FEATURE – What We Want in Fallout 4

Fallout 4

There are a few whispers flying around about the possibility of a new Fallout game (presumably Fallout 4). The rumours mostly stem from the voice actor of Three Dog (“Oooooowwwwwww!” etc.) working on a “top secret” development game as far as I can tell, alongside a few other staff members at Bethesda hinting at ideas, so it could all be complete nonsense. But let’s face it, why wouldn’t Bethesda be working on a new sequel? They’d have to be insane not to. Everything about the Fallout universe is awesome: the games just have a plot and atmosphere that you can’t seem to find anywhere else. The fans are crying out for it.

Two of the big reasons for the rising expectations are a source at IGN, with “First things first, I know that Fallout 4 is currently in active development at Bethesda.” and a warning from Pete Hines “not to even ask us about the game or questions how far in development the game is”. So that got me thinking… if they did happen to make another Fallout game (which they will, I’m betting), what would I want to see from the post-apocalyptic world this time? After New Vegas and Fallout 3 (along with the classics of course) what did I figure was missing from the previous games, or should be scheduled for a triumphant return? Read on below to find out!

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The Skyrim Treatment: A lot of people loved Skyrim. The size of the world, the quality of the graphics, the entertainment of the gameplay, all of these aspects were awesome. And throughout my time playing Skyrim, I was constantly thinking “imagine how awesome Fallout would be if it saw the same treatment”. Think about it. The jump between Fallout 3 and New Vegas wasn’t massive, but it’s a step forward. But the jump between Oblivion and Skyrim was huge. So why can’t Fallout get the same sort of makeover? If they get similar gameplay, graphics and scale into a game in the Fallout universe, the possibilities are almost endless.

The New Vegas Treatment: A lot of people may think I’m mad saying this, but hear me out first. I enjoyed New Vegas more than Fallout 3 not only because it stuck closer to the original fluff, but because you appeared to have some sort of choice in your story arc. Granted, a lot of missions for the NCR or Caesar’s Legion (or even Mr House for that matter) may have been the same, but you still got to make the decision of who won the war in the Mojave. Now take all that choice, all of those alternate endings, all of the extra areas and side quests, and tie it up with the scale of Skyrim’s main story, side quests and map size and you’re looking at a game of epic proportions. A true sandbox game with a storyline worthy of an RPG: the prospect is epic, right? Throw in more of the same with companions and their quests and, in my opinion, you’re on the track for RPG perfection.

“You have to understand our past… because it’s you that will decide our future”: We see snippets of the past from notes, old news articles, terminal entries and even VR simulations. We hear about the tale of Randall Clark during the Honest Hearts New Vegas DLC, about his experiences on and after October 23, 2077 and his fight for survival. We experience the liberation of Anchorage, Alaska from Chinese Communists in the Operation Anchorage DLC of Fallout 3. We read about the US annexing of Canada from notes in terminals. We even hear an account of the day the bombs fell from Robert House. In fact we see so many of these snippets of history that you can construct a timeline of events (http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline). And this is one of the biggest reasons I love Fallout. The details. The small bits of information that individually seem insignificant, but together construct  a vast universe full of lore and backstory, and tie up events like those in the Mojave, the Sierra Madre, the Great Divide, Big MT and Zion Canyon that would otherwise seem random.  I could sit and read the lore and backstory for days. If you do anything I’ve said here, make sure you bring back your attention to the details. But, through it all, we never see the Great War itself. We never see the events unfold to produce the nuclear hellhole we currently inhabit. Personally, if Bethesda can think of some way of letting me watch it happen (flashbacks, videos, storytelling through gameplay, whatever) that would be another step on the road to living in the universe. What was it like when the bombs hit? Perhaps the story was passed down between generations from the lucky ones who survived in the Vaults. Perhaps it was recorded on video. Perhaps someone survived to tell the tale as a Ghoul. Whatever the excuse, I want to see it, I want to experience it. Flashback a few centuries and let me watch your amazing world as it’s created.

So, Bethesda, what city do we want to blow up today?: So having thought about the gameplay and story, I turned my attention to the setting. Where would I want the next Fallout game to visit? Now, I know it’s branded as post-apocalyptic America, but what happened to the rest of the world? How about London for example. Metro 2033 had the Moscow metro, but I think Fallout could do it better, with the one of the world’s most iconic transport systems, the London Underground, as one of its Vaults: a sprawling labyrinth of tunnels, stations and endless opportunity. How would it look in 2077 with the iconic Vault-Tec (or British equivalent) technology reinforcing it’s structure? Not that I didn’t like Metro 2033 of course… the idea behind it was epic: Dmitry Glukhovsky, your book was awesome, and the amount of thought that went into that world and how the culture and lifestyle of the survivors changed was fascinating to read. Other cities that would be fun to give the Fallout treatment? How did Toronto, Tokyo, Berlin or Beijing fair during the Great War, for example? The opportunity for a clean slate faction and partially history wise can be a very alluring prospect! Don’t rule them out is all I’m saying!

