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Fallout: NV director on what he wants for Fallout 4

by William Schwartz

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Fallout 4. Just those two words have gamers rushing about, jumping up and down in excitement. It hasn’t been helped by a plethora of fake rumors and Bethesda’s refusal to say anything regarding the fate of Fallout 4. However, one aspect about Fallout 4 that hasn’t been talked about as much is what gamers want from it. And an aspect that has been talked less is what developers want from Fallout 4. Speaking to Eurogamer, Fallout: New Vegas lead designer and project director Josh Sawyer detailed about what he felt underlied the core essence of Fallout and what he’d like to see from Bethesda in regards to Fallout 4.

“Fallout games are best when the choices are…agonizing.”

One of the first aspects that Sawyer feels defines the quintessential Fallout experience is choice and having decisions that aren’t clear cut black-and-white. “Fallout games are best when the choices are – and this applies to role-playing games in general, but Fallout is a more desperate world – more agonizing. They feel more appropriate to the post-apocalyptic genre. So I hope that whatever twists and turns the story takes, it’s more nuanced than a black-and-white choice.”

An example he gave was the ending to Fallout 1, where the main character, despite saving his Vault, could no longer live with the Vault dwellers. “That’s a very bitter-sweet type of victory. Granted, that’s not really a choice that you had to make, but that’s the course that the story takes.”

As Sawyer explained, one of his roles in Fallout: New Vegas was ensuring that the choices didn’t feel so binary and that gamers felt engaged while playing. “A lot of stuff I did in New Vegas was to try and make choices feel more impactful and meaningful and to challenge the player. Some people want to go through the wasteland like a tourist, which is fine – they don’t really want it to be super-difficult. They want it to be interesting and engaging, and they want to see a lot of neat stuff and go through a cool story. And that’s cool.”

Sawyer is currently lead developer for Obsidian’s upcoming Pillars of Eternity, which is due sometime this fall.

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