Sparks of the bygone days
10 years have passed since the original Fallout was released. Clearly, not enough time for the stars to fade, but some things had changed. Mark Morgan disappeared and came to light again, gamers’ generation alternated, a legendary Interplay rose from ashes, owning a small but cult Black Isle studio – Fallout creator.
It is difficult to say, how many battle-hardened fans are left now. Fans, who were playing Fallout for days on end; who were searching for all the Random Encounters day and night; who were completing the game for the fifth time in a row way back then. And it is completely unclear, what did they expect from Fallout 3. Perhaps, they didn’t really need this transfer to 3D? Or did they just fear the game would become an Oblivion with the guns? This could be a theme for a book, but we definitely can say that for the last 10 years the industry has undergone such a profound change, that no one can possibly know, what would Fallout 3 be like if it was developed by the old Black Isle. And sure, the original was made in a slap-dash way, without the huge budget, celebrities and improbable PR. I doubt you can do this two times in a row.
Bethesda Softworks treated its work on F3 very seriously. The remains of the Black Isle team were consulting the developers, the project’s official forum was boiling with opinions and councils. As a result, a jump to 3D didn’t cost the game its unique charm. The cities are still destroyed, the abandoned bunkers are more terrifying to roam in (heart misses a beat), Quests with numerous outcomes are here and, frankly speaking, Bethesda created a wonderful fighting mode with a smart pause, outstanding MEAT and dressed it with a brilliant character creation system.
War never changes…
As for the soundtrack – piece of cake. Actually, there is a bunch of funny things connected with a Fallout music. For example, a few know that in the certain lots of Fallout 2 boxes a bonus-disc with the soundtrack was enclosed. But the fact, that 3/4 of the edition were defective and that instead of the album there was a Fallout 1 disc for some reason, is known by a handful of people.
After the first screenshots from the game appeared, a great number of discussions broke out in the Web – who’s going to be the game’s composer? There was a variety of alternatives, from Mark Morgan to Jeremy Soule (hired by Bethesda for the work at Elder Scrolls: Morrowind and Oblivion music). After a time, an official site of “Fallout 3” was opened. The site welcomed its guests with a post-apocalyptic concept-art and a rhythmical symphonic music. And the nearly faded arguments broke out again.
Right at that time in the project list on Jeremy Soule’s official MySpace site appeared a picture of a nuclear explosion. A question mark was standing significantly stood next to it. The problem had become so urgent, that in one interview Jeremy honestly admitted he was NOT working and was NOT going to work at Fallout. A nuclear explosion probably implies another cult candidate – Duke Nukem, at which, perhaps, maestro is working right now.
Until the very last moment Bethesda kept fans on the stretch. A composer’s name was revealed only half a year before the release date – Inon Zur. You can’t tell no one expected that – he’s come to be in great demand lately, and the musical theme from the official site was actually nothing like Mark. All we had to do is to wait for the game itself and look - what’s there inside?
The game welcomes us with the very same music theme, which runs through the game as a burden. Weather it is to the good or not, the industrial ambient left us – now the wastelands are filled with the symphonic music with ethnic instruments’ panes here and there. Surprisingly, this doesn’t harm the game at all. The new Fallout was most likely to change in music aspect any way, ‘cause now the symbol of a true blockbuster and elite game – live symphonic music. Pure electronics is the destiny of low-budget projects.
Thanks God, they’ve managed to avoid arousing a frightening feeling of playing Oblivion with the guns. Partially, due to the fact music hardly ever sticks out and due to the visualization – a player is more likely to stare at the interior and exterior image design, then listen to anything at all. Only at nights, perhaps, when the sky is filled with stars and the desert noises quieten down, the symphonic music comes out, causing a slight deja vu – hi there, Oblivion!
Actually, here we can see, why there are no ads of a soundtrack of such a costly project. And why there are only 2 Inon’s tracks out of 5 on the promo-disc – the music doesn’t stick to your memory at all. He managed to create a wonderful symphonic ambient, the term ambient itself doesn’t mean lack of rhythm in composition, but rather a set of some sluggish pointless symphonic movements in this case. Perhaps only 5 public-tracks and the main theme could be called real compositions.
The game changed. Only in dungeon variations of the tracks (only when you’re visitings dungeons and abandoned vaults) Inon mixes the symphonic and electronic music in a comfortable ratio of 50/50. And sometimes, OMG, Morgan’s familiar samples show up. That’s not the hopeless Fallout, where the live music was clearly out of place. There was the civilization’s decline, here comes the dawn. Game changed a bit, and music clearly shows it being the main carrier of the atmosphere.
P.S. Someone turns on in-game radio and enjoys wonderful licensed tracks of the 30-50s. But we stand for the old school. P.P.S. Music can be found in the game directory.