A Mod With A Life Of Its Own – An Exclusive Interview With The Writers Of Fallout: Miami

If you didn’t already know, Fallout: Miami is an ambitious mod for Fallout 4 that has taken on a life all its own, becoming more of a piece of DLC like “The Pitt” or “Mothership Zeta” from Fallout 3. While the game is still in development, TheGamer got a chance to speak with the lead writers – Ezra Wayne and Gabriel Troski – to get a better idea of what this extremely interesting location in the Fallout universe would bring.

TG: So, you have finished pre-production of the main quest and are moving on to the main bulk of writing and quest implementation. From what I understand, Fallout Miami follows up on the events of Fallout 3—when the Enclave from the Capitol Wasteland sent a detachment to Miami. Is the Enclave’s mission part of the main quest?

Ezra Wayne: Yes, Fallout: Miami takes place in 2287 simultaneously with the events of Fallout 4 like the official DLC, and the Miami Enclave’s story follows a detachment from Raven Rock. The Enclave serve as one of the mod’s three main factions—alongside The Nuclear Patriots and The Center. The Enclave will have a fully-fledged main quest, side quests, and a companion, as well as being involved in the other factions’ main quests. I don’t wanna give too much away, but I think it’s fair to say their mission is a focal point.

Gabriel Troski: The best way I could say it is that the Miami Enclave no longer identifies with Eden or Col. Autumn. They are written so that players that didn’t experience Fallout 3 can still understand their motives, but players that did can appreciate their backstory being linked to Fallout 3.

I’ve gotcha. That being said, one thing that stands out is that we are playing as the Sole Survivor from Fallout 4—which makes sense because this is a Fallout 4 mod—but the last we saw, we were in Boston. So, can you clue me in to how we ended up in Miami, Ezra?

EW: Without getting too specific, the story starts with the player receiving a job offer, and the subsequent events lead them to Miami. There’s no forced start or anything. I wish I could say more, but that’s definitely stepping into spoiler territory! I do want to say, though, that while the mod is designed to be a continuation of the Sole Survivor’s story, it is also alternate-start friendly, and we’ve done our best to make it immersive for any kind of playthrough. It’s also playable from a fresh save, though we recommend being at least level 30.

Well, thank you for sharing that much! Getting away from potential spoilers, Vaults are some of the most interesting parts of any Fallout game. Their twisted and strangely humorous social experiments have been stuck in my mind over the years. Am I going to find a vault that sought to perfect “Florida Man” in Miami? Or maybe one filled with perpetual spring breakers?

GT: Vault-Tec and their bizarre experiments have always been one of my favorite parts of the Fallout series. It’s a great look into some crazy and unique sci-fi concepts. As for our vault, we showed off its number within one of our trailers. Those lore nuts out there will know it as Vault 53. It was previously mentioned in the Lore Bible for Fallout and we have come in to bring it to life. If people don’t mind spoilers as to the experiment taking place there, information on Vault 53 can be found online.

EW: We know Miami has a ton of meme potential, so the real challenge was picking and choosing what pop culture references we should include without distracting from the actual content of the stories we’ve written. So no, no big Florida Man plot! But we do have a minor faction we’ve previously announced, The Dreamers, who are a pretty obvious homage to Hotline Miami, though their story will be their own.

Speaking of factions, I know that you’re bringing back the faction reputation system from New Vegas, with some tweaks. How much am I going to need to worry about stepping on the wrong toes? Can I be locked out of factions if they hate me enough?

EW: Yes, with enough infamy, you can shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to that faction’s content. But you’ll certainly know that’s the direction you’re headed in before you get there, I don’t think it’d be possible to get locked out on accident. At least, that’s my understanding; implementation and balance is pretty complicated and we’re lucky to have a great team to handle that. (Cue Stephen crashing through the 4th wall and launching me into outer space because that’s incorrect).

GT: We have a big focus on player choice as well as how their actions affect the world around them. That is one of the reasons for the return of the reputation system. Most quests will have multiple ways to complete them. And, even more so, ways to fail them. If a player decides that the best way to solve a faction’s problem is to kill every last one of them, then sure, you can try that. However, players should not be surprised by the fact that, if they act like assholes, NPCs will treat them like assholes. Killing a quest giver is a good way to get locked out of a quest.

