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The Dialogue Tree

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Setting Fallout 4 Pt. 2 (of 2) – On The Road Again!

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September 20th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

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. . . with apologies to Cormac McCarthy.

Recently, rumors started circulating that Bethesda may be considering the city of Boston, Massachusetts, as the primary setting for the next Fallout game, theoretically the 4th numbered sequel. Though this rumor hasn’t been confirmed, and is contrary to earlier statements, but it seems plausible. Not only was The City on a Hill obliquely referenced in Fallout 3 via the mysterious civilization known as The Commonwealth (and “The Institute”, theoretically a scientific society emerging from MIT), but considering Bethesda’s familiarity with the Eastern seaboard, it makes sense for them to set the game in a location that’s within their geographic wheelhouse.

Last week I proffered an editorial argument about the aspects of the Fallout series that are uniquely Western, my conclusion being that setting games on the East Coast carries with it a loss of identity for what makes Fallout so refreshing in a genre quickly becoming inundated with rivals, rehashes, and pretenders.

It seemed a rather fruitful topic, and I was delighted to see so much feedback from Fallout Fans. After all, this is “The Dialogue Tree”, not “The Screed Reeds” or the “Mahogany Monologues”, and in the end I like to get a conversation going above all else!

NMA Logo

Big shout out to No Mutants Allowed, by the way. I’ve teased them in the past, but honestly, that site is still the BEST (and longest running) place to get Fallout news, features, and intelligent discussion for Fallout fans.

But to make my opinion clear, I did like Fallout 3, especially at first.

Like many longtime fans of the series, that initial gameplay trailer gave me withdrawal symptoms I didn’t even know I had; when I popped that disc into my tray late 2008, I went through an almost Jet-induced Fallout frenzy, playing it at all hours of the night for two weeks straight while losing plenty of sleep in the process.

But as with my eyelids on the subsequent workdays, the magic of the game didn’t hold up over time. Or at least not like it had with the originals. Hence my prior diatribe was as much a search for what exactly it was that made them (and in my opinion, New Vegas) superior as it was a pronouncement of the Western influences I think may be the cause.

Also, I admit a main beef I have with Boston specifically is, as a “cradle of American history” there’s an almost certain chance we’ll see the Enclave again. After defeating them twice (thrice if you count Broken Steel separately), it’s past time to let the faction die already.

However, just because Fallout 3 has tarnished, doesn’t make it terrible. It has plenty of material worth exploring in future sequels, I just don’t think this means the Western stories must die out to make way for them. If anything, I’m of the mind that there are now two different Fallout series at this point; one focused on the East, one the West, both equally valid . . . but then, I’m getting ahead of myself.

For what I’m discussing today is nothing short of pure, unadulterated (but hopefully still informed) speculation! The time-honored tradition of fans everywhere! Looking at something we enjoy far too much and saying, “What if this were to happen next?”

So in this spirit, I’m going to hop into my rebuilt Chrysalis Highwayman here, and take a virtual road trip through a post-nuclear America!

Remember: Nothing can stop a Highwayman! via

We’re searching for spots that not only could be viable venues for the series, but should be. Locations that for whatever reason, call it fate, call it karma, but for whatever reason (Ray), are places where setting the next Fallout just makes sense.

I’ve got plenty of energy cells in the tank, some Sugar Bombs to munch on, and the radio’s picking up songs from the 1950’s for some reason. Well, the motor’s running- so hop in and Away. We. Go!

First stop . . .

New York City?!
(Get a rope!)

Yes, yes, I know. I just spent a whole article saying western states are the heart of Fallout. But aside from the plot considerations I alluded to, there’s a major reason why the Boston rumor has as much credibility as it does.

Not only is the Northeast mostly untapped in the Fallout world, but considering the popularity of the game (and the supposed “lackluster” success of New Vegas) a direct, linear progression from Fallout 3 makes so much sense from a sales perspective that Bethesda would have to be pretty dumb to not follow up with Fallout: New Fan Service. Say what you will about their abilities as game designers – lord knows I have – they’re damn smart businessmen.

It seems that’s what happens when you dump all your points into Barter and Luck!

My argument for New York as opposed to Boston is simple: why settle for the opening act, when you’re really waiting for the headlining band? Like John Lennon said, New York City IS the Rome of the modern world, and there’s little reason this status would’ve changed by the time the bombs fell, so it seems inevitable that a Fallout game will get here eventually. If there’s going to be (ideally) alternating locations for the Fallout series, some in the East and some in the West, let’s just get to the Manhattan Project everyone’s expecting!

Without Kurt Russell on your side, there’s really no way to escape from New York. So why fight it?

