Fallout is one of the most beloved video game series in the world, as its conflicting aura of melancholy, hope, and existentialism has been something which has had us hooked since game one. No matter where it is, the aesthetics of each Fallout game have enthralled us. There is something entirely satisfying about exploring fictitious representations of our favorite cities only to be killed by a sledgehammer wielding Goliath. The level of detail that the producers of the series put into their work is something which we have loved for nearly two decades and there always seems to be somewhere new to explore. The ever expanding localities of the world of Fallout increases our level of immersion, however the world does not seem as large as it could be.
So far the series has had a primary focus on the West Coast, which is understandable considering its importance in the Sino-American War, but it is getting stale. Three games at the minimum have involved the New California Republic as a major force. It should not be taken as knocking the importance of the NCR, but the developers should strive for something different. As the series ages and new mechanics are added and new factions created, the sheer magnitude of the world of Fallout seems to grow. That growth in size and scope of the Fallout universe would make all of the previous games feel more alive;. The importance of such a deep and rich experience in exploring more of the world is something which all fans would love to see, however, not every city is deserving of being featured directly in the series and for different reasons. Some of those reasons are lore based and others sheer likelihood.
20 Go To: Honolulu, Hawaii
From Boston to the New California Republic, we have seen much of the Wasteland that is formerly the United States of America, the remnants of a once great civilization. The thing is that we have only seen the continental United States in the Fallout Universe. What happened to the rest of it? That is a burning question that many people have asked. Due to that, plus the real life beauty of the place, Honolulu, Hawaii should be considered for the next Fallout game. Aren’t quite sure? Okay, let’s think about it for a moment. Hawaii is an important state regarding its location, so it likely would have quite the number of battle scars and would present a unique opportunity to see exactly how much life has changed. Sure, there may not be the same number of super mutants as there are on the mainland, but think of all the animals? Mutated sharks prowling the waters of Hawaii sound neat to us.
19 Avoid: Atlanta, Georgia
The furthest south that the Fallout games have explored is the Virginia side of the Capital Wasteland. However, as much as some of us would like to see some of the Deep South, Atlanta would probably not be the best choice. There are a number of reasons for this, making it so that Atlanta, Georgia should be avoided for a while. Atlanta’s scenery is quite beautiful and very urban. Physically it has all the aspects that you’d want to see turned into charred three-dimensional shadows of their former selves. So, what exactly is the problem? You see, in the case of Fallout: Atlanta, it would be extremely difficult to avoid making comparisons to Sherman’s March. We know that Fallout likes to bring aspects of history, both real and fictional, into the game. The history of Atlanta would make that rather difficult, as it would require the team to either give praise or vilify the March. Until they find a way to avoid the unpleasantness of that war, we’ll have to pass this one by.
18 Go To: Chicago, Illinois
Home to some of the best pizza on the planet, Chicago would be a perfect location for the next Fallout game to take place. Chicago is one of the country’s largest cities and has a very particular meaning within both the American and world mindset. The economic importance of Chicago is one of the many reasons that it would be a fantastic addition to the Fallout locale family. Only a glimpse of the city’s ruins is seen in a brief segment of Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, leaving its complete fate a mystery. Should Chicago make an appearance as a playable area in a game, it will likely have to take place sometime after Fallout Tactics, just to add the feeling of being a wild land as the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel's and Enclave's control over the area seems somewhat fractured. The location of Chicago on Lake Michigan would add a lot of possible exploration points into Canada, just to see how everything fared after the Great War. Canada’s light mentioning in the games has made the fate of that region ripe for the playing.
17 Avoid: Sacramento, California
So far, three of the Big Four Fallout games have directly involved California in one way or another and it is starting to get a little boring. Sacramento, California is one city which must be avoided at all costs for the next installment or two, simply because it feels too much like it's forcing us to recognize the New California Republic as the rightful successor to the United States Government, more so than the Enclave. In the franchise’s mythos, California is supposed to be the most civilized place in the post-nuclear America; a point which has been drilled into our heads many times over. Without there being some sort of newly concocted faction, or the Shi, to challenge the existence of the New California Republic, there would not be enough interesting things to justify revisiting California so soon. It shouldn’t be wholly discounted for a future game to visit California again, but it should not be the next couple of games.
