Why Fallout Isn’t Fallout – 20th Anniversary Analysis | Interplay vs. Bethesda’s Fallout

War… War never changes. But game design
does. Fallout has a long and revered history as
one of the most open, expansive and influential computer role-playing game series ever made.
Crafted by the geniuses of the now-defunct Black Isle Studios, the first two games in
the franchise sported an unusually open game world where you are literally able to go anywhere
and do anything as soon as you leave the starting area. They were lauded for breaking the chains
so many games shackled their players to, and constantly begot exploration and exploitation.
You could spend a hundred hours scouring the wasteland conquering, helping or destroying
the remnants of civilization, or you could tactically skip all that and beat the game
in about twenty minutes. The games were richly written and expertly designed sandboxes, and
you’re not going to find many other role-playing games that allow for such freedom. But how could such beloved and innovative
game franchise become a rusted husk of itself over the years, only to be picked up by Bethesda
years later? And what did we gain (or lose) when the new developers refashioned the game
in their own style? To understand these questions and surmise their answers, we’re going to
need to dive deep into the history of the series, and what’s changed over time. And hopefully by the end of this video, you
will agree with me on the premise that modern-day Fallout isn’t faithful to the theme and
mechanics of the original Fallout games, and would be better off had they been. In the late 1980’s, computer RPGs were blowing
up. Far from the text-based adventures of Rogue or abstract visuals of Wizardry. Graphics
were improving (but you know, still had a way to go) and experiences were moving from
the confined spaces of narrow hallways into immersive, living and breathing worlds where
hundreds of characters and creatures roam and go about their lives. One of the earlier
examples of this new type of game was Wasteland, an innovative game Brian Fargo and his team
at Interplay conceived where you roam the post-nuke American southwest with a team of
Army Rangers descendants. It was compelling and immersive, and offered a bleak atmosphere
and unique survival mechanics not found in many games at the time. Despite its success, interference by publisher
Electronic Arts (yes, THAT Electronic Arts) helped neuter the release of its sequel, the
third planned entry was cancelled and EA wouldn’t let Interplay have the intellectual property. Nearly ten years later, Interplay designer
Tim Cain pitched a new game idea that would eventually become Fallout. It was originally
going to license the Generic Universal Role-Playing System (also known as GURPS) for the game,
which helped inform its deep RPG roots. After much deliberation over the game’s
intended setting (one idea included time travel and dinosaurs), and with the input of artist
Leonard Boyarsky, the post-apocalypse was decided upon and the game was pitched as a
spiritual successor to Wasteland. The Fallout team were media sponges and regularly pulled
inspiration from books, movies and shows during development. Inspirations include ‘The Road Warrior’s’
bleak wasteland apocalypse strewn with broken people and rusted wreckage, the brutal morality
and the cloistered madness of an underground vault of ‘A Boy and His Dog’, the iconic
retro-future robotics of Forbidden Planet, the nuclear and crisis imagery of ‘The Day
After’, the “last normal human versus a harsh new world” themes of the book ‘I
Am Legend’, the chilling black and white stills timed to a voiceover of ‘La Jetee’,
and the over-the-top laser guns and one-piece suits of ‘Flash Gordon’. These influences
mixed like a fine cocktail and resulted in a fantastic unique setting, and to top it
all off, a heavy dose of carefully crafted dark humor was added — it was “Fallout”
to a T. Old Fallout games had a carefully balanced
mix of harsh, threatening environments and enemies and pitch-black humor — some of it
emergent and player-driven like shooting a guy in the groin and having him shriek in
pain about his family jewels, as well as thematic gags, movie references and the like. The iconic
Vault Boy illustrations incorporated into the game’s stat, skill and perk descriptions
and throughout the manual were one of its most brilliant encapsulations of the game’s
tone. The vintage cartoons depicting violent or mature acts were charming, instructive
and hilarious. Part of Tim’s inspiration for the gray morality
the game professed was as a counterpoint to games like the beloved Ultima series, where
you play the unwaveringly heroic Avatar, and can’t stray from the path of good and righteousness. Fallout was one of the earliest games to explore
so many mature themes: prostitution, slavery, murder, theft, sex, gambling, drinking, drug
addiction and even child killing — much of which no “reputable” publisher would even
consider putting in a game today. Fallout went all the way, perhaps a little too far
as European censorship demanded the game be toned down or be denied an acceptable rating.
This resulted in children being completely removed for some international releases. Combat in the game was turn-based, tactical
but also smooth and elegant. It takes just a few minutes to “get” the system and
its quirks, but proves to be fun and engaging many hours on. You could use each weapon in
multiple ways, punching and kicking, thrusting and throwing spears, hip-firing or making
an aimed shot with the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (or V.A.T.S.). Each type
of attack had different damage capability, range, accuracy and action point (A.P.) expenditure.
Each movement step cost one AP, opening up your inventory to use items or equip another
item cost a couple AP, and so you would tactically plan your movement, reloading and attacks
to maximize each round. Glazed with realistically modeled character
sprites and marinated in ultra-violence, Fallout offered visceral deaths, fitting for
the harsh world it thrust you into. Shots from a Gauss rifle can bust open a torso,
exposing a rib cage and a minigun will churn its victim into tiny giblets. Whether getting
melted into a pile of goo from a laser gun, sliced in half, or charred to a crisp, every
death feels both satisfying and appropriately macabre. As the plot dictated, you were a Vault Dweller
sent out into the wasteland to find a replacement part without which your entire community would
perish. The vanilla game demanded you retrieve this Water Chip within 150 in-game days or
you get the Game Over screen. This was a sticking point for me and many others as it made an
already punishing game even more stressful. Later on, even Tim Cain’s team came to this
conclusion and released a patch to greatly expand the limit so players were able to explore
and discover more of the world without fear of getting into a place where the playthrough
is incompletable. Despite this though, the game was near-perfect
considering its era and the technology available at the time. It was a true open world which
let you do good, evil or ambiguous actions with consequences but without artificial limitations.
Its Perk system inspired many future games, including one of Dungeons and Dragons later
features. And expertly crafted quests which always had multiple methods of approach like
fighting through it, talking your way out or sneaking around an obstacle — which rewarded
ingenuity and granted the player a sense of freedom that no other game does today. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Such was the philosophy for Fallout’s anticipated sequel. Being iterative to a fault and not
