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Fallout 4 Director Talks New Perk System, What Bethesda Learned from Skyrim’s Mistakes

V.A.T.S., romance, and more!

November 10, 2015. The day that will see a lot of gamers suddenly disappear from the Earth for the foreseeable future. That’s because Fallout 4 will launch, and it looks to be the ultimate offering from Bethesda. With the release on the way, Bethesda Game Director Todd Howard is discussed Fallout 4‘s release, improved perks, and what they’ve learned from Skyrim in a printed interview with GameInformer.

The release of Skyrim exposed a flaw in the system that created an enormous amount of bugs and glitches within the game, and Bethesda was unable to get a handle on them until well after launch. So many bugs, from dragons flying backwards to players losing save files to the game unable to load, that it was a good 2 months before they were mostly corrected.


The process was a slow one that happened while Skyrim was already released. This time, Todd says that the process was one they went through was a learning experience that helped them be better prepared for Fallout 4 because it was “essentially done” when announced in June. The time from then until launch is focused on ensuring those same issues are ironed out ahead of time because as Todd says “the players saved game is number one, if the game crashes, that’s bad, but it is nowhere near as bad as someone’s saved game being hosed. That’s the scenario we will do anything and everything to avoid.” With at least 6 months of testing, this launch should be smoother than Skyrim.

fallout 4 screenshot

Todd Howard also got into details on the newly revamped S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system. “We really wanted to bring this to the forefront of the game” Todd says. “This is how you define your character. We have a whole bunch of perks, and those are tied to your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats. Every time you level up, you get to pick a perk”.

In a style similar to the constellation skill trees from Skyrim, Fallout 4 features stylish posters with animated Vault Boys that act out each perk as it is highlighted. Strength, for example, allows the ability to carry more weight and deal more damage with melee weapons.

Howard goes on to add “Each perk, except for a few exceptions, has multiple ranks. If there are 70 base perks and you add all of those ranks, you’re getting around 275 of those. We’ve found that this gets us some really cool different play styles. It’s very cool and fun leveling system in the game”.

fallout 4

Also for the first time in a Fallout game, romantic options are available. This will be limited to only human companions for relationships, regardless of gender. So, unfortunately, one will not be able to romance Mr. Handy. There will be 12 companions in total, but playing with a companion isn’t required. Howard says there are plenty of perks available if one chooses to be a “Lone Wanderer” type.

Lock picking and computer hacking have also been confirmed to return in almost the same fashion as Fallout 3. Lock picking will use bobby pins as usual and computer hacking will use the same basic formula from Fallout 3 by deciphering scrambled numbers, letters and various character symbols.

The news gets better, Fat-Man is also returning in Fallout 4 to unleash devastation upon any enemy one sees fit to unleash upon. It was shown off in the demo at Quakecon and took on a Behemoth wielding a giant pole with a fire hydrant attached. Yes, the mushroom cloud returns, leaving huge piles of smoldering enemies in its wake.

V.A.T.S has undergone slight changes as well; instead of freezing enemies in place, time slows down and will require fast reactions if an enemy is running for cover.

The demo showed of just how incredibly detailed the interior and exterior of each environment will be and given Bethesda’s attention to detail, players will no doubt be completely immersed in the experience.
The game itself has been tightly guarded, but knowing Bethesda, it’s all for good reason. We will finally be able to see how fantastic this world can be when Fallout 4 launches in November.

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