Due partly to the recent astronomical (and well deserved) success of The Witcher 3, the RPG spotlight has temporarily moved away from a game many people have spent the last 5 years waiting impatiently for: Fallout 4.
One of the few criticisms aimed at Fallout: New Vegas was that it was just a bit too similar to the previous entry in the series. Fallout 3 had been released two years earlier, and while New Vegas is still regarded as an RPG classic, there were those who felt disappointed it wasn’t the massive improvement they’d been expecting.
The last half-decade has seen video games advance technically at an incredible speed. Expect that when Fallout 4 does arrive, it will be a visual and gaming marvel. Much like The Witcher 3, this will be the series’ first outing away from the last generation of consoles, and odds are it will push the PS4 and XBox One’s graphical abilities to the limit; as for the game’s spiritual home of the PC? My money’s on it becoming the next benchmark testing game - and yet another reason to upgrade to a monster graphics card.
So what do we know for certain about this next entry in the post-apocalyptic series? Not a great deal, unfortunately. It’s not even been officially announced yet - although it looks like that may soon change. There is, however, plenty of speculation when it comes to the game. Gathering together what we know and what is claimed, here are the nine most exciting facts and rumors about Fallout 4.
Remember this date: June 14, 2015. At 6:30 p.m. on this day, Bethesda will be hosting their first ever E3 press conference. The game developers announced this showcase event earlier in the year, and some reports have indicated that a trailer of a role-playing video game will be shown.
It seems Bethesda are purposely keeping people in the dark on whether Fallout 4 will be announced at the event. The new Doom game will be there, and Battlecry looks likely, but by keeping quiet about Fallout are the company attempting to make everyone believe it won’t make an appearance, only for it to be given a grand reveal on the day - much to everyone’s surprise and delight? Here’s hoping.
While this is only a rumor, there have been quite a few suggestions that it may be the case. Pete Hines, Bethesda’s vice president for PR, has talked about the company taking advantage of whatever new developments of technology that the creation engine will have for Skyrim.
Something else which may suggest the use of this engine is the recent discovery of assets from Fallout 3 being found in the archives of Skyrim. Data miners flipping through the game’s archives were able to locate a few very specific ‘fallout’ files - including a rendered model of the baseball bat from Fallout 3. The theory goes that these assets may be placeholder entries that Bethesda was planning to go back to at a later date.
It’s questionable whether the company really would use a (albeit improved and updated) five year old game engine. Although with all the graphical improvement mods added to it, Skyrim is still one of the most stunning games on the PC today.
In the modern age of video games, there’s often a movie’s worth of voice actors attached to a title, and most with their own Twitter accounts. When it comes a series like Fallout, characters often record their lines at the start of a game’s development cycle, meaning they’re able to leak information long before anything official is announced.
Way back in January 2013, Erik Todd Dellums, the voice of radio DJ Three-Dog from Fallout 3, tweeted the following statement: “To all my #Fallout3 and #ThreeDog fans: There may be more of the Dog coming! Fingers crossed!” The statement may be slightly ambiguous, but we all know what he seems to be hinting at. Dellums later stated: "I let [Bethesda] know that fans were clamoring, trying to figure out if there's any chance that Three Dog would be back sometime, and, you know, they let it slip that it looks like Three Dog will. And they said that, 'Well, maybe you could tell your fans.' I don't think they even anticipated it would explode like this."
The rumor that the game will be set in Boston has been repeated so often that it seems to be an almost certainty. It was reported that casting documents all but confirmed this location, and that members of the development team had been scouting areas of the city. These documents mention ‘the Commonwealth’, a Fallout location which compromises what’s left of Massachusetts. There’s also mention of ‘The Institute’, a post-apocalyptic version of MIT.
Boston does seem like an ideal setting for the game. The city’s landmarks, geography and history would fit perfectly within the Fallout universe. At one point it was even rumored that the new game would be set in China, but it’s highly unlikely this would ever have been the case. The Fallout games have always had a connection to all things Americana, taking this away from them would remove an essential part of what the series is about.
Amongst the handful of other recent Fallout items, the official Bethesda store currently has three new necklaces currently in pre-sale. These pieces - the Brotherhood of Steel, Vault 101 and Vault Boy thumbs up - come at the hefty cost of $110, a pretty high price to pay for merchandise from a five year old game. This, combined with the fact that two of the necklaces will be ready for purchase straight after E3, has led to speculation that their release is related to Fallout 4’s imminent announcement.
While it’s been pointed out that the Bethesda store has been intermittently releasing Fallout products for the last few years, the timing in releasing three, high price collectibles has certainly raised some hopeful eyebrows.
A few weeks ago, German gaming site PC Games cited a “trusted but anonymous source” that claimed Bethesda would be showing off a detailed, behind closed doors video of Fallout 4’s gameplay at E3. The site also reports that this demo will be between 20 and 30 minutes long.
If this rumor turns out to be true, then it’s likely we’ll see a CG reveal at the main conference; should this be the case, then my money’s on the trailer’s first words being “War. War never changes”. But it won’t, apparently, be spoken by the actor we’re so used to hearing this line from - which leads us to…
Back in April of 2014, the man whose distinctively gruff tones are so synonymous with the Fallout games, Ron Perlman, replied to the tweeted question “Does war ever change?” with “Apparently. Cuz I ain’t in #Fallout4”. The tweet was deleted from his account fairly quickly, but, like all things on the internet that we don’t want people to see, it’ll be around forever.
So with one slightly (understandably) irritated sounding tweet, big Ron seemed to confirm both the existence of Fallout 4 and his absence from it. Will we even hear his famous line spoken at all in the new game? Perhaps, but possibly by a different actor. Personally I’d like to hear Christopher Walken’s take on it: “War….. War never……….. changes”
It’s pretty unusual for a rental company such as Redbox to suddenly announce it’s going to start stocking a seven year old game, unless, of course, they know it’s about to have a bucketload of interest heading its way. Much in the same way as The Witcher 2 saw an increase in sales/rentals before the new game in the series was released, companies know the hype from Fallout 4 will spread to previous Fallout entries. It’s been a fair few years since the last titles in the series were released; there’s some gamers who won’t have even played a Fallout game before, shockingly.
The question is, do Redbox have some definite confirmation that the rest of us aren’t privy to? The fact they’re going to start stocking Fallout 3 the day E3 starts seems to speak volumes. It’s another positive sign that the big reveal could arrive in under a month’s time.
An employee working for Guillermo Del Toro’s company Mirada recently listed on their LinkedIn page a project they were working on as “Fallout 4 cinematic trailer”. While it’s true that information found on LinkedIn shouldn’t be taken as gospel, it still makes a pretty compelling argument that the trailer will be seen at E3. The artist in question has also previously worked on cinematics for The Elder Scrolls Online, Far Cry 4, and Forza Motorsport.
Del Torro founded Mirada in 2010, and his involvement in any project is usually enough to drive people into a frenzy of excitement. After the disappointment that arose from Kojima/Del Toro’s Silent Hills getting canned, here’s hoping the Pan’s Labyrinth genius can transfer some of his movie magic to the Fallout universe, if only in trailer form.
So that’s the most exciting facts and rumors about a game that doesn’t even officially exist. Although, let’s face it, it’s 99% certain that the game IS being worked on, exactly how close it is to a release date is another matter. Bethesda will have seen how successful the RPG genre has become recently, and they aren’t going to miss out on that slice of the pie, especially when they’re behind one of the greatest and most successful game series in history. Here’s one more piece of information you can guarantee is a fact: when Fallout 4 is finally released, it will be amazing.