Plus, there’s a solid (and practical, as I’m sure it saved available memory) level design concept of Fallout 3‘s D.C. ruins – the collapsed architecture meant much of the area had to be navigated through Metro tunnels – which could be used again in the Big Apple’s vast network of subways and sewers. Not to mention the potential for local flavor and the film references certain to be involved. Off the top of my head you’ve got: Ghoulish remnants of the Mafia, a Raider occupied Wall Street, riffs on The Warriors, King Kong, among various movies, and those giant mutated sewer gators we keep hearing about!

There is a serious issue though. A demolished New York is simply overdone, not just in pop culture, but specifically in gaming. Post-apocalyptic (or near enough for government work) versions of the city that never sleeps are EVERYWHERE. Crysis 2, Spider-Man Web of Shadows, [PROTOTYPE](both 1 and 2), Infamous, and even early levels in Modern Warfare 3; I’ve seen the crumbling skyscrapers of Manhattan so many times that I could tell the level modelers where to place the rubble.

Right there, next to where Will Smith is standing in that movie that’s basically Fallout: New York, but with Vamp- er, nocturnal Super Mutants.

On the other hand, this familiarity could be a strength. That sense of loss that came from watching American history so thoroughly wiped out in Fallout 3, well, we’ve seen New York suffer from so many Godzilla Threshold attacks over the years that the fictional concept is as redundant as putting a blindfold on Helen Keller; the emotional baggage might be lessened, is my point. But then, after that thing with the DC Metro ads, Bethesda might be more cautious making a game featuring a virtual New York filled with collapsed skyscrapers (for what should be obvious reasons).

So, to mitigate that PR damage, let’s just take everything I said about New York, drive across a tottering G.W. Bridge and settle for New Jersey, shall we? It’s not like this is the first time anyone’s done so.

Actually, if the plot centers on a G.E.C.K. gone wrong, where a “Garden of Eden” in the Garden State mutates out of control? That’s not too bad; it could even steal some of the thunder from The Last of Us. You also get literal Jersey Devils of course, and we get to see the cast of The Jersey Shore mutate further thanks to radiation . . .

And that's BEFORE the FEV!

Are we sure they haven’t already been exposed to a strain of FEV that turns their skin orange instead of green?

Heck, if the world map were large enough you could easily do both, with Manhattan being a central “D.C. Ruins Rubble-zone” to a surrounding “Capital Wasteland” consisting of Newark and the other Four Burroughs. Meanwhile the DLC gets set in Atlantic City for a Sierra Madre-like gambling den, Albany for some upstate action, and if you head up the coastline, oh hey, look at that! Boston.

New York City
New Jersey!
Neo New Knickerbockerton?

The combined New York/New Jersey region is still missing the “Western” aspect – you could crash that Freighter from Fallout 2 into Staten Island to transplant some of it, *cough*lost-plot-thread-just-waiting-to-be-used*cough* – but the same goes for Boston. Similarly, both locales have roughly equivalent amounts of history to draw plot seeds from. New York is just bigger, and could be better as a result, especially if you tied in Boston as DLC, covering both.

Besides, setting Fallout 4 in the city The Dodgers ditched would allow for Fallouts 3 and 4 to mirror Fallouts 1 and 2 in terms of geographic relocation trends (just heading north and a bit east). And if the next game IS set in Boston, do you honestly think there won’t be DLC in NYC? I’m just advocating for a reversal of the inexorable progression, really.

Anyway, we’ve dallied in the Gotham long enough. We’re not trying to be Batman here.

Time to drive on south, visit our friends in Megaton for a spell – looks like Moira opened up a coffee shop, it’s called Grind Zero (bah-dum-psh!) – and keep on rambling on.

Continuing southerly down the I-95, we turn west before we hit Ghoul infested Florida (and that’s what is was before the war). After a spending the night in a decaying Nuka-Cola factory in Atlanta, we continue west along the I-20 for a spell, turning south once more as we hit that curvy, ladylike river, Missus Ippi.

This eventually brings us to . . .

New Orleans!

Photo by Jan Kronsell, 2004

Original photo by Jan Kronsell. Found here.

Picking a particular point in The South to use is tricky. While Fallout 3 was set in Washington, D.C., meaning it was on the southern side of the Mason-Dixon line, Columbia isn’t really representative of what most conceive of as “The South”. To differentiate it further, you have to make like Inception and go deeper. So, like in Live and Let Die, we go from one “New” to another, from the York to the Orleans!

Unlike other parts of “The South”, the outsider’s (read: Northerner’s) image of Louisiana isn’t all racism and hillbillies in a bog filled with as much Southern animosity as moonshine. Thanks to N’awlins, it’s also wild parties, delicious spicy food, Dixieland Jazz, and outrageously revealing costumes on loose women enjoying the aforementioned. There’s plenty of potential for diverse locations – deep marshes filled irradiated swamp water juxtaposed against the flaring laser-lights of a neo french quarter – new monsters – giant, exploding, mutant craw fish, (and Gators again) – and even a new currency – Mardi Gras beads of course!

