Every now and then I see some posts about hopes and dreams for Fallout 5, but I would like to widen the scope and see specifics of how an individual might change the game for the better. In this little thought experiment I would say that you mostly have the same resources as Bethesda has, so you can't just say "better graphics" or "1000 dialogue options per person". Instead I'd like to see what you would want for gameplay, story, and world. If you want to talk about mechanics I insist on specifics, like for the graphics you may say that the introduction of photogrammetry is a requirement for you.
Now on to my sample game:
I am not entirely specific on setting but for right now I'd say Chicago or Philadelphia. The reason is that I would like to hone in on the tragedy that was the nuclear war. One of the greatest things about Fallout 3 in my opinion was that things that are considered priceless in our time, like the declaration of independence, was only worth about a couple bottles of water. Or that huge monuments to American progress were simply left to rot like the Capital building or that the Mall became a warzone. I think that having the things Americans find most dear to them destroyed and casted aside makes for a poignant starting place.
Then I would make the story about redemption. This could be achieved in any number of ways, but here is a few that I have come up with recently:
- The remnants of the enclave are fighting with the brotherhood of steel over the cure to a virus that only affects humans. One reason for this is that the Enclave is trying to be better. People like those in charge of the EDE project, those who were compassionate are now in charge of the last major stronghold of the enclave. They still believe humans are the best, but more in the way that the brotherhood of steel has in most games, not allowing them to be a part of the group, but not actively attacking them and sometimes helping too. They would have this sort of White Man's Burden view about the world, that they must uplift the savages and assuage the pain of the poor tormented freaks like Ghouls and Super Mutants. The Midwest brotherhood would be much like the one in FO Tactics, although they would be far more pragmatic. They have ghouls, mutants, and even some deathclaws in their ranks, but only in segregated platoons and companies. That way, the mutated are generally on the side of the brotherhood, but neither side really has a healthy view of these new versions of humanity. Also this new plague could also be related to the one that Super Mutants were created for in the first place, creating a bigger layer of mistrust between mutants and enclave, because the last time they tried to clean something up in fallout 3, they also tried to wipe out mutant kind.
- You are a religious pilgrim from a tech cult tasked with bringing a prototype holotape filled with the library of congress inside to another location. Could be another church, could be to the tech cults messiah. Inside the holotape is everything the American people believed the world at any time and place should know about themselves, so containing within is all the knowledge needed to create a new America. Of course, any number of factions could be interested in this, and it also creates a conflict of interest, where you know that any group you end up giving it to will interpret the words inside as a justification of their own ideology, so maybe you should keep it locked up somewhere, until cooler minds prevail…
- For some reason, robots have started gaining sentience, and heading towards a central location. This would be a high tech factory of some kind, that used to be inoperable, but now shines with lights brighter than any location on the map. Most people are suspicious of the robots, as any attempt to get in their way will be met with lethal force, but after a visit for yourself, you learn that its anything but a danger. Instead you find a ZAX-style supercomputer, who rather than hates humanity for creating it, loves humans like humans love their gods. Initially, it was given the job of saving the human race. When it failed to do so, it guided many humans toward modernity, although their own interpretations left the ZAX model disappointed (think how Diamond City is the biggest town in Boston, but still has trash strewn about everywhere.) After numerous failed attempts to restart human civilization, and a number of wars currently going on between the most advanced societies (NCR v Caesars legion, Brotherhood v Institute), it has given up and only wants to preserve humanity through its machines. Giving them sentience, all the machines work on a space ship, who will hopefully go far enough away that they'll be contacted by another species in space that could help with their predicament, if not, then they will be the last vestiges of human civilization.
Onto gameplay, I think a few changes to the gunplay might be in order. First, I would add a lean option to the game. This solves one of the problems with Fallout right now, and that is the fact that there is no point to cover right now. If you find a wall to hide behind, you cant shoot because the wall is in the way. Thus most people resort to waist high cover or just stand out in the open taking shots like an idiot. With leaning, more tactical options could be approached, peaking through cracks in the wall to ambush enemies, finding a good position that allows you to shoot enemies while concealing yourself from them. Then, because I have provided a way to avoid fire, I give the player much less health, same with the enemies. I don't want the game to be perfectly realistic like Arma or Tarkov, but make all but the most armored humans pretty allergic to bullets.
