Tag Archives: Fallout

Review: Horizon: Zero Dawn

horizon cover
via Amazon

Horizon: Zero Dawn (2017)

PS4 / Rated T

RPG / Action / Adventure

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Developer: Guerrilla Games


In the months leading up to Horizon: Zero Dawn’s release I thought it was just a unique third-person action game starring a very capable female machine hunter named Aloy roaming around a seemingly post-apocalyptic open world full of tribal inhabitants and bad-ass looking robotic dinosaurs…or whatever you want to call them.  It just looked like a cool third-person action game and I did not think twice about it.  It was an anticipated title of mine but I did not think it was going to blow me away like it did.  Like damn…this Guerrilla’s first foray into this genre of games really impressed me on almost every front.

horizon 1
via US Gamer

Aloy’s tale begins during her days as an outsider, living off the land with her father Rost.  The two having been together for the better part of her formative years, until the day Aloy decides to put her skills to the test by participating in the trials, with the goal of joining the tribe that shunned her and her father years ago.  After a successful day at the trials (among other things that I will not spoil) she becomes a member of the tribe and soon begins to learn secrets about who she really is, and the deeper mystery that blankets the world of Horizon.  It is the looming mystery of this semi-familiar post-apocalyptic world that acted as the driving force that kept me playing through the game.  The game’s scope starts off small but as you begin to meet new characters and venture farther into the world, things start to open up and things get crazier as you begin to learn about the machines, why they exist, along with a host of other mysteries.  There are a lot of crazy ideas and concepts boiling under the game’s surface…more than you would initially imagine.

The best part of it all?  These crazy plot points that you encounter later in the game are extremely satisfying.  Any writer can throw together some hogwash that connects the dots and explains why things exist the way they do, but Horizon’s writers give some satisfying answers that are actually plausible…all things considering.  It is a fantastic bit of science fiction that comes to an end in a pleasing way.  I would be fine with the story ending the way it did, but I would be open to another iteration in the series, in whatever form that would take.  The game has done very well for Sony at this point, so I would not be surprised to see a sequel in the future.

horizon 2
via Forbes

Now let’s talk about powerful and capable protagonists.  Aloy serves as the backbone for the entire story.  If there was no Aloy…the game’s story would only amount to a withering skeleton.  I was infatuated with her character, as she was tough but also smart.  Over the course of the game she unravels a whole bunch of eye-opening revelations that would make the average person nauseous.  The way in which Aloy interprets what she sees is what makes her character so fascinating.  She is a very well-written character that deserves utmost praise.  The rest of the game’s cast were also strong.  I was most intrigued by the game’s various social structures that they present to the player.  Maybe it was just me, but the ratio of women to men leaders far favored the women.  In fact, this is probably one of the most diverse games I have ever played in terms of its various characters.  That is not necessarily a selling point for me, but it is certainly a breath of fresh air from some of the other games out there.

Perhaps the game’s biggest draws at a surface level is its combat, specifically versus the hordes of deadly machines that you will come across in the world.  You fight a fair share of human enemies while overtaking bandit camps and other locations, but the lion share of combat involves those dope machines that you have seen from the trailers.  What makes these machines unique are the various components and weak points on their bodies.  It is a fool’s errand to rush into a fight, spraying and praying with your bow-and-arrow.  Each machine has a strategy that works best for taking them down.  Using Aloy’s focus ability, which is a scanner attached to her ear, you can analyze the machines and plan the most viable fight strategy.  Perhaps tripping a machine with a tripwire and then sending a barrage of arrows in its direction towards its weak point is the way to go.  Shooting a machine’s cannon of its back might be a better approach.  Nothing is more satisfying than giving a machine a dose of its own medicine.  There are many different strategies you can take, which is a sign of engaging gameplay.  I love these types of games where tactics are just as important as the weapons you bring into battle.  You can have the best weapons in the game, but could have your ass royally handed to you on a platter by one of the Behemoths if you do not know what you are doing.  Another aspect I adored about the game’s combat is its sense of scale.  The machines you fight in the beginning are small and manageable, but as you discover new monsters they begin to get bigger and more terrifying.  It makes taking them out on your own that much more rewarding.

horizon 3
via Imgur

Horizon’s world is chock full of collectibles and side quests for Aloy to partake in.  However, this leads me to one of my minor gripes with the game, and that is its side quests.  I was never bored during my time with the game’s side quests, but a good bit of them fell short in the writing department.  Some quests are just your basic “go kill x number of x machines,” while some are a little more substantive and provide some interesting stories.  Unfortunately, a lot of these quests just fall a teeny bit short of greatness.  There was one quest in, for example, involving a father and his estranged daughter.  It starts off as a simple “find my daughter” quest, but then it evolves into something a little more distressing.  The game’s writers had something great on their hands, but did not do anything with it.  They set up a remarkable story, but then proceeded to swing and miss on its execution.  There were several ways the quest could have gone down, some more impactful and darker than the others, but the game’s writers took the easy way out wrapped the quest up prematurely.  This is just one single (and vague for fear of spoilers) example of some side quests that did not quite hit the mark.  This small shortcoming is what sets this game apart from games like the Witcher 3 and the Fallout series, where the side quest writing is stronger.

