It's been seven years since Bethesda Game Studios took control of post-apocalyptic role-playing game series Fallout and released Fallout 3, which introduced 3D graphics to the franchise for the first time and cast the player in the role of a Lone Wanderer who emerges from an underground vault into a future version of America that has been blasted and mutated by nuclear war. Monsters and bandits roam the land and radiation has poisoned the earth, but small pockets of civilization and culture still survive.
The next game of the series, Fallout: New Vegas, was developed by Obsidian Entertainment while Bethesda was hard at work on the massive open-world fantasy RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but over the past couple of years rumors of Fallout 4 being in active development at Bethesda have been bubbling up steadily. Today those rumors have been confirmed with an announcement trailer for Fallout 4.
The Fallout 4 trailer is extremely reminiscent (some might say too reminiscent) of Fallout 3, with 1930s/40s crooners The Ink Spots returning for another song, a reprisal of the old adage "War never changes," and another Vault Dweller emerging to wander the wasteland. The trailer is centered around a dog companion, which isn't a new feature for the series but seems like it could be more central to the character's storyline this time around. If Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and I Am Legend taught us anything, it's that being the loyal friend of a Lone Wanderer in a post-apocalyptic landscape is a dangerous occupation for canines, but perhaps this dog will have better luck.
The trailer also confirms rumors that the game will be set in Boston, Massachusetts, through glimpses of landmarks like the Bunker Hill monument, the Massachusetts State House and the Paul Revere statue. Aside from the new setting, however, there's much that's familiar: Eyebots, a Vault-Tec bobblehead doll - even a Grognak the Barbarian comic.
Unlike Fallout 3, it appears that Fallout 4 will have a fully-voiced protagonist. The fairly generic appearance of the Lone Wanderer from Vault 111 in the trailer indicates that this character is just the default, and the game will once again offer players the option of choosing their gender, race and appearance, as is standard in Bethesda RPGs.
The press release announcing Fallout 4 also promises further reveals during Bethesda's E3 Showcase later this month. Fallout 3 game director Todd Howard returned to helm Fallout 4, and teases that "the time and technology have allowed us to be more ambitious than ever." This claim may be met with incredulity by the fans who have already criticized the trailer for its somewhat underwhelming graphics, but its refreshing to see an announcement trailer comprised of in-game footage rather than merely expensive pre-rendered cinematics.
Fallout 4 will be available on Xbox One, PS4 and PC, but a release date has not yet been announced.