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Information about Fallout 3Fallout 3 is an action role-playing game released by Bethesda Game Studios, and is the third major game in the Fallout series. The game was released in North America on Oct. 28, 2008 (5 years ago), in Europe and Australia on Oct. 30, 2008 (5 years ago), and in the United Kingdom and Ireland on Oct. 31, 2008 (5 years ago) for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360..
Fallout 3 takes place in the year 2277, 36 years after the setting of Fallout 2 and 200 years after the nuclear war between the USA and China that devastated the game's world in an alternate post-World War II timeline. The game places the player in the role of an inhabitant of Vault 101, a survival shelter designed to protect a small number of humans from the nuclear fallout. When the player's father disappears under mysterious circumstances, he is forced to escape from the Vault and journey into the ruins of Washington D.C. to track him down. Along the way the player is assisted by a number of human survivors and must battle myriad enemies that now inhabit the area now known as the "Capital Wasteland". The game has an attribute and combat system typical of an action role-playing game but also incorporates elements of first-person shooter and survival horror games.
Following its release, Fallout 3 has received very positive responses from critics who praised in particular the game's open-ended gameplay and flexible character-levelling system. The NPD Group estimated that Fallout 3 sold over 610,000 units during its initial month of release in Oct. 2008 (5 years ago), outselling Bethesda Softworks' previous game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which sold nearly 500,000 units in its first month.
Attributes and karmaMain character creation occurs in the character's childhood. The character reads a picture-book titled "You're SPECIAL," where upon reading the player can set the character's seven primary attributes or "S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Stats," (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck). Skills and Perks are similar to those in previous games: Skills can be gradually assigned up to 100 points and give players increasing degrees of ability; For instance increasing the Lockpick Skill grants the player access to harder doors to unlock. The maximum level the player can achieve is level 20, with the exception of the Broken Steel downloadable content addition, where the limit is raised to 30; every level up, a new Perk can be selected, each offering advantages of varying quality and form, and new Perks are made available at every other level (i.e. levels 2, 4, 6, etc.).
The Pip-Boy 3000, displaying the player's skills statistics.Another important statistic tracked in the game is karma. Each player has a total amount of karma which can be affected by the decisions and actions made in the game. Beyond acting as flavor for the game's events, karma can have tangible effects to the player, primarily affecting the game's ending. Other effects include altered dialogue with NPCs, or unique reactions from other characters. Actions vary in extremes of karma; pickpocketing receives less negative karma than the killing of a good character, for example. The player's relationships with the game's factions are distinct, so any two groups or settlements may view the player in contrasting ways, depending on the player's conduct.
Health and weaponsHealth is diminished when damage is taken through combat, falling, and/or accidental self injury, and can be replenished by sleeping, using medical equipment, or eating food / drinking water. There are secondary health factors such as radiation poisoning and addiction to drugs/alcohol, both of which can blur the player's vision for a few seconds and have a negative effect on SPECIAL attributes until a doctor is visited. Exploring the game's world is difficult as there is no medical equipment and little cover between settlements; therefore the player must take care in carrying useful equipment when travelling. Also, the damage system on both the player character and non-player characters is broken up into a general "health bar" and a specific, limb-based system. Damage to the general health results in death, while damage to a specific limb causes side-effects such as limping, loss of accuracy, etc. The two damage systems often overlap.
Another game mechanic is item degradation. The more weapons and armor are used and damaged in combat, the more they lose their effectiveness. Firearms do less damage and may jam during reloading, and apparel becomes gradually less protective. Items can be repaired for a price from special vendors, or if the player has two of the same item, one of the two can be salvaged to repair the other. The Repair skill must be at a certain level to repair an item beyond a certain level of degradation.
Players also have the option to create their own weaponry using various scavenged items found in the wasteland. These items can only be created at workbenches, and if the player also possesses the necessary schematics or the necessary perk. These weapons include melee, ranged or explosive weapons. There are several versions for each schematic. Multiple copies will result in a better starting condition for the related weapon or, in the case of custom-built mines and grenades, multiple items for the same materials. Weapon schematics are only found in certain locations, either on the ground, sold by some vendors or offered as quest rewards.
