The Rapture ended up not happening, and to say I'm filled with disappointment is an understatement. I want to see the true capabilities of God's wrath: the imaginary wasteland we all envision someday. Natural disasters left-and-right, locusts patrolling the streets, and the Chinese Secret Police rounding up people who haven't paid their taxes. I saw it in a dream once. Before I forget, I don't know if this is a sign of the Rapture or anything, but instead of the deadly wrath of locusts, I got bit by a mosquito. That bug can burn in hell.
In celebration of the hyped-up end of humanity, I thought it would be appropriate to give my thoughts as to how Bethesda could possibly improve their darling franchise. It's been a long three-year period since Fallout 3, and since New Vegas was made by Obsidian (also known for the incredibly awesome Alpha Protocol) we could probably expect a new numbered iteration this year. The question is, however, could Bethesda possibly top the success of Fallout 3? Not if they don't follow my guide.
Let's start with the end. An odd statement, yes, but the sudden ending of Fallout 3 put a bad taste in my mouth. Or was that the perogies? To blatantly spoil an ending, the Lone Wanderer is assumed dead trying to rid the Capital Wasteland's water of radiation. An anti-climatic ending given the heroism of missions done previously. I expected an all-out battle between the Enclave and Brotherhood, though I felt some displeasure when the Lone Wanderer perished so gruesomely. Being able to cause chaos after the storyline is done has now become an expectation of many open-world games, and Fallout 3 was the rare case. A climax can be dramatic and awe-inspiring without someone losing their life or an eyeball, and I firmly believe Bethesda acknowledges this. They have joked enough in interviews about the solemn ending for us to expect a change come Fallout 4.
The Capital Wasteland was a beautiful place; many treasures to discover and areas to explore, full of people disjointed from the harsh reality, and the adaptedness of society to survive. A real post-apocalyptic world will no doubt show the tremendous darkness contained within humanity, and the struggle to live will turn comrades against comrades. Fallout 3 did a keen job of showcasing this struggle, but human interaction was often kept to a minimum with a lack of emotion in these dispirited characters. I wish for Bethesda to show the grittiness and brutality people will likely resort to in desperate times. It wouldn't be difficult in the right setting, so possibly a war-torn area where hate is fluent.
Fans of the franchise have become accustomed to seeing grandiose settings like Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Vegas. While the ruins of those metropolises are perfect settings for a Fallout game, these places have one similar characteristic - geographical location. Through the Fallout lore, though the war was between America and China, we can safely assume other countries were blown to hell as well. If Bethesda was so daring, they could have the next game set in Shanghai, or another city with global influence like London. England would be a picturesque candidate; imagine the destruction done to Big Ben, huge battles within the historical halls of the Westminster Palace, and a city inside Wembley Stadium. Rivet City was on a boat so the idea is not farfetched. The series has been too Americanized and its fanbase is global, so why can't Bethesda reach out to its international audience? Pay homage to them by having a location outside the United States.
While human interaction was largely ignored in Fallout 3, the citizens of New Vegas never lost the pride of their former city. Gambling and prostitution were legal and seemingly accepted as societal standards and the career path for those unlucky economically. The current Las Vegas is rife with sexual advertising and to think the populous lost that ideal is unjust. What I'm trying to get at is what Bioware did so well with Mass Effect and Dragon Age - the company was unafraid of putting sex scenes in their games. The Fallout universe has presented protagonists with many opportunities to get his/her freak on, but the scenes are blacked out and only moaning is heard. From my understanding the Fallout games don't shy away from having gratuitous (and entertaining) gore, so why is Bethesda so sensitive with sex? That sensitivity is the most ridiculous taboo surrounding our pastime.
My last addition could go a long way in shaking up combat. New Vegas made a sad attempt at weapon customization and combat suffered. There are a multitude of playing styles so a thorough revamping of the customization system could help players adapt to battle how they wish. An arsenal of scopes for guns, weapon attachments for melee weapons for a boost in damage, mixing weapons (like Dead Rising 2) to create some ridiculous combinations, and maybe a colour customization system. All is fair in love and war as long as you have a pink gun. The only limitation I'd say is keeping the weapon combinations to a relative believability and not getting too ostentatious. Then again I'm not a game developer. I just write.
And there we go folks. There's a ton riding on the next release in this franchise, and I wholeheartedly wish Bethesda follows my advice to a tee. If they do read this. If they don't, this article will get tossed into the collection of wannabe gaming critics. I'm fine with that. One last thing before I leave: three years is too long.