To no surprise, the game looks very beautiful.  I mean, they did not put a photo mode into the game for decoration.  There are a lot of different environments that you will explore, ranging from dense forests to arid desert plains.  Each of them look stunning at various times of the day.  I often found myself marveling at the incredible vistas that were a commonplace.  The character models looked just as beautiful, but I found that there seemed to be some technical issues during scenes of dialog.  There were some prominent lip-synching issues that were hard to not notice and the character animations during some of these scenes looked too robotic.  There were times were their upper-body movement did not seem natural and at times it felt like I was watching two animatronics at a Disney Theme Park.  Fortunately, aside from these issues, Horizon looks remarkable.

horizon 4
via iDigital Times

All my expectations for Horizon: Zero Dawn were met and sometimes even exceeded.  It is one of those games where I will instantly recommend it to you if you own a PS4.  If you own a PS4 and have not played Horizon yet…I do not know what you are even doing with your life.  I do not think the game unseats Uncharted 4 as my favorite PS4 exclusive, but it sure does give Naughty Dog’s masterpiece a run for its money.  Bravo to Guerilla Games for delivering an absolute barnburner of a game.

horizon score

Advertisements

Fallout Commercialism: Breaking News Edition

In Bethesda’s Fallout games there is only one source of news available to the survivors of the nuclear fallout, and that is Galaxy News Radio.  However, that wasn’t the case before the Great War.  In addition to GNR, the Capitol Post was a major part of the pre-war landscape.  Hubris Comics, although they didn’t deal with news, provided another print medium that entertained many kids and adults alike back before the nuclear fallout.


galaxy news radio

Galaxy News Radio, run by the always charismatic Three Dog, is the only surviving remnant of the Galaxy News Network.  (Although, this may no longer be the case.  The Fallout 4 reveal trailer contains a billboard advertising GNN.  Perhaps we will have the opportunity to explore more of GNN.)  The network was the leading source of news, especially in Washington D.C., the location where the network’s radio division is located.  Any attentive listener will realize that a lot of the pre-war advertisements can still be heard playing on the air, most likely due to pre-programmed reasons.

GNR's Three Dog
GNR’s Three Dog
Interplay's Logo
Interplay’s Logo

Now, lets get into some of the real life inspirations that provide the foundation for the radio station.  We’ll start with the studio Interplay’s logo, which is actually inspired by the Galaxy News logo.  In the original Fallout, the logo appeared in the introductory scenes and due to the series’ popularity, Interplay, the publishers of the original Fallout, adopted the logo as inspiration for their own.

The Logo from Fallout's Intro
The Logo from Fallout’s Intro

Almost everybody that I talk to loves Three Dog, the charming radio DJ that graces the Capitol Wasteland with his wit, humor, and most importantly, a good taste of classic music from the era.  The character, voiced by Erik Dellums, shares the name with the character Dog 3, who is actually played by Dellums himself in the

Erik Dellums
Erik Dellums

movie She’s Gotta Have It.  Dellums had a pretty big say in Three Dog’s character development, including his signature howls.  As you would imagine, a lot of the things that Three Dogs rambles on about on the radio sprout from a variety of pop culture.  Lets break down the most notable ones:

“You can’t stop the signal.” – This line is muttered after fixing the atenna that needs worked on at the Washington Monument.  The line is actually borrowed from the 2005 movie Serenity, directed by Joss Whedon.

Joss Whedon's Serenity
Joss Whedon’s Serenity

“Trouble, oh we got trouble, right here in Rivet City!” – This line is more of a deep cut.  Anybody who is familiar with the 1950’s musical The Music Man will recognize this line though.  The musical takes place in River City, and one of the characters says the line, “Trouble, oh we got trouble, right here in River City!”

The film adaptation of The Music Man
The film adaptation of The Music Man

“Your friendly neighborhood disc jockey” – Three Dog sounds a lot like Spider-Man when he howls out this line.  The line references the 1960’s cartoon where Spider-Man is referred to as “Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”

1960's Spider-Man
1960’s Spider-Man

Ding, dong, the Presidential asshole is dead!” – This one comes from the film classic Wizard of Oz.  In the movie, we hear the cleaner “Ding, dong, the witch is dead!”  It is clear that Three Dog has watched his fair share of movies at this point.

The dead witch from the Wizard of Oz
The dead witch from the Wizard of Oz

“One small step backwards for man, one giant evolutionary rewind for mankind.” – This one will be instantly familiar to any connoisseur of American history.  This is a reference to a quote from Neil Armstrong when he took his first step on the moon.  The only difference is that he was taking a step forward instead of backward.