V.A.T.S.V.A.T.S. shown being used. Real-time action is stopped and the player can see the probability of hitting each enemy body part through percentage ratio. Health, navigation and weapon displays are visible in the lower corners of the screen.The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S., plays an important part in combat. While using VATS, real-time combat is paused, and action is played out from varying camera angles in a computer graphics version of "bullet time," creating a combat system that the Bethesda developers have described as a hybrid between turn-based and real-time combat. Various actions cost action points, limiting the actions of each combatant during a turn, and both the player and enemies can target specific body areas for attacks to inflict specific injuries. Headshots will bring down living enemies more quickly, but the player can also select to slow enemies' movements by crippling their legs, disarm them by shooting at their weapons, or drive them berserk by shooting out things like antennae on various overgrown insects and combat inhibitors on armored robots. All major limbs can be dismembered after enough damage has been inflicted on that certain limb. Action points or AP, can be significantly increased in a number of ways. The first possible way to increase AP is by adding points to Agility (A) in the players S.P.E.C.I.A.L. A slightly different option is to acquire perks that will raise AP like Action Boy. Other ways include taking different Aid items such as Jet.
CompanionsThe player can have a maximum party of three, consisting of himself or herself, a dog named Dogmeat, and a single non-player character or NPC (Jericho, Butch, Sergeant RL-3, Clover, Charon, Paladin Cross and Fawkes). Dogmeat can be killed during the game if the player misuses him or places him in a severely dangerous situation and he cannot be replaced (this was changed with the introduction of Broken Steel: the level 22 "Puppies!" perk allows the player to gain a "Dogmeat's puppy" follower if Dogmeat dies); it is possible to not encounter Dogmeat at all depending on how the game is played. One other NPC can travel with the player at any time, and in order to get another NPC to travel, the first one must be dismissed (either voluntarily by the player or as a consequence of other events) or die in combat.
EnemiesThere is a multitude of enemies that the player may encounter. There is a large variety of mutated and dangerous creatures scattered across the Wasteland, including wild mole rats and yao guai (bear-like animals), and large, yellow-green Super Mutants that mostly inhabit downtown Washington D.C..
The player may also encounter hostile humans, including raiders and other vault survivors. Some areas also contain feral ghouls; survivors who have been transformed by "an ungodly amount of radiation", and whose lives have sustained for up to a century or more.
SettingFallout 3 takes place in a post-apocalyptic, retro-futurist Washington D.C. and parts of Maryland and Virginia in the year 2277 after a world war over resources which ended in nuclear holocaust in 2077. The player character (PC) lives, with his or her widower father James (voiced by Liam Neeson) in Vault 101 (a fallout shelter situated close to the ruins of Washington, D.C.), until one day, the PC wakes up to find that James has left the Vault and ventured into the Capital Wasteland - as the area around D.C. is now known - for unknown reasons. The Vault Overseer becomes suspicious and orders his men to kill the PC, forcing him or her to go out into the Capital Wasteland where they must follow his or her father's trail and learn why he left. Along the way, the player will encounter various factions, including the Brotherhood of Steel, a group of technology-coveting survivors from the American west coast, the Outcasts, a group of Brotherhood of Steel exiles, and the Enclave, the elitist and genocidal last remnants of the U.S. government.
There are six Vault-Tec Vaults which can be explored across the Capital Wasteland, many showing the results of a "Vault Experiment", or social and psychological experiments imposed by the elected overseer.
StoryThe main quest begins after the Lone Wanderer (the nickname given to the player character by the populace of the Capital Wasteland) escapes Vault 101 at age 19. The search for James, the player's father, takes the character on a journey through the wasteland, first to the nearby town of Megaton, named for the undetonated atomic bomb at its center, then the Galaxy News Radio station. The player then travels to Rivet City, a derelict Aircraft Carrier (9 walls) now serving as a human settlement. Here the player meets Doctor Li, a scientist who worked alongside the player's father. Doctor Li tells the player of Project Purity, a plan to remove the radiation from the water of the Tidal Basin, as a means of restoring the environment and improving the lives of those inhabiting the wasteland.
