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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!