Back in 2008, Bethesda Softworks, the folks behind the hit Elder Scrolls games breathed new life into a beloved game series that was floundering a bit. With Fallout 3, they dragged what had traditionally been top-down tactical role-playing game into the third dimension, creating a first-person action RPG that let players explore the nuke-blasted post-apocalyptic wastes of Washington DC and its surroundings. While some long-time fans were at first irked by the changes, the game received tons of critical acclaim and soon even many of the naysayers were won over by the bleak, twisted, frequently hilarious world of Fallout 3. While Obsidian Entertainment released a follow-up in 2010, Fallout fans have been eagerly awaiting news about the inevitable Fallout 4, and now there are finally some concrete details, including a location: Boston.
The folks over at Kotaku broke the news, thanks to casting documents an anonymous source passed on to them. They confirm that Fallout 4 will be set in Boston and its environs, and that it will, as has been rumored for a while now, include at least one mission involving the so-called “Institute,” the Fallout future’s version of MIT. Boston is part of the Commonwealth, which makes up former Massachusetts, and which has been referenced repeatedly in earlier games. Fallout 3, for instance, included a quest chain involving an android who had escaped the Institute and altered his appearance to go into hiding as a presumed human.
Below you can read a script page from the Kotaku documents which describes the game’s introductory sequence, including the iconic phrase that always accompanies the games’ openings: “War. War never changes…”
While that page is interesting for the hints it provides about the game’s setup and setting, it also includes a potentially even bigger reveal. Traditionally the Fallout games’ protagonists have remained silent. They “speak” via text that the player selects for them to say, but their voice is never actually heard saying it. This accommodates the fact that the player is allowed to choose the gender and other details of their character. Yet this opening sequence would seem to take the place of the “War never changes” monologue traditionally delivered by actor Ron Perlman. As such, it will almost certainly involve actual spoken dialogue, which would seem to suggest that the Fallout 4 protagonist will finally have a voice.
The silent, text-only protagonist is a relic of old-school gaming, so if true it’s not surprising to see Bethesda making that change. And it could still allow the player to choose many details of their character. I can see it following in the footsteps of BioWare’s Mass Effect series, which recorded all of protagonist Commander Shepard’s dialogue with two different actors: one for a male Shepard, one for a female. Given that the game will inevitably be targeting the recently released next-gen consoles, as well as PC, all that extra dialogue won’t be nearly as much of a space issue as it would have been on earlier systems.
You can see another page from the documents over at Kotaku, but here are a few more details about what we can expect in Fallout 4:
The casting documents describe some of the other characters in the next Fallout’s wasteland, like a radio DJ named Travis Miles and an engineer named Sturges who is described as ‘a cross between Buddy Holly and Vin Diesel.’ Casting calls for both the male and female versions of the player character note that the player begins the game in a cryogenic sleep chamber.
There has been no official announcement about when Fallout 4 will be released, but I’d expect it to have a big presence at next summer’s E3, so stay tuned.