Cajun and Creole culture would make fine replacements for that “unique personality” of the Southwest I mentioned last time, while the Voodoo traditions supply the requisite “kooky mysticism”. Voodoo in Fallout would be especially interesting, thanks to all the “zombies” walking around in the form of Ghouls. Of course, there’s the touchy issue of post-Katrina New Orleans being used as virtual site of total devastation, but A) it was done already in Infamous 2, and B) Fallout 3 showed a completely destroyed Washington D.C. – once you do that, what more you could do to offend people, I mean seriously.

The major problem is Point Lookout, which already covered much of this ground (er, marsh), right down to the steamboats and inbred antagonists. While setting a complete game here and embracing the entirety of the region’s diversity would offset this, it still seems like more time should pass before people would regard a Fallout: Swamp Thing as anything other than a greatly expanded side story. However, that seems to be the popular opinion of New Vegas, so I guess it really comes down to how it’s handled. It would just have to have one hell of a plot to convince Bethesda, methinks.

Curses Point Lookout

Curse you Point Lookout! You’ve ruining my dreams of a Nuclear powered airboat chase with my Witch Doctor Ghoul sidekick! Again!

So with the chances of a swampland mystery dashed against the hard reality of marketable differentiation, it’s time to Go West My Boy! Go west!

Driving along in the Highwayman, we continue out of the deltas and the marshes along the I-10, dodging gunfire from drunken ghouls after skipping out on a bar tab.

It isn’t long before we head right in to where the stars at night, are big and bright . . .

Deep in the (Big) Heart of Texas!

Yeah, Texas. Where the West meets the South. The home of all George Strait’s exes would make a perfect setting for Fallout. You not only get the intensely independent (often aggressive) patriotism of the state, but also keep the Western desert culture, too. However it comes with a unique Texan twang mixed in to it all.

I’m imagining Raider sniper fire from abandoned oil derricks while I herd Brahmin in a Ten Gallon hat here. Bighorner (or hell, Super Mutant) rodeos. Former Caesar’s Legion members putting their Big-5 Armor to use and actually playing football! Still to the death of course – this is Texas, they take football seriously.

Besides, the place just feels right, you know?

Plus, any game set here could reestablish the Desert Rangers, the coolest faction from New Vegas (originally from Fallout‘s progenitor, Wasteland), as an independent burgeoning power thanks to Tycho, a ranger from the original Fallout, having been this way before.

Restyle the helmet to have more cowboy, and you’re pretty much done on design for what would become the iconic armor for the game.

In fact, the Lone Star State makes so MUCH inherent sense for a Fallout that it’s been done! The best left forgotten Brotherhood of Steel was in Texas, exploring the cities of Carbon and Los Ybanez. However, even considering the game is non-canon (due to non-quality), a revisit to the area without heading into the panhandle would prevent crossover conflict.

Even ignoring BoS, there are still a couple concerns that give me pause. First, as the saying goes, everything’s bigger here, and I’m primarily referring to the landscape. To do any Texan game properly, you’d either need an immense overworld map, which would certainly cause memory usage concerns, or you’d have to pick a core city to center it around, which would lose the appeal of such a large expanse. If you go with the logical latter option though, which single city do you pick when they all have excellent concepts imbedded into them?

San Antonio works if for no reason than having the Alamo (probably a Brotherhood base), you could easily spin the “Keep Austin Weird” ad campaign into a literal plot involving mad genetic science, and Dallas/Fort Worth could work as it has the largest metropolitan infrastructure. But if I had to choose one city, it’s Houston. Not only does nearby Trinity Bay allows for pleasantly warm radioactive swimming, but because (as many point out) of the NASA connection – a plot centered around the nascent space program of the Old World has so many possibilities that it would be a shame to skip it.

A bunch of whacked out cultists were able get this thing up and running (or they just stole it from the Enclave), what happens when a dictator finds a fleet of them?

Still, the bigger issue I see with Texas is one of long term storytelling. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a proponent of endings – definitive conclusions create potency – and this goes for Fallout as well. Somewhere down the long and lonesome road, the journeys of our Chosen Vault Dwelling Wanderers should end.

But how? And more importantly for this article, where?

Well, consider the (as of New Vegas) continuing Eastward expansion of the NCR and the theoretical Westward expansion of the Lyon-led East Coast Brotherhood of Steel; you have the perfect setup for an ultimate conclusion between the two factions – or three if you factor in Walking Texan Desert Rangers. THAT conflict sure would make for an interesting ultimate battle now wouldn’t it? Especially since they’re all (pretty much) “good” factions, creating a maximum moral quandary factor rather than an obvious choice of siding between the “flawed, but mostly decent guys” and the “indisputably not-nice puppy kickers”.

