I just wrote about how you should not talk about making stuff and just make stuff, and now I’m going to go completely against my own advice and just dump some ideas that will never be a thing. (Trollface.png.)

Over the past couple of years I’ve been developing a bit of a headcanon for what a Fallout set in London would be like. Now, I could sit myself down and learn how to actually make mods in Bethesda’s G.E.C.K. But that would be time I could be using to develop my own actual games. So here is a general info-dump of those ideas, in no particular order. I’m mainly doing this to get it out of my brain and because I know a handful of people who will enjoy looking through it.


General Thematics:

Rather than being completely destroyed during the Great War (as likely in the existing FO canon) three vaults were built around the city as part of an agreement with Vault-Tec. Each of these was dedicated to housing and maintaining a specific section of society. Alpha Vault, which housed military and political leaders, saw a military coup during the underground years, and is now the base of operations for The Party who are attempting to rebuild the city. The city is usually called “The Smoke” by its current residents (because nothing in the Fallout Universe retains its original name).

The whole game/mod/whatever would be set within the bounds of the city itself, creating a more claustrophobic experience. Whereas Fallout games have generally riffed on 1980s American post-apocalyptic scifi and only tangentially on ‘dystopian’ fiction (e.g. in small pockets like Vault City in FO2) a Fallout game in London would have a more generally Orwellian feel, because that’s easier to do in a smaller space and also more relevant to a lot of British scifi, which is more known for that kind of thing and less for Mad Max type stuff. Combine dystopian scifi with Fallout humour and you get something closer to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Given that Britain also lends itself to images of dreary green countryside as opposed to desert wastes (think Raymond Briggs’ When the Wind Blows) the area surrounding the city has been enveloped by a dangerous forest of mutated vegetation and fungus (think Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind). The forest is considered poisonous and terrifying. Those from the city rarely leave the city, and outsiders living within or around the forest are considered dangerous.

Main Factions:

The Party represent draconian law and order and a more traditional idea of government. Their leader has a strong 1984-ish vision for “New London” (they don’t like the colloquial use of “the Smoke”. Their enforcers wear old reclaimed vault suits and riot armour/gas masks. The Party is represented by a white horse and its leadership is comprised mostly of the descendants of the military from before the Great War. The less damaged areas of the city, where people where fancy clothes and have electricity, tend to be quite supportive of The Party. The shanty towns in and around the city’s parks tend to take a different view.

The Order of the Thorn represent a sort of neo-luddite, Celtic-Christian mashup of Caesar’s Legion (FO:NV) and the tribe from Oasis (FO3) who have recently begun to encroach from their home in the forests bordering the city. They’re a bit friendlier than Caesar’s Legion. They generally ‘come in peace’ but they also kinda want to blow up all the city’s power stations because of some mish-mash of ideas  about scripture and the causes of the Great War. They generally refuse to use any sort of electronic technology or firearms, favouring instead crossbows, spears and trained wolves/bears (because awesome). They make their home in St. Paul’s cathedral, which is now partially dilapidated and covered in foliage.

Other locations/factions:

The Thirteenth Tribe of Israel are a pacifist group of neo-Rastafarians who study technology and generally keep to themselves.

The current “monarch” is an (apparently self-appointed?) ghoul of working-class origin. S/he is loved by many residents of the city, but loathed by The Party, whose power s/he undermines.

Misc. “Britishness” Stuff

  • Sunset Sarsaparilla > Ginger Beer (of course).
  • Guns are less frequently found but a smidge more powerful.
  • Post-war ethnicities in Britain; white British, Southeast Asian, Caribbean – game would reflect this.
  • Most cultural references would be 1950s, keeping with FO universe, but some would be from 60s because that is an iconic period in terms of how the rest of the world views “British culture stuff”. (this isn’t really canon-breaking seeing as there are some small 60s hippie culture references in existing FO games, see vault graffiti CND signs for example)
  • Hats. If it’s going to be 1950s and British you need flatcaps and bowlers.
  • Skinheads! Skinheads with boots and denim and tartan and pool cues!
  • Hitting people with pool cues.
  • More hitting people with pool cues.
  • Perk and trait names like “Top Bird” or “Diamond Geezer” that reflect a sort of bawdy old-fashioned Carry On British humour/lingo. “Lashings and lashings of…” etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.
  • Unique local wildlife (maybe not Deathclaws… Mirelurks in the Thames I guess… how about some giant snails?)
  • Maybe one Deathclaw… but in a Beowulf reference quest and referred to as a Grendel.
  • There has to be a Triffids quest. There has to be.
  • Lots of Dr. Who references.
  • How about a failed experiment with teleportation, which has brought a single Brother of Steel member into the UK … unfortunately, his brain has been scrambled and he is just rampaging around the underground with Party infantry trying to stop him.

Overarching “Big Bad”.

We know how Bethesda RPGs work now. You have your two rival factions (they’re both as bad as eachother, don’t you know) and then you have a big bad like dragons or some such. So we’ll throw in a mind-altering virus for good measure, because I like those. The game culminates in a historically-decisive city-wide riot (maybe after 30 days or w/e of in-game time) which will play out differently depending on the player’s prior actions. Who did you give the big crate of plasma guns to? Who did you give that inexplicable power armour to? Etc. Etc. There’s an over-arching big-bag and a cool end-event that makes your subquest choices feel meaningful. That’s all you need to know I guess.

Player-Centric Subplot:

The player begins the game in an unusual prison/hotel complex (similar to the movie Oldboy). The mystery Hotel subplot involves trying to work out who imprisoned you and why they gave you a Pip-Boy. The player has to research Pip-Boys and hunt down a number of other test-subjects who were given them (surprise, they are mostly dead!). The big moment here would be a reveal about Pip-Boys being tested as a possible form of surveillance to be used on/by residents in New London. Cue “don’t you feel good about yourself, watching that little XP meter tick up, up up” kind of 4th-wall breaking meta ramble about RPG mechanics and/or social media design. I am a deep and critical thinker am I not. (Yawn).