Monthly Archives: June 2015

Still catching up

I’m still catching up on the Fallout 4 news in bits and pieces. From what I’ve heard so far, there’s good and worrying.

November 10 release date is obviously great! Voiced protagonists… that I’m not sure about. I haven’t watched the conference video yet, and I’m assuming there are examples in there, so I’m going to reserve judgement until I’ve actually seen it.

The Collector’s Edition looks AWESOME. I’m hoping there will still be a copy available when I can afford it, although it’s not looking likely at this point.

I’ll post more when I’m more awake and have watched the video.

I’m back!

Finally somewhat recovered from my awesome weekend in L.A. with the Overkill crew. I had so much fun! I met a lot of the crew, who were all super nice and clearly love what they do. I also really enjoyed hanging out with the other winners and look forward to playing with them in the future.

I actually had dinner about 250 feet away from the Bethesda announcement, and I saw some awesome cosplay afterwards, too. (I wish I could have gotten a better picture, but my phone was running out of battery.)

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Saturday night was the party, which was a blast. I met a couple of the voice actors, who were very gracious and cheerfully let me take selfies with them. It was weird and awesome to hear Chains’ voice actor just talking; he’s my husband’s favorite character, so I hear the in-game voice lines a LOT. Dallas’ voice actor was really nice. I do wish we’d been able to hang out more with them, but the party was pretty loud and very busy.

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Sunday we had dinner with the head of the studio, the art director, and the music composer, which was fun. The head of the studio (I think he’s the head? His name is Almir) was very busy, which makes sense because they’ve got two booths at E3 and who knows how much other stuff going on, so he left right after dinner. We were at Dave and Buster’s, so we played some of the games and then went to see Jurassic World with the art director, Karl, and the composer, Simon. That was pretty fun, too. I also met the weapons guy, Pär, and he shared a tidbit about my favorite in-game gun. We had to leave really quickly, since our car was there, but I would have loved to stay and just hang out.

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Overall, it was a great experience and I really appreciate it. I would also highly recommend Payday 2; it’s a great game, especially to play with friends. There are a few things I would have changed about the weekend, but the main one was that it was so busy and over so fast! It would have been great to have more time to just talk to people. The other thing I wish was that I could have brought my friends, but even so, I had such a great time and made new friends, so I’m definitely not complaining!

I’ll be in LA next weekend…

Unfortunately, I won’t be at E3. But I will be doing video game stuff.

Back in March, my favorite co-op game, Payday 2, had a Spring Break event, and part of the event was the chance for 10 players to win a trip to LA to meet the developers if you entered on Twitter with a specific hashtag. Yesterday I got a message from their Twitter account saying that they wanted me to follow them so they could send me a message, with the same hashtag. Turns out, I won one of the trips!

Saturday night, they’re having a concert at House of Blues, and Sunday is dinner with the developers. I have to admit I’m both excited and nervous. I’ve never been to LA, and I’ll be pretty much on my own. I mean, I’m sure there will be handlers, but I have no idea what to expect. The concert is likely to feature the music of Simon Viklund, who composes all the music for the game; he’s very talented and it should be fun. But I tend toward social anxiety, so this is really taking me out of my comfort zone.

But as one of my friends pointed out, it’ll be an adventure!

More thoughts on Fallout 4

I intend to play some more Tale of Two Wastelands (a mod that combines FO3 and F:NV) today, but before that I wanted to mention that there are going to be some killer mods made for FO4. I have an idea for one already, although obviously it will require much more information as well as familiarity with the engine and learning how to mod.

Speaking of the engine, I suspect FO4 will have a new engine, or at least a significantly updated one. Even on Skyrim, the Creation engine was showing its age. (I have to admit I kind of hope they keep Havok physics, just because they’re /hilarious/.)

As excited as I am, I can’t pretend there won’t be bugs. Of course there will be. I also fully admit that pre-ordering is probably foolish, given that within a month the biggest bugs will (maybe) be patched, but I think anyone who has a game series that they love like this will understand. My husband plays Dark Souls, so he’s had the same thing happen; in fact, he pre-ordered DS2 for PS3 because it was only out on consoles for the first few months or so, then bought the game again when it came to PC, so at least I won’t have to do that!

I am immensely excited, obviously. On the one hand, I want time to go quickly until E3 so I can find out more! On the other hand, I kind of savor this time, where there are so many possibilities that letting imagination run wild is not only accepted, but expected. Soon enough, we’ll know more, and we’ll all have opinions on what we do know, some of them quite strong. I’m trying not to become entrenched in any of my positions, because whether or not I like what they reveal, like voiced protagonist or forced gender, my opinion won’t change what we’ll actually get.

