patch…

        2. Joshua says:

          All of the original NWN modules weren’t that great, but they were more just demos for how to make mods yourself than anything else. When I played the OC for NWN the first time, I thought it was a rather lackluster game. When I played it again after having messed around with the toolset and designed modules, it comes off as a lot more clear- they’re showing off how to do little bitty things here and there, despite the fact that it bogs the story down in that module.

      3. guy says:

        Actually, the ending for NWN2 was the one that they’d been planning on the entire time, though they ran out of money to voice-act it.

  19. X2-Eliah says:

    I’m rather curious as to whether Obsidian will take New Vegas to be a more main-quest-centric story that Fallout 3 was (possibly going by their previous game tracks, which focused first and foremost on main quest railings), or turn to the more free-form ‘world playground’ thing that Bethesda has been doing in their TES series, and to a lesser extent, Fallout 3.

    I, for one, would like the latter, because quite frankly I loathe games that force you into doing this quest after that in just these three ways – without any hope to forget about it and do some exploring on your own.. A notable example, Dragon Age. Heavy emphasis on the story and almost no true sidequests. Grail for some, a set-back for me.
    Then again, the type of RPGs DA:O mimicked was always a constrained railroad with limited branches. Fallout 3 was not much of that. Let’s see what happens with NW.

    P.S. I’m thinking that with an ‘open world’ concept Obsidian can leave more bugs in the game, as they won’t be truly game-stopping. I mean, if a main quest locks up in, say, NWN, that’s it, game paused until fix. In something like TES, you shrug and go do something else.

    1. acronix says:

      Besides, they know the community will probably show up with an unnoficial patch this time too.

  20. Jonathan says:

    Fallout 2 was not very buggy at all…. I actually prefer it to Fallout 1 because it’s longer and has more “toys” and things to do.

    KOTOR2 is guilty as charged, though

    1. eri says:

      You sure you tried doing all the side-quests? Were you playing it patched, officially or unofficially? At release, it was quite the mess.

      1. Jonathan says:

        I started playing it in 2002 or 2003, so patched…

  21. Zukhramm says:

    I really enjoyed KotOR II, yep, even the ending. Maybe I’m just dumb, maybe it was because I kept hearing from people how bad it was, but I just don’t see how its worse than the ending in the first game, which was just “You save the galaxy congratulations” or “You conquer the galaxy congratulations”.

    I’ve been thinking about playing Fallout 3, but knowing New Vegas will have Obsidian working on it, I decided to wait. Even if it’s bad, it’ll be better than with Bethesda. I hope.

    1. ehlijen says:

      The difference is that the first KOTOR never really pretended to do anything but follow the standard fairy tale plot course.

      The hero grows up and beats the bad guy. Optionally, he becomes the new bad guy because choice is apparently in in computer games.

      It even had the not quite deathstar for you to blow up.

      The sequel on the other hand boldly tried to paint a completely new picture of what the force, jedi and sith were. The story was about characters discovering their place in the universe rather than one bad guy being out to commit Evil (TM). It had a guy like that, but defeating him actually turns out to be little more than a side quest.

      It is disappointing because in the end, many of the subplots are just dropped and while, by collecting info over several playthroughs, you can piece together what was meant to happen, it never really tells you the whole story.

      It’s not that it was bad, but that it could have been so much better.

      1. Joe says:

        I actually really liked the as-written ending for KoTOR II. (That’s right, I dug through the internet and figured out what they had to cut.) Unfortunately, they cut just enough of it to make the little details (and some not-so-little ones) not work. The as-published ending left me with too many questions. I’d especially like to know What the Heck happened to Bao-Dur? Not the remote, the dude with the electrofist. And HK-47. What happened to him? And G0-T0. What the heck happened to these guys. They even left in a cutscene for the eventual final confrontation between G0-T0/HK-47/Remote. That was cut from the plot. Which left a big immersion-breaking “What the hell?” feeling. KoTOR felt more complete, but KoTOR 2 had the potential to be so much better, and (imho) was, except for all the cut things from the ending.