The Green Hornet
The Green Hornet

Finally, one of the featured radio shows that plays on the GNR is The Adventures of Herbert “Daring” Dashwood.  The show tells the wacky stories of Herbert Dashwood and his sidekick Argyle.  The show is actually a reference to the 1930’s radio program The Green Hornet, which features vigilante Britt Reid fighting crime with his trusted sidekick Kato.  The radio show’s story lines also contain references to the original broadcast as well.


capitol post

Before the war, most citizens of Washington D.C. received their news from the Capitol Post, which had its offices in L’Enfant Plaza.  The company doesn’t take a prominent place in the Fallout games, but in Fallout 3 players can read some of the articles published in the paper at the paper’s HQ.  You can read up on the fictional news stories about the disbanding of the United Nations or the Pint-Sized Slasher, a super weapon that was being developed by the US Government.

The Washington Post's Logo
The Washington Post’s Logo

The newspaper is an obvious reference to Washington D.C.’s actual newspaper, the Washington Post.  One of the interesting things about the Capitol Post is the price of the paper, which was set at a whopping fifty six dollars, obviously due to inflation from the war.

A loading screen from Fallout 3, featuring the Capitol Post
A loading screen from Fallout 3, featuring the Capitol Post

hubris comics

Finally, lets talk about Hubris Comics, the Marvel Comics of the pre-war era.  Branching from Hubris Publishing, the company has been making comics ever since 2021.  The company had a part in war propaganda, similarly to Marvel Comics who produced a number of comics featuring propaganda about World War II and the Cold War.

Loading screen featuring some of Hubris Comic's properties
Loading screen featuring some of Hubris Comic’s properties
Lair of the Ice Worm
Lair of the Ice Worm

Probably the most recognizable comic that the company has put out is Grognak the Barbarian.  The series, which contained fourteen issues is an obvious reference to the real life comic Conan the Barbarian.  The references don’t stop there though.  The cover to “In the Lair of the Virgin Eater” bears resemblance to Conan’s “Lair of the Ice Worm.”

In the Lair of the Virgin Eater
In the Lair of the Virgin Eater

Another popular comic and television series from the company was The Adventures of Captain Cosmos.  The TV show that accompanies the comic aired on Thursdays at 8:00 prior to the war, which is strikingly similar to Star Trek, which aired during the same time slot during it’s first two seasons.

Ad for Captain Cosmos
Ad for Captain Cosmos

Fallout Commercialism: Mr. House Edition

In the last installment of Fallout Commercialism, we looked at a couple of pre-war companies, one being RoboCo Industries.  The corporation was pretty powerful and successful, partly due to the fact that it was under the umbrella of Mr. House’s business ventures.  Robert House was a savvy businessman and his businesses thrived under his direction.  In this edition, we are going to look at some other companies that Mr. House dabbled in and their inspirations from the real world, starting with the one above them all, House Industries.


house industries

via Nexus Mods
Robert House Concept Art

Robert House was a wealthy and forward thinking businessman that thrived before the bombs dropped during the Great War.  As I stated in the previous edition, Robert House draws a lot of similarities from real-life Howard Hughes, a successful businessman from the United States.  In Fallout: New Vegas we learn about House Industries, Mr. House’s umbrella company that held majority shares in some top corporations from the pre-war era, one of them being RoboCo Industries.  The other two were H&H Tool Company and REPCONN Aerospace, which we will explore later in this edition.

The famous image from Mr. House's penthouse
The famous image from Mr. House’s penthouse

On the topic of RoboCo Industries, anybody that has visited Mr. House’s penthouse in Fallout: New Vegas probably noticed the Securitron “girls” that roamed his living quarters, developed in conjunction with RoboCo.  One of them is named Jane.  There was supposed to be another named Marilyn, but she was ultimately cut from the game.  The story behind these two Securitrons is an interesting one.

caption
Jane, who’s face bears resemblance to Jane Russell
caption
Jane Russell

Jane is a specially programmed Securitron that serves and entertains Mr. House in the state that he is in.  She is commonly known as one of Mr. House’s girls.  What’s interesting about her is her relation to the real life American actress Jane Russell, who bears a striking resemblance to the Securitron’s face.  The 1950’s film star got her start with The Outlaw, in which she co-starred with Howard Hughes, who we already know is the inspiration for Robert House.

