Opinion - How Bethesda Killed Fallout
Escapist Magazine has an editorial on how Bethesda killed Fallout.
Let’s make one thing clear: I didn’t bemoan the lack of an option to kill children in Bethesda’s Fallout games, but those who did had a point. The original Fallout games were dark. Dark as fuck. Just downright bleak. Yes, they were full of jabs at mid-century American bombast, but those jabs landed with a dry chuckle and left a bitter aftertaste. The joke, they seemed to say, was ultimately on you, sitting in America, enjoying the fruits of that bombast. It took apart Manifest Destiny by showing the inevitable end result, leaving you to draw your own conclusions about whether or not we’re the good guys.
Bethesda’s Fallout, instead, hears the whispers of hubris inherent in Fallout’s lessons of post-World War II Americana and amplifies those whispers to a shout, drowning out the lesson or insight within them. Bethesda’s Fallout’s jabs at mid-century Americana aren’t at the expense of those of us who grew up in it, but rather those who don’t buy into it. And they aren’t subtle jabs so much as graceless haymakers, landing with a guffaw and a wave of nausea. In Fallout, the atomic-fueled techno-consumerism of the late 21st Century is both setting and antagonist. The world “before” was both awesome and terrible. Its masters beneficent and cruel. In attempting to solve humanity’s problem through science, they ultimately created new ones, amplified the old ones, and almost exterminated humanity in the process. In Bethesda’s Fallout, you can not only pick up where the 21st Century left off, but you can try most of its failed experiments over again, and purchase the fruits of those once-doomed dalliances in stores. In real life.