At the start of the demonstration, Bethesda marketing guru Pete Hines praised the company for achieving game of the year status for Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim consecutively. The inference there being that Bethesda Softworks' core team aim to achieve the same success for Fallout 4. Given what they showed this evening, they may just do that.
- Fallout 4 begins in a pre-war scenario right before the bombs land. It's during this sequence that you customize your character, utilizing an all-new system that allows you to sculpt facial features using a cursor as opposed to navigating cumbersome menus.
Fallout no longer features silent protagonists, and enjoys an optional third person viewpoint for conversations. Fallout 4 executive producer Todd Howard emphasised that conversations are a dynamic system, meaning you can break out of them at any moment should you choose to do so.
The dog from the reveal trailer was shown off in greater detail. Besides accompanying you into battle, you can also issue direct commands for movement and make him to fetch items for you. It's unknown if the dog will die in 2 hits as was the case with Dogmeat in Fallout 3, but I'd suspect this new dog will be a little more hard-wearing.
V.A.T.S. return, looking as though they retain the same functionality from Fallout 3. Tapping a button will enable you to lock-on to an enemy, and target body parts for precision damage. These sequences play out in slow motion as before, and look every bit as satisfying as the previous game.
Gun-play seems vastly improved, with iron-sights aiming across the board and Call of Duty-like hit indicators when you're free firing.
- Fallout 4 also includes a vast and complex crafting system, allowing you to de-construct any of the game's items and re-construct them into new weapons, mods and tools. The previous titles also had crafting systems, but in Fallout 4, you will be able to reduce anything to its constituent parts, and reconfigure them anew. Todd showed off how you can produce a weapon scope using the steel from a wrench, and the screws from a toy car and so on.
Todd treated viewers to a montage of Fallout 4's expansive locations, stating that it was the most ambitious game world they've ever made:
...You'll explore the most ambitious and detailed game world that we have ever made, culminating in the massive ruins of downtown Boston...
Here are just a few screen grabs I managed to take from the stream. Check out the conference in full on Bethesda's YouTube channel for a better look.
Beyond exploration, player freedom, and bloody combat, Todd showed off some brand new Fallout 4 features that I suspect very few people anticipated.
As if crafting weapons from scratch wasn't enough, Bethesda are now allowing the player to craft buildings from scratch. The game world features various settlement locations which can be used to build your own personal civilizations. The construction utilizes the game's dynamic engine to allow the player to build structures as though you were a level designer.
Todd explained how your buildings can harbor settlers and merchants, allowing you to engage in trade with other settlements. In order to grow, your settlements will require power, which requires generators, cabling structures and even a terminal computer. Using a connected terminal computer you can change the colours of lights, power turrets and create various other contraptions which keep your settlements safe from roaming monsters or greedy raiders. The demonstration ended with a player crafted Vault Boy logo, using terminal controlled lighting.
- In closing, Todd Howard praised Bethesda's fans, noting that Fallout 4 will launch this year on November 10th for PC, Xbox One and PS4.
...Our fans really are the greatest in the world and I know many of you are here tonight, and I want to let you know just how important it is to us. I know we have a responsibility to do this game right and your love and support of Fallout has pushed us to make this our best work...
Considering the full offering of Bethesda's E3 conference, the other heavy hitters certainly have their work cut out to steal Fallout 4's radioactive thunder.
Keep your eyes trained on Windows Central for our full E3 2015 coverage, which continues later today with Microsoft's Xbox conference.
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