breaking much ground in many ways, it maintained a steady hand and restraint. And with the
added experience and bug fixes to the original’s engine — arguably a better experience than
the original. In 1998’s Fallout 2, you play a descendant
of the original game’s protagonist, living in a village founded by them generations ago.
The sequel has a lot more tribal and primitive cultures in the setting, reflecting the changes
and rolling backward society would go through if all their electric conveniences and governments
were vanquished overnight. There is something truly horrifying when you
are traversing the more dangerous parts of the wasteland and you realize you have a lethal
amount of radiation and not enough meds or resources to cure you. Fallout effectively
communicated the horrible reality that is radiation poisoning: where you’re essentially
a walking corpse waiting for your timer to run out. Something old-school Fallout fans
will relate. The “talking heads” of important non-player
characters return from the original game, and again had so much personality, art and
thought put into them. These were time-consuming and expensive to develop in the 90s, starting
with hand-sculpted models which were scanned, rigged and animated to voiced dialogue and
expressions in the game. Obviously showing its age now, the unusual look of their faces,
along with the uncanny valley animation still somehow works today. They were some of the
weirdest, malformed and interesting game characters to date — perfect denizens of the broken
world of Fallout. The first two game’s success led to Interplay
ordering another game in the franchise, and the long, arduous road toward a sequel began.
First, a spinoff called Fallout Tactics came out in 2001 to a lukewarm reception. Removing
most exploration, role-playing and NPC interaction and instead dropping you into enclosed X-COM-style
missions with minimal base management, Tactics was a combat-centric sidestep from the series
roots. Then in 2004, a console-only game called Fallout:
Brotherhood of Steel was released for the PS2 and Xbox — now scrapping the tactical
combat too for a simple twin-stick shooter with a rock-heavy soundtrack. This was during
a trend where PC RPGs were on a decline and console spinoffs of games like EverQuest and
Baldur’s Gate were were developed using popular brand recognition to attract sales. A true sequel was on the way but delays and
major changes to the game’s engine, formula and development staff took its toll on production.
This project is now referred to as ‘Van Buren’, and though it took heavy strokes
from the first two games, it made sweeping changes to the combat and presentation. Keeping
the ¾ perspective, but now sporting a 3D game engine with particle effects, advanced
lighting and the like, Van Buren still *looked* like a Fallout game. It did however have a
realtime combat system which changed things drastically. No longer based around turns
and actions points like the original games, Van Buren seemed to play more like BioWare’s
Baldur’s Gate series, with fast-paced combat broken up by occasional pauses for specific
actions. It was ambitious, no doubt taking the massive
scale and freedom of 1 & 2 and thrusting it into a 3D world with a proposed multiplayer
mode and a completely revamped combat system, Van Buren was sadly shelved after Interplay
laid off its PC development team. With both Fallout 3 and Baldur’s Gate 3 cancelled,
and key staff like Brian Fargo and Tim Cain having left, a year later they struck a deal
with Bethesda (of The Elder Scrolls fame) to develop a completely new build of Fallout
3. Being a shell of its former glory, the struggling
Interplay eventually sold the rights to Fallout to Bethesda in the end for just under 6 million
dollars, with the caveat that Interplay could develop a Fallout massively multiplayer online
game within a specified time period. A clause which Interplay did not fulfill and therefore
the rights in their entirety fell to Bethesda after years of legal conflict. Seeing the post-apocalypse for the first time
full 3D with the verticality of multi-story buildings, hills and cliffs is pretty amazing.
A seamless world with no outdoor zones was a huge step forward, technologically. And
you can tell the new creators of the franchise took significant care into replicating the
superficial features of the series like the archetypal green interface, Vault Boy and
the power armor design. Bethesda Game Studios had been in development
of their version of Fallout 3 since 2004, two years before their next entry to their
flagship Elder Scrolls series (Oblivion) launched. The two games shared an engine, technology
and tools between them, and share many of Bethesda’s mainline series features, as
well as its quirks, bugs and issues. In fact many have made the argument that Bethesda
played it safe, did what they were comfortable with and essentially built “Oblivion with
guns” in 2008. Though due to inexperience with first-person shooters, the basic gunplay
handled poorly compared to any modern shooter on the market. You got very little feedback
on hits, the zoom level of aiming down sights was trivial, and you felt like you were missing
shots you shouldn’t have been. In an effort to stay loyal to the franchise
and to add a difficulty valve for players less skilled at shooting, Bethesda re-integrated
the VATS targeting feature into the game. Respectable, but it divided the game’s combat
into two disconnected systems. Some players didn’t like breaking up the flow of combat
with incessant pauses so they ignored it. For others though, the game’s crude weapon
handling led to “gaming” the system. Hiding behind cover, waiting for Action Points to
recover then peeking around to use VATS to get a few headshots, rinse and repeat. Insufficient
tactical depth of the AI probably contributed to this problem too, as this wasn’t an issue
in the original turn-based games. Item stats, skills and the perk system were
redesigned to be more generous, and incidentally, less realistic. Now even mundane equipment
like baseball caps can add an entire point to your Perception attribute. Different types
of armor would “magically” increase certain profession skills or even unarmed combat.
This strayed from the functionality-driven system of old where items would give you straightforward bonuses rather than unrealistic ones. Perks are now granted at every level up instead of every three, and many could be taken multiple times. This seemed rewarding, but also felt
diluted from the original perk design, which made each choice more impactful. Fallout 3 borrowed Oblivion’s universal
face system, which was effective at easily creating hundreds of NPCs and allowed player
customization, but often resulted in people who resembled burn victims, or just looked
awkward with badly integrated hair. Interplay’s and Bethesda’s creations feature
vastly different approaches to the soundtrack and audial atmosphere. All games would open
up to a nostalgic 1950’s-esque tune to introduce you to the world before the Bomb. But the
in-game soundtrack of Fallout 1 & 2 were ambient, industrial, and at times, primal. With metallic
sounds like distant screeching metal tubes, as if hearing the final death throes of a
metal-laden world. Old Fallout had never made any inclination
to nationalism, Americana or old-timey pride. As you looked upon the remnants of the United
States, all you saw was a dead nation. If you listen closely, you might make out the
crackling of what sounds like a Geiger counter, the simmer of the radiated landscape. You
can almost hear the cries of the long dead, woven into the many layers of atmosphere and
soundscapes. Contrasted to New Fallout, you’ll notice
a greater emphasis on the brassy tunes of mid-20th century music on the radio (likely
