3 months since its release and Fallout 4 is still going strong. I see people I know posting updates about it on Facebook and even tweeting about it. Perhaps that says something about the people I choose the surround myself with, or perhaps there’s more to Fallout 4 than meets the eye.
As the sequel to Fallout 3, Fallout 4 is more or less the same. Gameplay is largely similar — you spend most of your time roaming the unforgiving wilderness where you might encounter friends or antagonistic raiders, super-mutants, deathclaws, etc.
Personalisation – Sims City Supercharged
But one way Fallout 4 stands out from its predecessors is its base-building mechanic. It allows you to set up communities with housing, farms and trade routes. In a way it’s kind of like playing the Sims in create mode where you can build and move furniture. Love cats? Hang up pictures of cats on the walls. Need a place to put your guns? Build a gun rack. Or maybe you just want to have a basketball court in the yard to show off to people. All of that can be done.
At first, the base-building seems entirely superfluous. Sure it might just be another fun side activity, but it’s not just for people that love interior design. It gives players the chance to craft a community in their own image, and lends a greater touch of personalisation that extends beyond just creating a player character that looks like yourself.
But it’s not just that, either.
Fallout 4 is a game that’s obsessed with death — given how the landscape is one that has seen the horrors of death and decay after a nuclear fallout. The primary objective of anyone still left alive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland is to stay alive. And staying alive means staying safe.
People find safety in a myriad of ways — whether it’s hiding behind walls and having a roof over their head, travelling in packs, having a gun in hand, or rallying around shared ideologies. Examples of safety are shown in the folks you meet in different towns and organisations, from strength in numbers to finding comfort in fresh water and food.
But that’s where you, the player character, have always been different. You are a fish out of water; a tourist in a vicious wasteland not beholden to any one community. In the games before, modders have always been quick to add homes and livable quarters to the game. Because in a game like Fallout, players are desperate for a safe place to call our own, an escape from the hellscape that lies outside.
With the addition of being able to create your own community in Fallout 4, you can now have a place to go home to after completing long quests. Humans seek comfort in many ways, but the ability to make a safe space in a terrifying world is something that we all can connect with on some level — like hanging up your favourite posters when you’ve moved into a new house or furnishing a room for a baby that’s on the way.
I’m sure at one point or another, we’ve all felt a twinge of loneliness in life. Like a vagabond wandering a barren wasteland. Fallout 4 shows us just how important it can be to find solace in a community, going through thick and thin with other people.
Thank you, Fallout 4. You showed me how important home is.