So as anyone who’s been following any gaming blog or other news feed and is a fan of the Fallout Frachise knows, the Survivor2299 site has been admitted to being an, albeit elaborate and extremely convincing, hoax. This saddens me, no matter how much I knew, myself, that it just didn’t fit the typical method for an official teaser. Still, I allowed myself to hope, and I dared to believe. Alas, the site creator has admitted such is the case, the countdown and it’s date have come and gone, and we have no new news on the Fallout front. Such is life.
Or at least, it was until this morning……
Enter a glorious and uplifting post from Kotaku: FALLOUT 4 DOCUMENTS LEAKED!!!! This makes me happy in ways that I probably should admit to in a public forum, but so be it! While this is not an official statement from Bethesda, it does confirm that they are, in the least, working on the game and it is currently in development. The gaming community has suspected that the game has been in the planning stages for some time, but nothing could be confirmed, and definitely not to this degree, as this. So, enough with the jibber jabber that does nothing but further elaborate about what can be found in the title! Lets move on to something real!
Unfortunately, I cannot claim to be a full fledged Fallout Expert, as I have only begun to play the series starting with 3. Still, even with that limited scope of the series, I can easily tell that it is rich in lore and tradition. Obviously, the visage of the Vault Boy is omnipresent; his boyish charm and disarming smile, set in complete and utter contrast to the torn dystopian wasteland that has become the United States. The use of Bottle Caps of the aptly named “Nuka Cola” soft drink. The sometimes cynical names of the skill books (Lying: Congressional Style increases your speech skill. Ha!). This like this make the experience so much deeper for me, and knowing that some of these are recurring themes that the long time fans would instantly recognize force me to the wikis so that I, too, may be “in the know”!
These are all great, but what really gripped me about this series was the social commentary in this fictional setting, and how they hypothesized how society would function after such devastation. Things like seeking refuge and establishing a settlement in the Museum of Natural History, using and old Supermarket and a hide-out, thinking that a Elvis School of Impersonation was a church to “The King”, and how one sect would eventually organize and dedicate their order to the recovery and study of pre-war technology.
Yet on top of all that, the conspiracy monger in me can’t deny my fascination with the ultimate Societal Experiments, completely devoid of ethics: The VAULTS themselves! Not just the construction and operation of them, but the wild ideas behind all of their themes, and how they were studied. What if these vaults were actually constructed with the controlled inhabitant selection? What would some of these scenarios produce? It’s truly a philosophers playground!
OK, enough with the cerebral gushings. Here’s what we can infer from the article:
Looks like we’re heading back to the American North East. Assassin’s Creed 3 broke a little bit of ground here, basing it’s story between New York City, Boston, and the “Frontier” (read: Upstate New York, The Catskills, and the Bershires). The reason that Ubisoft came to this part of the country is the obvious historical significance of it, with the American Revolution. For the Fallout series, I’m sure we’ll get some more of that folded in. We already have references to “The Enclave” in previous titles, which are the remants of the American Government. In the leaked scripts, there’s also a reference to the “Minute Men”, furthering the acknowledged political significance of the region.
The Commonwealth is a region has been referenced several times in the previous titles, but players have never been able to venture to it. It is known for it’s technological advances and general knowledge base. In the game’s lore, it is generally known to be the former State of Massachusetts, which also obviously contains also Boston.
In the details surrounding the casting calls, it was noted that they called for both Male and Female voices for the Player. This is of significant interest to me, since for the most part the player themselves didn’t speak. Maybe the occasional shriek of pain when hit or grunt when jumping, but that’s about it. With a scope as large as a Bethesda game, I can’t imagine how many different scenarios would need to be accounted for, and how much time would be required to record the voice tracks for each gender. Granted, the same has been done in Mass Effect and Saint’s Row, but both of those games are relatively linear when compared to the open-worldness of Fallout and Elderscrolls.
The Institute = Fallout variant of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT. If you are unfamiliar with MIT and you’re an American, please turn over your nerd and/or geek card. Your membership has been hereby revoked until you are granted publication in a peer reviewed periodical for Cold Nuclear Fusion research. MIT is one of the most well known Universities for Science and Technological Research and Study. To have a Science Fiction game set in Massachusetts and have it reference the university is just natural, and provides a location and context for all sorts of “Mad Scientist” mischief! Oh, and where there is Tech to be had, the Brotherhood of Steel is sure to follow.