influenced by the popular radio stations of Grand Theft Auto), with ambient music featuring
cinematic strings with hints of flutes and drums, sometimes even sounding like patriotic
marching tunes. It relies too heavily on real-world instruments, and feels too familiar… too
comfortable… too orchestral. Then there’s use of “oldies music” in
the Fallout games. Old Fallout only played 1950’s-style songs during a pre-war video
or during the intro. Afterward it wouldn’t be referenced again. Humming to Bob Crosby
while firing nukes at supermutants in New Fallout was pretty funny the first time you
did it, but it dilutes the game’s atmosphere, making it charming and quaint — like a “GTA:
Mad Max Edition” of sorts. Bethesda has a track record of underperforming
but underwhelming technical prowess, and Fallout 3 was no exception. The lighting system was
way too ambient and lacked almost any trace of shadow maps or proper obfuscation even
at nighttime. Everything just fell into a gray monotonous tone, only to be detailed
by grainy overly-contrasted textures. The original games weren’t exactly known for
cutting edge graphic fidelity, but Fallout 3 was in many ways an eyesore from an aesthetic
standpoint. Possibly to compensate for the grey color
palette, a green filter was used in nearly every area of the game. You could make the
case that green is commonly associated with poison, rot or illness — fitting, but a little
over the top. Bethesda had been moving toward tighter and
more linear stories that continually pulled you toward your next objective. The stricter
narrative and forced scenario design proved antithetical to the very core of Fallout games,
peaking in one of the more notorious mainline quests which leads you through a fort manned by children. The only options were to convince them through having a high Speech skill, having a particular perk, or performing the quest they demand you to do. You are mystically
stripped of any intimidation or combat capabilities while in Little Lamplight, breaking immersion
and disappointing fans of the original games where one could threaten, kill or attack anything
in the wasteland without limitation, but not without consequence. I can’t stress enough how scenarios like
this and others, where the developers take your agency away from you and tell you what
you need to accomplish — sometimes outright barring other areas off with invisible walls
or insurmountable odds — just acts as a rap on the knuckles of players, rather than giving
them challenging opportunities. 2010’s Fallout: New Vegas is widely considered
a throwback to the Old Fallout game design philosophy, and with good reason. Many of
the original Black Isle Studios developers had gone on to work at Obsidian Entertainment,
who were hired on as the developers of the Fallout 3 spinoff game, New Vegas. As you
might expect, the game has an overarching gambling and casino theme, especially in the
titular city of New Vegas, where the bright neon lights shine and corruption and addiction
could be felt in the darker street corners. Black Isle veterans like Josh Sawyer (who
worked on the Icewind Dale series) and Chris Avellone (one of the directors of Fallout
2) were more familiar with the old-school RPG design pillars so pervasive of the original
Fallout games. Unlike the design team of Fallout 3, which was composed of later Elder Scrolls
and first person action game designers. In this unusual twist of events where original
designers had to follow up a reboot of the franchise they worked on, New Vegas is a curious
beast. Utilizing the game engine and toolset of Fallout 3 (for better or worse), the game
borrowed significant worldbuilding and characters from the cancelled Van Buren project (of which
Avellone wrote much of years prior). In a second chance to revive the “Fallout 3”
that never was, New Vegas was a lot riskier and innovative than its Bethesda-developed
predecessor. Introducing a more open world, unshackled
from the overbearing scenario and mission design of Fallout 3, and the re-introduction
of Tagged skills and the Reputation system from Fallout 1 & 2 were welcome ones. No longer
tied to the omnipresent “Karma” system where everyone magically knows your moral
character before meeting you, you could now earn brownie points or notoriety with individual
factions like towns, gangs or organizations — adding a deeper weight of responsibility
to your actions as well as blurring the line between good and evil. Some skills were overhauled in New Vegas,
including Speech. No longer did it roll the dice with your stats and skills as a bonus
and compare it to the difficulty of the task, Speech became a binary skill gate. If your
Speech skill exceeded a predetermined number, you succeed, else you fail. While I can see
why this change was made to deter the “quicksave, quickload, repeat-type” players. It’s
a controversial change that many including myself weren’t completely on-board with
as it removes guesswork, unpredictability and immersion knowing that you simple need
“X of a given number” to succeed — no matter what. One of the greatest offerings of New Vegas
was ‘Hardcore Mode’, a simulationist difficulty mode which makes hunger, thirst and sleep
real factors that you had to worry about and regularly maintain. Recovery items would work
slowly rather than instantly, radiation was a bigger threat as you would rid of it slower
and you would get much more of an intake from dirty water, as well as the risk of permanent
companion death rather than them simply getting knocked out. Hardcore Mode was a legitimate
step forward for those wanting a gritty post-apocalypse simulator. Unfortunately, a combination of Bethesda’s
infamously buggy engine, toolkit, and a team less experienced with them, New Vegas had
many technical issues, as well as a frankly glum aesthetic. Replacing Fallout 3’s constant
green color filter with a brown one, the game apparently aims to steal the “Brownest Game
Ever” crown from the likes of Red Faction: Guerrilla and Resistance 3 — perhaps as a
rebuttal of the endless green-tinted grays of Fallout 3. The notorious bugs and quest
issues that surround pretty much any game Bethesda is associated with still plague this
game too. Sometimes non-player characters will do odd or random things, get caught between
quest triggers, or badmouth another character as if they aren’t in the room while they
are actually two feet from them. Funny, for sure. Immersion-breaking? Absolutely. Another bugbear I have with the game is its
heavy sense of “Wild West” in every aspect, which though a unique twist to the franchise,
gives each area and encounter a milder and almost nostalgic Western tone, rather than
the harsh reality that is Fallout. It definitely adds some color to many places, but the continual
barrage of southern accents, cowboy hats and six-shooters got under my skin a bit after
a while. Yes, Vegas is in the American Southwest, but I didn’t need that fact pushed down
my throat at every opportunity. Even if the game had a weak introduction and
the mainline quest wasn’t particularly compelling either — All in all, despite some rough edges
and arguably weak narrative and setting details, mechanically speaking, New Vegas is the marriage
between Bethesda’s 3D reboot and its old-school roots. Role-playing and player agency was
re-emphasized through more intricate scenario and quest design, your actions were felt much
more strongly throughout the wasteland due to the Reputation system, and the game world
threw the doors wide open to you — a grand first step toward the glory days of the original
games. A half decade after New Vegas’s release
we finally got a follow-up, this time from Bethesda again. Fallout 4 hones in on storyline,
