Feature Article

What We'd Like to See in the Next Fallout

War... war must change.

"It's just Oblivion with guns."

So claimed the cynics regarding Fallout 3 around its release date, leading me to believe that Fallout 4 might inspire cries of "it's just Skyrim with guns" upon its inevitable announcement. Of course, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas proved to be capable games in their own right, rather than just extensions of Elder Scrolls tropes. However, there's no denying the similarities between Bethesda's take on Fallout and the fantasy games they'd already created. The games share basic locomotion, standard interactions, and stiff animations, among other traits, and The Elder Scrolls Online proves once and for all that these trademark Bethesda elements aren't aging all that well, and that it's time for the developer to drag the Brotherhood of Steel into a new generation.

An Identity of its Own

And thus what I want most of all is for Fallout 4 to be its own unique entity, with vague ties, if any, to Elder Scrolls mechanics and structure. The nostalgic Fallout fan in me longs for isometric exploration and turn-based strategic combat, but I believe that the console-driven world in which we live precludes the possibility. Therefore, Bethesda needs to do all it can to make Fallout look and feel different from its other famous series. A good place to start is with combat: Fallout 3 and New Vegas allowed for real-time shooting, but no one could accuse those games of feeling like actual shooters. There are two possibilities here, presuming Fallout 4 doesn't just copy its predecessors' combat. The first is to go full-on shooter and make gunplay (and swordplay) fluid and fun. To do so would either require the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System to be overhauled so that players couldn't just shoot their way through every encounter in real time (does anyone want Fallout to become Rage?), or require V.A.T.S. to be scrapped altogether, a prospect I don't relish. The second possibility is to remove real-time shooting and make Fallout 4's combat fully tactical.

It's a beautiful day for an apocalypse.
It's a beautiful day for an apocalypse.

Such a system could take many forms, but the one I envision would flip the world seamlessly from first-person to an overhead view as soon as combat begins. This kind of gameplay, in which real-time exploration transitions into turn-based action, is hardly new, but the transformation between camera views is an uncommon approach. Done properly, such a battle system could retain all the joys of exploring a postapocalyptic landscape through your character's own eyes, while making every battle a meaningful event. Maybe we could actually get a full-on adventuring party in the mix, but given how Bethesda can't even get a single companion to work properly, I won't hold out hope.

A Place to Call Home

Having lived in the Washington, D.C. area for years, I found Fallout 3's version of the nation's capital to be somewhat chilling, yet I felt that the loneliness of Fallout 2 had been lost in translation when the series made the jump to first-person. Fallout 3's ambient soundtrack was all right, but it didn't fit the game's annihilated Americana atmosphere, and there were too few period musical tracks to help set the mood. Whatever the setting (possibly Boston, given lingering rumors, though I'd love to see San Francisco or New Orleans as backdrops as well), this is Bethesda's chance to remind us that this is a world lost to time. Fallout: New Vegas did a fine job of incorporating regional themes and 1950s pop culture, and Fallout 3 deftly lampooned American nationalism with Liberty Prime, but Fallout 4 should go for broke. A New Orleans setting, for example, would allow Bethesda to fill the soundtrack with jazz and rhythm & blues while incorporating lingering racial conflicts and exploring French Quarter organized crime. Perhaps, too, we can see a world that's less brown and gray, and contrasts the color of the old world--turquoise refrigerators, bright red automobiles, ranch-style homes in pale yellow--with the burnt hues that signal nuclear decimation.

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Whatever the setting, I'd also love to explore a city built to scale. In Fallout 3, I could walk from the White House to Chevy Chase in a matter of minutes; imagine investigating the entirety of a Philadelphia chock full of mutants, monuments, and pre-nuclear secrets. Of course, bigger doesn't mean better, so I wouldn't want the vastness to come at the expense of mission density and exploration value.

Becoming a People Person

In a desolate world, your interactions with others can make or break your chances for success. Faction alignment is important, of course, and Fallout 3 provided some complexity in this regard, but in aligning with particular factions, I felt more like I was flipping switches than making friends and enemies. My emotional distance was primarily due to stoic characters and laborious dialogue, and while New Vegas improved in this regard, I rarely felt connections to these games' awkward approximations of sentient beings. In Fallout 4, I want to know people as people, and not just as gateways to missions. I want my companion to speak to me at length without having to engage him or her directly, and to comment on the various sights of the wastelands.