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If it has to be America? I picked out a few cities that might have an interesting story to tell specifically from the US: after all, as I’ve mentioned, it is post-apocalyptic America where the lore is based, and I do love the Fallout universe and the history behind the game. Part of me says, I’m fine with the US, I wouldn’t want them to lose the sheer amount of work that’s already got into the lore, backstory and general setting. US cities that would be cool to see (the list isn’t exhaustive, obviously) would include for me fighting in the culture rich and unique atmosphere of New Orleans, among the toppled towers and fractured megastructures of New York, through the winding and sloping streets of San Francisco on it’s unstable fault lines and the ordered urban chaos of downtown Chicago, to name a few.

“We’ve developed some whizz-bang new weapons”: What I really mean here is more of the same really. Keep giving us those new inventive weapons that Fallout games are usually so good for. Keep the new variants of armours coming, from stealth suits to power armour. Keep the melee weapons rolling in, from the crafting Deathclaw Gauntlet to the iconic Super Sledge. Laser weapons, conventional bullet weapons, explosive weapons, just keep expanding that arsenal of firearms to us to bring to bear on our enemies! The return of ARCHIMEDES wouldn’t go amiss either, if you can find some way to slot that in too!

Oh, and don’t forget the Fat Man…

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Glad I found all these bullets…: Bring back hardcore mode. Bring back crafting. Bring back severe shortages of ammunition. Because this is what post-apocalyptic survival is all about people! If you’re going to go serious, let’s go all out. Let’s see the desperation of the survivors, let’s see the real darkness of what could truly happen after nuclear war. They’ve done it before, but let’s see more of it. Power hungry factions fighting for every square inch of land. Civilians struggling to make ends meet in every town. Scavengers and traders battling to survive day-to-day in the wastes. Because this is probably what you’d see…

Dem Skill Systems: Before you say “of course there will be a skill system, it’s Fallout you douche”, allow me to explain. I’m torn between the traditional Fallout skill point assigning systems (we’re not talking about S.P.E.C.I.A.L here, we’re talking Guns, Explosives, Sneak skills etc.) and the Skyrim proficiency system. For Fallout, getting a certain number of skill points a level is nice. But once you hit that level cap, that’s it. Game over. On the flip side, the Skyrim system of beating stuff up to get better at beating stuff up system makes more sense logically (and means you can do it for everything), but at the same time seems slower and more tiresome. For example, if you’re a high level marksman but you want to get better at punching stuff, is it easy to achieve? On Fallout, you can just spend some skills points and bam, sorted. On Skyrim, there’s a large risk of being eaten by that leopard that you found and tried to punch to death to get better at punching stuff to death… so I honestly can’t decide between the two. Ultimately, stick to what you know Fallout. Both work well, but one’s a classic and one’s not. A return of perks is a must though, with the entertaining images and descriptions that accompany them, of course.

Return of the Desert Rangers: Granted, hard to do fluff and lore wise outside the Mojave, but the Desert Rangers are badass enough to make the effort. Who needs the Brotherhood of Steel when you’ve got these long-coat wearing, revolver and high power rifle toting mantanks around?

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Fallout Episode IV: Return of the Modders: Again, it’s more of a bring it back feature than add it in. The PC Fallout modding community (for the most part) do a cracking job, so allow them to keep doing it. With Steam Workshop and Fallout Nexus around, there’s never a shortage of imaginative modders around to help you add to your gaming experience with pretty much whatever you’re looking for! So reward these hard working modders Bethesda, and let them run wild!

So in summary a fair few points made. Gameplay, graphics, storylines, lore, backstory, decisions, alternate endings, guns, armour and locations have all been considered at least slightly. But at the end of the day, this is just my thoughts on the matter. Bethesda have managed (and will continue to manage) without me screaming at them for new stuff, and we can rely on them to live up to expectations with Fallout 4. But if we see even one of these in the new game, I think I’ll be a very happy, post-apocalyptic, nuclear wasteland dwelling, probably slightly mutated bunny.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment with them below! Maybe we could start a “things I want but I’ll probably never get…oh well” fan club?

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