        1. Zukhramm says:

          (Ok, I reply ages after anyone stopped reading these comments three weeks is fifteen years in internet time!)

          I do agree with both of you, but at the same time when I finished the game, I did not think of it that much. It would have been so much better to see all the characters get a scene on Malachor V, or, since not all of them didn’t get one, vut the one with Mira and Hanharr, and the remote an Goto aswell I think none would have been better than some.

          But in the end, I got to talk to Kreia, and then leave, and I was satisfied with that. Maybe because I knew beforehand that the ending was supposedly terrible.

  22. Bobknight says:

    “Bethesda strenghts like roleplaying and engaging dialogue”

    ahahahahahahahaha. Thats the funniest line I’ve heard all week. kudos.

  23. guy says:

    You have insulted fallout 2. That was not nice

  24. Urfe says:

    Wow. Hard to believe that Shamus’ forums have turned into a gathering place for the whining, bitter, bottom-feeders of the gaming world. Fallout 3 is a great game. Sure it has some flaws, but the game rocks. The story is good, and the dialogue is fine. You guys are really stretching for something to gripe about if you have to complain about those two elements (and I suspect you don’t really understand what you’re griping about anyway, just repeating tired complaints you’ve heard elsewhere).

    My advice for you “comicbook guys” is to watch this video, remember why it is that you secretly love Fallout3, then go outside, get some sunshine, and try to put your emotions back in perspective.

    1. GoodApprentice says:

      I think a lot of us here do really like Fallout3, but I hear what you’re saying. By the way, that video rocks balls!

    2. Shamus says:

      This is a common charge in an argument when people don’t care about what the other person wants.

      Critic: “This doesn’t have enough X.”

      Fanboy: “I care nothing for X, therefore you’re just looking for reasons to complain.”

      It doesn’t work that way. You’re not going to convince people they like Fallout by telling them they’re wrong for liking things you don’t like. This is particularly risible when you obviously haven’t even bothered to figure out what it is that they want from the game and why it disappointed them.

      And calling people bottom-feeders is just asking to start a flamewar.

      The question you need to ask yourself is: Why do you care so much? Why does it make you angry that someone doesn’t like a game you like, to the point where you feel the need to dismiss every single thing they’ve said?

      Fallout 3 is a radically different game from its predecessors. Certainly you can envision a person that likes one and not the other?

      1. DrinkingWithSkeletons says:

        I have to agree; I think the fact that you’re doing a whole playthrough of the game should show that there’s something you liked about Fallout 3, even if you had complaints.

        Earlier I mentioned that I’m a Neverwinter Nights 2 fan. That’s true, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some deathly serious issues with the series. The kind of conversation in which two or more people discuss their likes and dislikes about a game is invariably polarizing, even though most people are going to fall along a spectrum of “like” to “dislike.”

        1. ehlijen says:

          Not neccessarily. It’s also possible that he’s trying to like it for the potential he sees, but can’t because the problems keep getting in the way.

          At the end of the day, the game dissappointed not just because it’s not what many people wanted, but because it could have been if it had tried just a little harder.

      2. Soylent Dave says:

        The same argument applies to a lot of the anti-Fallout 3 tirades up there, Shamus.

        While there are certainly flaws (large and small) in Fallout 3, a significant proportion of the problem people (in your comments thread) have with it is that ‘it is different to Fallout 1 & 2’.

        And different is always bad.

        The same thing is going to crop up with New Vegas – if it’s similar to Fallout 3, then the 1 & 2 fans will hate it; if it’s more in line (stylistically or otherwise) with 1 & 2 then the 3 fans will hate it.

        1. krellen says:

          My criticisms can be summed up as “it’s different”, if you’re being unfair. A more fair depiction would be “it’s not the experience I was sold to expect by having the name ‘Fallout’ on the cover.”

