If you’d like to skip right to the trailer for Fallout 76, scroll to the end of this article. If not, take a short walk with me.
HTR Plays An RPG
There’s a particular set of traits a person needs in order to enjoy turn-based combat. I purchased an Xbox and a copy of Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR) thinking that I was going to enjoy fucking shit up with a custom-made lightsaber.
I was fresh off playing Grand Theft Auto III and I was beyond stoked to play KotOR. Third-person combat with a lightsaber! I was brought back down to Earth in a hurry when I discovered that:
- My character didn’t start the game as a Jedi or Sith badass;
- My character started the game almost naked, getting shot at;
- Turn-based combat was the stupidest game element I had ever encountered.
I simply didn’t have the patience nor the understanding necessary to grasp what the game expected of me. I went out drinking instead.
Long story short, I ended up taking the time to understand the combat elements and I now count that game as my all-time favorite. A nice side-effect was that I spent so much time playing the game that I stopped drinking as much, saved a bunch of money, and bought a house.
It was a strange introduction to Role-Playing Games (RPG) but I was hooked for life.
Falling In Love
Fast forward a few years and I had purchased an Xbox 360 and a copy of Fallout 3. Unlike with KotOR, I had no clue what Fallout was about. I only knew that it was an RPG and I liked the picture on the cover.
Again, long story short, I was stunned by the game’s content, design, lore, and especially the combat system, which was not fully turn-based but real-time with a little pause built in.
I was in love, forever.
Briefly, the Fallout games that I have played employ real-time combat but add a bit of skill and luck to each encounter with a system called V.A.T.S.
I won’t explain what V.A.T.S. is because it involves game lore, but suffice to say that it’s a targeting system that doesn’t stop combat, just slows it down to allow the player to make quick decisions about where to strike, the percent chance to hit, and the associated damage, all based on the player’s available, renewable action points (AP) and the enemy strength. Full gauge of points? Your choice on how many times to strike. Low on points? Shoot from the hip.
If the player doesn’t want to use this system, the game allows for such and shooting from the hip or using them good ol’ iron sights Call of Duty style is possible. However, V.A.T.S. is always fun because on kill shots it plays a brief animation of the final hit:
October 23, 2077: The Day America Fell To Atomic War
This date is the birth of the Fallout game lore. Briefly described, after the discovery of atomic power, the world’s super powers began harnessing it for use in everything from family vehicles to military transports. Robotics and genetic science were advanced to incredible levels. Mass entertainment was reaching Roman Empire levels of gluttony and spectacle, and everyday life was mostly grand and fulfilling.
This all ended on October 23, 2077, as the United States and China launched nuclear weapons against each other, with other countries following suit with their own arsenals.
The deadly final exchange was the end result of a war over natural resources.
In the aftermath, the Earth and its remaining population were forever altered. Humans that survived the nuclear blasts and ensuing fallout were transformed into hideous shadows of their former selves, actually living off of the radiation but cursed to a life that would almost always end in madness.
Animals and plants, if not completely wiped out, were likewise transformed into grotesque replicas of their former biology. Fruits and vegetables had strange new colors and forms, and animals became overgrown, undernourished, and deadlier than ever.
The lone hope for humanity’s former way of life would come from under the ground.
Massive vaults had been built across America in preparation for nuclear war, buried deep under the Earth’s surface and sealed shut against nuclear blasts, radiation, and outsiders. Self-sufficient for resources, these vaults housed families, scientists, administrators, pets, and relics of America’s way of life.
But just when it seemed like humanity might be on the road to rebuilding, from within some of the vaults themselves would emerge destructive forces that could end the human race forever.
Following here is a look at the main games in the series and the timeline.
2161 AD: Fallout
I have never played this game. Debuting for play on the PC, Fallout was even then steeped in the lore that would define the series’ future installments.
A single person from one of the vaults is released into the Wasteland of Earth, on a quest to save his people. What the person encounters is a world transformed and still rapidly transforming.