I would make slight changes to the crafting system as well. Gun damage will be determined by its caliber and the quality of ammo, not the strength of its receiver. So when you craft a gun, you don't have hardened, advanced, etc, you have 5.56, .308, and .50 cal for example. This allows you to upgrade your weapon, while still having to pay more for more damage. When I went with a crafting build in Fallout 4, I found that the guns I created were far better than what I found on bodies or could buy. Thus I would also reintroduce weapon durability, so I can require the player to use guns out of their comfort zones. Energy weapons can stay largely the same, although I'd suggest splitting up pistols and rifles ammo usage again, just so an upgrade like that might require more power.
Again with guns, I'd make a bigger effort to model them off of real weapons of the cold war era, you'd see the return of the R91 assault rifle, the Chinese assault rifle, and maybe some new guns like the M14, and or the FAL in a falloutized way. The reason for this is that most of the guns in fallout 4 seemed like toys, even though they were supposedly modeled after real guns like the Lewis. I would make guns smaller, and less clunky made of steel with wood furniture for a more visible difference between that and the plastics and polymers of energy weapons. For most rifles that are semi automatic, I would also make them select fire, with no changes to damage between fire modes. The cost of firing many rounds should be that you run out of ammo and durability, not that the bullets somehow hit less hard. Melee weapons would largely stay the same, although I'd like to see the variety that was available in the older games like 3 and NV. Special weapons should truly be special, with cosmetic as well as functional differences between them and the regular versions.
Now on to quests, I would make a couple changes here that would go a long way I think. First, instead of radiant quests, I would create "job" quests, these would be middling in storyline size but could create a better sense of self in the world. For example, lets say one of the 10 or so job quests would be a bounty hunter (think the someguy modding series.) There would be 5-10 bounties that had a cohesive story, that might be mini antagonists for the entire game without being connected to the main story, and in between these could be more generic bounties that could still make use of the radiant quest system (maybe a pool of like 50-100 quirky characters that would not require long stories of their own or voice acting). So you would have like 3 generic quirky characters, then a villain you've heard talked about in town for your entire game, then three more, then another. These voiced characters could have semi-special weapons, that have essentially what would be the legendary weapons of the game (As I have removed those from the game entirely). At the end of every "Job" quest, you would get one of the few truly special pieces of equipment. This way you could repurpose the radiant quest system while still making an impact and a story for the player to follow. There's a number of jobs I could think of just off the top of my head too, like caravaneer, private investigator, and maybe robot repair. There's even room for bad rep jobs like raider or chem dealer.
This would fill out my world with long quest chains that make a world more lived in, as well as creating a slight randomness to the quest line in the non-story radiant filler parts of the quest lines, as you might only kill 30 or so of the radiant quirky character for example, so if your were to do another character, you might see all different bounties, save for the story ones.
The non-job quests would then be much longer. In fallout 4 and 3, it would usually some weird quirky situation that you would solve, but not fix. For example, in Fallout 3, you help a group of ex-slaves evade capture by slavers, and then settle them in at the Lincoln memorial. The only thing you could do once you helped, would be to collect Lincoln paraphernalia. Instead, if I had that quest in my game, I would use that as an opportunity to fight back against paradise falls. Maybe you start off by assassinating high level slavers, then raid slaver caravans, culminating in the attack on paradise falls, freeing the slaves. These types of quests would be more faction oriented (although probably only minor factions, think boomers/great khans size), and would have a lasting effect on the world once you finished. In this case, no more slavers walking the waste in the random encounter deck.
Finally, I would also have competing brands in the game. One of the ideas I think Bethesda just latched on to in Fallout 4 would be regional competitors to universal brands (ie Vim v Nuka-Cola). I want this on a wider scale, not necessarily just regionally either. For example, you could have the normal iconic Watts laser rifle, then in the next game you could have that AND one from general atomics or Robco, or some regional competitor. This would allow for variety in the gameplay (much like how some preferred the Chinese assault rifle over the R91 or vice versa.) It wouldn't need to be done everywhere, but just enough to indicate a wider world.
Well, that's all I could think up on the top of my head, tell me what your ideas are for a future fallout are.
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