Fallout 4 hasn't been officially announced yet, but PC Gamer has nonetheless penned up a list of what they'd like to see different in Bethesda's next entry in the franchise. This was actually posted back in January, but it slipped us by until now - it's still not a bad read for those who are invested in the series.
Make it about survival. In Bethesda's hands, the Wasteland is fun. By the middle of a run through you're clobbering Deathclaws with concrete capped rebars and sipping irradiated water without a care in the world. Possibly with a pinkie out. The point being is that the notion of survival becomes obsolete in a world dripped in caps to find, traders to sell to, and junk to collect. New Vegas has hardcore mode, forcing you to think about food, water, and rest, as well as altering the way meds and stimpaks work, but it's still a world that can easily and comfortably be lived in. It needn't be the main difficulty level, but the option to make the world a harsh place to live, to make the players think about every move, not just their weapon and perk choices, would give the ashy flavour of survival. Overall, pretty obvious suggestions, but not bad ones. A bigger question is, will Bethesda listen?
Bethesda's Design, Obsidian's Characters. There I was, wandering beneath a line-up of broken satellite dishes, looking for things to do when I spied a door. What could be behind it? A gang of gangers? A terrified NPC? A few steps towards it, a glance around to make sure there was nothing sneaking up. I popped the door. Behind it was a wall with (Fuck You) written on it. Bethesda's worlds tend to be packed with detail, big and small. They're places to live in and enjoy, and just brilliant places to explore. Their characters, however, are a lot less engaging. Obsidian's take on New Vegas was packed with morally dubious Wastelanders with dark stories. Acquiring Boone as a follower, for example, meant leading a person out into a field for the deranged sniper to shoot. That's dark enough, but as a player you could happily lead an innocent into Boone's sights. Somewhere in the middle of Fallout 3 and New Vegas is the sweet spot they should be aiming for: dark, compelling characters in a curated world.
Treat us like PC gamers. I've never loaded up a Bethesda game and felt the studio really understood what PC gamers want from them. We have screen space and we have a pointing device that just seems to baffle them. I understand there's a fictional reason for the Pipboy's clunkiness, but all too often Bethesda will choose that over usability. Fallout 3 and New Vegas are remarkable examples of how to not lead a player through a game's menus. I *have* to install a UI mod to deal with the endless scrolling of the inventories. When it comes to pure usability, divorce the theme from the menus
The same is true for FOV: the first thing I have to do in any Bethesda game is to hunt for an FOV hack. That I can do it is evidence that the engine is capable, and I'm still baffled that it's not a native selection. Give me a damn slider.
Meaningful Character Creation. There are a fair number of perks, abilities and skills to begin with in Fallout. But there's nothing to set allegiances or race. Bethesda's Fallouts give you plenty of opportunity to interact with factions, and alliances will be built from your actions, but what if you don't want to put the work in, or want to roleplay from the opening bell? It needn't allow you to select playing as a Ghoul, but predisposing you towards the NPR would make an interesting challenge to overcome.