What would it be like to live and fight to survive in a post-nuclear war world? The Fallout video games series has explored this question for more than 20 years. A new extension of one of its best editions may as well have been tailor-made for the madness that has been the year of pandemic chaos and perpetual bedhead called 2020.
Brief background: Fallout is a series of open world role-playing video games set in an alternate timeline after the United States, the Soviet Union, and China fought a brief but extremely destructive nuclear war in 2077. It’s not clear who started the war or who won it. The post-war world is a toxic, bombed-out mess with factions fighting for control and mutant wildlife trying to kill you constantly. The different Fallout games are set in different time periods and different geographical settings. The original Fallout debuted way back in the gaming stone age of 1997, and Fallout 2 came out the following year. Both were set in the American Southwest. Fallout 3 (2008) moved the story to Washington, D.C.; Fallout: New Vegas (2010) was set in a bombed and rebuilt Las Vegas; Fallout 4 (2015) was set in the Boston metro area and caused its own sort of pandemic. Despite being several years older and based on older technology, Fallout: New Vegas is widely regarded as the deepest and best game in the long-running series.
Fans of the game series have waited for strong new content for years now, since the debut of Fallout 4’s Nuka-World add-on in August 2016. Fallout 76 was deeply disappointing when it arrived in November 2018, in ways similar to how the Star Wars sequel trilogy disappointed just about everybody. It failed to live up to expectations and felt like it betrayed some key aspects of the franchise.
Around the same time Nuka-World debuted in 2016, a group of mod developers got together to build their own new Fallout world based on Fallout: New Vegas. The franchise’s acceptance and encouragement of modifying the game is one of its keys to longevity. Mod developers have added everything from new characters, weapons, armor, and storylines, to overhauls of its entire graphical look and feel, keeping the game fresh over the years. A fully-modded Fallout 4 can look and play pretty close to current-generation games on a solid gaming PC, and you can have customized characters, weapons, armor, just about anything. I played for a while in mod-created Boba Fett armor, which is not canon to the Fallout universe in any way, just because I could. Similarly, Fallout 3 and New Vegas have both received mods that overhaul and upgrade their graphics substantially. They don’t quite feel like they’re a decade or more old once you’ve applied the overhauls.
New mod content is on the way in January 2021 in the form of a massive, fan-built mod called The Frontier that’s pretty much an entirely new game with a world roughly as large as the original, huge Fallout: New Vegas world it’s based on.
According to Game Rant:
Leaving the colorful danger of New Vegas behind, players can expect a new journey set in snowy Portland, Oregon, complete with real life landmarks and locations to discover. Impressively, the unofficial expansion also boasts three new story-based questlines, full voice acting, over 50 side quests, and improved combat mechanics and graphics. Fans can also expect to enjoy new vehicle sections, both on the ground and in the air.
Ah, Portland. How appropriate for a post-apocalyptic game setting. Thanks to 2020, it’s already halfway there. Maybe farther, thanks to it inept local government.
Development on The Frontier began long before the COVID pandemic, and long before George Soros started funding Democrat district attorneys bent on allowing criminals to run free even after repeat offenses. It was long before antifa started off on its 100-day riot of violence and vandalism in Portland, and long before “defund the police” led to violent crime spikes in many American cities including Portland.
According to the build’s official website, several factions will vie for control of the city, including the New California Republic (NCR), the Crusaders, the Northern Legion, plus the odd and roving groups of scavengers and slavers.
It could really use an antifa faction just to spin up constant and purposeless lawlessness, vandalism, weapons stockpiling, and random mayhem. Raiders serve that function well in Fallout 4. Feral ghouls might also serve as templates. Perhaps a modder will get busy adding antifa to The Frontier. No word on whether the “real life landmarks” include the federal building antifa kept trying set on fire night after night across 2020.
Either way, I’ll download and play it. While I prefer Fallout 4 overall, new content is new content and Fallout hasn’t had any outside the weak Fallout 76 in years now. The Frontier drops on Steam on January 15, 2021, and it’s free.
There’s also a Fallout TV show early in development, for Amazon Prime.