I’ve been a Fallout player and fan for over a decade. I have played every game from Fallout to Fallout 4 (with the exception of BOS). I have also lived in New Orleans for the past 4 years. Whenever I am bored or driving through particularly dilapidated parts of town, I daydream about what Fallout: New Orleans would look like. I finally took some time to write out my thoughts for your enjoyment. Let me know what you think!
Fallout: New Orleans
The story would revolve around the city with it’s unique geography, themes, and lore. Set in 2375, two years before the United States is estimated to be habitable again.
The story would focus on a character created by the player with one of three general back stories. Each would have a specific starting location. From there, the player would get to determine which missions or play style they want to pursue.
Three starting points:
- Vault Dweller – Survivor from a vault in Bayou Sauvage. The vault would have been time locked to open around the time the US becomes habitable again. You are the youngest person in the vault as the vault experiment was to see the population’s reaction if they were told there was a malfunction in the release mechanism fifty years prior to it’s actual opening. Over time, the vault dwellers collectively decided it would be cruel to bring a child into the world only for it to be locked underground its entire life and underwent mass voluntary sterilization. You were the last “oops” baby and one of a handful of survivors when the door unlocks in 2375.
- Enclave – Born and raised on a converted Poseidon oil rig in the Gulf, trained to be a soldier, now on you first deployment: part of reconnaissance team sent to survey New Orleans, a city surprisingly quiet since the Great War.
- The New Orleanian – Born and raised in a small community in Audubon park. Geographically separated from the rest of New Orleans by flood waters. A fairly xenophobic commune that has willingly limited interaction with other areas of town. The population is growing and it is time to expand, you are a young scout sent to explore the city for open land to settle.
The player would explore New Orleans and the surrounding area as the game progresses, uncovering lore pertaining both to the Fallout universe and to the history of the city and region. The goal being to unite the various settlements and factions for or against you (depending on how you want to play). Like some of the other games, there would be no time crunch or rush to reach an end; it is the Big Easy after all. You’re just a free agent and the city is your oyster.
The climax of the game would be the players participation in the Battle of New Orleans. Modeled after the historical battle of New Orleans during the war of 1812, the battle of New Orleans would not be the bookend of the game like Hoover Dam was in New Vegas, instead it would be a late game event that would shape the interactions experienced in the “epilogue.” The theme of the battle is everybody wants the city for it’s value as a port when America reawakens from the nuclear apocalypse. Options for faction alignments with outcomes include:
- New Orleanians – Let us keep our city, everybody can use the port if they pay the toll
- Enclave – The US needs the port to once again become great
- Start anew (chaotic) – level the whole city (including you) and start from scratch
- Steamboat Willie (a character modeled after Grant P. Marsh) – he’s got connections down south and you can be the partner to open a trade route and rejoin the world
- I’m the Boss now – establish yourself as de facto leader and become the new doge of New Orleans. Nothing moves through the port unless you get a taste.
- I’ll sit this one out – completely skip the battle and sit back as a gradual stalemate results in a weak truce and further confusion. Either way, nothing changes for you.
Other minor plot points:
- Leave the Brotherhood out – logically they would not venture far south without good reason. Maybe include an expedition force to investigate all the shit you have been stirring towards the end of the game but otherwise, give them a break.
- International inclusion – Maybe a foreign character of some reference to the world outside of the US (Central or South American, hell even Europe), franchise building for when they run out of interesting US landscapes to base the game in.
I say go back to the roots of what made fallout so special. Combat is entertaining but should not be the main focus or end goal but rather a means to an end that can be circumvented with other skills checks. Don’t try to make it more frilly than Fallout 4 already did. Instead, put time and effort into a robust assortment of other methods to achieve goals. Put emphasis back on skills and player creativity.
The Morality System – Everything is connected
The game should go back to the old way of no limitations on the things you can do and undo. Most notably the killing of main characters and the possibility of ostracization. The game should not be broken by the elimination of a main character. Instead, it will introduce new obstacles and potentially new quest lines. Along the same vein, word of your deeds/misdeeds should spread at a more organic pace. For instance, news should take time to travel, thus you may be able to outrun your reputation for a short time. Eventually as word spreads about you, dialogue options change. Maybe not even affecting core missions, but instead unlocking new lore and interactions. Furthermore, the inverse should also be true: no witnesses, no crime. I know this has been done with previous fallout games but I think making the morality system more complex and realistic would add to the immersion and replayability.
Example: I still remember my first time playing Fallout 1 and getting in a scuffle in Shady Sands. I launched a missile at an enemy but having nearly no big guns skill, I completely missed and hit an unsuspecting kid. Well sure enough, I was branded a Childkiller and the rest of my game was very difficult until I gave up and started over. I am not advocating for bringing back the ability to kill children (mainly because it is very difficult argument no matter which side you are on). I think endless possibility with realistic (and painful) consequences is what made the first games so unique and challenging.
