An Earth Unlike Our Own - The Conclusion of the Interview with Fallen Earth's Lee Hammock at AGDC '07
by Cody "Micajah" Bye
(Editor's Note: The
following article is a continuation of an interview that previously ran
on Ten Ton Hammer a few days ago. If you'd like to hear everything you
can about Fallen Earth,
make sure you check out that first interview as it goes into the
details of character creation and some of the introductory areas of the
tutorial. Once you're finished there, head back here and read the final
portion of the Lee Hammock interview.)
In an MMOG marketplace overloaded with fantasy-based MMOGs, Fallen
Earth sticks out like a sore thumb. Set in a post-apocalyptic world
where the dystopian society is trying to crawl its way back into a
semblance of the civilization they once knew. Taking place 150 years
from today, the world of Fallen Earth only slightly like our own - just
enough to give it that creepy quality so inherent in quality horror
novels and movies. Basing their landscape on a topographical map of the
Grand Canyon, the last vestiges of humanity fight to stay alive even as
they try to wipe each other out of the scene all together. The
developers of Fallen
Earth have held no punches when it comes to grit and
carnal touches; they're shooting for a "Mature" rating. At the Austin
Game Developer Conference, I sat and watched as Lee Hammock, style="font-style: italic;">Fallen Earth's lead
designer, moved his character onto the surface and began to wander
around the desolate countryside emerging in a ghost town by the name of
style="font-style: italic;">The town that
Hammock showed us in the demo looked alot like this deserted town.
At first glance, Terrance might be your average American town, albeit a
ghost-filled shell of its former self. The style="font-style: italic;">Fallen Earth art
team has done a spectacular job of making everything feel slightly
dirty; the main palette of the game seems to be a mixture of brown,
gray, black, and ruddy red. Scrub grass covers the countryside, and the
surrounding landscape is exactly what you might see in the U.S.
southwest; mesas and plateaus dominate the horizon. Real-time day /
night cycles, weather patterns, moving clouds, and seasonal changes are
also being planned. It's all towards making style="font-style: italic;">Fallen Earth as
pseudo-realistic as possible.
"The map of the world is actually based off of a topographical map of
the Grand Canyon," Hammock said. "Our map is approximately 83 km on a
side. The first area that you'll be adventuring in (he points to an
area on the map that's about a tenth of the whole world) is about 20
sq. km of space and will take 2-3 hours to run across. It is a huge
amount of space.".
"While we have the map there for the players, any areas that don't have
content in them yet we separate from the game world with radiation and
plague sectors, so players can't go inside them," Hammock said. "That
way players can't go run off and find an area with no content inside.
Over time we'll pull those barriers back as we expand our content."
While we didn't talk specifically about what kind of town Terrance was,
Hammock did explain that each town will have a particular story or
motif. Story-lines are something that the style="font-style: italic;">Fallen Earth
developers have always been interested in, as their previous interview
with Ten Ton Hammer showed. In that interview with Wes Platt. we
discussed the various factions, towns, and story lines that are
introduced in the game in a bit more detail, but Hammock summarized
what Wes said fairly thoroughly.
"There isn't one giant story going on here," Hammock said. "Every town
has a story. Every country (an area encompassing five towns) has a
story. Every faction has a story.Your PC faction and villain factions
will have a story. All of them interrelate and interact with each other.
You can play through multiple times. and not see the same thing twice.
There are about 20 towns per sector, but players might only play
through 4-5 of them before moving on. There's tons of content that you
won't see, but you can certainly stick around and see everything if you
want. However, if you're in a town with a story you're just not into -
move and find another town! There are tons of things to go see, and
we've given players those options."
style="font-style: italic;">The Fallen Earth
developers are shooting for an "M" rating for their game. They "love
As Hammock wandered about the town, very few NPCs were in the area,
making it truly feel empty and barren. Being in pre-Alpha, however, my
guess is that the town simply wasn't populated with any NPCs, and more
character would be introduced to the area in the future. Walking around
the buildings, Lee jumped into one house, which was full of dessicated
corpses. "We like dead bodies," Hammock said. This isn't a game for the
faint hearted, as corpses were lying around everywhere, even in the
tutorial mission that we went through earlier. Even with the imminent
threat of crazed enemies rounding a corner at any moment, that didn't
stop Lee from exploring the area with only a pipe in hand.
"Your first weapon is a pipe, while your second weapon will probably be
a piece of rebar, two-by-four, or a wine bottle opener," Hammock said.
"Your starting guns will be paintball guns and crossbows. Everything
starts out very basic. By the middle portion of the game you'll have
baseball bats, pool cues, hockey sticks with sawblades attached to
them, barbells with all the weights at one end, that sort of thing.
Eventually you'll get to rifles, fully automatic weapons, pistols,
revolvers, or swords. My favorite is the spiked baseball bat with razor
wire wrapped around one end. That's the winner right there."
"You basically have six weapon slots, two for one-handed melee, two for
pistols, one for a two-handed melee weapon on your back, and one for
your two-handed gun."
Although that sounds cool, it also sounds like your character may be a
walking armada. During his presentation, every weapon the character was
carrying wasn't visible, so perhaps only a few weapons are visible at
the same time in the game. Whatever the case, it'd be cool to actually
have that many weapons physically viewable on your character at the
same time. I mean, this is a post-apocalyptic world where truly crazy
things are occurring, maybe characters need that much weaponry just to
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Fallen Earth Game Page.