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Interview: Pete Hines on Fallout 3

When it was announced that Bethesda Softworks' next major internal game project would not be a new Elder Scrolls game but a continuation of the Fallout RPG series first created and published by Interplay, many were excited and some were concerned. The small but rabid fan base of the first two games questioned whether the new development team was going to "get it" in terms of Fallout's humor and game style, especially since none of the original Fallout team members was going to work on the new game.

Soon those fans, and everyone else, will know whether or not the long awaited Fallout 3 will live up to its own promise as well as the legacy of the first two games. So far it seems like Fallout 3, while certainly different than the first two games, will carve out its own legacy very nicely. Big Download was able to get Bethesda Softworks PR head Pete Hines on the horn briefly to answer some post-gone gold questions about the game as well as some other topics.

First, now that the game has gone gold what is the feeling of the development team? Happy? Sad? Relieved?

Definitely not sad. Probably some mixture of happy, relieved, tired, etc. The game is "done" but that doesn't mean we're finished with it. Just means that everyone finally gets to play it.

Many fans of the first two Fallout games have wondered if Bethesda Softworks will retain at least some of the spirit of the original titles in Fallout 3? Do you believe you and the development team have accomplished this task?

We certainly have, but our feelings on that aren't any different now than the were before. It's something we've worked hard to include and maintain, but at the same time everyone is entitled to their own opinion on what that is and whether we've retained it, so we'll have to see once the game comes out.

In this election year and in a time of economic upheaval, how do you guys feel about the fact that Fallout 3 depicts a ruined Washington DC?

Well, I'm not sure how economic upheaval fits in, but it's an alternate universe, not a game about the world blowing up tomorrow. It's not something we're really concerned about...any more than the White House getting blown up in Independence Day, or New York getting destroyed in Cloverfield or I Am Legend. So I think most folks will get it, and the ones that don't probably wouldn't have "gotten it" no matter what was going on.

Looking back at the development of the game what was the hardest aspect that you feel the development team delivered upon in the final product?

The V.A.T.S. system is probably the one aspect of the game we spent the most time on. Just in terms of how it felt, how powerful it was, the camera angles, all of that. Beyond that, just making a giant world where you can go what you want and do want you want is always a chore to test and balance. Fortunately we're used to it by now so we have a good handle on what it takes to wrangle all that content together and make sure it all fits together and plays nicely.

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