Surprising nobody, Fallout 4 finally got announced today. Hurray! I imagine you’ve seen the trailer but if not, you can check it out below:
I was pretty surprised they showed this much off for a reveal trailer, considering the light tease we got with both Skyrim and Fallout 3, but hey I’m not complaining. So I figure while we all wait for E3 to hear more, it’d be fun to do a bit of quick speculation based on what we’ve seen so far.
One of the most interesting things about the trailer is all the pre-apocalypse footage. We see a little suburban street with panicked civilians and later people queuing up to gain access to a vault. Is this a glimpse of how the game is going to begin? Maybe!
I remember the rumour that the game stars someone waking up from suspended animation. Perhaps they’ve borrowed the uninterrupted gameplay idea from Half Life 2, in that time passes for the world, but not for the player. Meaning we could play out the intro and get inside the vault as the bombs drop, get frozen and then walk out into the post-apocalypse. It’d make a grimly entertaining first few hours for sure, exploring the ruined remains of homes and scenery which were lush and alive moments earlier.
Vaults Are Back
So vaults are back. Or at least, you seem to begin the game in a vault again. Surprise? Yeah this is pretty obvious. I will say though that exploring all the abandoned vaults in Fallout 3 got pretty tedious. If they do add more vaults to explore around the map I hope there’s a bit of variety, or at least some better lighting!
Let’s talk about the dog. It’s expected at this point that a Fallout game will have a dog companion. The marketing for Fallout 3 often showed off the protagonist wandering the wastes with a canine companion, and as expected the game had a dog in it. However the dog was an extra companion and I’ve spoken to people who never even encountered them. Meaning although the focus on the dog looks pretty deliberate it doesn’t mean the dog plays a significant role in the story per se, it could just be an optional companion.
Although that said, this could be a Fable II situation where the dog is a significant part of how you experience the game. Warning you of incoming enemies, sniffing out hidden items and giving you something to protect, it’d certainly make sense to make the dog a big part of the game.
A Speaking Protagonist?
So at the end of the trailer the protagonist talks. Does this mean anything? Who knows! It could mean Fallout 4 is bringing us the first speaking Bethesda protagonist or it could just be a cool moment to end the trailer with.
Bethesda games have always felt like “first person narratives” in terms of their story, which is to say the character feels more like an avatar for the player than something like Mass Effect where you simply nudge and influence a set character. This is why I’ve never really felt the need for a voiced character in Fallout or Elder Scrolls games. Bethesda games feel more like playgrounds, having a voice might change that dynamic a little.
Another thing of note is the towns and cities. Fallout 3 was notably light on settlements, at least ones that weren’t crawling with irradiated enemies, this first glimpse of Fallout 4 seems to imply there’ll at least be a couple of friendly towns. As much as I adore the exploration elements in Bethesda games, I also like the social portions and having somewhere safe to hang out in. So I do hope there are more towns this time.
So When’s It Out?
We’ll likely learn about the release date at E3, but I’d put my money on the game being one year out. Skyrim was announced a year away from its release and Bethesda have said in the past they didn’t want to talk about their next project (as in Fallout 4) until a good chunk of development had been done. Considering Skyrim was a huge success, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them replicate the same marketing plan and just give us lots of glimpses and goodies over the next few months as we lead up to its release.
Finally, here’s some quickfire thoughts to close us out:
The animations still look a little stiff, but it’s early days and this might be cleaned up before launch.
The graphics look okay. Bethesda games aren’t famous for being pretty and anyone expecting to get blown away by Fallout 4’s visuals may want to dial back their expectations a little. That said, it’s not an ugly game by any means. Speaking of which…
The lighting looks like a big improvement over previous Bethesda games. This could lead to some extra spooky and moody underground sections.
The trolley that gets knocked out of the way by the ghouls is likely a glimpse at an improved physics system. In Bethesda games, especially Fallout 3, the scenery often feels bolted to the ground so it would be great to have the world covered with a bit more clutter.
Boston! So the first rumours of Fallout 4 stated the game was in Boston and this trailer seems to confirm that. Meaning the whispers of MIT playing a big role seem likely to be true.
Altogether I think us Fallout fans can agree on one piece of speculation: we’re all going to lose a lot of free time once Fallout 4 drops.