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GDC09: Massively's Fallen Earth interview

We had a chance to sit down with the Fallen Earth guys yesterday at GDC 2009 and came away from the experience very ready to roll deep into our post apocalyptic futures of 2156.

What can we say? A dynamic mission system that reacts not only to faction alignment, but also storyline choices made by the player is probably what began our newly formed obsession. Although, an open class system emphasizing player choice certainly added to our excitement.

Watch out, because when you see an avatar gardening in Fallen Earth? That could be us, packing a basket of flowers and herb. And a flame thrower... and sniper rifle... and... well, probably a revolver, too. Did we also mention the horses, ATVs, trucks, dune buggies and muscle cars as mounts? All this, and much more can be found just beyond the hyperlink precipice.%Gallery-48606%

You can fire from mounts, correct?


Now, can you have more than one person in a vehicle?

Not yet, that's something we wanted to get in [for launch], but it didn't make the cut for release.

Do crafted weapons and armor deteriorate over time?

Their damage doesn't deteriorate. They do have quality that goes down, so you're gonna have to repair them or they'll get destroyed. And you're probably gonna want to buy some new ones as time goes on, too.

Would you call Fallen Earth a hardcore game, or does it sit somewhere in the spectrum of hardcore to casual?

I wouldn't say we're too casual per say. I mean they're definitely light areas you can go around in. If I wanna just go scavenging and crafting tonight, that's pretty easy to do. There's some hardcore elements where you really start tweaking out the stats and try to find just the right build. Really hardcore PvP if you want, but it doesn't have to be -- there's some casual areas. The great thing is we've staggered the conflict towns so that if there's one that's really hotly contested you can go there for super tough competition, or you go to one of the easier ones and fight a few people. We feel like that's going to help distribute the range of PvP players.

And we think the storyline is great. So even if you just like good roleplay and storyline you'll come in and play the game, 'cause you don't have to engage in PvP. You can just play a typical MMO. We're not super group-based. Groups are helpful and you can use groups of 15 or 20 to take down some monsters, but you don't have to have pickup groups everywhere you go.

We've also got some instanced content which is great. It's not just a place where you run over and over trying to kill the big boss for three hours and hope you get a good drop off it. It's very story-based, so you go into a level and there's certain people in there and you interact with them. Then, when you're done with the missions, the next time you go back the level's changed. So maybe you killed off the first round of guards and now there's scavengers in there. Maybe there's plague bears that've taken up residence in the area you've cleared out. The environment actually changes based on the actions you take in your storyline.

Our comic writers, roleplay game writers and LARPers who've done an amazing job of just immersing you in the world and giving you lots of stuff to dig into. [The missions] aren't just shallow, "Oh, help me I need you to collect some materials for my jackets."

Can you gain reputation with the NPC factions?

Yeah, it spills over. If you gain reputation with one group, you lose double with the opposing group. You gain half with their friends and lose the [original] amount you gained with their slight enemies. So overall it's a losing game in the sense that you can't befriend everybody, but it does spill over. If you think about it, you can be pretty friendly with three groups or you can be really friend with two groups but some guys will start becoming alienated and hate you -- it's a trade-off.

Does that apply to PvP also?

Yeah, with PvP it's based on the primary faction of the person you killed -- so that's the group you'll lose the most rep from and again that'll ripple out as well. It's difficult to say when there's no Horde or Alliance that you're joining and you've got a mish-mash of groups. So we've got a relative color system as you view another player. Anywhere between the green and red spectrum you can see how relatively friendly they are to you. If they're kinda orange I might wanna shoot them, but if they're kinda blue/green they're probably my friend.

Can the vehicles crash into each other, or is there any kind of collision detection?

It's not a super driving game, per say. There's suspension and that kind of stuff and you do hit each other and stop -- but it's not gonna be demolition based or anything like that. In future expansions we'd like to explore that more. We've partnered with AGEIA PhysX and we've done some stuff with them, but we didn't have time to explore it for release. We felt that mechanically vehicles are going to be a super bonus and people are going to really enjoy it. Hopefully we can get that out in the future -- do more exotic jumping and that kind of stuff.

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