Fallout 4 (preview)

Fallout 4 is an upcoming action role-playing video game, developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The game will be the fifth major instalment in the, now legendary, Fallout series of post-apocalyptic open world video games.

As revealed by game director Todd Howard during Bethesda’s E3 2015 press conference, the plot of Fallout 4 is set approximately 200 years after a global war over resources that ended in a nuclear holocaust in the year 2077.

The setting is a post-apocalyptic retro-futuristic USA, covering a region that includes Boston, Massachusetts and other parts of New England as well as the surrounding countryside. Fallout 4’s story begins on the day the nuclear bombs dropped on 23rd October 2077 when the player’s character takes shelter in Vault 111 with their family, and then awakens 200 years later as the vault’s sole survivor, with only a robot named Codsworth for company.

Once out of the fallout shelter, the players find an enormous dynamic world, where they can go wherever they want and do whatever they want. “Player’s freedom remains our absolute number one goal.” says Todd Howard. All dialogues with non-player characters are also dynamic – players can walk away from scripted sequences, or even shoot and kill the character to end the conversation. The popular canine sidekick Dogmeat makes his return to the series. The main character can befriend this dog wandering the wasteland and the four-legged helper then can, for instance, be sent to fetch various objects.

Players will be able to scavenge assorted objects from the wasteland in order to build their own settlements. Useful items like power generators can also be bought from traders – these can then power various gadgets like gun turrets. According to Howard, these can come very useful, as raiders are attracted to large settlements. That said, players don’t have to construct settlements if they don’t want to, and, if that is their thing, they can just roam the wasteland Mad Max-style.

Player’s freedom remains our absolute number one goal. Todd Howard, game director

In the new, highly adaptable, customisation system, the salvaged bric-a-brac can be used as parts for modifications. The game features 50 base weapons that can be customised with over 700 modifications, such as various barrel types, laser focus, etc. Even melee weapons like baseball bats can be enhanced with barbed wire or circular saw blades. The game’s familiar robotic suit can be modified with spare parts too.

Enemies will include, amongst others, deathclaws, ghoul raiders, mole rats, raider psychos, super-mutants and synth striders.

The Pip-Boy (Personal Information Processor-Boy), an iconic wrist-computer of the Fallout series which displays information about quests, inventory, weapons, battle management, as well as other game statistics, makes its return. This version of Pip-Boy can be loaded with game cartridges which feature fully playable versions of some old platform and shooting games. What is more, Bethesda is releasing a Pip Boy app, for both Android and iOS, which will work as a second screen for the game. And – for the ultimate authentic look – if you purchase the special edition of the game, you will get an actual wearable Pip Boy casing which can house your smartphone with the above mentioned Pip Boy app.

Another returning gameplay feature is the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S.), which plays an important part in combat. While using V.A.T.S., real-time combat is paused, and the player can see the probability of hitting each body part of the enemies through percentage ratio (generally the closer the player character is to an enemy the higher that percentage). Various actions cost certain amount of action points, limiting the actions of each combatant during a turn, and the player can target specific body areas to inflict specific injuries: head shots can be used for quick kills or blinding, legs can be targeted to slow enemies’ movements, and opponents can be disarmed by shooting at their weapons.

Unlike the previous two titles (Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas) that used the older Gamebryo engine, Fallout 4 uses a highly modified Creation Engine, evolved from the game engine previously used in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The new engine includes a revamped character editor system that allows freeform creation of faces. Fallout 4’s gameplay is similar to that of the previous two instalments of the series, with a camera that can switch from first to third person view. Another first will be a fully voice-acted main (player’s) character, who will be able to have fluid, dynamic conversations with non-player characters.

Fallout 4 will be released on 10 November 2015 in versions for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Below is a handful of screenshots from the official game trailer:

click on thumbnail for full size image

TRIVIA: A free-to-play spin-off smartphone game, Fallout Shelter, in which player manages a post-apocalyptic community living in a fallout shelter, was released for Android and iOS.