This page will take a closer look at Fallout 4, detailing game mechanics such as the crafting, combat, weapon customization, character creation, and even the protagonist’s companion dog.
We had a pretty good idea that we were going to be hyped up over Fallout 4 going into the Bethesda Game Studios E3 2015 showcase, but by the time Game Director and Executive Producer, Todd Howard, had finished his presentation, it became one of our most anticipated titles. Whether it can live up to the hype that it created, we’ll have to wait and see, but for now we wanted to collect and organize everything that we know so far about Fallout 4.
To set the scene, Fallout 4 will begin on a normal Saturday morning, with players shuffling about their house and chatting with their robot butler, Codsworth. There will be opportunities to interact with your baby and spouse, but it won’t be long before things take an ugly turn and the bombs begin to drop. You’ll make your way to Vault-Tec 111, taking shelter in a space reserved for you and your family. Sorry, but Codsworth didn’t make the cut.
When you emerge from your underground home more than 200 years later, the peaceful and typical neighborhood that you once knew will be a wasteland set in the massive ruins of downtown Boston, and this is where you real journey in Fallout 4 begins.
Let’s back up a bit to that peaceful Saturday morning, standing in front of the mirror with your spouse. This is where you’ll create the character that you wish to play as, and Fallout 4 gives you complete control of the customization options. You can determine your race, gender, and even spend time tinkering with the most minor details of your facial features. You can even choose your name, and the game has been programmed with about 1,000 of the most popular ones. If yours is in there, Codsworth will be able to use it in conversation shortly thereafter.
The customization will continue a short time later when you answer to the door and are standing face-to-face with a Vault-Tec representative. He has a form for you to fill out, and on that is where you can spend some time assigning yourself attribute points. We won’t go through the entire list, but options like Luck, Endurance, Perception, Strength and Intelligence are on there, allowing you to craft your ideal character. This in-depth customization and freedom will become a running theme in Fallout 4.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Freedom isn’t a specific mechanic, but rather a concept that applies to all the mechanics in Fallout 4. We gave you a taste of it in the character customization section, but the goal of Bethesda Game Studios is to allow players to go wherever they want and do whatever they want, whenever they want. The specific example used was with the dynamic dialog. Where most games trap you in conversation, Fallout 4 will allow you to simply leave, or as Todd Howard explained, “You can shoot ‘em in the face if you want.”
The freedom to choose your own experience really doesn’t stop there, as Fallout 4 will also allow gamers to play through in either the first-person or third-person perspective. Once again the dynamic dialog was used to demonstrate this feature, but we saw both views several times throughout the remainder of the demonstration.
Crafting and Settlements
Another theme that popped up several times throughout the presentation was that “It just works.” This applied mostly to the crafting portion, which if we’re being honest, seems like one of the coolest features that will be included in the game.
Bethesda Game Studios had created an endless amount of random items that will appear in the world, and each one of them has a purpose within the game’s crafting system. The example shown was a scope, with players being able to choose between several different combinations of objects that could be used to craft that item.
It gets more intense from there, however, as the crafting really shines when you see the settlement and base building mechanics at work. With this, players can instantly and intuitively design their own shelter, decorating it and expanding as they see fit. As they do this they can recruit dwellers to join them, and even implement a working power grid by connecting power generators, lights, turrets and other items using wires. All of this can be controlled using a terminal, and rather than get into the messy details, we were again reminded that “It just works.” For what it’s worth, the gameplay that was shown seemed to back this simple explanation up, as base building and power implementation appeared to be as complicated as tying up Velcro shoes.
It was mentioned that Fallout 4 will feature 50 base weapons, which seemed fairly impressive. It was then explained that these weapons could be outfitted with more than 700 mods and variations. Much like the point-and-click crafting, weapons appear to work in a similar fashion. Toss a scope on whatever you want, then slap a suppressor on the barrel, or some other random gadget that we probably couldn’t spell or pronounce. It’s a combination of that freedom to carve out your own experience that we mentioned, with a bit of “It just works” mixed for good measure. You can even see how your customization choices impact the weapons with a handy little stats bar on the left. Just craft, add, and remove items until you have the perfect weapon in your hands.
Combat in Fallout 4
Clearly, killing things is a big part of Fallout 4, and there was a good bit of time spent on showing some of the fast-paced combat that players can expect. We saw examples of melee action, gunplay, sniping, and even a fair taste of blowing things up. All of this is impacted by the weapons that you choose and how you opt to customize them, but there was also a major game mechanic that players will be excited to see back, V.A.T.S.
The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System will allow players to slow time and get a unique perspective on their targets. This view will show several options of where to aim, even outlining what areas are the most vulnerable and will result in the most damage. If you’re looking for a comparison, think about Michael’s special ability in Grand Theft Auto V, except far more advanced and just all around much cooler feeling.
Fallout 4 Companion Dog
We’re not really sure what to call this guy, but we have seen him referred to Dogmeat, a name which those who played the original Fallout might recall. Either way, this canine companion will be by your side for much of Fallout 4. You can even craft him a dog house to compliment your personal shelter. We also saw him fetch items and bring them back to the player, as well as participate in the various combat situations throughout the demonstration. The best part is, he cannot die.
Pip-Boy and Companion App
Pip-Boy, which stands for Personal Information Processor, is a well-known mechanic from previous installments of the franchise that will make its return in Fallout 4. It allows players to look at their stats and make adjustments, almost like a post-war Apple watch. Kind of.
The Pip-Boy is going to be a big focus of Fallout 4, as the collector’s edition of the game even comes with a real version that you can place your smartphone in and operate using an app for iOS and Android. If you don’t get the collector’s edition, don’t worry, you can still use the app to make adjustments using Pip-Boy, just as you would in the game itself.
Fallout Shelter for iOS
With Fallout 4 being several months away, Bethesda Game Studios surprised fans with a standalone mobile game called Fallout Shelter. It was announced and released within about 30 minutes on Sunday, and gamers with either an iPhone or iPad can download it and start playing right now. There is no charge to play the game, although it does offer completely optional in-game purchases. We’ve spent several hours with it ourselves, and even put together some Fallout Shelter Tips if you feel like jumping in to the action yourself. It’s a pretty solid way to spend some time downtime.
For now, that’s all the Fallout 4 that we have for you, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on things and adding to this article as more information becomes available.