In honor of the fact that yesterday was Memorial Day and next week is E3, I decided to hold off on… Aw, screw it. This article’s a bit late, and I apologize. However, if you think there might be a DLC-shaped hole in your Wasteland-wandering experience but need to be absolutely sure that your $10 is going to a better place, here’s a rundown of why Broken Steel is the best piece of Fallout 3 DLC yet.
1. It’s not broken – Fallout 3 has had a bit of a tumultuous history with DLC launches, and – unfortunately – Broken Steel fits that mold perfectly. In fact, on day one, it decided to pull a Groundhog Day and peek its head out just long enough to get everyone riled up, only to let them all down. Upon attempting to download the DLC, users were met with a head-scratcher of an error (cryptographic what now?), and Bethesda had to remove the malfunctioning content from Games For Windows Live altogether. Now, though, it’s back with nary a glitch in sight. Good thing you waited to buy, huh? See -- patience really is a virtue.
Continue reading for Tesla Cannons, giant robots, and Deathclaws -- oh my!
Fallout 3 not your irradiated cup of tea inexplicably hidden in a filing cabinet? Do you pine for the days when Black Isle Studios headed up the post-apocalyptic RPG series? Well then, it’d seem the fates have aligned in your favor, because Bethesda has decided to entrust its precious license with Obsidian Studios, a team founded by Black Isle cast-offs.
The result of their partnership, titled Fallout: New Vegas, will apparently not stray too far from Fallout 3’s critically acclaimed path, though Bethesda wouldn’t spill when asked about the game’s engine.
Ostensibly taking place among Sin City’s radroach-infested ruins, New Vegas isn’t a sequel to Fallout 3. Rather, it’s a spin-off that – knowing Obsidian’s track record – will probably take a large number of cues from its source material.
"It is not a sequel to Fallout 3," said Bethesda marketing VP Pete Hines. "It was just a great opportunity we thought to work with some guys who very clearly know Fallout--Feargus [Urquhart] and those guys were there in the early days of Fallout."
This unexpected gamble on the Fallout franchise is currently targeted for a 2010 release date. We can’t wait, really. We’ve always wanted to visit Vegas without cowering in fear of being shot at all times, and thanks to all the radiation and mutated wildlife, we’re sure Fallout: New Vegas will be our safest bet.
(Dear Vegas people, we kid. Please don't yell at us.)
A giant world of post-apocalyptic intrigue – bombed and obliterated to perfection by Fallout lead designer Chris Taylor, no less – seems like an excellent setting for an MMO, no? So it’s with a heavy heart that we bring you word of said MMO’s potential cancellation, courtesy of the dream-destroyers over at Bethesda – who may or may not be within their rights to drop the axe.
See, back when Bethesda first nabbed the Fallout property from Interplay’s hobbling, not-quite-dead-yet form, Interplay retained the right to develop a Fallout MMO – but only under the condition that it somehow amass $30 million and enter full scale development within two years. That agreement was made two years ago. Unfortunately, Bethesda’s calendars seem to be in working order.
“Interplay recently received notice that Bethesda Softworks, LLC (‘Bethesda’) intends to terminate the trademark license agreement between Bethesda and Interplay which was entered into April 4, 2007 for the development of FALLOUT MMOG. Despite the fact that no formal action is currently pending, Bethesda claims that Interplay is in breach of the trademark license agreement for failure to commence full scale development of same by April 4, 2009 and to secure certain funding for the MMOG,” reads an Interplay performance report.
“Interplay adamantly disputes these claims. Although the potential damages are currently unknown, if Bethesda ultimately prevails and cancels the trademark license agreement, Interplay would lose its license back of the ‘Fallout’ MMOG and any damages resulting therefrom are unknown at this time.”
According to a recent SEC filing, Interplay entered 2009 with little more than tumbleweeds in its bank account, so things aren’t exactly looking good. Then again, the potentially penniless publisher recently entered into a partnership with Masthead Studios, so at least something’s brewing over there.
Here’s hoping – and really, this is about the only time we’ll ever come to our deity of choice with this particular wish – this terrifying vision of the nuclear apocalypse eventually sees the disheartening, gray light of day.