One of Jane Russell’s friends was icon Marilyn Monroe, who was the source of inspiration for the other Securitron named Marilyn.

caption
Concept for Marilyn

Marilyn did not make the final cut in the game due to problems with the character’s voice over, which was not able to be fixed in time for release.  Thus, the world never got to see Mr. House’s other lesser-known robot slave, but thanks to some concept art, we can see why Marilyn and Marilyn Monroe are related…

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

H&H_Tools_Factory

The interesting thing about the H & H Tool Company was that it was never actually owned by Robert House, although he had a big part in the company’s history.  The tool company was originally founded by the father of Robert and Anthony, Robert’s half brother, House.  When their father passed on, Anthony cheated the family company out of Robert’s hands and took the company for himself.  The company did fine in the initial years of his ownership, but then things started to get shaky as Anthony missed his father and his advice.  The final descent occurred when Robert, who eventually went on to bigger and better things with House Industries, made an attack on the company through the stock exchange, nailing the final nail in the coffin.

Entrance area of the H & H Tools Factory
Entrance area of the H & H Tools Factory
Old Ad for the Sharp-Hughes Tool Company
Old Ad for the Sharp-Hughes Tool Company

The real life Howard Hughes, who is the inspiration behind Mr. House, was actually the owner of Hughes Tool Company, a business that was actually started by his father, Howard Hughes Sr., as the Sharp-Hughes Tool Company.  The company was a big part of the Hughes family, which led Howard Hughes Jr. to buy stock of the company from his relatives to continue the business.  He eventually sold the company in 1972 to pursue other business interests.


repconn

REPCONN Aerospace is the final company that interested Mr. House.  The name stands for Rocket Engineering and Production COmpaNy of Nevada.  REPCONN’s main focus was the manufacture of Rockets for the US government, with their headquarters and test site still standing in the Mojave Wasteland.  The company was at first an up-start, but it was seen as having great potential, which made it a prime target for Poseidon Energy and RoboCo Industries.  The company continued to operate on their own, until it ultimately fell under House Industries’ umbrella.

REPCONN's HQ in Nevada
REPCONN’s HQ in Nevada
Boeing's Logo
Boeing’s Logo

One of the first things you notice is the company’s logo, which looks pretty familiar to the famous aviation company Boeing’s logo.  This probably is not a coincidence considering the two company’s shared interests.  What’s probably less apparent is the fact that the company is actually based on the real life company PEPCON, which operated in a facility in Nevada.  The company originally specialized in space fuel production until the 1990’s.  The company’s facility eventually caught on fire and received massive damage from explosions due to space shuttle fuel oxidizer which was not stored correctly.

Footage of the PEPCON disaster in Henderson, Nevada
Footage of the PEPCON disaster in Henderson, Nevada
REPCONN Propaganda
REPCONN Propaganda

REPCONN produced a lot of propaganda posters relating to corporate espionage that can be seen in the Mojave Wasteland.  These kinds of posters were common among government companies during time of war.  In my opinion, they were my favorite posters from the game.  They also produced billboards advertising the headquarter’s museum, which offered guests a look at the company’s ventures

50's Robot
50’s Robot

and other projects.  The billboards featured a robot that is probably inspired by the toy space robots of the 1950’s.  After completing the tour at the HQ, there is an abundance of toy space rockets, which were another popular toy at the time.

REPCONN Billboard
REPCONN Billboard

Fallout Commercialism: A Look at Fallout’s Pre-War Companies

The wastelands of Bethesda’s popular RPG series Fallout are desolate and often dangerous places to be.  October of 2077 marked the end of the Great War when the entire nation was brought under by the blasts of nuclear weapons.  However, before the war, the world of Fallout was a different place, drawing similarities from the reality that we live in today.  This is especially prominent in the game’s pre-war companies that are often seen throughout the wasteland.  Lets take a look at some of these companies and their real-life inspirations.


Sunset Sarsaparilla Company

sunset sarsaparilla logoThe Sunset Sarsaparilla was a pre-war soft drink company that was well known for their Sunset Sarsaparilla soft drink.  The company was located in Las Vegas and the story of it’s creation was an interesting one.  The drink was created by a saloon owner who wanted to make a new drink flavor, but did not know what to make, turning to his saloon’s patrons.  No one gave any suggestions besides a stranger at the end of the bar that recommend a drink containing Sarsaparilla.  The stranger had a family recipe and wanted the owner to follow the recipe very carefully.  It was soon after this when the stranger fell victim to some bandits and died.  The saloon owner was mad at his luck, but found a bottle upon the Saloon’s doorstep with a recipe attached to the bottom.  It was for the Sarsaparilla drink, which after a taste, drove the owner to create Sunset Sarsaparilla.

