Fallout 4 trailer analysis

So the day that seemed like wishful thinking in the minds of starry-eyed fans is finally here, and I’m just as excited. I love the Fallout games. Everything from its depth of characters and world, critiques of patriotism, use of Americana, anti-nuclear themes, and examination of human behavior. So I wanted to do a trailer analysis. I was very hesitant to do this because it rings a tired bell from traditional games media and every Youtuber with a webcam is going to be analyzing it. So for me to do it is a little trite, but fuck it I want to do it.

The first thing I wanted to point out is the large towns/cities in the trailer. Towns are nothing new to the Fallout series, except before they were usually small settlements that you could walk from one end to the other in five minutes. Here they’re huge and sprawling, a lot of buildings seem to be newly constructed, they seem to have large populations, and they seem to be very well functioning based on the abundant use of electricity. Based on the varying layouts and design themes shown in the trailer it’s safe to assume that what’s being shown is either a huge metropolis or a number of different large cities. I also wanted to point how clean the cities are compared to the usually grimy settlements of previous games, but that will be relevant later.

There’s also an abundance of plant life. Contrast to previous installments where the landscape was almost entirely barren. Here the fauna seems to not only be in abundance, but also seems to be doing quite well.

Another thing I wanted to point is the sky. In previous games, the sky always seems to be hazed from the fallout. Here though the sky is completely clear of any haze.

There’s also the use of flying ships in the trailer.

All of this I think shows the game taking place much later than the other Fallout games, where society is finally rebuilding itself in a much bigger and functional way than before. The large cities, abundant electricity, large populations, cleanliness of the cities, and the blimps (which would have taken a lot of cooperation on the part of the people) all signify this. The plant life also shows this. In previous games flourishing plant life was reduced to small specific areas, like the garden in Fallout 3. Here, though, it seems that conditions are just right for healthy plant life to develop almost anywhere. Showing it’s much later as the conditions needed for this to happen would have taken a long time. The sky is also a dead ringer for better environmental conditions, as it is much clearer and free from any haze (again this would have taken a long time to do).

The thing I noticed most in the trailer, that separates it from other previous games, is how colorful it was. In previous games, the worlds had an overarching tint to them. In Fallout 3 the tint was green, in New Vegas the tint was reddish/orange. I think this is important to note for three reasons.

First, it further supports my theory of this being a later game where society is rebuilding itself. There isn’t any more nuclear haze in the environment so it’s a much cleaner world. Therefore, we’re allowed to see more colors and dynamic designs.

Second, the use of a more colorful world is an emotional and thematic one. Where the tints of the last games instilled a sense of bleakness and merely trying to survive, the wide array of bright colors symbolizes a type of chipperness and hope. Which sends the message that things are looking up and there are better things to come.

Third, it’s just better than have a dynamic design and see more colors than shit brown and faded green. Not to say the use of those colors is inherently bad, the Fallout series has always been able to make things look beautiful with that limited color scheme. It’s just nice to see that there’s going to be a spectrum of color in such a huge world, especially in an industry that seems to get its color pallet from the port-o-potties of a monster truck rally.

All this praise doesn’t mean I don’t have concerns. This seemingly big focus on cities makes me wonder if most of the interactions and action are going to take place in the cities as opposed to the wasteland. Which has me concerned, because the wasteland is the core part of the experience of any Fallout game. This possibly larger focus on cities, coupled with a seemingly more chipper demeanor has me wondering if the experience will feel like a Fallout game. Part of the whole point of the games is that you are a (for the most part) lone wanderer traveling the waste in a bleak and unforgiving world, making the most out of things. And all of this focus on things being on the up-swing presents a possible shift in tone, attitude, personality, themes and overall feel of the game.

But all of this is just speculation so take all of this with a grain of salt and critical observation.

Lastly, there seems to be a notion that because the symbol for the player character speaks in the trailer, that we may have fully voiced characters this time around. I doubt this as this would be a big jump in style, especially for Bethesda RPGs, which don’t usually feature fully voiced main characters. Also, I think it was just a little trailer finesse.

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