Following Fallout 4’s recent reveal, Mason Cusack shares which 5 features he’s most excited to see in the game’s inevitable E3 stage demo on June 15th.
On the 3rd of June, gamers around the world cried, cheered and clenched their way through Fallout 4’s debut trailer, as fallout.bethsoft.com – which had teased a reveal for the prior 24 hours using a countdown clock – finally ran footage captured in-game. Ron Perlman’s familiar narration of the line “war, war never changes”, was a one-sentence welcome home for those of us who braved the Capital Wasteland in 2008’s Fallout 3, and the Mojave in 2010’s Fallout: New Vegas.
With Bethesda Softworks’ E3 press conference happening next Sunday, we can expect to see footage of Doom, the rumoured Dishonored 2, Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited and perhaps a new instalment of Wolfenstein, but everyone is awaiting a hefty Fallout 4 stage demo and release date – expecting Bethesda to repeat a pattern of marketing activity observed with the release of Fallout 3 and Skyrim most recently, in which games are revealed, demoed and released within the year.
But what do we most eagerly await – based on the trailer, and having played Fallout 3 and New Vegas? Here are the top five features of Fallout 4 gamers will be looking out for come E3.
Remember the “bloody mess” perk? Remember blowing the head off of a feral ghoul with an unnecessarily large weapon? Remember using the Fat Man on a Radroach just to see what it would look like in slow motion? Then you remember V.A.T.S. Since Fallout 3, the V.A.T.S. system has been a staple of the franchise, allowing it to retain an element of time and “attack point” management reminiscent of the turn-based Fallout instalments of yore, before Bethesda got their hands on the IP. It’s probably fair to say that V.A.T.S. was also invented to compensate for Fallout 3’s despicable shooting mechanics, but it was for nothing but pure fun that gamers like me used the system in every enemy encounter to see just how post-apocalyptic radioactive super mutants looked on the inside. So what can we expect of the system in Fallout 4? Heightened detail affecting gore and physics? A greater range of appendages to target? I can’t wait to find out.
- The flashbacks
The reveal trailer featured a pretty large amount of fully-rendered and animated flashbacks to the pre-war era, which seem more technically fleshed out and thematically central than the creepy Vault 112 VR quest you might remember from Fallout 3. This has caused many to predict flashback missions in which the player takes part in the time immediately before and during the war’s beginning. Some have even suggested that the flashbacks are not flashbacks at all, and in fact the narrative may involve the now-voiced and presumably characterised protagonist (who we’ll get on to later), as he experiences the nuclear detonation and is rushed into Vault 111, which we/he are seen climbing out of later in the trailer. For me, both options have their appeal, but I’m expecting flashback chapters reminiscent of The Witcher 3’s Ciri flashbacks, where the player relives the old world through the stories of others. Think about it – past Fallout protagonists have only been able to leave their vaults after surface radiation has dissipated following hundreds of years of sub-surface survival, so it would be impossible to remain alive long enough (assuming there’s only one protagonist) to go back to the surface having experienced the fall of the first bombs. That said, a Fallout where we can experience an even emptier, lonelier and more ominous wasteland before things are somewhat rebuilt could be incredibly compelling; and with all the crazy alternate-history tech Fallout is known for, perhaps Vault 111 contains the means to keep its residents alive for longer than others’. We’ll have to wait to find out. UPDATE: The “Memory Den” seen at 1:40 in the trailer is either a themed bar strategically named and placed to throw us off, or a place for wastelanders to relive events in the pre-war era, similar to Total Recall’s “Rekall”.
- The time period – This is a particularly nerdy one. Most Fallout games have until now been set a few hundred years after The Great War, when it would be plausibly safe for the protagonists to leave their vaults. However, Bethesda RPGs have a tendency to interlink narratives in their lore, as seen in Skyrim when the player hears about The Oblivion Crisis in which they played a role in the previous game – some 200 years prior in Skyrim’s in-game timeline. I’m hoping to get similar knowledge from Fallout 4’s E3 showing. When is this taking place? How will events in previous games affect the world, or have they already? One among the plethora of things that Bethesda do well is lore, and I can’t wait to figure out at what stage in the timeline Fallout 4 falls and what this means for the present-day Mojave, Capital Wasteland and the Brotherhood of Steel and Enclave factions within. Also, has Sunset Sarsaparilla made it to the Commonwealth? (I warned you that this would be nerdy).
- Vault 111
So far, we’ve only seen this nuclear bunker’s door opening, and the protagonist wearing a jumpsuit embroidered with its number. Just who and what lives or lived inside the vault? Are my family in there? Is there an overseer to kill? And more importantly, will I get to have another birthday party before I leave? Fallout 3 references aside, this location is intriguing in how little we know about it, and by God am I excited to know more.
- The voiced protagonist – Is that Troy Baker I hear? Fallout protagonists up until this point have been voiceless – acting as vessels and avatars for the player and aiding the freeform nature of the series in terms of the player’s ability to define themselves – reputation and all – based on their choices, actions and another series staple, the karma system – which must be returning along with V.A.T.S. Fallout 4 looks to debunk some of this by giving the protagonist a voice, and seemingly a predetermined gender. Does this mean Witcher 3-esque fully-voiced dialogue options (and therefore more interesting and immersive conversations with NPCs), or a completely pre-determined backstory that wipes out the series’ investment in the significance of player choice? Please God let it be the first.
What are your hopes and predictions for Fallout 4’s inevitable gameplay reveal at E3? Leave them in the comments below.