Fallout over Fallout 4

It finally happened – Fallout 4 is confirmed, and it even has an established release date of November 10th, 2015! I was so very excited for this moment, but with this long-awaited announcement, we also see the first of many negative comments popping up in threads, Facebook walls, Twitter feeds, etc. It is my own fault, of course, for assuming people commenting on this announcement at this early stage of the game – before they have even had a chance to play it – would have nothing but feelings of excitement to share.

After a few moments of digging into Twitter and Facebook comment threads, I instantly felt deflated. Could my faith in Bethesda really be that misplaced? I have spent the last several years anticipating the announcement of the next chapter of this beloved franchise, and all that excitement was taken away, although briefly, by a handful of people who obviously do not have the same level of adoration I have for the predecessor, Fallout 3. I do not expect everyone to love the same games I do, but it would be nice to see a well-thought-out critique, rather than vehement criticism. Yes, there were bugs in Fallout 3, but any game that ambitious is going to have some flaws. As someone who spent over 300 hours in the Capital Wasteland, it stings a bit to see others tearing the game apart, even seven years later, and it stings even more to have those same wounds torn open by people who are now set on ripping apart Fallout 4.

I have to ask myself what these commenters get out of tearing apart a game that is so new, at least to the public eye. Sure, there are those people who need to disagree with popular opinion just for the sake of being contrary, but there is another group of people who feel the need to spew venom and spread hate. Both groups of people never seem to have any constructive criticism to offer – they are the types who just want to watch the world burn.

Many of the early negative comments related to a much more brightly colored landscape than the one our previous Lone Wanderer experienced. I must say, this added pigmentation is something that excited me. As much as I enjoyed Fallout 3, the five or six shades of gray used to color the environment, with some blood occasionally splattered about for good measure, grew boring somewhere near the 100 hour mark. I kept playing the game despite this because I felt it was an overall good game worthy of my time and attention. As for other criticisms, a prominent one is an upset over Dogmeat’s pedigree. In previous games, the faithful companion has been a black and white mutt, perhaps with some German Shepard or Husky heritage. The revamped Dogmeat seen in the Fallout 4 trailer is clearly a purebred German Shepard, which apparently raised a few hackles on the internet. Fallout 3 gave the player a great deal of control over the appearance of his or her Vault Dweller, and Fallout 4 seems poised to give the player even more control over this aesthetic, so why not give the player the same level of control over the dog? We can only speculate why Bethesda made this decision, but no matter the reason for locking Dogmeat into a single mold, he is still one of the best aspects of the franchise to carry over from game to game.

After seeing the E3 footage of Fallout 4, as shown by Todd Howard, I am more excited than ever for this new chapter in my post-apocalyptic virtual experience. I am thrilled to see the new complexity of character creation, the vividly colorful environment, the inter-connectivity with a second screen, the glimpse into pre-war life, and the ability to use all the junk from around the world to build an entirely unique settlement. Bethesda has always provided worlds filled with great attention to detail, and Fallout 4 does not look like it is going to disappoint in this respect either, especially if the player is given the level of freedom to build and create that was shown in the trailer. So far, I have seen nothing to dissuade my enthusiasm for Fallout 4, and part of me feels sorry for those who are already writing if off as a garbage game before playing it.

As lovers of the franchise know well, war never changes, and apparently, neither does hate; so the best we can do is play the games we like simply become we like them and ignore any comments that do not lead to a productive discussion of what could be done better the next time around. Let’s go, pal – we have an amazing game waiting for us to play in less than five months!

Featured image courtesy of Bethesda and Kotaku.

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