Fallout 4 – Craft or don’t

fallout 4Fallout 4 was easily one of the most if not the most anticipated and exciting title of E3 2015. It dominated most of the stream discussions that I had while covering E3 and many were claiming it as the best revealed game victor very early on. As more was revealed about the game and the crafting system some start to wonder if it was the game they were hoping for. I had many people in my stream saying that didn’t want to do the stuff that reminded them of the Sims with building and crafting. To an extent I think some gamers need to start leaving room for continuations of franchises to add new mechanics and features, but I understand where they are coming from. A new system or mechanic can become its own entity pulling away from the flow and choice players want to have. Thankfully everything that has to do with crafting is completely optional.

Complexity beneath Simplicity

I have talked about games having complexity beneath simplicity before. When I discussed if graphics matter more than story I said that if a game was like Minecraft it has the ease of accessibility but has complexity beneath the simplistic nature of the game allowing players to do more elaborate things as they are able and willing. The beauty of how Fallout 4 is implementing the crafting system is that you can simply choose not to do it at all. Even though Fallout is not exactly a game or franchise for casual players, this opens up the entry point for all types of gamers.

The wider a game’s entry point is the better it can sell and appeal to a mass market. Fallout 4 is obviously a massively anticipated game, but seeing it has crafting and building aspects may bring in a completely new type of player. And entrenched fans that see those systems and options as unappealing can simply engage with them to their liking. The brilliance here is that it exposes the game to a wide variety of player and allows them to make their own path, deciding if certain routes and choices are in line with their approach to the game. A player who thinks crafting and building is stupid may try it out and find it to be incredibly fun. Players who were drawn by crafting and building elements may see the wealth and expansive game as something they didn’t expect, and then they become a loyal fan. Too many games use marketing and hype to get people to buy, and then the dissatisfaction leaves many in a state of disloyalty and irritation. If you let players engage at their own level of interest, the game becomes their own and they are loyal almost by default.

Your choice, your game

The reason this type of freedom is important is because it makes your decisions more meaningful, especially if they have a tangible impact on the game. Often times the choices in a game feel completely meaningless as they don’t change any outcomes, story arcs, or encounters. From the little we have seen of the crafting and building in Fallout 4 it seems to have a direct impact on how you experience the game. This makes your choices not only feel more meaningful but more tied to your identity and how your character and world will turn out.

Open world without the hurtles

Something Farcy 3 and 4 did that was really praiseworthy is the crafting and hunting were completely optional. They also had a direct correlation to how successful you might be in a firefight or base attack because of the amount of ammo, grenades, or health packs you could carry. You never want crafting to feel like a flat tire that keeps pulling you away from what you’d rather be doing, like you are tethered to a pesky homework assignment. A large open world can start to feel tiresome if you have to keep traveling back to the crafting table or pick up 100 flowers. With Fallout 4 it looks like you can leave the crafting table in the dust or spend long hours there. I can definitely say I’m looking forward to it.

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