After investigating the lab of Project Purity, built inside the Jefferson Memorial rotunda, the player tracks James to Vault 112, and frees him from a virtual reality program being run by the Vault's corrupt Overseer. The player and James return to Rivet City and meet up with Doctor Li. They discuss the Garden of Eden Creation Kit (G.E.C.K.) and its possible whereabouts, which are rumoured to be located in Project Purity's computer database. However, while the player helps James restart the lab equipment, the Enclave arrives and attempts to take over the project for their own purposes. During a confrontation, James sacrifices himself and kills several Enclave soldiers by overloading Project Purity's main chamber with lethal amounts of radiation. After fleeing the lab through underground tunnels, Li and the player arrive at the Citadel of the Brotherhood of Steel, which is located in the ruins of the Pentagon. After recovering, Li pleads with the player to find a G.E.C.K. to finish James' work. The player eventually finds one in Vault 87, which had been dedicated to creating and perfecting the FEV (Forced Evolutionary Virus). After retrieving the G.E.C.K., the player is ambushed once more by the Enclave, who take the player captive.
Awakening in a holding cell in the Enclave base of Raven Rock, the player is briefly interrogated by Colonel Autumn and then summoned to the office of President Eden, who promises safe passage to his control room. While the player is en route, however, Colonel Autumn, acting against Eden, orders the Enclave soldiers to attack, and the player must fight his or her way to the control room. There, Eden, who turns out to be a supercomputer given control of the East Coast of the United States, gives the player a modified form of the FEV virus, which will kill all individuals with any level of mutation, and requests that the player insert it into Project Purity. The player escapes the Enclave (Eden can be tricked into a logic loop, resulting in the player able to initiate a self-destruct) and returns to the Citadel, where Elder Lyons will ask the player for any information they have. The Brotherhood of Steel also enlists his or her aid in assaulting the Jefferson Memorial with Sarah Lyons, the leader of an elite squad of Brotherhood Knights, and a gigantic pre-war robot built to liberate Alaska named Liberty Prime. After breaking through to Project Purity, the player must deal with Colonel Autumn through violence or persuasion. Through the building's intercom, Doctor Li informs the player that due to the damage caused by the recent fight, someone must activate the system before it overloads, destroying the facility. Unfortunately, the one who activates the system will have to be sacrificed due to the chamber being close to overwhelmed by lethal amounts of radiation. In the end, the choice comes down to the player, who must chose whether to activate the system personally, convince Lyons to do it, or simply wait, which ends in the facility's destruction. The ending sequence that follows depends on the player's previous actions in the game, including whether or not the player tainted the water with the modified FEV virus.
Interplay EntertainmentFallout 3 was initially under development by Black Isle Studios, a studio owned by Interplay Entertainment, under the working title Van Buren. Black Isle Studios were the developers of the original Fallout and Fallout 2. When Interplay Entertainment went bankrupt and closed down Black Isle Studios before the game could be completed, the license to develop Fallout 3 was sold for a $1,175,000 minimum guaranteed advance against royalties to Bethesda Softworks, a studio primarily known as the developer of the The Elder Scrolls series. Bethesda's Fallout 3 however, was developed from scratch, using neither Van Buren code, nor any other materials created by Black Isle Studios. In May 2007 (6 years ago), a playable technology demo of the canceled project was released to the public.
Leonard Boyarsky, art director of the original Fallout, when asked about Interplay Entertainment's sale of the rights to Bethesda Softworks, said:
ď To be perfectly honest, I was extremely disappointed that we did not get the chance to make the next Fallout game. This has nothing to do with Bethesda, it's just that we've always felt that Fallout was ours and it was just a technicality that Interplay happened to own it. It sort of felt as if our child had been sold to the highest bidder, and we had to just sit by and watch. Since I have absolutely no idea what their plans are, I can't comment on whether I think they're going in the right direction with it or not.
Bethesda SoftworksBethesda Softworks started working on Fallout 3 in Jul. 2004 (9 years ago), but principal development did not begin until after The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and its related extras and plugins were completed. Bethesda Softworks decided to make Fallout 3 similar to the previous two games, focusing on non-linear gameplay, a good story, and black comedy. Bethesda also chose to pursue an ESRB rating of M (for mature) by including the adult themes, violence, and depravity characteristic of the Fallout series. They also decided to shy away from the self-referential gags of the game's predecessors that broke the illusion that the world of Fallout is real. Fallout 3 uses a version of the same Gamebryo engine as Oblivion, and was developed by the team responsible for that game. Liam Neeson was cast as the voice of the player's father.
