Fallout 4: Deciding on Scale
Size isn’t everything.
Just how big should the game world be in Fallout 4? Well, most folks are familiar with the term “size isn’t everything” and it’s qualifying statement, “it’s how you use it”. This just so happens to be a rather apt turn of phrase for when we’re discussing open world games. For those of you that played the recently released Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, you probably noticed that the game world is a little on the empty side.
Granted, this is mostly because Mordor is a barren wasteland that just so happens to lend its geography rather kindly to the gameplay, but it still feels too empty at times. It’s important that Fallout 4’s world feels like a Fallout game, but it needs to be big, but it also needs to feel as though it’s not just empty space. A big empty map is no fun, a big map packed with adventure and danger however, is a different beast entirely.
One major concern is what goes into the map. Are we going to be adventuring in a monstrously large open world which is sparsely populated or are we going to be given a smaller map that’s more densely packed? It could go either way and both would be acceptable. In Fallout 3, my favourite area for exploration was the DC ruins.
The tight streets and alleyways made for some great gun battles and awesome stealth infiltration moments. Throw in some mods on PC and you had an entire downtown area to explore. This greatly contrasts the equally enjoyable open world adventuring in New Vegas’ Hardcore mode that keeps you watching the horizon for any sign of raiders or bandits, checking the condition of your long range weapons and ensuring you have enough supplies to survive your journey. Just as epic as exploring the downtown ruins , but just a different type of epic.
If Fallout 4 could strike a balance between the two, or better yet deliver a game world large enough to feature actual cities that are dotted across a dangerous open world that you can dynamically wander in and out of (See Open Cities of Skyrim), I believe it would be the best Fallout world to date. There’s a lot of discussion to be had on the matter, so what would you like to see?