Bethesda started their presentation with a brutal demonstration of DOOM, the twenty-two year old project they picked up from Activision in 2012. DOOM showed us some very fast and very bloody gameplay involving the use of guns, blades, and mutations. After the DOOM multiplayer demo ended, we were given a look at Dishonored 2. We saw the return of Corvo Attano, the protagonist you play as, alongside the new playable-character, Emily Kaldwin. Then the real fun started when Todd Howard came to the stage to share Fallout 4.
It’s been almost five years since the last Fallout game released. It was beginning to feel like we would never see another wasteland until, just a few days before E3, an announcement was made. With this announcement came a trailer. A trailer that effectively brought everyone back to 2008, when we first explored the world of Fallout 3. We are now just five months away from traveling among the dwellers of Vault 111 near the town of Sanctuary Hills in Boston, Massachusetts. Or at least that’s where the gameplay started. Following a brief display of the beautiful concept-artwork Bethesda has created over the last few years.
You begin the game before the war started, in your home spending time with your wife and child. You edit your character and your spouse’s appearance using the bathroom mirror as a character creation menu. You can choose to play as either the husband or wife, but you cannot switch between the two later in the game. A Vault-Tec salesman then comes to your door and has you fill out a questionnaire that determines your player attributes such as luck, strength, stamina, charisma, etc. They chose to slam the door in the guys face before the dialogue ended, which really gave the E3 crowd a laugh. With this interaction we see different animations and speech options that can be used for interaction with NPCs. The cheerful mood came to an abrupt end when the tv announcer declared that the country was under nuclear attack. Bomb sirens begin to whine, and you have to escort your family through the town towards Vault 111 just before a nuclear blast wipes the world away.
Cut to black and we pick up two hundred years later in the 2077. The same year we escaped from Vault 101 in Fallout 3. They did not want to spoil how you survived for 200 years, but my guess is that you either play as the child, or you were cryogenically frozen. No one is left in the Vault except for you, so I assume the other characters are long dead. Not wanting to waste any time, we were quickly taken from Vault 111 to the a beautiful yet grimy post apocalyptic outside world. On the way out we scavenge a trusty Pip-Boy from a corpse seen on the ground. The pip-boy seems to work just as the old one did, but with a graphics card upgrade that allows for the playing of mini-games! After leaving the vault we meet Mr. Cosworth, your household robotic helper who has roamed the deserted Sanctuary Hills for the last 200 years. Mr. Cosworth is obviously excited to see you and tells you what year it is and offers to make you dinner. Instead of dinner, we were treated to a scenic walk with our new german shepherd companion. Howard spoke later saying that you can give the dog a variety of commands and that the dog will never die.
At this point we get to see the use of the VATS system. The system you use for shooting in a QTE style in all of Bethesda’s Fallout games. Todd has said that the VATS system is the same however, the standard way of shooting was upgraded thanks to the refined Creation Engine used to run the game. We then see that the armor system is now layered. You can wear stacking armor in different combinations for effective speed and durability balance. The linear gameplay ends and we are given a flash-cut of various Fallout 4 action. We see a new building mechanic that allows for making not only custom weapons and gadgets, but also buildings, objects, and entire settlements! These settlements and buildings you will have to defend to keep the dwellers happy. You will need a clean water source and power generator to activate some types of objects. We were shown that all armor and weapons are customizable. You start with only 50 base weapons, but you can create a total of 500 unique weapons using the new crafting system. They wrapped it up by giving us a release date of November 10th 2015, and said that PC mods would be available to Xbox One
Outside of the game we were given two new Fallout apps. One app turns your smart phone into a Pip-Boy that controls the game. The other, a new IOS game called Fallout Shelter, puts you as an overseer of your very own Vault-Tec Vault. You send dwellers out into the wasteland to scavenge supplies that you use to expand your vault. You can create massive bee-hive like vaults with hundreds of dwellers and rooms. There are in-game purchases but no pay wall timers. Both of these apps seem like a blast! Fallout shelter is already out, and the Pip-Boy app will be released on November 10th with the game. I would give a review of Fallout Shelter now, but I have an android phone.
So why is Fallout 4 so significant? Why are people saying Fallout 4 was the best of E3 even through all the competition? Well, Fallout is significant because it’s one of Bethesda’s best selling games, and will probably sell as many copies as fellow RPG goliath, Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V. It is still early in the games announcement period, but I would expect a large marketing push for this game to bring in some fresh gamers who have never experienced the first titles. If you are one of those few who have not been blessed with a Fallout experience, let me say that Fallout is somewhat like Skyrim or Red Dead Redemption. It’s set in an open world during darker times where you are the Protagonist who makes choices that change the outcome of the game and underlying story for better or worse. Fallout is set in a retro-future world. The bombs have dropped 200 years before your time and all of your life has evolved around nuclear holocaust. In Fallout, you will have to fight your way towards achieving your goals by encountering all sorts of shifty people and creatures. You will be collecting and repairing a plethora of gear and items that are scattered throughout the mysterious wasteland. Also, you will be learning skills and gaining points to be put towards your character’s overall capabilities. In Fallout 3 you play as a vault dweller who must venture out into post apocalyptic Washington D.C. to find your father, James. In Fallout: New Vegas, you start as a man saved from the grave after being shot in the head by an unknown gunman. You then travel throughout nuclear New Vegas and surrounding Mojave Desert, trying to find the man who shot you down. Both games couple the cheerful yet somehow chilling music of the 1950s and 40s with the dull dusty atmosphere of a post apocalyptic world. Leaving the gamer with feelings of isolation and dread. You have to play to make your life better and you will discover many things along the way. If you are stuck up on the low-res character models, then let me remind you that the game has been in development for 6 years now, and that some things have to be done for the game to run smoothly. There is big competition in the open world market in the form of Rockstar Game’s Grand Theft Auto, but have no doubt! You will have a blast playing any Fallout game, especially if you are a fan of role-playing games. I will be personally exploring the new wasteland on november 10th, so look forward to an in-depth review!