Anyone looking at the Data Files option on the loading menu for Fallout 3 and had played Oblivion will notice checkmark boxes for optional add-ons, meaning that it was only a matter of time that Bethesda would actually make something extra for release. Sure enough, they’ve posted an official press release that details what they’re planning to bring out for the Fallout faithful to mutate their latest version into something better.
It looks like Fallout 3 has found a second life in the next-generation thanks to Bethesda’s efforts which is one of the main reasons why I’m happy that it looks like it will be a big hit. The original two still hold a place of special note within my gaming history and I still have Fallout 2 loaded up and ready to go for another round of exploration…as good as Fallout 3 is, I still think that Fallout 2 edges it out in some respects…but Fallout 3’s rebirth of the franchise can only be a good thing to be excited about looking ahead when you have something like Shadowrun for the 360 as the other possible alternative.
Anyway, the DLC sounds great:
- Operation: Anchorage – Only hinted at in Fallout 3 and in the previous Fallouts, this was one of the battles that eventually led to someone pushing the button and launching the nuclear holocaust that resulted in the Fallout world. Before that happened, though, the Chinese had invaded Alaska, threatening the oil reserves of the United States. The Liberation of Anchorage would drive China from Alaska, but accelerate the path to the Great War. This sounds really exciting. The only thing I can think of how they’ll be able to pull this one of is to simply cast the player as a soldier in the war through some crazy time rift/dream sequence, or send them in using a Tranquility Lounger. This one is due as early as January.
- The Pitt – This was mentioned by the BoS (Brotherhood of Steel) in the game as a huge battle they had fought and as one of the worst armpits of the Wasteland. According to the press release, it sounds like a raider hardpoint which means plenty of punk armor and gory violence will be on tap. It says “choose your side”, so I’m guessing that you can either help the raiders maintain the Pitt or clean it out. This one’s got a Feburary release date.
- Broken Steel – Wipe out the last of the Enclave from DC. This one is a little wierd as the press says that it takes place AFTER the main quest which I can see happening with one of the other endings, but there’s one ending that I think has a strong chance of being canon…meaning that this can’t occur without some major retooling of what actually happened. I don’t see how, but I guess we’ll find out when March comes rolling around to see which ending Bethesda considers for this release. Sounds great, though. Adding to my Tesla Armor collection never gets old.
The only problem with all of this goodness? It’s exclusive DLC for the Xbox 360 which means that PC players will likely have to wait a few more months before getting any of it. All of the release dates above are for the console version. Bethsoft might say nothing about the deal and everyone will debate whether or not it’s actually going to come out, how it’s unfair, blah, blah, blah.
All you need to do is look at what happened with both the Knights of the Nine release and Shivering Isles for Oblivion and how long PC players had to wait. Knights wasn’t a bad deal, all things considered, as it included all of the houses and additional DLC that console players had gotten first. Despite the smokescreen of uncertainty, I’m pretty confident that stuff will eventually hit PCs…it’s only a matter of time, as usual.
One thing that I’m pretty sure consoles won’t get will be the G.E.C.K.. The aptly named G.E.C.K. editor is also slated for release and will open the modding floodgates, not that players are already hard at work on their own ideas. One enterprising modder had even gone so far as to make children mortal with karmic consequences, something that mod warehouse Fallout 3 Nexus was quick to make adult only.
I know what some players are thinking…why would someone actually want to do this? Well, it’s not like the game is geared to be a Hitler simulator, first off, and it can actually add a degree of uncomfortable consequence for saintly minded characters when a Super Mutant follows them to a place they weren’t expecting. It opens a lot of possibilities especially in light of the G.E.C.K.’s impending release. I mean, kids were made slaves to be bought and sold in the game. Think of the kind of playstyle that would come out of having to actively defend them from the raiders that come after them. I’d think players would feel a lot more invested in the fact that there’s an additional degree of risk in the game now.
On another tack, Fallout 2 was also completely hands off on many things considered taboo in today’s games, leaving it to the player to conduct themselves as they saw fit within the sandbox provided. Oblivion avoided kids…many RPGs today tend to and when they were brought in, there was no reason to really fear for their safety unless the script actually says “giant city must explode now”. To prevent that at any degree is something of an anathema to many gamers, even if it is something that they would never do. It’s not so much commercializing morality in this case as it is in pursuing the kind of freedom that gaming can offer in the same way that film has expressed its own vision.
Merely knowing that the option is in place is satisfying enough, possibly because of the doors that it might open for storytelling. Mad Max fought to save all those kids in Thunderdome, and the kids actually turned out to be damn good survivalists without going completely Lord of the Flies on each other. I don’t see why we can’t have that kind of experience in a game.
To have someone else dictate in-game morality to the masses is something that simply doesn’t settle well with players looking for a true sandbox experience. If they want to run their character as an equal opportunity Grim Reaper, that’s their choice and that’s what they want out of a freeform game, especially one that already has adult overtones such as Fallout 3…the kids can swear like pirates which is more than I can say for some of the other wastelanders. At least that’s how I see the arguments for and against something like this, why the choice was available in Fallout 2, and why a mod like this exists today, to embrace the fact that within the confines of a fictional universe like Fallout 3, anything might be possible for good or ill. It should be more of the player’s choice to be Mad Max, or Thulsa Doom, but PC (politically correct) decisions tend to make that difficult for everyone.