          Making something different is fine. Different can be good. Taking something different, slapping an old name with a new number on it, and telling people it’s the successor of the old thing is wrong. It’s lying. It’s misleading. It’s downright dishonest.

          Bethesda made only the briefest of efforts to try to make their game true to the Fallout name, mostly by plastering signs all over their post-apocalyptic game stating “See this here? This is Fallout. You like Fallout, right?”

          Had this been “Bethesda’s Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland: the Fathering”, I would have been blithely able to write it off as yet another Bethesda game I probably wouldn’t like, just like the Elder Scrolls, and everyone that liked Fallout 3 would still like it just as much. Why call it Fallout 3 if you’re not going to try to be like Fallout?

          1. Roll-a-die says:

            And even then you run into people like me who played Arena(decent) then Daggerfall(Awesome) then Morrowind(Still awesome just for different reasons) and then look at something like Oblivion and go “Beth when did you lose your focus. You used to be excellent at CRAFTING ACTUAL WORLDS that felt like worlds not Cardboard box Tolkienist Fantasy.” The thing is it’s OVER simplified. You could start to see it simplifying in Morrowind when they cut out thaumaturgy, the language skills, and reduced the actual stealth skills down to 2(sneak and security), the VAST reduction of game world size, the lack of holidays, the the changes to the character generation system. But Oblivion took that simplification to a level that’s just under Thanatos. I like the game, as a game, and let me stress that, it’s a decent game. But it’s not an elder scrolls game. Just as Fallout 3 is not a Fallout game. I want you to picture this OP, you have a dog and you walk home one day, to find that dog has been shot and hastily skinned and burried in your backyard and a dog of similar coloring, but a different breed and demeanor of YOUR dog is sitting looking for you to give it food. Oh, and it’s wearing the skin of your old dog. Then, when you put food down for it hoping for the best, IT TEARS A FUCKING CHUNK OUT OF YOUR ARM. That is the reaction Fallout gamers and true TES gamers get when they play Fallout 3 or Oblivion.

            Daggerfall, to this day, remains my favorite unmodded RPG, simply for it’s DEPTH. You could lose YEARS of your life and still not see the entirety of the game world. It’s landmass scale felt like something real, an actual country to explore. Even morrowind felt like a shock to me it was a good shock though. Because they had kept at least some of the uniqueness. The LORE above all else, stood out in Morrowind, while the world stood out in Daggerfall. Oblivion is like an amalgam of the two, to go back to the animal reference and further beat it to death, playing through oblivion, is like watching someone take your two cats, chop off limbs and remove organs from either of them, and then attempt to bring that pile of discarded DEAD FLESH TO LIFE. It’s almost sickening to see. They kept most of the lore that made Morrowind great, but failed to innovate upon it like Morrowind had to Daggerfall, then they put back in daggerfalls fast travel system, only to fail to make it necessary by increasing the scale of the world.

            EDIT now to bring this back to fallout and how it’s relevent I think I’ll just say this, Fallout 1 was about a post apocalypse world displayed in a mostly serious tone, Fallout 2 hit the silly button a few times to it’s detriment at the hand of the fans, with Fallout 3 bethesda rammed down HARD on the silly button at least a hundred times and come out on the far side of retarded. It’s like in cartoons, where the kids get a trenchcoat and stand on each others shoulders and attempt to get somewhere only adults are allowed. That’s what it feels like. The writing is horrendous, the EVIL slavers are taken so far into the extreme that they come off as more ridiculous than actual evil, disregarding their actions. What woulda been fun and actual good writing is if they removed all bad references to paradise falls, with people trying to get there because they “heard it was better there” and then in the main quest when you finally get there, there’s an outer facade to the camp/park, which is staffed by stockholm syndrome victims who maintain the outer facade and lure people further in, then the slavers themselves, dressed sharply, make you pay 100 caps to get further in. When you finally get in you see the camp that’s in the game. And the quest proceeds as normal. But instead bethesda went for “HURR HURR SLAVERS ARE EVIL” Yes they are, but true evil is insidious, it lies and waits, it lures you too it, it doesn’t chase after you.

