Emil Pagliarulo on Writing for Fallout 4

Discussion in 'Fallout 4' started by Mellow Mute, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Risewild

    Risewild Half-way Through My Half-life
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    I still love Daggerfall (I could never get used to the controls in Arena), but I have played more Morrowind than Daggerfall by now because my eyes can't handle pixelated graphics anymore :puppy-dog:.
  2. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    I think what Bethesda are trying to do is to get more into the whole "game as a new form of entertainment", where the gameplay serves as a storytelling device just as much as the actual story and writing, like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Well, they're obviously failing miserably at that, but I think that's what Emil thinks they're doing. They want to be less of a somewhat interactive movie (like the Telltale games) or just an adaption of a PnP game (like the original Fallout), they want to be something new and really use all the capabilities of the video game. Meaning that they add new game mechanics that are somewhat irrelevant to the basic game like settlement building and crafting. It's like bringing your LEGOs to a D&D session to show the DM what your hut looks like. In video games you can do that without having your buddies throw their Cheetos at your head and labelling you THAT GUY for playing with LEGOs instead of D&D, you can bring your LEGOs to the table and spend hours building a village instead of doing your quest.
    But as I said, they're still failing at that. Instead of making the mechanics a compelling story element (like in Brothers) they just add a bunch of repetitive and boring mechanics that don't add anything of value to the game besides fluff. They're going the route of the Ubisoft Icon 'em Up games, where you explore a huge map and do the same things over and over again to advance a tiny bit. At least they didn't add towers yet.
    • [Like] [Like] x 4
  3. 0wing

    0wing Все умрут, а я волномут

    Mar 23, 2015
    Well, you're certainly not alone as at least TWO remakes/ports known to exist - DaggerfallXL and DFWorkshop/Daggerfall Unity. The first is a part of so-called XL Engine aiming to run some classic games on modern OS's and 2nd is self explainatory, a Daggerfall on a Unity Engine. Too bad it's still too far from playble on both sides.
  4. Mellow Mute

    Mellow Mute First time out of the vault

    Apr 10, 2017
    I am sure that even the most ridiculous decisions at Bethesda are done for the sake of innovation. And innovation is fine, but not when it comes at the cost of past experience. I think it's interesting how the best open world games in the last couple of years have been done by studios with little to no experience in the genre (if you can call it that).

    We can look at the Witcher 3, in my opinion one of the best made games ever. Not necessarily my favorite game of all time, but excellently made across the board. CD: PR had no experience in making open world games, they had every possibility to fail at making a good one. Yet, they looked at other open world games, surely Bethesda games too, and they gave their best at translating the established lore and characters into this large open world. Innovation was made to the technical aspects of the game. A new engine that reduces the number of loading screens, the ability to have many more characters in their cities, new animations, etc. But the core of the Witcher franchise was preserved and built upon.

    Even in terms of plot, there are similarities between the Witcher 3 and Fallout 4: in Fallout 4 you are looking for your son, in the Witcher 3 you are looking for Cirilla, who is almost like a daughter to the PC. However, in the case of TW3 Ciri is an interesting character that the player trully gets to know (and play) and it is quickly established that she can easily take care of herself. Without many spoilers, travel between worlds is also used as a plot device. You never see Geralt crying "My daughter! Where is she, you bastard?" because he is not an emotional character, but also because most of the time she is out of his reach (and league, if you ask me :D). This allows the player to do the quests for the main story whenever they want, without creating a pseudo narrative dissonance, a contradiction between player actions and player character.

    This is something that Bethesda have traditionally been good at. (not creating this contradiction) In fact, this is probably one of the strongest points of TES games. Even in the more recent entries of that franchise, which have been stripped of many mechanics tied to role playing, this is the one thing they had been consistently good at. Until Fallout 4, that is. Somehow, they forgot about something so important, just because they wanted to tell this "emotional story about looking for your son". I blame Pagliarulo, mostly... The irony is that a studio that was most likely inspired by their previous works managed to release a game in the same year that accomplishes that level of immersion, while they were too busy trying to reinvent the wheel and while they were listening to this idiot who somehow took the place of good writers who quit Bethesda after Morrowind and has been given too much responsibility for too long.
  5. Mellow Mute

    Mellow Mute First time out of the vault

    Apr 10, 2017
    By the way, a big part of the problem is that Bethesda have simply stopped listening, to the fans, to the critics. I guess that always comes with profit and being around for so long. You can just do whatever you want, not look at what you did well in the past or what other studios are doing well in the present. They should be looking for smaller studios like CD: PR who have emerged into the main scene and will soon take their place. (deservedly)

    Even if you're not going to watch the whole conference, please, watch the last half a minute of the video or so in which this buffoon basically admits to not paying any attention to reviews. (or wishes he could) I guess that's the only way you could keep your pride, but I am guessing that this presentation was prepared by or at the very least approved by the higher ups at Bethesda. What a nice way to end your conference! You keep at it, Bethesda! Maybe next time you won't see such high profit and you will be shocked by the results of not listening to the people who play your games.
  6. Kohno

    Kohno Vault Dweller

    Jul 30, 2009
    Sure they are. And that's ok. I liken them and cazadores, but cazadores were the sort of love-to-hate avoid-when-I-can annoying enemy for a different reason than cliffracers.