Being that pretty much anything revolving around Fallout has been grabbing my attention, I’ve got a few Bold Predictions that I may be so willing to dare:
- Return of the Tunnel Snakes – Earlier this year, Bethesda released a Tunnel Snakes Hoodie. Big deal, right? Well, more like suspicious. As stated in the linked article, the Tunnel Snakes were basically a throw away “gang” that had absolutely no significance in the plot for Fallout 3. So, why create a hoodie with their likeness? Snakes can be found in cool, damp places all over the North East. Under rocks, in streams, and even in sewer tunnels. Speaking of massive tunnels…
- The Big Dig – This is a massive underground rail mega-project in Boston. Fallout has made use of the Subway System before as a method of Fast Travel and the only way to enter the Mall in the Capital Wastes in Fallout 3. Having a mass transit system of this scale, and budget, at their disposal and not make use of it would be a horrible design sin.
- Native American Presence – In the Fallout: New Vegas DLC “Honest Hearts”, there was a definite presence of the local Native tribes. There’s also little reason not to acknowledge the importance of the Native Americans here, be it the Iroquois Nation or the Abenaki in some extent.
- Strong Enclave Presence – The Enclave, as previously stated are the remnants of the former American Government. Obviously, it made sense to have them being present in Fallout 3 which was located in the Former National Capitol. Would it not also make sense to have them present where the Nation’s Government was first conceived?
- Enhanced Pip-Boy – This will be the first Fallout on the New Generation of Consoles, so we’ll have access to plenty more processing power and capabilities. I wouldn’t be surprised if we were able to tap in to The Institute’s databases remotely to access information on localities, factions, and creatures. Also, I expect to have some form of Pip-Boy companion app for 2nd Screen functionality. I mean, have you seen what Need For Speed: Rivals is doing? There’s got to be something that could be worked in to the Fallout world!
WILD WASTELAND POSSIBILITIES (and other pop cultures references)
On the whole, I never paid much attention to the Wild Wasteland trait. It doesn’t really affect your character development, aid in combat or exploration, or provide any other notable advantage. All it really does is add a bit of silliness to an otherwise excessively bleak existence. With that in mind, I fully intend to make use of the trait the next time I load up a Fallout game, since that is exactly what it is: an opportunity for a bit of silliness in an otherwise bleak wasteland! Here are a few opportunities I feel could add a bit of “less than serious” nuggets of flavor in to our next trek across the wastes:
- Ben Affleck Movies – Seriously, how many has that man set in the city of Boston? I mean, Good Will Hunting was set in MIT!
- Sports Teams – The Red Sox, the Bruins, the Celtics, and The New England Patriots all have strong support in this fine city. Worth noting is that in the Fallout 3 DLC “The Pitt” had armor that was derived from American Football pads and took place in a Steel Mill, in reference to the Football team the Pittsburgh Steelers, so they’ve already worked the presence of a local team in to the mix.
- The Dropkick Murphys – Boston Irish Punk band, and one of my favorites that I’ve seen multiple times live. Quite popular, and sell out quite a few shows around the St. Patrick Day holiday
- Assassin’s Creed 3 – A few things make me think that there might be a nod to the game here. 1st, it was a popular game set in the same, mostly neglected in video games, geographic area. 2nd, both franchises are tapping in to the same well of historical significance. 3rd, the New Vegas DLC Honest Hearts included the Well Stacked Cairns companion perk which increased the player’s Perception after viewing from a vista, much like any of the playable assassins could gain local knowledge from a Viewpoint.
However, all of this is speculation in wild anticipation for the game, that is still in the early design phases. How much of this will actually make it in to the game? Who the hell knows. When will we be able to romp around post-apocalyptica again? Dude, calm down! The first tease may have been a hoax, but at least we know that something is, in fact, in the works. And just in case you need a taste of some old school Fallout, you can go ahead and download the original games for free. Rock on!
War…war never changes, but the console that I plan it on will!