Yes, forced gender for the main quest is one of the rumors going around. I can’t see that happening, since it’s a big departure from the other games, both Fallout and Bethesda as a whole. Obviously it’s a possibility, but it seems unlikely. Voiced protagonist is another rumor that seems unlikely to me, again because neither the Fallout series or other Bethesda RPGs have done that; the “blank slate” main character is a significant part of the story.

A rumor I hope /is/ true, and which seems like it easily could be, is an October release date, or at least a fourth quarter release date. Previous FO games have released in October, and the “20% off merch” code for pre-ordering on the Bethesda site expires October 31, 2015. Most of the non-FO Bethesda games, particularly RPGs, have released in fourth quarter, and it makes a lot more sense to release FO4 before the holiday (read: lots of money exchanging hands for goods!) season.

One of the things I’m sure will be in the game, however, is The Institute (and, of course, Replicants). I’m very curious how that will work; I keep thinking of the Decemberists song “When The War Came”. Although that’s obviously not about this war or MIT, I wonder if the people inside the Institute were put in a similar situation.

“We made our oath to Vavilov
We’d not betray the solanum
The acres of asteraceae
To our own pangs of starvation”

To explain:

There is a seed bank down in the basement of a stodgy, old Russian building that had not only Vavilov’s 220,000 seeds, but another 150,000 from other collectors. During the Siege of St. Petersburg in 1941 [also known as the siege of Leningrad], the staff locked themselves in the building. They didn’t know where Vavilov, their leader, was, but they were so dedicated to the mission that they shared to collect and conserve the world’s food diversity that they locked themselves in to protect the seeds both from the Nazis and from starving people in their own streets who wanted to find grain or potatoes of any kind and eat them.

Over a series of months in 1942 and 1943, a dozen of the scientists starved to death while guarding those seeds. One of them said it was hard to wake up, it was hard to get on your feet and put on your clothes in the morning, but no, it was not hard to protect the seeds once you had your wits about you. Saving those seeds for future generations and helping the world recover after war was more important than a single person’s comfort.

(Source: http://www.splendidtable.org/story/how-nikolay-vavilov-the-seed-collector-who-tried-to-end-famine-died-of-starvation)

So I’m curious how the Institute dealt with the privations of war. I’m assuming that they had their own Vault or other shelter, at least for the administrators and professors. It’ll be interesting to see.

Fallout 4!!! Some trailer analysis and impressions.

I’m sure by now most people who care have heard that Fallout 4 has been announced. There’s a trailer at http://fallout4.com, as well as preorder links. I wanted to talk about some of my impressions of the trailer, since that’s all we have as far as info at the moment.

I love the new song. “It’s All Over But The Crying” by the Ink Spots. Very appropriate. And welcome back, Ron Perlman! The flashback moments are interesting, and I hope we get to see more along those lines. Dogmeat is different; he’s not an Australian shepherd, but a German shepherd, and he doesn’t have heterochromia as far as I can tell. He’s clearly sniffing the ground, presumably looking for the PC, and when he noses the remains of the mobile, it’s so sad. The little touches of the Blast Radius game and the Nuka-Cola truck were nice, by the way. The flashback that shows the Vertibird is nice, and by the way, I really like that there’s more color so far. Much as I love Fallout 3, I had to get Fellout to get rid of the excess green. When the people run to the fallout shelter, there’s some soldiers in Brotherhood Power Armor, which makes me wonder when the split happened and how the Enclave got their armor, and why they look so different. I also noticed that there’s more variation in body types; I noticed a heavier-set woman and a very thin woman in the crowd there.

War never changes.

So we’ll be dealing with Vault 111 as well as the Institute, first mentioned in Fallout 3. I wonder why it looks like the Vault Dweller is coming /up/ out of the vault? Later on it does look like there’s a door that opens down, which is unusual. Then there’s the Bunker Hill monument; Old Ironsides retrofitted with rockets (?); the Memory Den, which I’ve seen speculation is related to the Replicants (also mentioned in Fallout 3 in the quest “The Replicated Man”), which looks a little like a scene from Blade Runner to me; the brief shot of the farmhouse built on the skeleton of a high-tension power line tower; and a shot that some people have said is mutants, and some have said is one mutant and one person in power armor, which isn’t too far-fetched given that Fawkes was one of the available companions in FO3. An unusually-designed and -colored Protectron — is this the new design? Looks like the background is a shipping harbor, which makes sense, but it also looks like there might be some brick buildings back there too.

