Content of the article: "I feel like Bethesda retconned how destructive the Great War was in a major way, and that’s why Fallout 4 feels so different."
Before I start, I want to make it clear this isn't me hating on the new games. I love Fallout 4, just like I love Fallout 3, and New Vegas; this isn't me trying to say the "new" lore is worse or anything, just different. I also haven't actually played Fallout 1 and 2 – all my knowledge of them comes from Youtube and the wiki, so please forgive any major mistakes. If this is all bunk, let me know!
That being said, I feel like in the old games and New Vegas, and even I would argue in Fallout 3, the idea is that almost nobody survived the Great War outside of specialised facilities, without being horribly mutated. You have small groups, like in Zion, but the bulk of humanity made it through Vaults or installations like Mariposa, the Oil Rig, and Raven Rock. The result is that the world (or at least America) was effectively nuked back to the Stone Age socially.
Raiders in this world are literally tribal peoples, and the rest of the wasteland isn't much beyond that except for a few locations; even the people in the Vaults (15 and later 13 being prominent examples) frequently devolved into tribalism after leaving their original homes. There's a line in Honest Hearts (IIRC) where the player can ask if the 80s are a gang or a tribe, and the reply is there is no difference in this world. Eventually, inevitably, new nations arose and order grew, but even by 2281 one of the largest powers in the former US, Caesar's Legion, is just a big tribal confederation. The only groups who were really advanced before the rise of the NCR were the Brotherhood (who are basically a cult to Maxson and technology) and the Enclave.
But in Fallout 4, the raiders aren't tribals with guns. They're just armed survivors who get by by stealing from others. And I think the reason why is the same reason the Commonwealth isn't nearly as desolate as the rest of the wasteland; the effects of the Great War have been retconned to be a lot less severe, so the world never fell into the neo-Stone Age we see in other games. In Fallout 4, terminal entries talk about gunfights in Boston after the bombs fell, about gangs of raiders roaming as early as 2078, and Fallout 76 continues that trend; the Free States seem to have survived the Great War relatively intact and the area didn't become a true wasteland until the Scorched hit.
But that's just my two cents. Let me know what you think?
- Ideas for the next/future fallout games.
- Things that Fallout 4 did better than New Vegas in my opinion
- Friendly reminder that you can like a given Fallout title for different reasons
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