And in my opinion, that's settlers with names, personalities, and their own unique quests.
Sure, there are your companions that you can send to any settlement you want, but that doesn't really count imo because I'm talking about settlers. And besides acquiring the Vault Tec salesman, who doesn't really do anything himself accept be another settler, he's not all that special. And I feel like this is a hugely messed opportunity to make the settlement system actually something special.
One of favorite game franchises of the ps2 generation was the Dark Cloud series, and it sort of had a build your own town component to it too. And while it may not be in depth, it did have very unique characters who all distinctly wanted things that only you could provide, like where they wanted to live next to or what they wanted added to their house.
Imagine how fun it could have been if you acquired someone who really wanted to start their own radio station. So they'd ask you to build them a place that could be their studio, with a functioning radio tower. Then, after you finish building him his radio station you could tune to it during the game at any time and listen to him. That would have been awesome.
Or perhaps someone whose backstory was that their lest home was attacked and destroyed by raiders, and that he'd never feel safe until there was a wall and turrets surrounding his house. Now, you could just build a wall and turrets around his house only, or you could put it around the whole settlement and that would be equally as valid. Then, also, perhaps the radio man that you built a radio station for will comment on the new defenses while you go out an adventure.
Or, maybe you have someone who likes to fish, so they request that wherever you put their house it would be next to the river. And as a consequence of fulfilling their request you'll get more fish and fish related foods for sale in your general store, that also generates a little more money for your settlement.
Things like that would have made the settlement system so much more memorable in my opinion. Because the way it is only feel like it only matters as far as you really want to invest in making it look aesthetically good, because the settlers don't have any names, and they only give you generic radiant quests at random from time to time that are not memorable. You only care about the people as far as the stats are involved. Everyone just feels disposable, and that's because they are.
I'll be honest though. I don't "hate" the concept of a settlement building in Fallout or Elder Scrolls. I just dislike how it's been implemented. Like, Bethesda knew that everyone might not care for it so they made it that you could ignore it entirely if you wanted to. But the consequence of that is that… it doesn't feel all that important obviously.
Also, and this pretty peeves me off, but you can only lay floors and ceilings and stuff down flatly, and Fallout almost never has any flat terrain. So it often looks like your buildings are floating a little off the ground and that sucks.
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