Fallout 3, part two

Interview: Bethesda - thumbscrews applied

Last Saturday we brought you the first instalment in a two-part interview with Bethesda's Pete Hines, quizzing him on the developer's forthcoming RPG Fallout 3.

Today we present the second and concluding part of the interview, which followed a demonstration of Fallout 3 which was actually shown earlier this the year at GDC in Leipzig (so no new content revealed then, sadly). We continue to grill Hines about Fallout 3, plans for download content and the single-player RPG genre in general...

(Part one of this interview can be read here, if you missed it).

How many hours will Fallout 3 take to finish in the first play through?

Pete Hines: That's a play-style thing. It's probably about 20 good hours for the main quest and all of the side quest stuff is probably at least another 20 hours. Then there's all the miscellaneous freeform stuff, the exploring.

And how big is the game world?

Hines: Downtown DC is about a quarter of the world. The other three quarters are wasteland, little settlements... Megaton is one of the bigger cities or locations that you'll come to but there's lots of little towns and settlements out in the world. Three quarters of the world is that wasteland area.

You said during the demo that Fallout 3's game world is smaller than Oblivion's. Was that a conscious decision to make it more focussed?

Hines: Yeah, for two reasons. First of all, it makes more sense. We're talking about a post-nuclear world. It ought to feel a bit more sparse and less populated than Oblivion where you're talking about the capital province at the height of the empire. It better fits what's going on in the world and in the story.

And then we really just try and find a good fit for, still, really big huge worlds - but just how far should you go before you can find different things to do?

I think we've found a good balance of, big enough that you think, "holy crap this world is huge", but not so far that all you're doing is walking.

With Oblivion, you followed up the release with content downloads. Is that something you plan for Fallout 3, is that the kind of thing that fits with that game?

Hines: I would think it would. How much of it or what we would do is still up in the air. Right now we're still working very hard getting stuff into the game for the first time around.

Our entire focus is on masking this game, making it great, as good as it can possibly be. We had the same approach with Oblivion, which is if we f*** this up, nobody's going to want to download anything for it anyway. So let's focus on the first thing we're doing, get that absolutely right and then we'll have time for the other stuff.

Obviously you're not building content all the way up to release; at some point you stop. Every time you touch the game you're breaking it so at some point you do stop on the content side and just focus on polishing and bug testing and so forth. At that point it may be something our content folks start to look at.

Oblivion on PS3 - are you planning to release any download content for that version?

Hines: We did just talk about doing Shivering Isles as a standalone for PS3 - we had sorted out how to do that as a retail disc. We are still looking into it on the PSN side, and as far as any other DLC, it's still TBD.

Do you see the rise in popularity of the MMO genre having negative impact on the popularity of single-player RPGs?

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