Many of the "dungeons" in "Fallout 3" look exactly the same. They may have different layouts, but the art keeps a consistent, if eventually tiring, look.
How Bethesda Softworks counters this is by hiding creative stories about the world of "Fallout 3" inside through computers, audio books and more.
Because of "Fallout 3"'s setting, they were even able to include themselves. Mostly. The "Bethesda Ruins," found just southwest of "Germantown HQ" in the wasteland, is technically where Bethesda's apocalyptic offices are.
Unfortunately, Bethesda didn't do much with it.
The "Bethesda Ruins" are, if you squint, more or less where the actual Bethesda offices are in Rockville, Maryland. Here's an in-game comparison vs. real-life:
It's not exactly where it should be on the "Fallout 3" on the map, but it's close. There's a reason for that, though.
"It was one of those things where the actual location got moved as the game got bigger, and some things moved around," said "Fallout 3" product manager Pete Hines to me over e-mail. "[The Bethesda Ruins] had been placed at our offices, and then got moved -- but we still kind of consider it 'our office.'"
Still, I'm disappointed Bethesda didn't do much with their offices.
I have entered otherwise empty and desolate locations in the "Fallout 3" wasteland, only to discover a twisted story of manipulation, deceit, chemical abuse and other outlandish stories to explain how a group of people survived (or didn't) after the bombs dropped in the "Fallout" universe. Upon entering the "Bethesda Ruins," I expected something similar -- or at least some in-jokes from Bethesda to break the fourth wall.
Maybe I'm just looking too hard for more content, I told Hines. And who knows, maybe Bethesda will sneak something in with downloadable content. Better yet, someone could do their own tweaking with the "Fallout 3" level editor.