If Fallout 3’s Operation Anchorage DLC was its electro-sword-swinging, happily ending “A New Hope,” The Pitt is its “Empire Strikes Back.” Full of depressing realities and potential backstabs, The Pitt isn’t exactly the best place for a vacation if Fallout 3’s gray skies and grayer morals were getting you down. The DLC’s plot sees you dropping your mechanical trousers, donning slave rags, and infiltrating Pittsburgh’s disease-riddled remains, with the hope of freeing its enslaved citizens. Or cracking the whip even harder, if you’re playing a heartless ne’er-do-well. But is it really worth your time to save Pittsburgh when you could be saving $10? Well, here’s our verdict in five easy points. (Granted, we could’ve given you a simple yes or no, but what fun would that be?)
1. Now with made with 100% real Fallout! – Despite its first-person trappings, Fallout 3 isn’t an FPS. Unfortunately, developer Bethesda seemed to have forgotten that when it released Fallout 3’s first run-‘n’-gun-heavy piece of DLC, Operation Anchorage. With The Pitt, though, the game has kicked its identity crisis to the curb. No more snow, no more identical Chinese soldiers, no more strangely out-of-place cyborg ninjas – Metal Gear Solid this ain’t. Instead, The Pitt sends you on a veritable Wasteland safari, full of open areas, colorful characters, and optional side quests. And for the most part, another few hours of the same things Fallout fanatics have been doing for the past 50 make for an enjoyable – if somewhat familiar – experience.
Well, that’s that. Every single inhabitant of the Capital Wasteland – be they man, woman, or part-man, part-tree, with-another-person-in-there-somewhere-maybe – has gazed upon our newly acquired invisibility suit, badass lightning sword (technical term), and gauss rifle, and felt envy’s green tendrils grip the Do Want lobe (again, technical term) of their brains. Hell, we even created a separate Fallout 3 save file in order to murder all of said people with said badass lightning sword. Long story short, we’ve encountered the Wasteland’s most intimidating foe: boredom.
But sadly, we might just have to expose our virgin minds to other games, because Bethesda recently sent word that Fallout 3’s remaining DLC packs, The Pitt and Broken Steel, have each been delayed for a month.
The Pitt will now go live in March, while Broken Steel and its ten levels-worth of new content won’t emerge from the vault until April.
(*And a conclusion that, I guess, could be considered a fifth thing, but that’d really be reaching.)
Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage is the first drop in an irradiated stream of DLC that Bethesda has planned for its fantastic revamp of the Fallout universe. It sees your wastelander – presumably, by this point, an Iron Man-esque mishmash of cutting-edge weaponry, cold steel, and a 40’s-era radio – stripped right out of his/her tin can and flung (via simulation) into the future’s past that’s still technically our future. Once there, it’s your job to play border patrol for Alaska, keeping China’s Communist government from nabbing Democracy’s swank American job. And make no mistake, son – this is war. But is it a war worth fighting? Well, yes and no. Here’s why.
1. Installing it is like giving birth – Er, not that I’d know what giving birth is like, but I’ve installed Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage, which I’ve heard is a comparable experience. So here’s the rundown: Remember when you feverishly chucked GFW Live into computer limbo because, right after buying Fallout 3, you just wanted to play Fallout 3? Well, that’s actually important now. In order to purchase and subsequently install Operation Anchorage, you must rent out a portion of your precious hard drive to GFW. Then, if you don’t have a GFW or Xbox Live account, you have to snooze your way through some paper work too. Next up, purchasing Microsoft Points. No, your hard-earned dollars are about as worthless as bottle caps here, so you’ll need to have them irreparably mangled into Microsoft Points. After passing Microsoft’s battery of trials (note: I still haven’t said “finally”), you’ll be deemed worthy of downloading Operation Anchorage. Oh goodness, what’s this? Why, has this amount of ridiculous hoop-jumping necessitated a paragraph break – the first in “Five, or Four, or Whatever Things About’s” history?
Jump past the break to, er, find out? Really though, I think the answer's kind of obvious.
A bit of good news for those forced into a Twilight Zone-esque loop of reliving the Fallout 3 main quest’s final, anticlimactic seconds ad nauseam: the game’s upcoming “Broken Steel” DLC pack will remove its game-halting point-of-no-return.