            For the relative seriousness I would prefer in a fallout game watch this it was made in FO3 so you could likely enjoy it too.

    3. acronix says:

      Define how the “story is good”. I think we, fallout 3 bashers, can give you plenty of reasons of why the plot is not good. However, since you are just saying “it is good, not bad, like you say. So you are therefore wrong!” I ask you politely to give the reasons that lay under the statement “the story is good, the dialogue is fine”, because, for the way you said it, you believe that those reasons are evident on theirselves, and we are just stupid for not noticing.

      So, clarification, please!

  25. Urfe says:

    A bottom-feeder finds his sustenance through griping agressively in every comment they post and copping a superior attitude that’s based on criticizing the works of others. They also like to “feed” in forums where people are trying to talk about games in a positive or neutral manner.

    Shamus, if someone doesn’t like Fallout3 because they prefer a different style of game, that’s fine, I can totally respect that, they should just not gripe away incessantly at people who do like that type of game (and why are they posting here anyway?). What bothers me most though, is that a few of the posters here have obviously put a huge amount of time into playing Fallout3 and know it very well. Yet, they act like the game has no redeeming qualities and is a big pile of crap that isn’t worth playing. It doesn’t quite add up.

    I like this site because it is usually filled with humorous, insightful comments and criticisms, but the Fallout3 content seems to bring out the worst in a lot of people who resort to using absolutes when they post. It gets to be very negative and tiring.

    1. SatansBestBuddy says:

      Can I argue with you about this? I’m gonna argue with you about this.

      One, comments are not full on reviews; somebody saying a certain part of the game sucks doesn’t mean they hate the entire game, it’s means that part of the game sucks and they felt like saying that, while they forgot to mention all the things they like about the game because they’re not going into huge amounts of detail.

      Two, opinions change; play through a game once, and you’ll think it’s the greatest thing ever, but then play through it again and you’ll find that the minor flaws are getting harder to ignore, the choices you make are leading you into less interesting and more stilted storytelling, and you’re maybe running into more bugs and having a harder time in fights.

      The great thing about games is that you never go through the exact same game twice, and with a game like Fallout 3, where you have so many choices, that leads to no two playthroughs of the game being the same, some being better than others.

      Three, I have yet to see a complaint or criticism of the game here that isn’t perfectly legitimate, though I have seen a few that go a bit overboard.

    2. krellen says:

      I played through Fallout 3 because I don’t get a lot of games of my style to play at all, I need a break from MMOing once in a while, and I got suckered in by the fact that it said “Fallout 3” and I thought it might have some passing resemblance to the games I played before.

      I remember details because I have a really good memory.

    3. acronix says:

      I think the problem is, that you treat Fallout 3 as an standalone game. That is to say, that you “don´t consider” (hope you excuse my lack of words) that either Fallotu 1 or 2 existed. Because of that, you had no experience of what the “Fallout” name implied. You see Fallout 3 as a new game, a different thing, and the fact that it is called Fallout 3 is irrelevant. We disagree with that point of view.
      As Krellen said above (not right above, but above) the major problem is that they stuck the “Fallout 3” and then remade the fallout world at their leisure, making it into “Apocalypstic Sandbox Game, the Game!” with a lot of references of stuff that were in the original Fallouts. It was promising to have resemblances to the originals, only for having that name, and we know Bethesda “was trying” to make it look like fallout. And there´s the problem: they tried to make it look like fallout, not to be a fallout game. They made a good ambient, sure, but they forgot to put the Fallout essence. Instead they shout at the player a bunch of stuff that come from the other games (this is what makes it “look like fallout” without being fallout):

      “Look, Nuka Cola! And over there´s the Enclave! And beyond that is a Super Mutant, and a Ghoul! Oh…and on the other side is a Brotherhood of Steel knight! Look, robobrains! And look, Harold is here too! How can this be not Fallout?”

