New 'Fallout 4' Leaks Are Making Fans Uneasy
The release of Fallout 4 is still a week away, but for the past few days now, fans have gotten an early preview of the game through unsanctioned leaks of both screenshots and gameplay. The images and clips have been posted to various gaming forums all throughout the internet, and many have fans a little uneasy about what they contain.
What’s everyone so upset about? Depending on the images shown, some fans believe that the graphics aren’t quite up to snuff, with some environmental textures looking flat and character models appear a bit off. When it’s all in motion during the video clips, fans decry that the lip syncing and facial animations aren’t great, and that there are weird AI quirks like a fully-engulfed-in-flame Dogmeat walking calmly through a doorway after a fight.
There seem to be two camps of fans when reacting to these leaks. Many are saying “well, this is a Bethesda game and therefore it will have this, this, and this wrong with it.” Others are maintaining they expect better from a fully-fledged sequel in the Fallout series, and that old excuses are starting to wear thin. Here’s a few responses to the footage from fans:
“People were complaining about the graphics and the art style…in my mind, the animations are the MUCH bigger sin. We should have expected this from Skyrim and before it, but…man…”
“Yes, Bethesda games are known for their horrid animations, but that doesn’t mean we should be giving it a free pass. I mean, games have had the ability for great animation for almost a decade now.”
“Although Bethesda update their engine for each game release, the progress in slower than the industry in general. So while each game might be better technically than the previous they’re actually looking more and more dated each time.”
All of this speaks to a problem Bethesda may run into with ultra-high expectations for Fallout 4, based on how absolutely revolutionary Fallout 3 was at the time. But things are quite a bit different this time around.
When Fallout 3 debuted, the gaming public had never seen anything quite like it, both from the perspective of the series itself, and really, from the overall sandbox exploration/shooter genre.
We have to keep in mind just how massive the leap was from Fallout 2 to Fallout 3. The series hasn’t followed the same evolutionary path as The Elder Scrolls where each game gets bigger with better graphics and more things to do every few years. The jump from 2 to 3 was enormous, which is why fans were so taken aback by how jaw-droppingly amazing Fallout 3 was. From what fans have seen both in official release and leaks, they believe it looks like more of a tiny hop from 3 to 4 rather than the yawning gulf it was between sequels previously. It is interesting, because while it was a ten year gap between games last time, it has been seven years since Fallout 3 now, and players are expecting the series to move forward by leaps and bounds as a result.
Past that, the entire industry has been pumping out sandbox games for years now. While Fallout is still a very special series in many ways, the idea of a “gorgeous, enormous sandbox game” is no longer Bethesda’s explicit territory with TES and Fallout. Far Cry and Borderlandshave been giving us open world sandbox shooters for years now. Just Cause has maps so big they’ll make your head explode. Even Mad Max ended up being an incredibly beautiful looking game, for all its other faults.
This isn’t to say Fallout is irrelevant now or won’t be a big game when it lands, but it does have a lot more competition than it used to, this fall alone sharing “shooter real estate space” with Halo, Call of Duty, Destiny andTomb Raider, just to name a few.
It is never a good idea to judge a game by leaked content (especially highly compressed images and video), but fan reactions to what’s been shown so far reinforces that expectations are sky high for Fallout 4. But because of the current marketplace and the fact that the series is no longer making a ridiculously huge leap forward like we saw from 2 to 3, it may be the case that Bethesda will have to go above and beyond to get the same kind of reception for 4 that everyone gave to 3.
I’m sure Bethesda would love to stop and all these leaks, but the best way to combat them would be to craft some of their own gameplay footage and additional screenshots, and release those for public consumption so they can at least highlight some of the game’s stronger sections.