Update 6/15/2015: During Microsoft’s Xbox press conference, they announced a feature that’s basically never been seen on consoles before – mods. While the PC community has long supported the modding community with sharing tools, open platforms, and Steam Workshop, consoles have always been left out of the fun. With Fallout 4, players on the Xbox One will be able to download and install their choice of user-created mods from the PC version of the game.
Games like Call of Duty and the Batman: Arkham series have prepared us for updates and sequels that are built off the same mechanics as their predecessor, but Fallout 4 is something else altogether. This is no minor story update or large DLC, but rather Fallout 4 is a huge upgrade with dozens of new and revolutionary features.
It all starts with the beginning. While previous Fallout installments have started either in the vault, or after leaving it, the newest game in the series picks up in Boston just before the bombs start to drop. Whatever happens in the vault is a mystery, but 200 years later you’ll leave it alone, venturing out into the wastelands to find your fortune, or your demise. If the initial figures are right, that puts the protagonist of Fallout 4 leaving the vault at almost the exact same time as the protagonist in Fallout 3.
Just because it takes place in the same chronological timeline doesn’t mean the world looks the same. The scenery in Fallout 4 is distinctly more colorful, and it appears that in addition to the blue sky, the survivors in Boston have been hard at work rebuilding their city. While we don’t know anything about it, the vendors and buildings in main city in Fallout 4 makes Megaton look like Underworld.
Deep character customization doesn’t even come close to what Bethesda showed off at the E3 showcase. Picking a character will allow you to mold parts of the face, adjust hair and skin tone to a high level of detail, and of course choose either male or female for your protagonist. They don’t just look nice either, the entire conversation system has been redone so now it’s completely dynamic. Feel free to interrupt an NPC in the middle of their sentence by shouting, walking away, or shooting them. Beyond that, Bethesda has taken the time to record over one thousand common names so that NPCs will be able to converse with you naturally, without using silly nicknames.
If aimlessly wandering the nuclear wasteland isn’t your cup of tea, there’s now a complete settlement building system within Fallout 4. You can hook up power, build structures, and program electronics – and you’ll have to, since raiders will regularly attack your settlements – all using parts gained by scrapping common materials found around the world. That’s not the only use those random junk items have either: they’ll also let you customize your equipment.
That’s right, if you pull enough nails off of boards you find on houses, you can drive them through your baseball bat for extra damage, or even upgrade to spinning blades. Items in the game that you might’ve just sold for bottlecaps before are now valuable for what’s on the inside, whether that’s electric filaments or bits of rubber. You can also upgrade your power armor, if you decide your head could look a bit angrier, or your torso could provide more protection from radiation.
If you loved Dogmeat, you’ll love your new animal companion even more. The dog in Fallout 4 is much more friendly to you than 3’s junkyard dog, and can actually take commands. They’re all context-based too, so if you point at a tool, the dog will grab it for you, and if you point at an enemy, the dog will rip it to shreds.
Finally, the Pip Boy wrist computer is real, at least if you buy the Pip-Boy edition of Fallout 4. The special edition comes with a full-sized Pip-Boy computer that syncs to your game over Wi-Fi. Now you don’t have to pause and use your controller to change your armor or the radio station, you can just reach down and do it from your wrist. If you decide not to spring for the version with the included Pip-Boy, you can still use the app on your mobile phone or tablet as a second screen.
That’s a lot of information about Fallout 4 already, but the last tidbit was that Bethesda plans to release the game, presumably for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, on November 10th of this year.