Fallout 4 at QuakeCon: Blow-by-blow panel impressions

At E3 this year, publishing giant, Bethesda, dropped a bombshell on the gaming world with the official announcement of Fallout 4. The latest in the venerable series of post-apocalyptic role-playing games, Fallout 4 promises a huge open world to explore, tons of freakish enemies to battle, and lots of meaningful choices for players to make. It will arrive on Xbox One, Windows PC, and PlayStation 4 this November.

While gamers got a fairly good look at Fallout 4 during Bethesda and Microsoft's E3 press conferences, we're all hungry for more. November's a long way off! Today attendees of QuakeCon 2015 in Dallas, TX got their own unique peak at Fallout 4. Bethesda shared nearly 10 minutes of new gameplay footage plus lots of behind-the-scenes info and concept art.

The QuakeCon Fallout 4 footage was exclusive to attendees, but we've got a full write-up with all the details.

Fallout 4 at QuakeCon: Blow-by-blow panel impressions

The build up

As attendees entered the QuakeCon Fallout 4 panel, everyone received a free Vault Boy mask. The masks have a black mesh behind the eyes which prevents the wearer's eyes from being visible. They look cheerfully creepy in person, as both panel presenters remarked when they looked upon the sea of Fallout masks in the audience.

We now switch to present tense because excitement! After a lengthy 25 minutes wait, Todd Howard, the Executive Producer, and Game Director at Bethesda Game Studios takes the stage.

Todd remarks that the 20th anniversary of QuakeCon also happens to be the 20th anniversary of him joining Bethesda. That game was The Terminator: Future Shock, a first-person shooter that pioneered the use of mouse look control. Sadly the game has mostly been forgotten, which Todd blames on the release of Quake by id Software a few months later.

The Fallout 4 presentation begins with a look at some of the concept art behind the game. We see a panoramic painting depicting the history of the Fallout world. The game world follows our own history up until World War II, after which it branches off in its own unique direction. Eventually, that direction brings the world to ruin, hence the post-apocalyptic setting of each Fallout.

Fallout 4 starts in the past – an idealized fifties version of the past, that is. We look at detailed concept art for the two-story "House of Tomorrow" in which Fallout 4's protagonist originally lived. The game starts in a bathroom of that house.

Fallout 4 Codsworth

Introducing Codsworth

Next we look at Mr. Handy, another important part of the player's home. The floating, multi-limbed Mister Handy robots originated in the first Fallout and also appeared in Fallout 2, 3, and New Vegas. The player's Mr. Handy Robot in Fallout 4 is named Codsworth, a play on Wadsworth from Fallout 3.

Codsworth is one of 12 possible companions (AI-controlled teammates) in the new game. Bethesda modeled not only the robot's exterior, but also its internal machinery. He can be blown up, it seems.

Stephen Russell provides Codsworth's voice. Interestingly, Codsworth actually speaks whichever name the player chooses at the beginning of the game. Stephen recorded a thousand different names, of which we hear a small sample during the presentation. Codsworth speaks a variety of common names, ending with "Mr. F----Face." Gotta love Bethesda's sense of humor!

After the world gets blown up, the player (also called the Lone Survivor) makes his way to the Vault where he will live. We see concept art for the new Vault Suits that he and other vault dwellers will wear. The artists strived to create a tighter, sci-fi suit closer to those of Fallout 1 and 2 than Fallout 3's baggier suits.

Fallout 4 Dogmeat

More companions

When the player emerges from the Vault he meets Dogmeat, a canine companion. Dogmeat is based on a real dog named River, owned by the game's lead level designer. We see footage of the dog sitting idly, playing, and running around. The in-game Dogmeat looks and moves just like the real-life River. But how did Bethesda model the animation of Dogmeat biting a downed enemy's throat? That's how River looks picking up a Frisbee.

Next we meet Preston Darby, another of the twelve possible companions. Garby leads the Commonwealth Minute Men, a group that resists the raiders and other apocalyptic dangers. He wields a laser musket.