Alaska was a lovely diversion. Where else can Fallout go?
Alaska was a lovely diversion. Where else can Fallout go?

Emotional expression is key here. The writing should concern itself not with dumping backstory into my brain, but with characters' hopes, dreams, and aspirations. In a world where so many are just scraping by, I don't think the citizens would be much interested in divulging every little detail about their village. I want to see them speak naturally, as real people would, rather than in words more suited to a written form than a spoken one. I want actors to voice a single role so that they might fully inhabit their characters, and for those characters to display a full range of emotions--emotions we can hear in the line delivery and see on the characters' faces.

Gameplay can help reinforce these kinds of interpersonal connections. I would love to be able to stop during my travels and make camp with my companion, pitching a tent and cooking up some grub before catching a few hours of rest. I would love to see possible romance subplots in the style of Mass Effect or Dragon Age, and have that romance affect the interactions I have with others. And should the combat take a more tactical approach, I would want to command my companion (or companions) during each turn, using skills that complement each other. For instance, my companion could ice up a mutant's arm with a freeze gun (a weapon that was scheduled to be included in Black Isle's unreleased Fallout 3, codenamed Van Buren) and I could swing my super sledge and smash it to smithereens.

Of course, my ideal Fallout 4 wishlist continues on for a hundred more pages, but my hopes hinge on the series' very identity. Scrap that Elder Scrolls presentation, bring the game to life with a completely new look and feel, and give the combat and characterizations an overhaul. The Fallout I want is one that asserts its uniqueness, not one that uses a completely different series as a template.

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Kevin VanOrd

Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play bass in Rock Band.
Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas

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Avatar image for Spunkermonkey

No one else wants another fallout tactics game? Maybe with some more factions thrown in.? Would love to see a fallout strategy game..

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I really hate it when writers and critics put Fallout 3 and New Vegas together when praising one of them. Seriously, one of them is a buggy but interesting 3D take on world of Fallout with decent dialogue and some fine humor while the other is the failed FPS project made by Bethesda.

Do NOT lump these 2 together. New Vegas at least TRIED to respect Fallout 1-2 along with their atmosphere, dialogues and choices. Fallout 3? Misguided attempt by people who mostly didn't understand a single thing about originals.

Avatar image for trog69

I speak only for myself, and the handful of fellow old, spazzy, gamers when I say that I much prefer that they keep the controls as they are. I have attempted to play The Witcher 2 a few times, but because the control setup doesn't give any clues as to how to use the various potion/sword combos, unless you play the immensely buggy trainer beginning, ( I admit it's been a while; did they ever fix the "Block" glitch, where if mess up you're stuck in there with no way to advance? That's where I quit trying and just started the main game instead, but of course I don't know how to do much of anything, so I've just stopped playing)

Anyway, as you can tell, I am not the gamer Bethesda is trying to please, certainly. From Morrowind to Skyrim, and both FPS Fallouts, I knew as soon as I started that I'd be comfortable with the controls, and could easily manipulate everything in the game, with almost no hand-holding.

Not to mention that we older gamers usually like the exploration at least as much as the combat, so the massive gameworlds are what makes me love to replay all of them to this day.(Presently playing Oblivion because I've never finished it; my "Media Center" PC had such a lame excuse for a GPU that it couldn't handle a certain end-game battle protecting a certain NPC, even at the lowest resolutions/graphics levels. Now, I'm enjoying a gtx 780-powered rig pushing 1440p res. so I really am enjoying the game, for the first time!)

Avatar image for velcroboy

Turn-based, Turn-based, Turn-based, Turn-based, Turn-based, Turn-based, Turn-based, Turn-based, Turn-based, Fruck your silly consoles.

Avatar image for Doctosh

I really don't like what Kevin VanOrd is trying to do with one of my fav series. Ok, the companion thing, yes. Totally agree. They should be smarter and more engaging. Leave my V.A.T.S. alone. I'm fine with improvements, but scrapping it would be a mistake. Make it smoother and more fluid. It's one of their signature things and it's fun to watch bullets slow-mo towards an enemy's cranium. I wish the level cap was higher. Give me a chance to get 2 or 3 more perks than I normally could. That is small potatoes, though. My point is that I believe the series is fine as it and his main problems with the game could actually be solved by the next-gen hardware. It's more capable of handling the emotions and personalities that he's looking for. It could also give him the visuals he hopes to see. I am hoping that Bethesda uses the new hardware to its max and we get a truly futuristic Fallout 4 experience.