You’re saying that quest givers can be killed–how difficult is it to write for a scenario in which I missed key side quests because I decided to test out a mini-nuke on a crowd of people?

GT: Well, first, you should not do that. That is very irresponsible and someone could get hurt.

EW: Actually, that’s something we discussed a lot. Originally, we intended to make all quest-essential NPCs Protected (meaning they cannot be killed by anyone except the player) and then ultimately decided to make some of them Essential (they cannot be killed, period) until they fulfill a certain role in a quest. Freedom of choice is very important to us, but at the end of the day, this is a quest mod. We’ve accounted for a lot of what a player might want to do, and tried to allow for as much choice as possible without completely breaking the main quests. There is a main quest branch you can’t be locked out of (though I suppose you could if you tried really hard) so no one can say we didn’t try! But in a story-heavy mod, it’s safe to assume any named NPC is named for a reason and serves a purpose in some form.

GT: When you work to develop a quest, especially in a game like Fallout, you need to think of every possible scenario. There are plenty of moments where a player can just kill an NPC and the quest comes to a halt. Therefore, we need to plan around any roadblock that might arise. Say a player needs to speak with an NPC to complete one quest, but that NPC is also a part of another quest where one of the solutions is to kill them. We need to keep all of our quests and content under watch so that we can keep track of all these inconsistencies. We don’t want any of our players to be unable to complete content. We need to be sure that no matter how or when a player does something, they can continue to enjoy our mod. That being said, don’t be surprised that you are locked out of a side quest because you killed the quest giver.

EW: Yeah, we have accounted for all scenarios in which the player is asked to kill an NPC. That’s something you really have to keep tabs on.

GT: It’s part of the reason we have two lead writers. So much goes into creating a narrative-heavy mod like this, that it’s hard to keep track of it all. With two people as leads, we can keep this whole world we’re making under our watch.

I understand. I know that we’re “early” into the writing process, but can you give me a hint as to what the overall mission is? Are we saving Miami? Invading Cuba? Getting abducted by aliens?

GT: Well, one thing I can say that won’t be in Miami is a talking car.

EW: We are solving a clash of ideologies. I think a lot of people are under the impression that because Miami involves the Enclave, that it’s a good vs. evil story, but it truly isn’t. The player will have to make some tough choices, and their actions help shape the future of Miami.

Given that those tough choices are important to the story, how many endings are possible?

EW: There are currently four different endings, and there will be end cards with different conclusions for major plot points and characters.

Circling back a little bit, we’re going to be getting a different look at the Enclave with Miami? More of a nuanced look at them?

GT: Here’s what I can say; the Miami Enclave is what the Enclave looks like a decade after getting their asses kicked in the Capital Wasteland.

EW: I believe we’ve done a good job of giving nuance to all of our factions without excusing any of the evil actions they commit – and they have all, at times, done the morally wrong thing. It has always been my goal to give an honest presentation of them, with all their flaws and all of the good intentions behind them. Something about the road to hell, right?

Indeed. I love those kinds of stories myself, they make choices much more impactful. Anything else that you guys want to say about what you’re working on?

GT: I just want to give credit to the wonderful team we have at Miami. Everyone puts in such amazing work for something they don’t get paid for. People often ask why Miami is taking so long. That’s because we aren’t really making a mod. This is a DLC. Complete with all the new assets and toys you’d expect. So much work has been put in and I can’t wait for fans to get their hands on it.

EW: Mostly I would just like to give my love and gratitude to the entire Miami team. This mod is only possible because over a hundred people with top-tier talent came together to do it for free, and it’s an honor to work with them. Especially departments like Level Design and Implementation, that don’t really get a lot of recognition from the fan base. This wouldn’t be possible without them. Working on Miami has been a one-of-a-kind experience and it’s some of the proudest work of my career.

Fallout Miami is a community mod that is currently in development. 

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Michael spent some time owning and running a bar. He is currently living on wheels with his wife, playing video games, guitar, and watching Pewdiepie comment on memes. #Floorgang

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