Reconstructing Fallout 3 Part 18: Wasted Space

It’s time to delve into some of the minor locations that are just sort of there, no real reason behind them besides the usual Bethesda Rule of Cool, including the DC ruins and Citadel. This’ll be a shorter post since it’s going up together with Part 17.

DC Ruins:

I love the smell of radiation in the morning.

I love the smell of radiation in the morning.

First of all, I have no interest in console limitations, I’m writing this series from the point of view of world building as a writer, so all those godawful metro tunnels blocking your way? Those would be the first thing gone/altered.

Getting lost in a maze can be fun for a short while, certainly, but not when you’re being forced to navigate it regularly. The only mitigating factor is fast travel, but a convenience like that should never be used as a crutch; some players roleplay to the point of disabling fast travel, after all.

The Metro system itself would of course still exist, not least because it’s an integral part of trade between Rivet City and several other locations. But it needs some drastic fixing as far as layout and complexity goes.

Honestly, a less detailed but more stylised art direction would’ve gone a long way towards fixing this as you could have larger areas with less loading screens. Think along the lines of the style used in Borderlands, something simpler that doesn’t demand ultra-realism… especially as ultra-realism often results in reduced realism because everything looks so uncanny and unreal (especially with Bethesda’s potato people).

Beyond that, I actually like this region a great deal. The grandeur and decay, the tall and imposing skeletal remains of buildings surrounding you, the desolation. It all adds up to a pretty nice thematic whole. I’ll give Bethesda credit there, at least, they’re pretty damn good at tone, mood, and environmental storytelling. I just wish they’d put the same effort into the rest of the world, characters, and story.

Add in copious greenery overgrowing everything and you’d have an I Am Legend kind of dealie; a necropolis populated by the dead, but with some safe areas and various quests available from people in settlements who want particular things but don’t have the wherewithal to retrieve or complete them.

The Citadel:

Patiently awaiting the Reapers...

Patiently awaiting the Reapers…

Not spending too much time here, as this building will be used by another faction in my version of the world. However, as a location it’s pretty nice. It’s a well-known building with a storied history, and it’s an important part of America in general, therefore making it a nice base for a Brotherhood chapter (given where/how the BoS originated).

On the flipside of the coin, the Brotherhood should generally be aggressively isolationist and xenophobic asshats, and having an enormous building like this would reveal them to far too much of the outside world’s attention (then you have their entrance in Fallout 4…).

I get that they’re effectively only there because it’s the base for Liberty Prime… but since I’d likely remove Liberty Prime anyway that’s less an issue. Still, given how well fortified it is, it’s not like anyone would survive an attempted entry, so I guess I can let it slide.

I’ve removed the BoS entirely and replaced them with the Eighton faction anyway, though, so this is mostly a non-issue. Instead, I’ll likely have this be a forward base for the antagonists, given its close proximity to Rivet City. Potential for some conflict there.

The MDPL-13 Power Station:

Off for a smoke.

Off for a smoke.

A fabulous location frustratingly squandered by doing literally nothing with it. The imposing silhouette on the horizon is great and there’s huge potential for tying this into the wasteland as a useful quest location, but Bethesda apparently couldn’t be arsed, instead filling it with ghouls and mostly pointless loot, then calling it a day.

You may notice the image I snapped here has working smoke stacks. That’s because I started working on a mod to turn this into an important quest location, but ended up quitting partly because I’m not so hot at scripting, but mostly because one location making some level of sense isn’t enough to fix all the other problems.

Instead, I’m using what I planned for that mod here, and will tie this location into a couple of settlements along with a character Bethesda royally screwed up. If you’re thinking I mean Harold… you’d be right, I do mean him. There’ll be another group involved with this location in addition, however.

Sat-Com Arrays:

An imposing impasse.

An imposing impasse.

I love, love, love imposing silhouettes on the skyline like this. The power station above, these Sat-Com arrays, skeletal buildings in DC, anything like that. It’s therefore a massive shame that they are, once again, generic Raider haunts. Sure, a little later in the main quest one is taken over by the Enclave, but they’re still just there because they look cool, they serve no real purpose beyond that.

I’ll admit that one thing I was a little less taken with in New Vegas was the lack of this type of structure. About the only place that has any sort of really imposing silhouette is Vegas itself, specifically the Lucky 38 tower. Oh, and Black Mountain, and maybe HELIOS One.

But eh, that’s a relatively minor nitpick in the grand scheme of things. In Fallout 3 it’s exacerbated because it features a number of these locations, and they’re all boring and pointless. Fortunately, thanks to the Dish Runners the biggest of these arrays now has a purpose.

While there are plenty of other random locations around the world, I think these few rambles are enough for now. I’ll probably end up talking a bit more in depth about some of them later in any case, especially the ones involving the slaves, but I think the next thing will be… let’s see, Evergreen Mills? Yeah, that seems good. Till next time!