How do you make greatness better? Easy. [Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas spoilers ahead]
More social/class struggle.
Nowhere is class struggle highlighted in Fallout more beautifully than in The Pitt, where a cabal of ruthless and privileged raiders rule over an entire population of slave laborers with an iron power fist. The Pitt was great DLC for several reasons, but the most prominent was the fact that it was a chilling look into just how savage the human heart can be given the right conditions. You couldn't help but think you were getting a glimpse into a time-honored tradition of human cruelty that has played itself out countless times over the course of real-life history.There was something about the dark yellow sky and ominous buildings towering overhead in Pittsburgh that lent itself greatly to the feeling of true Orwellian tyranny at work.
At its core, Fallout is a story of human nature, more specifically of the destructiveness of human nature. Nowhere does that story make itself clearer than in the context of oppression and revolution.
Expanded weapon customization.
Procedurally generated weapons systems are neat, and they mean that a gun can spawn with different parts made from different manufacturers, and each gun part would lend certain stats to the final product. A similar system would be perfect for a Fallout game, and would lend itself heavily to the scavenging feel of post-apocalyptic weapons. After all, how likely are you to find a pristine weapon with all of its original parts intact?
The first argument against more companions that comes to mind is "well, that means less backstory for each individual character," to which I would respond: Skyrim had 59 total followers, and each of them had plenty of character pop. Say you want a ghoul follower. Why have just a neutral one to choose from? There have to be some good ghouls and evil ghouls out there who are looking to party up!
A new location.
As cool as the Capital Wasteland and the Mojave Desert were, there are plenty of other places and cities which would make for a fine setting for Fallout 4. Boston? New York? Los Angeles (again)? What about international? Moscow? Tokyo? Jerusalem? Sydney? The whole world got blown away during the Great War in 2077, so pretty much anywhere on Earth is ripe for the picking.
More duster coats.
Do I really have to explain this one?
An urban area with few zone barriers.
Other than reducing the number of load screens, this tactic has another relatively unseen benefit that the hardcore crowd will appreciate: it makes zones more daunting and difficult to navigate. Again, Fallout isn't a game that should hold your hand. Explore. Get lost. Get frustrated. Get ambushed by land mines and mutants with curiously tiny hunting rifles. It'll only make it more satisfying when you finally get to where you were going.
Bethesda used an entirely new graphics engine for Skyrim, one that could accommodate the visually intense blizzards that occasionally blew across the land. Put that same principle to work in Fallout 4, because who wouldn't want to get caught in a rad thunderstorm?
I did ask for this. New Vegas touched on this feature with the implants you could get at the medical clinic, and it's a system that's ripe for expansion in future games. The implants particularly came in handy if you screwed up your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. allocation at the start of the game and missed out on the required point threshold for a certain perk (and didn't want to waste precious points on Intense Training). Implants don't have to be constrained simply to S.P.E.C.I.A.L., though. Stronger melee attacks, more action points, and faster reload speeds are just a few of the potential implant perks that could add another layer of depth to an already very deep system of character customization.
Not only is armor crafting a great way to spice up the look and feel of a character, it also fits into the game perfectly from a thematic standpoint. Whenever you're wandering the wastes, take a moment to look around. Just about every structure other than the ruined buildings of D.C. or New Vegas is made by hammering a few metal panels and spare parts together. There's certainly no mass production left to make top-tier armor suits, so whatever someone scrounges up to protect themselves must be done by hand. It's even apparent in some of the armor pieces that already exist: a hockey mask here, a bandoleer there. Why not let us make such ensembles ourselves instead of putting them into the game pre-packaged?
A colorful landscape.
New Vegas struck a perfect balance between the bleak desolation of a post-apocalyptic desert, and the glamorously epileptic light show that is Las Vegas. Particularly in the northwest quadrant of the Mojave in places like Red Rock Canyon and Jacobstown, the color palette popped quite nicely in contrast to the haunting haze that permeated the Capital Wasteland.
A new awful and dangerous enemy in the vein of cazadors and deathclaws.
Okay, I know what you're thinking: "dude, have you lost your goddamn mind? I HATE those!" To which I would reply, "I do too! I hate cazadors with a burning, fiery passion." That's exactly the point, though. Bethesda wants you to hate them. When was the last time you saw a memorable story or meme about bloatflies? Exactly. The various wastelands of the Fallout universe are supposed to be harsh, dangerous, and unforgiving. If it's not a pain in the ass, it's not worth fighting. So bring on the flying spiders that bite you with radioactive fangs and can see you from halfway across the map! Easy mode is for suckers!
Fallout 4 would benefit immensely from having various warring groups, where joining one side meant becoming an immediate enemy to the other, like having two different settlements fighting each other over supplies, or two scientific groups at odds over how to use some newly discovered technology.
Destructible environments that change based on the decisions you've made.
The shining example of this feature is sending Megaton to kingdom come in Fallout 3, but it would be cool to see the fruits of your destructive labor play out on a smaller scale. Accidentally fire a wayward missile at an attacking raider? Have the projectile slam into the pillar of a nearby highway overpass and watch the entire structure come crumbling down. Use a Fat Man to bring down a cliffside raider encampment.
When it comes to destructible environments, there's a definitely a workable middle ground: it doesn't have to be "cleansing an entire town with nuclear fire" or nothing. Sometimes you just want to mess up that old bungalow with the druggie slaver inside.
Lookin' at you, Assassin's Creed: Unity...
Hearthfire was sweet. There's nothing quite like building your own mansion and defending it from invaders. Why not be able to scope out some wasteland real estate and claim it as your own. Dave had The Republic of Dave, why not have The Republic of You? Or just blow Dave's head off and take his Republic for your own like I know most of you did.
Perk trees allow you to really feel as if you're specializing your character, giving them a defined role and skill set, as opposed to just being a god at everything once you've reached level 50. Say you're really into the whole "lone wolf sniper" kind of class. You could start off by selecting the basic perk of improving your sniper aim, and then that perk would branch out into two other additional benefits, like improved accuracy during the night versus increased chance to hit in V.A.T.S. Furthermore, it would require you to make sacrifices in terms of the weapons you used, and the decisions you make while playing your character.
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