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Platform: Xbox One
Reviewed on PC

Fallout 4 Preview - E3 2015

We visit the post-apocalyptic Boston with the help of the development team

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Fallout rarely needs an introduction, but Bethesda decided to give it one at E3 this year where the fourth game was officially announced during the publisher's press conference. Perhaps one of the most anticipated games of the last few years, Fallout 4's preview and close release date were the talk of E3.

Fallout 4

To find out what awaits prospective wasteland explorers in post-apocalyptic Boston, I checked out a live lounge session with Todd Howard (Game Director), Emil Pagliarulo (Lead Designer), Istvan Pely (Lead Artist), and Jeff Gardiner (Lead Producer). And, as a special treat, Fallout 4's voice actors for male and female wanderer, as well as the game's voice director also took to the stage.

There will be lots of things to discover in Fallout 4, with Todd and the others praising the level of trust that they have with each of their teams. While the Bethesda team could have expanded the department and released the game quicker, they chose to keep their family small. Jeff congratulated the dedication to tiny details, like getting characters' eye movements just right so it doesn't look like you're chatting with a mannequin with a thousand-yard stare.

The world is the most important character in Fallout 4, ranging from those creepy moments in abandoned buildings to the more B-movie-esque wacky characters and scenarios. The post-apocalyptic game will showcase humanity's ability to adapt and continue their lives after the bombs dropped.

Perhaps what is most striking about this Fallout is the color pallet, a recurring trend with a lot of newer open-world games on current-gen platforms. Fallout 3 could be distinguished by its green, radioactive tinge, while Fallout 4 shows a lot of vibrancy even in a desolate world. There's a lot more of lushness and vibrancy awaiting players of the wasteland like never before.

The Boston setting was another element close to the team's heart, none more so than Emil, a Boston native. To Todd, Boston had the right blend of American history and technology, which goes hand-in-hand in the Fallout series. Originally, Todd and Istvan had discussed the possibility of Boston, which, of course, Emil was on board with. However, there were certain challenges, such as what visually makes Boston stand out compared to iconic locations like Washington DC or Nevada. Fenway Park, red brick roads, as well as the blend of older and newer architecture makes Boston what it is. You can even find the remnants of Emil's house out on your travels.

Nuance and depth were other important factors. As shown at Bethesda's presentation, the team talked about how every switch and decal decorating machines and devices all have distinct designs in an effort to display the diversity of the world.

Fallout 4

Perhaps most intriguing new feature revealed so far is the settlement building. This works like a standard settlement building game - place buildings, etc - combined with a fortress defense game. There are a number of locations around post-apocalyptic Boston that vault survivors can make their home/fortress. You simply roam the environment, scavenging materials from wasteland detritus, then utilize them to create walls, beds, doors, generators, turrets, plants - pretty much anything you'd like your place to have. Taking inspiration from games like Minecraft and Terraria, switches, lights, and generators work simply - just connect the wires and control it all from a terminal.

As you build and expand your slice of desolate land, settlers will flock to your location, tending to radioactive weeds and setting up stalls. However, you take the good with the bad, and Raiders will attempt to destroy your settlement. Luckily, you can set up defenses to ward off would-be attackers. Set flaming traps, mines, turrets - anything your devious mind can think of.

Another unique feature of Fallout 4 is the ability to share mods between Xbox One and PC with Windows 10. However, what will be most interesting is what players will be getting up to with their creations, and Bethesda has been working hard to work out the kinks that players always unearth. We'll see some really innovative, strange and scary settlements in the future.

Fallout Shelter came as a surprise to a lot of people, and Todd expressed his shock that the announcement didn't leak, say, on a LinkedIn profile. The team said that the fans have had great reactions to it so far, and it was their mission to create a mobile game that had a lot of depth and characters you would become attached to.

This wasn't the first mobile game the team had thought up. Originally, their ideas were all cut-down versions of their flagship titles, which they believed were simply poorer versions of their products. Fallout Shelter was the game they designed to change that. If you go back and look at the Fallout 3 trailer featuring the family, you can even glimpse one of their mobile efforts on the TV screen.

Another important change to Fallout 4 is voiced protagonists. The team acknowledged that having silent protagonist sacrificed a lot of the story they desired. They wanted to tell an epic tale infused with emotional moments that just couldn't be done without a voiced protagonist, and they admit that it makes sense. In total, both male and female protagonist voice actors recorded over 13,000 lines of dialogue each.

Fallout 4

Welcomed onto the stage were Brain T. Delaney (male vault dweller), Courtenay Taylor (female vault dweller), and Kal El Bogdanove (Voice Director). Finding and recording dialogue started right near the beginning of Fallout 4, almost four years ago. Kal praised the amount of time and care that went into the game's writing and recording. He said that in many other AAA games, the recording would wait until the last couple of weeks before the game's completion. He also let slip that there will be eight endings over the two characters.

Fans can bust out of Vault 111 on November 10th, 2015, across PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Fallout 4
Fallout 4 box art Platform:
Xbox One
Our Review of Fallout 4
Reviewed on PC
Game Ranking
Fallout 4 (PC) is ranked #488 out of 1983 total reviewed games. It is ranked #31 out of 111 games reviewed in 2015.
488. Fallout 4
489. Horizon Zero Dawn
PlayStation 4
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