TE: When Bethesda was doing its rounds with Fallout 3, they talked a lot about how they weren't consulting with the original Black Isle team and how they wanted to make it their Fallout, and they weren't too concerned with the past. How has that shifted now? You guys are essentially taking responsibility for the Vegas portion and extending the original Fallout 1 & 2 storylines. How has that integration worked out?
FU: It's like thinking of a Star Wars game. We could run everything by Lucas, but there's ... all these things and - you just get to know it.
For Star Wars, that's what Chris Avellone did, he's the designer for Knights of the Old Republic 2. He literally just went and read everything. I mean everything - I mean really bad junior Jedi books. I'm like "Why are you reading that?" and he says "Well, there might be something in here."
When it comes to Fallout, and what's easy for the internal team, they have all of our design documents, they have all of our materials, they have the games, they had Chris's Fallout bible, they had all this stuff. Would it have been helpful to ask five or six questions, but that would have probably been it. With us, in working on New Vegas, we just already know it, for a lot of us it was something that we created. We still go back, because it is Bethesda's Fallout, it's not Black Isle's Fallout.
We all played Fallout 3 to death. One, because we wanted to, two, because we needed to really understand it. So we really wanted to understand what they were trying to accomplish and what their vision was. And then we followed up with questions. We haven't asked a ton, but things get run by Todd Howard all the time. The amount of conflict that has existed - like "Why can't we do this?" "Well you just can't," - it's been like four things. A lot of it has to do with that they have ideas for the future and so they just don't want us to go playing with where they see their future.
This is similar to what happened with the Star Wars stuff. One of the first things we wanted to do with KOTOR was we wanted to use Alderaan and LucasFilm came back with "No." So it's a collection of that, it's the knowing and the asking of important questions and being upfront with them about everything we're doing. We over-document everything. We're like "Here." And they're like "Stop writing."
TE: Can you give any examples of the four or so things you weren't able to do?
FU: In some cases, it's pretty minor stuff. For one of them, we were thinking of a certain city and they said "We want to reserve that for something we want to do." It didn't really hurt what we were doing at all.
We [also] talked a lot about when it should occur in the timeline. Originally, we thought that it didn't take place after Fallout 3 and that it took place between Fallout 2 and Fallout 3. When Bethesda thinks about their worlds, they always want to be pressing forward. So every game just moves the timeline forward. That's one of the things they said "No," and that's why it takes place years after Fallout 3.
TE: What kind of impact has that had on the design - the evolution of the chronology - is that something [the player is] going to be able to feel? Fallout 3 was a certain number of years after Fallout 2 ...
FU: I want to say 70 [years]. It's long enough that people that were in Fallout 2, if they were old, they're dead now. If they were young, they're old now. It's not 100 years, and it's not 20, it's somewhere in the middle.