Fallout 4 is REAL.
I just want to let that sink in for a while.
Fallout 4 is REAL.
If you haven't been following the long wait for Fallout 4 - let me just tell you - there have been a LOT of rumors and false leads and faked leaks and tons of times that Fallout fans have been mislead into getting their hopes up, and then... nothing.
But now, Fallout 4 has been confirmed. You can preorder it today.
No release date has been announced - not even a vague hint as wide open as a year. But it is obviously coming.
Let's get into the video a bit. There is a lot to digest.
First, the most obvious change is the look at pre-war life. Previous titles in the series have shown us television footage from before the war, and even a couple of Virtual Reality trips into the simulated past -- but this is the first time they have shown actual pre-war life as a part of the game. Now, it could have been just for this video --- it could be just an intro cut scene, or some sort of visualized flashback, I'm not sure. But it really did look like something in game engine (and I'll talk more about the engine shortly) and something that they put a lot of effort into - so I doubt they will waste it just on a teaser trailer.
There are several theories as to how the player could interact with pre-war life. Some think it may be a tutorial level - the very beginning of the game. Having to perform some menial tasks, getting used to the controls, until you hear the broadcast from the trailer, and then you have a short amount of time to get yourself - and maybe your family - to the Vault - Vault 111, to be precise. That could be cool, and that is something I've heard fans ask for in the past.
Coupled with that theory is that you - the player - will actually be a descendant of the family you play in the beginning. Some have even suggested that you will be the same person - and that this particular vault's "test" will involve cryogenics, so you will not have aged the decades, or even centuries between the war and the post-war world the bulk of the game is set in.
Others have suggested that this game will be set much *earlier* in the timeline than the other Fallouts. In the fictional alternative history of the Fallout universe, the "Great War" (the bombs from the trailer were the beginning, middle, and end of the Great War, which took only 2 hours) takes place in the year 2077, (October 23, 2077 to be more precise). The first Fallout game was set 84 years later, in 2161. The next game to take place was Fallout Tactics in 2197, then Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel in 2208, then Fallout 2 in 2241... And then we get to the last two games, the ones most people know about - Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. The main quest of Fallout 3 takes place in the year 2277 -- 200 years after the bombs fell, (the prolog, which includes the player's birth, starts in 2258). Fallout New Vegas starts in 2281.
That's the order the games take place in the fiction of the lore -- that is not the order they were released. So it is possible that Fallout 4 could take place at any time after the Great War - perhaps even before the events of the first Fallout - but I personally doubt it. More on that in the next section.
Where I believe the Pre-War game play (if there is any) will come in is hinted at in one shot of the trailer. The rainy shot of what people are calling the "Mysterious Stranger" in Scollay Square. The name of the place under the Scollay Square sign is "Memory Den". I believe this will be the place - or one of the places - offering virtual trips back in time to before the war. Either through stored memories -- perhaps from Ghouls (who can live hundreds of years --- many of which actually being pre-war humans turned into Ghouls by the bombs), or perhaps from your own past, if the character did undergo some sort of suspended animation. Or there could be some other explanation of where the memories come from. But I think this is how we will get to play pre-war scenes in Fallout 4.
The Preservation of Boston
The reason that people believe it is set earlier in the timeline is because of how "well preserved" everything appears. And, yes, compared to other places we've seen in the Fallout universe - especially in the last 2 games - Boston does appear in much better shape. But not, in my opinion, because of the lack of passage of time. But because they were not hit as hard as the Capital Wasteland or West Coast were. The Capital was hit hard because - well - it was the capital of the United States. If you want to take out another country, you need to attack its capital. The West Coast would have been hit harder because it was closer to China - which was America's enemy in the fictional Great War. Boston is pretty far from China, and isn't much of a strategic target. So it would not have been hit as hard as the locations from the last two games.
Another reason it is in better shape is because it has been rebuilt. One of the things that has always bothered me about the franchise is that the bombs dropped decades or even centuries ago, and yet most of the places look like they haven't been touched since that day. Granted - some of the places wouldn't have been touched - but even the living quarters of most of the non-vaultdwellers look like they haven't been cleaned since the war knocked everything over. Fallout 4 shows what could happen if people, you know, actually remembered what a broom was for. (There sure are enough brooms in the Fallout series that *someone* should be cleaning with them!) This is a *living* city - not the ruins of a dead one. There is life here, and that life wants to put the war behind them and get on with life.
You know - like we do in the real world. Have you been to a living city where war or terrorism or a natural disaster destroyed part or all of it? Did that even take place more than 10 years ago? Does it look like Fallout 3 - or does it look like life goes on?
Personal side note - I went to Ground Zero in New York City less than a year after 9/11 - and, yes, there was still damage. But people were working to repair and rebuild. Now, the new World Trade Center is standing tall in that place. Because humanity moves forward, rebuilds, and life goes on.
The same could be said of New Orleans or the Pentagon, or -- more directly related to the Fallout series - Hiroshima, Japan. That city is alive and well today. And it hasn't been 200 years, or even 100.
Boston in Fallout 4 represents a rebuilt city. And part of the reason for that - I believe - is the Institute. The Institute has been referred to many times in the Fallout series. It is a place, on the East Coast, of advanced Technology. The belief among many (and I'm not sure if this was ever fully confirmed in the Lore or not) is that it is MIT - the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And I further believe it is the very tall building seen in many of the shots of the trailer. The Institute would give Boston a lot more tools to work with to rebuild - and it would give people a reason to move to Boston, and therefore more people to rebuild.
Another theory for the preservation of the city is somewhat opposite to an earlier theory. Instead of being closer to the Great War - and being earlier in the timeline -- it could actually be much *later* in the timeline, and further from the bombs. Thus giving the people more time and technology to rebuild. Especially if it does take place after the events of Fallout 3 - and (SPOILER ALERT) - the successful restoration of clean water through Project Purity. That would account for the much larger amounts of plant life seen in even the post-war scenes of the trailer.
There is a lot more I could say about this trailer. Things that were seen, or at least suggested by the trailer include: Vertibirds, a Zeppelin, Power Armor, Boston Deathclaws, Super Mutants, fast and aggressive feral Ghouls, Brotherhood of Steel, Enclave, customizable weapons and Power Armor, a new graphics engine (the lighting and weather systems at the very least), a much more densely packed city, and yet another dog.... I will hopefully post another entry on this soon. It's just too much to fit into one article. (I'll never actually post this if I keep writing!)
But one thing I do want to ask you about before I go - at the end of the trailer - what appears to be the player character appears, wearing an iconic vault jumpsuit (Vault 111), a PipBoy (with much more logical button placement!), and carrying a cool looking gun. He pats the dog on the head and says (vocally) "Let's go, Pal!"
This suggests the player character will be voiced. What do you think about this? Do you like the idea of the game having a definite story about a definite pre-made character that you just control? Or do you prefer the silent protagonist of all the previous Fallout titles?
Share your thoughts on this - and on all things Fallout - in the comments below.
Thanks for stopping by!