Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fallout 4: Theories and Deductions

Fallout is my favorite game series ever. It was my first exposure to the concept of RPGs in any genre and it took me right off of my feet when I first played Fallout 3. That game let me sink up to my gills into immersion I didn't know could even exist for games, and from that point on I pursued everything Fallout I could find. I love Fallout New Vegas, and have enjoyed the original games, Fallout 1, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics.

Suffice it to say, I kinda enjoy these things! Some people don't like them that much, but that's their problem.

However, after Fallout New Vegas was finished, many people began wondering: When will we see another Fallout game? Many supposed it would come out after Skyrim or Dishonored, but as of yet we've gotten almost no information of any kind on any new Fallout project from Bethesda, the current owners and developers of the games.

Obviously, the legions of fans have been on the verge of starting rioting for want of any information on anything at all Fallout related. Many questions are being asked: Will there be a Fallout 4? If there is, why isn't Bethesda revealing anything about it? When will they work on it?
I've been doing plenty of research, and there is precious little information at all, but I've also done quite a bit of speculation and analysis on what stuff we've got. Here I shall reveal some of my own theories, thoughts and ideas. All the information that we've actually got that isn't pure speculation can be found here and is to be used as a reference point for what I will base my theories on.

So, first thing is first: Will Bethesda actually make another Fallout game? My belief: Yes. They have no reason not to. Think about it. Bethesda basically owns the entire RPG market. The only competition they had for exploration and story was from Mass Effect, and since EA bought Bioware, Bethesda isn't exactly faced with a legion of rivals. And with the new generation of consoles the quality of games overall has taken a nose-dive. Games are shorter, have less plot, are more formulaic, more boring, and less thought provoking.
Bethesda on the other hand has been going strong during the drought that has been going on. Ever since Fallout 3 they've been bombarded with awards for games. They haven't yet made a game that is unprofitable since then, and I see little reason for them to slow down. They actually have good writers and let them do their jobs, so we consistently get intriguing storylines and immersive worlds. And I'm darned hard to please when it comes to stories in games!

Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas alone have made enough money to buy a small country or to fun a private military. Not to mention Fallout has tons of free room for innovation. It's so expansive that you could make another five games and still not run out of ideas to work with. Like I said, they have absolutely no reason to NOT make another Fallout game. It's a shoe in.
Another reason I believe this is that Bethesda broke their backs to own the rights to Fallout. The original developers, Interplay, came up with Fallout 1, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics, but Bethesda rose up and, without doing a ton of research so fact check me on this, had rights or licenses extended to them so that they could produce Fallout games.

A few years ago Bethesda made a suit that Interplay was in trouble over an issue that I really don't care to recap, and tried to seize all rights to the franchise. Bethesda lost, but almost immediately afterwards offered Interplay two million dollars for them to fork over the rest of the rights, which Interplay instantly complied with. So Bethesda now owns the entire franchise, and they paid hard to get them. I encourage you to double check these facts just in case, as it was a while since I checked up on the legal proceedings, but as I know it Bethesda is now the sole owner of Fallout and can do whatever they heck they want.

Now, a game developer doesn't lead a legal assault like that and sacrifice two million solid dollars, a considerable sum, for one of the most profitable game franchises out there and then just set it up on a shelf. Obviously they wanted Fallout badly, and they have the creative power and facilities to keep this thing going for years without getting stale. Heck, even one of the head people of Bethesda said that they went into this so that they could keep making Fallout games, not just one and done.

So, that brings us to the next point. If Bethesda has so many reasons to make a new Fallout game, why haven't they done it yet and released no information about it?

I believe there are many reasons for this. The most obvious is that they had their hands full with Dishonored, Skyrim and Elder Scrolls Online. Each of these was a big project and MMOs in particular are pretty finicky and require a lot of time to work with. Heck, I'm not even a programmer and my head would spin trying to work on a project like that!

The second is one of my own deductions, that being that they haven't started on it until quite recently. I consider it no coincidence that they haven't just come out and said they're making a new game for the next generation of consoles. My theory is that they've been watching the sales and opinions of the new systems to see how they do and how they operate. I believe they are wondering if they want to go to the trouble of making an entirely new interface for a Fallout game that takes advantage of the powerful but clunky new consoles if there won't be enough units in circulation to generate a sturdy profit.

It's no secret that many people, myself included, have ignored the new consoles and stuck with our reliable older systems. I know some people were irked when Fallout New Vegas came out and it used almost the exact same interface as Fallout 3. I didn't mind this, using the reasoning of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
So, if Bethesda did a big overhaul on the interface adapted to the new consoles, it almost certainly wouldn't work on the less powerful but reliable systems like the Xbox 360 and PS3. Such a project would be a monumental undertaking on top of making a new story, coding items, quests, characters, creatures, and all that other good stuff. RPGs are big projects, and you can't afford to screw around.

