Hoping that 76 doesn't torpedo Fallout as we know it (also hoping that if Bethesda makes it, they don't release a buggy unplayable nightmare that requires day-one patching!)
One issue with the Fallout universe is the lack of progression despite the rather long amount of time having passed from Fallout 1 to Fallout 4 – civilization in general stopped progressing at the "lets build tin shacks out of shit we scavenged" phase – despite knowing that we'd in actuality band together to clean things up, and begin rebuilding. 200+ years post apocalypse we may not be back to pre-war levels of development and tech (though in Fallout, there's plenty of that tech and the technical data to do so) – but we should not be in the state of walking everywhere, or taking brahmin carts, and living in tin shacks.
Fallout needs the next game to show some societal rebirth – some new construction vs the bland, depressing landscape. I know the depressing landscape sets the overall tone of the post war world, but we need a glimmer of hope. We could have a fallout game centered around the birth of two new nations, much like the NCR vs Legion conflict of New Vegas, but with two developing nations vying for control of resources and tech.
The player character could be recruited by one or both sides to act as an agent for them – seeking out some much needed tech or finding a much needed scientist/doctor/whoever to help them cement their position of dominance, or to act as an agent of stability much like you could in New Vegas. You should have the real option of siding with the bad guys too – I was really let down by how Fallout 4 had one cheesy "bad guy" ending by siding with the Institute, but even the Institute wasn't really terrible, despite kidnapping and replacing humans with synths. It didn't give the feeling like maybe siding with the Enclave would have gotten. Even Fallout 3's Enclave ending was lame.
Karma should come back – with serious consequences. I liked having to avoid the bounty hunters in fallout 3. New Vegas with it's Legion or NCR patrols was also fun. Fallout 4's lack of that was noticeable. Your decisions just didn't matter, and 3 of 4 possible endings were the same, just with different NPC's taking part. Lazy, boring story telling.
It would be nice for the next single-player Fallout to be set somewhere we've not been in the Fallout universe as of yet – no more DC / Mid Atlantic coast, no more California – set it somewhere in the Midwest, or the Northwest, or down in the deep south. It could even be set in Canada or Alaska – both of which had historical significance in the Fallout story line. We could see remnant Enclave offshoots develop that retreated to the far less populated regions in the far north to escape the war they knew would be coming. Maybe we stumble across the leaders of Vault Tec that bided time before launching their campaign to rebuild and control the future – sort of a darker twist on the Institute theme from Fallout 4.
I don't want to see Brotherhood in the next one, I thought it was unnecessary and lazy with Fallout 4 – there are so many options to show new factions in different regions, but not only did they recycle the Brotherhood trope, but the same group of Brotherhood from Fallout 3. There can be other groups of power armored do-gooders or villains tearing about the wastes.
It would be nice to have some sort of player vehicle in the next game too – if not a car or motorcycle, then at least bikes or rideable animals that can increase your carry capacity and be used as mobile storage, but there's no reason other than laziness why some sort of vehicle besides vertibirds hasn't been introduced. And the player couldn't even pilot the vertibirds in Fallout 4. With the push for bigger and bigger maps – walking sucks. It sucks hard. I love big maps, but I hate walking. Vehicles don't need to be tanks, they don't need to be armed (though lightly armed vehicles could be useful in story telling – say you have to make a raid with one or two companion characters on a stronghold to steal tech or liberate an important NPC and get them out alive)
I guess I'm picturing something like a Far Cry meets Fallout game.
If the next game has to revisit previously visited locations, at least show some real societal progression – cleaner, newer buildings mixed in with the shanties and shacks – class-warfare from those in the burgeoning "middle class" who get to live in the newer areas of the cities (not just settlements, but actual cities) and those who still scratch out a living in a ramschakle shack – hearkening back to the conflict between the ghouls and Tenpenny Tower in fallout 3 but without a straight rehash of that story element.
I love the Fallout franchise, but it's grown stale, and I hope that Fallout 5 is not simply a stagnant redux of Fallouts 3 thru 4. And if they could ditch the voiced protagonist and go back to the way it was in 3 and New Vegas, with more dialog options, deeper story telling, karmic choices and consequences that would be cool. They can still have the mindless shooter element that draws the casual gamers, and give us a richer story than we got out of the last iteration. And for the love of God, no more bloody pipe weapons…
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