The logical site of this theoretical end war to determine the fate of Fallout forever would be in the middle of the slowly rebuilding nation, and the natural spot considering all of the other factors would be . . . ring-a-ding-ding, baby! Texas.

If you’re like me, you just popped a huge nerd boner thinking about this.

So while I DO want to see a game in the state of Big Hair and Bigger Guns, I also don’t want it to be just yet, since it doesn’t just make sense for a Fallout game, so much as it does for the Last Fallout Game.

Until then, it’s probably best to heed Will Ferrel’s advice, and not mess with Texas.

With grandiose dreams still fresh in the mind, let’s hop back into the Highwayman and head due north.

After putting some down some miles while munching on some Gecko meat we bagged near Witchtown, Kansas, where they’ve been burning folks at the stake, one of those giant, hundred-mile wide cyclones I’ve heard so much about heads our way out of ‘braska (is it carrying a farm house with it?)

Looks like we have to head west yet again, slowly chugging along steep hills on the I-70 (come on baby, hold together!) until the hills stop having eyes and become damned mountains, and we arrive at . . .

Rocky Mountain High! Colorado!
(and its subsequent Springs)

Walkin’ in a Nuclear Winter Wonderland!

Colorado as a setting for the next Fallout is all about practicality, really.

If there’s a spot that assuredly survived World War 3 intact, it’s the NORAD base built under Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs. The installation is ripe for a different take on what happens when old-world government endures (as opposed to The Enclave’s turn to genocide), and when you mull over the fact that they could still have access to a nuclear arsenal, well, that’s a whole plot right there! Also, Nikola Tesla once had a lab in Colorado Springs. Who’s to say you can’t find an old Deathray design but actually build it now that the tech has caught up to his vision?

But wait, there’s more!

Most of the other major cities and sites of Colorado, including Colorado Springs, Boulder and Denver, have quite a bit of the design work done already! The state was to have been heavily featured in the original Fallout 3, otherwise known by the codename Van Buren, after all, and much of the pre-production work was finished by Black Isle Studios before its untimely cancellation.

While many major ideas ended up in New Vegas (including Caesar’s Legion), there’s still quite a lot of interesting stuff yet to be culled from both Van Buren and even Tactics (which is non-canon) – including Vault Zero, the center for the Vault-Tec Corporation – that can be given a fair shake now.

Additionally, there’s the behemoth in the room: setting Fallout 4 in Colorado would not only allow for a visual change of pace – other than Operation Anchorage we’ve yet to see serious snowfall, radioactive or otherwise – but presumably the next game Bethesda makes uses Skyrim‘s engine, so why not use its assets? They could save a lot of time and effort (read: money) in the art department by cobbling together another mountainous wintery region out of the one they just made! Thus leaving them more time to focus on more important stuff, like game balance, bugs, and good endings!

Troll Sasquatch Fallout 4

“No, it’s not a Frost troll. It’s totally, erhm, a Sasquatch. Yeah that’s it. The nuclear bombs woke up the sasquatches.” – They can be as lazy as my ‘shopping skills!

As with Louisiana, the problem with Colorado is contrast from previous games. While buffeting the player with blizzards would be (mostly) unique to Fallout, it’s not like anyone’s forgetting Skyrim any time soon. On top of that, many of the better concepts that could be used – a pristine military installation with access to gobs of the Pre-War tech, and active nuclear missiles silos – were touched upon in Old World Blues and The Lonesome Road respectively.

So unfortunately, despite the practicality, we’re going to have to head on out of the Centennial State. If only we can get the danged engine to turn on this blasted Highwayman!

Come on, ignite. You can do it. You can do it. . . there it goes!

Uh-oh. Even though I got the damn thing to start, it looks like we’re running out of fuel. We’ll never make it to Seattle in this situation!

With the mutagenic coffee supply turning all the bohemians into Bone-Hooligans, it’s fascinating layout next to Puget Sound, and it’s native tribe, “Hawks by the Sea”, Seattle would have been a perfect spot to end this road trip!

Considering our dire straits though – we’re going to have to try to coast down the mountains while dodging leftover NCR landmines in the road – I’m heading toward someplace closer.

Someplace even better.

Where it all Began.

This is a test. This is only a test. Of the end of the world as we know it.
Original Photograph by Jack Aeby and found Here

Los Alamos, the birthplace of the atomic bomb.

Without any hyperbole (but with bold text) – if there’s one location a Fallout game absolutely needs to be set in, it’s here.

Not already including Los Alamos, and the greater Santa Fe region it’s within proximity of, is such a massive oversight to this series that it’s mind-boggling that it hasn’t already been done!

Except it almost was. In Van Buren. Oh.

Yup, the one location that makes all the sense in the world for Fallout, a place that would fit the Southwestern themes established by the first two games in the series because it’s in the Southwest . . . just had to be in the numbered game that got cancelled!

