The post-apocalyptic future doesn’t have room for your enormous phablets. Bethesda announced more details about The Pip-Boy Edition of Fallout 4, revealed recently along side the game at E3, including details about what models of smartphones will be compatible.
The wrist-mounted replica of the Fallout series’ iconic accessory will include foam inserts that specifically accommodate iPhone 4/4S, 5/5S and 6; and the Samsung Galaxy 4 and 5. There will also be a customizable insert that “should be able to fit most other popular smartphone devices.” That does not extend, however, to larger devices in the so-called “phablet” category of enormous phone/tablet hybrids like the iPhone 6 Plus or Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The developer’s reasoning is that it “wanted to stay faithful to the dimensions of the in-game model.”
Players with bigger phones or tablets will still be able to use the Pip-Boy app, of course. They will just have to jury-rig something if they want the full, wrist-mounted experience. Fans have been making their own functional Pip-Boys for years, so industrious players have plenty of precedent to draw upon if they want to build their own hardware, made much easier now that there will be an officially-supported app to cover the software.
The RobCo Pip-Boy has been a standard part of every Fallout game since the series began in 1997. The consistent branding of in-game companies like RobCo, Vault-Tec, and Nuka-Cola is a big part of the Fallout series’ most enduring charms. Anticipating the rise of smartphones and now smartwatches, the Pip-Boy is a wrist-mounted computer that allows the player to manage their stats and inventory, track quests, and see where they are on the map (although how this functions, assuming that GPS satellites have been disabled or destroyed in the nuclear firestorm, is beyond me). These are all standard UI functions for a role-playing game, but the genius of Fallout, especially once it transitioned to a first-person perspective in Fallout 3, is to make them all diegetic within the game’s fiction. Fallout 4 breaking that out into a fully supported, second-screen experience is the next logical step now that real world technology has caught up with the game’s ’50s-tinged science fiction.
Fallout 4 comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 10, 2015. The Pip-Boy Edition is currently sold out in North American retailers, but more may become available in the intervening months as Bethesda struggles to meet demand.