Live Fallout 3 interview Finished
Bethesda Softworks' one-man vocal chord, Pete Hines, has been answering your questions about Fallout 3 since 4pm GMT.
Thank you very much to Pete Hines for taking part, and also to all of you who submitted questions. Apologies to those whose queries were not answered, and for whoever asked what the air speed velocity of a swallow was; the entries were as entertaining as ever!
What follows is the full transcript of the Fallout 3 live text interview with Pete Hines. The earliest questions and answers are at the top.
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
Super Moderating Hero: First things first, Pete, could you give our readers a little background on who you are and what you do at Bethesda, please?
Pete Hines: Sure. My name is Pete Hines from Bethesda Softworks. I'm the VP of PR and Marketing for Bethesda Softworks and I also serve as the product manager for The Elder Scrolls games Morrowind and Oblivion, as well as Fallout 3. I've been at Bethesda for nine years.
Super Moderating Hero: What's your reaction to the hearty critical applause for Fallout 3? And how unsure were you about reception - particularly from die-hard series fans - before launch?
Pete: We're never really sure what to expect, to be honest. There's a bit of holding your breath and crossing your fingers and see what happens. We felt like we'd done everything we could at that point. We're obviously very pleased that the game has been received well by critics and fans. People really seem to be enjoying it, which is always the main thing.
What did Liam Neeson have to say about the finished game?
Pete Hines: I don't think he's had a chance to play it yet. We were hoping he could come to the launch party in LA but he's been busy working/shooting. I'll let you know when I hear from him.
Will the PS3 version receive Trophy support in the future?
Pete Hines: It's going to happen, just not sure when. We'll let folks know when we have something more definitive.
Fallout 3 has trumped Oblivion first-week sales despite being restricted to a smaller age-bracket. Has this changed your outlook at all - are you more likely to follow the same mature (18+) path with future projects?
Pete Hines: Honestly, it's not something we think a lot about. We just make the game we want to make with the content we think it appropriate for it, and the rest sorts itself out. If you look at sales and rankings charts, generally speaking most of the games at the top of those lists are "mature" anyway, and that 18+ audience is generally the one we're after for games like these anyway.
Is there going to be a crossover of any ideas used in Fallout 3 when your developing the next in the Elder Scrolls series? Such as using a similar system to VATS for combat?
Pete Hines: Oh I have no idea what may or may not translate over. VATS is something specifically designed for Fallout 3. We try to treat them as their own things as they're very different kinds of games. Fallout 3 hasn't even been out for a week, I'm not emotionally prepared to start thinking about the next giant game yet.
Will there be a patch to add southpaw controls for the left-handed people out there? And what about a fix for the various PC niggles?
Pete Hines: Well on the 360 the console itself actually handles that. You change it in your control options, so we don't bother doing it in the game. I'll have to check on how PS3 works.
As far as fixes, there's a PC update coming out later today that will address a few PC-specific things that have come up. Can't give you any details yet beyond that as far as what else might be in the works for any of the three platforms.
Can you tell us more about the upcoming PC and Xbox 360 downloadable content for Fallout 3?
Pete Hines: Uh, probably not more than you've already heard. We're working on stuff that adds multiple hours of gameplay; new quests, content, enemies, etc. Something along the lines of Knights of the Nine for Oblivion in size and scope. Beyond that, it'll probably be a little while before we start talking about specifics. Not too long, but we want folks to get out and enjoy everything the game has to offer first.
Super Moderating Hero: What about content for PlayStation 3? Will the console ever be invited to the DLC party?
Pete Hines: DLC is exclusive for 360 and Games for Windows.
Will we ever be able to take characters beyond Level 20? Is that part of The Plan?
Pete Hines: No plans to increase the level cap beyond 20. We think at that point you're plenty tough enough.
What is the more popular setting for Bethesda employees to work on? The fantasy realm of Oblivion or the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout? I suppose the freedom of fantasy allows you to express your ideas, but does the team appreciate real-world visuals to work with, too?
Pete Hines: I don't think it's an either/or here. We've been fortunate enough to be able to work on both, and it was a nice break from working on The Elder Scrolls to do something completely different with Fallout 3. They're both great worlds to work with.
Super Moderating Hero: What happened to the Fallout 3 toolset we heard about over the summer. Are there still plans for one? Might we even see one for console? Or are mods still a privilege reserved for PC gamers?
Pete Hines: Well, let's start with the last part first. Developers aren't in charge of what content can appear on a console. That's up to the console manufacturer. You should understand that the things we allow people to edit/change in our games is pretty off-the-charts. We're not taking "make a map" here. We're talking "I downloaded this mod and it deleted 2/3rds of the game world and replaced it with mole rats.
So I don't see consoles making that leap for quite a while until they can better protect and control the amount of content users create and remove things that could be harmful to the unwitting end-user who thought they were getting X but got something else instead.
As far as our tools, no word yet on that. As soon as we know for sure, we'll let you know.
Any plans on adding some sort of multiplayer content / support for consoles?
Pete Hines: Nope, never. It was designed as a single-player game. Trying to add multiplayer would be a giant cluster-you-know-what. It's a game designed to revolve around one person, you. You mess with trying to add enough stuff for two players to do and all of that and it becomes a mess. So we're content with a single player game.
There are plenty of multiplayer games out there when you want to get that fix.
Would you ever consider making a Fallout game in the style of the orginals - i.e not 3D, for Xbox Live Arcade or a service similiar to that?
