Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
“Idea Incubator” is our new column focused on game and mod design ideas. Unlike reviews that discuss a given game as a product of economic product, the intent of these articles is to delve into the mechanics of the games in question, suggesting improvements and feedback as avid fans and players. Of course, we might also pitch ideas for new mods since we don’t really know where to begin ourselves (though that’s something we’re also looking to learn more about and report back – but that’s for another day). To start off this column, we figured we’d look at Fallout 4…
You don’t need me to tell you that Fallout is a pretty great franchise. Since its debut as a turn-based cRPG under Interplay to its latest release as one of Bethesda‘s prime series in its signature first-person role-playing glory, these games have become a staple in many a gamer’s library. However, given some of the gripes with Fallout 4 – the “original fans” feeling that Fallout might have lost its way – I think it’s time for a shake up. Something outside the role-playing realm to help give breadth and depth to the universe from a different perspective. Given how modders and now the developers themselves have been flirting with the idea, why not just make a Fallout RTS?
Think about it: with Fallout Shelter‘s popularity, the success of the Real Time Settlers Mod for Fallout 3 and New Vegas, and the new RTS elements in Fallout 4 (which are strangely reminiscent to that mod I just mentioned), there’s an obvious demand for a strategy title (or at least more strategy mechanics) in this universe. And to be honest, if Bethesda wants a game that sucks you in, what better way than to actually let you rebuild the wasteland, managing resources, diplomacy between factions, and leading your people to glory? Make us give a damn when Preston prattles on about a settlement that needs our help.
If I’ve got your attention, fantastic, because I come bearing not one, but TWO ideas: either build a mod for Fallout 4 that fills in the gaps and makes the most out of Bethesda’s built-in RTS mechanics, or convince Bethesda to develop a Fallout RTS. Whether you’re a talented modder or a savvy negotiator that can get Bethesda on board, here’s what I personally would love to see happen.
The Fallout 4 Mod
So Bethesda gave us something pretty slick for a (traditionally) role-playing game: the ability to modify certain items and plots of land in the world to fit our needs as a player. Just as weapon attachments give you an edge in combat, there’s some benefit to having settlements throughout the Commonwealth, whether it’s a workshop to breakdown excess junk or a village of armed farmers who’re able to help stave off the horde of feral ghouls tailing you. After a while, these settlements can be outfitted with merchant stalls to keep you stocked up and artillery emplacements that can rain hellfire down on those within range and unfortunate enough to be marked by your colorful smoke grenades.
But we can take it a few steps further. Granted, I’m no modder (before you judge, I’m trying to learn at least), but I like to think I know a thing or two about game mechanics and design. Here’s my short list:
Better Settler Interaction and Control
There are RPGs out there that have already done (to an effect) what we see here in Fallout: TaleWorlds Entertainment‘s own Mount & Blade: Warband has the player inhabiting a fantasy world torn apart by civil war, going from town to town recruiting people to fight for them and managing their growing party. You can be a merchant or a mercenary or a bandit thug/usurper/noble-wannabe who wants to own a swath of real estate, forming their own nation and keeping all others at bay (or assimilating them into the fold as well). While there’s a lot of overworld movement as you travel from place to place, you lead your troops in real-time combat, level them up, loot any equipment to either use or sell, and take prisoners which you can later trade away for extra coin in ransom or recruit into your own retinue.
Fallout 4 can potentially adapt their settlers with a better command system, as well as a party system that manages general NPCs rather than just named companions (and the associated mechanics of upkeep that go with it). It doesn’t need M&B‘s overworld to traverse across the map, though having a large number of NPCs following you in real-time might bog down some computers… but with all the videos of hundreds of units clashing, I want my title as General when Preston says it to actually have weight. I want to actually feel like I’m building a new country, not just playing FarmVille: Irradiated.
How cool would that be? And then being able to promote certain NPCs to officers that can help lead settlements as administrators, or armies as commanders. Maybe have some sort of relationship system that could threaten civil war? Or, at the very least, being able to outfit your settlers and upgrade and manage them akin to Fallout Shelter. Like I said, I don’t know what all would go into this but this whole segment is on wishful thinking… but if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.
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