I consider myself an enthusiast in video game storytelling. I cherish the narrative in games like Mass Effect, and Telltale Games’ multiple series, where player choice and dialogue is a meaningful and crucial element to everyone’s individual experience. However after recently (finally) getting the platinum trophy for Skyrim this year, I can admit I was a bit tepid about how the story would unfold in Bethesda’s latest in the Fallout series. Thankfully after this E3, I can rest assured that Fallout 4 is on track to overcome my worries.
Previously, I’d felt Bethesda’s previous character interactions in their Elder Scrolls and Fallout series had felt flat. Simply having the other character look you straight on with dead eyes as you went through a checklist of dialogue felt much more mechanical and dry. The camera was static, and your character generally didn’t have much of a personality. After the hundreds of hours these games can span, the dialogue scenes can grow very uninteresting by the end. It just didn’t seem to fit the grand, exciting worlds that these games inhibit.
Luckily Fallout 4 seems to be taking a page from the dialogue interactions present in recent games like The Witcher and Mass Effect. With your character actually having a voice, no longer will the Wastelander feel like an empty avatar for your actions. For once we can actually grow sympathetically invested in the character’s story and their plights through the Wasteland. This is only bolstered by playing through the early game before the nuclear apocalypse, where we can now have some context for the devastation that grips the world, and players can further identify with this character as one who was ripped from a time of peace and must deal with a now hostile world.
The dialogue interactions now feel much more cinematic, with a third person camera cycling between various shots that feels much more natural and visually interesting than the older fixed camera. You’re also now presented with a dialogue system that looks very similar to those present in games like Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. This seems to allow for a much more organic flow to dialogue, rather than the previously mentioned checklist-like format. Rather than simply wringing information out of characters before moving on, I’m excited to see how far this format for character interaction will go, and if it’s truly able to produce wildly different outcomes based on your choices. As mentioned in the Bethesda conference, characters will also be able to simply walk away or even incite violence during these scenes, so player freedom is the highest it’s ever been.
Ultimately this may seem like a very minor upgrade when compared to weapon customization and base building mechanics, but It’s one that I feel Is most pivotal in allowing the game to surpass the last two in the series. I’m hopeful that this amazing and thrilling world that Bethesda has created will now be able to deliver an emotionally investing story worthy of its immense scale.
With E3 2015 in full motion, we still have plenty left to say about everything happening down in LA. For more opinions on the gaming world, stay updated @ButtonMasherTO.