Fallout 5: The Wastelands We'd like to Visit
Being the champion of your own wasteland isn’t a new idea in gaming; in fact, courtesy of Wasteland 2, Metro 2033, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and The Last of Us, we’ve navigated the abandoned homes of the long departed more times than it’s possible to count, fighting mushroom men and metal dinosaurs, and eating things that would make Bear Grylls sick at the thought. One game continues to dominate sales in the genre though – Fallout.
World War III
With the doomsday clock at two minutes to midnight (it hasn’t gone backwards since 1991), it’s perhaps no surprise that we’re so fascinated with Fallout’s post-nuclear war setting. A recent infographic from 888poker indicates that we have a 1/30 chance of triggering World War III at any given moment or, as the gaming brand suggests, about the same odds of getting any particular number on a roulette wheel. Rare - but still too close for comfort.
The only two scenarios more likely than nuclear obliteration on 888poker’s chart are a global pandemic (1/2) and being eaten by an expanding sun, which is guaranteed (1/1). In any case, we’re all pretty much doomed to being cooked, infected, or blown up at some point in our lives.
Despite releasing only two location-based DLC (Nuka World and Far Harbor), compared to the five of Fallout 3, Bethesda seems to be done with the most recent entry in the Fallout series, pending a remake of the game for virtual reality devices in 2018. What that means is that it’s time to start talking about its successor, a game that was accidentally revealed to be in pre-production by the voice actor of Fallout 4’s Deacon character, Ryan Alosio.
The beauty of the Fallout series is that towns and cities tend to be revealed anew as the series develops so, while Las Vegas (now New Vegas) continues on much as before the Great War, Pittsburgh has a completely changed environment. Known as The Pitt, it’s a poisonous and radioactive factory occupied by slaves and their masters, dangerous mutants ("trogs") and a typically unpleasant branch of Raiders.
For Fallout 5, it’s a fair bet that the Americana-stylings of the Fallout will mean it stays in the USA, despite frequent mentions of China as a major world power. And, with a popular rumor hinting at drivable vehicles in the game, a place like Detroit – the Motor City - is an obvious candidate. However, exploring the annexation of Canada in Seattle or Toronto, a city that lives on as Ronto in the game’s canon, could serve for an easy backdrop to a larger plot.
Another option involves a bit of a reboot – San Francisco, which appeared in Fallout 2. As the current home of a tribe of Chinese ex-submariners, the city could serve as a surrogate for something like Beijing. San Francisco is also home to the Hubologists cult, which was re-introduced in Nuka World but has otherwise been left out of the modern games. The early Fallout titles aren’t the easiest to get into so heading west could serve as a neat 101 for modern players.
Finally, New York presents an opportunity for more of a Fallout 3 style romp. Along with Washington, the setting of the third entry (the Capital Wasteland), the Big Apple is described as “gone” according to a terminal entry in The Nucleus in Far Harbor. It’s also curiously absent from existing canon but Manhattan Island has a huge number of landmarks to corrupt. Imagine scaling the Empire State Building to look out over all that remains of the city - or just jumping off the top in power armor.
So, while we wait for Fallout 5, with our fate sealed, it's probably best to focus on finding ways to scrub nuclear fallout from the carpet.