16 Go To: Anchorage, Alaska
For those who may have played the Fallout 3 DLC, Operation: Anchorage, you may remember how the virtual reality simulation focused on combating and removing the threat of General Jingwei and the People’s Liberation Army. Seeing the total liberation of the city, questions are left unanswered; namely, “What happened next?” We all know that the Great War came afterwards, but what happened after that? The lack of specific knowledge is something which makes the frigid Alaskan city so enticing! Not only will there be enough justification to see snow in the game, we will get to see how the descendants of those who survived the wars turned out. There is some speculation as to what likely would have happened, most of which involves a revenge nuking, but the unknown is a part of the fun. A Fallout 5 which takes place in Anchorage would open up the world to a wide array of new enemies, natural and nuclear, and would be fantastic for a sequel to the Hardcore Mode of New Vegas.
15 Avoid: New York City, New York
Although it may seem almost poetic for baseball fans to have the next Fallout game take place in New York City, there are quite a few problems which that would present. Let’s start with the 10,300 lbs. gorilla in the room; New York City is one of the absolute most likely places for a direct nuclear strike. Assuming that NYC was hit with a direct hit, there would not be a lot of room to explore without the use of a rad-suit. The complete and utter devastation that would happen to New York City would make the land prime real estate for ghouls, super mutants, and possibly the largest radroach you've ever seen! Although this might be a little bit nit-picky, two games taking place in a coastal Northeastern city just seems a bit off. Sure, the area around New York City is great and there might be some sort of strange beauty where the rotted concrete jungle meets the irradiated swamp water, but New York just isn't the right place. Fans would likely be angry at having to play in an environment where they are destined to die.
14 Go To: Mexico City, Mexico
Up until this point in the history of the games, we've only seen the remnants of the United States, however, the world of Fallout is rich with references to other countries and lands, if you look for them. What we know about Mexico from the Fallout universe is that the country played an important part in the Resource Wars. It was not outright annexed by the United States, but the American Army turned the country into a puppet state and perhaps a wasteland in its own right before the first bomb fell in the Great War. Mexico's environment would lead to some great role-play and adventures. Mexico City would be perfect for the first foreign Fallout game simply because of the many centuries of ruins and area surrounding the city are perfect for exploration. As we saw with the Honest Hearts DLC, the creators of Fallout won't shy from working outside of their comfort zone when it comes to tribals, so it might be nice to see what became of the indigenous population. The sparsely mentioned in game history of the region makes it exactly what the series needs!
13 Avoid: Beijing, China
The capital of the People's Republic of China is a definite no-go zone for the Fallout series. First of all, there is a similar likelihood for the city to be hit with more nuclear weapons than a regular city, but there is also the potential for an even more hazardous environment regarding the levels of pollution which exist in such a large city. Beijing, home to the central governing offices of the PRC, is just not a good idea for Bethesda to explore. The city would undoubtedly be turned into possibly the most difficult terrain to navigate that side of the Capital Wastelands. The Beijing Wastes would be home to some of the most toxic air and more ghouls than bullets. There are some good things which I could say about Beijing, one of them being that it would be pretty cool to see the Forbidden City in the universe, but there are a number of other Chinese cities which would be great for both aesthetic and game-play reasons, but Beijing just isn't one of them.
12 Go To: Dallas, Texas
The Big D might be the best location within the contemporary Continental United States for the next game to take place. Something which Dallas offers for the Fallout experience is the ability to loosely bridge the gap between the eastern and western halves of the United States, as Dallas would be able to loosely bring the events of New Vegas to some point of resolution, albeit they would be both mythical and unreliable in nature. The territory of Caesar's Legion extends from Arizona to parts of New Mexico, which may be expanding eastwards, would likely see a level of indirect trade which would prop up the myth of the Courier. Location wise, Dallas and the surrounding area would provide the Western feel of Fallout: New Vegas in the heart of the Lone Star State.
