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As this year’s E3 is steadily approaching, and as Bethesda are preparing for their first ever E3 press conference, RPG fans around the world are holding their breaths. The official announcement of the next Fallout game seems inevitable, and in this article, I’ll be giving you my point of view, telling you what I want from Fallout 4.

A World That Feels Real And Alive

One of the things that haunted Bethesda’s Fallout 3, and Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas, was the fact that the worlds that they created often felt somewhat static and unreal. Having a large landmass is all well an fine, but it needs to be inhabited by believable characters in believable quarters. The first part, believable characters, was something Obsidian handled much better than Bethesda did in Fallout 3, and I would hope that Bethesda is taking cues from Obsidian in this regard. Something that Bethesda is exceptional at, however, is building incredibly interesting and detailed worlds that keep fans coming back for years after release. It is now 2015, and TES V: Skyrim, a strictly singleplayer game, is still in the top 10 most played games on Steam and has been so continually since its release in November 2011.

If Bethesda can successfully fuse the great characters and the better writing from Fallout: New Vegas with the detailed worlds of Skyrim and Fallout 3, we’d be walking through a much more believable, and hopefully lively world.

With the new console generation, Bethesda should be able to populate its world, perhaps finally making cities that actually feel like cities. For a game studio that is often praised for the scope of its games, Fallout 3 is quite disappointing when you look at the cities and all the locations in between. The world might be post-apocalyptic, but it doesn’t have to be dead. Modders have been fixing some of these complaints, but Bethesda should honestly be able to handle this on their own.

Fallout New Vegas Strip Vanilla

Hello??? Where is everybody?

Revamped Combat System

One of the more disappointing things about the Fallout series has to be the combat. Guns don’t pack the punch that you’d expect, melee weapons don’t really feel like they connect properly, and there is just not enough weight to the combat as a whole. When I fire a revolver with magnum cartridges, I expect it to pack a punch, but it feels dull.

For a game where you spend quite a bit of time shooting at radiated creatures and bandits (depending on your style of play), the gunplay is surprisingly weak, and Bethesda needs to look at some of the recent shooters that do a great job of gunplay, such as Machine Games’ Wolfenstein: The New Order. Bethesda published this game themselves and should take a hard look at other FPS games and make Fallout 4‘s combat a whole lot better than its predecessors’.

Melee combat is something we should expect to be improved upon. Skyrim had solid melee mechanics, and that foundation should carry over to the next Fallout game. Throwable weapons need an overhaul as well, especially grenades, as the system behind throwable items in Fallout 3 and NV was awful at best. For games that get as much development times as Bethesda’s, these systems really should be of higher quality than what we have seen in the past.

Deeper Character Creation

Fallout 3/NV‘s character creation was, frankly, disappointing. The menus were unbelievably clunky and unintuitive, the options were limited, and the presentation was dull. Skyrim mended most of these complaints, and I would be surprised if Fallout 4 didn’t feature a system very close to that of Skyrim‘s.

As an enthusiastic roleplayer, I would personally love some options for roleplaying right out of the gate. Things like history of a character’s past life and his/her allegiance to the various factions, instead of starting from the usual blank slate. Whether it is another vault dweller, a criminal with a mysterious past or a courier getting shot in the head, losing his memory, it is all very sterile and safe. Starting the game with various penalties or advantages towards certain groups would make for more interesting character customization and roleplaying experiences.

This brings us to a closely related point:

Fix Those Goddamn Faces!

Fallout 3 face

It is no secret that the faces of the characters in Bethesda games usually look a bit dated right out of the gate. Whether this has been down to the hardware limitations of the last generation of consoles (this is no excuse for the poor faces and animations of the PC versions!) or if it is the long development time and older engines, this is an area I’d expect vast improvements in.

I don’t personally think the worlds of Bethesda games are large or populated enough to warrant the dead-looking textured faces of the characters that we saw in Skyrim, not to even mention Oblivion or Fallout 3. Once again, modders have come to the rescue, but Bethesda’s art department needs to up their game and make a game that looks better. Modders have been able to make prettier faces and better textures for the world without even effecting the performance, so this needs to receive some attention.

