New Fallout Game Feature Aims to Keep you on the Side of the Angels

To survive in this hellscape you might have to do something bad.

To survive in this hellscape you might have to do something bad.

LAS VEGAS, NV — One of the more memorable events in Fallout 3 was when your character is given the decision to nuke an entire city of post-apocalyptic wasteland survivors.  Everyone chose to nuke the city.  Some people chose to go into the city and mercilessly slaughter everyone so that they could steal all of their precious bottle caps and rusty 9mm pistols.  Well, it seems that in Fallout 4, decisions such as that are going to have real-world impact.

At the recent E3 conference, Fallout 4’s Lead Ethics Engineer Lucy Tinuviel unveiled a new system which they hope will shape how players make decisions within the game.  “The Fallout series has always been about presenting players with complex moral decisions, but it can be difficult to make those scenarios have emotional impact on the players.  It has always been too easy for players to take the profitable, easy, evil route.”

Fallout is a series of RPG games set in a retro-future world devastated by nuclear war.  In the games, players control a character that they create as they attempt to survive in the blasted wasteland of America.  Throughout the game, players confront scenarios in which they must make moral and ethical decisions.  Every character in the game can be killed, most can be robbed and, as mentioned above, players are sometimes given the choice to eradicate entire towns for fun and profit.  Previous versions of the game installed a “karma” system whereby doing bad things earned the player “bad karma” and could effect their reputation, but Tinuviel believes this was not much of a factor for most players.  “Given a choice between stealing a shiny new set of Power Armor or not killing a little old lady, most players chose to kill the old woman and burn her house down.  Had they been given the option they would have forced her children to watch if it meant a few extra caps [the currency used in the game].”

Go ahead, steal those caps.  Let's see how that works out for you.

Go ahead, steal those caps. Let’s see how that works out for you.

Bethesda, the company which makes Fallout 4, has thus come up with a revolutionary new game mechanic.  “If you do bad things, there will be real-world consequences- fallout if you will.”  This line was met with no laughter though Tinuviel paused and waited for it.  “If you steal something in the game, we hack into your Facebook account and publish your entire message history on your mom’s Facebook page.  Kill an innocent NPC?  We’re going to call your grandmother and explain to her that you forgot to call her on her birthday because you were playing video games.”  Bethesda spokesbots confirmed that they could do this because purchase of the game includes a caveat allowing them to take any action against you they desire.  “Those are first-offence punishments of course.  They get worse the more your ‘karma’ slips into the red.”

Keep yourself on the good side if you don't want Bethesda to sign you up for anti-Semetic newsletters.

Keep yourself on the good side if you don’t want Bethesda to sign you up for anti-Semetic newsletters.

Tinuviel and Bethesda promised that some of the punishments would remain a secret until the game launch.  However, they did confirm that among the roster of possibilities would be:

  • Ruining your credit score
  • Sending Dog the Bounty Hunter to your house with a doctored arrest warrant
  • Replacing your Facebook profile pictures with animals licking themselves
  • Taking control of your Nest thermostat and locking it at 115 F
  • Emailing all of your dick pics to the coordinator of your High School Reunion
  • Using your social media accounts to join ISIS
  • Erasing your digital music collection and replacing it with the screams of ghosts and children
  • Deleting your Netflix account
  • Switching you to a Yahoo email account
  • Designating your home as a municipal dumping ground for all roadkill and stray animals
Every time you do an evil deed, you're rolling the dice on how Bethesda is going to ruin your life.

Every time you do an evil deed, you’re rolling the dice on how Bethesda is going to ruin your life.

“There’s an element of randomness to how punishments will be assigned, we don’t want people to try and game the system too much, but in general the worse your offense in the game is, the worse the consequences are going to be.  We have one quest in the game where you’re offered the best weapons and armor available, but to get it you’ll have to do something really awful.  I don’t want to give it away but it does involve poison and puppies.  Now if you choose the evil route, you get a bunch of great gear.  But you might also wake up the next morning with the cops at your door and a dead hooker in your bed.  We are not fucking around this time.  Be good.”

Be good and they might plant a tree for you.

Be good and they might plant a tree for you.

Bethesda closed off the presentation by promising that those who succeed in doing good in the game can look forward to rewards instead of punishments, “We’ll plant a tree in your name or something.  Maybe make a donation to the Human Fund.  We haven’t though about it that much really.”

Fallout 4 will be released in November 2015.

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