A lot of stuff has happened since Bethesda released Fallout 3 back in 2008, and some of that has affected the development of the sequel. In videos recently posted to Bethesda’s YouTube channel, game director Todd Howard talked a bit about just what those influences were.
Crafting games like Minecraft have become huge in the last five years. Howard talked at length about the game’s crafting system and called out Minecraft as being a pretty obvious inspiration. The team has tried to make as many elements of Fallout 4 into systems as they can, so that players can get invested in what they’re doing. The crafting system lets players customize just about everything about their character. Since it uses components pulled from objects in the game, it also helps ensure that nothing in the game world feels useless.
This, says Howard, has had an interesting side effect. The team would normally be spending a lot of time right now balancing the economy of the world to keep players from exploiting it and becoming overpowered too early into the game. Now that everything has a use, though, that doesn’t seem to be nearly as big a problem. Players are keeping what they find and selling much less of it because everything has a purpose, and those exploits just aren’t popping up.
Another influence has come not from another game but from another studio.
Bethesda isn’t just the Fallout/Elder Scrolls team anymore – studios like DOOMdeveloper id Software (as well as Arkane Studios and Tango Gameworks) are in-house studios now, as well. Howard didn’t put that synergy to waste.
“Since id Software is part of our company, the first thing we did was call them. [We said] ‘alright, we’re going to do this from scratch, give us some tips.’” The result, he says, is that Fallout 4 “does feel like a modern shooter,” and that the team didn’t want to make any excuses for the quality of the action just because it’s a role-playing game – role-playing systems can be layered on top of solid shooting.
Fallout is all about player freedom, and this looks to be another way the team is trying to provide that to players. The pause-and-shoot VATS system is a good carryover from the original Fallout titles, but it felt like a crutch at times. This time I’m hoping it’ll feel less like a necessity and more like an optional tool.
Fallout 4 hits PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 10.