E3 2015 Wishlist: What We Want In Fallout 4

by Joe Juba on Jun 08, 2015 at 01:55 PM

It’s finally official; Fallout 4 is happening, and we’ll get a better look at it during Bethesda's E3 festivities in about a week. However, for any fan of the series, waiting for concrete details is difficult. Until we know more about the company's plans for the latest installment, all we can do is speculate; that’s why we’ve made this wishlist of features we’d love to see added, changed, or enhanced for Fallout 4.

Dialogue Overhaul
The announcement trailer for Fallout 4 gives us a hint at something big for the series: The vault-dweller is no longer a silent cipher. If the character is indeed fully voiced (as the “Let’s go, pal” seems to indicate), that opens up a variety of options for the way interactions can proceed. Instead of making players read through full text for multiple responses, Bethesda could implement a more cinematic method to keep conversations flowing. Maybe that’s a Mass Effect-style conversation wheel, or maybe it’s a new concept we haven’t seen before. Whatever the case, we’d like to see the pauses in the dialogue minimized, while still giving players the opportunity to respond according to their vision for the character.

Keep The Single-Player Focus
A large part of what makes Fallout compelling is the concept of surviving by yourself in a ruined, post-apocalyptic world. That should not change; those who want the “lone wasteland wanderer” experience should still find it front-and-center. However, we wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of a multiplayer component – especially if it goes beyond the standard co-op and competitive fare. Those could be interesting, too, but they shouldn’t draw attention away from the solitary RPG experience.

Friends and Companions
As important as the solo adventure is, you won’t survive without allies. The series’ trend of interesting companions should continue, complete with cool quests that allow you to learn more about your comrades. Even if you can’t bring someone into combat with you, the friendship system for civilians could be deeper, with more changes to people’s demeanor and actions based on your reputation and actions.

This is probably super-obvious, but V.A.T.S. was great in Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. The system allows players to freeze combat and strategically plan an assault by targeting specific parts of your enemies. We assume that Bethesda has a few new twists cooked up for Fallout 4, but we hope the basic principle of V.A.T.S. remains intact.

Solid Shooting
Though V.A.T.S. is the highlight of the Fallout combat experience, sometimes you find yourself out of action points. That means you’re stuck using traditional shooter mechanics, which haven’t been as tight as they could be in the past. We want to some extra attention paid to the non-V.A.T.S. shooting in Fallout 4. The points you’ve invested in weapon skills could still play a role, but it would be nice to not feel quite so helpless when confronted with fast-moving enemies.

Decent Third-Person View
Recent incarnations of Fallout seem designed to be viewed from the first-person perspective, though a third-person option is available. The problem is that the animation and camera still look weird and unnatural from this perspective (which is also a problem in the Elder Scrolls series). We like seeing our character, and want to experiment with that viewpoint more, but we don’t want it to look like we’re ice-skating through the world.

You know that feeling of dread you get when you realize you are in over your head? That’s awesome in Fallout, and players should retain the ability to wander into areas and encounter enemies that are far beyond their capabilities. This boils down to a total elimination of auto-scaling. If an area is too hard, the enemies shouldn’t be made easier to accommodate you. On the flip side, if you go back to early game areas once you’re powerful, the enemies there shouldn’t have magically become more fearsome.

Next: Even more things we want, from weapon customization to music selection.

Story Strides
The world of Fallout is full of strange and fascinating tales, and you often get the chance to engage in small and satisfying arcs. However, the side stories are usually better than the main quest. We want to see Fallout 4 make some progress here, giving us a larger plot that is just as interesting as the smaller narratives you encounter.

Mod-based DLC for Consoles
The mod community has produced lots of interesting add-ons for the Fallout series, but only PC players get the chance to appreciate them. It would be great if console players could benefit from those options, too. We want DLC for Fallout 4 a few months after release that draws from a Bethesda-curated batch of user-created mods, letting everyone benefit from the best that the Fallout community can create.

Home Base
When the environment around you is harsh, it’s important to have a good place to call home. We want to see Fallout 4 expand on the idea of a home base, allowing you to store your items, mingle with your followers, and customize your equipment (more on that coming up next). We’ve seen this in the series before, but customization options surrounding the appearance and evolution of the base (and the features it offers) would go a long way toward making it feel like the player’s personal safe haven.

Revamped Crafting
Surviving in post-apocalyptia is tough, and you might need to improvise in order to scrape by. That’s something missing from the crafting system in previous games. Normally, you find schematics, then gather the items to build a specific piece of equipment. Wouldn’t it be more fun to experiment? Instead of a standard rifle or a magnum, maybe you rig up some homemade hazard unlike anything you’ve seen before? Maybe the system could work something like Dead Space 3’s, allowing you to mix-and-match various parts and functions in order to tailor a weapon to your specific playstyle. While we’re at it, we’d love more control over the look of our armor, too.

Fallout isn’t Grand Theft Auto. We don’t need to hop in a car and zoom heedlessly to the next objective. However, the wasteland is a big place, and having an option between “walk someplace slowly” and “arrive instantly via fast travel” would give players a chance to appreciate the landscape while still making good time. Vehicles could also be implemented into cool set-piece story moments; that airship from the reveal trailer has our imaginations spinning.

More music
The Fallout games always have some great music, but we’d love an even wider selection of radio stations. Though it’ll hard to beat Three Dog, a charismatic DJ is also required.

Encumbrance/Degradation Options
Yes, getting weighed down by items and needing to repair your weapons is realistic. However, sometimes managing your inventory and keeping your guns in shape can feel like busywork. Nothing kills the fun of a good quest more than having to stop partway through just to off-load a bunch of junk you’re carrying. Let those who want these upkeep requirements keep them, but also present the ability for players to opt-out and enjoy the world, story, and action without all of the hassle.

Bring Back Hardcore Mode
If you love the realism of degrading weapons and being over-burdened, you probably also love Hardcore Mode. In Fallout New Vegas, this difficulty option made it harder to regain health, fight off radiation poisoning, and generally just made the wasteland even more inhospitable. Even though most players will never complete a playthrough on this setting, die-hard Fallout fans can be alarmingly devoted. Including this mode would be a nice gesture to challenge the series’ most dedicated players.

Anything we missed? Share your hopes and dreams for the new Fallout in the comments below.