Fallout 4: What we know, love and want

PS4 | XBOX ONE | PC Release Date: TBA

The team at Three Headed Boy is pretty big on the Fallout series (in particular Fallout 3). Needless to say, we were pretty excited when we found out that Fallout 4 would be a thing and would be similar in style and tone to Fallout 3.

Find out what we know about the game, what we love about the Fallout series, and what we would like to see in Fallout 4.

What we know about Fallout 4

While there is very little information known about Fallout 4 at this time, we expect to learn more at E3 2015 in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we have compiled what we have learned from sites like CinemaBlend and Silicon Angle.

1. Fallout 4 takes place in Boston

As someone who lives very close to Boston, I was surprised that I did not put two and two together while watching the trailer. The new Fallout will take place in Boston, a city that you could argue is even more patriotic than our nation’s capital (the setting of Fallout 3).

The trailer for the game, shown below and originally featured on Gamespot, features moments like a zeppelin flying over Paul Revere’s statue and even a look at Faneuil Hall:

… and I missed all of it the first time through (-1,000 Boston pride points for Dan).

The setting proves that the Fallout series can build bigger and more colorful environments, most likely due to the enhanced horsepower of the Xbox One and PS4.

What the trailer also proves is..

2. The game looks an awful lot like Fallout 3

I cannot speculate on the full game for obvious reasons. What I can say is that Fallout 4 looked an awful lot like Fallout 3. Despite people freaking out over what they feel to be terrible graphics (this is the first trailer people), I wanted to spend more time explaining the similarities in feel and aesthetic.

The whole trailer felt like a nostalgia trip for fans of Fallout 3. Gone were the colors and locations of Fallout: New Vegas and back were the desolate locales popularized by Washington D.C. in Fallout 3. The aesthetic was so similar, on first watch I thought the location was exactly the same.

One of the locations featured was a defunct battleship that might have well as been Rivet City. Any shot of the wasteland felt like a retread of Fallout 3 or at least serious deja vu.

Dogmeat or something like it walked past a crib and over to a vault dweller in a vault suit similar to the one in Fallout 3.

3. Galaxy News Radio will be in Fallout 4

The most exciting nostalgia trip of the Fallout 4 trailer was the reveal of music similar to that of Fallout 3.

As a music lover, I have often discussed music as one of the most important elements in games. Games like Katamari Damacy, The Legend of Zelda, and Fallout 3 would not be nearly as special if not for the emotional connection stored within the game soundtrack.

Fallout 3 had Galaxy News Radio, a radio station broadcast by the mysterious Three Dog, a DJ who spoke against the government of the apocalyptic world and played the best in music from the 1920’s. Going through spooky warehouses filled with ghouls would not have been the same without the likes of Roy Brown or Billie Holiday playing through the speakers. Listening to the music today takes me back to times spent exploring the wasteland.

Along with the music in the trailer, the voice actor of Three Dog was confirmed as saying that he would be returning for future Fallout games as a radio personality. It was also moderately confirmed that there wasn’t enough great music in Fallout 3 and that there would be multiple radio stations in Fallout 4.

Feeling nostalgic? I figured you were, so here is a Galaxy News Radio playlist:

4. The player character is still a blank slate.

In a move that will probably not infuriate players, your character will indeed be a blank slate like in most other western RPGs and definitely like in past Fallout games.

There is fear that the origin story will be TOO similar to Fallout 3. But I think that players should be excited to control the fate and potential of their own character.

5. Fallout 4 WILL NOT be released on Playstation 3 or Xbox 360

Like the above, this really should not be a shocking discovery. The reason we mention it is because a lot of folks are looking for this information.

The new platforms will have been out for years at the time this game is most likely released.

Fallout 4: What we want

We have not been strangers to the Fallout series, particularly Fallout 3. In fact, Patrick and I named it among our absolute favorite games of the last generation.

Fallout 3 was wonderful because it felt like a more focused version of the western RPG. There was enough to see an do, without a lot of the fluff that plagues open world games.

Were there fewer side-quests and fewer optional places to go? Yes. But that is okay, because what was there was fantastic. I still love and can remember almost every side-quest in the game. Main story levels did not take a backseat, and were equally memorable.