Avatar image for soulcold

Last :(

Avatar image for Oggy1985

I want to see co-op so i can share the fun with friends in huge spaces of Fallout!

Avatar image for jg2004

Fallout games are really good how they are. I would like companions to work better, and for them to combine some of the aspects from both 3 and NV. Also the sound tracks are already amazing, though they could be expanded for the radio stations.

I also think this guy is confused. When people say it's Oblivion or Skyrim with guns. What they mean, if they aren't joking about it, is how you can roam around and explore a vast world while shooting and killing things. It isn't filled with high quality pre-rendered backgrounds like most shooters. This is something most shooters don't have. They may have large arenas more or less but that is about it. Some are exceptions but most aren't. Also people are talking about the story and some of the quests and such as well.

Most shooters have a story of some badass military guy fighting a war himself, and that is about it. Fallout actually has a lot happening in the game world. It also has quests that are different and interesting.

Also I kind of like using VATS you get some wonderful slow motion kill animations.

Avatar image for TommyT456

This article should be entitled "What I'd like to see in the next Fallout" because a lot of the ideas you have are things most Fallout fans would not agree with. It's like you are asking for a reboot of the series, I want very little to change, just improvements to what's already there as I love it as is.

Avatar image for daddiesbelike

Camping out anywhere would be awful. On my 9th or 10th playthrough of Fallout 3 I skipped Megaton and just roamed around. I had so much fun being a homeless drug addict searching for a place to sleep. It gave my game purpose and added to that sense of loneliness and desperation of the Capital Wasteland. I like playing til I can find a bed to sleep in.

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Avatar image for tinmann840

I am a big fan of Fallout 3 and New Vegas and I agree the gunplay and hand to hand combat could be a little more fluid. I rarely use VATS so if they do away with that element I wouldn't miss it at all. I think the new location should be in Orlando, Fl. The ruins of Disney's theme parks, Sea World and Universal Studio's would make a great post apocalyptic back drop. Plus not that far away you would have the ruins of NASA at Cape Kennedy. What does New Orleans have but Bourbon Street and the Bayou. Florida has the same critters as Louisiana plus more hazards. We have Alligators, Giant snake, poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders Lightning, Sharks, sinkholes, hurricanes, tornadoes, killer jellyfish, skunk apes, rednecks, Canadians. Hell it's like Fallout 4 down here already

Avatar image for shahdeewasahoe

"What We'd Like to See in the Next Fallout" Dude, It should've been what Kevin VanBald likes to ramble about next Fallout. "We" is a plural pronoun and refers to gamers, to people with different tastes. It's so dumb and annoying to generalize like this.

Avatar image for rickyshand

COMPLETELY disagree. Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas DO have their own unique entity which needs not to be changed on a basic level. And their blend of real time vs. tactical combat works perfectly well and needs no step back (!) to boring overhead view. Yeach!

What needs improvement indeed are the rather poor graphics 3 and New Vegas both shared. Plus details like the Pip Boy should get an overhaul. But otherwise changing something deeply satisfying just for the sake of changing it is absolutely stupid and I hope Bethesda will not listen to that bullshit.

Avatar image for TommyT456

@rickyshand I left a similar comment further down and completely agree with you. I don't mind them adding things but don't take things away or replace beloved aspects of the game. New Vegas added things and for the most part they were good ideas and nice advancements to the formula. But it didn't 'change' anything as such. All the things we loved about 3 were still there except maybe the more personal story which worked better and got you more invested in Fallout 3.

And as you said Fallout clearly runs on a similar engine to Elder Scrolls but feels very different. They are apples and oranges in my opinion. It doesn't need to be overhauled to feel different to ES, it's already a completely different game.

If anything I'd also prefer no companions at all. Or at least only having them occasionally. Fallout suits being alone and making your own way in the screwed up world. It's not Uncharted, and it's not a squad shooter. I enjoy the game more when I'm alone, it adds to the already excellent atmosphere.

