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Fallout: Brotherhood Of Steel

Platform(s): PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Action
Publisher: Interplay
Release Date: Jan. 14, 2004 (US), April 2, 2004 (EU)

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'Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel' - Developer Interview

by The Six Billion Dollar Man on Sept. 10, 2003 @ 2:21 a.m. PDT

Players join the Brotherhood of Steel, whose mission is to maintain peace in the grim post-nuclear world of Fallout. Challenged by hordes of ghouls, mutants and other radioactive nightmares, players utilize a combination of intense combat strategies including melee, ranged weapons and explosives to defeat the mutant army in hopes of restoring humanity in a nearly unlivable universe. Welcome to the wasteland.

1. Who has the honor to talk to us? State your name, rank and occupation!

The honor is mine, Chuck Cuevas. Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel Producer and game maker.

2. How far along is Fallout: BOS? And how has the development been going?

CC: We have just entered our last month of testing. So we are just about completed. Development has been a blast. The entire team has been pumped and excited from the get go. As always there were a few speed bumps, but we plowed our way through and everyone around Interplay is excited at how things are coming together. It is truly a game that entices the player to the next area, chapter or even to the next set of enemies.

3. Have you found it hard creating a game for different consoles at the same time?

CC: Not really. We planned early on for the dual development and it has worked greatly to our advantage to do so. The Xbox and the PS2 both provide some very good hardware for our programming team, and yet developing for both does provide a challenge on occasion. From an art standpoint, I think it has been a little easier.

4. What inspired the dev team to create this game?

CC: People loved the post apocalyptic setting of the RPG created for the PC back in 1997 – the dark humor, the story, the characters, everything. Sequels kept that world alive for the fans, but this was all for the PC. We thought it would be a great idea to bring the world of Fallout to the consoles. One of our designers is a huge fan of Fallout; he put together the idea for a console action game set in the Fallout world, a title that branches off the original series with new console-oriented game play in a really awesome setting, complete with underground vaults, super mutants, and turbo plasma rifles. Everyone was into it, and thus we began to develop Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.

5. Will any elements from the previous fallout games be carried over to this game or will it be completely new?

CC: Completely new, almost. Of course some of the weapons, armor and other items are straight from the PC RPG’s, but our characters and story line are unique to the console version.

6. Can you give us some info on the games story?

CC: Story wise, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel takes place shortly after the events of Fallout 1, where the mutant army was defeated and dispersed, and the Brotherhood of Steel began to grow in strength. It begins with a Brotherhood of Steel initiate (the player character) sent out on a training mission – with no supplies. Traveling to the small desert town of Carbon, the player character is supposed to rendezvous with a high-ranking member of the Brotherhood in order to receive further instructions. But things get complicated. The Brotherhood officer doesn’t show up, and the player has to interact with people in the town to find out what happened. The townspeople have their own problems – raiders. What was supposed to be a training mission turns into full-scale battle.

More locations and characters figure into the story as the player tracks the Brotherhood officer across the wastes, running into a cult of ghoul fanatics, psychotic malfunctioning robots, and a powerful faction of the super mutant army.

7. How about some info on the each of the characters? Any kind of class system? What kind of skills etc.

CC: New characters have been created for this game. Currently there are three characters available from the beginning, with a couple of extra characters for the player to unlock as well.

Nadia is a female Brotherhood initiate who grew up in a rough urban area with no parents and few friends, stealing and foraging for money and food. One day a troop of Brotherhood soldiers came to town, cleaned out the trash, and fed the hungry. When they left, Nadia followed them and joined the Brotherhood of Steel. Nadia specializes in small arms and quick maneuverability.

Cyrus is a Brotherhood initiate who grew up in a semi-tribal farming community. This community had its share of problems with raiders, radscorpions, and the like, but was finally devastated by the mutant army when he was just a boy. So, like a lot of adrift-in-the-wilderness youths, he wandered briefly, hearing stories about the defeat of the mutant army and the forces that opposed them. It was inevitable that Cyrus would go to join the Brotherhood of Steel. Cyrus is good at hitting hard and handling big guns.

The third player character is sort of special, with questionable race and gender.

8. What kind of graphics engine did you use?

CC: Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel is using a heavily modified version of the engine used in Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance for the PS2. We incorporated many changes to allow for ranged combat as well as explosives. Strafing and movement during fire are both added functionality as well as pulling the camera out a little further at times to bolster ranged tactics.

