Fallout 4: What We Know So Far
Fallout 4 hasn't been announced yet but it's still one of the most anticipated games for PS4, Xbox One and PC. Speculation about the game began almost as soon as Fallout 3 launched in 2008.
Unfortunately, a lot of the information floating around about the game is either bogus or unconfirmed. Let's recap what we do and don't know about the return of the post-apocalyptic RPG series.
Bethesda Game StudiosBethesda Game Studios, the development arm of Bethesda responsible for Fallout 3 and the Elder Scrolls series, may have started work on Fallout 4 as early as February 2012. They began hiring programmers during that month for "an unannounced game on future-generation consoles" as well as the PC. However, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was only three months old at that point so producing DLC and patches for that game remained the studio's focus.
The studio officially finished work on Skyrim's DLC a year ago. At the time, they said that it was time for them to focus on their next game, presumably Fallout 4.
"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 studioís full attention to make it our biggest and best work yet," the company said.
Fallout 4 seems like the most likely bet for their next game. Skyrim's only a few years old and Elder Scrolls Online was just released by Bethesda's sister company ZeniMax Online Studios. It's a good time for the team at Bethesda to take a break from Elder Scrolls and work on something else. They've indicated in the past that they planned to revisit Fallout as well.
"This is not something we're going to do once and then go away and never do it again," Bethesda's vice president of PR Pete Hines told TVG in 2008. "When that will be or how long that will be god only knows, but we acquired it specifically because we wanted to own it and develop it and work on it like we do with The Elder Scrolls."
Release DateIt's hard to tell how far along the project is from the timeline mentioned above. We don't know how much progress Bethesda made before full-scale development began last year. It's possible that they had a small team planning the game well before early 2012.
Fallout 3's development gives reason for players to hope that the sequel's not far away. Bethesda started F3 in 2004 but couldn't concentrate on it until Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's DLC was finished in March 2007. They managed to release the game 19 months later.
Using the same timeline for Fallout 4 to predict a November 2014 release is tempting. Expecting Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 to conform to the same timetable seems unrealistic, though. The latter more than likely is being developed for PS4 and Xbox One, new consoles that Bethesda has less experience with. If they're planning to release the game on Xbox 360 and PS3 as well, the added workload would extend the wait even more. We may be looking at a 2015 launch at the earliest.
Boston SettingIn August 2012, a Reddit user suggested that Bethesda was scouting locations throughout Boston for Fallout 4. Cambridge-based university Massachusetts Institute of Technology was said to be a focus of their research.
Boston was never a setting for a Fallout game but was mentioned in Fallout 3 side quests. In the alternate history of the series, Massachusetts reformed as the Commonwealth in the wake of the nuclear war. MIT came to be known as the Institute, an organization that specialized in the creation of androids. Another faction of note in the Commonwealth is the Railroad, a group dedicated to helping these androids.
The point is, Bethesda went to some length to flesh out this region's lore in F3. It seems plausible that they were just laying the groundwork for using the Commonwealth as the central setting for Fallout 4.
The Boston rumor was supported by leaked casting documents for Fallout 4. The documents mention missions involving both the Commonwealth and the Institute. It seems unlikely that Bethesda would go through the trouble of recording dialogue about these factions if they weren't already certain that the game would take place in Boston.
Three DogOne of the radio stations in Fallout 3 was run by disc jockey Three Dog. In early 2013, Three Dog voice actor Erik Todd Dellums suggested that he would reprise his role in Fallout 4.
"I let [Bethesda] know that fans were clamoring, trying to figure out if there's any chance that Three Dog would be back sometime," Dellums said in an interview. "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.'"
It's surprising, though not impossible, that Three Dog would relocate from the Washington D.C. area to Boston. Travel isn't exactly easy in the post-apocalyptic United States. Then again, maybe the constant violence of the Capital Wasteland was enough to convince him to make the trip.
The leaked casting documents mentioned earlier discuss a disc jockey named Travis Miles. That doesn't necessarily mean that there won't be a different radio station manned by Three Dog, though. Fallout 3 arguably had too few music options so Bethesda may try to correct that flaw in Fallout 4 by offering players several stations to choose from.
Ron PerlmanEvery chapter in the main Fallout series started with a monologue from Ron Perlman, the Pacific Rim and Sons of Anarchy actor. However, that long-standing tradition may change in Fallout 4. Those leaked documents suggested that the player character will speak the opening, rather than Perlman's unknown narrator.
Perlman seemed to confirm that speculation in a Reddit Ask Me Anything from earlier this month.
"Don't have any video games on the horizon right now," Perlman said during the AmA.
It could be that Perlman already recorded his dialogue so he's simply skirting around the truth. He may have to stay tight-lipped about Fallout 4 due to a non-disclosure agreement. However, it seems equally likely that Fallout 4 won't be featuring his gravelly voice.
The Player CharacterThose casting documents mentioned earlier state that the Fallout 4 player character will wake up from a cryogenic sleep chamber at the outset of the game. His opening monologue implies that he was asleep since before the war began.
"We now stand on the brink of total war - and I am afraid. For myself, for my wife, for my infant son," the hero says in the monologue. "Because if my time in the Army taught me one thing, itís that war - war never changes."
It may be that the player character volunteered to go into this sleep. Maybe the United States government put a select group of personnel in cryo sleep in hopes that they would survive the apocalypse. It would be their duty to then restore order in the United States after they woke up. Or maybe the cryo sleep wasn't so carefully planned.
Cryogenic sleep, like amnesia is a convenient narrative device. It gives the hero an excuse for knowing as little about the outside world as the player. It's always unrealistic how NPC's in role-playing games prattle on about their life story and the local history. It makes a little more sense, though, when they're talking to someone who just woke up in a cryo tube after decades of sleep.
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