Avatar image for TommyT456

Plus it felt like Kevin was dissing the soundtrack at some point in this article (I forget exactly as I was tired when I read it) but if he was that's ridiculous. Fallout 3 and New Vegas both had 2 of the best and most fitting soundtracks ever in a game. Every song takes me back in a hugely nostalgic way and they all add to the atmosphere in a perfect way.

Avatar image for starcrafthenry

I agree that New Orleans would be a cool setting. I also agree that it would be nice if companions interacted more often without me prompting them.

Other than those two things, I disagree with everything else in the article. I like the format of the game, and don't care that it copies The Elder Scrolls formula. I don't want the combat to change. Mostly, I buy these games for the immersion, for the story. I put at least a hundred hours into each of the last two, and at least another hundred into Skyrim.

TLDR: Keep the gameplay/format the same, but change the setting and give me more lore, and I'll be a happy camper.

Avatar image for liquidbutter

Just deliver all the lore through voice acted characters instead of computer text. If I wanted to read that much I'd pick up a book.

Avatar image for PixelAddict

Agreed with all of the above!

And I feel the need to state: single player is GREAT, especially in such a desolate waste land...please don't make it Fallout Online. Please no.

Avatar image for bigruss730

When this comes out I will consider upgrading my 360 to a PS4 or Xbox one.........

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Playing Fallout without mods is like living in a world without fun.

Avatar image for VoidSECT

Better animations and less bugs, that's all i want !

Avatar image for Ironmike62

What if VATS worked like a timed auto-aim? Keep the momentary pause to set VATS, and use Action Points to adjust the period of time it's affecting aim. After that brief moment, you go on shooting like a shooter, but VATS assists your aim on the specific body part you selected. Again, once your AP run(s) out, VATS requires a cool down just like in the previous game. This mode of combat would become even more tactical/strategic if ammo was scarce (like Bioshock). The downside, though, is how this would work for melee approaches.

It'd be a nice compromise if they allowed two modes of playing: tactical (like F1,F2, and Tactics) or FPS (like F3 & NV). If they (Zenimax, Bethesda, etc.) spent so long on TESO, why not spend the time to make both options available in F4? Then everyone could be happy.

Finally, heighten the moral ambiguity more. F3 was (IMO) too dichotomous--good or evil. The decisions hardly weighed on you that much, and could easily be deciphered as good or bad. With that said, too much ambiguity might ruin the true trademark of Fallout--dark humor. Certainly, it's no easy thing to stage a decision as a Catch 22 but also slightly funny (in a dark and twisted way).

Avatar image for GyroGate

Oh, and 'The Legion' for New Vegas was a pretty cheap copy-pasta of the Elder Scrolls. The Romans aren't in the scene, nor are they particularly cool or awesome. They look cheap and silly.

What made Fallout 2 astonishing, at least for me, was the Enclave. The remnants of the U.S. Government with a sinister and devious plan on what to do with the "new" world. I don't want to fight alongside NCR, I hate the NCR and I hate the Legion. NCR killed Cassidy back in the day, and I'll never forgive them.

I for once would like to actually be a brigand, a robber, a kidnapper, waylayer, bandit or highway brute. A non black/white character but a mix, a shade of gray - a person who does what he can to survive without some silly baggage hanging over him. I'd like to ambush travelers on the road, and get fun encounters out of it.

What I don't want is 6000 charactes all voiced by the same people, and copy-pasta encounters like in Skyrim, where you meet 500 prisoners escorted by legionaires, and when you arm the person he just runs off. End of scene.

It sure is nice that they can make so much space to explore, with seemingly as little content to fill it as possible,

Avatar image for chuckles471

@GyroGate Sorry, caesar's legion was from the cancelled Fallout 3 game. It wasn't copy paste it was an idea years in the making.

Avatar image for GyroGate

<< LINK REMOVED >> Still, it was a terrible idea and should have been left behind.

Avatar image for GyroGate

Why base the combat on the one or the other? Why not give us the ability to pick the style we prefer? I myself would like to actually kill other characters with a headshot regardless of weapon, as would be realistic and rather go with a more traditional shooter-like approach. Pad the heavies with melee weapons up with whatever armor they can find to make them harder to one-shot, but make it realistic. Just make sure to give me the ability to get into cover as well as available armor I can get my hands on to survive if I ever want to play post-apocalyptic-knight-man.

Then you could just "flip a switch" if you want to play traditional VATS-style with enemies having "HP" instead.

