Given I’ve already gone on record as being “a bit keen” on Fallout, it might not come as a huge surprise that Fallout 4 is one of the games I’m most looking forward to. It’s been six years since Fallout 3 hit the shelves, and four since Fallout: New Vegas debuted, which equates to…(*does “math” face*)….. well, to a lot of long, post-apocalyptic-wasteland-free hours in between.
Such has been the desperation of Fallout fans that one (admittedly very clever) hoax had a lot of us fooled, and earlier this year, fans took the slightly bizarre step of creating an online petition demanding that “Fallout 4” make some kind of appearance at e3 2014. That obviously didn’t happen (possibly because online petitions aren’t, like, in any way legally binding on game companies and whatnot), and in fact, the absence of Fallout from this year’s conference was one of the few disappointments in an otherwise stellar, and generally brilliant year. There really was a lot to get excited about, yet Fallout fans, once again, left the conference feeling a little like Santa Claus had just visited everyone else in the world, but left them with only a sack full of empty promises and broken dreams.
But, initial (crushing) disappointment aside, what is the state of play regarding the next instalment? Is no news good news, or should fans begin to prepare for a worst case scenario, which could devastate their world in much the same way that Nuclear Armageddon devastated that of the vault dwellers’??
Well, as is so often the case, it’s not easy to give a definitive answer either way, and a lot of what we do know is mostly circumstantial, BUT, there’s just about enough information to tentatively lean towards the conclusion that Fallout 4 is coming. It’s just taking a really (really, reeeeeally) long time to get here.
The most common/recurring rumours are as follows:
Fallout 4 will most likely be set in Boston. This information has been pieced together from a combination of anonymous redditing, and a bit of extrapolation. As far back as 2012, a Bethesda team were reportedly scouting out Boston, and more specifically, MIT.
In terms of the game, this also make perfect sense, given that the “Institute” has featured in the Fallout Series already in various bits of dialogue and whatnot, so their story would be a natural continuation of the current set of overlapping narratives. Indeed, given that it has been mentioned previously, as have a faction known as the “Railroad”, there’s every reason to suspect that Bethesda were setting the scene for the next instalment – and that the two, presumably antagonistic factions, will play a central role in Fallout 4.
This theory was further reinforced by leaked “Casting Documents” (for a project code-named “Institute”, I might add) which also mentions the Commonwealth Minutemen (The Commonwealth being what’s left of the New England area). Even though these are preliminary details, and therefore subject to change, it means that a) somebody, somewhere is probably making something Fallout 4ish, and b) it gives us a great idea of what to expect in terms of gameplay/narrative. The following, for example:
“But then, in the 21st century, people awoke from the American Dream. Years of consumption led to shortages of every major resource. The entire world unravelled.
We now stand on the brink of total war – and I am afraid. For myself, for my wife, for my infant son. Because if my time in the Army taught me one thing –
It’s that war – war never changes”
….is taken from the opening monologue of said documents. Later, it becomes apparent that this guy has awoken from a cryogenic sleep (so there’s your ‘Clueless Vault-Dweller’ type plot device, right there), and the game will likely involve his piecing together what happened, whilst simultaneously setting out to achieve whatever it was he was put in cryo-sleep for in the first place.
Admittedly, none of the above has been “confirmed” in the strictest sense, and the vast majority of the internet-based rumour mill seems to have originated from the same slightly tenuous sources, so it should all be taken with at least a pinch of salt. However, slightly more concrete information has been gleaned from Bethesda themselves, who back in 2012, began advertising for various positions for “experienced programmers to work on cutting-edge technology for an unannounced game on future-generation consoles”. This was given an intriguing (and exciting) degree of support when, on their own blog, Bethesda also wrote “Parts of our team have also been in pre-production on our next major project, and that game is at the point where it requires the studio’s full attention to make it our biggest and best work yet….” (emphasis mine).
So, all things considered, it’s also reasonable to politely and respectfully enquire as to why the f@ck it’s all taking so long?, right!? Well, in a word, yes, and it’s a fair question, given the amount of time since the last fallout games. However, as frustrating as it has been, it’s also important to remember two things:
One, the Fallout team at Bethesda have also, for the most part, been the Elder Scrolls/Skyrim team, and that’s taken up a lot of their time and attention. Historically, they’ve tended to alternate their attention between the two, but given that Skyrim’s DLCs, patches etc are done and dusted, they should, hopefully, be focusing on Fallout 4 now (see above blog post).
Two, the time taken will probably turn out to be a blessing in disguise (admittedly, a really, really good disguise, up there with Mystique from the X-Men)!! Why? Well, a huge part of the reason people love Fallout is precisely because it’s well thought out, well-made, and, given the expanse of the wastelands, great value for money. Therefore, the fact that Bethesda didn’t just rush a follow-up to market in order to milk their cash-cow is a good sign. Indeed, if, for a second, you imagine the level of anger and disappointment we’d have felt if that had been the case, the wait begins to seem like a fair(ish) price to pay for not having our cumulative Fallout experience get all effed-up carelessly, right!?
It’s also possible that some of the delay is, in part, due to the fact that Bethesda held their (VATS) fire because of the coming off the next-gen consoles (see again, the job listings), which also bodes well. If, indeed, that is the case it may very well mean that a true next-gen version of the next instalment is a genuine thing of beauty, and epically huge. Given the last-gen versions weren’t exactly small, this too could make the wait, eventually, seem worth it.
In conclusion, given the above, and given the previous timescales of Bethesda output, I would, tentatively, predict that we will probably, possibly, hopefully see Fallout 4 released in the autumn/fall of 2015. Sure, that still seems like a long, loooong way away, but, when you’ve already been waiting four years, what’s an extra year and a bit, right!?
Actually, scratch that, it’s still a long time, but, it’s at least something to hold onto. In many ways, waiting for the next Fallout game has been a particularly demanding Marathon, much like the game itself is, but at least now it’s looking increasingly like we’re entering the home stretch, and we can just about see the finish line in the distance. Admittedly, given that we actually don’t officially, concretely “know” anything, that “finish line” might just turn out to be a mirage created by our own desperation, and held together by a whole lot of wishful thinking, but, at this point, I’m going to cling onto it like a drowning man clings to driftwood.
And, as ever, I’m going to endeavour to keep you updated with any Fallout 4 news, so keep reading for all your Fallout needs.