INTERVIEW | X360, PS3, PC Monday, April 19, 2010 | 5:25 PM

Fallout New Vegas: Larry Liberty Interview

Fallout New Vegas: Larry Liberty Interview

Bethesda just sent us an interview of Larry Liberty, senior producer on Fallout New Vegas. He tells us about his work and his opinion on the gaming industry among other things.



For this week’s Inside the Vault, we’ve got Obsidian’s Larry Liberty — who serves as a Senior Producer on Fallout: New Vegas. When he’s not working on games, he serves the people as Larry Liberty: Defender of Justice.

What’s your job at Obsidian?

Put simply, I manage the production of Fallout: New Vegas. In practice, that means managing a small team of producers that in turn manage the five cross-discipline teams of developers responsible for creating the game. [We have broken the team into smaller sub-teams, each focused on a specific goal each milestone. Incidentally, these teams are all named after items found in the Fallout universe: Team Buffout, Fancy(lads), Mentats, Nuka, and Psycho.] I manage two of the teams myself and coordinate with the rest of my production crew in a relatively organic manner. My primary job is to see that Josh’s [Josh Sawyer, Project Director/Lead Designer] vision is executed to the fullest extent possible while staying within scope.

What games have you worked on?

Including a few cancelled titles, I have worked on twentysomething games. When I was a kid, I tested a couple of Atari 5200 games and an Atari Lynx title when I was in college. My first game as a member of an actual development team was MLB Pennant Race, the first Sony baseball game for the PlayStation. I am credited on other games as either a programmer or producer: EverQuest, PlanetSide, Star Wars Galaxies, Tony Hawk 4, NBA: The Life, D&D Tactics, The Witcher, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, among others.

Any fun facts you’d like to share about Obsidian?

All of the owners remain involved in the day-to-day development of games, something that does not happen all that often once a company reaches a certain size. Perhaps as a result of this, there is just about nothing in the way of political intrigue, very refreshing and unheard of in a game company with well over 100 employees.

How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?

I was originally hired by Sony as a programmer – after switching majors from History to Computer Science at the behest of friend in the game business. There are several universities with game development programs that are quite strong, and have ties to the game development community. I have been impressed with SMU’s Guildhall – especially for their programmers. If you are beyond college-age and/or more interested in design or production, one way to break in to the business would be to make a game mod that shows your chops as a designer or your ability to coordinate a large group of hobbyist developers.

Thus far, what’s been the highlight of your career?

I have been proud of how a few of the games I have worked on have turned out, but the most gratifying period was during my time at Atari, as a publishing producer. I had to manage several projects at once, all of which had relatively small budgets and tight deadlines.

In your career, how would you say the gaming industry has changed the most?

Games are a much bigger business than they were when I first started. Teams are larger and the stakes are much higher. Some of the games I have worked on had break-evens that would require sales well over a million units and an overall project budget in the tens of millions of dollars. The first game I worked on had a budget of roughly a quarter million dollars and 5-man development team. Even in the PS1 days, teams were usually in the 10-12 person range.

What would you say is your personal favorite game of all time?

Shadow of the Colossus.

What games are you looking forward to?

There are a lot of good games set to come out this year: The Last Guardian, God of War III, Red Dead Redemption, Heavy Rain, Gran Turismo 5, Brink, Alan Wake, and Lost Planet 2.

What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

My alarm. Seriously, I do enjoy what I do and the people I work with, and it makes the sometimes long hours worthwhile.

Worst job you’ve ever had?

It would have to be a tie between dishwasher (my first regular job, while a high school sophomore) and process server (while in college).

Any other hobbies and interests? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I play basketball, tennis, and bodysurf. I also like going hiking and skiing in the mountains around Lake Arrowhead.

Are you aware you have the best name of all time?

Thank you. I do get my share of superhero jokes. I have my dad and granddad to thank for that, since I am the third.

All comments

Commented on 2010-04-19 18:01:13
is this a DLC to Fallout 3 or a totally new game? (cant be arsed to check)
Commented on 2010-04-19 18:02:53
it's a totally new game...
Commented on 2010-04-19 18:19:38
Larry Liberty III, does sound like a super hero name.
Commented on 2010-04-19 22:50:02 In reply to callmekymbo
Posted by callmekymbo
it's a totally new game...
Well that's stretching it i think. It's not DLC but i personally see it more as a big-ass expansion. It's the same engine and probably a load of recycled assets. So while all the quest content and stuff like that will be brand-spanking new it'll still be Fallout 3. At least that's what i've been lead to believe.
Commented on 2010-04-19 22:52:44 In reply to Megido
Posted by Megido
Well that's stretching it i think. It's not DLC but i personally see it more as a big-ass expansion. It's the same engine and probably a load of recycled assets. So while all the quest content and stuff like that will be brand-spanking new it'll still be Fallout 3. At least that's what i've been lead to believe.
aye, i agree. for some reason there is something very charmless about this one tho. i dont know if it's becasue bathesda arnt at the helm, but it has that same issue i have with bioshock 2, too samey and lacking that spark the original had. i just dont want to play it.
Commented on 2010-04-19 22:59:39
If anything i think that Obsidian will do a better job than Bethesda. The problem is taht i played Fallout 3 for like 80 hours so there's a bit of a deterrent. But i think it will probably be a great game. I hope they implement some of the old Fallout feeling, especially since obsidian is partly former black isle people.
Commented on 2010-04-20 00:40:46
Well it never claimed to be Fallout 4, but considering the quality of the dlc released for fallout3 viewing this as an expansion wouldnt be far off. The question is would you still place it's value as worth that of full retail?