So, if you were watching the new consoles sell sluggishly, would you go to the trouble of reconfiguring things that will sell to only a fraction of the owners of the last generation? My theory is that they are wondering if they should make a new interface, or just stick with the old one which will not only work on the old systems, but the new ones as well, giving them a far wider base to launch from. Rather than three, Xbox One, PS4, and PC, they'd have five, including the Xbox 360 and PS3.
This is speculation on my part so don't take it as fact. This is only one of my theories based on the information I have available.

Another reason they might not have revealed anything is that there may be some sort of legal kink in the rope that is slowing things up. As I mentioned above, there was a big movement to acquire Fallout from Interplay. It is possible that something might still be creating problems and Bethesda is holding its resources in check.
This is also pure theory, and it is entirely possible, even likely, that I am incorrect here. I encourage any readers to do their own research on this and come to their own conclusions.

It is also possible that there may be another form of legal problem in another capacity that hasn't been revealed. What it might be, if it is an issue at all, I have no idea. Bethesda has been keeping everyone associated with the franchise clammed up. I've seen military secrets that weren't guarded this closely. If you've done any research on this thing, Bethesda has revealed virtually nothing about their next project and answered no questions about an upcoming Fallout game. They have been extraordinarily cryptic, yet have neither confirmed or denied its development. The fact that they haven't said "We're not making Fallout 4 right now, shut up." might be an indicator, but it would be irresponsible to speculate too deeply on such tiny details.

One hint that was given we received from the voice actor of 3 Dog, a major character in Fallout 3. See the link above for the reference, which is somewhat promising, as it was made in 2013.

But with all the resources they have on hand and considering they just wrapped up Elder Scrolls Online, they've got to be working on something! If it is Fallout 4, and I hope it is, it will still be a good while before we hear anything on it, as right now it would be in its infant stages.

Some people have accused Bethesda of being cruel and uncaring to its customer base by keeping us in the dark, but I don't get that impression. Just from my own perspective, it seems more like they are being responsible and not revealing anything that might not come to pass and result in rage from an offended fan base. Bethesda isn't a company to rush things out half finished and rushed. They seem to release things only when they are ironed out properly, with the exception of the New Vegas DLC Lonely Road.

I believe that they only recently started working on Fallout 4, but are so early in development that they can't release anything on it. After all, each of these games is gigantic! It requires thousands of hours of man hours to churn these things out, and the level of detail each one has is staggering. I've racked up over three hundred hours on Fallout 3 and New Vegas each across multiple profiles and I'm still finding new stuff! That's amazing!
So I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't until late 2014 or even until 2015 that we get any news about it. It might also be a marketing tactic to get the customer base riled up to remain so quiet about it. If it is, it's certainly working! The less they say, the more questions we ask and the more we wonder. So if they do confirm it, we'll be over that thing in seconds.

It makes sense, doesn't it?

Now, if they are making Fallout 4, what will it be about? The space for what they can do is almost unlimited here. The creative license has virtually no boundaries. After all, only two games in and we've already been into outer space fighting aliens, underground fighting subterranean monsters, waging war against genetic mutations of all kinds, what can they NOT do that would be within the realm of reasonability?
Heck, I'd vote for a DLC where some genetic wackos make a lab have recreated dinosaurs to fight, but I don't think that they'll do that. Although, if you are watching Bethesda, please consider that idea! Genetically mutated dinosaurs in Fallout! You can SO pull that off and you know it!

Ahem, anyway, the leading theory about the next location is that it will take place in Boston. In Fallout 3 many distant locations are mentioned and some are visited, such as The Pitt. In one quest we meet a scientist named Dr. Zimmerman from a place called The Commonwealth, a location with all sorts of technology and scientists who have even succeeded in making fully functional androids that can look, behave and for all intents and purposes, be human beings. There is even a faction called The Railroad trying to liberate androids, giving a very realistic and deep concept that we've only barely touched on, yet rings with all sorts of philosophical and ethical questions.

There have also been hints that Bethesda has even been scouting Boston, presumably to research the place for the upcoming game. This might be false, but it is an interesting thing to look to. It does make plenty of sense though. Fallout setting with lots of weird scientists and technology? What's not to like?

So overall, there is plenty of speculation and theories everywhere, and we really won't know anything for sure until Bethesda actually says something, which probably isn't happening anytime soon
I believe Fallout 4 is in development, but it is entirely possible I'm wrong.

I hope this article has been of interest, and lets hope harder that we'll see Fallout 4 soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment