Gamasutra currently has an in-depth interview with Bethesda marketing VP Pete Hines all about Fallout 3 and just how the team plans to meet sky-high expectations for the game. Hines says that while you can't please 'em all, they try to think of the fans as much as they can:
I think that we do have a pretty good understanding what all of the different sections of our fan base are interested in, but it comes back to the thing of, you know, gotta make the game that we think is the best. Certainly, try and take those things into consideration, but there are people in the office who spend 14, 16, 18 hours a day making this game, and sometimes, if you're going to break a tie, you go with our instincts.
Personally, if I spent 18 hours a day working on something, I'd be in a mood much less amenable to taking suggestions from fans, so props to the Bethesda crew. Hines also shared some learning experiences about their AI and the ways they've refined it since the Oblivion days:
Like having somebody go off and get themselves killed while you're in the middle of a forest isn't fun, but it is fun if you walk into a town and everybody is acting in a believable fashion. And when you overhear conversations, they're referring to each other by their first name. Like, it just adds another level to the realism.
So I think we've tried to focus on putting more of that stuff in front of the player, and less stuff like, "Oh, this happened two towns away from you!" Just, hey, by the way. That doesn't mean anything.