To be honest i think the amount of content that will be offered will be more than enough to justify the price. Fans of the franchise should certainly lap it up. And given the amount of hours each dlc expansion offered it wouldnt be a far stetch of the imagination you'd be offered twice as many hours as those expansions, for less than it would cost buying those twice over.
Commented on 2010-04-20 02:59:25
I think it's a bit mean to label it an expansion. It doesn't expand Fallout 3. It's a new Fallout game. And no one should really expect any new tech in a followup game so close in the same gen.

Though I can see KORNdog's point. They should at least redo the menus and the HUD a little. So it's obvious it's a new Fallout game. That annoyed me about Bioshock 2, it looked just like the first one, though it obviously wasn't when you played it.

None the less I'll probably buy this on the first day it's released.
Commented on 2010-04-20 12:50:15 In reply to KORNdog
Posted by KORNdog
aye, i agree. for some reason there is something very charmless about this one tho. i dont know if it's becasue bathesda arnt at the helm, but it has that same issue i have with bioshock 2, too samey and lacking that spark the original had. i just dont want to play it.
Unless I've missed something, and I've just done a thorough search to make sure I haven't, all they've shown of this game is a teaser trailer. No gameplay movies, no screenshots and next to no details about what will happen in the game. So how can you possibly condemn it already? That's beyond ridiculous.

It may use the Fallout 3 engine, but it's also a different development team with people who worked on the first two Fallout games.
Commented on 2010-04-20 12:51:57
Elder scrolls 5 or oblivion 2 please k goodbye.
Commented on 2010-04-20 12:57:02 In reply to ManThatYouFear
Posted by ManThatYouFear
Elder scrolls 5 or oblivion 2 please k goodbye.
Oblivion is TES4 so a TES5 would technically be Oblivion 2 :P

Besides, it's not bethesda developing, it's Obsidian.
Commented on 2010-04-20 13:12:15 In reply to TedCunn
Posted by TedCunn
Unless I've missed something, and I've just done a thorough search to make sure I haven't, all they've shown of this game is a teaser trailer. No gameplay movies, no screenshots and next to no details about what will happen in the game. So how can you possibly condemn it already? That's beyond ridiculous.

It may use the Fallout 3 engine, but it's also a different development team with people who worked on the first two Fallout games.
There was article in OXM about the game with plenty of screens, search for scans on google or whatever.

The scepticism amazes me. Fallout 3 was a great game on a great engine (great graphics with 720p 4xAA on 360, much better on PC :)), it's only reasonable that they don't change that with New Vegas. And it's not the engine that matters, Fallout 2 was on the same engine as Fallout 1 etc., it's really content that's important. And in this sense we get completely new area with its own storyline and characters. Not only that, but New Vegas is also being made by some of the devs who worked on original F1 and F2. I'm hyped!
Commented on 2010-04-20 14:29:02 In reply to TedCunn
Posted by TedCunn
Unless I've missed something, and I've just done a thorough search to make sure I haven't, all they've shown of this game is a teaser trailer. No gameplay movies, no screenshots and next to no details about what will happen in the game. So how can you possibly condemn it already? That's beyond ridiculous.

It may use the Fallout 3 engine, but it's also a different development team with people who worked on the first two Fallout games.
they've release screens, and there was an preview article/screens in a magazine. it's pretty easy to see it's fallout 3.1. maybe you should have searched a little bit harder?

as for szaromir's comment. it isnt the content thats the problem, it's how similar it looks. it's all well and good saying it's vagas, but when the wasteland just looks like the wasteland in fallout 3, it makes little difference. end of the day i've spent 100+ hours in the fallout 3 world, and i dont think i can cope with more brown.

its why i didnt like bioshock2 and am having trouble playing through it. sure it's technically new as far as environments go, but the style and look of the game is the same, same assets in most cases too. it feel cheap. i'd much prefer this game to be different, at least different enough to not be able to mistake one for the other. atm i honestly wouldnt be able to tell you which game as which, other then the colour of the HUD, but i'm pretty sure that can be changed anyway.

new vagas could have done with being a bit more like the original set of games imo. isometric view etc. it would at least make it feel less like a cheap expansion. seriously, if they expect me to throw down full retail price for this game they're having a laugh.
Commented on 2010-04-20 18:11:10
Clearly it's using a lot of the same assets. Obsidian is not a big budget studio, so this is to be expected given how fast the game is getting pumped out. Frankly, as long as they manage to write in interesting characters and some new gameplay elements, I'm fine with it.

That said, I still really wish for a little more cyberpunk in my Fallout. The old Fallouts felt more like a mix of 1950's sci-fi and 1980's cyberpunk. With the new ones, they kept the 1950's feel, but tossed the 80's flavor out the window, which just plain sucks. I want a little Blade Runner in my wasteland....

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