What We Want From Fallout 4: Part One
November 10th cannot come soon enough. On that day, those of us hankering to return to explore the wasteland will finally be able to sit down with Fallout 4 on PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One. Expectations were never higher for a Bethesda Softworks’ title but as their E3 demonstration showed, the team at Bethesda isn’t resting on their laurels. Instead, they are introducing new elements to their post-apocalyptic RPG series such as a voiced main character, weapon modifications, and fort building.
With less than four months to go before its release, the excitement is building for Fallout 4. Bethesda will have to take the successful elements from Fallout 3 and combine them with their new plans for the fourth entry – all while improving on a few less than stellar aspects of their past games. Let’s have some fun as I detail a few things I’d love to see in Fallout 4 – all with their respective, incredibly accurate odds of actually showing up in the game.
For those unfamiliar to Fallout 3, VATS stands for Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System and is incredibly fun. It allows the player to freeze time, target specific enemies’ body parts, and watch the action play out in cinematic, slow-motion camera views. We already know of a few changes that will be coming to VATS in Fallout 4.
Bethesda’s E3 conference (and later confirmed by a Telegraph interview with Todd Howard) shows that Fallout 4’s VATS won’t freeze time but will rather slow down time immensely. This means that while VATS is activated, accuracy percentages will change dynamically as enemies move in or out of cover. A second change to VATS is a critical bar that builds up over time, depending on elements such as the player’s luck stat. When the bar fills up completely, the player can choose which shot they want to be the critical one.
The fact that VATS only slows down time now instead of stopping it should mean that players will have to think a little quicker than before, in case a certain accuracy percentage changes for the worse, and should speed up the action. The critical shot bar should add more depth to VATS twofold. First, letting players choose which shot is the critical one adds a layer of strategy and a layer of stress – watching the chosen critical shot as it flies towards, and hopefully hits, its intended target. Secondly, the luck stat now has an added benefit and it’s all but assured that we will see perks related to the critical shot bar.
Odds of happening: Bet everything you have. You see, I started with something that we know a lot about in order to make my predictions look accurate.
Bethesda hadn’t made a modern shooter before Fallout 3 and it showed. Clunky controls and weak gun sound effects weren’t excused by the fact that the Fallout series is an RPG at heart. Yes, VATS was a great substitution for regular shooting, but when the action points run out, players need responsive shooting mechanics. Bethesda’s Todd Howard has said that the Fallout series is not a shooter, in the traditional sense of Call of Duty or Battlefield, but has admitted that the shooting in Fallout 3 can be improved. Howard and his team consulted with the team at iD Software, makers of Doom and Quake, in regards to creating a richer shooting mechanic. It’s unlikely that Fallout 4 will obtain the smoothness of Rage or other iD games, but it’s nice to imagine.
Odds of happening: The small gameplay we have seen of Fallout 4 hasn’t shown much shooting outside of VATS, but let’s face it: Fallout 3’s shooting was poor and it won’t be getting worse. We are guaranteed better shooting mechanics this time around but it’ll be interesting to see how much they actually improve.
This is one is pretty simple to explain: give us longer quests that take more time to complete, tell more expansive stories, and involve more characters. This doesn’t mean planting three bombs instead of just one. It means creating quests that tell complex stories while giving the player interesting challenges and unique ways to interact with the world. Fallout 3 had some awesome variety in their quests, from blowing up a town to rigging an election in the Republic of Dave, but eight years later, games like Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Witcher 3 have shown just how entertaining long and deep quest lines can be.
Bethesda has proven numerous times that they can build expansive and interesting open worlds. By telling stories through longer and more complex quests, the player will see more connections between people and places in the wasteland, and the virtual world will be that much more fleshed-out. Fallout 4 will no doubt be filled with things to do and people to see – but we will have to see just how the developers decide to package these elements together.
Odds of happening: Quests aren’t likely to get shorter and the developers at Bethesda keep up with modern games, so it’s safe to say that we will see some long quest lines in Fallout 4.
You could say you want fewer glitches in any game and no one would disagree. Bethesda, though, does have a track record of releasing their games with a few more bugs than normal left in. Fallout 3 on PS3 is an obvious example, as the game is slow on the system and as a player uses more save files, the game slows down and can even freeze. Fortunately, Todd Howard has spoken about the fact that the new systems – PS4 and Xbox One – are more like PCs than ever before, so Bethesda has had to spend less time porting the game to home consoles than their earlier titles.
That being said, if the latest large open-world games are any evidence, these type of games are subject to having glitches in them. The trick is to minimize the damage. Fallout 4 has been in development for nearly a decade, so hopefully that means a lot of time dedicated to removing glitches.
Odds of happening: If Howard is right about the newest systems, then Fallout 4 should have fewer bugs than usual for Bethesda. That being said, there will be bugs and hopefully online updates come quickly after release.
So there you go, a few thoughts on what would be nice to see in Fallout 4. My excitement won’t dip, so stay tuned for another edition of “What We Want From Fallout 4” very shortly.