11 Avoid: Juneau, Alaska
Alaska's best option for a Fallout is Anchorage, as we've already discussed. Juneau, on the other hand, is probably the worst option. Juneau's claim to fame is that it is the only state capital in the country without roads leading into it. The rocky terrain and copious amounts of water make the small city an island unto itself in function, if not form. Juneau's geography and the small size of the settlement prevent the ability for mass exploration unless a slew of watercrafts are added to the game. Without being too much of a Negative Nancy, there are some things which Juneau could offer that other locations would not be so good at doing. The main thing which Juneau would be good for would be establishing a sense of isolation which previous games weren't able to adequately accomplish. It would be interesting to see a routinely freezing wasteland rocked by remnants of the Sino-American War and the Great War, but the lack of territory to be explored and the lower rates of biodiversity just discount Juneau for its own game, unlike Anchorage.
10 Go To: Montréal, Québec
Speaking of perpetually freezing wastelands, Montreal would be an absolutely perfect locale for all your mutant, ghoul, and radroach hunting needs! As some may know, Fallout lore dictates that Canada was annexed by the United States sometime before the Great War, with remnant pockets of resistance from Canadian separatists. Montreal's location to the north of the United States and the historic and cultural background add quite a number of possibilities for game mechanics. It would be able to add a similar foreign feel to it, which Mexico City would accomplish, but, it would add the feeling of nuclear winter as well. Far north of both New York City and Boston, the Québécois city would be able to provide the nihilistic look of Fallout with freshly fallen snow; what's not to love? The likely extremes in weather which would result from all-out nuclear war would make the ruins of Saint Joseph's Oratory and Place Jacques-Cartier rather stunning to gaze upon. It would be a definite change in Fallout's look and pacing, but who's to say that isn't a good thing?
9 Avoid: New Orleans, Louisiana
Louisiana would be a fantastic addition to the irradiated family, but New Orleans will have to stay on the broken back burner. In a similar fashion to New York City, New Orleans is one of the most likely places for a nuclear strike to hit due to its economic importance. Also, the city has been the subject of a number of post-apocalyptic games and movies, so it just feels done to death. New Orleans has seen its fair share of disasters, both natural and man-made over the recent years, so it feels just a little off to plague it with chronic death and atomic devastation. Following on the heels of Fallout 4, New Orleans would also seem to be beating to death the trope of being in a city directly hit by an atomic weapon. Although nuclear war is central to the plot of the series, not every city needs to be hit directly, New Vegas was a perfect example on how to break this trope.
8 Go To: Jacksonville, Florida
In contrast to New Orleans, Jacksonville, Florida would be an excellent coastal addition to the franchise. Being one of the most populated cities in the country, ranked twelfth in real life, Jacksonville would be excellent just because of the blend of cultures that it could display. The long standing Spanish influence in Jacksonville, plus the later Anglo-American influence, would give the game an interesting feel. Being in a subtropical environment already, Jacksonville's humidity would be torture on whatever remnant human population is present; it would likely feature a strong smoggy haze overhead. Unlikely to be struck with a nuclear weapon, unlike other cities within the region, Jacksonville would see the largest amount of still standing buildings in the Southeast. Although the city would be in ruins, it is the most likely place for some small portion of civilization to remain. If there are pockets of civilization, who would lead it? How would they be different than those survivors in Boston and the Capital Wasteland? We'll just wait and see.
7 Avoid: Portland, Oregon
Portland, the place where the dream of the 90s lives on, at least that is the tag line to Portlandia. Portland, Oregon is a city which would not really fit within the present modus operandi of the Fallout franchise and it is a bit too close to the New California Republic to feel radically different than Fallout, Fallout 2, and New Vegas in terms of the clash of cultures. The southernmost reaches of Oregon are seen in the second game in the series and it seems to say that the entirety of the state is filled with cannibals, so Portland might need to be out. If Fallout 5 wanted to have a complete change in how the series operated, focusing more on survival horror than role-playing, then Portland would be a perfect city. However, Bethesda probably intends to continue the RPG style game, just call it a hunch. With packs of roaming cannibals and the presence of the NCR, the game would not feel like Fallout in the traditional sense, but rather some sort of Outlast knockoff.
6 Go To: Marseille, France
The Fallout universe is filled with a rich history, if you know where to look. Among the more notable aspects of this history, which is often times ignored, is the Resource Wars. The Resource Wars were exactly what they sound like and had a heavy effect on Europe. For those who have paid attention to globes and maps of Europe throughout the games will have noticed that the land area known as Europe ceased to be separated from Africa. The Afro-Eurasian landmass was expanded upon by the loss of the Mediterranean Sea. Should this happen, Marseille would be completely wrecked in ways that we cannot imagine. The desertification, which surely would have happened, would make the French city one of the most entertaining to play through and explore, as the clash of cultures and the Old World ideals would surely establish some of the more stable state entities seen in the game. The shining points that would exist for a European city in the areas would be the discovery of what most likely happened to the majority of the Western World.
