It's easy to underestimate the humble door. You open it, you go through. Sometimes, you must find the key first, and for many games, that's the whole extent of the player's interactions with doors. They're something to get past, something that cordons off one bit from the next bit. A simple structural element, of special interest to level designers, but not the ones who turn the knobs.
It's easy to understand why brutalism has been such a potent source of architectural inspiration for games. The raw forms - solid, legible and with clear lineation - are the perfect material for level designers to craft their worlds with. Simultaneously, these same structures are able to ignite imaginations and gesture outwards, their dramatic shapes and monumental dimensions shocking and attention-seizing.
Nestled in the mountains, the door that leads to Vault 11 is the kind you see hammered onto a shack. It is rotting wood and nails and spider webs clinging on to existence like the people of Fallout's post-apocalyptic Mojave Wasteland. The Brotherhood of Steel have sent us here to find a differential pressure controller, one of the parts needed to repair their faulty air filtration system.
UPDATE 16/11/15 12:15pm: There's some confusion about the status of Fallout 3 as an Xbox One pre-order bonus, and also the question of whether the code will expire or not. We've looked into this and can confirm the following: first of all, every copy of Fallout 4 available now includes the Fallout 3 code, and this situation is the case in every copy in every territory. This will be included with all copies of the game shipped in the first 90 days of its launch. Additionally, the code will not expire 90 days after launch - once you have the code, you can redeem it at any time. And finally, any initial stock that originally contained the Fallout 3 code will still have it once the 90 day period is over - it won't be withdrawn. Hopefully that clears everything up!
With Fallout 4 due out in a couple of weeks, millions of people are set to leap into the post-apocalyptic open world Bethesda has spent the last few years crafting.
After years of waiting and false hopes, Bethesda has finally announced Fallout 4. It's as good an excuse as any to take a trip through time to where it all began, in a very different kind, but now much more familiar kind of Wasteland. This was back in 1988, on technology so primitive that most of the original's game text had to be printed in a manual, with the game simply giving a number to look up every time anything happened. Nevertheless, it found almost instant critical and commercial success... and immense difficulty getting a sequel off the ground. At least, an official one.
Over the next two weeks we'll be bringing you our pick of the games of the generation. Fallout 3's up today, and we take a look at Bethesda's brilliantly handled revival of the classic RPG series.
Before Eurogamer sits down with Todd Howard at QuakeCon to bully him into talking about his new game, we catch his panel with Tim Willits from id Software and Jason West and Vince Zampella from Respawn Entertainment.
Saying I'm a fan of Planescape: Torment is a bit like saying that Vlad III Dracula enjoyed a spot of impaling - it gets the point across, but doesn't quite convey the extent of the fervour.
I think it's fair to say videogames are fundamentally selfish exercises. And I mean that in a broad, all-encompassing sense: whether you're watching your gnocchi-shaped Mii squat its way into bikini season or conquering some remote alien backwater in the guise of a faceless space-bobby, the focus is on you, the player, and how absolutely amazing and sexy and important you are.
Welcome back to Alex's attempt to kill everyone he encounters in Fallout 3. Everyone. Check out part one and part two of Natural Born Killer elsewhere on Eurogamer.
Spoilers follow! If you haven't played Fallout 3 yet, first of all what are you doing, and second you might want to give this a miss until you have. And even then, it's a bit icky. Check out part one of this series elsewhere on Eurogamer.
Gob hits me. Not literally, of course - he's much too kindhearted for that. But as he runs away, clutching his bleeding head and begging for mercy, I am genuinely struck by a deep, genuine remorse. Here's a Ghoul - not an undead monster in the traditional sense, but one of the residents of the Capital Wasteland whose appearance was deeply disfigured by radiation - who has spent his long, painful life beleaguered by intolerance and various physical ailments. He spends his days mixing drinks at a sleazy bar in Megaton, constantly harassed and mocked for his condition by his boss, Colin Moriarty. And now I've strolled in, dismembered all his friends and coworkers, and am chasing him through the dingy building while he tries - in vain, naturlich - to hide. Gob won't be the last person I mercilessly slaughter in Megaton this day, but his death will stay with me the longest.
