A Fallout 4 Surprise, in Short Form

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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A Fallout 4 Surprise, in Short Form

So while pretty much everything so far has been talked to death and beyond ahead of the release of Fallout 4, I think I may have struck on one particularly unusual point that not many other people have talked about so far. We're going into some very strange territory here, mostly first-person experiences, so brace yourself. Here there be dragons.

Not so long ago--in fact, not nearly as long ago as I'd like it to have been--I put in my preorder for the download of Fallout 4, with the ever-present caveat that the game could be downloaded in advance, but not played before midnight on November 10, its intended release date.

Rational enough, so I launch the download and figure I'm in for a wait. Well, it doesn't take long for the system to bring in the game...and that's when I look at the size of the download. It's right around 142 megabytes, and that's when I know something is up. In a very big way, something is up.

By way of comparison, Minecraft on Xbox One weighs in at right around 669 megabytes. There's absolutely NO WAY that Fallout 4, a game that's projected to be positively massive, is coming in at about a fifth the size of a game built largely on a series of cubes. So that's what gets me wondering. I look around online, and no one seems to be talking about the oddity of a tiny download. Then, I take a look at the Fallout 4 pre-order page, and under the "size" header is one unusual number: 0. Yes, zero. Not a thing there.

So what, I get to wondering, is up? No one's talking about this that I can find--there's some speculation on Gamefaqs about the total size, but not much else--and it's not meshing with a basic perception of reality. So that's when, fed up, I put in a call to Microsoft, figuring I'll start at the basic tech support level. And that's when a strange little nugget of information slipped out.

The tech support guy I was talking to noted that, not only was there likely to be an increased number of unexpected events ahead of that big experience switchover set to come in a few weeks, so things like this could have happened. Indeed, said tech support guy even noted that some others before me had noted the small size of the download and wondered if, indeed, something had happened in the translation.

But no, said tech support guy assured me, nothing had gone wrong in the download. However, that was when he noted that the download itself was likely to measure upward of 50 gigabytes. Yes, what he'd said was that the game was probably about the same size as The Elder Scrolls Online, a game that came in at 55.69 gigabytes. And that was a measure that knocked me off my feet.

I knew that Fallout 4 would be big. There was too much going on here for it not to be enormous. A voiced protagonist, hundreds of hours of voice acting, a map that was set to be easily double the size of Skyrim's map...this all added up to "big game". But a single player game that's the same download size as an entire MMO built around most of the continent of Tamriel? That's almost a chilling thought. I've seen some wonder if maybe Fallout 4 might be too big, and that's a point that certainly makes me wonder too. I almost can't believe I'm saying this, but could it possibly be too big?

That's a question we'll only be able to answer when the game itself comes out in November, but from what things look like so far, brace for a long download, for a long installation, and a whole lot of playtime.

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