Eurogamer: Did the decision have anything to do with the experience Obsidian had creating Fallout: New Vegas, which had well-documented technical problems?
Rich Taylor: Stability and being bug free are extremely high priorities on this project, and we actually talk about it internally constantly. The advantage here we have over, for example Fallout, is when we have a question about how something works, I walk 10 feet outside my office door and go talk to the programmer who wrote it.
That's a lot different than trying to get someone on a mailing list, or get someone on the phone who's in a different time zone or across the country. Those sort of things have made it possible for us to stabilise things and keep things working as well as we like.
It's really made a difference on the development of this project. We've been running on consoles on the 360 and the PlayStation pretty much throughout the length of the project, so we've been staying within memory budgets, mindful of performance issues. So there's no last minute, oh, does this actually run on the PS3? Or, are we stable on the 360?
We actually had one of our internal tools developers spend a lot of time engineering crash reporting into the engine so internally, literally when anyone runs into a crash the game will shut down, it will generate a report, it will provide a stack dump and it will put it into a database, and we can be very diligent about tracking those things and solving them.
So we actually almost never have mystery crashes where we're just stumped. That's a common thing that can plague games in development. It's like, well, we don't know why it crashed. It only happens in QA, or it only happens on non-programmer machines.
Here we have the advantage of, no matter who runs into a crash issue, we're able to get it up on the screen with a stack dump and look at it and peel back the information on it, and identify exactly what happened and get it fixed. That's been a change.
We also just recently finished introducing a memory utility that shows us what's going on in memory at all times on the consoles. We can see where our memory is going. If we're seeing a problem area we can immediately pull up some charts and spreadsheets and it will show us exactly where it is and we can go balance the numbers to fit within the console memory limitations.
Eurogamer: Do gamers complain too much about videogame stability, crashes and bugs?
Rich Taylor: Well, no one wants to run into a crash. We're gamers, too. I certainly go home and like to play other games that are out there. And when you run into a crash and it disrupts your experience, that's not fun for anyone. We understand that. That's why as the project director on this game I'm very militant about us addressing the crashes and memory issues.
Eurogamer: I experienced crashes on Fallout: New Vegas on my Xbox 360.
Rich Taylor: Ah. That's unfortunate.
Eurogamer: That's why I save in multiple save slots.
Rich Taylor: Yeah, that's always the best thing to do. But yeah, we've actually run into the same thing. It's not like we take home a copy that doesn't crash. Any problems consumers are running into we have the same problem when we go home and play it. And we understand no one wants that. So yeah, we're very serious about taking this project in a direction that emphasises stability. We want everything to come across very polished. That's one of our major focuses here.