Fallout vision statement
Fallout vision statement
The Fallout vision statement is concept document written by Chris Taylor at Interplay about the original Fallout, mentioned by Todd Howard in his diary "Welcome Back to Fallout". Taylor wrote it after talking with Tim Cain and the rest of the team at a team meeting. In 2012, a complete version of this document was found, which is transcribed below.
This is the document detailing what Fallout was to be, written with management, marketing and sales departments of Interplay in mind (in order to get the project approved), and is a 14-point bulleted list (with some quotes).
Fallout vision statement
|The following is the original document or a transcript thereof.|
FALLOUT - A GURPS Post Nuclear Adventure
Vision Statement (or why this game is damn cool)
1. Mega levels of violence (you had better give us that Mature rating right now)
You can shoot everything in this game: people, animals, buildings and walls. You can make "called shots" on people, so you can aim for their eyes or their groin. Called shots can do more damage, knock the target unconscious or have other effects. When people die, they don't just die – they get cut in half, they melt into a pile of goo, explode like a blood sausage, or several different ways – depending on the weapon you use. When I use my rocket launcher on some poor defenseless townsperson, he'll know (and his neighbors will be cleaning up the blood for weeks!)
This is the wasteland. Life is cheap and violence is all that there is. We are going to grab the player's guts and remind him of this.
2. There is often no right solution (or dang, we have some moral dilemmas)
This is a bad place. There are bad people. Like it or not, the player will not be able to make everyone live happily ever after. The player will have to make some tough choices. We want the decisions to feel more realistic then other games. We want the player to feel more, not just go through the motions of playing a game.
For example, to restore the ability to make fresh water to the player's home Vault, the player must take a critical piece of equipment from another town. That town will no longer be able to purify their water, and that town will die. The player can then attempt to save that town, but that's another problem.
In another town, two people are fighting for control of the town. Neither of these guys are saints. It’s a matter of choice for the player, he has to choose one of these criminals to run the town – and kill the other one.
3. There will always be multiple solutions (it’s more fun that way)
To continue the example from the previous point, the player could also just walk away. He doesn't have to solve every problem, and there are always multiple solutions. If a player wants to go through the wasteland with guns blazing, laying waste to everyone and everything he sees – we let him! If he wants to sneak around, be quiet and not get into trouble – he can do that to! If he wants to talk it out, offering a diplomatic solution, or lying his teeth out – he can try that to!
No one style of play will be perfect. The player will have to try different actions to get to the end of the game.
4. The players actions affect the world (and the world reacts to the player)
The game will notice what the player does and respond accordingly. If the player shoots up people in a tavern, the other patrons will notice. If the player seems badass, then the patrons will leave him alone and go on their way. If the player looks like a wimp, the patrons could take him on. As the player gains a reputation, NPCs will notice – moving out of the way, or going out of their way to kill the player.
Once again, we want the player to get involved with what is happening within the game. If the player feels like he is making a difference, then he will want to play more – even if it is just to see how he can change the game world.
5. There is a sense of urgency (the player moves, no sitting around in our game)
There is a clock running. The player's actions will affect this clock – slowing down or speeding some events, but the clock will always catch up to the player.
The main bad guy isn’t just sitting back and letting the player come kill him. Our bad guy is taking over the world. The longer the player waits, the more towns our bad guy will take over – making it harder for the player to get information and equipment.
We will, of course, offer the player the time needed to solve the game and still be able to explore. And the player will get feedback about what is going on in the world. We want to avoid the problem of "What do I do next? Help me, I’m lost and I can’t get a clue!"
6. It’s open ended (well, as much as it can be and still not pull a Darklands)
The player can go anywhere. He may not have the tools, or the experience, to handle where he is, or gain access to some hidden or guarded areas. But the player can explore freely, and return to previous locations.
The player can wander around the world map, and some areas will be hidden on this map. These areas will have more monsters, equipment and maps for the player to encounter and explore.
A game can feel large in scope, without being a huge game.
7. The player will have a goal (goals are good, like shipdates)
The player should always feel like he has something to do. And he should always have an idea of what that "something" is. We will help the player from getting lost and confused by offering them an Adventure Journal. This Journal will take the form of a PDA Computer (sort of an advanced Newton). It will allow the player to check his status during the game. Any adventure seeds that the player is currently following will be noted in the PDA. The player can play back the cinematic sequences that he has seen from this PDA.
The PDA also records important clues and information offered by NPCs.
At the beginning of the game, the player will have an immediate goal – surviving long enough to find the water chip to repair the water purifier. As the player advances through the game, they will find out their ultimate goal – stopping the Master from taking over the Wasteland and turning all the humans into mutants.
8. The Player has control over his actions (it is a role-playing game, after all)
The player can act good or evil. It’s up to the player. We want to keep the feeling "Why can't I do that?!" to a minimum, to avoid frustrating the player. We want to cover a spectrum of gamers, and the actions they might want to do.
At the end of the game, the bad guy will offer the player a job – working for him. The player can accept, and the game will take this into account.
If the player wants to be a butthead to people, we will let him. It might make the character’s job a little more difficult at times, but it might intimidate others into doing what the player needs done.