First things first, apologies if you were disappointed, having read our Eurogamer Expo preview on Monday, to discover that the MotorStorm: Pacific Rift vehicle outside the Expo entrance was a monster truck instead of a Humvee. We are also sorry that so many of you missed the chance to touch Bertie's moustache, which endures even now atop the sweater-clad granite torso and arms of news-typing sultriness.
When Fallout 3 was announced, the widespread joy at the resurrection of a beloved and largely forgotten series by a developer of as much established talent as Bethesda was huge. But it was matched by an equally fierce backlash from one of the most notoriously fanatical, difficult-to-please fanbases in the gaming world. Most Fallout fans were adamant that the series ought to be left alone, that the limited technology that the games were built upon was an integral part of what Fallout was, and that any attempt to modernise the series could only result in the bastardisation of one of the most fondly-remembered game universes in the history of the medium.
Getting Fallout 3's quirky combat and non-linear narrative to work would be hard enough without having to please the famously picky fans of the series, alongside those won over by Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. We caught up with Bethesda's vice president of public relations, Peter Hines, to discuss how he learnt to stop worrying and love the bombs.
In games, as in movies, answers tend to hide behind doors. And they don't get much bigger than the door to Vault 101 at the start of Fallout 3, having kept its nuclear bunker safe from the irradiated remains of good ol' USA for a few hundred years. Early on in Bethesda's game, you'll get to open this door. And what lies beyond? A loading screen.
Perhaps it's just bad timing. Perhaps it's unfortunate juxtaposition. Fallout 3 made its E3 debut in a demonstration at Microsoft's Xbox 360 briefing in close proximity to Gears of War 2 and Resident Evil 5. All of a sudden, in that context, this very special follow-up to some of the most revered properties in role-playing gaming - venerable Interplay classic Fallout, and developer Bethesda's recent smash hit Oblivion - didn't look so special any more.
With Fallout 3, we're probably approaching the end of the stage where the game is just demoed to journalists. The content is almost there, leaving the gargantuan task of making it all work properly ahead of Bethesda. Close as we are, though, we're not there yet, and while we long to actually play the bloody thing, there's still much to talk about. Bethesda's enthusiastic vice president of public relations and marketing, Pete Hines, sits back after his latest demonstration of Fallout 3 and asks if we have any questions. Yip.
Given that the developer is responsible for the most successful Western-style RPG of recent years, Oblivion, it was a little surprising, during Fallout 3's demonstration, to get the sense of a team with something to prove. While there's much about FO3 that recalls Oblivion, there are also regular elements that arise as if to signify, "You know - we're good enough to deal with a legend as big as Fallout. Watch this." In itself, this is a tad touching. A team like Bethesda would probably be justified in going, "Damn the lot of you - our way is the best way." The result is something that - on these impressions - seems to be the next logical step on from Oblivion, while infusing as much of what made Fallout Fallout as they reasonably can.
Fallout 3 is a game that many, many people have been praying for since the nineties. In Leipzig last week, we were given another chance to see the very first demo of Bethesda's interpretation of this beloved universe (for details, see John Walker's preview), and it was no less impressive the second time around - gorgeous, violent and extremely faithful to the series' legacy, it was a personal game of the show by a long, long way. At the end, people clapped, and we're talking Europeans here, not our considerably more effervescent American counterparts. Pete Hines, Bethesda's VP of Public Relations, was kind enough to sit down for a chat afterwards about the difficulties of working with such a revered franchise, and Bethesda's approach to the challenge.
When invited to Bethesda for an exclusive little demonstration of Fallout 3 (you know, only about 100 different magazines and websites), we thought we'd make it a bit more personal. Tricking all the others into getting onto a bus ("There's free booze on the bus!") and then having them driven off into some ditch somewhere, we got to spend some alone-time with lead designer, Emil Pagliarulo, and lead producer, Gavin Carter.
It's first-person. There, that's what you came here to find out. But I implore you, stick around for a bit longer. I've interesting things to tell you. (Not least, that it can be played in third-person, even pulling the camera back and up).