Why the Fallout series desperately needs Obsidian's help to become loved again

A character firing a machine gun
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks )

Obsidian founder Feargus Urquhart has revealed his intentions of working on a new Fallout, if the opportunity ever arose. 

Obsidian hasn’t worked on a Fallout game since New Vegas in 2010, but many fans still see the spinoff as the best modern Fallout. After New Vegas, Bethesda Game Studios took back the reins of Fallout and has since developed Fallout 4 and the controversial 76. 

Fallout is a post-apocalyptic series in which you have to brave the atomic wastelands of various US cities. A big draw of the franchise is that its setting, characters and story will change from game to game. But encountering horrendously mutated non-humanoids like the aptly named Deathclaws or the gruesome and decaying Yao Guais, are a constant, and always terrifyingly fun to encounter.   

The love of the game doesn’t stop with the Fallout community at large or me. In fact, Obsidian’s founder, Feargus Urquhart, has strong feelings about the series, too. “I hung around at Interplay for probably an extra year because I wanted to work on Fallout more”, said Urquhart in an interview with Dualshockers, “I love Fallout”. I love Fallout as well, but I haven’t been a fan of where it has ended up in recent years. 

While I enjoyed Fallout 4 thanks to its expansive map and the sense of exploration. But after playing Fallout 76, I couldn’t help but think of Fallout New Vegas. This may be through rose-tinted glass, but that game was what a modern Fallout game should look like. While in the past, Bethesda has tried to cram a linear campaign into an open-world RPG which made you feel like you were being strong-armed into the central storyline, Obsidian adopted a more fluid approach with several storylines which are determined by factions and choices.

Rose-tinted glasses 

A character fights against two robots

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks )

Obsidian doesn’t just have Fallout New Vegas to boast about. Recently the developer released Grounded, a survival game that takes exploring your back garden to whole new levels. Usually, handling bugs is no big deal, but in Grounded, you have to search for supplies and fight off creepy crawlies after being shrunk down, so your average spider looks like an elephant. Grounded has been a big hit, with the majority of Steam reviews being overwhelmingly positive. I, for one, loved Grounded as it gave me that sense of danger and morbid curiosity which I fondly remember from Fallout New Vegas. 

Morbid curiosity and adventure weren’t the only selling points of New Vegas. Obsidian worked tirelessly to provide deep and engaging lore with storylines that encouraged replayability. Through its faction systems the routes from each event to the next felt custom to your character. This custom storytelling provided a unique and autonomous adventure game that you could experience again and again.

Table of story contents

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

I could go on about the benefits of the faction system over the karma system that the Fallout games are known for or how great the DLC was. But that’s for another time. Ultimately, Obsidian showed the detailed care for Fallout that I feel has been lost in recent years.

76 the item 

None of this is to say that Bethesda can’t make great games. I think Starfield looks amazing, and have high hopes that Bethesda will deliver on this epic space adventure game. It looks like a real breath of fresh air after the somewhat disastrous Fallout 76. There were a lot of elements that made me fall out of love with the game before I even played it. 

When it came to the launch of Fallout 76, I didn’t have better luck. Infested with bugs and lighting so bright I thought I’d died and was on my way to the afterlife. These issues made Fallout 76 a pain to play and meant I didn’t enjoy my experience trudging around those wastelands. 

However, it wasn’t the bugs that were the worst part. Bethesda’s initial reaction of denial, excuses and, crucially, pushing players to buy upgrades at the over-priced atomic shop made me feel like Fallout had become a way to score easy money from fans that loved this series. 

If Fallout has a chance to go back to the days when adventure and fans took precedence over revenue, then I can’t wait to see what Obsidian does with the putrid wastelands and hideous monsters. 

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.