So I’ve been doing a lot of Fallout: New Vegas dabbling. No, this was not the game that caused me so much trouble recently, and no I’m still not going to say what that game was. But in any case, I’ve not yet experienced the multitude of bugs and glitches that so many folks are reporting on in Obsidian’s sequel to Bethesda’s Fallout 3. By and large the Gamebryo engine is starting to really show its age, but the nuances and little touches that give a Fallout game its character are still here. Especially considering that a lot of the staff from Fallout 1 and 2 are currently housed at Obsidian. It’s not perfect, but the exploration and interaction with New Vegas’ world is mesmerizing. It’s the kind of immersion I dream about when I ponder what MMOs could be.
For some time now there have been rumblings that Bethesda is hard at work on an Elder Scroll MMO. I’ll believe it when I see it, but considering how quiet that massively successful series has been of late, I’m sure these rumblings aren’t far off. Additionally it seems that Interplay, a company pretty much on the brink, is putting all of its last remaining eggs into the basket of making a Fallout MMO for themselves through some creative licensing agreement loopholes. And recently one of the Interplay developers has stated that they hope to make the Fallout MMO have just as much irreverence as the first two titles were known for. Some of which can also be seen by taking the “Wild Wasteland” perk in New Vegas.
I look at a game like Fallen Earth, which is sort of a PvE sandbox with a lot of inspiration from the Fallout or Wasteland games of old, and I say to myself that there’s just something missing. I love Fallen Earth, as my review here will attest. But I have trouble putting a finger on why I fell out of playing the game. Admittedly, few MMOs keep me interested these days for more than a few weeks at a time. In my recent years, I’ve become a game hopper, dipping in and out and resubscribing as often as I please to my favorites to keep tabs on their development. It works best for me. But then there was Fallout 3. A single-player experience that had me catalog well over one hundred hours on one save file.
Why did I do that? I can surmise that it was because, like the Elder Scrolls games before it, the world has so much to offer. The main quest drives a specific narrative, but there’s so much little minutia to take part in that you can spend hour after hour never advancing the mains story. So when a Fallout MMO comes, while I’m no developer, I hope that the powers that be do their best to back away from the usual “quest hub with exclamation marks” routine. Instead, I hope they give us a massive world to explore and find quests on our own. I want a quest-driven game that’s somehow less obvious about where to go and what to do. I want a general direction given to me, and then just let me do the rest. The hard part will be giving thousands of players moral choices that affect the direction of the world the way FO3 and New Vegas do. But if ArenaNet can figure it out, and the FO MMO is still a couple years away, here’s hoping they’re paying attention.
What else do you want your ideal Fallout MMO to be? Or has Fallen Earth pretty much cornered that market for you?