9. What sort of battle system will you have?

CC: Well, combat can be categorized by the different weapon types – melee, ranged, explosive – but even that is an over-simplification. The diversity between the types of weapons and how the player can use them makes for some great variety. Up close in melee combat, you can focus on beating the crap out of one enemy in target mode, or swing in all directions at multiple enemies in normal control mode. You can use quick attack combos or take the time to wind up a more powerful special attack. And there are loads of different weapons you can use in melee combat – fists, knives, hammers – all with different properties and benefits.

Get into ranged combat and again, you’ve got different options. You can duck behind cover, dodge to the side, and come up firing with dual Desert Eagles, or stand your ground and unload with heavy weapons like the minigun or rocket launcher. Explosives are a little trickier to use, but can be incredibly powerful in combat. You can toss an explosive device over a sandbag wall or – if you’re feeling crafty – set up an explosive trap on the ground and lure enemies into it.

10. How many levels do you plan to have? And how long do you think it will take to complete it?

CC: Currently there exist over 50 levels to traverse and explore. A few of these levels are safe harbors for trading and fact gathering while the remaining are out-right hostile.

As for game length, early testing suggests 25 to 30 hours of gameplay for the average player on the default difficulty setting.

11. What type of weapons, armor, and items will this game have? What is your favorite character/weapon in the game, and why?

CC: Lots and lots of items, ranging from stuff cobbled together from post-apocalyptic junk to standard military issue to implements of mass destruction straight out of 1950’s sci-fi. There are three main classes of weapons – melee, ranged, and explosive. In the melee class, the player can find and use anything from bare knuckles to a Power Fist, from a rusty shiv to a giant Plasma Saw, from a spiked baseball bat to a gleaming Super Sledgehammer (which knocks enemies around like they were helium balloons). In the ranged class, you’ve got your guns. Pistols, machine guns, shotguns, flame throwers, rocket launchers. But there’s more than the conventional stuff; there are home-made laser rifles, plasma cannons, and lots more. And then there are the explosives – lots of different types of explosive devices. Not only can the player use lots of different weapons, but he can develop his skills in different classes, depending upon his preferences. Then there’s the different sets of armor, stimpacks, drugs, and so on. Really tons of stuff for the player to collect and use throughout the game.

Nadia is my favorite characters. Once you have built her skills up in ranged combat and acquire the dual laser pistols, life is just too much fun in the vaults. (For Nadia that is – the bad guys don’t think so).

12. What sort of enemies will you have?

CC: Two legged, four legged, one-eyed, eight-eyed, pistol wielding, spitting, rotting, hulking, intelligent and intelligence-challenged sorts. All sorts.

13. How smart will the AI be in Fallout BOS? Will you be able to change the difficulty setting?

CC: Yes, the player will be able to change the difficulty settings. Currently four settings exist: Pansy – for the dexterity challenged or just want to kick everyone’s arse, Normal – for the designed challenge and settings, Wastelander – for those who love to deal punishment and be punished, and Apocalyptic – for the truly insane. This level is truly tough.

14. Are you planning to have different game modes for two players besides CO-OP?

CC: The only real difference is the Friendly Fire mode. Currently the players can choose, at the beginning of their game, if they want to damage each other or play nice. Once the players enter Apocalyptic mode, all bets are off and those bullets coming from you buddies gun will hurt – or kill.

15. Besides you and a friend will you be able to have any other members in your group?

CC: No.

16. Are you going to be offering any kind of downloadable content via Xbox Live?

CC: Not this time around, but should there be a sequel, it will be on the top of the list. Actually second, as we really want to be able to play across the net with friends.

17. What is your reaction to some of the negative Fallout community outbursts? Are you going to adapt the game in any way to negate some of the criticism?

CC: When the title was announced, we had already completed the design and functionality of the game. We did get a few suggestions that we took to heart and included in the game.

We knew that we’d face some pretty serious criticism from the PC faithful, and we’ve continued to maintain that our goal isn’t to forsake them, but rather invite the console gamer to the world of Fallout, but with a game reflective of their tastes and gameplay styles. It just made sense to us that a more fast-paced action game would be more suitable for the console crowd rather than the turn-based style in the PC games.

18. Is there anything you would like to add perhaps something I missed?

CC: Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel is a console action game from top to bottom, but we give the player a lot of things to explore, develop, and interact with, true to the style of a good Fallout game. The game’s streamlined character development aspects are based upon the Fallout SPECIAL system. Players acquire experience points by killing enemies and completing quest objectives. Building up experience lets players build up their base combat statistics, increase skills with different weapon classes, or develop special skills (ex. augment their bartering abilities to get better prices at stores).

I know that everyone that gives this game a whirl is going to have a good time. From the humorous cutscenes to the never ending mayhem a Brotherhood of Steel member can cause, this game is a good time for all.

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