If there’s one game that role-playing fans have been anticipating at this E3, it’s unequivocally Fallout 4. Sequel to the mind-bendingly successful Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4 takes the player to the outskirts of Boston, just before the bombs fall. Here, players experience life in the Fallout universe’s idyllic take on a science-fictional 1950’s America, complete with robotic butlers, fallout-shelter salesmen and, of course, a comprehensive character-creation system that lets players sculpt every detail of their characters’ look. The system is so robust that developers Bethesda Games Studios used it themselves to create Fallout 4’s many NPCs.
Eventually, the bombs do rain down on Boston and, in classic Fallout style, your character takes shelter in one of the game’s iconic Vaults (Vault 111, to be exact). Going into some sort of cryo sleep, your character wakes up a full 200 years later to a world completely changed. Strapping on a nearby Pip-Boy (a revised version for Fallout 4 makes navigating your stats and inventory quicker and simpler, and comes with a second-screen experience for your smartphone), your character heads out into the wasteland.
Soon, of course, you find that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Your old robotic butler, Codsworth, is still at the ruins of your old house – and boy is he glad to see you. You’ll also run into a canine companion: Your dog, Dogmeat, can be given orders to interact with the world in various ways, from attacking bad guys to just bringing you a hard-to-reach adjustable wrench.
And you might need to use that wrench a lot more than you’re expecting in Fallout 4, as crafting (and disassembly) is a big part of the game’s new ethos. With more than 50 basic weapon types and more than 700 augmentations and customizations for them, Fallout 4 is a modder’s paradise. There’s almost no limit to the kinds of weapons you can make – and you’ll need them when you face off against the series’ hallmark baddies: radscorpions, deathclaws, and, of course, super-mutants. For a much closer look at these systems, take a look at the walkthrough below with Bethesda’s Todd Howard.
But crafting isn’t just about combat. You can take apart just about anything you see in the world, and use its parts to build other things, including structures, furniture, and fixtures. Eventually, if you like, you can build up an entire town’s worth of structures, and people will come to populate it. Traders, with some of the game’s best goods, will be among them, as will non-player characters of all types. Heck, you can even run cattle trains among your towns for extra money and supplies, if you want. But beware: The towns are vulnerable to raids by bandits and hungry wasteland creatures, so you’ll want to provide for their defense as well, by building turrets, walls, and weapons for your citizens.
Of course, if you’d prefer to do the skull-cracking yourself, Fallout 4 has your back. A revamped combat system allows players to engage enemies in any manner they choose: first-person, third-person, or using the game’s V.A.T.S. strategic targeting system. Players can shift seamlessly between systems, and may choose different ones depending on which weapon type they’re fighting with. And then there’s the customizable power armor – complete with jump jets this time around – for when you absolutely, positively need to kill every mutant in the room.
Bethesda didn’t get much into Fallout 4’s storyline at E3 2015, but being set in Boston, we wouldn’t be surprised if there were a Redcoats vs. Patriots deal going on (and we don’t mean the football team). At the very least, Fallout 4 will be the biggest Fallout yet, providing players with a massive, living game world to delve into, and plenty of stories of their own to discover and create as they make their way through it.
Sound intriguing? You won’t have to wait long to satisfy your curiosity: Fallout 4 hits Xbox One on November 10.