Taking over the Fallout franchise from Interplay, Bethesda continues the Fallout RPG saga with Fallout 3. Replacing the isometric view with a fully 3D world, the game can be played in either first or third person views. While occurring in real-time, combat can be switched to a turn-based mode using a re-implementation of the V.A.T.S. system from earlier games, utilizing action points and an auto-targeting system; V.A.T.S. can also be disabled, allowing combat to be played out FPS-style.
The game begins with the development of your character growing up in Vault 101. This process controls your character generation, though the game allows you to override the selections determined by your choices. Following up on the disappearance of your father, your character emerges outside the ruins of Washington D.C., where you are free to explore the various locales. While the primary plot-line revolves around your quest for your father, many sub-quests offer insight into the world and development for your character. As in previous games, your actions and conversations with various NPC's alter the way the you are perceived by the world around you, which can lead to additional side-quests. Your actions also allow you to be joined by NPC companions, though you may only have one follower at any time. Additionally, you may be joined by a canine companion as well.