As with Colorado, this means a lot of salvageable ideas can still be used. Stuff like the The Reservation, home to a Ghoulish breeding program. Like Mesa Verde. Like Tribal “Goddess” Hecate and her deathly daughters.

The blonde’s not one of those ladies, I just thought there should be a break in the text. And a blonde.

Aside from being the perfect location for poetic license and for getting to cherry pick the best of the rest from Van Buren, the region has caravans loads of creative potential!

The “even-before-the-war” radiation could justify all sorts of highly “evolved” mutant monsters. A little ways south lies Albuquerque, home to catchy Weird Al songs and a minor league team, The Isotopes, just waiting to be turned into a roving raider gang. There’s also the Navajo presence – did they reclaim their ancestral lands when the American Empire fell?

When you toss DLC into the mix, the ideas get richer than Tenpenny. Colorado’s near enough to take the best ideas from that location, and enjoy them here. Further south lies Mexico proper, specifically Ciudad Juárez, a wretched hive of scum and villainy even today, a perfect New New Reno tomorrow. Lest we forget, there’s Roswell, along with the ever mysterious Area 51 and the possibility of delving into the extraterrestrial elements of the Fallout universe without needing to be a joke.

Then there’s the fact that New Mexico allows for definite continuity from New Vegas, which had a much more open ending than Fallout 3. Who won the War for Vegas? House? The NCR? The Legion? Did the Courier usurp Ulysses’ (himself a member of Hecate’s original tribe) control and nuke everybody? All of those questions can be resolved, expanded upon, or rewritten – but only if the next game is set relatively close by, like in Santa Fe.

Caesar's Legion Camp Fallout NV

Inquiring minds want to know! What happened to these militaristic jerkwads? Right now, we have to ask King Dork himself on his Tumblr.

At the end of the day though, it’s only fitting that Fallout, a twisted bit of Americana based on 1940’s and 50’s conceptions of atomic science still naive to the horror they were building, should go to the exact place where this terrible discovery began.

There’s symmetry in that. Beauty, even.

But then, these are all just my speculative hopes and wishes for a series I obviously love like the desert that was my home. Sure, New Mexico lets the Western tradition of Fallout continue, while also progressing along an ambling eastward trail, but it does make sense to set other games in the East. If only so they can slowly amble West.

While I still insist New York is the better choice, Boston won’t be awful if (and when) it happens. I’m not too keen on the Institute’s miniaturized robotics technology so much more advanced than what the rest of the games’ universe exhibits – it’s more cyber punk than atom punk – maybe Bethesda can even make it work. Unlikely perhaps, but there’s still bound to be some good to come out of it too.

Synthetic citizens dressed as tribals throwing Nuka-Cola off the deck of USS Constitution, maybe?

As for me? Well, the Highwayman’s now a scrap heap ditched into a bomb crater. The fuel cells ran dry while I was coasting my way to Santa Fe, and the steering locked up while I headed toward the radioactive pit. Had to bail fast. Twas quite the explosion though.

Looks like I’ll be walking back home now.

I’ll need some traveling music to pass the time while I pass the miles though. There’s a long road ahead of me, even longer than this article.

If I’m to be shot by some raiders while on it, I’d rather it be while I’m whistling.

YouTube Preview Image

Imagery and Tune provided by Jonathan Van Belle.

Until next time fellow Vault Dwellers. Whenever that might be.

  • yousuck

    horrendous writing dude.

  • David

    Why did you call DC “Columbia?” I’ve lived in DC my whole life and have never heard one person call it that. The options are “Washington, DC”, “DC” or District of Columbia” (if you want to get fancy).
    “Picking a particular point in The South to use is tricky. While Fallout 3 was set in Washington, D.C., meaning it was on the southern side of the Mason-Dixon line, Columbia isn’t really representative of what most conceive of as “The South”. “

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Thomas/100001441833000 Adam Thomas

    Actually, there’s a really good reason for that – it’s what the district is called in the Fallout universe: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/United_States

  • Guynemer

    Great article; one small correction. Austin, not Houston, is the capital of Texas.

    I still play New Vegas religiously; all the mods on the Nexus make it even more enjoyable. I sincerely hope Bethesda recognizes what made NV superior to FO3.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Thomas/100001441833000 Adam Thomas

    D’Oh! Obviously I was thinking capital as it’s the largest single city – population wise. Dumb mistake on my part. Thanks.

  • Triaxx2

    I’d actually like to see them set it in Florida. We were promised Mutant Alligators in Tactics 2, and they never materialized. Actually, I’d love to see a new Tactics game, using the engine with some refinements. Speaking of, it’s been declared broad strokes canon. Anything that doesn’t contradict is acceptable, such as the Brotherhood fighting Super Mutants near Chicago for example

  • Bill

    If the timeline is continued, the story must move on from Vaults, and have some damn trees for once.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Thomas/100001441833000 Adam Thomas

    Well, that does start to get into the heart of continuing Fallout, doesn’t it? I mean, you’re right, with each individual territory essentially coming under a net gain in terms of land recovery by the end of their respective games (New Vegas not as much perhaps as the plot was more about political control than anything, but then the area was also less devastated to begin with), how much longer can Fallout even remain post apocalyptic?