It’s hard to feel immersed when stiff faces and dead eyes stare you down everywhere you go.

Custom Menus And UI For PC

We all know this won’t happen, but a man can dream! Bethesda is infamous for releasing their games on PC with the clunky, mouse/keyboard hating UIs and menus that they make for the console versions. It never takes long for the amazing modding scene to come up with the things that PC gamers deserve, and I’m quite sure that Bethesda knows this all too well. That is no reason to be lazy though, and the game should ship with a custom UI and better menus, fit for the PC crowd that keep their games relevant for years after the initial release.

Skyui logo

We all know this is the only real option when playing Skyrim on PC

This smoothly brings us on to the next topic.

Mod Collections For Consoles? 

I’ve long been wondering why Bethesda has not taken advantage of the extraordinary modding scene on PC, making deals with modders to port their mods to consoles as DLC collections. Modding for consoles is a pain in the ass; however, if Bethesda took some initiative and had modders submit their mods to a specific program where gamers could vote for mods to bring to the console versions of the game as DLC, perhaps for a small fee to support the modders.

Obviously, this would require some extra work from the modders, or perhaps Bethesda could have a small team to port the mods, however I think this would be worth the effort to extend the life of Fallout 4 on the consoles and support the modding scene.

Remove The Obviousness of the Karma System, or Make it Toggleable 

This is something that thoroughly annoyed me in New Vegas. I don’t want to know when the game thinks I’m being naughty or nice. I want the lines to be blurry, and I want the karma system to run in the background. It should still be a factor, but the obviousness of it, and the almost childish “oops, you are being a naughty naughty boy now!” pop-ups are immersion breaking and they spoil part of the fun for me.

I realize that some would want to keep this, so please Bethsoft… Make it toggleable wont you? I’ll be playing it on console (This writer’s PC is quite rubbish), and I want that feature to leave me alone, and I’m sure others would too. Shouldn’t be so hard. Modders fixed this for New Vegas within a few weeks.

Fallout 3 Karma Megaton

Wait.. This was an evil choice?? :O

The Bottom Line

I might be a bit hard on Bethesda in some parts of this article, but it is only because I hold Bethesda games very dearly, and I want them to be more than stellar experiences that will keep me coming back for years after the games come out. I have over 500 hours in Vanilla Skyrim, 300 hours in Vanilla Oblivion, 100 hours in vanilla Fallout 3 and over 700 hours in New Vegas on PC with mods.

I love these games very much, even though they are far from perfect. Mods go a long long way, but we must hold Bethesda to a certain standard on consoles as well. We should expect consistency, quality, and all of their usual creative goodness. I just cannot wait for Fallout 4, and I’ll be keeping my eyes glued to the screen when Bethesda starts their E3 conference this year.

I’m still convinced that we will see the release of Fallout 4 this year, but we will see what Bethesda has planned for us all. War might never change, but I do hope Bethesda shakes up the recipe a bit, for the next installment of the franchise.

Vault boy thumbs up

What did you think about this feature? Would you like to see me do more POVs?  What do you hope to see in Fallout 4. Do you think it will be coming out this year? Let us know in the comments below!

More About This Game

Marc Henriksen

I played my first video game when I was 4 years old and I haven't looked back since. If you can't find me playing videogames, writing, or playing music, I'm probably dead.

  • BoB

    Engine, Engine, Engine. The biggest thing holding Bethesda back has been Gamebryo. Skyrim was “Creation Engine” or whatever, which helped improved things a lot, but it’s still pretty obvious that it’s got some things held over from Gamebryo.
    I recall some statement that Todd Howard originally said to effect of, just because ZeniMax bought id doesn’t meant that they’re going to completely change engines. And I’m pretty sure someone at ZeniMax took him aside and said, ‘Protip – yes it does.’ cuz it’s been 4 years since Bethesda Game Studios has released anything.
    My guess is that they’ve completely changed to an engine that was created by id. If that’s the case – that fixes a lot of these problems I think.

  • Yup, nothing more to add really. Fans have been discussing this for years and go over the same points, but it’s definitely worth bringing up again now that it’s so close. It must be, right? They wouldn’t host their first ever E3 conference only to say ‘and now what you’ve all been waiting for, IHRA Drag Racing 2015!’