    Morrowind was the last honest RPG Bethesda made. Console era beginner or not, that much credit it deserves.
  7. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Mildly Dipped

    Oct 26, 2016
    This quote was a case of Emil drinking the kool aid and referencing a philosophy that Todd Howard made up. At this point, Todd just likes the smell of his own farts - so much so that he invites Emil into the room to enjoy it with him.

    The irony of this is that the driving force behind the longevity of their games is the modding community - not a dev that does the absolute bare minimum barring worldbuilding/vistas. I can't play a modded Skyrim again because of how barebones the experience is without specific mods like Frostfall, RND, CCO, etc.

    I can play a New Vegas without any mods (with the exception of crucial performance mods) because the game has so much meat to it. There's a tangible layer of content that exists to engage the player's choices and decisions in both character build and dialogue choices.

    I'm going to go against the grain here for a moment and suggest that Emil was perhaps being somewhat transparent. If he was being honest he would have really said: "The general audience I'm delivering this story to is to stupid to comprehend anything beyond 'find daddy; save day - goo goo gah gah'"

    Maybe I'm giving the man too much credit though considering that he evangelizes dime-store philosophy from his boss.

    Yeah, on second thought...I think I'm giving him too much credit.

    Funny enough, they would have picked up on the cue that in UI design, hiding information is a negative design pattern - especially when it's crucial information like what your character is going to say.

    Getting down to brass tacks, any individual that's used the dialogue subtitle mod on the Nexus can tell you that paraphrasing the dialogue was a conscious decision.
  8. Mellow Mute

    Mellow Mute First time out of the vault

    Apr 10, 2017
    I have questioned whether the removal of some mechanics from Fallout 4 and the butchering of the dialogue system were done intentionally, to appeal to less intelligent audiences. However, the more I learn about how Bethesda design games these days, the more convinced I become that the failures of Fallout 4 were not some dark conspiracy or a savvy marketing move by Bethesda to maximize profits.

    They were simply the result of their incompetence and pride.

    This conference only contributes to my opinion. Neither Emil, nor Todd Howard sound like con men to me. Sure, they have become very good at presenting their games, (I know, tell me lies) but one thing I have noticed is that they always seem proud of the work that is being done at Bethesda.

    On many occasions, Todd Howard has stated that they never make the same game twice. Statements like these are supposed to convince us that BGS is always striving for innovation and is never content with the status quo. In reality, however, Bethesda have become so obsessed with reinventing the wheel that they have begun to forget what made their own games good in the first place. (The example I gave earlier about contradiction between player action and player character) There is no "innovation" in their most recent games. There is a change of design direction. Every positive change seems to come at the cost of two negative.

    They were never interested in providing us with a spiritual successor to the original games or even learning from the real innovations done by Obsidian. With Fallout 4 they wanted to make their own game set in the universe. They kind of tried to refer to the originals with Fallout 3, but mostly failed because... well, Pagliarulo... Yet, people condemned that game and didn't even give them credit for trying. So, 8 years later, a much better known Bethesda with huge profit from their previous game decide that they can get away with doing their own thing. Why are people so surprised? Suggesting that the whole project was a secret experiment to appeal to dumb people.

    Sadly, the fact is that Fallout 4 is probably now the game in the franchise played by the most people. People would have played it regardless of whether the writing was any good or not, because it came after Skyrim, had an incredible marketing campaign, was announced at just the right time, generated incredible amounts of hype, etc. I can see why Bethesda might have focused more on the shooter aspects in Fallout 4 (I mean, just look at the trailer... What do you see? Shooting, guns, building, silly costumes. Of course it was marketed to those people), but make the writing intentionally dull and simple? Don't think so. That one was on pure and simple incompetence.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  9. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Mildly Dipped

    Oct 26, 2016
    True, you're likely correct in that assessment. I actually remember Gizmo on here mentioning that it's very likely that a mediocre story was the intent.