And, as if the opportunity to spend eternity wandering an irradiated hell weren’t enough, Bethesda also intends to sow some growing room into your character’s jammies. Ten levels of growing room, to be exact.
"We plan on raising [the level cap] to level 30 - but it will be a long, hard climb to get there," Bethesda lead DLC producer Jeff Gardiner told Eurogamer.
The apparent increased leveling time should have many players sighing with relief, as ascending mountains of fallen foes to an absolute peak of level 20 wasn’t exactly difficult in a game of Fallout 3’s scale.
However, we have to ask: Why release the Broken Steel content pack – or at least a few of its features -- in March, after the other two content packs, titled “Operation: Anchorage” and “The Pitt,” have already come and gone? After all, many players have characters mired in save points near the game’s currently inescapable ending, while others hit the level cap long ago. Will they now be forced to resist the DLC’s allure until March if they wish to enjoy it to its fullest?
Think Bethesda shouldn't have spilled so much Oblivion into the good ol' Fallout formula? Think you can do a better job? Well, here's your chance. After heralding its arrival a couple weeks ago, it's our pleasure to inform you that the G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) is here! Break out the irradiated champagne bottles!
On top of that, Bethesda has also blown the cover off its G.E.C.K. wiki, a "community-run site where you'll find everything you need to use the The Garden of Eden Creation Kit and make mods for Fallout 3." Or, if you only have text-reading eyes for Maximum PC, you can ride the Internet over to Bethesda's blog, where you'll find a number of handy video tutorials.
Now, if you'll excuse us, we're off to craft the Fallout 3 equivalent of a child's first macaroni drawing. We sure hope our mom likes it enough to tape the computer to the refrigerator door. That'd just be tops!
"The official editor for Fallout 3, called the G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit), will be available for free download in December and will allow Games for Windows® users to create and add their own content to the game."
"The release of the G.E.C.K. provides the community with tools that will allow players to expand the game any way they wish. Users can create, modify, and edit any data for use with Fallout 3, from building landscapes, towns, and locations to writing dialogue, creating characters, weapons, creatures, and more."
Even (circle one) <better/worse/Y>, Bethesda's sprinkling a smattering of DLC on top of its latest massively single player RPG, giving players a chance to nab a spot in the vaunted Brotherhood of Steel, grind Commies' bones to make more ground, and save a cleverly titled portion of Pittsburgh from total annihilation. DLC descriptions are as follows:
Operation: Anchorage. Enter a military simulation and fight in one of the greatest battles of the Fallout universe – the liberation of Anchorage, Alaska from its Chinese Communist invaders. An action-packed battle scheduled for release in January.
The Pitt. Journey to the industrial raider town called The Pitt, located in the remains of Pittsburgh. Choose your side. Scheduled for release in February.
Broken Steel. Join the ranks of the Brotherhood of Steel and rid the Capital Wasteland of the Enclave remnants once and for all. Continues the adventure past the main quest. Scheduled for release in March.
Are you man enough to save Pittsburgh? Or are you a builder -- not a fighter? Well, please don't comment about it. You know how much we hate it when you do that.
Dust hasn't even began to think about settling around Fallout 3's cushy new spot on store shelves, but developer Bethesda already has the coordinates set for its next megaton's drop date. According to publishing exec Paul Oughton, Bethesda plans on releasing another title in its sprawling, freeform Elder Scrolls series of RPGs -- in only two years, no less.
"At the moment we've got Fallout 3 for this year and potentially there's a new Elder Scrolls title in 2010," said Oughton.
So, there's the "what" and "when," but how about the "where"?
"At the moment we're not that interested in the Wii. We're going to stick to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC," he noted, giving gamers everywhere one less thing to worry about.
Considering Fallout 3's boundless expanses, as well as Bethesda's potential plans for dog armor, d'awwwwdorable dog feet pajamas, and other downloadable things of the like, 2010 sounds like the perfect time to unravel a new Elder Scrolls. We do have one question, though: how can you follow up expeditions into and subsequent ass-kicking of hell itself? Kind of nuked the fridge there, we think.