  • Zanard Bell

    Making the overworld feel ‘alive’ runs antithesis to what I believe is a true wasteland experience. I’d rather the game contained bits and pieces of what the world was before (if you’ve ever run across the files of Randall Clark or Nancy Croydon), which tells the story of Fallout. Sure, New Vegas can be the exception, or possibly NCR, but outposts like Megaton or Republic of Dave should at least be 10-15 people only.

  • Squirly

    Holy shit preach it brother! I can’t stand it anymore. Gothic 3 had a truly open world years ago. One loading screen at the start, and then it’s open fields, through villages, into houses, down to the caves, out the other side, to the ocean… all without a single loading screen. Why can’t we have that in one of the biggest open world RPGs? I just want that, screw all the textures and particle effects and bump mapping and god knows what. Let me shoot the soldier that’s standing inside the house, through the window, instead of showing me an opaque window.

  • Boatly

    Honestly, just a Fallout game in a new engine would be enough to get me excited. It’s easy to rag on some of the design decisions of Fallout 3, but I was thoroughly impressed with it on release (bugs aside).

    What I’d really like in Fallout 4 is a dynamic reputation system. If I’ve killed hundreds of fellow wastelanders, then I want people to recognize that I’m dangerous. Most of all, I want NPCs to be able to surrender. I hated it in Skyrim when they’d yell “I YIELD,” only to then get up and start hacking at me again. If they’d at least run away, that’d be cool.

  • A group of bandits that are unwilling to fight to death after ambushing a guy in power armour (what were they thinking?!) might be interesting, but… what do you do with them afterwards? Take them to town to face justice? Hunt them for sport in the woods like Ramsay Bolton? Give them all combs and reform the Tunnel Snakes?

  • Boatly

    This could actually make for some very interesting game mechanics. Imagine if you could establish your own settlement. Every time someone surrenders, you have the option to kill them, leave them alone, incarcerate them in your settlement, or have them join your settlement.

    Without the whole settlement thing, I’d just like the option of not having to kill them. It always seemed weird to me when playing a “good” character that I had no option but to kill every enemy I met. Actually, this makes me think of inFamous on the PS3. Instead of killing enemies, you could bind them. Something like that would be great.

    p.s. You could totally name your settlement/gang Tunnel Snakes. Make combs and leather jackets mandatory. 🙂

  • Gamebryo supports all of the things you just mentioned, Bethesda just left it to the community to implement them. They can call the engine whatever they want, and I kind of welcome their openness to community mods, even if it means some things are janky…though they should get better at fixing the janky stuff and reducing it as much as they can.

    Didn’t New Vegas have the kind of reputation system you’re talking about? Or at least the beginnings of one…

    My guess, in the end, is that they’ll eventually switch over to id’s technology once they implement the kind of tools that are available in Gamebryo. There’s a reason they bought id, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t the game IPs.

  • Boatly

    I absolutely agree about the openness to modding. It’s awesome when AAA devs and publishers allow community content – and it’s no small part of Bethesdas’ success, Skyrim particularly.

    New Vegas did have a bit of a reputation system. I think most, if not all of Bethesda’s games have to some extent. It just feels like it’s nothing more than a numerical value and nothing more in most cases.

    I really, really, hope that we see some awesome engine improvements with id being accessible. They’ve got most of the visuals down. Oblivion and Skyrim were both gorgeous when they released (vanilla Skyrim still looks pretty good). Now it’s up to fixing that “janky” stuff you mentioned. 🙂

  • Mark Andrew Edwards

    Hard. Core. Pornography. In game, I’ll accept nothing less at this point.

  • CB

    I’m probably in the minority here, but I don’t care for VATS. Fallout 3 wasn’t an isometric turn based game like 1 and 2, and it shouldn’t play like that. In an FPS, I want a bullet to hit because I aimed well, not because some dice were rolled.

  • Zac

    Nice write-up.

    I’m also kind of cautiously optimistic about Fallout 4.

    The success of Skyrim makes me think Fallout 4 could be dumbed-down, a lot.