Pete Hines: We talk about a lot of stuff, mostly about getting Fallout 3 out the door and then what DLC we're doing. That's our focus and how we plan to move the series forward.
What are the chances of seeing a fallout expansion like Shivering Isles for Oblivion? Or are you already working on Fallout 4?
Pete Hines: Our focus is going to be on DLC, but not quite as big as Shivering Isles. That was a massive undertaking. With DLC of that size, you can do a variety of smaller things that standalone and give the player a lot of different experiences.
You've talked openly about Fallout sequels before, but what would you change in a new game? Would you be also able to use the same engine to churn another instalment out quite quickly? [That's what you get for asking about my moustache - Ed]
Pete Hines: Like I said before, it's only been out in some places for four or five days. To try and define what the next one would be right now would be a bit premature.
With Interplay holding the rights to (and planning to make) a Fallout MMO, will you work with them to ensure the Fallout brand doesn't depreciate in quality and negatively affect you?
Pete Hines: I don't think I'm going to get into that agreement and what our rights are and so forth. Sorry.
Did you have to compromise much from the original design vision? Was there a feature you desperately wanted and had to chop out in the end?
Pete Hines: No, not really. We had a lot of time to think about what we did and did not want to include. We certainly had ideas that sounded good on paper but once we put them in the game and played it, we either changed or took out all together. We have lots of ideas but our philosophy is to get them in the game and get them working and see what works and what doesn't, and make changes based on that.
Lots of things can sound good on paper and then you play them and say, "Wow, that isn't fun at all, scrap that."
I've seen several reviewers comment that they find the excessive gore something of a turn-off, despite loving the game itself. Would you consider adding options to lower the level of slow-mo violence in the game?
Pete Hines: I could see how one might think that. It's definitely over-the-top and may not be for everyone. We have been up front with everyone about the violence though, I'd have to say, so hopefully it's not coming as a surprise to anyone. If so, let me reiterate that Fallout 3 does have violence and blood and gore and if you don't like the sight of a Super Mutant's head exploding into a shower of blood, you may want to avert your eyes. As far as whether we'd add an option at some point, I don't know if we'd ever do that or not.
First of all, congratulations on the character creation/tutorial, which was a lot of fun going through and a very coherent way of developing a character. Secondly, there is some debate about what exactly the Luck stat affects. Crits certainly. But does it have other subtle effects? And if I may ask, what's your own favourite perk?
Pete Hines: Luck affects every other skill by a small amount. If you really crank your Luck up when picking your SPECIALs you get a nice boost to every skill. Critical hits is obviously the other big one.
Favorite Perk. I dunno, that's tough, to only pick one.
My current character has picked Thief a couple times, Daddy's Boy once, Bloody Mess, and Lady Killer. Can't wait to get Commando. I use a lot of two-handed guns. Bloody Mess is probably my favorite.
Any plans to introduce vehicles in any manner into fallout 3 expansions? [Would we be able to run over animals and break its legs off? -Ed]
Pete Hines: Nope, no driveable vehicles. Sorry.
Is there any chance of adding some additional songs to the GNR playlist in the DLC updates? The mood the music brings to the game is phenomenal, but it loops all too quickly. [Another reader also asked about the possibility of a Fallout 3 soundtrack CD - might we see one? -Ed]
Pete Hines: I would strongly encourage people to buy The Ink Spots single from the iTunes store!
Don't know if we'd add more songs to GNR playlist or not. TBD on whether we could get Inon's soundtrack out there in some format at some point. Obviously you can find a number of the licensed tracks on iTunes. The extent to which I love "Maybe" by The Ink Spots cannot possibly be overstated. It came on GNR the other night as I was locked in a battle with a Super Mutant whose head I just obliterated in the most horrible fashion possible, while the song was playing, and I got a tear in my eye. Such a great moment.
Now Fallout 3 is out the door what are you looking forward to playing out of the many games coming out this season?
Pete Hines: I have an embarrassing pile of unopened games stacked next to my TV. Having spent most of this year on the road, I've played a lot of DS and PSP games, but not much else. So I have a huge backlog, plus all the new stuff coming out. It's completely overwhelming. Right now, honestly, I play Fallout 3 at home every chance I get. I'm still having a great time. That's probably pretty pathetic, but I still enjoy playing it and so I'll keep playing that until I've gotten my fill.
Has Hollywood coming knocking yet/driven a truck load of money over to your office for the film rights to the game? And would you consider doing a film?
Pete Hines: Uh, we've definitely gotten a number of inquiries, but I won't say anything beyond that. You only need to look at the Board of Directors for our parent company, ZeniMax Media, to see we know some pretty huge people in the entertainment industry (Jerry Bruckheimer, Harry Sloan, Les Moonves, and so on). So we know who to talk to and how the process works when it comes to things like movies. I'm ready for The Road to come out to see how that was adapted. If it's anywhere near as good as the book, it'll be fantastic.
Super Moderating Hero: It looks like things are winding down a bit, so we'll pop over one more - one we ask everybody: would you rather have lasers for eyes or be able to turn invisible?
Pete Hines: I choose invisible, which is how I'm able to sit directly behind you this entire chat without you noticing.
Super Moderating Hero: Lovely stuff. Well I think we'll call it an evening there, unless there's anything you would like to add?
Pete Hines: I don't think so. Thanks to you guys for having me and to everyone who participated for the questions. And most of all, thanks for buying and playing the game. We hope you enjoy it.
Interrupting Moderating Hero: We'd better quickly ask who you voted for? Lots of people want to know.
Pete Hines: I can tell you it was not John Henry Eden...