    I also think that maybe me saying the target audience is stupid is not 100% the right way to frame it. I feel it might be more so the Pete Hines mentality of dialogue and story..."let me just walk away from this conversation - I don't care about any of it." It was refreshing to play Tyranny and actually have engagement with the NPCs to learn about Terratus. The same can't be said of Fallout 4 where details and important information are relegated to "don't worry about it, it's way over your head" types of dialogue responses.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  10. Mellow Mute

    Mellow Mute First time out of the vault

    Apr 10, 2017
    I don't know why Pete Hines is getting so much hate for Fallout 4. He wasn't responsible for the writing of Fallout. His job was to be the face of Bethesda and he did his part pretty well imo, except when he called mod creators cheaters and went back on his statements a few times.

    If you want to blame someone for the dull story and side quests, you should look at Pagliarulo or whoever keeps him on a salary at Bethesda, or whoever decided it's enough to have a few professional writers for Fallout 4 and use their concept artists and environmental artists for quest design, or whoever quality checked the ridiculous side quests and approved them. Or maybe you can blame whoever wrote Todd Howard's speeches to advertise the game as "just works", "player freedom remains our number one goal", "biggest DLC land", etc...
  11. Risewild

    Risewild Half-way Through My Half-life
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    I don't really think he is getting hate for Fallout 4, he is getting hate from how he deals with the consumers. He is supposed to be the face of Bethesda but he can't deal or be bothered to deal with any kind of criticism.
    For example, not only did he called modders cheaters and hackers, he also said he didn't care about realism in the game (when asked about what he thought of the Kid in the Fridge quest), he say he sees no similarities between a quest from Far Harbour and the Autumn Leaves FNV mod, he says he doesn't have the attention span for reading text in games (when talking about text in RPG games), just dismiss or ignore or just explode when asked questions in general... A PR should be able to deal with these things, he just doesn't care about the public/consumers unless they are giving compliments, it's his job and he just doesn't care.

    I think that is why he gets hate, specially lately since he really showed a lack of professionalism and that he can't deal with the public directly.
    • [Like] [Like] x 8
  12. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Mildly Dipped

    Oct 26, 2016
    Emil gets hate for the story.

    Hines gets hate for this:

    I like what we’ve done with the dialogue system… and having played Fallout 3 again recently I keep, in Fallout 4 when I’m playing, I keep hitting the button to leave dialogue. I keep forgetting, ‘Oh, I can just walk away’. I don’t have to wait for this guy to stop talking’. And now I’m playing other stuff, where there’s dialogue and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, I wish I could just walk away’. Because I don’t have the attention span for long dialogue!


    not interested in discussing how realistic things are in an alternate universe post-apoc game w/ talking mutants and ghouls

    • [Like] [Like] x 4
  13. ThatZenoGuy

    ThatZenoGuy Residential Zealous Evolved Nano Organism

    Nov 8, 2016
    Man, fuck both of them...

    If there is one thing I cannot stand though, its people handwaving issues, and not treating IP's like the gold they are.

    Alien was one of the best thriller/action sci fi movies out there, and it broke my heart to see Gearbox punt out a shitty game and defend it to death, they still haven't actually recieved any legal recourse for blatantly lying to consumers and killing a whole IP...

    Same shit with Fallout.

    Who the hell can treat fallout like that? "I personally am an autist with a 3 second attention span, therefore we cannot have 4 second speeches ingame".
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  14. naossano

    naossano Vault Fossil

    Oct 19, 2006
    If we followed the same logic, the first Fallout shouldn't have color because the creator was color blind.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  15. Black Angel

    Black Angel Grand Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus

    Mar 21, 2016
    Wait, you actually believed his lies?
  16. Prone Squanderer

    Prone Squanderer A bit of a Sillius Soddus.

    Jan 3, 2016
    Alien wasn't killed, Isolation was a good game.

    Also I don't think Fallout (or any franchise for that matter) should be treated as gold, but rather they should be understood and treated with respect (if it deserves it of course).

    Bethesda did a bad job with Fallout 4 but it could've been a hell of a lot worse.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  17. ThatZenoGuy

    ThatZenoGuy Residential Zealous Evolved Nano Organism

    Nov 8, 2016
    Isolation was pretty much dead a year after it came out, haven't heard someone say a word about it for ages.

    Nice game.

    But nowhere near the coverage which it probably should have gotten. (I also have some issues with the game...*Cough, bulletproof alien*)
  18. Prone Squanderer

    Prone Squanderer A bit of a Sillius Soddus.

    Jan 3, 2016
    You're not meant to be able to kill the alien, that's part of the game's appeal. You're a survivor, not Alien Trilogy Ripley.

    Speaking of aliens, we were talking about Emil weren't we?

    Aren't I very witty.
  19. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Mildly Dipped

    Oct 26, 2016
    Emil is the Alien Queen.
  20. Vinsmoke

    Vinsmoke First time out of the vault

    Nov 19, 2016
    What is Todd then?