The Locales of Fallout – Setting Versus Tone

Fallout 3

According to leaked documents obtained by Kotaku, Bethesda is working on a new Fallout related title to be taking place in Boston. Signs point to the game in question being the heavily anticipated Fallout 4, whose fans have been salivating at any morsel of information thrown their way.

The article itself details a casting call as well as some early (potential) dialogue that hints at a post-apocalyptic MIT, now simply known as The Institute. While nothing is set in stone as this may be rough dialogue created solely for casting purposes, the breadcrumbs are laid out to provide at least the groundswell for discussions to take place.

Fallout New Vegas

One such discussion, posed the comment that New England areas like Boston have become played out and that game designers should use different locales to set their games in. While the opening post happened to be lumping north eastern US cities into one generalization, particularly including New York City, the problem exists that for those unfamiliar with the area, a game set in NYC-Boston-Maine might all be one boring set piece that we’ve all seen before.

Now it would be easy for me to explain how overgeneralizing of cities based solely on their proximity on a continent is a shrewd way to go about things, but it is plain as day to those who live in Boston and New York City that they are entirely different cities. Rhode Island is different from Vermont and Connecticut is certainly not going to have Maine lobster. Or something to that effect. So on sheer personalities of cities alone, the idea that a rich location is played out is like saying I don’t like these game because they have tall buildings. Or seasons. Or maple syrup.

Fallout 3

Fallout is a peculiar beast in that it has always been ground in historical fiction. It isn’t a metropolis inspired by New York City ala Grand Theft Auto’s Liberty City. It is a game where the lore and history play as much a role in the fictional events that follow it. Fallout 3 alone was like taking a virtual tour through Washington D.C. Albeit a radioactive, wartorn, super mutant infested tour, but a tour nonetheless.

This is why a city like Boston is perfect for Fallout title. The Commonwealth (of Massachusetts) has already been referred to at length in prior games, and its unique traits of being both a historical and modern day landmark only increase the breadth that the writers can pull from. I can see big plays on Boston’s colonial history, their rich reputation for academics and an incredible opportunity to stage Boston as a Fallout first: a surviving police force. The city has a rich history with law enforcement and the writers would be smart to tap into that.

Fallout 3 The PItt

The setting in Fallout is much less about capitol buildings and sparse desert. It’s about the stories those regions can inspire. Fallout 3’s The Pitt DLC tapped into a ravaged Pittsburgh and its reputation for being a blue-collar, industrial city filled with fire burning factories. Fallout has always been smart about how they incorporate their setting, and Boston fits that mold perfectly. Maybe one day Fallout will take us to Texas or to finally see the New California Republic from the inside.

Life’s been rough for Fallout fans with the elaborate hoax of TheSurvivor2299 coupled with the lengthy waiting period without any news on a new game. After all Fallout 3 came out in 2008 and New Vegas came out in 2010. It’s not like the series is known for lengthy development times.

That’s a lie. It totally is.

Fallout 2

Just remember, new Fallout fans, Fallout 1 & 2 came out in 1997 and 1998. Aside from the distraction of Fallout Tactics in 2001 there was nothing until Bethesda swooped in and resurrected the franchise. Ron Perlman always had it right. War, war never changes. And neither will Fallout development cycles.

Kotaku – Leaked documents reveal that Fallout 4 is real, set in Boston

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