    So many features were stripped down or removed in Skyrim, I think Bethesda are trying to streamline RPGs and water them down for maximum accessibility.

    I really hope Fallout 4 doesn’t end up like this but I think there’s a good chance it will be even less in-depth than 3.

  • FogHorn

    How about “don’t fucking make versions for the 360/ps3” i don’t even want console versions because it hobbles the game, and xbone/ps4 are really not that much advanced hardware.

  • Marc Henriksen

    I don’t think we need to worry about this at all. The shift has definitely started with plenty of last-gen versions getting cancelled (recent example could be Dying Light). Once we get to the release of FO4 (I’m still predicting end of the year), It’ll be PS4, XBO, PC only.

  • Marc Henriksen

    Don’t use it then? 😀 Nobody forced you to use VATS. There is a mod like Project Nevada (essential mod imo) for New Vegas which uses the action points for sprinting instead.

  • Marc Henriksen

    There are mods for this ;p Of course there are xD I doubt you’ll see anything like this from bethesda hah but there are sites like loverslab, a community filled with modders focused on the adult-rated side of Bethesda games.

  • Marc Henriksen

    There is a difference to having a lively, believable world, and having a world filled to the brim with people. Especially FO3 feels hollow. Maybe it’s just my own preference but i vastly preferred the old FO games in terms of the way the world was built (when it comes to liveliness)

  • Marc Henriksen

    I think they’ll stick to the S.P.E.C.I.A.L system. It’s a pillar in the FO system, and fans would go bananas if they take something like that out and replace it with the dynamic leveling of Skyrim. I do fear it’ll cater more to a wider audience, but I also think Bethesda isn’t going to go completely away from what makes fallout fallout… And even if they did, we’d see mods change it back, im sure 😀

  • CB

    haha well yeah, I know you didn’t HAVE to use VATS, but the system still underlines all of the action in the game. All of the combat was a roll of the dice, and VATS was actually the best way to succeed, even if you had somebody perfectly lined up in your sights. In an FPS style game I prefer action that rewards my decisions, and not my stats.

    That being said, I still loved Fallout 3. I just prefer my post-apocalypse gunfights to be a little more like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

  • Ryder

    Fallout 4 should focus a bit more on the survivalist aspect of life in a post-apocaliptic world. Constructing and improving a safehouse/settlement with scavenged or purchased raw materials and tech, upgrading your quip & gear, improving food & medicine recipes,… To add more replay value, I’d like to start off with selecting one of three possible male/female main characters/storylines;

    In 2065, a convicted man (or woman) was offered the chance to participate in a long term cryo-stasis research project instead of facing the death sentence after being centenced trough military tribunal. He wakes up all alone in a deserted underground bunker complex’ med. lab, under the impression that he served his time, awaiting release.

    The second option would be a ghoul character. Retuning from a solo scavenge trip, he discovers he’s the only survivor from a raid on his secluded community. Its time to find out what exactly happened, who’s responsible…

    A slave seizes the opportunity to neutralize his handler, and escape from the trade caravan. Free for the first time in his life, he needs to survive and thrive in a new environment.

    The ghoul character might run into a few bigotry issues now and then, but he has a charismatic personality and lots of scientific knowledge along with certain environmental resistances. His biggest concern (apart from dying…) is not going feral. The convict is a highly trained ex-Ranger. Weapon & explosives (modification) skills are obvious. Strength and stamina are well above average too. Being unaware of the past events over 200 years ago, the horrible truth slowly reveils itself to him.
    The former slave knows a bit about wasteland survival, mechanics and picking locks. His former master quickly recognised his talents, allowing him to work in his store. After the sudden death of his master, he was sold to a passing slaver trade caravan.

    Can’t wait!

  • Robert Mariani

    Remember the much vaunted Radiance engine and “realistic economies” of Oblivion and Skyrim, respectively? I want that.

  • karmashock

    THE ONLY thing I need is for bethesdia to kill the dynamic leveling system that makes all my gear crappy.