    And yes, there does need to be a new element aside from the Vaults. At this point, there have been so many variations on the twisted social and scientific experiments within them that they’ve become the Fallout version of “Planet of Hats”.

    The solution is to inject some new ideas into the mix, but only Bethesda has the authority to do so at this point. Unfortunately for old fans like myself (but a necessity in bringing in new fans I admit), Fallout 3 was much more a remix of old ideas than a bunch of new ones. Whatever it is they do with Fallout 4, I really hope they toss in some fresh concepts that bring some freshness to the series and put it in a direction to stay interesting.

    Off the top of my head, it really comes down to making new major factions of which I see a few major possibilities –

    1) Mirelurks. Probably the best addition from Fallout 3 in my humble opinion, the evolved Mirelurks were already heading toward human like forms, and as with the intelligent Deathclaws in Fallout 2, intelligent Mirelurks in Fallout 4 would be a natural step in making them a force to be reckoned with -Miremen perhaps? This would especially be useful if the location is near the sea or in swamps – Lousiana, Seattle, New York, Boston – all could have them show up.

    2) A Ghoul Revolution – Ghouls have been omnipresent in Fallout, but have never been a major driving force as a faction in the games. NCR, Caesar’s Legion, the Enclave, The Brotherhood of Steel (in all of its forms) these were normal human organizations, and The Master’s army was composed of Super Mutants. There has never been a dominant ghoul faction (there were hints of this in Van Buren, but alas, ’tis gone) that could change the outcome of Fallout’s America. Much could be done to give Ghouls a stronger voice.

    3) Artificial Intelligence – While I find the far-too human androids from the Commonwealth in F3 to be a bit odd considering the oft archaic technology of the Fallout world, perhaps if they DO set things in Boston, they could establish truly sentient, unshackled AIs as a formidable faction. One way they could keep robots retro would be to have them go through a Robotic Renaissance, where they try to “reclaim and reestablish” their culture, resulting in them taking more traditionally automatonic appearances. I’m thinking the robot from Penny Arcade’s Automata would be a good example here.

  • MrHouseofNewVegas

    The first Fallout I played was Fallout 3 and it absolutely blew my mind. The story was so complex and layered, with the BoS, the Outcasts, the Enclave, the Super Mutants, the Slavers of Paradise Falls, and so on. I had never played anything like it, and I’ve been playing RPGs since Final Fantasy for the NES. Somehow I missed Fallout and Fallout 2, but I have come to absolutely adore these games. I loved reading your articles here and you have given me a lot of hope for some great possible locations for Fallout 4. I have been rather discouraged wondering where they are going to have it take place, as I felt like the DC Ruins and New Vegas were so instantly iconic that it would be hard to top, even with New York. But I love the New Mexico idea, especially if they throw in some of the Colorado ideas/locales you pointed out. I’m a westerner myself, born and raised in Salt Lake City and now living in Idaho, and I love the desert and the mountains. But I really have some strong feelings for the magnificent and labyrinthine and endlessly explorable DC ruins. For me, nothing in New Vegas quite captured the terror and suspense of popping up from the metro in a new area and having no idea what horrors would be awaiting you at the top of the escalator. But if you decide to go back, you may not remember which way you came and may end up somewhere even worse. Now that was some virtual exploration that has never been rivaled in my experience.

    I really hope they are able to build on the successes of both games. I thought the ending of New Vegas was fantastic: Having to take sides where no matter what you decided to do you would be screwing over not just one, but likely several, groups with whom you had probably had some kind of symbiotic relationship. That faction system was so well done, and the first time a Caesar’s Legion hit squad came running up out of the desert to claim my scalp after I’d just survived a fight with a bunch of Vipers was a moment of genuine fear I’ll not soon forget.

    Thanks again for your great articles and I am now looking forward even more to my next adventure in the wastes.

  • xctu

    Fallout 3’s story was little more complex than Oblivion’s: “here are the shining white knight heroes of justice, you have to work with them to defeat the evil demon army of hell/california so that the vulnerable, innocent children of the wasteland can sleep soundly at night despite being immortal beings capable of reproducing at twice the rate of real humans without even having to reach sexual maturity!” Everything else was tangental. The Outcasts were a grudging nod to the real BoS of Fallout 1, the Super Mutants were just tacked on because hell, they’re already recycling every old concept from Fallout 1 & 2 anyway! Fallout 3’s saving grace was the atmosphere and level design. The writing at best was passable and at worst it was unforgivable (and it was that bad most of the time.)