shooting mechanics and adds base-building and expanded crafting to the mix. Bethesda attempts another personal story,
but instead of the “following in your father’s footsteps” plot of Fallout 3, this game
puts you in the shoes of a pre-war civilian who is ushered to a vault right before the
bombs hit. You lose your house, spouse and the world as you know it within the first
few minutes of the game, and the narrative pushes you on to find your stolen baby as
the main quest. But The Last of Us this is not. The plot setup
is so sudden and forced, you don’t build a connection to or care about any of it, and
you’ll easily get distracted by everything else in the game world and lose sight of what
is supposed to be your character’s only connection to their past self and identity.
Though an interesting angle to take and I applaud its creativity during the character
creation sequence, this intro is ultimately weak in my book because (A.) it fails to emotionally
invest you in the story and paints your adventure into a corner, and (B.) the nuclear war is
over in an instant through cinematic time lapsing — trivializing the catalyst for the
entire series’ setting. Tinkering with guns, armor and building settlements
are easily the biggest innovations it brought to the table. This was clearly influenced
by the popular trend of survival, exploration and crafting games like the multi-billion
dollar franchise Minecraft. And honestly, it’s probably the most fun to be had in
the game, but it can lead to lollygagging around for in-game months, rather than what
should be the pertinent mission or danger at hand. All games have this problem of the player’s
actions being inconsistent with the situation the game presents, and has been coined “ludo-narrative
dissonance” by analysts in the past. But whereas Fallout 1’s imposing time limit
was off-putting to casual players, Fallout 4’s complete indifference to sidesteps off
of your main mission is laughable at times. Though commendable work went into revamping
Fallout 4’s out-of-VATS combat in this game, with slicker shooting mechanics developed
with the help of former Bungie staff, character progression was stripped down even further,
revealing a system streamlined like their previous game, Skyrim. It was busier to look
at and basically built your character around perks entirely, further simplifying the game
into a first-person shooter with RPG elements, rather than the other way around. A perfect example of this simplistic design
philosophy Bethesda is enamored with can be found in the revamped Radiation system. Compared
to the creeping threat of rads in the earlier games, where you only get text hints of the
radioactive nature of each area. Radiation poisoning was an insidious and creeping death,
just as it is in real life, sometimes living with few symptoms for days without realizing
you had a lethal dose. As well as the big number popups every couple
of seconds in radiated areas as introduced in the last two games, Fallout 4 removes radiation
as a meter entirely, instead making rad poisoning simply a minus to your maximum hitpoints.
This not only strips any semblance of realism of rad poisoning but is immediately applied
and metered. A weak conviction to the setting plagued this
game. Buildings stand strong with mostly-intact paint, museums are barely scathed, food is
intact and edible tucked in nooks and crannies, most NPC’s clothes are in good condition
with little wear and tear, barbecues aren’t rusted out and lawn furniture are mostly unscathed
from lifetimes of oxidization, guns and ammo in sewers and other nonsensical places, you
get the idea. Compare Fallout 4’s world with present-day Detroit and honestly it doesn’t
look all that bad… And we’re expected to believe in this world
two whole centuries after a rain of atom bombs? I don’t think so. The addition of a fully-voiced protagonist
led to simplifying dialogue trees and narrowing the variety of choices you had during conversation,
leading to the game having “Mass Effect” morality — where you really only have good-spirited
dialogue interactions, with only a couple edgier or snarky responses as alternates — a
stark contrast to previous games which allowed controversial or heinous acts and dialogue
options. This led to a tremendous backlash from hardcore enthusiasts interested in the
role-playing aspects of the series. Bethesda also ignored many of the advancements
of New Vegas, namely the Reputation and Faction systems. Instead, you are given fewer main
factions, including the Minutemen, an on-the-nose reference to colonial American militia. The
problem with this particular faction and the new settlement system led to the player building,
customizing and maintaining various settlements and their inhabitants, becoming sort of a
post-apocalyptic superintendent who must babysit the colonies of the wasteland — a far cry
from the “lone wanderer” role you played in the original games. I believe the Old Fallout setting succeeded
through its equilibrium — a delicate balance of post-nuclear horror, retro-futuristic nostalgia
and dark humor. The designers at Bethesda took the inspired source material and translated
many of its iconic setting elements to the new games like Nuka Cola, Vault Boy, and many
of the gun and armor designs, but they did so literally and mechanically, missing the
heart and soul of the originals. In other words, New Fallout’s setting contains
more or less the same components, but mixed in different quantities. And if you’d ask
a bartender about mixing drinks, they’d probably tell you that mixing the same ingredients
in numerous ways will come out with wildly different results. The world of Fallout is broken. The nuclear
apocalypse was a reset button for humanity — which has regressed back to its primal
nature. Civilization has become savage, tribalistic, and brutal. The original team at Interplay and Black Isle
Studios understood that concept and let it pervade throughout the Fallout setting. Little
of this was communicated through the Bethesda games. They were cleaner, orderly, and they
were too busy trying to tell their story to allow you the freedom to tell your own. Old Fallout showcased a world whose ethos
was shattered by the nuclear bomb. New Fallout let you build a gun that fired nuclear bombs. Old Fallout’s world was persistent, and
challenged and threatened you but ultimately bent to your will with enough skill and effort… New Fallout’s world revolved around you
— welcomed, guided and worked to bend you to its will, like you were just a passenger
on a tour they had planned out for you… None of these entries are bad games, and there
are aspects to love about each of them, but it’s clear to me that the series has shifted
gears, and in some ways for the worse. The future of Fallout looks more like a first-person
shooter/explorer, rather than a tactical survival RPG. We can hope someone picks up the mantle and
leads us to the greatness that was Fallout in its prime once again. I’d rather not
let the series wither away as a husk of its former glory, and instead give us another
journey, one which explores the landscape and ethics of a post-nuclear world once again. I hope you found this video informational.
What are your thoughts on the way Fallout has changed over the years? Are you an old-school
purist who shakes their head at Fallout 4’s missteps, or do you like the changes Bethesda
has made over the years? Or perhaps you’re itching for Obsidian to return with a follow-up
to New Vegas? Let’s discuss in the comments. I want to show my deep appreciation to my
Patreon supporters, please check out my Patreon and consider sponsoring future videos from
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About the author


