My column this week is on the completely patronizing intro for Fallout 4. It doesn’t talk about anything we haven’t already seen in a trailer, it should be safe to read even for the spoiler-shy.
A more complete (and spoiler-heavy) overview of the intro follows:
At the start of the game, you’re cryogenically frozen in a vault, just as the bombs fall.
- You’re awakened just long enough to see a Bad Guy come in, steal your baby from another cryo-pod, and kill your spouse. This stuff is about as perfunctory as it can get.
- You wake up again sometime later, exit the vault, and run back to town where you meet your pre-war robo-butler, who has been hanging around the house unmolested for 200 years. Your new voiced character has very little to say about these events.
- You walk 100 yards and bump into dogmeat who instantly joins your party.
- You walk 200 yards and bump into the raiders attacking Preston Garvey.
- After killing the raiders, Preston instantly decides you’re such an awesome friend that he’s going to let you pilot the power armor they’ve found.
- Once you’ve killed the second wave of raiders, a deathclaw shows up.
So now you’re level 3 and wearing power armor and fighting a deathclaw and you have dogmeat and you have several new super-nice friends. (And a couple of grouchy but harmless friends.) You’re on a shallow and completely rote revenge plot that really overestimates how much the typical player is going to care about their spouse. It feels like the game is in a desperate hurry to check all the Fallout tropes off the checklist, except the tone is all over the place and most of it feels off.
In the column I suggest that the opening is just there for press demos and trailer fodder. It occurs to me now that it might also be an over-reaction to the stiff, tedious, and overlong opening of Fallout 3. And to be fair, despite all my gripes with the Fallout 4 opening, I’ll admit it’s still better than Fallout 3.
Linux vs. Windows
Finally, the age-old debate has been settled.
The Best of 2013
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2013.
In Defense of Crunch
Crunch-mode game development isn't good, but sometimes it happens for good reasons.
Dear Hollywood: Do a Mash Reboot
Since we're rebooting everything, MASH will probably come up eventually. Here are some casting suggestions.
If Star Wars Was Made in 2006?
Imagine if the original Star Wars hadn't appeared in the 1970's, but instead was pitched to studios in 2006. How would that turn out?