      It´s similar to shouting randomly at passerbys “Look I have Dave glasses! Therefore, I am Dave!” forgeting that Dave is not just made of his glasses.

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        Then again, I (and everyone else) could argue that any game should be enjoyable as a stand-alone as well as a sequel. As I played F3 through as a stand-alone game, I’m not burdened by this terrible, terrible expectation of it being mint-perfect successor – and it was a decent game, with it’s flaws. Same could be said for Morrowind against Oblivion, I guess.

        Also, for a slightly more offensive jab at the ribs, I am not really certain what is meant by ‘essence’. If you mean the turn-based top-down gameplay, well it is quite obvious that with current technologies, it is simply not an option.. Atmosphere – isn’t that made by all the ‘props’ you mentioned?

        I any case, It’s quite obvious that with a different developer, you will get a different vision of what the game is about. Fallout 3 is Bethesda’s vision of what a sequel to the two Fallouts should have been. Let’s see what Obsidian has to deliver on this, but don’t forget, that NV is a successor to F3, not F2/1.

        1. krellen says:

          Can we please stop with this claim that turn-based is a technology choice? Civilisation runs on the most modern of 3D engines and maintains a turn-based game-play, because turn-based is the choice they made for Civilisation. Older games that were turn-based were not turn-based because the technology limited them (the oldest video games are, invariably, real-time, for crying out loud!), but because turn-based was the game-play choice made for them.

          Nothing about current technology requires games to be real time. Nothing requires them to be first-person. Nothing requires them to be shooters – except for you bottom-feeders that can’t accept any other type of game existing.

          1. Avilan says:

            The “problem” here is twofold:

            1. A wast majority of players prefers their RPGs both 1st person perspective and real time. A slightly smaller percentage would accept either or. To think that a top down, turn based RPG would be making a profit big enough to satisfy the owners of the company making the game is highly unrealistic.

            To think that Van Buren would not have had NMA members Hating it Beyond Reason is also very optimisic. The problem with the “Glittering Gems of Hatred” is that they would only accept a game that is an identical clone of FO1, only different… Heck, I remember fights on that site before FO3 (Van Buren) was talked about first time between lovers of FO1 and FO2; since there was so much change in Canon between the two.

            2. I, for one, find that the 1st person perspective gives me roughly 100000000% more “feeling” for the game world than a top down perspective. I would accept the whole Top Down Turn Based thing if the alternative was no game at all, but at the same time the attitude on that site makes me want to buy more copies of FO3 just to spite their FanDum-ness.

            1. krellen says:

              1. Citation needed. You can’t claim players prefer one option over another when they are never given a choice.
              2. Opinion.

            2. Roll-a-die says:

              1. True, but remember for each platform fallout 3 was on it sold around three million copies each IIRC with half to a full million deviation for the PS3. On PURELY Personal Computing platforms Civ 4 sold 6 million copies. So that comes out to six million for civ on 2 platforms(PC and Mac) while fallout 3 sold nine million of 3 platforms. Seems they sold about the same, in respect to platforms.

              2(Indeed because the NMA point is completely separate from the point above). To say NMA or RPGCodex or Duck and Cover or Terra Arcanum wouldn’t complain is like saying you don’t go pee daily. We live to complain and compare old to new, and most times old comes out ahead, but in rare cases(The Witcher and Risen primarily) new can come out ahead. But what they wouldn’t be saying is that, essentially, “Fallout 3 perverted all that was good about the Fallout series, the writing, the ambiance, the atmosphere, the music, the gameplay. And turned it into a steaming pile of horse shit.” Because from what we saw, van buran was doing a VERY good job at keeping fallout, fallout.

