Bethesda’s Bombshell – Fallout 4 in November

Fallout 4Fallout 4 will be releasing on November 10, 2015. That’s less than five months away.

The crazy thing about the news and hype swirling around Fallout 4 is that even though Bethesda had pulled the curtain back on a very detailed trailer less than two weeks ago, they still managed to surprise. The words I am about to write don’t really hold a lot of weight on the millions of fans who are salivating to get back into the wasteland, but Fallout 4 encapsulates so much of what Bethesda does well.

It’s not just the open world brilliance or the clever collector’s edition Pip-Boy. It’s the fact that they have been hard at work on this game since they wrapped Fallout 3. Keep in mind that they churned out a bonafide all-time great game in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in the midst of their development cycle. Everything that they learned through breathing new life into the Fallout franchise in Fallout 3, in what Obsidian accomplished with the surprisingly stellar spin-off Fallout: New Vegas and refining their signature world building in Skyrim appears to be melding beautifully in Fallout 4.

Fallout 4Set in the Commonwealth, a post apocalyptic Boston, Fallout 4 takes the framework of Fallout 3’s Capitol Wasteland and expands it with true to life landmarks, fleshed out neighborhoods and a much larger variety of environments compared to its predecessor. The color palette, already a noted improvement from the drab greenish grey of Fallout 3 or the burnt tans of New Vegas, is lush and thoughtful, from the bright colors of the pre-war era, to the golden dome of the State House. It is far and away the most vibrant Fallout game to date.

Fallout certainly starts with the world that they build around it, but the story is the focused core. We already know a ton about the experiments that were conducted in the vaults after Fallout 3. So where does Vault 111 fit into this? How are you the only survivor of the vault? Why are you only emerging now, 200 years after the bombs originally fell.

And there it is, the element that will set Fallout 4 apart from the series. You aren’t a vault member tasked with saving a vault. You’re not the chosen one sent out to save a village. You are not the lone wanderer, exiled from your only home on a quest to find your father. You aren’t a courier, delivering a package, and taking over a corrupted city in the process. So who are you? You are the survivor. A link to the world of Fallout before the vaults, before the radiation. It is a dynamic that will bring a new addition to the Fallout universe, a sense of direction beyond the framework of the overarching quest. You have a story to tell, a mystery to unravel.

Fallout 4Where Fallout 3 relied heavily on NPCs as the storytelling crutch, adding vocal work to the protagonist is a big deal for a franchise known for its silent heroes. The voice is as important as the gameplay supporting this entry. From the return of VATS to the ever expanding customization options. Not only can you customize your entire arsenal and armor load out, you can build entire towns for you to thrive in. By allowing town building, it creates a new dynamic by which is genuinely Fallout at its core. All the inhabitants of the wasteland are survivors. Survivors that needed to work with each other to survive.

Everything that Bethesda has laid out before them, in the framework of all of their games. Is the idea of building towards a purpose. Fallout 4 truly captures that mentality and focus as we get ready to return to the wasteland.

Please Stand By: Fallout 4 Unveiled

Fallout 4Strap on your power suits. Bethesda decided to drop an early bomb leading up to their first E3 press conference by officially pulling Fallout 4 out of the vault.

Too many references in that lede? Fallout 4 is expected to launch on Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and Windows PC.

Set in a post-apocalyptic Boston, Fallout 4 is the first title in the long running RPG franchise sine 2008’s Fallout 3 spin-off, Fallout: New Vegas. Bethesda successfully married the themes and aesthetics of the old turn based, grid combat games of the late ’90s into a sprawling open world exploration¬†game that mashes the mechanics of its RPG roots with modern shooter and adventure game elements.

It has been easily Bethesda’s biggest question mark following Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas’ universal success. While only a little of information was delivered in the initial trailer, we do know one thing.

War. War never changes.

