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Fallout 4: gameplay trailers, screenshots, Pip-Boy edition, release date & news - now with Pip-Boy unboxing and hands-on!

Chris Finnamore
30 Oct 2015
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All the latest from Bethesda's post-apocalyptic RPG Fallout 4

Bethesda confirmed Fallout 4 with an initial teaser trailer ahead of its E3 press conference - the first new Fallout game since 2010's New Vegas. Since then we've been fed enough information to fill Vault 111, which should help bring you everything you need to know about the next entry in the post-apocalyptic RPG series.

Make sure to keep checking back on this article, as we'll update it whenever we have more details about Bethesda's latest post-apocalyptic RPG.

Fallout 4 release date

Bethesda was initially silent as to when we could expect to actually get our hands on Fallout 4, only confirming the game as 'in development' for PC, PS4 and Xbox One during the initial reveal. The company didn't even mention a release window, although a few leaked adverts and retailer listings suggests the game might see a release this side of Christmas. Amazon, Gamestop, GreenManGaming and GAME have all added listings for the game that indicate a 2015 release, and Bethesda's own online shop originally listed Fallout 4 as 'due out TBA - 2015'. This has since changed to simply 'TBA'.

Bethesda's entire development team has been working on Fallout 4 since releasing the final piece of downloadable content for Skyrim in February 2013, so that date wasn't completely out of the question, and the company has prior form when it comes to winter releases; Fallout 3 launched in October 2008 and Skyrim arrived in November 2011. Even so, until we hear otherwise we aren't holding our breath for a 2015 release. 

However, at its E3 press conference, Bethesda announced that Fallout 3 would be released on the 10th November, and the company is sticking to that date. The title is available to pre-purchase on Steam for PC for the princely sum of 40 bottle caps (£40), and will unlock on the 10th November. There look to be some bargains available on the PC version; for example, www.cdkeys.com has a preorder for £27 for a digital download.

The date remains the same for PS4 and Xbox One owners. Game has both consoles' versions of Fallout 4 available for £43 on pre-order, with the release date given as 10/11/15. 

Fallout 4 formats

So far, Bethesda has only confirmed that Fallout 4 is in development for PC, Xbox One and PS4. There's no word on a previous-generation console release, and given the fact that no Fallout game has ever appeared on a Nintendo console, it's a fairly safe bet we won't be seeing a Wii U release any time soon.

Fallout 4: Pip-Boy Edition

It seems no game worth its salt can be released without some kind of collector’s edition, and Fallout 4 is no exception. Available in ‘very limited numbers’, this exclusive version of Fallout 4 will include a Pip-Boy wearable computer, which you can drop your phone into and use as a second screen when playing the game.

Fallout 4 Pip-Boy special edition

Rather than open up the menu in-game, you’ll be able to look down at your wrist and make changes on it, which then occur in real time as long as your phone is connected to the same local network as your PC, Xbox One or PS4. The companion app will be available on both iOS and Android, meaning most gamers will be able to use the feature, although there’s no word on a Windows Phone version.

You’ll also get a Pip-Boy manual and a poster with the collector’s edition, which is presented in its own case.

Fallout 4 Pip-Boy unboxing

Unfortunately, even at the juicy price of £100, the Pip-Boy Edition has sold out essentially everywhere. The word is also that Bethesda won't be making any more, either; they even went back to the factories and asked, but were told it wasn't possible to churn out any more fancy-shaped plastic smartphone cases. You can always pick up a Pip Boy Edition for around £250 on eBay if you feel like being scalped. 

We received our Pip-Boy a couple of weeks before release date, so had a chance to see whether it's really worth the price of a weekend for two in Barcelona. Bethesda has certainly got the look spot on, with the Personal Information Processor being festooned with knobs to twiddle, but it's all made of pretty nasty plastic and the polystyrene cushioning inside started to crease and tear after a quarter of an hour.

Strapping the Pip-Boy on

A Velcro strap holds the Pip-Boy firmly on your wrist, and the Pip-Boy's display clips shut over your phone. The unit is meant to take an iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S5 or S6 out of the box (although we couldn’t squeeze our Galaxy S5 in) and comes with foam inserts for the Galaxy S3 and S4, and iPhone 4/4s and 5/5s. You can also adapt the Galaxy S4's foam insert to suit your own handset.

Considering it's around £60 just for the Pip-Boy enclosure itself, we wish it didn’t feel quite so flimsy, but it is at least a bit of fun. We’ll let you know how well the Pip-Boy app works in conjunction with Fallout 4 in our full game review.

Fallout 4 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Video Series

Fallout 4 SPECIAL video

A key part of the Fallout RPG element are the player's S.P.E.C.I.A.L attributes. These are a measure of the player's strengths in a number of dimensions, and stand for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck.

Your scores in each of these categories affect many things in the game, from how much damage you deal with melee weapons, to how accurate you are with a rifle, to how good you are at influencing others. In order to introduce this central tenet of Fallout 4, Bethesda has produced a set of spoof training videos from Vault-Tec, the corporation behind the Fallout universe's radiation shelters.

The videos are made in the Fallout universe's signature style (a 1950s vision of the future) and manage to be both amusing, cute and horrifyingly violent (the videos are rated M for Mature, with warnings about Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language and Use of Drugs). The videos are a great watch, as well as being a useful introduction to the kind of situations and creatures you can expect in the Wasteland.

Fallout 4 gameplay analysis

We knew Bethesda was going to give us more information about Fallout 4 at its E3 press conference, but we weren't prepared for quite how much there would be. We've embedded the entire press conference stream below, but you'll need to skip to 1:05:00 to get to the Fallout news (unless you want to sit through the gameplay reveal for the Doom reboot, that is).

