Due to its rich lore, massive open worlds, quirky sense of humor, and distinctive gameplay mechanics like the VATS combat system, Bethesda’s Fallout series is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated and unique franchises in recent memory. Although the studio has declared that they will share no more story details about Fallout 4 before its launch, fans of the post-apocalyptic titles who are patiently awaiting its release can take comfort in knowing that developers aren’t leaving them completely in the dark.
Bethesda has been careful to share an idea of some elements that can be expected for Fallout 4 when it finally drops, while also maintaining a sense of wonder by not revealing too much. For instance, the title’s director, Todd Howard, recently fleshed out some of the specifics regarding how the studio made better loot in order to supplement its new crafting and customization feature, leaving a lot up to the fans’ imaginations. Not to mention, rather than completely laying out all of the schematics involving weapons and combat details, Bethesda simply touched on some of the details, naming only a choice few firearms.
However, as the days draw nearer to Fallout 4‘s release, some fans might wish for a clearer look at some of the action-RPG’s experience-related aspects, as they’ve been covered somewhat nebulously in the recent past. Thankfully, Howard and his company have released a video today that gives gamers a closer glimpse at Fallout 4‘s character and perks system – better known as S.P.E.C.I.A.L. – and how the 275 separate levels of attributes work.
As seen in the video above, Howard takes viewers through a preliminary showing of how players will interact with the Pip-Boy, with fully-animated graphics now being integrated into the equipment’s screen. Plus, Bethesda has provided an entire graphic of the stat tree’s modifiers for fans to drool over in an image seen below. The picture of the perks will be available as a poster to anyone who pre-orders a physical copy of Fallout 4. And interestingly enough, some of our personal favorite perks have made their way into the sequel. Regardless, Howard explains the character system in the clip, saying:
“You do spend a lot of time in our games looking at your stats, looking at your items, and in Fallout, that comes to life with your Pip-Boy. . . . There’s a perk for each S.P.E.C.I.A.L. and each rank of that S.P.E.C.I.A.L. from 1 to 10, and if you have the value, you can choose it. . . . There are 70 base perks with multiple ranks that do new things yielding 275 that you can choose from, and it gives you a ton of choice, and many different ways to develop your character over the course of the game.”
Howard also covers one of the newest, and most upper-level perks called Intimidation. Regarding its particulars, he cursorily says, “So if you were to come out of the Vault with a 10 Charisma, you can pick [the] Intimidation perk that lets you manipulate and control other people.” The footage above has text that further explains Intimidation, as it lets players aim their weapon at opponents below their level to pacify them, and with higher ranks allows gamers to incite them to violence and give them further commands.
For those who are still a bit confused about how S.P.E.C.I.A.L. will work in Fallout 4, Bethesda further elaborates on the matter, using an example of two different, yet similar perks. Both of them fall under Agility, as the studio explains:
“It was our goal that all the Perks be balanced amongst each other, regardless of if they required a 1 or a 10. The higher the SPECIAL requirement, the more focused or exotic the Perk was for that playstyle. Take for example the Agility 1 Perk Gunslinger (20% more damage with pistols), and the Agility 10 Perk Gun Fu (your 2nd target in V.A.T.S. takes 25% more damage regardless of weapon).
What’s important is that each of these Perks is actually a mini Perk tree, with multiple ranks that also do new things. Gun Fu above allows even more damage the more targets you select, increasing to instant Critical Shots. Gunslinger has ranks that up the range of pistols, add a chance to disarm enemies, and even instant limb crippling shots.”
Essentially, the more that players level up and focus on specific S.P.E.C.I.A.L. abilities as they progress throughout Fallout 4, individual perks become more potent and can do new things. Plus, investments in certain stat tree branches will pay off more in the long run. Not to mention, over 100 in-game magazines will grant individual perks, or up the rank of an existing perk. For instance, the Grognak the Barbarian comic book will give give an additional rank of the Barbarian Perk, which raises the critical damage of melee attacks.
While the revamped experience system may seem convoluted at first, Bethesda ensures fans that it is a necessary change in order to allow for more efficient options in growing characters. The studio says that by folding some of the skills together into one overall perk, level-up choices ultimately become more rewarding.
With so many fresh components being added to the series, Fallout 4 looks to be Bethesda’s most ambitious effort thus far. Whether it’s the inclusion of main character voice acting for the very first time, or even the redesign of the game’s cyborgs with Generation 2 Synths, it’s a given that fans will be exploring the Boston Wasteland for a long time to come after Fallout 4 becomes available.
Fallout 4 is set to release on November 10, 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.