If you're too tired to sit through the nearly one-hour Fallout post-mortem presentation that original producer Tim Cain gave earlier today at the Game Developers Conference, then I'll point you over to Eurogamer and Kotaku for write-ups on all the crazy things he discussed. From the former:
"A lot of people who came on board said we could do something that's better than D&D - let's put our own twist on that," he recalled.
"We quickly threw that out as there were so many other fantasy games being developed. This is the one choice we made that saved us from being canceled."
Then came something rather more ambitious.
"Our second idea was epic. You started in the modern world, you were thrown back in time, you killed the monkey that would evolve into modern humans, you went through space, you went to the future which was ruled by dinosaurs, you were then exiled to a fantasy planet where magic took you back through the timeline, and then you came back to the modern world to save your girlfriend.
"It's weird even hearing myself talking about it now, but we were really going to go with this. One of the other producers kind of slapped me and said 'there's no way you're ever going to get this story made. You can work on it for years and nobody is ever going to do it'.
Sure enough, Cain and his team scrapped the idea. However, they held on to the extra-terrestrial theme for their next pass. That concept saw aliens invade earth and conquer all but one its cities. The game's hero would then venture out of this safe zone to fight back.
"This is what morphed into Fallout - the idea of a vault that you left and went out into the wasteland," said Cain.
However, getting the game finished and onto shelves proved a very challenging process, with the title nearly axed on a number of separate occasions.
Its first brush with cancellation arose when publisher Interplay picked up the Forgotten Realms and Planescape D&D licenses. Some at the company thought that a new RPG IP might detract from sales of those titles. However, Cain "begged" boss Brian Fargo not to pull the plug and Interplay duly let it live.
It had another close call when Steve Jackson's GURPS role playing brand, which Fallout was initially tied into, decided the game was too violent and didn't approve of the art style.
"It was too late to change anything," explained Cain. "I figured we were going to be canceled."
But management gave Cain a last minute reprieve.