  1. Here are some suggestions for those looking for games with that "Oldschool Fallout" feel:
    ATOM RPG: http://store.steampowered.com/app/552620/
    UnderRail: http://store.steampowered.com/app/250520/
    Wasteland 2: http://store.steampowered.com/app/240760/
    NEO Scavenger: http://store.steampowered.com/app/248860/
    Age of Decadence: https://www.gog.com/game/the_age_of_decadence

  2. To the point of listening to the corny music while shooting someones head off; I always thought it was supposed to feel kinda creepy. Like the person shooting is so accustomed to shooting and killing things in the wasteland they just listen to their music while they do it. I thought it fit the tone pretty well. Great video!

  3. Bethesda ruined the fallout series and used it as a cash cow to milk. They became just another company selling out for greed instead of passionately crafting a compelling game.

  4. Frankly I think that people hating fallout 3 or acting like it was way way worse than the classics is un fair and largely based upon popular opinions as of late. Especially considering the love new Vegas gets. Fallout 4 is hardly fallout. But really I think a lot of this videos points are very pretentious and if the fanbase is trying to replicate NMA's elitist and unfriendly behaviour they have done a great job. Fallout 3 was popular for a reason and the game does represent what a lot of people see as fallout more prominently than most titles in the series. A whole game isn't just speech options. This isn't me saying 3 is better or worse than others (Well I feel it's better than 4 and obviously 76, not to mention tactics and bos) but a lot of the criticism of the game as of late really is over the top.

  5. Bethesda DID make Fallout more… charming.

    1950s music and theme made the franchise interesting, same as how Guardians of The Galaxy rose to fame because of its soundtrack.
    In which in the comics they were dull / boring characters.

    Looking back at pre-fallout, it’s overly dank…

  6. Weirdly, of all the vast changes I do hate from Bethesda, the music I think is one that could have been orchestrated well. Namely, I think there should have been an effect from listening to the radio. The main ambient soundtrack should have stuck harsh, metallic, and sometimes uninviting. But you could always flip on your radio – at the cost of your Perception and stealth while its on, and maybe even penalties on certain checks into whether people or lying or in your ability to resist certain manipulations later. It provides an out for the character and the player. A chance to delude themselves, a symbol of what should also have been an advancing society, but at the cost of your awareness and maybe even subjecting yourself to a form of indoctrination. It offers a choice – face the world in its honesty and harshness or try and paint over it with distractions that helped bring about the world as it now is. Fallout's always had an inherent critique on Consumerism. It'd be interesting to see that play along with the music. It'd be even more interesting if both choices had some sort of effect at differing times. Music can be surprisingly beneficial for prolonged effort or in avoiding sensory deprivation in certain circumstances. It can improve moral and help cure the psyche. An exploration of new tribal music, old-world music, and a rough and haunting industrial soundtrack to emphasize being away from civilization and effects from all of those could lend something to the themes of the game.
    Granted Bethesda just made it campy, which could also work to an extent as New Vegas shows imo, but more integration for a lot of that could be meaningful.

    I tend to think there should have been a threshold for guaranteed skill success (as after a certain point you should be just that good) but also a minimum threshold to try a skill with a chance of failure (because you need to A) be at least a certain skill level to try and B) you may not yet really know how to do what you're trying to do for maximum effect so there's a failure chance). Its really the tabletop method in the end, as GMs generally don't make you roll for things your going to blow away every time.

    The Western elements of New Vegas never bothered me because there was a purposeful play on it imo. The background of the game has expansionist imperialism, a water and power-rush from Vegas going on for the NCR, and sortof pioneering aspect to it in a reversed direction. Arguably even the Legion could be viewed as "tribal resistance" from the NCR's perspective. That and Post/Rebuilding Apocalyptic goes hand in hand with the sense of isolation of the Western to an absurdly similar degree. They fundamentally rely on similar tropes and mechanisms but faced in interestingly adverse perspectives at times. That and my personal enjoyment of a western aesthetic, my familiarity of it from Vegas and Old Vegas, and my enjoyment of Fallout mean that FNV sortof snuck up and hit a personal weakspot of mine. There's plenty of tweaks and minor changes I'd make and maybe even things I think should have been flushed out to make the game truly legendary, I can't say its not one of my favorite games by a long shot.

    I also hated the Prewar in Fallout 4. The place is only obliquely referenced or explored in the original games and even in Bethesda's/Obsidian's prior games its written as a dark and foreboding place filled with fear, violence, and insecurity trying to masquerade behind an ideal. Fallout 4 handwaves all of that away and forces you to display to you a beauteous cake and then after the time skip immediately eat it with drug addicted neighbors and radioactive dumping just down the road. It makes the pre-war unbelievably saccharine. Which they could have played upon in a better written or designed game but of course they leave it at face value. That you had this idealistic life. Probably the only middle-class family to really have a chance at one prewar. Because you were a soldier? Maybe but that's never supported or explained. Its so antithetical to everything prior, not even the originals but literally everything, that it made me care even *less*.

