My last to-do at DICE 2009 was get some hands-on time with The Pitt, the next DLC expansion for Fallout 3, set to release in March for the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game.
Having spent four and a half years of my life in Pittsburgh (Go Steelers!) for college, I was selected as G4's emissary into the post-apocalyptic steel city. In the interest of time, I was given a save game at the beginning of The Pitt, which means that I don't yet know where the quest will be picked up.
It was explained, however, that you will meet a character that has escaped The Pitt. The man, a former slave, believes he has found the cure to radiation mutation. The cure has been taken by Ashur, the overlord and head slaver in The Pitt. Agreeing to help him, you travel with him to the city.
Once there, I found myself in the lovely hills around Station Square. Unfortunately, my favorite steak restaurant was not recreated in the game, where I could have used a killer Brahman steak dinner. Oh well. Traveling over a bridge, I arrived in downtown Pittsburgh. It actually feels like Pittsburgh and the downtown area is tighter and less open than the DC ruins from the original game.
Disguising myself as a slave and giving up all of my items, I travelled into the heart of the slave community. The slaves are put to work in steel mills making materials that have made The Pitt the industrial envy of the wasteland. To fit into my new role as a slave, I've been put to work collecting steel ingots in a scrapyard. In doing so, I meet the Trogs, a new type of enemy for Fallout 3. At the core, they are ghouls, but different. Apparently, most of the slaves end up as Trogs. I'm guessing it's just how the mutations from radiation manifest themselves in The Pitt. They are hunched over more than the ghouls you're used to, but are just as easily dispatched. Collecting all the ingots nets a perk that increases the melee damage which is perfect for the new Auto-Axe weapon.
After grabbing the ingots, it's time to fight in the Arena for a chance to win an audience with Ashur. It's at that point that I'm tasked with snatching the potential cure and bringing it back to the escaped slave. You will eventually be able to choose between allying between the slaves and the slavers, allowing you to play out The Pitt as good or evil characters. This will be a welcome change from Operation: Anchorage, which was great, but there was less freedom given to the character in how to drive the story forward. To that end, The Pitt will be the return to classic Fallout 3 gameplay. The developers wanted to vary the DLC expansions and The Pitt will offer the players a lot of choices. I'm also told it'll be a bit longer than Anchorage.
Once in the Arena, it's a race to kill your enemy before dying of radiation poisoning. The Arena is a giant irradiated pit in the middle of a steel mill. You will fight three enemies to complete the first named quest (for the achievement) and the final guy you fight will drop an excellent rifle called the Infiltrator, which is silenced and scoped. The quest will also net you a perk that increases your radiation resistance.
At this point, it's time to head uptown and get ready for the meet with Ashur. I made it all the way to the University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning which has been turned into... something. I wasn't allowed to enter as Bethesda isn't ready to show that off just yet. There were spoilers beyond the doors. It's ominous and definitely darker than the DC wasteland.
Fun fact: When I asked one character if I should be worried about Super Mutants while collecting ingots, she replied that she had no idea what a Super Mutant was! Definitely some interesting things going on in The Pitt.
The size of the city is drastically reduced to allow for focused gameplay, but I felt right at home back in Pittsburgh. I'm definitely looking forward to grabbing this DLC when it's release. Go Steelers!