5 Avoid: London, England
Like many national capitals, London is a popular choice for apocalyptic films, games, and literature; that is something which might as well be a strike against it. The fact that we've seen the city destroyed, devastated, and annihilated many times makes it seem too passé for Bethesda to do the same thing. Sure, the city of nearly 9 million denizens is important, but other European cities are more deserving, particularly those along the Mediterranean. With the Great Britain being an island in the North Sea, there doesn't seem like much of a way for there to be a true lack of drinking water and other resources to sustain life. London would not feel quite as dangerous as previous installments should it be worked into a game. Unless the River Thames is completely dried up, irradiated, or carrying a terminal infestation of mirelurks, there just is not a reason to visit this British metropolis.
4 Chongqing, China - Bring It On!
This is one of the largest cities in the world by land area, so much so that it has a special administrative status in China which is only conferred to three other localities. Chongqing is an important city for commerce and is located right along the Yangtze River. The area surrounding Chongqing is so built up that it would basically be like you never left the city, potentially giving players a slight case of claustrophobia. Besides being a completely cool idea to see how China has dealt with the aftermath of nuclear holocaust, the different approach to and feeling of a Fallout: Chongqing would not only reinvigorate the series, but it would do what Fallout 3 did and raise our expectations. Having a game take place in China would be a completely revolutionary action for the developers, simply because it would pose both a stark contrast to the American-centric games of the past. It would show that no matter who you are, war is an absolute hell on everyone involved.
3 Avoid: Toronto, Canada
Unlike Montréal, which possesses quite a different culture than both Anglo-Canada and the United States, Toronto is more like the rest of English speaking North America. Toronto itself would not be a bad location for Fallout, but it cannot be its own principle location. Should the series begin to encompass humongous areas which would take real life days to cross from one end of the map to the other, then this one will be great. Toronto's nearness to the State of New York would likely make it seem more familiar to a large segment of the audience than any other location; it might not even register that we left the United States without seeing the name. Since Toronto is one of the most iconic cities of Canada, there is also the concern that too many stereotypes for Canadians would be exploited. A result of that would be the lessening of the seriousness which permeates throughout the series. Sure, it can be fun to cut loose from time to time, but at its core, Fallout is a serious series. Toronto might be good for another game, but just not quite yet.
2 Go To: Charlotte, North Carolina
Remember how the series has stayed primarily in the northern reaches of the country and far out west? Well, a good compromise for those who would like to see something in the Deep South and those who'd prefer somewhere a little further north is Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte may not be a city of the Deep South, but Southern culture is very evident! Something that makes the city so enticing as a locality is its size. Something that most people may not be aware of is that Charlotte (the city) is more than twice as large as Atlanta, Georgia and is unlikely to face a direct nuclear strike. Since it is unlikely for Charlotte to be hit with atomic weaponry directly, it would be fascinating to see how the Queen City adapts to such a drastic change in environment. If the trend of expanding play area continues, the greater metropolitan area would be fascinating, especially if they extend it across state lines to Rock Hill, South Carolina. Such a move would bring back some of the feelings from New Vegas, but adding a little of that Southern charm to the mix.
1 Avoid: Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas is one of the most well-known cities in the Lone Star State. The city's biggest claim to fame is its role in the Space Race, which would create some pretty unique incentives for players to explore, but this also adds to the likelihood of the city being completely destroyed by a combination of nuclear fallout and related disasters. The Space City's location near a major shipping channel and the surrounding bayous would ensure that it would not survive even indirect bomb blasts. Houston's geography of being only 50 feet (15.24 meters) above sea level is a major issue which would need to be addressed by Bethesda if it were to appear in a game. There are some good things that could come from playing in Houston, but they would require a much greater suspension of disbelief than most other locations. What could be done is having Houston be a location just outside of the game's playable area, similar to Chicago in Fallout Tactics. It would be a cool idea to have glowing flooded ruins in a game, so maybe Houston could be in a DLC, but not as the main location.