Our series of interview continues! This week, we give you Mason Gordon-Levitt (aka Vesper, aka Valenka) who writes for N4G and Nerdbite.com. He is from a historical little city in southeastern Massachusetts. According to Mason, “I’m just about as average a gamer as they come, but my discovering of the gaming community has always been a special little tale.” He is a James Bond enthusiast, who has an irrevocable love for Audrey Hepburn and James Dean, and an unhealthy obsession with Doctor Who. “I’m a huge Tomb Raider fan, a substantial Fallout fan, amongst many more, and writing about gaming is as big a passion of mine as is holding a controller,” he says.
Our previous interviews featured Scott Tailford, Silviu Ploisteanu, Chris Reed, Andy Chalk, Pete Haas, William Usher, and Ryan Winslett. This time, find out why Boston setting is making Mason excited and how he thinks sequels are supposed to be.
How long have you been playing the Fallout series?
I’ve been playing the Fallout series for about five years, since the launch of Fallout: New Vegas. It basically set in motion what would grow to be an unhealthy fixation with the franchise. It wasn’t until I’d spend a good twelve or so hours in New Vegas that I realized I had a handful of other predecessors to experience. I went as far back as 1997 to the original Fallout and worked my way up to Fallout 3, while still playing New Vegas in between, since I was that addicted to it.
What do you consider as the main attraction of the Fallout series? And which installment is your most favorite?
I think the main attraction of the Fallout series, for me personally, is the open-world freedom to craft your own story. That’s the beauty of sandbox experiences, I think. I mean, there is a main narrative with a web of different paths and situations, but the idea of creating your own, playable character and developing them as a [virtual] individual is astounding. I’m a very creative, playful person, so I really like to get into the character creation. Sometimes, I’ll create myself, but I find it a lot more fun to create an embodiment of my imagination-gone-wild…even though it usually just results in a handsome, James Dean-esque, sarcastic bad-ass. If I create a woman, she usually turns out as a mixture of Audrey Hepburn and Lara Croft.
What is your game style when playing the Fallout series?
In the Fallout series, primarily Fallout 3 and New Vegas, I tend to tackle a lot of the side missions, so much to the point where I’ve forgotten exactly what I was supposed to be doing on the main path. For example, in New Vegas, it wasn’t until I explored nearly the entire map and tracked down the Vikki and Vance wannabes that I realized, “Oh, right. I should be going after Benny right about now,” and then casually continued going about twenty or so more side quests. I kind of just do whatever I want, whenever I want and I’m so in love with the fact that I can.
What platform will you be playing Fallout 4 on?
I’ll most likely be playing Fallout 4 on the PlayStation 4. I’m a little weird; I used to primarily use my Xbox One and reserve my PlayStation 4 for exclusive titles, but now that I’m growing fonder of the PlayStation 4, I’m starting to turn that credo on itself. I have to figure out how much space I have left on the PS4 before I have to install a bigger storage unit. Maybe I’ll get it on Xbox One instead, since I have a few terabytes of free space remaining. Or both the Xbox and PlayStation. Yeah, probably both.
What do you expect to see in Fallout 4? Which feature are you most excited about?
At this point, I think I already have a pretty solid idea of what to expect. I mean, it seems like they’re taking what everyone loved about the previous games and are just expanding upon that foundation. I think my number one expectation is a decent enough recreation of Boston. I only live an hour away, so I’ve been there more than I can remember, so I’m hoping for some seriously recognizable details. I mean, I’m not expecting to see my friend’s Burbank apartment in complete ruins and be able to go in and say, “Yeah, that toilet is exactly where it’s supposed to be,” but enough environmental similarities to navigate the world and be able to identify where I am in the city.
I think the feature I’m most excited about is the revitalized character creation. I spent a good half an hour or more in New Vegas creating my character and given the amount of freedom and detail in Fallout 4’s character creation, the time I’ll spend could easily be doubled.
This is the first time that the protagonist will have a voice. Some fans slammed it because it allegedly destroys tradition, but some liked it because it enhances the natural feel of the game, what are your views about it?
I don’t really mind it. I had a lot of fun with silent protagonists in the past, where I would speak out loud for them, but I actually prefer hearing my character speak. Based on what we’ve seen so far, if they keep the current voices for the male and female protagonists, I will be a very happy person. Just as long as I can still make clever, sarcastic remarks during dialogue and have the voice accurately perpetuate the emotion.
Which character in Fallout 4 will you have a romantic relationship with, if you can?
I’m not sure, to be honest. The only two people that have been revealed so far (considering that you can only romance humans) are Piper and Preston Garvey. I’m personally hoping for someone like Boone or Arcade Gannon from New Vegas; that would make me incredibly happy.
We’ve heard that the name bank in Fallout 4 will have more than 10,000 names on it. If you were to come up with a name to call yourself/your enemies, what would it be?
Oh, that’s an easy one: my own name! It would be wonderful if Fallout 4 was the first game (that I’ve played, anyway) to have my own name in a name bank. It’s not a rare name at all, so I’ve always been terribly disappointed whenever I noticed its absence. In a more fantastical sense, I wouldn’t mind Vesper being available for my female character; that’s certainly ideal. Mason and Vesper, please.
While waiting for Fallout 4, will you be playing Fallout Shelter? Why/why not?
Yes, I’ve been playing it off and on since launch; I don’t really play many mobile titles at all and when I do, I’m usually playing Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Lara Croft GO or Hitman Sniper. I have a lot of mobile games on my iPhone, but those four are the primary ones I spend time with. Fallout Shelter is enjoyable, but I prefer more interactive, hands-on mobile titles.
Fallout has been presented in many game conferences. Some negative critics said it is just similar with previous installments of Fallout 4. Do you agree/disagree with this statement? Why/why not?
I can’t say that I disagree, but isn’t that what sequels are? I mean, let’s have a look at Rise of the Tomb Raider. I was saying the same thing in a sense, that Rise of the Tomb Raider looks nearly identical to Tomb Raider (2013) in terms of gameplay, features and animations. Maybe it’s just me, but I never really expect tremendous differences. I think Fallout 4 looks enough like its predecessors to be recognizable, but is different, refreshing and innovative enough to be considered a bona fide sequel. The improvements and additions are evident, like Rise of the Tomb Raider, and we’ve hardly seen enough of either to confidently state that there’s no difference between this upcoming game and the previous one.
If you have friends who have never played Fallout before, how will you persuade them to join Fallout 4?
That’s simple: fangirl all over the place, tie them to a chair and force them to watch you play it for a few hours. Fallout is one of those franchises where most likely every gamer has at least heard of it and is so accessible that many gamers will find some sort of enjoyment out of it. I hadn’t discovered the genre until I played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and up until 2007, the only games I’ve ever played were shooters, racing games and The Sims. I never suspected how much enjoyment I would receive from an open-world RPG until I actually sat down to play one. Fortunately, my friends consider my opinions on games biblical, so if I tell them that Fallout 4 is worth playing, they’ll hop in the car and pick up a copy.
As well they should.
Thank you, Mason! We are looking forward to meeting your James Dean-esque character in the Wasteland.
There you have it from Mason. Do you have any questions for Mason? Do you agree with what he has to say about Fallout 4? Let us know in the Comments section.