The first details on Bethesda's Fallout 3 have emerged from the latest issue of US Game Informer magazine.
The long-awaited sequel runs on an evolved version of the Oblivion engine, although Bethesda says it's reworked the third-person view because of negative feedback from its last role-player.
Fallout 3 kicks off with your birth and your mother's death in a vault hospital. This is where you get to create you character as your father (voiced by Liam Neeson) hands you over to the DNA analyser, before removing his mask to reveal similar traits to the ones you picked.
According to Game Informer, the battle system in Fallout 3 is called the Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S.). You'll certainly be able to tackle enemies in real-time using first-person shooting, the article says, but V.A.T.S. lets you pause time and select a target at your leisure.
This works using action points, which when used up will leave you with only real-time fighting until they charge back up again. If you're not in to all-out killing, Bethesda says you'll also be able to play through the game by being stealthy, or even talking your way out of trouble.
Enemies can target you using the exact same targeting system, so you'll get injured in very specifics points on your body. In addition to this is a new health and radiation system, which lets you measure how radiated water and other consumables are before you use them.
Fans will be pleased to hear that the Karma system is making a return, and there are 9-12 possible endings based on your actions. If it's even half as good as Oblivion, this should turn out to be something very special indeed.