Bethesda fell in love with the Old World, and it’s making Fallout worse. [Long].

fallout 8 - Bethesda fell in love with the Old World, and it's making Fallout worse. [Long].

I've been thinking about this topic for a while, and it's something I want to pick your brains on and to see what you think. I should clarify that by the 'Old World', I'm referring to the Fallout universe as a whole before the bombs fell- retrofuturistic commercialist utopia, y'know, that sort of thing.
I'd like to illustrate a point to you all, and I think the best way to do that is by listing the main characters and driving motivations of each of the Fallout games.
Fallout 1: You are a Vault Dweller, born and raised in the Vault. You have little to no knowledge of the world before. You must find the water chip to save your community.
Fallout 2: You are a villager, only connected to the world before via your lineage from the Vault Dweller. You must find the GECK to save your village from starvation.
Fallout 3: You are a Vault Dweller. Find your dad, who is Liam Neeson.
NV: You are a Courier, a Wasteland native from head to toe. Find that as*hole who shot you.
Fallout 4: You are an American frozen from before the war. You must find your son.
76: You are a vault dweller likely born during America's apex. You must reestablish your brand of civilization across the Wasteland.


Maybe it's too early to call this a trend, but the way both 76 and 4 position their characters that makes me concerned this is an element of storytelling we're going to see in most future Fallout properties: the veneration of life before the Great War. In 4, your character is born and raised a proud American- they live what is, by the standards of the 1950s, a picture-perfect life, with a loving heterosexual spouse. Much of that game's plot focuses around the character coming to terms with their new state of being, and the loss of their pastoral existence. The only issue with that is: we know that existence is founded upon a lie. At home, Vault-Tec manipulates and experiments on unsuspecting citizens. Abroad, American forces commit war crimes. And yet, when Bethesda has a chance to show us pre-2076 America, it seems to be a physical embodiment of in-universe propaganda. 76 is even worse in this regard: your goals are literally to recolonize and rebuild America, the same country that helped bring the world to an end the first time around.

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I don't know if this rant makes sense to anyone else, but I've always seen the pre-War world as something almost akin to a joke. By furnishing it with the aesthetics of a time besides our own, and exaggerating nearly everything to the point of nigh-caricature, it created an incredible juxtaposition that highlighted just how hubristic and flawed humanity was. Now it just feels like yet another marketable image.

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