The starting point not only dictates the player backstory, but also the starting point geographically. The Vault Dweller will start around Bayou Sauvage, the Enclave around Jean Lafitte Preserve, and the New Orleanian in Uptown (Audubon Park).
My theory is that full out nuclear war would not target NOLA directly, but loss of what little organizational structure there was in the form of a centralized government would lead to catastrophic public works failures (not too hard to imagine given the current state of the S&WB). Large areas of the city would be flooded to the point where travel is best achieved via boat. The player could design and customize a boat with numerous functions such as travel, combat, and survival (hunting, fishing, scavenging). Over the course of the game the landscape would transform based on the actions of the player. New areas of land could be accessed by repairing and activating pump stations to drain the flood waters.
My idea would be not condensing a large geographic area to fit all the landmarks as in the DC Wasteland or Boston but instead try to stay true to scale as NOLA is already pretty condensed as far as a city goes.
From a logistical standpoint, such a condensed urban environment would mean designing a lot of indoor environments. This is where Bethesda could reconnect themselves with the player and modder communities. Imagine if people could volunteer to design the interior of a small home in the game. Provided with a simple editor and a finite amount of resources and size, each participating player could create a part of the base game that is their own. This is something to further invest the contributor in the game. Granted there would be quality control and editing as needed. This would greatly expand the scale of the game and make it seem more realistic as there are more environments to explore. Some of the most compelling parts of the fallout games are the small vignettes and stories presented with little or no exposition; the scenes you stumble upon and piece together such as the McClellan Family Townhome in FO3, Ranger Cabin in FO4, the remains of a whale in FO2, etc. Contributors would have the opportunity to create their own tragic/comic/absurdist scenes without dialogue to share with other players. The homes would have addresses so contributors could encourage friends to visit their creations.
Additionally, the New Orleans area is home to a varied array of wildlife that could make appearances as mutated enemies. Obviously deathclaws would be included but some other additions include gators, nutria, armadillos, coyotes, etc.
Uniquely New Orleans
- The music
- Radio would play a big part, I’m talking multiple radio stations and 50+ hours of songs/programming. A really cool way to incorporate the city beyond including local artists would be to incorporate local DJs. Enlist radio personalities from local stations (WWOZ, WHIV, hell even WTUL) to curate playlists. Especially DJ Soul Sister.
- I know it has been mentioned before but I think it would be an awesome standing quest to collect old 45’s from the environment to give to stations for rewards. There would be numerous copies of each song so that extras could be put to use…
- The Hitmaker – A launcher that weaponizes those razor-sharp extra 45’s you are sick of lugging around. A unique weapon acquired earlier in game but capable of modding to keep up with late game difficulty increase.
- After 200 years of radiation and isolation, the language of the bayou became more and more unintelligible from any spoken dialect
- There is a perk that can be upgraded that will allow the player to gradually understand the nu-creole.
- The appeal will be understanding the folks in the boonies will give the player early advantages (and also prevent misunderstandings that could turn violent). I can think of dozens of zany comedic/tragic developments that could come out of the fallout universe based on a simple failure to communicate.
- Fuckin Mardi Gras
- Yearly parade(s). There could even be a Krewe reputation system. It would not be as black and white as hostile/non-hostile but instead give the player unique opportunities, items, and quests depending on with which Krewe they collaborate.
- The locations
- The Preservation Society
- A group of ghouls inspired by Abraham Washington. Their goal is to preserve the historic sites of New Orleans. They provide various missions from to maintain or restore the historic site of New Orleans.
- The Chryslus Motors Superdome
- Originally converted to a vault with a thunderdome-esque theme to breed only the toughest, strongest survivors for the post-apocalyptic world. Trials by combat.
All quests would have a New Orleans reference
- Ain't dere no more – help a ghoul whose dying wish is one last taste of a Hubig’s pie
- I know where you got dem shoes – Explore the French Quarter
- Dr. Mary's Monkey – Investigate the FEV animal testing labs on Tulane’s campus
- Eyehateatom – The Children of Atom are trying to convert locals and want to bask the city in his glorious glow, stop them.
- Wild Wild East – Connect with the various factions in the east and win their approval
- Throw me something, mister – participate in Mardi Gras
- Where the unusual occurs… – Explore Charity and clear out the unwelcome occupants
- Where y’at – Re-establish radio contact with outlying communities
- Casanova – Help reunite the Preservation Society Brass Band
- Who Dat? – Rise to champion of the Chryslus Motors Thunderdome
- Out Metry Way – Repel the raiders advancing from Metairie
- Makin’ Groceries – Establish trade lines for local settlements with the open market at Congo Square
This is all I could think of just sitting down and typing it out. I'll add more as it comes. Please make any suggestions, I had a lot of fun just imaging this so I'd love to hear if anyone has other ideas.
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