But there is always room to improve. Here is what I would love to see in Fallout 4:

1. Choose your battles

One thing Bethesda has always been “really good at” is delivering mediocre combat. In games like Fallout and Elder Scrolls, it is often easy to forgive. After all, there are many combat options at your disposal.

In the recent Fallout games, you have your choice of FPS combat or the strategic VATS. I have always thought that Bethesda would be better off picking one system and sticking with it.

I AM NOT A GAME DEVELOPER. That being said, for me it has always come down to one of two options:

  1. Make your shooter combat visceral like Call of Duty. Put the focus on leveling up shooting mechanics like gun repairs, reloading, and accuracy. Spend your gameplay budget on this.
  2. Remove gunplay entirely and focus on making VATS fully-featured. Put all commands (reloading, healing, changing arms, and shooting) fully in this system and watch the combat play out in a turn-based fashion.

The second option probably isn’t feasible and would result in a loss of interest for many people, but at least the gameplay would be solid and focused. It is easily the weakest element of the Fallout series.

2. A better ending

I have to give props to Bethesda for choosing a definitive ending to Fallout 3. No matter what you chose to do as a player, there was a real outcome. You could not move forward (until the expansion was released). That was it. Closure is great.

That being said, the quality of the ending was pretty terrible. The story was told with a lousy image overlay and a narration. Additionally, the ending basically equated to: A) You were a good guy and did the right thing OR B) You were terrible and nobody liked you.

I would like to see a more cinematic or emotional ending to Fallout 4. I would also like there to be some sort of interesting conclusion based on your morals. While I understand that being bad or good is fairly black and white, do something interesting with it!

3. Less meaningless loot

I distinctly remember watching a friend play through the beginning of Fallout 3. He left the Vault and found his way into a building. In the building were numerous cabinets and lockers, filled with nuts and bolts. As someone who doesn’t explore as much, I questioned why my friend was picking up absolutely everything.

Aside from ammo and bottle caps, most of the items you can loot are utter garbage. They waste weight in your inventory and serve NO purpose. Why do they exist? I guess to provide realism to the contents of shelves and houses. But who cares?

In Fallout 4, I would like to see these drops either removed or given more specific purpose. Perhaps they can be sold or used to create weapons and machines?

4. More substantial choices

Of all of the games that position good and bad moral choices, I am always bewildered by the middle of the road approach. It always seems like western RPGs offer this grey area of gameplay which creates a very boring character arc.

Fallout 3 was great because the game experience provided interesting Bad/Good Karma moments. Of particular note is the beginning of the game, where you can either defuse a bomb in the opening town Megaton OR blow up the entire town to the sum of riches and a place to stay.

While this moral choice is black and white, it provided a real experience for the player. There were REAL ramifications to the decision made, more than a simple message telling you did something bad or good.

For Fallout 4, I hope they add more of these moments to provided a replayable and rewarding player experience.

5. New visual style

My biggest criticism with the Fallout 4 trailer was how much it looked like Fallout 3. I would love for the team at Bethesda to do something wildly different to the visual style to make Fallout 4 feel fresh.

More differentiation in environments would be a real plus. If Fallout 3 is like Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, I would love to see Fallout 4 provide more varied environments like Skyrim. I don’t know that having super graphics is as big of a deal as some people make it, but a style change would definitely be nice.

6. A better interface

A good deal of gamers will be playing Fallout 4 on a console. While user interfaces have come a long way, there is a lot to see and do in Fallout games. We would love to see a better user interface that does not punish the player for exploring.

Doing anything, from managing items, to healing your character, to changing the radio station was very difficult in Fallout 3 on consoles.

While there is certain charm to the Pip-Boy 3000 (the game’s arm menu), it will hopefully see a facelift in Fallout 4. There are way too many menus and submenus to navigate in Fallout 3, which makes managing inventory no fun.

What is your Fallout 4 wishlist?

That is what I want to see in Fallout 4. But what would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below!

In the meantime, get hype for Fallout 4 by listening to our podcast on the best games of the last generation, where we discuss Fallout 3 in detail.