9. Interface (not in your face)
OK - it needs to be said. A lot of work will go into the interface. It will be easy to use, but can perform complex actions without making the player seem stupid. It will look great, and allow the player to jump right into the action. In general, the left mouse button will perform an action and the right mouse button will bring up a menu of actions to perform or do an alternate action.
A good interface will let the player concentrate on his actions within the game, not the game itself.
10. Encounter Windows (or how you talk to somebody)
When the player talks to somebody important in the game – they will actually talk to them. GURPS covers reactions very well, and we will translate this into the game. If you piss someone off with your comments, then they will look and act pissed – and they will remember it. Depending on the player’s choice of conversation topics, the NPCs will look happy, normal and/or angry. The speech will be lip-synched with the animation.
And your character’s intelligence stat will determine what the player can say. If the character’s IQ is high, the player will be able to select intelligent lines to say – and the NPCs will respond to this. If the IQ is low, then the player will lose the ability to say complex lines, and eventually just be able to say "Duh?" or "What?". And the NPCs will react to this as well...
11. A wide variety of weapons and actions (means a lot of animation)
The character on the screen represents how the character is equipped. The player has a wide selection of weapons to choose from during the course of play. Weapons like: machine guns, laser pistols, flamethrowers, sledgehammers, knives, clubs, gatling lasers, chainguns, plasmacasters, grenades and more! During combat, the player’s character might be knocked down, knocked out, blown up, set on fire or shredded by machine gun fire. The player gets to watch this happen live on the screen. And the player can do it to other people, of course. And when the player adds armor to his character, he gets to see the new armor. All this will give the player more empathy with his character.
12. Detailed character creation rules and premade characters (more choices, imagine that from a role-playing game)
The player can choose between detailed rules for making his character (like buying attributes, skills, advantages and selecting disadvantages to get more points) or he can choose from a set of three characters that we will make.
The premade characters will be detailed, and will embody the three types of players: combat, stealth and diplomacy boy. This will let some players nitpick their characters to death, or jump right into the action.
As the player gains experience, he can improve his character’s skills and attributes. This will let the player change his character during play.
Detailed character creation is important to many role-playing games, and it is certainly important to GURPS. Letting the player fine turn his own character will get the player more involved in the character, and thus the game.
13. We are making this for the public, but we’ll make the GURPS players happy (it gets pretty ugly when they get too happy, you need a lot of paper towels)
GURPS Fallout will be a GURPS title, using the GURPS rules. But first and foremost, it will be a fun role-playing game. It will just happen to have enough GURPS material to make the GURPSers happy. We must keep this in mind. The game comes first.
GURPS gives us:
- detailed tactical combat (turn-based but not slow)
- realistic NPC reactions and reaction based skills
- complex characters that are very life like (with faults and advantages)
- non-combat skills that are useful
- balanced encounters
- a core following of dedicated players
14. The team is motivated (Tim has incriminating documents on all of us)
This is extremely important. Team GURPS is excited to be making this game. Everyone on the team is happy with what they are doing. We want to do this. We care about this game and we will make it cool.
- Team GURPS
TEAM GURPS MISSION STATEMENT:
Our goal is to work together to make a fun role-playing game, and do it in a reasonable amount of time.
Behind the scenes
Brian was involved with the vision statement by reading it. I wrote the thing after talking with Tim and the rest of the team at a team meeting. I'm pretty sure all the leads had direct input into the vision doc. We had been having problems getting an approved vision statement, IIRC, and I wrote an off-beat one that got approved. The little blurbs in the FO3 post don't quite do it justice.
The mega-level of violence snippet is being taken slightly out of context. Here's the full text:
1. Mega levels of violence (you had better give us that Mature rating right now) You can shoot everything in this game: people, animals, buildings and walls. You can make “called shots” on people, so you can aim for their eyes or their groin. Called shots can do more damage, knock the target unconscious or have other effects. When people die, they don’t just die – they get cut in half, they melt into a pile of goo, explode like a blood sausage, or several different ways – depending on the weapon you use. When I use my rocket launcher on some poor defenseless townsperson, he’ll know (and his neighbors will be cleaning up the blood for weeks!)
*** This is the wasteland. Life is cheap and violence is all that there is. We are going to grab the player’s guts and remind him of this. ***
That vision statement was written with management, marketing and sales in mind. It was never intended to be released to the public, nor was it written at the end of the project -- things changed.
And here's another sample:
14. The team is motivated (Tim has incriminating documents on all of us) This is extremely important. Team GURPS is excited to be making this game. Everyone on the team is happy with what they are doing. We want to do this. We care about this game and we will make it cool.
The Vision Doc definitely pre-dated the SPECIALization of Fallout. There was also a US vs. THEM competition between us and the D&D projects (the Fallout dev team felt like red-headed step children after Interplay acquired the D&D license, no offense to red-headed step children.) So we wrote some docs for Interplay management with a neener-neener kind of attitude.
Frankly, I think it's neat the FO3 team quoted it. What a blast from the past.”— Chris Taylor