LOS ANGELES – Ever since its debut in 1997, the Fallout game series has had a few mainstays. None has been more recognizable than the Pip-Boy: a green-tinted cathode ray tube screen that displays your vital statistics as well as a charming blond-haired avatar in a blue jumpsuit. If you've ever wanted to carry a real Pip-Boy with you, Fallout 4 will grant your wish – for a price, along with a brand-new mobile game.
Bethesda revealed information about two new Fallout mobile titles at its first E3 2015 press conference on Sunday (June 14). The first is a relatively straightforward iOS game known as Fallout Shelter. The second is a companion app for the upcoming console and PC game Fallout 4, which you can display in a genuine wrist-mounted Pip-Boy device, if you shell out for the game's collector's edition.
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Bethesda spent a lot of time highlighting Fallout Shelter, which has been in development for some time, and launched on the iOS App Store just after the press conference ended. At its press event, the company said that it has been fascinated with mobile games for some time, and wanted to bring something with genuine Fallout flavor to a small screen.
Fallout Shelter casts you as the leader of a Vault: an underground haven for survivors in the post-nuclear wasteland. Taking inspiration from games such as Tiny Tower, Progress Quest and FTL, you can build facilities for your Vault dwellers to provide food, shelter and entertainment. You can then equip them with futuristic weaponry and send them off into the wasteland to gain experience and valuable items.
The game is not a role-playing game like its console and PC forbearers, but rather a management sim with a distinctly Fallout feel. As the game progresses, you can either recruit new citizens from the world around you, or, as one Bethesda representative put it, "the old-fashioned way," by pairing villagers off and letting them increase the population.
The Pip-Boy app, on the other hand, is not a game in and of itself, but rather a second-screen companion program. It will serve the same function as Fallout 4's in-game menus, letting players access their statistics, inventories, records and other menus. This could be useful in and of itself, but the main reason why you'd want the app is to look cool in a real Pip-Boy holder.
The Pip-Boy container is a large accessory that straps onto your wrist with a container for your phone. Loading the companion app makes it almost indistinguishable from the Pip-Boy your avatar uses in-game. While the device will admittedly not make or break your Fallout 4 experience, it might help you feel that much more immersed as you check your wrist for information just as your character does.
Fallout Shelter is available now for free with optional in-game purchases. Fallout 4 will come out on Nov. 10, with the special Pip-Boy edition to sell for twice the standard price at $120. Getting a real-life Pip-Boy won't come cheap, but it may be worth it to have a piece of the wasteland to call your very own.