sunset sarsaparilla ad

The drink is one of the few soft drinks that players can find in the wasteland, however, it was a common flavor of 19th century United States.  It was especially common in Hollywood westerns of the era, offered as a choice of drink in saloons that was usually mocked by the “manly” cowboys nearby.  This is funny, because one of Sunset Sarsaparilla’s pre-war ads contains a hefty man lifting weights with the slogan “Build Mass with Sass!” OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sarsaparilla also contained its fair share of supposed health benefits as well.  It was said that if taken in larger doses, the drink could induce sweating which was regarded as a health benefit at the time.  In the game, Festus, an animatronic puppet, contradicted the healthy aspects of the drink, saying “Excessive ingestion of Sarsaparilla can lead to deleterious effects including, but not limited to: kidney damage, nausea, digital numbness, anxiety, loss of visual acuity, dizziness, occasional nosebleeds, joint inflammation, tooth decay, sore throat, bronchitis, organ rupture and halitosis.”

sunset sarsaparilla festus haggenSpeaking of Festus, the animatronic robot that can be found in Fallout: New Vegas, more specifically in the Sunset Sarsaparilla bottling facility.  He’s part of an interactive exhibit and largely used as a marketing tool for the company, introducing people to the drink.  Festus gets his name from Festus Haggen, a popular deputy on CBS’s western TV show Gunsmoke. The character is best known for his limited vocabulary as well as his lovable demeanor, which makes it easy to see where Bethesda drew its inspiration from for Sunset Sarsaparilla’s lovable mascot.

sunset sarsaparilla festus


Abraxodyne Chemical

abraxo containerAbraxodyne, a subisdiary of RoboCo Industries, was a popular pre-war company that specialized in cleaning products, like Abraxo.  If you have scoured the Capitol and Mojave wastelands, you have most likely seen these boxes of Abraxo cleaner in homes and other facilities.  Advertisements for the product can be seen adorning the walls of various supermarkets and other stores, featuring RoboCo’s Mister Handy cleaning a house with Abraxo abraxo adcleaner.  All it takes is a quick glance at similar advertisements from the fifties to notice the similarities.  The one glaring difference is Mister Handy taking the place of women, who were widely considered responsible for keeping the house clean and shiny.

abraxo real ad

Perhaps a lesser known product put out by Abraxodyne Chemicals is their Tastee Clean Sanitizer.  It was a small little device that could purify different foods and take some of the radiation out of certain items that you find in the wasteland.  It’s hard to believe that this kind of appliance existed before the war, but Abraxodyne Chemicals was a sub company of RoboCo Industries, which means that they had a lot of technology and research at their disposal to develop this sort of product.

abraxo sanitizer

In Fallout 3, Takoma Industrial was considered to have produced Abraxo cleaner before the war, evidenced by the 81 boxes of Abraxo that you can find littered throughout the facility.  Takoma Industrial is located in Takoma Park, a location in the Capitol Wasteland.  Takoma Park is an obvious reference to the real life Takoma, DC which is a diverse neighborhood containing mostly middle class families.  These days, the suburban town mainly serves as a historic district, but it once was known as a commercial hub, containing lots of shopping malls and industrial buildings.  The similarities between Fallout‘s Takoma Park and real-life Takoma can obviously be seen.

abraxo takoma


RoboCo Industries

roboco logoSince we already explored Abraxodyne Chemicals, I figured the next step would be a look at it’s parent company RoboCo Industries, one of the most powerful cornerstones of pre-war industry.  The company was founded by Robert House, the mastermind behind New Vegas.  Robert House is a successful business tycoon who is closely modeled after Howard roboco houseHughes, a famous American business tycoon and investor.  Some of Howard Hughes’ interests were in technology, more specifically aviation, aerospace, and defense systems, which is what RoboCo specializes in.  As Howard Hughes got older, he could often be found inhabiting the top floor penthouses of Las Vegas hotels, were he spent the later portion of his life.  The similarities between Mr. House and Howard Hughes could be considered coincidental, but the two are super similar.  Even portraits of the two tycoons are strangely similar.  They must have been photographed by the same photographers…

roboco hughes

Lets get back to subject.  RoboCo, like I mentioned before, the corporation had it’s hands in numerous design projects, from the purchase of REPCONN Aerospace to the design of the Pip-Boy, one of the most iconic items from the Fallout Universe.  The company is also known for its Unified Operating System, which was used on almost every computer before the Great War.

roboco openVMSThe Unified Operating System draws some resemblance from the real life OpenVMS system.  The operating system was common on the terminals of large-scale industrial companies from back in the day.  Some of the commands that can be seen on the terminals in the game, like “SET FILE/PROT=” and “SET TERM/INQ” are commands that can be used in the VMS system.  The terminals in the wasteland also bear a lot of the same characteristics of the computers from back in the day, like the green screen and the font of the text.

roboco uos

Pip-Boys are perhaps one of the company’s most successful products and can be seen on the arms of many vault dwellers.  Pip-Boy stands for Personal Information Processor and was a device that could store large amounts of information, as well as information that could be read from holodisks.  The devices were standard issue to all Vault-Tec vaults and they were improved with newer versions over time, much like any other device that we have today.  The Pip-Boy is a glaring example of the smart watch technology that we have today, and as the game’s designer Todd Howard playfully remarked, it was one of the first smart watches that ever existed.

roboco pipboy

roboco robby the robotFinally, the company was also known for their line of Protectron robots that specialized in defense, but could be put to manual labor as well.  In 1956 there was a Sci-Fi film called The Forbidden Planet, which featured hero Robby, the Robot.  Robby’s likeness was a source of inspiration for the Protectrons, which contain similar characteristics and weapons.

roboco protectron


There are a lot more companies that existed before the bombs dropped and I plan to explore these companies in future additions of this series.