In Feb. 2007 (6 years ago), Bethesda stated that the game was "a fairly good ways away" from release, but that detailed information and previews would be available later in the year. Following a statement made by Pete Hines that the team wanted to make the game a "multiple platform title", the game was announced by Game Informer to be in development for Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A teaser site for the game appeared on May 2, 2007 (6 years ago), featuring music from the game and concept art, along with a timer counting down to Jun. 5, 2007 (6 years ago). The artists and developers involved later confirmed that the concept art, commissioned before Oblivion had been released, did not reveal anything from the actual game. When the countdown finished, the site hosted the first teaser trailer for the game, and unveiled a release date of "Fall 2008". Fallout 3 went gold on Oct. 9, 2008 (5 years ago).
During a Mar. 21, 2008 (5 years ago) Official Xbox Magazine podcast interview, Todd Howard revealed that the game had expanded to nearly the same scope as Oblivion. There were originally at least 12 versions of the final cutscene, but with further development this expanded to over 200 possible permutations in the final release, all of which are determined by the actions taken by the player.
Bethesda Softworks attended E3 2008 (5 years ago) to showcase Fallout 3. The first live demo of the Xbox 360 version of the game was shown and demonstrated by Todd Howard, taking place in downtown Washington, D.C. The demo showcased various weapons such as the Fat Man nuclear catapult, the VATS system, the functions of the PIP-Boy 3000, as well as combat with several enemies. The demo concluded as the player neared the Brotherhood of Steel-controlled Pentagon and was attacked by an Enclave patrol.
ReceptionProfessional reviews for the game have been very positive, with an average Game Rankings score of 93% for the Xbox 360 version and 91% for the PC and PlayStation 3. 1UP.com praised its open-ended gameplay and flexible character-leveling system. While the V.A.T.S. system was called "fun," enemy encounters were said to suffer from a lack of precision in real-time combat and little variety in enemy types. The review concluded, Fallout 3 is a "hugely ambitious game that doesn't come around very often." IGN praised the game's "minimalist" sound design, observing, "you might find yourself with nothing but the sound of wind rustling through decaying trees and blowing dust across the barren plains... Fallout 3 proves that less can be more." The review noted that the "unusual amount of realism" combined with the "endless conversation permutations" produces "one of the most truly interactive experiences of the generation", awarding the game a 9.6 out of 10. GameZone gave Fallout 3 a 9.5, 9.4 and 9.2 out of 10 for the PlayStation 3, 360 and PC versions respectively, while Resolution Magazine awarded the game 93% on all formats. Although Edge awarded the game 7 out of 10, in a later anniversary issue it placed the game 37th in a "100 best games to play today" list, saying "Fallout 3 empowers, engages and rewards to extents that few games have ever achieved."
Some criticisms were the bugs in regards to the physics, crashes, and some that broke quests and prevented progression, the latter of which are fixable by reloading from an earlier state. The AI and stiff character animations are another common point of criticism, as is the ending. Edge states that "the game is cumbersome in design and frequently incompetent in the details of execution," taking particular issue with the nakedness of the HUD, the clarity of the menu interface, and that the smaller problems are carried over from Oblivion. Edge liked the central story but said "the writing isnít quite as consistent as the ideas that underpin" and that the "[v]oice-acting is even less reliable." It has also been noted that the PC version is "the most fully featured, best looking, and best running version of Fallout 3."
From its release in Oct. through the end of 2008 (5 years ago), Fallout 3 shipped over 4.7 million units. According to NPD Group the Xbox 360 version has sold 1.14 million units and the PlayStation 3 version has sold 552,000 units as of Jan. 2009 (4 years ago). The Xbox 360 version was the 14th best-selling game of dec. 2008 (5 years ago) in the United States, while the PlayStation 3 version was the eighth best-selling PlayStation 3 game in that region and month.
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