When game developer/publisher Bethesda announced that they would be hosting their first ever E3 press conference at E3 2015, speculation about the company's possible announcements began immediately. While there were some known projects in the works, such as the newest entry in the Doom franchise, the game everyone expected and hoped for was Fallout 4.
Bethesda delivered, albeit earlier than expected. Fallout 4 was officially announced at the beginning of June, with a release date already set for November 2015. This alone was enough to make it stand out amongst a slew of new game announcements slated for 2016 and beyond. However, it was promise of a massive retro-future landscape ripe for exploration that really captured gamers' attention. As the studio ramps up the marketing machine for the upcoming release date, new information is coming to light that makes the trip to the post-apocalyptic future of Fallout all the more appealing.
Bethesda's Biggest Game Yet
If there's one point that the developer is driving home, it's that Fallout 4's open world is going to be huge. How large the game's world will be has yet to be announced, but Bethesda recently revealed that the artists working on the game have created twice as many assets as those that appeared in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Considering the sheer number of objects and structures in that game along with the impressive level of detail, it's safe to say that Fallout 4 will have one of the most expansive worlds to date.
In fact, Bethesda's lead producer Jeff Gardiner told Official Xbox Magazine (via Gamespresso) that after playing the game for nearly 400 hours, he's still discovering new things to see and do. The sheer amount of content and replay value will ensure that players invest a significant chunk of their time in the wasteland.
Regular Updates and DLC
Bethesda recently took to their blog to detail their plans for Fallout 4 post-launch. The game will be receiving regular, free updates that will not only address technical issues with the game, but include new features as well. In Skyrim, the company added small features such as mounted combat and kill cams. No planned updates have been announced, but the developer promises to work with the community to determine what they want to see added to the game. Along with Bethesda's updates, the game will be open and moddable, with a free Creation Kit coming to PC early in 2016.
Additionally, it's been confirmed that Fallout 4 will have a Season Pass for the game's upcoming DLC. The pass will cost $30 and will include any and all content that is released. While there are currently no planned add-ons, Bethesda has historically supported their games with large, story-based content. As such, they are stating that the inevitable DLC will be worth at least $40, giving early adopters a slight discount.
While much of the appeal of Skyrim is based on the exploration, it's not long into the game before the NPCs begin to recycle their dialogue. While not a major issue, it's enough to take the player out of the experience for a few seconds. Bethesda seems intent on fixing that, announcing that Fallout 4 will have more lines of dialogue that Fallout 3 and Skyrim combined.
— BethesdaGameStudios (@BethesdaStudios) September 3, 2015
The company puts the estimate at over 111,000 lines of dialogue, confirming that dialogue recording has taken place over multiple years. At this point, there's no telling how much of that dialogue is story-centric and how much of it is dedicated to one-off conversations, but it's a safe bet that most players will never manage to hear every line the game has to offer.
New Crafting System
One of the biggest additions to Fallout 4 will be the introduction of a Minecraft-inspired crafting system for everything from weapons and armor to buildings and electronics. The game currently features two separate building systems, one for personal objects and the other for world building. Player will have the opportunity to gather resources in the wasteland, though the larger objects will be stored at workbenches throughout the world. Crafting recipes can be flagged so that the necessary components will be easier to find in the world.
The most impressive facet of the crafting system is that the structures can be customized and controlled via computer terminals in the world. Bethesda's Pete Hines spoke with Gamesradar about how much control players have over their creations.
When you connect stuff to the computer terminal, you have a lot of control and sort of fine tuning. You saw some of it in the video with the lights, the Vaultboy thing. You can go through and determine individual lights of sequences of patterns. If you've got something that plays music, you can actually define how it's playing the music... "It's not just 'is the light on or is the light off?' You're actually controlling [them]: what color are they? What is the pattern? Do they flash? When does the fire shoot out of the thing?"
Giving the players that much control over the environment can make for some complicated gameplay mechanics. Luckily, Hines confirmed that the entirety of the game can be played without having to do any crafting. The crafting is just an added layer to the game, one that has its own set of rewards should players decide to dive in.
Update: Bethesda released this video about the return of the franchise's SPECIAL stat system:
Considering the success of Fallout 3 and the great strides the developer has made in the seven years since its launch, it's hard not to be excited for the next installment in the franchise. However, there's still a lot we don't know about Fallout 4, particularly in terms of the games plot. Bethesda has been tight-lipped about story details, only confirming basic information about the game's setting. Whether or not the secretive plot pays off in the end remains to be seen.
Fallout 4 will be available to purchase from participating retailers on November 10th, 2015 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.