Fallout 4 Welcomes You to Post-Apocalyptic Boston

Vault hunters, the wait is officially over!  Fallout 4 has been officially revealed this morning after what seemed like a long 24 hour countdown.  What greeted us at the other side of that countdown was a very good looking cinematic trailer introducing us to what looks to be Boston, along with some other things.

via Techno Buffalo
via Techno Buffalo

The trailer begins with the camera zooming out of the TV with some classic jazz playing in the background, a familiar sound to any fan of the series.  The camera than moves around what looks to be a destroyed house, fizzling in between shots of pre-apocalypse and current day.  Over a radio, we hear a man talking about Vault-Tec, but we do not hear to much as the man starts to sound more worried as the trailer goes on.  Perhaps they have a hand in what happened.  We also get to see a German Sheppard walking through the house, which makes it seem like he could be one of our trusty companions.

via Techno Buffalo
via Techno Buffalo

Things take a turn for the worse as the bomb alarms start to go off and people start to panic.  We hear the iconic, “War. War Never Changes,” as people scurry to and fro in attempt to make it to the vaults.  What we see in the trailer is a shot of Vault 111, which looks to be the vault that players will start from at the beginning of the game.  This is evidenced by a shot of a vault hunter exiting the vault after all is said and done.

via Techno Buffalo
via Techno Buffalo

What he sees is a wide expanse of war-torn wasteland, in what looks to be the Boston metropolitan area.  The fact that the game is taking place in Boston was not explicitly stated, but some shots of various landmarks as the trailer goes on reveals that the game will in fact be taking place in Boston, and possibly some surrounding areas.  Other things we see as we view some shots of the wasteland is what looks to be a futuristic looking pirate ship.  We also see a huge dreadnought looking thing fly high over the sky towards the end.  I would not be surprised if this has something to do with what Vault-Tec was working on before the war, but we do not know for sure.

via Techno Buffalo
via Techno Buffalo

Finally, the trailer ends with the dog walking up to a abandoned gas station, which holds a lot of familiar sites for Fallout fans.  We see a Nuka-Cola vending machine, along with a Vault Boy bobble head and some comic books that we have seen from previous games.  The centerpiece of the shot however is the piece of Power Armor that hangs in the middle of the garage.  The trailer ends with a Vault Hunter walking down the road, crossing path with the dog.  The hunter bends down to pet the dog, and the two venture off into the sunset.  Trailer ends.

via Techno Buffalo
via Techno Buffalo

It was everything that we were expecting from the heavily anticipated trailer.  We did not receive any information in terms of release date, but that will most surely come at their press conference on June 14th, along with a 20-30 minute demo.  However, we did find out that the game will be coming out for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.  Pretty much expected.

via Techno Buffalo
via Techno Buffalo

The trailer obviously leads us with some questions…and a whole bunch of excitement.  I am already on board as I am sure a lot of other people are as well.  More info will be coming in the foreseeable future, but in the meantime, we have this trailer to watch over and over again…

The Next Fallout: The Countdown Begins

Today, almost out of nowhere, we got a mysterious tweet from Bethesda Game Studios, the people behind the massively popular Fallout franchise.

All it takes is a little digging around to realize that the countdown appears to be teasing the announcement of the heavily anticipated Fallout 4.  Previously, it was leaked that the game was going to take place in Boston, but those rumors where shot down by Bethesda shortly after those accusations were released.  However, there is still a good chance that Boston could still be home to the next addition to the franchise.  We also have heard that Guillermo Del Toro’s production company is behind the game’s cinematic trailer, that could be released as early as tomorrow.

Notice how the countdown clock is pulled directly from the loading screen in Fallout 3?
Notice how the countdown clock is pulled directly from the loading screen in Fallout 3?

The rumor mill has been churning and it is only going to get busier as the countdown ticks down to tomorrow’s big reveal.  Is it going to be the announcement of an HD remake of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas?  I sure hope not, but rest assured, all signs point to the announcement of Fallout 4.