When the main boss of the game looks like this, how can you go wrong?
2241 AD: Fallout 2
I have likewise never played this game, nor do I know much about it other than that it’s a direct sequel based on the descendants of the main character from the previous game. I wish I could tell you more about it. Go look it up on Wikipedia.
2277 AD: Fallout 3
I played this game probably more than was healthy for me. I passed up a lot of pussy so that I could continue playing this game. That is how damn good this title is.
It’s epic storytelling, pure and simple, with the player ability to direct the outcome into peace or genocide. It’s also very cinematic, in terms of the player’s ability to experience the game in a unique way that speaks to the heart. Maybe that’s a little bit of hyperbole but I’m serious. It’s that good. It’s my favorite title in the series.
A vault dweller is released into the Wasteland to begin a search for their missing father, who is voiced by none other than Liam Neeson. The main quest is engrossing and the myriad side quests are likewise brilliant.
I won’t spoil anything in case you haven’t played it but my advice is to go play it right now.
2281 AD: Fallout: New Vegas
Another triumph for the series, and from what I heard from fans of the first two games, a return to form for the series. I don’t know why they say that and, truth be told, I don’t really care. All I know is that I felt initially like the game wasn’t as good as Fallout 3.
The look of the game bothered me. The colors seemed off, the face animation was a bit jarring, and elements of the game seemed slightly off. Yet, much like KotOR, it grew on me and I ended up falling for it and its ending.
This game is a bit unique in that it doesn’t begin with a vault dweller emerging into the Wasteland. The player takes on the role of a courier, already semi-experienced in the ways of life in a post-apocalyptic land, and, as the title implies, you get to see what Las Vegas has become. It’s brilliant and engrossing stuff.
2287 AD: Fallout 4
Yet another smashing triumph for the series, as the new title improves on animation, lore, and player abilities.
A cryogenically frozen vault dweller emerges into the Wasteland to begin a search for their infant son and the scum that murdered their spouse. Epic adventure ensues and a new threat to humanity emerges from under the surface of the Earth from an unexpected source.
Most importantly, Fallout 4 also adds the ability to craft settlements using pre-fab building blocks. Players can then construct housing, farms, clinics, trading posts (all of which function and earn income for the player) and many other structures that will then need to be periodically defended against AI attackers. Settlers inside the player-owned settlements must also be cared for and kept happy.
I was stunned at this feature, and if I thought I played Fallout 3 too much, I had no fucking idea. I’ve been playing Fallout 4 since its release day, I played it last night, and I am still nowhere near completing the main quest. It’s just too damn much fun. See below for a pictorial update on the settlement I built that I’m most proud of.
Return To The Past, 2102 AD: Fallout 76
Here is the trailer for the forthcoming title:
Early word on this title has me concerned, as it appears to drop the single-player experience in favor of online co-op play and settlement building. We shall see.
Stay tuned to FilmGoblin for updates on Fallout 76 in this article and thanks for reading!
Adios, amigos y amiguitas!
Behold, the gameplay reveal trailer from E3. Todd Howard of Bethesda revealed that the game area is four times the size of the map for Fallout 4!
Additionally, Howard revealed that:
- The game is entirely online.
- The game is set in West Virginia, USA, twenty-five years after the day the bombs fell.
- If you know game lore: somehow the game involves Super Mutants.
- It will be entirely possible to play the entire game solo, as with any traditional RPG.
- The best way to complete the game is by playing co-op with friends.
- You may drop in and out of co-op play at any time, bringing all of your progress with you.
- Base building takes on a new dimension, as the game introduces the C.A.M.P. feature, which allows settlement construction anywhere on the map, with the ability to move that settlement at will.
What A Piece Of Junk!
Here’s a settlement I built at a game location called Starlight Drive In. As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of the Original Star Wars Trilogy. Sorry for the picture quality.