  • unun

    If you’d played Fallout 2 or New Vegas you’d know there are trees all over the place. There were also working farms growing staple crops like corn in the original Fallout, one of the many, many balls dropped by Bethesda; i.e. Fallout 3 has no functioning economy (the so-called trading hub of the CW is 5 people who do no trading and 4 roving merchants who cycle around the closed region with no new goods or finance ever entering the system, no contact is ever established beyond the CW by NPCs,) no sources of food or water for any of the people, etc. Contrast this with New Vegas, for which JESawyer went into great detail explaining the basis for a bottle cap currency (backed by water, which was never a problem in the original Fallout games which take place in the desert southwest.)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/D5N2LBHJJNYX3GTKUPKARJFBTM ~*^!KiNg Of Hearts

    what about the black hills in south dakota with mount rushmore. it could lead to a lot of good history and mystery with giant faces carved into the side of a mountain

  • x man

    Puget Sound/Seattle

    IMO, this would be the #1 setting for the next FO

  • http://www.facebook.com/damon.russell.73 Damon Russell

    I see fallout as a continuing est west sag don like the 3 new Vegas concept with an eventual merger in 12 to 16 years.

  • Anon

    I think you give it too much credit. It was more like “do everything that you did in Fallout 1 and 2, but have it make no sense given the lore, and then add some crappy writing and tarnish the BOS”

    Also, nice article. I’d go with Arizona or Colorado, but only if Obsidian develops it. If Bethesda develops it, I’d rather them keep their hands off the West Coast and stick with the East Coast

  • anonymous

    I think that “nuclear winter wonderland” picture is actually Seattle from the proposed Fallout Online…

  • ztw

    I would love to see a setting in Texas. There are some things you left out that I think would make great additions to the game.
    1. OIL! Whoever controls the oil/gas, controls the road. (think Mad Max. Bethesda, please give us some muscle cars with spikes on the front bumper!)
    2. CATTLE! Cattle mean food. Food means currency. Currency means power.
    3. WIND FARMS! Some of the largest wind farms in the country are in Texas, and produce MASSIVE amounts of electricity. see above and its all about controlling the power.
    4. GUNS! yes, i know that there is never a shortage of guns in Fallout, which i think is funny, considering some of the places the last two games were set aren’t known for everyday citizens owning a veritable ARMORY, but that’s common place in Texas. Think of a little towns of farmer ranchers who banded together to become well armed militias, or outlaws, or trading posts with plenty of cool unique weapons. Plus, just imagine reaching inside a broke down pickup on the side of a dirt road and pulling a laser rifle from the rifle rack in the back window. hahaa.

    And to echo your article; NASA, The Texas Rangers, Oil Rigs, and The Alamo. that’s alot to work with right there alone!

    But, it looks like Boston will get the nod. kind of feels like a city winning the right to host the Olympics,…hahhaa

  • DAP

    Fallout 3 was complete chaos, no need for a functioning economy. You looted, you killed, you traded only if feeling civil. There was no NCR or governing body, so why would there be any kind of economy that governed the whole thing. Besides, even then there were established trade routes and commerce within smaller communities.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LancerofDoom48 G.W. Scott

    Read up on the games history bro before the bombs dropped gas was well over 7000 bucks a gallon. Oil is gone, Alaska was one of the last places on earth with oil, which is why america and china fought over it.

    But your other ideas were great man

  • Sean

    about 2 months back another article person said a similar thing about new york, it does not play a signifigant role in the fallout universe, I spent many hours reading through fallout lore, ang playing every entry into the series. Anyways, In the YEAR 2065 some super powerful nuclear reactor destroyed the city and killed 17 million people, I find it highly unlikely we will ever see a fallout entry in NEW YORK. If it does happen which it may it would go against the universe and couldnt be considered CANNON. Well unless they rewrite CANNON; as you are correct about the care far too much about whats in their bank accounts.
    I am really sorry if I sound like a complete and total ass I just seem like Im telling people this all the time.
    P.S Most of the united nations people were killed because new york was its headquartres

  • Sean

    Not to throw another rench at you, but when it comes to BoS fallout 3 actually refferenced it [elder lions] says they went rogue if your recall. Anyways It may not be established Cannon but it could be someday soon. I believe one of the only reasons it is not cannon is because another fallout game that was suppose to be made instead of bethesda’s fallout 3 conflicted with it’s lore, but since it was never made they could easily call it lore and just sweep the lore from that unmade fallout game under the rug.