The announcement of Fallout 4 might seem like a sure-fire guess, but what about the release date?  Some say that it would be crazy for the game to come out this year, but others hint at the possibility that the game might be coming to fans sooner that you would think.  In my opinion, I would believe that the game is pretty far in development.  Just think about it: Fallout: New Vegas came out in October of 2010.  This October will mark five years since the game’s release, which means the studio has probably been working on the next Fallout for a while now.  Bethesda has also noted that they will be debuting a 20-30 minute demo at E3 this year, which also leads me to believe that the game is already in an alpha state, or something more.  I am going to guess that the game will be coming out this year, around the holiday time frame, which seems par for the course in terms of the studio’s releases.  However, with the emergence of game delays, we can never be too sure.

Side note: if you dig deeper into the countdown page’s source info…you find this:

caption
Masterbrain huh?

Does the Masterbrain ring a bell for anyone?  If you remember, the Masterbrain was the robotrain that controlled all of the other security robots in the Vault-Tec Headquarters.

masterbrain

In Fallout 3, players could shutdown the Masterbrain, which in turn would shutdown the security robots in the facility, letting them explore the administration levels of the Vault-Tec Headquarters in peace.  As of now, I have no clue if this will mean anything in terms of Fallout 4.  However, with this and the standby screen, there seems to be a lot of references to Fallout 3.  Weird…

Update – 6/2/15 @ 4:02 PM EST

Upon further inspection of the html source code of Bethesda’s countdown page, I saw this little tidbit of information:

html institute

We see a reference to “institute,” which possibly confirms two different things.  First of all, it confirms that this will most likely be the announcement of Fallout 4, since “institute” has been tied to Fallout 4 as a code name.  It also leads me to believe that the game will indeed be taking place in Boston, since the institute, also known as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before the Great War, is a mysterious organization in the commonwealth (post-apocalyptic New England area) that possesses pretty advanced android technology, capable of creating beings more intelligent than humans.

We shall stay tuned, and this post will get updated as information gets released.

The Next Fallout – “Shadow of Boston”?

Starting way back since 2012, there have been numerous rumors, as well as some clever internet memes, surrounding the next Fallout game, Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic RPG game.  A midst all of the rumors, one common word seems to keep popping up; Boston.  It’s been pretty safe to say that the next Fallout game will be taking place in Boston, however it still hasn’t been confirmed.

However, it seems that there might be another piece of evidence that makes Boston seem like a lock.  Today, there was a trademark application filed for the brand “Fallout: Shadow of Boston” in Germany.  The application marks the trademark as “computer game discs” and “Downloadable Computer Game Programs”, which makes it seem like this might be the new name for the next Fallout.  It is seen that Bethesda Softworks LLC of Rockville, MD is the owner of the new trademark.

fallout boston trademark

Up to this point, there has been little to no information about the game.  Bethesda has not talked about it, but they have mentioned that there will be one coming in the future.  This trademark sighting might just be the final nail in the coffin that will get them to announce the game officially though.


With that being said, let me just assume that Boston will be the next location for the famed Fallout franchise.  This is a great pick in my opinion, given the rich history of the city, as well as the surrounding landmarks and locations.   There is a lot that Bethesda could work with, and this gets me excited for what is to come.  So, what are some places that I would want to see in the next Fallout game, assuming that it takes place in Boston?

Well…

1. Fenway Park

fallout boston fenway

Now this is probably one of the more iconic, and by far the oldest, baseball park in the U.S.  It is home to the Boston Red Sox, and there is a rich tradition that surrounds the park.  There is also the big Green Monster that takes over left field.  Now, who wouldn’t want to see this place in a post-apocalyptic atmosphere?  Yeah, it might be a little sad and depressing, but I am sure that I would get over it.  I could picture the park as a stronghold taken over by an enemy faction.  It would probably stand as a good “home-base” for any faction in particular.

2. Back Bay, Boston

fallout boston back bay

This is the site of the affluent.  This area is a neighborhood of Boston and it is known for it’s Victorian brownstone homes.  The area looks really nice at night, especially next to the Charles River.  I would love to walk through these streets in the aftermath of a nuclear fallout.  Speaking of the Charles River…

3. Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge

fallout boston bridge

Assuming that the Charles River would be in the game, it would be safe to assume the magnificent Memorial Bridge would be crossing it, however, it would be a rundown version of the bridge.  I picture an Arefu situation (the small settlement located on a bridge over water) from Fallout 3.  There would probably be a small group of individuals taking advantage of the bridge.

4. Old State House

fallout boston old state house

This quaint looking building, now a museum, was the site of the Boston Massacre.  The building may not look all that interesting, besides that fact that it is from the Revolutionary Era, but there is a large chunk of history that surrounds the building.  It would be a surprise if this building survived a fallout, but perhaps it’s ruins could make it into the game?

5. Harvard

fallout boston harvard

One of the most highly recognized colleges in the U.S., known for it’s academic excellence, as well as it’s beauty.  Now, picture it in apocalypse mode.  Imagine walking through the buildings, peering into the classrooms, walking it’s grounds.  There would be a creepiness factor to the area, but it would be cool to walk through.

