Each skill-based dialogue option has two different texts: one for high skill (which will result in success) and one for low skill (which will result in failure). If you do not meet the required threshold, you see the latter.
There are a few reasons for including this:
- In the same way that a locked safe beyond your Lockpicking skill indicates, it lets the player know that there's an option here.
- Some of the NPC responses to low skill checks can be pretty entertaining.
I also do want to clarify what is meant by "no penalty for failure". All it means is that you won't wind up in a worse position than you were before selecting it. If a dude bursts in and is intent on killing you, he's still going to want to kill you if you fail the Speech check to talk him out of it.”
On voiceover recordings:
When taken in the context of all of the VO that needs to be recorded for the game, alternate responses for low-skill dialogue checks account for a very small percentage of lines.
F3 also (often) had alternate lines for failed skill checks; they just originated from the same player line. Player lines aren't voiced, so there's no real increase there.”
He also talks about the Hardcore Mode:
It's true that a lot of people have modded in those features, but a lot of the things in Hardcore mode are also things that I personally wanted to play the game with. I realize not everyone does, but it's the only way I play it.”