Monday, June 15, 2015

The Revenge of RobCo

In the span of 60 seconds several dozen propmakers were effectively put out of business last night.

The occasion was Bethesda's E3 presentation of their upcoming projects, with a heavy focus on the release of "Fallout 4".   One of the most surprising revelations was that the latest Fallout will be out on November 10th of this year.  Normally game developers start hyping their wares years ahead of time.  Making the big reveal five months before release?  It's unheard of.

More importantly, at least from the perspective of propmaking, they revealed the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition, and it's a doozy.  The package features a full-sized, ultra-detailed wearable Pip Boy prop. Then they went one step further, revealing it will hold a smartphone with a fully interactive app recreating all the functions of the in-game device. 

And, just like that, all those propmakers selling Pip Boys saw their market collapse. Browse Ebay or Etsy and you'll find Pip Boy props going for hundreds of dollars. Or at least you would have before last night. Now?  Who's going to buy one from a garage creator for $250 or more when you can get an amazingly detailed and fully functional Pip Boy, along with the game itself and a very cool carrying case, for $120?

I have very mixed feelings about this.  As a Fallout fan it's fantastic.  Thanks to the efficiencies of industrial production I'll be able to get a Pip Boy for the price of a dinner out.  On the other hand, it's hard not to have some sympathy for the propmakers who've invested hours of time creating props that are now obsolete.


5 Stone Games said...

You pay $120 for a diner out?. Ouch. The pip boy/game is still a really good deal though and it tempts me.

Anonymous said...

If they're smart, they'll switch to being suppliers of 'aftermarket' 'upgrades' to the new Pipboy: metal parts, glass screens, adjustable, comfortable wrist straps, etc, etc.

Propnomicon said...

@ 5 Stone Games

My tastes aren't quite that refined. I'm assuming the Pip Boy, stand, and storage pod goes for around $60 above the cost of the game I was going to get anyway. That's a steal.

@ gndn

That's a great idea.

CoastConFan said...

One interesting tie-in to the Fallout series is the retro look and sound of this parallel universe/alternate history world. Sometimes things seem to slop over into our world from theirs. We used to play a lot of vintage music back when I had the antique shop and I remember how excited one young fellow was when he heard a song he recognized from a game trailer for Fallout 3. Yes, it was the Ink Spots and the song was, I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire from 1941. It was used on the trailer, the intro and on the Galaxy News Radio during the game. We had to disabuse the poor fellow that the song was written expressly for Fallout 3.

The Ink Spots were a famous R&B group that was active from 1934 through 1954, when they disbanded. Their imitators still abound with dozens of groups calling themselves The Ink Spots to this day. That says a lot about their lasting impact on the American music scene. The Fallout 4 trailer features another Ink Spots oldie.

Fallout 3 trailer featuring the Ink Spots, I Don’t Want to Set the World On Fire, 1941

Fallout 4 trailer again featuring the Ink Spots, It’s All Over But the Crying, 1947

Mr. Primate said...

And I just bought a 3D printed Pip-Boy 3000A (The Fallout 3/New Vegas one) two weeks ago! :-(

TBH it doesn't concern me overmuch. For one I'm sure there will be plenty of other props that will inspire people to make in the Real World. Example - have you noticed how natty those new Nuka Cola bottles look?

I've ordered my Pip-Boy Mark IV, but I'm still going to build my working Pip-Boy 3000A. The great advantage of 3D printing of course is that the model can be sized to fit you better. I have a resin cast of the Fallout 3 Alarm Clock Pip-Boy which is a very tight fit on me (even after I Dremeled it out) and has little room for electronics. My new 3D printed one is 20% up and will have room for a padded fit, with a Raspberry Pi, screen & battery.

Anonymous said...

Bethesda changed the shape of the Nuka-Cola bottle. It's not a coca-cola bottle shape, anymore. They changed the bottle to look like a rocket.

Maybe, Prop makers can make new bottle props.