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Joystiq interview: Bethesda's Todd Howard on Fallout 3

Kevin Kelly

Hopefully we're not in danger of providing Fallout 3 overload, and if you haven't gotten the idea yet, we're really looking forward to this game. It's literally a cool science fiction series skin slapped on top of Oblivion, but we're not complaining about that. Blowing away mutants in the wasteland? Yes, please.

Here's the meat and bones from our time with Bethesda's Todd Howard, and you can listen to the full audio interview below. After the break, find out some tidbits like the size of the world, how many radio stations are in the game, and why you won't be dual-wielding or buying horse armor. Oh, and be sure to pay attention to the exploding pants achievement.

  • Fallout 1 and 2 both contained a lot of humor... but will Fallout 3 have any? Yes. Although they won't be breaking the fourth wall like the other games did.
  • What's the exploding pants achievement? You can sneak up to unsuspecting mutants and drop a grenade in their pants. Why isn't this in other games?
  • Interplay worked on this game for a long time, did Bethesda end up keeping anything? No. However, they did have a playable build of the original F3, which you can find here in all its bug-laden glory.
  • Interplay is developing the MMO, and Bethesda has approval over everything. It's a strange reversal of licenses and fortunes.
  • Find out why some of the elements are very reminiscent of BioShock, which Todd Howard calls "Easily one of the best games of the last five years." The short answer is that "a lot of today's gamers weren't alive when Fallout first came out and contained in-game vending machines.
  • How quickly did Bethesda decide to use the Oblivion engine? "Instantly." To Bethesda, this is a great tool for building really huge games both now and in the future.
  • How big is the world of Fallout 3? They aren't even sure. Right now it's "almost as big as Oblivion... we haven't measured it."
  • However, as big as the game is, you won't using any sort of transports to get around. At least Oblivion gave you horses (with armor!) to help pass the time.
  • Will this game appease Oblivion fans? "If they're mainly into swords and elves, I don't think they'll like it."
  • When the Bethesda folks finish a game, they have a contest to see who can run through all the main quests in the fastest time. The winner gets a pie of their choosing. Can we instigate this policy at Joystiq?
  • They considered doing dual-wielding, but the trouble is that you have to then add two animations, one for each weapon. It might make an appearance in their next game.
  • Did they think about calling it something besides Fallout 3? Like, Fallout: Origins? They did, but Howard is "not a fan of that... I like Halo 1, Halo 2, Halo 3. It didn't hurt Grand Theft Auto 3, did it?"
  • How many in-game radio stations do they have? "I don't know!" There are two main ones, the station with Malcolm McDowell as the President saying "all is well" and so on, and the other station that plays music from the 40s, and has a dj that you can actually meet and do quests for.

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