Before being treated for third degree burns from the flaming I’m going to get, let me lay out my thoughts. First off, I love the Fallout franchise and have even gone as far as to explore the series roots in the older PC titles. The series has had some fantastic writing over the years, with deep moral questions that hit players hard. Couple that with a post-apocalyptic setting, great humor, and references to pop-culture, Fallout is a series that will stand the test of time as a classic.
However, I will say that through the years there has been a lack of a truly unique experience from title to title. Sure, the gameplay mechanics changed drastically when Bethesda released Fallout 3, but the art direction of the game has barely budged over years of titles. This is horribly apparent when comparing Fallout: New Vegas to Fallout 3.
Each environment feels empty, barren, as they’re supposed to feel, but they also lack the depth the series so desperately needs. There was a nuclear war, there’s a monologue about the history so far, and a vault is seen closing. Each game is fundamentally similar. In fact, many assets were reused in New Vegas, which makes the trailer for Fallout 4 unsettling for me.
When I found the countdown on Bethesda’s site, I immediately set an alarm for the reveal. That morning, I sprang up, downed a cup of coffee, ate some Cocoa Wheats, and waited patiently. When the trailer finally started to play, I immediately asked, “Wait, are they re-releasing Fallout 3?” Even as I said that to myself, the chat on Twitch reflected my thoughts. Thousands immediately feared the same. While I wouldn’t say no to playing Fallout 3 again (in fact, shortly after the trailer I bought the complete edition on Steam), I was worried that after all this time there wasn’t going to be a new game.
At the end of the trailer the large font announced that what I had just saw was in fact Fallout 4. Not only was I not impressed, I was kind of peeved that I had woken up early for it. Needless to say, I went back to bed.
Since my initial anger from the reveal, I’ve tried to dissect why I dislike the trailer. For starters, there was a lack of new assets. The entire trailer could probably be recreated with Fallout 3 assets. Even the way the characters move looked identical to the original, which is more upsetting considering that they’ve already been used twice!
Another problem I had was the direction of the trailer. Instead of showcasing what gamers could expect for the new game, the trailer looked like a glorified Machinima project. Camera pans were jerky, animations lacked polish, and characters looked lifeless. The only saving grace for the trailer was the expanded color palette, which does bring some new layers to the Fallout formula.
Finally, the way the trailer was hyped didn’t match what was actually shown. The countdown promised something new, profound. Yet, many fans were left confused. I worry that this trailer may be what it is due to the leaking of information on the game. It feels like a rushed job in response to the leaks.
While I was disappointed by this trailer, I do have hope for the game’s full release. Bethesda is having their own press event for E3 on June 14, 10 p.m. EST, which is great considering how much information is lacking for Fallout 4.
I will say that I would ignore my major complaints so far, as long as there is a plethora of game content on the way. Rumors have said that Massachusetts will be one of the largest maps seen in Fallout history. I’m hoping for more depth to each area, instead of more steps to take alone. There also has to be some new creations. Fallout has plenty of room to expand and evolve, Bethesda just needs to take some risks.
Even though I’ve got a terrible taste in my mouth from the trailer, I can’t wait to see what Bethesda has in store for their press event. Here’s hoping the wasteland will be a bit more interesting this time around. Till then, I’ll be exploring the modding community. Maybe they have something new.