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Interview with Jason Fader, Tech Producer for Fallout: New Vegas

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 by

Obsidian’s Jason Fader, technical producer for Fallout: New Vegas, was kind enough to share some of his experiences and memories with us in this exclusive interview. Learn why Jason is one cool cat and what it was like working on the biggest game of the year.

What is your role in the production of Fallout: New Vegas?
I’m the Tech Producer on the project. I’ve been responsible for managing programmers, artists, and animators, as well as doing some programming. At one point I did all of the temp VO for a town… even for an elderly Irish female.

What kind of games do you enjoy playing? Any favorites?
I LOVE strategy games and RPG’s. It’s tough to pick favorites, but here’s what comes to mind right now:

• Fallout 3
• X-COM
• Master of Orion
• Tribes
• ThreadSpace: Hyperbol
• KOTOR 1 and 2

Fanboys worldwide are dying to know: Does Jason Fader have a gaming platform of choice?
PC. I love my Xbox, but I can’t have Hulu playing on my Xbox while playing a game. On my PC, multiple monitors win ;-)

What’s the most rewarding aspect about working in the gaming industry?
Answering interview questions! No really, this is fun! Okay, perhaps more rewarding than this would be working alongside awesome developers and constantly facing challenges that are waiting to be overcome.

Oh, and my coffee mug. My coffee mug is neato.

If Jason Fader were an ice cream flavor, what would he be?
Chunky Monkey

What was your favorite aspect of working on Fallout: New Vegas?
I had an insane amount of fun doing the temp VO for about 20 characters. None of it made it into the actual game, but it was in our internal builds for a long while to the point where coworkers would ask me to perform certain voices for them.

Oh, another really cool thing about working on a Fallout game is… working on a Fallout game! I’ve played all of the Fallouts and loved them all. To be part of a game in the series is an honor.

What game projects have you worked on besides New Vegas?
I started out in the game industry as QA at Blizzard working on Diablo 2. After a few months, I started programming tools for projects like Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft. I eventually left Blizzard to form my own company, Iocaine Studios, where I was the lead designer on ThreadSpace: Hyperbol. After that I came to Obsidian and worked on the Aliens RPG. After that, I started working on New Vegas.

In games that give you the freedom to be good or bad, which role do you enjoy more?
I’m always the good guy. I tried playing the bad guy once in KOTOR2 and I felt REALLY uncomfortable choosing the “bad” dialogue options. It just really doesn’t fit my personality and I didn’t have fun, so now I only play the good guy. That being said, I occasionally enjoy going on a rampaging massacre… provided I have saved beforehand, of course.

Had any poignant gaming moments that stick with you still today?
Oh boy, where to begin…I used to throw LAN parties when I was in college, so most of my fondest gaming memories are from those days. Here are a few fun moments:

• Countless hours playing Rune and bludgeoning my friends with their own severed limbs.
• A 14 hour game of Empire Earth fueled by Turbo Truffles (caffeine filled chocolates).
• Building badass forts in a Tribes mod.
• Defacing a tank with a VERY disturbing image in Counter-Strike and rolling it into the enemy base, and then listening to their horrified wails as they saw the tank roll by.
• Playing a Battlefield 1942 pirates mod where everyone in the room had pirate names and would taunt one another in pirate lingo.
• Mechwarrior 4 and the fast kamikaze mech with bombs strapped to it. Yeah… that was evil.
• Playing WoW: Wrath of the Lich King on opening weekend with my friends, but needing to rush home since my house was about to catch on fire. Dead serious.
• Singing Beatles: Rock Band songs in harmony with FNV devs Larry Liberty and Dan Rubalcaba. We made sweet sweet music together.

Would you say that New Vegas brings back aspects from the series that were missing Fallout 3?
I wouldn’t say missing aspects, but there are definitely a lot of interesting aspects Fallout: New Vegas utilizes that Fallout 1 and 2 players will remember and appreciate. The biggest things would be factions like the New California Republic and a few familiar faces that players will recognize.

What’s a typical work week like for you, in hours? Does it ever get overwhelming?
Typical is such an interesting word…I suppose early in the project’s development, I was working a typical 40 hour week. As the project progressed, I did work a bit more, but it was barely noticeable since I really have fun while working, and wanted to ensure the game could be as good as it could be.

How much design influence did fans have in the development of a Fallout sequel?
For New Vegas, Josh (the Project Director) scoured tons of forums and articles related to Fallout 3 to find out what the community liked and didn’t like. We also checked out a lot of Fallout 3 mods, especially the more popular ones, to get a feel for what players were interested in. Thanks to the community, New Vegas has become a great game that has been positively influenced by their feedback and suggestions. :-)

About the Author

I was introduced to video games on the Atari 2600, and quickly moved to a Nintendo, where The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Dragon Warrior dominated my early non-Mario years. Now days, I do mostly PC gaming, and some console gaming. I’ve been in and out of rehab, and there’s no saving a nerd like me.

ikecube has written 101 posts on Delta Attack
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