With E3 fast approaching, it means that it’s almost been a year since we first learned that Fallout 4 was heading our way, and it was then that we learned mods- something that have been a massive source of replayability and personal experience for Bethesda games – would be available to everyone who played Fallout 4. None of that came close to the biggest part of the announcement, that we would be receiving it in November of that very year, yet despite there being so many big things about the game, mods remained something special.
While mods have been on PC for a while now, today marked the first day when Fallout 4 fans on Xbox One could visit a more dangerous, more realised (and hey, due to the very nature of mods, a more volatile) Commonwealth. For those that’ve not yet dipped into the waters, either in this latest way of exploring them or even in the past, this is really going to be a strange, wonderful, exciting journey. We won’t see the same breadth of changes on consoles that are found on PC – hardware is one reason, while another is mods to Bethesda games often make use of external script extenders, that can’t be done on console.
You want to know how it goes? You remember the Wild Wasteland trait from Fallout New Vegas? The one that’d throw all sorts of strange occurrences and pop culture references your way? Dial that baby up to eleventy-one, just like the vault the Sole Survivor pops out of. We’re talking lightsabers, harry potter quotes, Deathclaw companions, Hello Kitty Power Armor (someone’s bound to be working on it). It’s cheat codes and custom character starts and weapons and brand new high level enemies. It’s a Sanctuary restored, new radio stations, new hair styles, new companions, and new buildings.
It’s your own damned vault – a . Cybernetics. Clear dialogue choices. It’s day one and aside from what’s on my power armor wishlist, these are all there today. It’s impossible to guess at where these mods will go, because it could be anything from new areas and buildings, to redesigned gameplay, to a Tunnel Snakes faction to rule, rule, rule the Commonwealth.
At the moment there’s a limit of 2GB for mod content, which is the total combined size you’re able to have for mods, but that may change in the future. PS4 players will be getting access to the same in the near future.
Our experience with Fallout 4 mods have been interesting – while there were issues with logging onto the bethesda site, in connecting to the mods list, and then just working out which ones were going to work, just seeing a bunch of them working together, and providing brand new features is just awesome. A green commonwealth might subvert the usual Fallout aesthetic, yet it also gives it a quality of a place that was overrun by the world – it recovered, yet society never did.
The Sanctuary overhaul that restores the old houses is probably the most jarring change in the mods we’ve tried so far, and there’s been a few issues – conflicting Sanctuary changes caused a crash once on approach, occassionally structures show as invisible when the clipping is very much intact, and the character’s sprint has been extremely hit and miss as to when it will work (not even sure which mod is doing that), yet it’s all really exciting.
Ah yes, one important caveat kiddies. Those mods that change your game? They’ll stop you earning achievements for as long as they’re active, so if that’s important to you, either hold off for now or make your piece with it not coming any time soon.
The game will separate the saves from your vanilla (what we call it when there’s no mods) playthrough to those with mods, so you can always disable your Fallout 4 mods and switch back to your old playthrough when you want- definitely don’t panic if it seems like your saves have gone missing. For those that are never going to be achievement gods, make your peace with lost points and play it your way now.
There’s no official news on when we can expect the next announcement regarding Fallout 4 DLC, but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if details drop during E3. In the meantime, there’s mods, mods and more mods. There are still some technical issues with logins to the Bethesda networks sometimes timing out, but be patient with both them, and your favourite modders. We’re all in this together, hoping for the best Fallout experience we can get, and the modders especially do this out of love for the franchise.
If this is your first time playing with mods, the best advice is to take it in small steps. It’s a slippery slope from lighting changes to leading Synth-Legolas and R2D2 through an underground nest of showtune-singing Zoidbergs. It’s hard to go back home from there.