Bethesda plays footage from three years ago in which the motion and voice from Preston's first meeting with the player was captured. Preston (pictured below) explains how his team has fallen from 20 fighters to only five in the span of a month. The player can choose to aid the Minute Men or abandon them.

Fallout 4 Preston

Soon players will reach Diamond City, a settlement built on the ruins of Fenway Park in Boston. There we meet Piper, another companion. She wears a dingy red leather coat and a newsboy style hat. Piper writes a newspaper called Public Occurrences.

Companion and player require entrance into the walled settlement, so Piper cons their way in. Inside, the two encounter the mayor. He doesn't like her and warns that she and her sister are on notice. Could he be a threat later in the game?

Piper asks our hero to stop by her office later. She has an idea for an article he'd be perfect for… But the invitation sounds more than a little romantic. Players will be able to romance companions in Fallout 4, regardless of gender. Choosing not to team up at all is also an option, with special perks designed to help solitary players.

Fallout 4 at QuakeCon: Blow-by-blow panel impressions Paul Acevedo Vault Boy mask

Paul as Vault Boy

Stats and perks

Characters in Fallout 4 have seven defining attributes or "special stats" that affect their abilities throughout the game. We watch a 1950s-style educational video about Strength, one of those stats. Bethesda will release videos for all seven special traits within the next few months.

Supplies are scarce in the wasteland, the narrator cheerfully intones. The stronger you are, the more you can carry. Know your limits or you may find it challenging to escape from hazardous scenarios, no matter how strong you are.

Players must learn to defend themselves using their natural strength. They can use a variety of melee weapons like a bat, power fist, and even a paddle ball. The video ends with a cartoon Vault Boy challenging a rocket wielding adversary, only to be blown into pieces.

Stats can also affect perks. Every time players level up, they get to pick a perk. You select perks from a poster filled with animated Vault Boys. The game offers 70 base perks, with most having several ranks that increase their effectiveness. A couple of examples: Intimidation allows players with high charisma to control NPCs, whereas Bloody Mess adds a chance for enemies to explode when shot.

Fallout 4 at QuakeCon: Blow-by-blow panel impressions

Quakecon Event (Image credit: Windows Central)

QuakeCon exclusive Fallout 4 gameplay

Finally, we watch an extended gameplay sequence (that has been edited here and there). We watch as the Lone Survivor approaches a ruined town from the distance, his dog running ahead. The streets are uneven and littered, every corner filled with detail and the probability of danger.

Dogmeat lowers his ears, detecting danger. Suddenly, Feral Ghouls attack. The game goes into slow motion as our hero shoots one with an assault rifle. He fights the rest in real time, swapping magazines out in dramatic fashion. Next he switches to a laser, shooting arms off some of the zombies before incinerating them.

Fallout 4 robot

The hero then enters a decaying Super Duper Mart, commanding his dog to scavenge for valuables. He discovers a computer. He hacks it to turn on a defense robot (like the one pictured above) who cheerfully volunteers to "Protect and serve." The robot resembles fifties-style automatons seen in movies like Forbidden Planet.

Soon the Survivor encounters a locked door and picks it with a screwdriver and a bobby pin. The lockpicking minigame zooms in close and looks realistic but fun. Ghouls crawl into the room through broken windows, forcing the hero and defense robot to take them out.

Later, we find our hero walking the streets once more. A dead body hangs from the basketball net of a ruined court. Soon he runs afoul of human raiders. Luckily, a dropship approaches from the sky and unloads a team of power armored soldiers. These reinforcements immediately attack the raiders. Unfortunately, the dropship takes a hit from somewhere and crashes into a building, blowing up.

Fallout 4 behemoth

The Lone Survivor discovers a "Fat Man" nuke launcher that fires massive rockets. Before we can see him use it, a gigantic Behemoth monster (pictured above) barges onto the scene. The beast attacks the friendly armored soldiers with a huge club with a full-sized fire hydrant on its end. As it storms forward, our hero fires the Fat man and kills the Behemoth in one hit.

Finally, the presentation ends.

Fallout 4 comes to Xbox One, Windows PC. And PlayStation 4 on November 10, 2015. Stay tuned for more QuakeCon stories from Windows Central!

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!