- Apr 5, 2020
Bethesda's Fallout is going for a Science! themed 1950's vision of the future. Basically, if you look at old "City of the Future!", "Home of the Future!" and similar ads, rides, magazines etc. that's the basis for Bethesda's version of Fallout, coupled with the idea that physics and sciences behaves not like actual physics but like how they were imagined in 50's pop-culture with nuclear radiation causing mutations and not just nasty poisoning and such.FO isn't really going for 1950s, it's going for "retro futuristic" 50s, so it's like the vision of the future that people in the 30s and 40s had. That's the kinda feel of the world pre-apocalypse.
But Black Isle's Fallout was the 1950's aesthetic as seen through the lens of Dark Age 80's pulp comics. It took the bright outlook on the future of the 50's and twisted it in the way that Dark Age comic books did. Manifest Destiny led the US not to a Golden Age of fusion powered super tech, but into a nuclear war with China over the last few oil reserves on Earth as it never stopped consuming limited resources. It led the US to invade Canada. Instead of a bright future, all that is left is desolate wasteland. The last vestiges of the US Army you meet in Fallout are not brave soldiers fighting to restore the US but a bunch of tech worshipping fascists in the trappings of a Knightly Monastic Order who hates your gut because you are not one of them and who are ready to kill anyone who has pre-war tech and isn't them. The original Fallout and Fallout 2 were never all that interested in the pre-apocalypse, unless it was to establish a point about the wasteland. They were all about what came after, about the people picking up the pieces after endless human greed destroyed not just human civilization but the planet itself. In that respect the BoS and Enclave serve both as a direct reminder of how the past still haunts us and a more direct role to show that pre-war America sucked and isn't worth trying to rebuild or aspire to.