To be honest, I'm getting so sick and tired of shooting people repeatedly, both in Skyrim and Fallout, in the face with crossbows or shotguns, before they finally fall over. It really KILLS the immersion, seriously.

Avatar image for barakz0r

What I would like to see from fallout4 is a release date,

Avatar image for jackrg

honestly a game like this would do well with a cover system ,not quite like Gears of War but it should take a few ques from it,also the weapon list from New Vegas (after all Dlcs and Expansions )would be a good place to start for weapon variety .

And Most of all they NEED to quit using the same engine they've been using since the dawn of time ,it doesn't matter how much you rewrite it it's still too limited they either need to A.build a whole new engine from the ground up with no traces of the previous ones or B.use something like the Snowdrop engine or Unreal 4 hell I don't care pick one there are a ton of better engines than what they're using.

Avatar image for TheExxorcist

1080p 60fps.

That's a good start...Oh wait, This isn't exclusive title is it?

-Better animations


-screen shots

-release date

-a pack that comes with Fallout 3 and New Vegas remastered

Avatar image for jfmorris

My wishlist for Fallout 4:

1. Announce and date the motherfucking game.

Avatar image for Xenro4

The 3 main things I see as problems with Fallout (from my experience in Fallout 3 and NV)

+ I know the game is called "Fallout", but the environment still felt drab. If you're gonna make the environment 1 color, you better make the rest of the game perfect.

+The clunky, stiff animations. The characters need to feel more weighty and real.

+ The combat didn't feel as seamless as I would have liked. When developers choose this middle ground between turn-based and active combat, as a character you are constantly stop-and-go and that is slightly annoying. Also, about 95% of the time I found myself just aiming at their head with VATS and that felt too easy. (especially aboard the mothership dlc)

Avatar image for Matchews

Better 3rd person animations and camera. The Fallout series have the worst character animations out of all the games I own and the 3rd person camera is God awful. Great game play and storyline but those two features are where the Fallout games have always fallen short.

Avatar image for hollowcaused

Vehicles that are created, modded and driven by you, an ally or enemy. (with mountable gun of course!)
More AI personalities, especially in combat, so combat stays diversive.

More monsters, mutations and factions.

More paths to take, and a better action-reaction system when making decisions. (also more options for making decisions!)
New power armors, weapons, and anything crafting-related.
The possibility to change the storyline dramatically, for example you manage to make peace between 2 factions which originally wasn't going to happen.
A way to craft weapons with mutliple guns on them.
I would like to see Europe, as most likely, the fight would still be there. USA and China were nuked, but nothing is said about the in-between, and most likely some of the nuclear damage may have taken it's toll there, but mostly the remaining armies of China and USA would have fled there to take control of the last place that would have habitable life and areas. Also, this would mean a significant amount of wildlife in that area.
More stimulants. More kinds of foods/beverages.
The possibility to own properties in the wasteland, and to own a well-earning business amongst populated towns and cities, as a positive example. A negativ example would be slavery, selling out people to authorities (Enclave?), and destroying places.
A save load that will import your character with better graphics, and also the advantages/consequences in the choices you made in Fallout 3 and New Vegas.
Tamed Deathclaws that you can ride.
A way more advanced Pip-Boy.
More dialogues, more interactions, and more 18+ please.


Avatar image for NekkiBasara2045

<< LINK REMOVED >> I agreee with the other setting idea, even as DLC, I'd love to see what happened to the rest of the planet

Avatar image for TheExxorcist

We already played Rage

Avatar image for Fire_Wa11

I think I speak for everyone when I say in Fallout 4 I would like to see:

1.) Driveable vehicles.

2.) Errol Morris's Interrotron (...sounds Fallout-y. Don't you think?)

3.) And the scavenging and scrounging ramped up to "scrouvenging" levels.

