With the die hard Fallout fans like the No Mutants Allowed guys raising issues like the lack of groin shots in Fallout 3, possibly no killable children and other deviations from how Fallout is supposed to be, the real question might be whether it’s even possible to do a Fallout style game today.
Part of the problem is that Bethesda is going for high end 3D graphics and at least in part a first person point of view and those are the types of games that get a lot more scrutiny than the isometric view games with dated graphics. Games that look “real” that have a first person point of view or at least a direct point of view tend to get charged with contributing to violence among teens (because it’s not like your average teen is violent under the influence of his own impulses) and get more closely scrutinized.
Bethesda Software’s previous game Oblivion got hammered by the post-GTA3 San Andreas Hot Coffee fallout and found itself unfairly hit with an M rating because somebody developed a nude patch for the characters in Oblivion (show me a popular FPS or RPG that doesn’t have nude patches but that’s another story). Take Two isn’t in great financial shape and feeling punchy after the fallout over San Andreas and Manhunt 2 and Bully. I don’t believe they’re co-publishing Fallout 3 with Bethesda as they did Oblivion but I don’t know all the details.
Either way thanks to Rockstar Games’ stupidity with Hot Coffee, the ESRB is touchier than ever and while Fallout might have gotten past with some things before, particularly as a third person isometric game, hard core obscenities, some violence and content will probably not make it in. If gaming had the equivalent of its Scorceses, guys who can film anything and have it passed, regardless of the content because of the artistic merit attached to their name, than Fallout 3 should reasonably get a pass. But it isn’t likely to.
Which is a shame.