    The biggest coloration failure of Fallout 4 was having the Pre-war stuff look bright and colorful and the postwar look gritty save for bits of blue tarp. It should really be the absolute inverse. People would absolutely have recreated and applied some form of painting and coloration to their homes, but in places away from civilization it should return to the drabber colors of the former games and the colors should pop from nature and creatures in the area, and not the old materials themselves.

    They also ignored Wild Wasteland. If they had kept such a concept as separating the pop-culture humor from the real game they could have removed all the problems with the much maligned Kid in the Fridge. Assuming that's supposed to be the joke people defend it as.

  7. Honestly besides fallout 76 which i refuse to by because its online based. I really think fallout has just gotten better over the years. None if the games were perfect sure. But the stories, symbolism, and character development seem to just get better. In the first game you had hints at nazis and illuminati with "vault 13" and the super mutants calling themselves "the master race" all the time. But in fallout 4 there's a sidequest where they straight up talk about annunaki and how aliens dictate human civilization lol. I still feel that the games are in your face, goofy, gritty, and fallout. Even with new developers.

  8. If Obsidian had a good amount of time New Vegas would of been far better but even with the restrictions Bethesda and Todd Howard put on them New Vegas is better than anything Bethesda has done I can’t comment on how good it is compared to the original two however since I never played them

  9. I hear FallOut 76' didnt do very well in sales…..my guest poor promotions, linear storyline , & online play only…..Personally i think Fallout with its online play only was jumping on the cash wagon with online play biting GTA and its successful online play. Fallout always been a game that stand out on its own and never had to follow trends. My take is if there will be a Fallout 5 create more customizations, more upgrades, realistic dialogue choices, and keep it single playing……i hear the next FallOut will take place in Miami……

  10. Why don’t you make your own video game? Seems like you know the perfect formula to making a perfect game, this review was annoying lol

  11. I never realized this before but the visuals of Van Buren were way too soft. Everything looks like pastels, undercutting the desolation of its setting. I'm guessing they overcompensated for the grainy look of the first two.

  12. No hint of nationalism in Fallout 2 that introduced the Enclave you say? Huh, the first Fallout didn't "wall you off" from content with insurmountable odds? I guess you could always save scum your way through supermutant and/or deathclaw infested parts of the overworld.

  13. Fallout 4 was a massive fucking letdown and I only played little over an hour of the game before uninstalling to not play it again for a couple of years. The mods available now do make exploration fun and enjoyable but the story is just uninteresting. I haven't completed the game yet, lol. But seeing what they did do Fallout I'm worried about the next Elder Scrolls. Hopefully Fallout 4 was just an experiment to them.

  14. If you switch out fallout for elderscrolls, and drop tacical off tactical rpg this could easily be about The Elderscrolls… god bethesda how have you fallen this far?????

  15. This is clearly a nostalgia cry about video cause Fallout 1 and 2 also weren't realistik with its perks and bonuses Fallout 3 was good, NV overhyped and Fallout 4 a mess. (thank god there are mods)

  16. You simply can turn the music off in your pitboy3000 so no music then … that is ust a bad made up point do have something against it.

  17. Fallout 4 had the build feature cause of Fallout 3 and it#s famous build you own settlement mode wich was great so yeah they made a fan favorite feature that u criticize

  18. watching this after fallout 76 really kills me. To believe that the series has turned into what it is today, exploiting a passionate fan base, and striping the genes of the series all for an extra few extra bucks and an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. It hurts man, it really hurts…

  19. Having played the original games way back when, i agree the new games are not faithful to the original mechanics. however, no major game studio would put out an isometric top down open world turn based rpg anymore. the closest thing i have found is the new shadowrun series and those games are extremely linear with a set story. (yet they are still very enjoyable check them out).
    i look at it like this, i love the lore and the atmosphere of fallout even the inside jokes and Easter eggs. I am happy to play any fallout game and i find the new ones (while still lacking in some ways) to be fun uses of my gaming time. I just began playing fallout4 and i am 15 hrs in and enjoying it. i tend to avoid the main quest and DLC until late game so im just running around exploring on my own and building settlements.
    i dont like the dialog system and think it would have been better if the main characters were not voiced and you also werent locked into playing the looking for Shaun story.
    this is something new vegas did extremely well compared to both fallout 3 and 4.
    in new vegas your character has no name doesnt remember it and therefore you can be anyone. super evil or super good or in between.
    in fallout 4 it makes no sense that a lawyer (the female character) would even know how to use a fatman or be able to survive.
    only the male character makes sense since he has a military background. The female character only makes sense being a badass if you believe she is a synth.

    Also the entire point i find behind buying a bethesda game. is to MOD THE HELL OUT OF IT and make it what you want lol i didn't even complete skyrim yet because a lot of mods are mere enjoyable than the base game.

  20. I played Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics when I was a kid. Years later I installed fallout 3, played it and I asked myself. "Am I getting old? Is this what kids are playing nowadays?" And mind you, I was like 22 at the time…

  21. Fallout New Vegas will always be better than any of the other fallout I feel like they oversimplified fallout 4 I miss the reputation system

  22. Detroit is different, crying wolf a little….but non the less really good documentary on the history of Fall Out. Its going be interesting, to see if games quite dude to pay to play DLCs and items in games, and then to see how new game systems and the lack of the ability to read CDs or share them go anywhere. It seems like the golden age of gaming maybe dimming here.

  23. I played games in the 90's and stopped because of college and partying. Fallout 3 morrowind is what got me back into gaming. This guys is off his rocker and im sure his favorite movie is "grumpy old men." with a close second being "Grumpier old men." Fall out 76 and battlefront 2 because EA influence on gaming through loot boxes is ruining games but Bethesda in the early days was awesome.

