Fallout has existed in the wastelands of Southern California, the blasted remains of Washington, D.C., and now on the rebuilt scraps of Las Vegas, born again from the ashes in the bright lights and clinking slot machines of New Vegas. We've seen both coasts of North America, its Sin City playground, and even Pittsburgh and Anchorage, Alaska via DLC ... but what about the rest of the world?
The Land of the Rising Sun is a perfect place to take the vault-dwelling franchise. Especially because of its dense population and the obsession with gadgetry. Not to mention all the noodle stands, arcades, pachinko machines, and karaoke bars. Imagine a high-tech, secret Japanese vault drilled deep into the face of the planet, quietly waiting to be awoken when the time was right. Given China's involvement in the series of events that led to the devastation on the surface, Japan just feels right. Why wouldn't they be involved somehow?
Of course, with all the beeping, blooping lights, and the reliance on circuitry instead of human know-how, something goes wrong. That's where you get ejected from the vault, and have to navigate the choked streets of Shinjuku, looking for a desperate solution to save the rest of the populace from the ticking time-bomb that your vault has turned into. Plus, there has to be room for a Mutant or Mecha Godzilla in here somewhere. It is the apocalypse, after all, and this is the sort of atomic-age stuff the city lives for. After spending plenty of time being lost on these very streets, and perplexed by the labyrinthine layout of the city, Tokyo deserves to be on the Fallout map.
Secretly, quietly, and out of the prying eyes of most of the public, a gigantic bio-dome was created smack dab in the middle of the Outback. As part of a hushed up, multi-national plan, Ayer's Rock was hollowed out and turned into an enormous bio-habitat meant to become the last vestiges of life as we know it. Every species of animal, breed of fish, and type of plant would be housed inside, meant to be a living vault for when the surface could be repopulated again. A select group of scientists, athletes, artists, celebrities, and wealthy people were sent inside before the door was sealed, unknowingly creating an automatic sort of "Apocalyptic Survivor" episode inside.
As the years pass, and personalities devolve, things get worse and worse on the inside. Of course, things aren't going much better on the outside, but no one knows that because they are completely cut off from outside influences. After twenty years have passed, the inside group divides into factions, with half of the group wanting to break out and abandon the experiment. Upon successfully breaching the enormous door, they stumble out blinking into ... a post-apocalyptic world in the Australian Outback. The hazy, overcast skies have played with the ecosphere of Oz, and what was once a sun-blasted wasteland is now a dense overgrowth of bizarre plants: a hybrid of the multiple samples in the dome that leaked beneath the surface. Can you survive in the mutant kangaroos?
Nearly every Fallout game has been set in a war-blasted zone where many of the standing structures have been reduced to ruin and rubble. Naturally, you wouldn't expect any of the biologic, chlorophyll-fueled life forms to survive, but that's where things flourished deep in the Amazon. You've been revived inside of Vault 76, buried under the city of Austin, Texas, and as you begin making your way through the rubble and exploring the city, you're quickly scooped up by a roving band of survivors who are making a trip down deep inside of what was once Brazil, looking for a mysterious, long-rumored vault that was built near the Amazon river.
No one knows exactly what this vault holds, only that there are several different groups set on finding it first. Bigger in scale than any Fallout game before, the game requires you to, first, gather the rest of your ragtag team, then get yourself down to the Amazon while staying alive; not an easy task. Once you're deep inside the rainforest, which has since been irradiated and turned into a botanist's ultimate nightmare, then the real trouble begins. If you thought Super Mutants were tough, wait until you come across a shambling, self-aware canopy tree. Remember all the hairspray you used to expend into the atmosphere without a care in the world? Well, payback is a real bitch. From the lush green foliage to the cavernous dried-up Amazon riverbed, experience Fallout like you've never seen it before.
The Dark Side of the Moon
Fallout has always been terrestrially based, unless you count the all-too-brief Mothership Zeta DLC for Fallout 3. But that doesn't mean that there weren't secret government projects going on in the background that we knew nothing about. The staggeringly bizarre amount of experimental Vaults tells us that much. So why not a Moonbase Vault on the other side of the Moon? It would be extremely easy to hide an entire Vault-sized construction underneath the guise of "experimental space flights" and "moon rock gathering". The problem is that once you get revived in this vault, stepping outside really isn't an easy option. Or even a good idea.
Somehow you have to figure out how to organize your quickly dwindling supplies, and explore your own vault as you piece together a way to return to the surface. You'll have to keep an eye on oxygen levels, and find a way to get through the airlock and survive on the surface as you look for clues and answers. There are several different ways to leave the moon, and ultimately to link up with the capital wasteland, but they are not going to be easy to find. As the space madness begins to set in, you'll realize why being alone and far from the remains of the human race can drive someone to psychopathic means. Think Duncan Jones' Moon crossed with Sunshine and the best parts of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Oh, and Alien, for good measure. In space, no one can hear you scream. But in that vault they sure can, and you'll be doing it a lot.
And just in case you missed it, be sure to check out our exclusive walkthrough of the White Glove Society quest in Fallout: New Vegas.