A Mirelurk on the beach, and the background reminds me of a carnival but is more likely some sort of settlement. Dogmeat running under an overpass, with the Red Rocket gas station logo on the billboard. Yay, a Deathclaw. A Vertibird in front of satellite dishes. Ghouls who hate shopping carts and grocery stores as usual, but damn they move fast! They look different, too. Presumably Fenway Park, with the door that opens vertically and the baseball statue in front. An Eyebot in front of “Swatter’s Custom Baseball Bat Store” going by a really nice-looking settlement (given the setting), with “Diamond City Surplus”, “Power Noodles”, and “Chem-I-Care”, which are presumably stores. I notice the Swatter’s logo bat has nails pounded into it, and it looks like the guy out front is wearing a baseball uniform. The settlement appears to have plenty of power, since there’s neon-type signs and power lines going to several of the buildings. Looking at the background, this has to be either right outside or, more likely, inside Fenway, because I can see the banks of lights that are typical of baseball fields. It makes sense, because a semi-enclosed area would be more likely to have a high survival rate, and the businesses seem to be baseball-themed. Nice touch with the chem store being there.

An airship (!!!) over the statue of Paul Revere, and it looks like the buildings in this area are intact, which would be lovely… one of my favorite things to do is explore, and intact buildings means (at least in theory) more places to explore! Another Vertibird accompanying the airship, then a shot out the side of a Vertibird, again with the Red Rocket gas station logo and another person in Brotherhood Power Armor. I see ads for “Fallon’s” and “GNN”, so maybe we’ll get some more Three Dog. I’d like that, although I know not everyone liked him. Lots of seemingly intact buildings there, too… of course, Boston wouldn’t have gotten hit as hard or directly as DC, so it makes sense that the buildings are in better shape. Another building shot, and I think the shiny domed building is the legislature? (I know nothing about Boston, I picked up the earlier stuff from other people.)

Another shot of that weird vault door that opens up instead of in, and another flashback. On the other hand, it looks like there’s some larger luggage there, so maybe that’s how they got the bigger stuff down into the vault. There’s some sort of symbol on the door, something with spread wings, maybe an eagle? It’s hard to tell. No, the later shot shows for a split second that it just says “Vault 111”, right before the mushroom cloud. Hope all those people standing there have some RadAway. On the left there’s a woman with a baby, which could be the PC and his/her mother.

Dogmeat going by a different type of Nuka-Cola machine, into the garage. This Power Armor is interesting, as the leg is clearly being worked on, and the hands are gauntlets rather than gloves. I like the acknowledgement that Power Armor is HEAVY, as it’s hanging from the type of thing that is generally used to pull an engine out of a car. On the left, I also see a minigun, or at least its barrels, some ammo containers, a Vault-Boy Bobblehead, a laser rifle, and some assorted parts that could be mods for it. On the right, a Nuka-Cola poster and a comic book or magazine rack. I see a Guns ‘n’ Ammo, and possibly a Patriot’s Cookbook and a La Fantoma.

Outside, the Lone Wanderer walks up, and leaning on the chair is another type of (presumably) laser rifle, but it doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before. LW has a Pip-Boy, and the graphics here are really nice, although the arm bulges weirdly. I suppose that’s his elbow, but it doesn’t look right to me when he straightens his arm. The Pip-Boy looks like a slightly different model, with knobs on the right-hand side of the screen (if he holds his arm up in front of him) rather than the left. That vault suit is super-tight, though, and it doesn’t look right to me. We also get a glimpse of the /back/ of the Pip-Boy, which is a bit unusual. Interesting gun the LW is carrying. And… I’m really hoping the voiced line is just for show and doesn’t mean that the PC is going to be voiced. That would take a lot away from the game and make it less personal, which is something I’ve always loved about the series.

Several people have mentioned that the trailer looks like it’s engine-rendered. If that’s true, that means the in-game graphics will be comparable to the graphics in the trailer. I really hope so, even if it does mean I have to speed up construction on my gaming rig. There’s no release date yet, but based on past history, it’s likely to be in the fourth quarter of the year, anywhere from October to December. We’ll know more after E3, when Bethesda does their announcement on June 14. I’ll be watching, and probably will give my impressions on that as well.

So, that’s my quick analysis and a few impressions, now that I’ve started to breathe again after the announcement. What are your thoughts? Anything you particularly like or dislike about the trailer? Hopes for the game? There’s a lot we don’t know, but speculation is half the fun of waiting!

As the official site says… Welcome Home.