  24. pretty sure i know where the video is gonna lead so ima save myself some time and just say:

    yes the originals where cool and diffrent,mpany whent under and theres probly a reason for that though they had such a great game

    fallout 3/new vegas: much praise huge sucsess! me: yes they where fun and most enjoyed of the series (probly cause they both had wild wasteland perks? i think the games need more wakyness and wierdness like the living tree,government exsperimentation,aliens!)

    fallout 4: i feel it was to centered on the story thinking every moment i must find shaun where is shaun? its basicly heavy rain but you only play as the dad and theres death claws i ended up siding with the instatute because they had the futuristic society under ground also no wild waste land perk or beging the game perks :/

    fallout 76:while not what even i invisioned but…. i love the game! the lack of people (human npcs)made it feel like a real appocolypse! the robots taking over was legit a real problem we face today in production and retail jobs!so with the miner riots the resurces dwindling the high cost of everything the fire brerathers responders BOS and the enclave the humans where spred to thin! then come the scortched beasts! basicly fev bats! to kill the rest! then we come in kill em seal the holes and bang it's safer for npcs now 😀 i like this it makes sence to me story wise and the npc update is free while it's not remotly close to where the game originated i like it's concept the game it's self and time locked events/secrets but i just cant wait to see how much humans change things for better or worse also i love the cultist blades hope they res cthulu <3 or i do 😀

  25. What the fuck are you talking about with regards to Little Lamplight? Of course there's not going to be a threaten or kill option with a village full of children? WTF. Sometimes people get a little too excited with their anti-Fallout 3 opinions.

  26. Puritans always bitch about changes to their favorite games, but realistically fallout 3 was groundbreaking and fresh. It captured a gritty, violent apocalyptic landscape with dark humor and good rpg elements and (admittedly weak) shooter mechanics to create something new and exciting. Fallout 4 is definitely getting weaker on the rpg elements, but in good and bad ways. On one hand it is so much simpler and more accessible to build your character with just perks, but on the other hand it is much more linear story and morality wise. Even with the negatives fallout 4 is great, it might be a little weak at the fallout core but it makes a great FPS RPG.

  27. this video is pathetic. i thought King of Kong was the most pathetic video game losers, but no, it's Indigo Gaming on youtube. I'll paypal you money for a beer (or klonopin for your effete sensibilities) to sob your sorrows into.

  28. So I am just saying that the speech thing in new Vegas is more immersive because you dont have the right words to say or the right knowledge until a certain point in learning something like in real life

  29. Fallout 3 was one of the greatest games I ever played… a little different than the FO before, but still awesome. A little too shallow but that is fixable with uncountable mods.

    The tech advancements are just a necessity.

  30. Fallout: Classic

    Fallout 2: Masterpiece

    Fallout 3: Good Game

    Fallout New Vegas: Great Game

    Fallout 4: Has it's Golden Moments

    Fallout 76: A Joke

  31. i want to go to another parallel universe where Bethesda doesn't own the rights to fallout. Sad to see Bethesda dumb down and censor such a great franchise.

  32. The new Fallouts are fine as games on their own. They're not really FALLOUT games, though. And, while I did enjoy Fallout 3, they have some serious worldbuilding issues. Three things that struck me most were:
    1. In Fallout 3, no one seems to be producing anything anymore. Even their food comes from old grocery store shelves. How is there still food out there, how is it still edible, and why are people still incapable of producing anything for themselves?
    2. People are far too nice and polite to random strangers they meet. This is supposed to be a harsh and unforgiving world.
    3. Everyone seems to have a 21st century high school education. Seriously, why is it everyone seems to be able to read, have a full understanding of the history of the United States before the war and afterward, and why do most people seem to actually consider themselves American? Or at least have some kind of a connection with the concept of being American.

  33. Bethesda took a game series that was catered to a very specific audience, and buttfucked it to hell and back. Now they're made for filthy casuals, and children.

  34. The two original chapters of the series and New Vegas have strong pacifist messages.
    It's charachters must fight the ghosts of the prewar World. The ghosts who put to the end our Planet.
    Now Fallout is a meme of itself.
    I must go, another settlement needs my help.
    Sorry for my awful english.
    Even in Italy we are very disappointed😂

  35. ''Why Fallout Isn't Fallout'', in a simple word, without watching a very informative half an hour video. BETHESDA.
    There you have it.

  36. Want to talk about lack of choice in a game? Have you seen the Dark Brotherhood quest line in Skyrim? Only just recently decided to start and finish it (have played a few quests before but never finished or got too far). There's a point where something decently major happens and you're told to go do some generic assassination missions while the leader thinks of what she should do.
    I wanting to continue the story line and not do some random side quest assassin missions went to the next location (because it was told to you and was what caused the drama), accepted the assassination, was given a and item to give to the leader, and when I returned and tried giving it to them was told to do my side assassination missions…

  37. I surprisingly agree with you despite me being born in 2003. The original Fallout games felt like they gave you agency and that you were actually going through a POST NUCLEAR APOCALYPTIC ROLE PLAYING GAME . The soundtracks in the original Fallout games were spot on .

  38. Why Fallout Isn't Fallout? because some nerds have too much time on their hands to nit pick law that wasn't even established in the first 2 games.

  39. Nigga just write a novel or make a better game. Hoping for someone else to do the right thing with this franchise is a little weak.

  40. If Bethesda wants to make a first person shooter action-adventure with the Fallout IP, they should commit to it. That can be a good game. But trying unsuccessfully to mix it with classic Fallout holds back the new, doesnt fulfill the promise of old, and frustrates fans of both.

    I love Fallout 2. I love Far Cry 5. They're different kinds of games at the absolute, fundamental core. Keep them separate, focus your energy into making it the best of its genre, and people will like it much more.

  41. Fallout 3 and 4 brought some great elements but at the same time failed to convey some of the tons and machanics introduced in the fallout games

  42. Woah.. I never knew. How do we know 25 more freaking video game companies wont suck us dry until we finally get a legit Fallout game??? Some needs to step up to the plate!

