Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage Unveiled
Bethesda spills the beans on everything from length to lifting the level cap.
by Erik Brudvig
December 10, 2008 - It's hard to imagine anybody already doing everything in Fallout 3 already, but I guess that's why they call some gamers hardcore. Whether you've finished Fallout 3 or not, you're probably already looking forward to the downloadable add-ons coming to Xbox 360 and PC early next year. IGN recently had the chance to learn more about the three pieces of downloadable content (DLC) that have already been announced by way of Jeff Gardiner, lead producer for Fallout 3 DLC. The focus of the interview was January's DLC, titled Operation Anchorage, but we also learned a bit about the next two downloads as well.
IGN: The liberation of Alaska was hinted at a lot during Fallout 3. What can we expect out of that simulated battle?
Jeff Gardiner: In Operation: Anchorage the player will find themselves able to re-live the famous liberation of Anchorage from Fallout lore -- inside a simulation similar to one found along the main quest of Fallout 3. Once the player finds their way into the simulation, they'll be stripped of their resources and have to survive within the rules set up by the simulation's creators.
The Chinese red army is everywhere, and the player will first have to secure the surrounding mountain side and then fight their way into the Chinese base. The player will have to use a lot of their standard combat skills, along with several new tools that will only be available in the downloadable content. These include interactive Strike Teams under the player's command and unique armor, weapons, and other exotic gadgets.
Re-live the liberation of Alaska.
IGN: A lot of quests in Fallout 3 were slightly different depending upon your character (mostly through dialogue options). Can we expect the same for Operation Anchorage?
Gardiner: Operation: Anchorage focuses mainly on a combat/stealth path. It's important to our team to use DLC as a way for us to flex our creativity, to try new things and answer the "wouldn't have been cool if we did this?" question that always comes up towards a games completion; when it's too late to try them! Don't worry, we're trying something a little different with all of our upcoming content so there will be plenty of the morally gray, multiple path quest lines everyone loves the franchise for.
IGN: Do you expect title updates to fix a few outstanding bugs to come along with Operation Anchorage?
Gardiner: We are releasing an update for all versions of Fallout 3 prior to the release of this DLC. We take pride in fixing issues that are found by our fans and posted in our forums.
IGN: How will the simulation of the battle work? Will we be teleported to a new area or will it all take place within a computer?
Gardiner: Since this is a simulation of a battle that took place in the past, it is taking place within a computer. It's a "what if" scenario, created by the Government in order to test different counter-offensives against the red menace.
Prepare for lots of new art assets.
IGN: How exactly will players access Operation Anchorage after purchasing the download? Will there be a specific place they'll have to go to in order to start the quest?
Gardiner: There will be a new quest objective and map marker for the player to travel to. You can play through this content at any level, once you've exited the Vault.
IGN: The liberation of Anchorage must have taken place before the entire country was destroyed. How different will the art style be for this download?
Gardiner: Anchorage has a vastly different art style. It's taking place in the frozen north; so you have a very bright ice/snow color pallet. We've had a massive amount of art resources at our disposal, most of what the player will experience was created from scratch. We've also taken a lot of time to create a bunch of 'animation vignettes' to make the soldiers and other NPCs interact with the world in better, more convincing ways then anything we were able to do with the Fallout 3 main game.
IGN: Will Operation Anchorage include anything aside from new quests? Can we expect new weapons and armor to outfit our last best hope of humanity? What about new achievements?
Gardiner: It will include new weapons, armor and achievements! It's full of top-secret technology used by both sides during the war, which the player will of course be able to use throughout the main game as well.
IGN: Will the download bring any new perks? My cannibal is hungry for more.
Gardiner: Yes, there will be a new perk included with the content! I won't get into details, but it's named "Covert Ops."
IGN: We're not expecting something as big as Shivering Isles for this first batch of DLC, but how lengthy is Operation Anchorage?
Gardiner: It's about four or five hours, depending on play style. Plus, it will give you new weaponry and other tools that the player can use through the main game.
IGN: How much will Operation Anchorage cost?
Gardiner: 800 Points.
IGN: Will any of the three downloads come with a lift of the level 20 cap?
Gardiner: Yes, the plan is currently for the third DLC, Broken Steel, to increase the level cap. This will be accompanied by new foes, perks and all of the other Fallout 3 staples our fans expect.
IGN: The second piece of downloadable content, The Pitt, takes place in Pittsburgh. As that city is a bit farther away from the coast and the epicenter of DC, is it in the same state of ruin as what we've seen in Fallout 3?
Gardiner: While Pittsburgh wasn't directly hit in the nuclear onslaught, it's still had years of decay. The surrounding water is also heavily irradiated, which tends to have an effect on those that live near it...
Operation Anchorage will last about four or five hours.
IGN: Not to spoil the end of Fallout 3, but extending the story in the Broken Steel download might be a bit tricky. Will the main character still continue through for that storyline? Will he or she be usable in the other downloads?
Gardiner: Based on a lot of feedback, we're going to allow the player to continue on after the main quest ends in the Broken Steel DLC. While a lot of details still have to be sorted, this will allow the player to continue on and play in the Wasteland enjoying the side and freeform quests, along with any new downloadable content we have planned in the future.