    In bethesdia games, every time you level up, all the monsters in the world get stronger but your gear doesn’t. Which means if you level up to the top level your gear is garbage. I remember in Oblivion, I was actually cheating to get more powerful gear… and my gear was so crappy because I’d leveled up a lot that it was taking me MINUTES to kill mobs sometimes.

    In fallout 3 and Fallout NV, if you level up…you can shoot someone in the face with an anti materiel rifle and it will take off perhaps 10 percent of their health.

    Understand, this is a rifle designed to send a lead slug through an engine block. If I hit you in the face with that… your face should splatter like a watermelon getting hit with a comically large sledge hammer.

    But in bethesdia games, what happens when you level up… is that everything gets tougher but your gear gets comparitively crappier and the gear quality is capped. It doesn’t improve or change. It is what it is. So leveling up at a certain point starts making the game harder. In bethesdia games, what you need to do is beat the whole game ignoring most of the side quests at as low a level as possible because at low level the gear helps a lot. But if you do too many side quests… And I am a completionist so I like doing side quests… If I do them, then the game becomes annoying difficult because the gear doesn’t scale with the leveling system.

    Here is how it should work:

    1. Enemies should have FIXED stats just like the weapons and armor and not gain HP or resistances simply because I leveled up.

    2. It is OKAY if I am over leveled for some areas. One of the fun things about doing side quests is that when you finally get around to the main quest you are a lot stronger. So you just blow through it without much threat… and then you go back doing side quests until you are again strong enough to blow through the next story quest. There is nothing wrong with that.

    3. Bullet spongy enemies ruin immersion especially in fallout. In fallout, you are using some very high powered weapons especially at the end of the game. Plasma rifles. Laser miniguns. Tactical nuclear weapons. If I hit you with a tactical nuclear weapon and it only takes away 20 percent of your HP… I’m calling bullshit. Unless you climbed into Indy’s magical fridge… how exactly is anyone going to survive a direct hit with a nuke? But in fallout 3/NV that happens all the time. The only people I want to see survive some serious pain are guys in power armor. And even then, if I hit you in the face with a bullet that is about six inches long when fed into the bolt action hand cannon that is the anti materiel rifle… I want you to go down.

    4. I want better rewards for super specializing in given stats. Take perception. Often you can only shoot someone in the “face” but you can’t shoot them in the “eyes”. If I have 20 perception then I should be able to nail someone in the eye ball. Hell, I should be able to pick whether I want to hit the left or the right one if I put enough points into perception. Human snipers can do that now… to say nothing of cybernetically augmented humans using super science.

    5. I want better animations, sound effects, and battle chatter depending on where I shoot people. If I shoot you in the leg… I want you to SLOW DOWN. In fallout 3, unless you literally blow their leg off they move at what seems like full speed. And blowing their leg off instantly kills them despite there being no vital organs in the leg that I know of… The animations etc should include crotch shots, head shots, neck shots, arm shots chest shots, etc. If I shoot you in the throat… I want to hear gurgling. If I shoot you in the crotch, I want you to make a high pitched screech, then grab your neither regions, and drop into a pile of agony. Etc. As it is, it doesn’t matter where I shoot a mob. All it seems to do is lower their HP. If I shoot something successfully in the eyes and it doesn’t just kill it outright… the least I should get is to blind the creature. Which means it can’t see me… because it is blind. Maybe it runs around in circles and will respond if you engage it in melee combat. But if you’re keeping your distance and it is blind… then it needs to not just run right to where ever your are as if it can “see”. Also my victim screaming “my eyes” would be a nice touch.

    6. This goes both ways. Getting a limb crippled needs to matter. If I get shot in the eyes, that should either end me right there or be a very serious injury. Not something I can just sleep off.

    The above was my primary beef with those games.

    Beyond that, it would be nice if the companion system were better. In fallout 2, I could have four or five companions. And you needed them if for no other reason then to carry all your crap. I had one fat guy in my party that was totally useless… but he carried things so… he was vital. When I was going into a deep vault and had to haul out all the loot, who was going to help me carry it all? Which is where that fat bastard came in handy.

    Oh, and vehicles would be nice. That highwayman from Fallout 2 would be nice. Obviously give me the ability to maintain it… it will suck if bandits blow it up every couple miles.