Fallout New Vegas

Fallout 1 and 2 dev on storytelling and Fallout 3 vs New Vegas

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The lead programmer of Fallout 1 and 2, Tim Cain, has been airing his views on Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas in an in-depth chat with RPG Codex. The co-founder of Troika (Arcanum, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines) is currently working on the upcoming South Park RPG with New Vegas developers, Obsidian, but he reckons it's a close call between the two modern Fallouts.

"If I were to compare the two games, I would say that Fallout New Vegas felt like it captured the humor and style of the Fallout universe better than Fallout 3," he said, "but I have to hand it to the FO3 designers for developing VATS, a cool twist on called shots for a real-time game."

Cain found Fallout 3's wasteland to be a lot more lavish than New Vegas', the incidental details and attention to detail that went into every environment didn't just sell the feel of the post-apocalypse, it hid self-contained stories among the debris.

"I also loved the set decoration FO3. There was so much destruction, yet obviously everything had been meticulously hand-placed. So much story was told entirely through art. I ended up naming these little art vignettes and creating side stories in my head about what had happened.

"There was "The Suicide", a dead guy in a bathtub with a shotgun, and I figured he just couldn't handle life after the bombs. There was "Eternal Love", a couple of skeletons in a bed in a hotel room, forever embracing each other.

"My favorite was "Desperate Gamble", where I found a feral ghoul in an underground shelter filled with lab supplies and lots of drugs... except for Rad-X. I imagined that a scientist found himself irradiated and desperately tried to synthesize some Rad-X to cure himself before he succumbed, but he was too slow. I did notice that whatever was left of his mind sure did seem to enjoy toilet plungers."

Fallout 3's art direction was a big part of Fallout 3's appeal for Cain, but he later said that art should take second seat to design. "I care more about a game being fun than being beautiful, because no matter how good you look, people will move on to the next pretty thing and forget about you. If you make a fun game, people will remember that. And a fun game needs to be accessible, by which I mean that game had to present its rules clearly and then follow them."

Cain certainly isn't alone in his central complaint about Fallout 3, though. "I hated the ending. There, I said it."

It's okay, Tim. I understand. "I didn't like the sudden problem with the purifier, and I especially didn't like the lack of real, meaningful multiple endings beyond what I chose in the final few minutes. But the worst thing about the ending was there was no mention of the fate of places I had visited. In my head I had already imagined slides for Megaton, the Citadel, Rivet City, Underworld, GNR, the Enclave or the mysterious Commonwealth. But I got... pretty much nothing."

Which modern Fallout did you prefer, and what would you like to see from Fallout 4?