              3. Given that that is purely preference I will counter with a preference of my own. I like any perspective as long as it’s done WELL. Take Thief for instance, Thief is the best first person game I’ve ever played, bar none. The movement controls felt right, sure they took up nine keys, but in those nine keys you had walk forward, run forward, walk backwards, 2 turning keys, 2 strafing keys, 2 leaning keys. Moving was also felt right, as you walked your body bobbed up and down, and you ran you bobbed faster, if you crouched and walked, you would go through the slow process of moving a foot forward, and then putting your weight upon it. It looked and felt like you were actually walking.

              But, that’s not to say all of the good old games are without criticism. So I will list some of the flaws of popular old games. Then follow up on what made them GOOD. Then I will list some of what is bad about their sequels then I will counter with what is good.

              Fallout 1
              Slow Combat
              Harsh setting maybe unappealing to some
              Combat was crap
              now for some of what was good.
              Realistic environs
              Believable writing and characters
              Harsh setting
              Freedom of choice

              fallout 2
              what was bad
              Over the top pop culture references
              combat was crap
              Combat centrism
              what was good
              Freedom of choice

              things that were bad
              Sneaking made no sense, how can he not see me as I stand on this bench not two feet away cloaked in darkness.
              Combat on higher levels is impossible, as is fleeing. Once an enemy has seen you they can seem to hone in on your exact position.
              voice acting
              Things that were good
              OH MY GOD level design, so many different was to get through a level, so many choices on how to avoid or incapacitate guards.
              Voice acting when it was good it was excellent, when it was bad it made your ears bleed.
              Graphical styling.
              A decent tutorial. That explains just enough to get you moving while not saying allot about the advanced techniques.

              Thief 2
              second verse same as the first

              Deus Ex
              what was bad
              an often seemingly kudzu plot,
              Mostly linear progression of the main plot.
              Uninspired combat and repetitive enemies.
              Arbitrary non-linearity at the end of the game.
              Standard ARGH I R EVILE cookie cutter main villains
              What was good
              Depth of detail in the universe
              Choice that means something, even if it is mainly just illusions of choice.
              Repeatability it can keep you entertained for AT LEAST 4 play through’s.
              Side lore and quests
              Emergent gameplay.
              Large levels with at least 4 paths through each

              Now for the sequels

              Deus Ex Invisible War
              what was a bad
              An ACTUAL kudzu plot
              unfocused story leading to many plot holes
              One ammo type for everything
              Largely linear level design with a few gems.
              What was good
              STARTLINGLY nonlinear story
              More real choice
              Verdict good/decent game, not as good as it’s predecessor

              Thief:DS(Haven’t really played this one that much, because last time I tried to play it my GFX card gave out so it will be shorter)
              What was bad
              City Segments
              What was good
              Thiefy feel was captured

              Verdict, good game once again not as good as it’s prequels

              Fallout 3
              What was bad
              kudzu plot
              kudzu characters
              lack of moral systems relevance
              lack of faction/regional standing systems that were standard in Fallout 1 and 2
              lack of harder/better third choice in most quests
              what was good
              OK OK fine
              Hilariously bad writing

              Verdict, shit, doesn’t in anyway what so ever seem relate to fallout 1 and 2 beyond the superficial.

              1. acronix says:

                I´ll have to disagree in Fallout 3´s good part. I think they made the atmosphere well, even though it didn´t make sense if compared to previous fallouts. It truly felt desolated and apocalyptic…if you ignored the large ammount of enemies rampagin on the landscape, the giant flies that decide to attack you, the over population of raiders, the lack of farms or mines or any other thing that would feed the populace of the different (2) towns…now that I think about it, you are right, not even that is good enough.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  The thing about fallout 3 was that it has an excellent beginning.The first time you exit the vault it just pulls you right in.Its so immersive.However,then you continue,and the illusion is broken forever.While in the first 2 the illusion was always there.Yes,it was not first person,but it had such a feel of a desolate wasteland that never went away.It manages to do so much more with so much less.Thats why 1 and 2 are gems,and 3 is crap.