Avatar image for suppaphly42

it sounds to me that Kevin wants the game to be made by bioware and not beth and who ever. i myself have only played fallout 3 and NV so i don't know how good the early ones were. to me there is nothing wrong with copying a really good model of a game like TES and making the fallout games in that image. IMO they have changed it enough that it is not all that similar.

some of the changes that kevin is suggesting are not what the new game needs a turn based combat would be a step backwards. going full FPS would also kill this game as some of us like to play IN THE THIRD PERSON . switching from exploration to turn based or some kind of top down tactical combat i think would kill the immersion and make you unsure of just what your playing but that is just me.

now as for the good i think nail on the head with the new Orleans setting as that place has some of the most unique culture in the USA and some of the most colourfull music especially from the fifties. so i agree it would be a cool place to walk around killing things and because of the nature in the bayou i can see a bunch of new creatures being in a game that takes place from there. i think Boston is to close to D.C. so it would be very similar to fallout 3 at least in what kind of monsters would be around.

i also agree that the game should be bigger and any comments about the next gen consoles will make it a likely hood is just stupid as both tes 4 and 5 were massive and on last gen tech and 3 was massive and on even older tech so its more likely it has to do with time allotted to make the thing . i also would like to see better char inter action so we will see

Avatar image for Jasper_73

<< LINK REMOVED >> I agree with everything you said. I never played the first two fallouts, but I did play other turned based games. I neither want or feel any need to go back to that style of gameplay. I like the way they did it in Fallout 3. The VATS system is great and I hope they continue to use that. It would be nice if they could improve the interactions with npc's. More conversational choice and a reputation system that allows you to roleplay, and have the npc's and world react, and change depending on the role you play.

Avatar image for migrib

"The nostalgic Fallout fan in me longs for isometric exploration and turn-based strategic combat, but I believe that the console-driven world in which we live precludes the possibility." So then...go play Wasteland 2 or any of the other two million so-called RPGs being dumped into existence by way of Kickstarter. Fallout came out of the tactical combat isometric closet - something that has it's roots in the way crappy role players played games like D&D, more like tactical combat board games than real role playing games - thanks to Fallout 3. It turned into an open world, first person view, action/aventure game, which is (probably) the best way to adapt the spirit of pen & paper RPGs to a computer version. In fact, when trying to play Fallout 1 and 2 I wondered where the hell (except the Fallout Bible) was that unmistakable Fallout spirit that I so cherished in the later games. It isn't there in Fallout 1 and 2, except in the intros narrated by Ron Perlam and in bits of text. You can't see it, you can't hear it, you can't feel it, you can only fantasy it. If you think you can you are leading yourself to believe in fairy tales. In computer games, unlike P&P RPGs, imagination shouldn't have to carry all the weight. The less weight it carries, the better, in fact. Until someone comes up with a best way to do it, there's no need fo r a big change. And no, the answer most definitely is NOT tactical combat in isometric perspective, that's just some silly notion in the minds of old nerds and young hipsters. Let Fallout alone, please!

Avatar image for DariusMKN

1 - Hardcore mode, updated and expanded. The last one (New Vegas) is good, but can be even better (and harder).

2 - A bazilion of Easter Eggs =)

3 - Better UI, Inventory and ally management.

4 - Don't make the game easier adding better quest trackers or helpers. Or turn it off in Hardcore mode.

Avatar image for mckruger

I think Fallout was total crap.

Avatar image for Boogy32

Very constructive.....

Avatar image for FretsOfDeath

I would absolutely cringe if they made it into an all out shooter. It was nice being able to just shoot when necessary, or choose VATS when you had more time.

Avatar image for georgekaplin197

<< LINK REMOVED >> YES!!!! I have so many "realistic" shooters. Fallout doesnt need to be another one!

Avatar image for FretsOfDeath

what is it with GS reviewers always wanting to change massively popular games such as GTA and Fallout, to that point that they wouldn't even be the same game anymore? shut up with all the changes and let them do what they do best.

don't change anything about Fallout!!! People love Fallout 3 and New Vegas just the way they were. GIve us the same style of game, fix all the bugs, improve the graphics and map size (which shouldn't be a problem now with next gen consoles) and give us a new setting to spend months exploring. I've heard rumors of vehicles being attainable in the new one...I pray to god there's not. If the new Fallout graphics and gameplay are even as smooth as Skyrim, I'll be happy. That will even be a massive improvement over the prior two games.

Avatar image for Boogy32

I love Fallout, but I do not love Fallout the way it is right now. Contradictions aside, I think It could be so much better, if Bethesda learned a few things from Bioware.
Bethesda does many things right, but ultimately, I have a hard time getting immersed in their games.

New Vegas was a step in the right direction, but it was made by Obsidian. I really hope Bethesda can get their act together.