So by the timing of the previous game compared to the most recent one, Fallout 5 should have a release date in… 2020? Well, I suppose New Vegas wasn’t a proper game, just a big expansion for Fallout 3. So it’ll actually be 2022.
It’ll take a while, basically. Which gives Bethesda a hell of a lot of time to work on making Fallout 5 as good as possible. Don’t take the wrong impression, I do like Fallout 4, but it wasn’t perfect and the faults it does have are pretty obvious.
So let’s go through a few of them and see what they can do to refine the formula as best as possible for that Fallout 5 release. That way the modders can have a new Fallout 4 mod sorted in less than a week from now.
CUT THE LOADING SCREENS
Doors in the Fallout universe are funny things. Activating one causes it to creak open a little bit, before you are sucked through into another dimension where you are met with the Void Screen Of Loading. And we know this is the case, because anybody else who uses them just seems to vanish into thin air before our eyes. So presumably the radiation has turned most doorways into temperamental wormholes that suck people through a space-time vortex, a bit like the opening credits of Doctor Who.
And this gameplay coffee break is kind of unforgivable at this point in history, especially with the time Bethesda has had to refine the Creation Engine. We could let this slide in Skyrim, but in this age of technology that allows me to play games, delete computer viruses, video chat with people who’re probably women,and download three hundred podcasts all at the same time… Yeah, Fallout 4 having to stop for a breather every time you go in and out of a building is a little silly. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt came out several months earlier than Fallout did, and didn’t need to hit the pause button every four seconds. I could walk in and out of a castle without the loading screen breaking up the pacing, yanking me out of my immersion like a bungee cord.
PUT THE “RP” BACK IN “RPG”
Fallout 4 wasn’t big on the role-playing element, and lot of people didn’t like this. I personally think complex role-playing is a lost cause in anything that isn’t a tabletop game, but even I admit that Fallout 4 couldn’t care less about what kind of character you were playing as. The average responses you were given when some schmoe offered you a mission were:
- Yes (inside an unfunny comment)
- More details plz (delayed yes)
- No (but my eyes say yes)
Kind of limiting, especially when Fallout 3 would let you act anywhere between a moustache-twirling villain or a holier-than-thou hero. I’ve nothing against Bethesda taking out the karma meter (as no game needs that nonsense dragging it down), but this is a step too far, as all you can pretend to be in Fallout 4 is the world’s most cooperative man. Listen Bethesda (may I call you Beth?), please add some more options in Fallout 5, so we can really get into the role and design a Fallout 5 character more interesting than a piece of freaking cardboard.
Look, I’m not saying Fallout should change the core of what it is. But I keep seeing awesome robots, creatures that have mutated into incredible monsters, and when the jetpack armour gave me a taste of flight I realised that I wanted to be part of this slightly misshapen club. Whether it takes the forms of mutation, cybernetic enhancements, or handheld devices that the player uses, I want to be able to blow things up with my mind in Bethesda’s Fallout 5! Is that too much to ask?!
It certainly wouldn’t be out of place with all the mad science that occurs in the wasteland, and considering that some of the Fallout perks and items come pretty close to being powers already… Well, the possibilities are endless. What about a short-range teleport? What about lasers fired from your hands? What about telekinesis, so you can pick up raiders and throw them like bowling pins? What about a disguise power that lets you blend in with enemies?
Some people might say this is too much, but I don’t think so. The games have already let us wear robotic mega-suits and use stealth boys to become invisible, so it’s not like this is some new extreme. Either way, it should be fun if they implemented this in the Fallout 5 release. Especially if I can kick a deathclaw into space.
A pretty common complaint, though no less valid for it, is about the addition of full voiceovers to the playable characters. I understand why Bethesda did it – to make dialogue seem more natural – but again, it’s something that contradicts the role-playing element. I’d be trying to act as Lord Theodore Montecroft Of Buckinghamshire, the swashbuckling British rogue with the rapier-sharp wit, but every time he opened his mouth I’d get some dull voice honking out instead, and the illusion would be shattered even more than it already was.
Perhaps this would be sorted in Fallout 5 if they went the route of Saints Row IV and gave you a bunch of voices to choose from, but quite frankly I think they should drop it altogether. They could never provide as much variation as they can in the character builder, and Fallout fans seemed happy before to just imagine the right voice speaking the lines. I don’t remember anybody asking for a voiced protagonist, but then again, maybe those people weren’t voiced yet and I couldn’t hear them. Oh, the irony.
KEEP IT CRAZY
Fallout was always at its best when it was flaunting the insanity angle, not trying to be serious, and we all know this. Liam Neeson sadly getting toasted with radiation was forgotten about pretty quickly, but you just try to keep Liberty Prime out of your mind, the giant communist-fighting robot that fired death rays from its eyes and threw nuclear bombs at things that weren’t completely for the American Way.
Basically, don’t try to double down on the emotional stuff, Bethesda. I’ve nothing against heartfelt moments, but that’s not what I come to a Fallout game for. I come for insane events in a radiation-blasted world, like a combination between Stubbs The Zombie and Tank Girl (let’s see who gets those obscure references). If I wanted to make myself depressed or emotionally vulnerable I’d go on Tinder and listen to the crickets chirping in my message inbox.
But there’s only one place I can go for semi-scientific lunacy – an LSD trip in a pharmaceutical research laboratory. Oh, also the Fallout series. So more of that in Fallout 5, yeah?