Bethesda Rumored to Reveal Fallout 4 at E3 Conference

FalloutThe Bethesda announcement the world saw coming finally appears to be materializing as Fallout 4 is rumored to be the closing act of Bethesda’s E3 press conference. According to German site PC Games, an anonymous but trusted source confirmed that Fallout 4 would be debuting at E3 2015, including closed door demonstrations. This is the first year that Bethesda has chosen to take part in a press conference joining the likes of UbiSoft and Electronic Arts as major publishers who put on a show prior to the opening of the expo.

Fallout 4 has long been wondered about and Bethesda has remained tight lipped over the years despite faux teaser sites launching, cryptic audio messages appearing online and even the unsubstantiated rumor that Boston would be the setting for the next post apocalyptic RPG. The last Fallout game, Fallout: New Vegas launched all the way back in 2010. Even the core Fallout 3 seems way in the past having launched back in 2008.

To put the time in perspective, the gap between Fallout 2 and Fallout 3 was 10 years, although much changed after Bethesda took over the franchise from Interplay. If Fallout 4 is indeed the finale of Bethesda’s presser, I don’t see that game being launched until 2016 at the earliest, possibly in late spring but more than likely in the fall.

It has been fun guessing what Bethesda would bring to this press event as their bread and butter, The Elder Scrolls, seems a bit away. Skyrim was a phenomenal game that deserves a proper follow-up, but with their jumbled mess of The Elder Scrolls Online, I see them staying away from this for now. Bethesda still has other franchises to trot out, including iD Software’s new Doom, which has only been shown behind closed doors, and the sequel to Arkane Studios’ highly regarded Dishonored. I also expect them to talk about their free-to-play Battlecry and possibly their plans for The Elder Scrolls Online. Five games is a pretty solid one hour show.

It will be interesting to see what direction Bethesda takes Fallout 4 as Fallout 3 was such a stellar modernization of a very antiquated grid based, turn based RPG. The VATS system has to carry forward but maybe a larger emphasis on the active sections of the game, making it more action oriented than the grindy, methodical game that Fallout 3 was. Bethesda has to be working on something with a new engine as well because that Gamebryo engine, while versatile, was clunky even 7 years ago.

With E3 about a month away, I am actually pretty excited for it this year. Not just for major announcements like Fallout 4, but for there to finally be some software available for these new systems. Two years is a long time to have limited releases on these consoles, the developers need to step it up.

IGN – Fallout 3 Rumor Puts Reveal At Bethesda’s E3 Conference

The Locales of Fallout – Setting Versus Tone

Fallout 3

According to leaked documents obtained by Kotaku, Bethesda is working on a new Fallout related title to be taking place in Boston. Signs point to the game in question being the heavily anticipated Fallout 4, whose fans have been salivating at any morsel of information thrown their way.

The article itself details a casting call as well as some early (potential) dialogue that hints at a post-apocalyptic MIT, now simply known as The Institute. While nothing is set in stone as this may be rough dialogue created solely for casting purposes, the breadcrumbs are laid out to provide at least the groundswell for discussions to take place.

Fallout New Vegas

One such discussion, posed the comment that New England areas like Boston have become played out and that game designers should use different locales to set their games in. While the opening post happened to be lumping north eastern US cities into one generalization, particularly including New York City, the problem exists that for those unfamiliar with the area, a game set in NYC-Boston-Maine might all be one boring set piece that we’ve all seen before. Continue reading

Midweek Timewaster – Doctor Who Easter Eggs

If you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll learn that I fall into several fandom tropes, not least of which is Doctor Who. I am a recent fan of the series after long avoiding its wibbly-wobbly universe that constantly finds ways to circle back to amazing adventures. But ever since finally watching the modern reboot of the series last year, I have been obsessively addicted to the series and the incredible portrayals by the last three Doctors, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith.

The wonderful team over at VGFacts.com and DidYouKnowGaming.com put together a quick little video chronicling some of the greatest Doctor Who related Easter Eggs in gaming in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. From Daleks, dialogue references and hiding the TARDIS, programmers have constantly found ways to integrate their Whovian love into their projects.

I remember years ago in particular, playing the original Fallout, having no idea what the little blue box was during a random encounter. Even today, I am particularly fond of the reference of the library in Fallout: New Vegas and the cute nods in Borderlands 2.