The release of a Bethesda game etches a fat mark in the sand. As one of a few select developers capable of creating a manic hype around every game they release, it's no surprise that after a couple of months playing their latest product people are already lusting for whatever's next.
We've played Skyrim for well over 200-hours; and yes, we have managed to go all that time without sinking so low as to make arrow-to-the-knee jokes at family events, corporate dos and house parties.
Although DLC is inevitably on its way, we've turned our RPG-drunken eyes to the bigger picture. We still love Skyrim, and there's no doubt we're going to return to the snowy peaks of Tamriel's northernmost province once additional content is available, but we can't stop thinking about the other franchise Bethesda are renowned for.
We want the next Fallout. It's what - in theory - Todd Howard and his merry men are working on deep in their underground labs. Whether we'll see it on this console generation or we'll have to wait till the next shiny boxes we're yet to see, but Fallout 4 is flashing up bright on our radars.
But what can be learnt from everything that's come before? There's no doubting that Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas hasn't aged that well. It only takes a couple of minutes to revisit them after playing 100 hours in Skyrim to see they run worse than Joker Moreau without his crutches.
For some, Skyrim was arguably more The Elder Scrolls 4.5 than a 'whole number' sequel. Although Skyrim was a phenomenal game, we don't want the same to happen with Fallout 4, and there's a crap-tonne of stuff Bethesda can learn from in order to make the next radioactive wasteland romp a stunner.
The problem:That ol' wench Lydia caused a stir didn't she? But it was for mostly the wrong reasons. As much as we loved abusing both her and the system she inhabited, Skyrim's companion system was dodgier than a Khajit's handshake. We don't want the same shallow, obviously tacked on component to feature in Fallout 4.
The Solution: Fully voiced companions littering the wasteland. We're not talking about flat, barely interactive partners hired for a pittance that you find in Skyrim; we want the real deal. Think the same level of personal interaction you have with characters in Mass Effect. You care about them, you don't just laugh when you shout their arse off of the top of a mountain. They have real, believable personalities that add a particular flavour to your experience of the game; Skyrim's companions were nothing more than walking inventories with a few recycled lines of speech to keep you entertained while you skulked around a Draugr ruin.
For games so concentrated on surrounding the player with stories, Bethesda's monstrous worlds do very little to evoke real emotion. That needs to change with Fallout 4, especially as we see beautiful universes like Mass Effect and Uncharted manage to break the boundaries of what's expected from video game characterisation.