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Feargus Urquhart Comes Home

Russ Pitts | 30 Apr 2010 22:00
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For more on Fallout: new Vegas, check out our preview.

Feargus Urquhart is many things, but angst-ridden is not one of them. In fact, he may be one of the most cheerful studio heads I've ever met, which is probably why his version of the Fallout 3 world promises to be a little less dark.

As the head of Black Isle studios, the visionary studio behind Fallout 2, Feargus was at the helm when the franchise was at its highest - and then had a ring-side view as it came crashing down in flames. As CEO and co-founder of Obsidian Entertainment, Urquhart is back in the saddle with the Fallout franchise, once again at the helm. This time with Fallout: New Vegas, the follow-up to Bethesda's Fallout blockbuster reboot, Fallout 3.

I spent a few moments at Bethesda's 2010 Gamer's Day speaking to Urquhart about the experience of working with someone else's vision of his baby, what players can expect this time around and how he genuinely feels to be back working on Fallout again, after the demise of the Van Buren version of Fallout 3. If, like me, you're expecting him to be moody about the whole thing, get ready to be disappointed.

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The Escapist: You said in the presentation yesterday that on some level you wished you had put together the third [Fallout game] yourself, on your team. Now you're a part of it. Is that an emotional thing for you?

Feargus Urquhart: It's funny. What's interesting is that we were actually coming off of a project that got canceled and that's always a big upheaval. Projects are strange. Even when you finish a project - I remember working on a game, which was back in Black Isle Studios, which was a D&D roleplaying game. It was a pretty hard push. Interplay wasn't doing wonderfully and so it was a real hard push because we wanted to get it out. So we finished it and I remember - it's one of those things you remember distinctly in your head - I remember we finished it, got it shipped off and approved, CD stamp was done, and it was going into manufacturing. I remember being at home, around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, because it was all done and they just sent everyone home - I'm sitting at home, turn on my TV and I'm like "What do I do now?" Cause you get this crazy thing - I don't want to call it post partum depression - but you're so focused on it and - it's interesting, because the game got canceled - but we were really focused on it and it was looking really good.

It was tough, but what was awesome is that Fallout came along. It was like the right time, the right place sort of thing. The internal team at Bethesda is working on something else. People online were saying "Oh, are we going to have to wait 5 years for another Fallout?" and stuff like that. At the time it didn't feel lucky, but then to be able to get to make Fallout, it all just synched up, which is great.

From a standpoint of making Fallout - it's just fun because - I don't want to say it makes itself, but it's this weird thing - you just think of guys in leather in the desert and you just come up with all these crazy things and also, with Fallout, you're allowed to do stuff that Senator Lieberman probably wouldn't like us to do. It just gets to be fun.

That's how all the emotions get wrapped up into it. Ultimately, we get to go back and make something that we loved, and on top of that it's fun. You can see that in the team. The team has a blast.

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