6. John Hancock Tower

fallout boston john hancock tower

Here we have the tallest building in Boston.  It’s a modern marvel of engineering as it shoots up into the skyline of Boston.  However, given that it was finished in 1976, it may not appear in a Fallout game, considering that the fallout happened in the 50’s.  Still, if the team behind the game decides to take the series into the future a little bit, I would love to see what a hulking tower would look like in a game like this and what purpose it would serve.

7. Logan Airport

fallout boston logan airport

Two airports, both Searchlight and Camp McCarran, appeared in Fallout New Vegas and their was only a brief mention of the Washington D.C. airport in Fallout 3, which was near Megaton.  So, naturally you would think there would be an airport in the next Fallout.  Logan Airport would fit the bill pretty nicely.  It’s a pretty spacious airport that could serve as a pretty nice camp.  Even if Logan Airport is not featured in the game, you can probably assume that there would be an airport of some kind.

8. MBTA and South Station

fallout boston south station

Subway stations seem to be a common staple in the Fallout games.  In Boston, the MBTA is the transportation authority that connects the city from below.  It would once again, act as a fast travel location to get around the world.  Boston’s South Station would probably be the hub station that connects them all together.  There were also elevated tracks back in the day, so perhaps those could be scattered around the world as well?

9. The Bar from Cheers?

fallout boston cheers

Now this definitely will not appear in the next Fallout game, but it sure would be neat, huh?  The famous bar is the location and backdrop for the classic TV show Cheers.  There is definitely a lot of history that surrounds the bar, including a lot of famous people who have visited.  Maybe the bar won’t be called Cheers, but there could be a unique bar in the game?  Probably shouldn’t get my hopes up…

10. The Freedom Trail

fallout boston freedom trail

Last, but definitely not least is the Freedom Trail.  The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile journey through the city that visits some of its most iconic and historic locations that have to do with the Revolutionary War.  Now, this is probably not the most exciting thing to have in a game, but it could serve as a cool little side quest for the players.  If they “check-in” at all sixteen spots on the trail, they could get an achievement or a trophy, almost like the “City Hot spots” feature in Watch Dogs.


 

There are probably a ton of locations that will appear in the game that I haven’t even thought of, but I am sure they will all be great to discover.  One of my favorite parts about the Fallout games is the atmosphere that the games build.  It is almost impossible not to get lost and caught up in the world that they build.  There is also a great sense of discovery that comes with the game as well.

I look forward to more news about “Fallout: Shadow of Boston” and what the story will be like.  I also really hope that the location is Boston, because if that is not the case, then the whole second half of the article is irrelevant.  Lets all hope that doesn’t happen.

 

A Gaming Self-Analysis

I have been playing games for a long portion of my, still-young, life. Ever since my little brother introduced me to the Gameboy, I have been playing a wide range of games. However, when I look back at the games that I have really enjoyed, or spent the most time playing, I tend to notice some similarities in the types of games they are.

fallout 3I tend to go towards games that give me a lot of discovery; a what seems like an endless world to explore and roam around in. When I find myself playing games, I sometimes get disappointed whenever a game doesn’t give me a big, full-realized world. The most recent games in the Fallout series offered me experiences that I will never forget in gaming. Just the chance to walk around the post-apocalyptic worlds left me in awe and the fact that every nook and cranny in the game’s world had something to find really amazed me.

The Fallout series also leads me to another thing that I like to find in windwakergames, and that is the narrative. I never really found games like Call of Duty, a game that generally lacks a strong plot, that fun. I always found myself going for the games that had a narrative that was the backbone for the games themselves. Games like Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda are some of the favorites that come to my mind when it comes to a good story. The Final Fantasy games in particular offer a ton of story, enough to possibly drive some people way, but that never kept me away, it just brought me closer. These games kept me playing for a long time, not just for their content, but for the amount of story that they contained. Most of the Final Fantasy games featured massive story lines with lots of characters and a ton of surprises and conflicts along the way. They always kept me playing till the end to see how final fantasy xthe story ended up.

Lastly, I found that I tend to like games that encourage the sense of fellowship, and by this I mean the act of sitting down with your family and friends and playing a game for hours on end. It was that social experience that drove a lot of my gaming when I was younger. Games like the Smash Bros franchise offered me a chance to play with my friends after school for a long time. The different modes in the game, like the Tournament Mode, made it hard for us to stop playing, and we often lost track of time. The point is, those games offered me a social experience that I never experienced before that, and from then on I started to gravitate towards those games.super smash bros

After this self-analysis of my gaming habits, and the aspects that I like in games, I really didn’t find anything that was unexpected. There were no surprises. For me, the aspects of discovery, narrative, and fellowship have always been my favorite parts of games and to this day I still tend to play games that feature these things. Like I said before, I play a variety of different games, but discovery, narrative, and fellowship form my ideal game that I like to play.