                2. Roll-a-die says:

                  For me it was ruined when I shot Jonas and dad into unconsciousness and they woke up and went right back to what they were doing. Or the fact that I couldn’t lay the beating on Butch at the party, or the forced foreshadowing right after you create your character and are in the vault. It’s like dad comes in and you a whole I FEEL THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER, type thing. Honestly Liam Neeson is the best thing about the game. His voice makes me horny and I’m a guy.

        2. Roll-a-die says:

          Non, by atmosphere he means the combo of genuinely good writing(IE not the drivel Bethesda shat out), the general ambient noise, the background music and the setting. Good atmosphere should knock you off the seat of your pant’s in horror if it’s intended that way. For instance a complementary atmosphere expanding/improving mod for FO3 is Existence2.0. Go through paradise falls with the default radio playing “I, don’t, want, to, set, the worrrrllld onn fie-er. I, just want, to staaart, a flame in your har ar art.” Then go through it with that mod. See which one moves/affects you the most you the most. Hell, GAMEPLAY, can effect atmosphere. Fallout 3 and Oblivion are FAR too easy, this removes tension. Now go install FWE for Fallout or OOO for oblivion. Suddenly conflict gets your heart going, you start to worry more about each situation. You start to contemplate whether you actually want to attack those super mutants. You start to wonder whether you can make it through a given dungeon.

          What Bethesda did is basically strip out the interesting elements of fallout, for instance WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE TRIBALS? Why are there only 2 cities and a tower with decent shops. They basically said “Oh it’s fifties you like fities, Roight. Greasers, people with Irish accents, Kookie DJ’s, crazy shopkeep who should likely be dead, fifties busses, fifties billboards, fifties items.” They failed to realize that yes Fallout was set in a time when cultural development stopped in the fifties, but it wasn’t “all fifties all the time.” You had the tribals, you had the BoS, You had NCR, you had the enclave(which by the way was supposedly killed off in fallout 2). They brought all of the bar NCR back but made them fifties-style. Or perverted their purposes. Or resorted to outright necromancy, once again the enclave are supposed to be dead, it’s like if they brought back the master in fallout 2. It irritates the people who played the originals. HEY I FUCKING WIPED THOSE GUYS OUT WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY STILL AROUND. I’m going to stop before this turns into an outright flame, the point is BOTH PARTIES ARE RIGHT! Ram that through your head right now. We have a legitimate reason to complain.

          So now I’m going to list a few plot holes. I got mutated by moira right, I took the evil end, why the fuck am I not dead when Broken steal rolls around. How does Moira survive a concussive blast of a nuke. More over how does she survive the heat wave that rolls out after it without disintegrating. How are ghouls even here, their supposed to be failed FEV mutants. Why the fuck is there basically NO consequence to BLOWING UP A FUCKING CITY. Why is there no consequence to enslaving people.

          1. krellen says:

            Dang, Roll-a-die. I’m supposed to be the angry fanboy around here. Go fire up Daggerfall and enjoy some good game for a while. :D

          2. X2-Eliah says:

            And now a completely honest question. If Fallout 3 is supposed to be the immature and ridiculous offshot of Fallouts 1 and 2 – who were, allegedly ‘mature and perfect’ games – then why are both of the earlier games defended in such a relatively immature way?

            As for turn-based not being an option, I’d say that with current market trends, a top-down AND turn-based game would experience very few sales. Furthermore, Fallout 3 was made by Bethesda, who have from the get-go been making first person, real-time games. Bethesda’s engine of choice does require the game to be the way it is.

