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What To Expect When You're Expecting Fallout 4

Updated on July 7, 2015

War Never Changes, But Fallout Does

Like any beloved video game series, there's a lot to look forward to from a new title, and a lot to dread. The Fallout series has grown from a niche PC game to a global franchise, and while that comes with better funding and more experienced talent, success comes with its own complications.

Consider this: half the people who will be playing Fallout 4 weren't even alive when the first game came out, and it's been ages since even New Vegas came out. So, inevitably, there will be some major changes.

Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 were both isometric, turn-based strategy games, while Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas are first-person shooters. You can expect this trend to continue with Fallout 4. If you've watched the E3 video--which you can find below--you know that, at least as far as combat goes, Fallout 4 looks like a modernized, slicker version of Fallout 3 and New Vegas. However, there WILL be some changes to the fundamentals of combat.

Fallout 4 Gameplay from E3

Combat: What's Staying the Same

  • The VATs system, with two big changes: you can now trigger critical shots in VATs, and, instead of freezing time, VATs will just slow time to a crawl. It probably won't make too much of a difference in most combat, although if you have a super mutant behemoth bearing down on you, that slowed down time might not seem quite slow enough.
  • Dismemberment: your enemies will still explode into a bloody mess when shot.
  • All varieties of weapons will remain: large and small guns, missile launchers, melee weapons, fist weapons, energy weapons, explosives, and everyone's favorite health hazard, the Fat Man personal nuclear bomb launcher.
  • Your limbs can still be crippled, with the addition of a fun little icon of a guy with crutches
  • When your health drops to zero, you still die. However, unlike Fallout 3, when you die in Fallout 4 you shame your dead child, instead of shaming your dead father.

Check out this nonsense.
Check out this nonsense.

Combat: What's Changing

The finer details of the combat system have not yet been released, although keep an eye on this hub for additions. However, we have already seen some small differences:

  • Combat skills seem to have changed since Fallout 3 and New Vegas. In Fallout 4, all skills seem to be tied to perks. We'll learn more about this as details are revealed.
  • Status effects can now be inflicted on both you and the enemy, including additional damage done from the bites and scratches of irradiated animals.
  • Freeze guns!
  • Mobile combat suits. Climb on in, power up your jetpack, and kill some deathclaws.

Non-Combat Skills

Non-combat skills are a huge part of Fallout games. Without them, Fallout is just a first person shooter with a great soundtrack. While a full list of skills has yet to be released (Again, keep an eye on this hub for future updates) it does seem that most previous non-combat skills will make it to Fallout 4.

And since the SPECIAL system has remained more or less intact, we can assume that your intelligence, charisma, and agility will help you talk, trick, and sneak your way out of situations.


The crafting system has been seriously beefed-up since the last Fallout game. While previous Fallout games have featured a few weapon mods, it was never very deep or very satisfying. Fallout 4 will allow you to build weapons and armor from scratch and thoroughly customize them, from scope to stock. While we have only seen weapons being manufactured so far, if past games are any indication, there will be plenty of armor, consumables and, best of all, bottlecap mines that you'll be able to craft.

Remember this jerk?
Remember this jerk?

Rebuild The Wasteland

Perhaps the biggest change to the fundamentals of the game is the new building component that will let you build settlements or, more likely, junk-metal castles spewing fire and electricity in every direction. This new building component will let you really build yourself a home base. In past games, your dwelling was always kind of boring and sterile. With the ability to make your own wasteland settlement, you not only gain the ability to add a bit of yourself to the world. You also will gain the ability to build your own settlement and trading networks. For the first time in Fallout history, you'll be able to gain power and loyalty of a settlement that you made. You gain all sorts of political power in other Fallout games, but its always pre-programmed and done through the story. This ads a new level of life and sociality to the wasteland. If you remember the dead casinos of New Vegas, you'll be glad to learn that the world will be a bit more interactive than last time--Fallout 4 seems as if it may also include destructible terrain. This feature promises to be a huge timesink, but still, it looks like a lot of fun.

While You're Waiting, Try Out Other Games In The Fallout Series

Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition

Fallout 3: GOTYE includes both Fallout 3 and all its DLC. Since Fallout 4 is an east coast game, you can expect the events of Fallout 3 to have a bigger impact on Fallout 4 than any other game.


The Setting

If you're not all that familiar with Fallout's backstory, the short version is that, in the mid 21st century, a nuclear war killed the majority of humanity and destroyed civilization as we know it. While a lack of communication technology means that we don't really know what happened in the rest of the world, in the USA, a portion of humanity survived the nuclear blasts in Vault-Tec brand vaults. Fallout 4 will take place more than two hundred years after the war.

Fallout 1, 2, and New Vegas took place in the so-called New California Republic, from the Pacific coast in the west to, obviously, New Vegas in the east.

Fallout 3 was the first east coast edition to the series, and took place in the ruins of Washington D.C.

Fallout 4 takes place in Boston, Massachussets and the surrounding area, not known as the Commonwealth. However, the game won't necessarily be limited to Boston. Fallout 3 had DLC that took your to Pittsburgh, Point Lookout, and (for some reason) outer space, while Fallout 4 let you travel to a variety of different locations, including Zion Canyon in Utah. So Fallout 4 DLC could conceivably take you anywhere from New York City to Martha's Vineyard to northern New England. We'll have to wait and see.


Fallout 4 will also be the first game in the series to feature scenes from before the nuclear holocaust. While this section isn't expected to be terribly long, it will give us a look at the strange, 1950s-inspired world that the Fallout series is based around, where computers are the size of a house but domestic robots are a dime a dozen.

So, Is It Going To Be Good?

You can never trust videos, and you can never trust hype, and not everyone has a positive view of Bethesda, the company that's producing the game. Still, for all the complaints about the storyline and the setting, Fallout 3 was still a great game (Fallout New Vegas, the arguably superior game, was made by a different company). And even people who complained about Skyrim still played it to death.

There are changes, and there will most certainly be some bugs, and Bethesda has a history of being a bit over-ambitious. Still, that video looks genuinely awesome, and the fact that they seem to be pouring interest, resources, and talent into this game is a good sign.

In short, if you've gotten to this point in this hub, you probably already know you're going to be buying it. I know I will.

An Addendum:


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