  • Sean

    You are totally going to hate me, but I love fallout and feel the need to pick it apart one place at a time, but when I read your idea on texas it made perfect sense, Seriously thats totally genious. [Though I doubt fallout will never end as long as bethesda is around because there is so much to explore due to time periods and locations etc] I completely agree on that idea of a show down between the east and west ‘good’ factions. Only problem I see with that is that there is a midwest brotherhood of steel and we KNOW it because LIONS told us, weither its established or not this would add a wild card so maybe a small faction waring with the rangers, or the rangers are freedom fighters trying to push out the Midwest brotherhood and NCR supports rangers East BOS supports midwest BOS anyways like the ideas. Too bad bethesda never listens ehh :(

  • ZAcH

    My guess is that the new england area will be the next installment. All this hinting toward the “institute” cannot simply be overlooked. btw wasn’t old world blues supposed to be area 51?

  • ZAcH

    Hello fallout fanatics! I am as eager as you are to get my nubbins on another trek into the wastelands. I’d say there is about a 99% chance of them using the Creation engine. We are talking forward progression here, not much point in scrapping it and going with something else when it worked well in Skyrim. They are still refining it as we speak within the scope of skyrim, probably even more so by the time we get to FO4. Biggest question, for me, other than location, is this gen or next gen? For me it doesnt really matter I have Skyrim, Dishonered, and occasionally LOL to keep me going until then. Now to the real meat and potatoes. I disagree with most on the whole survival mode on New Vegas, I wouldn’t even play it w/out it on. I just think that it needs to be vamped up and implemented a bit better. But overall I think that it adds a whole new level of depth and immersion. I want more crafting, which we are starting to see within Skyrim, just taken to the next level. More in depth crafting such as in Minecraft. I do however agree with most that the overall feel of FO3 was better. I think that’s mainly due to the fact that it was an overall darker feel, which coincides with the game because it too is dark. the Mojave wastes were just too damn bright for me. Now as for gameplay I thnk that Vegas was a bit better. We need our different ammo types, weapon mods, craftable items, weapons, ammo, etc. We just need more of it. Now I’ve heard a lot of talk about the commonwealth, more specifically this would be the New England Commonwealth, which includes: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and lil’ old Rhode Isalnd. The reason I say this, is to correct everybody who is just saying “Commonwealth” because there are 13 commonwealths. The Commonwealth is the same thing, just a little clarification. Now, If I know Bethesda and since they are one of the only developers that I personally stand with (mainly due to the Elder Scrolls series) I’d bet I can make a decent guess at this being our next installment in the series. Another big reason for this is the mysterious “Institute” that we’ve heard so much intrigue about. This is where the technologies have gone the opposite of the rest of the fallout worlds’. They have gone miniaturized. All of the implants, androids, micro-tech, etc. OOOOOOOH SCINTILLATING!! I think I just had a nerdgasm. LMAO!! I will leave it at that for now and will be back to check periodically. -ZAcH, a Fallout and Elder Scrolls enthusiast!

  • Bud

    Love the Ghoul Revolution idea. A charismatic ghoul rallying followers to become a faction is a natural progression of the story.

  • Bud

    Another vote for Florida. Great location possibilities like Miami, Kennedy Space Center, Okefenokee Swamp, The Keys. DLC possibilities like Orlando Theme Parks, Cuba, Gulf of Mexico Oil Rigs, Georgia backwoods. New enemies: Mutant skunk-apes, gators. So many possibilities!

  • P1P-TP

    Im gonna love where ever it is going to end up but i want a new enviroment fallout 3 had an industrial wasteland new vegas had a desert the next one should either be snowy mountainy or ocean swamp area.

  • Polo

    Fallout 3 and New Vegas are by far the most exciting games I have ever played. Yes there is repetition from Fallout 1 and 2, but in my opinion it is necessary since we are talking about a whole universe of its own with certain characteristics, including races, music, types of guns etc. Lots of people complain but then they go away and play Fellaout games down to the last mission… It is simply because is is all so exciting! I believe there is room for still one or two games to explore that certain style till vault stories and new technology search are exhausted. After that I would not mind at all revolutionary thinking, like for example established states (after much bloodshed), unification of large geographical areas like it happened with the NCR in the west, and why not contact with other communities overseas and globalisation of the whole store. Upcoming games should be of massive truly massive scale, one former US city and its surroundings is insufficient for a whole game. This would make things open ended and of course more interesting.

  • Skittles63

    Something I haven’t really seen suggested yet:
    A revisit of Los Angeles
    They hint to “The Hub” a whole hell of a lot in New Vegas. It is an actual rebuilt, after-the-apocalypse city that has developed and has become a major trading hub. Maybe set a game there? Have a “Ghoul Uprising” or something along those lines in the capitol city if the NCR? Could have DLC’s down to San Diego or over to Legion-controlled Arizona or even New Mexico? San Francisco maybe? I think it would be dope.

  • Phasmatis75

    There is a Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel that stands between Lyon’s East Coast Branch and the NCR. It is also likely the House Ending will be cannon, but even if it isn’t the NCR is nearing its end and will be unable to protect New Vegas from all the dangers its about to face.

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