  43. I played the original Fallout a long time ago. I can tell you that the new games don't make the originals look good but still games like Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas also Fallout 4 have great storylines great gameplay but are nothing like the originals.

  44. Baseball caps and sunglasses gives you +1 perception. This makes perfect sense if you ask me. When you are walking under the scorching sun, it is a lot easier to see if you're not blinded by it.

    Also, the building part of FO4 was most likely not inspired by Minecraft, but rather by Real Time Settler – a mod that was released for both FO3 and FONV before, where you could build and manage a settlement, very much in the same fashion as in FO4's base building.

  45. I think that the little lamplight problem could be the fault of people being to sensitive to hurting or threatening the kids

  46. Thankfully every game listed can be modded, I feel like the later games definitely lack a lot of the spirit of the originals but they do serve for decent bases to build off of and there are so many mods you can use to mold it back into a legitimate and respectable RPG now.

  47. Meh, it's all about nostalgia. When Fallout 1/2 were released, you were 12 yrs old. Both Fallout 1 and 2 balanced on the edge of being over pastiched crap.

  48. Fallout: New Vegas is the best Fallout, I was hooked from the start. Fallout 3 was boring to me, though being a kid was cool, but as soon as I made it to megaton I stopped playing it…didn’t interest me. If the next fallout is anything like fallout 4 I’m not buying it. Fallout 4 is only decent because of mods, without the mods I would never play really, maybe if I wanted to see the commonwealth again, but other that that… BORING… I’ve never played one or two so I’m not sure about those.

    Seriously, the characters, stories, tone, environment, weapons and armors in Fallout: New Vegas were and still are superb in my opinion. I think about NV and I’m always so immersed in it’s game world. No game I’ve ever played has gotten me that interested in it. The only downside was the game was rushed and it was made on a crap engine (not obsidian’s fault).

    I think Fallout games will always have amazing worlds to explore. But New Vegas did it best narrative wise.

    … and fallout 76…people really bought into that smh

  49. tbh i only use fallout 4 as a sort of sandbox, i build like a fortress out of the castle and make everything under a military dictatorship

  50. I prefer Bethesda's fallout games except Fallout 4 and 76. I hate turn based games the old fallout style of games is not fun to me.

  51. I really enjoy the mix of 3d world exploration and rpg.. But all the games that had these elements got simplified. Mass effect, the first one was enjoyable. whatever followed sucked. Morrowind was amazing for its time, despite crappy mechanics. It was immercive. It also did not hold your hand. Oblivion immidiately bothered me, not just because it was simplified. But because it removed any sense of accomplishment by having every location spawning with enemies tailored to your level. In morrowind you would enter the world being vulnerable to even the simplest of creatures. When you would encounter them after levelling up and having gathered better armor and weapons, they would be a breeze to deal with. If you wondered into some area that was clearly not a place you would survive early on. You could come back at a later time, and get revenge for when you got your ass handed to you.. satisfaction.. By the time skyrim arrived, the game looked lovely. But i could not feel very involved at all. Nothing made me feel ful of adventure and exploration like morrowind did. It truely felt like exploring a strange world. The sad thing is.. These simplified games sell like crazy.. which gives devolopers no incentive to stray from this path of simplification. All immerciveness and freedom is gone.. What is an open world worth, when you are soo limited in many other ways.

  52. this video in a nutshell: "the bethesda fallout games aren't complete carbon copies of the originals, so they're bad. old game good new game bad. How dare bethesda put their own spin on fallout"

  53. I like this guy's presentation, but he is being a total Fallout 1 & 2 Fanboy. Fallout 3 was designed to be a totally different game than the previous in the same universe. Not fair comparisons.

  54. I loved Fallout NV and definitely loved Fallout 4 because of the building as I love building stuff, never played Fallout 76 because I've seen way too much horrible stuff about that game, but Fallout 4 was pretty damn good, never played it for the story, but for the content ie building and crafting

  55. I don't remember if FO1 had a time limit, but I am sure that FO2 had a time limit (which was increased in an update). You could not play the game for endless game play, or even hundreds of hours. You could replay it. I did many, many times. Overall all this was a very well done review. After Vault 76, interest in the earlier Fallout games seems to be peaking, and most reviews seem to be more positive.

  56. I loved the old fallout games but I also like the newer ones albeit differently. 4 did disappoint me harshly with the takeaway of the karma system. 76 was the last straw for me. I never thought that one of my all time favorite games would be gutted and turned into your garden variety mmo. It was disheartening. 3 and new vegas were the last bastions for me in truth. I would do playthrough after playthrough without using VATS at all was probably the peak of all my gaming experiences. I don't think anything I will ever pick up again will offer such a gritty real world experience for me again.

  57. this sounds like a retro addict so stuck in his ways that he's blinded to quality games. I love retro as much as the next guy, but I'm not so asinine as to pretend a game is bad just because it's not a game mechanic carbon copy of previous installments. go play galaga and cry yourself to sleep, dumb twat. smh =_=

  58. The guy who tells you about the Children of the Cathedral is voiced by Keith David, who did Captain/Admiral Anderson in Mass Effect.

    I prefer the first person shooter format, though I like Bioware games better, overall, as compared to Bethesda games. Played the hell out of Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim before getting to Fallout 3, so I was familiar with the basic format.

    I never played Fallout 1 and 2, so, unlike you, I never became enamored of them.

    My biggest problem with Fallout 4 may sound odd, considering that it is a Post Apocalypse game. I find Fallout 4 far too bleak. Especially when it is set 200 years after the war. There should be some signs of recovery. There should be some beauty in nature. One other problem that I have with the whole series is that there shouldn't be new species. Even 200 years is not enough time for totally new species to develop. Mutations would happen, but every cow shouldn't have the same two heads.

    I do agree with you on much of the landscape. Patio sets would not survive 200 years. Someone coming out of cryo after 200 years might be able to tell that it had been a patio set, but it shouldn't look intact.

    I would like to see Fallout move forward, that is, further from the war, and I would like to see signs of recovery. People taking pride in what they make, and having a world that does not look like it is made strictly out of 200 year old pieces that are being repurposed.

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