Alan Butterworth: What's not to love about postapocalyptic futures with their crumbling ruins, pervasive atomic waste and irradiated mutants in a desperate struggle for survival? From the screenshots alone, it looks like Fallout 3 oozes good looks perfectly capturing a Washington D.C. cityscape laid to waste by nuclear war. Add to the mix gigantic environments to explore, a branching plot with multiple endings, ludicrous violence and the ability to make moral choices with far-reaching consequences, and it's hard to see how Bethesda could possibly go wrong. Even if this just turned into Oblivion with guns, that wouldn't be such a bad thing, would it?
Reggie Carolipio: With Wasteland, Interplay sparked the imaginations of gamers with an RPG that sent them scurrying through the ruins of a postapocalyptic desert, where the blasted spires of casino resorts and small towns filled with the desperate dregs of humanity struggle to stay alive. Nearly 10 years later, Interplay revisited their vision with the spiritual successor, Fallout, and its sequel, Fallout 2, that emphasized neither good or evil mattered, since only your actions and what became of them would shape the world around you. Now that Bethesda has the nuclear football, the storytellers behind The Elder Scrolls are under the railgun to meet the expectations of a passionate fan base while introducing new players to one of the most stylishly devastated role-playing settings out there. With new screenshots and interviews allaying some of my own worries, I still can't wait to see what Bethesda has done with the place, explore what's left of Washington D.C., stock up on Rad Away, and hope that you don't begin glowing when the Geiger counter starts clicking.
Keith Durocher: I'm well on record as being very much in love with postapocalyptic fiction. One of my all-time favorite films is "Hardware," I love industrial music, and I even dress in weather-worn combat leather. It is only natural that I would be intensely interested in the single most venerated postapocalyptic industrial franchise in existence. My curiosity in Fallout 3 is twofold, really: granted, I really want a steampunk RPG, but I also want to see if my dislike of Oblivion was just a one-time fluke.
Nathan Grayson: The fact is that I wasn't much of a PC RPG player until Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic showed me how incredible that style of game can be. That does, however, allow me to see Fallout 3's development situation with a certain clarity. Sure, original Fallout creator Black Isle Studios may not be developing this sequel, but Bethesda is definitely qualified to inherit the mantle. So now, thanks to Bethesda, we're going to experience a darkly humorous postapocalyptic story set in a more open, Elder Scrolls-style world. Two tastes that go great together? Most certainly.
Brad Hilderbrand: After Bethesda's stellar showing with Oblivion, I was very happy to hear that they had started development on the long-awaited Fallout sequel. As more gameplay details are being released, my excitement for the game continues to grow. From the character creation system to the various quests that will determine your character's personality, Fallout 3 is shaping up to be Mass Effect for the postapocalyptic, nuclear wasteland crowd. Honestly, any game that features slow-motion super mutant head explosions is just fine in my book.
Tim McCullough: If you haven't spent days roaming the wastelands playing the original Fallout series, then you're not a hardcore PC gamer. The postapocalyptic RPG with its 1950s styling and diverse quests draws you into its world. On more than one occasion, the developers have stated that they won't stray too far from the original formula that made the series so great. I'm eagerly watching Fallout 3's development and keeping my fingers crossed that the next installment has the depth and quality of the originals.
Tim McDonald: The cynics were right about Bethesda's first "big" reveal for Fallout 3 being a well-known voice actor. They did the same with Oblivion, showing off Patrick Stewart and Sean Bean in the early days, and now we've got Liam Neeson lined up for this. Still, from everything shown, Fallout 3 looks to be taking the series in a new direction, but not necessarily a bad one, and it certainly looks pretty true to the license. If it's good and follows on faithfully, what more can the cynics ask for? All I know is that after hearing that Ron Perlman was signed up to deliver more gravelly voiced narration, I was sold. War. War never changes, but Fallout does. Let's hope it's for the better.
Steven Mills: When a great company takes a superb development model from a successful game and utilizes it in a postapocalyptic world with guns and nuclear weapons, where can they go wrong? I'm not quite sure what I'm looking forward to more: queuing up multiple shots with the "Vault Assisted Targeting System" and then letting them fly at my enemies, or having the opportunity to blow up an entire town with no questions asked. Well, the citizens in a nearby town might ask a few questions ... but none my mini-nuke won't be able to answer!
Tony "OUberLord" Mitera: To this day, the original Fallout and Fallout 2 remain incredibly solid RPGs that have withstood the test of time. With Bethesda set as the driving force behind the third iteration of the beloved series, there were initially some doubts. With every screenshot and interview released, however, it seems that Fallout 3 will finally be a worthy successor to the throne. The game has massive shoes to fill and a fan base that defines the term "rabid," so it is no surprise that it has found itself at the top of our list of the most anticipated games of 2008. Part of the anticipation is more curiosity than anything else, given that this will be the first true Fallout sequel to be set in a 3D environment and played from a first-person perspective. Bethesda truly seems to "get" what the Fallout universe is, from the musical choices to their tedious research of the lore. We're all hoping that the combination of Bethesda's talent with the Fallout license will make for an awesome new RPG this year, if only to avoid the pitchfork- and torch-equipped mobs if they do not.
Tim "The Rabbit" Mithee: How do I love thee? This is no place to count the ways. Fallout and Fallout 2 are by no means the best RPGs ever made, but what they don't have in technical beauty or sheer perfection, they more than make up for in, well, flavor. Black Isle Studios created quite possibly the most well-developed world at the time, with believable characters and enough personality that you could take a bath in it and come out smelling of characterization. With few notable exceptions (Planescape: Torment, for instance, but that's Black Isle again), no one's quite poured as much depth into the environment. I'm also a sucker for the simple yet incredibly versatile SPECIAL system, which does more in seven stats than some RPGs do in 20. It's been over a decade since The Vault Dweller stepped out into his first view of natural light and disappeared into the mists of legend; Black Isle Studios is long gone, as is Interplay, leaving the reins of their classic series to Elder Scrolls champions, Bethesda Softworks. Initial impressions are good, and it looks like everything is set up nicely: third-person exploration, a monstrous world, mutants and zombies everywhere, and a plot with more forks than a silverware drawer. We'll see if they can maintain the humor and subtle in-jokes of the earlier titles, as if the Xbox 360 port will diminish the PC version the way it did for Oblivion.
Daniel Whitfield: Fallout 3 has a lot of expectations to live up to, having come from a pedigree of immersive, widely loved RPGs that stretch back all the way to its spiritual grandfather of 1988, Wasteland. Fortunately, it has been made clear by the developers at Bethesda that they intend to do the franchise full justice — thematically, aesthetically gameplay-wise — in this latest iteration. Although some skepticism may exist over whether Fallout 3 can match the morally ambiguous tone and gritty, sometimes disturbing subject matter of its predecessors, at the very least Fallout 3 is shaping up to be a graphically stunning foray into a hostile, postapocalyptic wasteland. Fallout 3 is easily going to be one of the greatest success stories or biggest disappointments of 2008. Get ready to pick up that Super Sledge and smash some mutant heads!
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