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Linear Progression September 16, 2007

Posted by jmoran21 in Uncategorized.
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Todd Howard, executive producer of Fallout 3, has answered some questions from the ravenous pack of bitter old-school gamers that developer Bethesda politely refers to as a “community.” Aside from scrumptious morsels about specific gameplay features, he also discusses the ways in which F3 follows its predecessors in eschewing certain conventions:

16. Will the structure of the Main Quest be more like Oblivion, where you had to perform a series of tasks in the right order to progress, or more like the originals where most of the progress you’d do consisted in gathering information, which was not a pre-requisite in order to end the game? [Thomas Stehle]

Closer to Fallout, in that you can actually skip entire parts of the main quest in Fallout 3 if you stumble across important information on your own. We debated that, but in the end, I think that’s a positive, and has a better feel then an artificial barrier that feels too “gamey”, and it’s something I liked about Fallout 1

The Fallout series was way ahead of its time in many respects, and I’m glad to hear about how Bethesda intends to carry on in the same spirit. It always bothers me in games when I encounter the linear quests, such as gathering relics to battle some boss-creature. I’m ready to fight Umarill the Unfeathered now, damnit! I don’t need any enchanted gauntlets!

The best example of this concept (other than Fallout) is Chrono Trigger, which lets you battle the final boss of the game in the first 10 minutes, or several other points throughout the story, giving you plenty of chances to win and forgo the rest of the narrative. It just so happens that most games that allow you to end the story early are so well made that you choose to continue playing anyways.

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