What You Didn't Know About Fallout 3

by Andrew Reiner on Nov 02, 2009 at 07:26 AM

Game development often lasts for years. And in that stretch of time, studios have their fair share of ups and downs. From humorous game bugs to stress-relieving antics, Game Informer peers behind the curtain of game development. In this entry of Tidbits, developer Bethesda Softworks shares secrets behind the development of Fallout 3.

  • In the world of Fallout, the bombs fell on October 23rd. Bethesda tried to coincide the release of Fallout 3 to that.
  • The original inspiration for VATS was Burnout’s crash mode replays.
  • The sound that plays when you enter VATS is the combat turn sound from Fallout 1.
  • Fallout 3 started in 2004 and was announced before Oblivion was even announced.
  • A team of over 80 people worked on Fallout 3 covering three platforms - Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
  • The dog in Fallout 3, Dogmeat, also appeared in Fallout and Fallout 2.
  • Artist Grant Struthers prototyped the VATS camera system by filming his Incredibles action figures fighting.
  • The very first piece of Fallout 3 art was created by Lead Artist Istvan Pely in 2004. It was the power armor image that became the game’s cover.
  • Bethesda’s first true-3D shooter was Terminator: Future Shock in 1995, which was also set in a large post-apocalyptic city. Todd Howard is often credited with creating the first “mouse look” interface for it.
  • Bethesda’s first game was Gridiron! In 1986.
  • Bethesda Softworks was actually only in Bethesda, Maryland, for a short time. Their offices are in Rockville, Maryland.
  • Actress Courtney Cox worked at Bethesda briefly in the 1980s.
  • The bell that sounds after shooting the Fat Man Nuclear Catapult is the lunchroom bell at the Bethesda offices.
  • The Fat Man is based on an actual nuke launcher, the M-388 Davy Crockett Tactical Nuclear Recoilless Rifle which was made in the 1950s.
  • The cars in Fallout 3 are based on the Ford Nucleon, a concept car built to run on a nuclear generator in the 1950s.
  • The downtown DC area in Fallout 3 was twice the size at one point and the team decided it was too large and confusing and cut half the space out. Though the wasteland area was half the size, and the team felt it was too small, so the wasteland doubled.
  • The voice of the one-year-old baby you play who says “Da Da” is Jake Howard on his 1st birthday, son of game director Todd Howard.
  • The voice of Timmy Neusbaum, who you have to make cry in Tranquility Lane, is the voice of Cullen Pagliarulo, son of lead designer Emil Pagliarulo.
  • The voice of young Paul Hannon, at your 10th birthday party, is Luke Lafferty, son of producer Craig Lafferty.
  • The voice of Mr. Handy and Harold is that of Stephen Russell, who also plays Garrett in the Thief series of games.
  • Production director Ashley Cheng provides the voice for the Chinese commandos.
  • At one point, Fallout 3 featured a surgery minigame, where you had to cauterize your own wounds while watching your character scream in pain. The team felt it slowed down the game’s pace to just heal your limbs.
  • In the original design, you actually drove Liberty Prime and did battle with a working and floating Rivet City.
  • If you sneak up and activate a Brahmin, your character will tip it over.
  • In the Hubris Comics’ building is a terminal that has an actual working text adventure in it called “The Reign of Grelok.”


For other Tidbits entries, click the desired game name: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Ghostbusters, Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes, Overlord II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Scribblenauts