April Fool’s Day 2008

The following was kindly published by APY on 1st April 2008 on Planet Elder Scrolls. It was a spoof interview in advance of Fallout 3.

PES Exclusive interview with Todd and Pete from Bethesda – Planet Elder Scrolls.

Todd Howard and Pete Hines have granted a special interview to PES with exciting new information on their forthcoming post-apocalyptic roleplayer Fallout 3. San Francisco resident Enigma caught up with Bethesda’s Executive Producer and Vice-President of Marketing when they were in town for the Game Developers Conference (GDC).


Pete and Todd at GDC

The hotel is one of those plush, modern, brightly-lit places with no soul. It is difficult to hear above the noise of bustle and chatter, but soon we are summoned over by a harassed-looking, glamorous lady who turns out to be Beth PR-type Erin Losi. She sits on one of the sofas and starts reading off a clipboard. The man standing beside her is Pete Hines. He is enormously charismatic, and shakes each of us by the hand as Erin checks us off her list. “Gramsci from Mutation” announces the bearded twentysomething from the Fallout e-zine. Erin nods. I make out the name “Olga” from the statuesque blond, but the name of her ‘zine is Russian-sounding and unintelligible. Still reading, Erin jabs a pen in my direction, and I tell her my name. “Is that the one who called Todd a ‘squeaky li’l hobbit of lurrve’?” asks Pete. “No, that was the other one,” responds Erin without looking up. Her cellphone rings, and she jumps up and ushers us into a room on the first floor.

Todd is, of course, much smaller than he appears on the television. “Be with you in five,” he mouths to us and shuts the door again. Before the wood connects with its frame, I catch a glimpse of people sat round a table. He must have been at this all day. Erin checks her watch again, and Pete fidgets with a gadget. The door opens, the others leave, and Todd indicates the chairs. I take the one nearest the door and Gramsci takes the one opposite-left. He is glaring at me and I’m not sure why. “I think the leg is broken on this one,” Todd whispers to Erin, who nods and leaves the room. Pete is sat at the end of the table and Olga is standing next to the only available chair, opposite me.

“I wish to greet you in traditional greeting of my country.” [She says the name – something like Kirbekyszstan but I can’t quite make it out.]

“Oh, sure,” says Todd. “Oh my! Is there normally so much … groping?”

“You sit here!” she barks, sweeping him onto her lap like a grinning and slightly frightened lapdog.

He resists her strong grip for a second or two and then gives up.

“Shall we get started?” asks Pete. He presses a button on the laptop in front of him.

“One of the MANY things that concern me,” begins Gramsci, “Is the Fat Man issue, and how unbalancing that will be.”

It’s a reference to Fallout 3’s atomic artillery cannon from the 50s – a hand-held nuclear catapult that does amazing amounts of damage. Sounds like our kind of weapon.

“Balance is an issue we take very seriously,” says Pete. “We wouldn’t want to put out a game that wasn’t fun to play, so it’s definitely something at the forefront of consideration. It’s a one-shot weapon, so it’s not like you can go through the game blasting away every mutant with a nuke.”

He looks at me expectantly, and I refer to my list of questions from readers of Planet Elder Scrolls. “Do you play house mods?”

Gramsci glares at me with the fury of a thousand desert suns.

“We’re very proud of our modding community,” says Todd, “And it has been a great pleasure to see what you guys have come up with. I won’t name any favorites, but you’ve certainly raised some smiles around the office.”

Pete looks questioningly at Olga, who is stroking Todd’s hair.

“Vot classes vill there be in new game?” she asks.

“Well, we’re pretty excited about that,” responds Todd, leaning back against his voluptuous human chair. “See, there’ll be two brand new classes that fans from the previous games won’t have seen yet: Elemental Light Fighters, who use shamanistic magic and are Chaotic Good in roleplaying terms.”

Gramsci’s jaw drops, but Todd continues before he can protest.

“We brought along some screenshots so that you can see these guys. We wanted to visually represent their alignment with nature, because of their shamanic leanings.”

Gramsci: “But why are their ears point-?”

“And the other new class is called Old Raider Chaotics,” resumes Todd, “Pete loves these guys. As the name suggests, they’re wild baddies and you wouldn’t want to meet one on a dark – hehehe stoppit! Tickles! – night.”

“Of course, both classes are playable. We couldn’t have a game where you couldn’t play as an ELF or an ORC if you wanted to,” interjects Pete.

“I knew it!” mutters Gramsci.

“See, it’s all about choice,” continues Todd. “We think it’s important that you should really be able to do whatever you – hey, enough with the hands! – want.”

“I like to play as a badass, trigger-happy Han Solo type,” explains Pete.

“Whereas I like to dress in women’s clothing and spend my days picking mushrooms in the wasteland, zoned out on stimpaks.”

Even Pete stares at him.

“In the game,” Todd mutters, embarrassed.

“Will you guys be releasing a construction set?” I ask.

“It’s definitely something we want to do,” replies Todd, grateful for the change of subject. “Unfortunately, though, there are logistical reasons that we can’t commit to it at this stage. As soon as we’re in a position to make an announcement, we’ll let you guys know.”

Pete looks at his watch. “We’ve got time for one last question before we have to catch our flight.”

Gramsci pipes up, “What motivation does the player have for looking for his father?”

“We can’t talk about that right now,” smiles Todd. “Some of the fans have already guessed it, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. It is something we’ve thought about, though, so even if you’re playing a bad guy character, you’ll still want to leave the vault.”

“I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got time for,” says Pete, rising from his chair. “Thank you all for your questions, but we have to run to get our flight.”

He shakes us all by the hand.

“Vait! I vish to bid goodbye in traditional greeting of my country!” Olga says to Todd, finally releasing him from her iron grip.

Todd stands up and looks at her uncertainly. “What exactly does that mean?”

“First I kiss you with tongue. Then we are making the love.”

Silence.

“Well,” Todd replies, “I suppose we could stay for a little longer …”

“TODD! FLIGHT!”

“Yes, yes, of course,” mutters Todd, following Pete out of the door.

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