As predicted, the game actually starts before the bombs fall and the apocalypse begins. Your character is customised as they look into a mirror in the morning, with the option to play as either gender. Whether you pick male or female, your character is fully voiced. The couple have a baby, as well as a Mr. Handy robot, who will call you by the name you choose (Bethesda recorded over 1,000 of the most popular names). A Vault-tek employee knocking at the door lets you assign S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attribute points before the game starts proper, when the nukes are launched and you're forced to run for cover in Vault 111. You emerge 200 years later as the sole survivor.

It doesn't take long wandering in the wilderness until you meet up with a dog (not Dogmeat, as many early rumours predicted), who then follows you as a trusty companion. You can give it commands, getting it to fetch objects or head in a certain direction. It can also help you out in fights. Combat is reassuringly Fallout, with the V.A.T.S. targeting system making a comeback. The presentation saw the player target mole rats by body part, so it's safe to assume we'll be aiming for the head when we actually get a hold of the game.

It all looks rather spectacular in action, thanks in part to the game running on the latest version of Bethesda's Creation engine. Bethesda is promising a massive game world to explore, with the ruins of Boston being just one of the main locations. We were shown fams, industrial buildings, suburbs and cityscapes, along with larger settlements and familiar Boston landmarks.

Finally, the Pip-Boy makes its return, with a new look and more advanced features. You'll be able to use it to play cassette tapes you find in the wilderness, including Commodore-style game cassettes like "Red Menace", a Donkey Kong clone.

Fallout 4 crafting system

It's clear that Bethesda is aiming to make Fallout 4 the most personalised Fallout experience yet, giving you more choice than simply whether to play as a man or woman and what your character will look like. For the first time in the series, you'll be able to create a settlement and design it as you wish, adding features, removing rubbish and populating it with AI survivors. Using scrap salvaged from the Wasteland, you'll be able to create buildings, fill them with furniture, equip them with generators for power, pumps for water, and set up defences to protect yourself from bandit attacks. Eventually your settlement will get so large that traders will begin flocking towards it, bringing with them some of the best items in the game. You can create multiple settlements too, with Brahman caravans transporting supplies between each one.

It's not just buildings that can be customised either; you'll be able to completely modify your gear and weapons. Armour is now modular, rather than one item, letting you mix and match to suit your play style. You'll be able to customise every bit of an Enclave power armour suit, for example.

Fallout 4 weapon customisation

Weapons can be fitted with attachments made up of components collected from all over the world. What used to be junk in other games is now genuinely useful; nails can be added to baseball bats to add extra damage, while duct tape and a telescope could be attached to a rifle to turn it into a long range sniper. There are over 50 base weapons, and over 700 possible modifications to try out.

Fallout 4 teaser trailer analysis

The initial teaser video opens with a lazily-strummed guitar and a retro-futurist 1950s TV displaying the bleak post-disaster "please stand by" message. You're then treated to a fly-through the new world, following behind an Alsatian as the scenery shifts from pre-war Boston to the post-nuclear apocalypse landscape, as a pre-war radio message relays the harrowing moment the nuclear apocalypse arrived. This is a major hint that some of the game may take place before the war.

You're treated to a montage of images showing off this particular area of the Fallout world, then at the end of the trailer the hound sniffs around a garage filled with Fallout memorabilia, including a set of Brotherhood of Steel-style power armour, a Nuka-Cola machine, a bobblehead and various weapons, before teaming up with a Vault dweller in a "111" jumpsuit.

There are several clues we can glean from the trailer. The first is the location: a vertical pan past Boston's Bunker Hill Monument and what seems to be a Boston Tea Party-era ship (possibly the USS Constitution) nails this part of nuclear-ravaged America down to the home of MIT and Harvard.

Fallout 4 screenshot Bunker Hill Monument

^ It's Boston all right

As with Fallout 3 but not Fallout: New Vegas, the protagonist is a vault dweller, this time from Vault 111. Also, as in the previous modern Fallout games, you can have a companion. The prominence given to the dog in the trailer makes us think, however, that instead of having various different companions depending on your whims, you may have one - your faithful Alsatian.

Several of the characters/enemies from previous games are present and correct; there's various Brotherhood of Steel types, Vertibirds possibly from the Enclave, a Protectron robot with a nattier paint job than we’re used to but rather the worse for rust, the terrifying deathclaw, floating Eyebot and helpful Mr. Handy (at least in the pre-war world, helpfully serving up breakfast).  

There are also some new baddies to deal with; while previous titles had the zombie-like Feral Ghouls, there now appear to be genuine zombies, attacking you in a supermarket. The supermarket scene also shows off the game's physics, as a shopping trolley is pushed out of the way and a cardboard box goes flying.

Fallout 4 screenshot inside stadium

^ Inside the Red Sox stadium

We're also treated to some of the game's locations. From a baseball stadium (Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox?), which looks to have a Ranger-like armed guard outside, to the ramshackle metropolis of Diamond City inside the stadium walls.

One aspect the trailer seems to make a big deal of is the world above the wasteland; along with the Vertibirds, there's an airship floating above the Paul Revere monument, and the tea-party-era ship mentioned above, which seems to be equipped with rocket engines.

Fallout 4 screenshot airship

^ The Enclave is watching you

There's one big clue right at the end, which has opened up plenty of scope for speculation: the vault-dweller protagonist turns to his dog and says "let's go, pal". This may have been done just for the sake of the trailer, but it breaks convention with previous Fallout titles - the protagonist never speaks. Those three words may also lend credence to a leaked script, where someone, possibly the protagonist, speaks of his great-great-grandfather's experience in the Second World War and describes how the world unravelled into the apocalypse. 

It all adds up to an exciting new chapter in the Fallout universe, and the first full new game for five years. We're excited, and we'll bring you more news as we hear it.