            1. Roll-a-die says:

              Because I am an immature person myself. And I’m not saying they don’t have immature moments. I’m just saying that they are far better WRITTEN than anything Bethesda has in Fallout 3. Maturity has nothing to do with quality of writing. As to your last point that the engine choice necessitated it. You know civ 4, yeah, the turn-based, top down, strategy game made by firaxis, that’s on the same engine as fallout 3 and oblivion. Gamebryo. Other games on gamebryo include, Divine Divinity 2 ego draconis, warhammer online, dark age of Camelot, bully, empire earth 2, playboy the mansion game, loki, blood bowl and more. Do try to put a bit more effort into researching your claims first, chump. Furthermore, do also note that pre-elder scroll Bethesda made premier 2d sports games.

            2. krellen says:

              Considering that my previous comment mentioned a top-selling top-down, turn-based game, you clearly don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

            3. acronix says:

              Have nothing much to add to what Roll-a-die said, except that we don´t consider Fallout 1 & 2 to be “mature and perfect”. I recall Krellen pointed out some of the horrid things about Fallout 2: the combat-centricism, the horrid tutorial in which you could die if you weren´t lucky enough, the excesive ammount of pop culture references, the can of bugs…

              Also, I´d say that Fallout 3 writting is crap because it looks like fan fiction: the author imposed their avatars and their “groovy” characters, and then the reader/player has to see how awesome they are. You can´t say you are making the next book in The Lord of The Rings (let´s think that Tolkien himself left you with that job) and then ignore everything you dislike about the other books. Could you say your book was “happening in Middle Earth” when you ressurrected Sauron, made hobbits cannibals, elfs vampires and made Aragorn make hara kiri just because?

              Oh yeah, and the cannibal hobbits are good!

              1. Roll-a-die says:

                That’s an insult to fanfiction. I can name at least ten that are better written than Fallout 3.

                1. guy says:

                  There’s thousands that have worse writing, which are the ones that people indirectly imply when making derogatory references to fanfiction.

                2. Roll-a-die says:

                  I know I’m just making the distinction that the good ones are VERY good. The bad ones are VERY bad.

            4. Andrew says:

              Actually, I believe Fallout 3 marks one of the first times Bethesda has ever reused an engine. Every Elder Scrolls title was made on a different one (not sure about the first two though- correct me if I’m wrong).

              Everything Bethesda titles have in common with the original Fallout titles- story, world building, characters, dialogue- the original titles did better. Everything else was done differently, so comparisons between them are largely a matter of taste. As for maturity: as a socially inept pre-adolescent halfwit, Fallout 2 was probably one of the only games I simply couldn’t figure out. “Adult” wasn’t just its rating; it was the games’ target audience. There are precious few titles out there that can make a similar claim.

              1. Roll-a-die says:

                Eh, Battlespire, Daggerfall and Redguard(I think) are all on the x-ngine. Morrowind, Oblivion and FO3 are all on different versions of Gamebryo or it’s predecessor netimmerse. They are about due for an engine change.

                Yep, I agree completely with the second point, so many moments in FO3 were just screaming “THIS IS MEANT TO APPEAL TO A 13-16 YEAR OLD.”

  26. Josh says:

    I just came in to say that, while I love Fallou 1 and 2, the second one is clearly superior. That is my humble opinion. As far as Fallout 3 is concerned, after hearing about the changes, I decided I would never play it.

    1. Joe says:

      I would recommend at least giving it a shot. It isn’t anything like the first 2. At all. And depending on your opinion of them, not nearly as good. That said, you can have a lot of fun with it. And the atmosphere (despite what some say) isn’t in any stretch of the word bad. It’s very different, and probably shouldn’t have been called a Fallout game because of it. That said, it isn’t complete shit. If you can find it for a decent price, then go ahead and fire it up. If you have no fun with it whatsoever, then I will personally* give you your money back.

      *This sentence is an endorsement of the moderate-decent nature of the game, and not a binding financial agreement.

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