It's the end of the world as we know it
Just imagine it: a barren land of hopeless souls and hideous ghouls. To the north: a stony face of cavernous craters. To the south: an aggressive patch of crabs. But enough about my love life, let's talk about Fallout. With the series' fourth major installment now only days away, 'fanticipation' is heating up faster than an ill-timed sightseer touring the Bikini atoll. Will it bomb, or rather be the bomb? Can it make converts of franchise unbelievers? All will be revealed soon.
But what happens if the November 10th as we expect it never actually arrives? What if, instead, some extreme fan high up in some nation's government decides to create the ultimate Fallout experience by way of a big red button? How then would we go about playing our precious Fallout 4? Well, fret not future ghouls, as GamesRadar has you covered. We've called in the expertise of famed, not at all fictional survivalist Billy 'Goat' Grates to tell you everything you need to know in the event of armageddon. Take it away, Billy!
Step 1: Be prepared!
"As anyone who's seen my Woody Award-winning show will know, (that's the Woodsman awards, not the errr other one) Billy's number one rule is to always 'be prepared'. So the first thing you're going to want to do here is to avoid total bodily obliteration. Consult the 'Nukemap' to pinpoint the biggest danger zones in your area. Remember, the bigger the nuke attack, the further you're going to want to be from your nearest city centre!
"Let's take GamesRadar's British HQ as an example. Located in idyllic Bath, England, the site has absolutely no military or strategic value, but let's assume for a moment that the enemy simply doesn't like Destiny. Pow! There goes High Command - completely vapourised in an instant - perhaps caught unawares during a Monday morning game of Rocket League. Those outside of the immediate vicinity will likely become mutants, while those visiting the gym are now designated 'super-mutants'. My advice: move out to those outskirts, pronto!"
Step 2: Everything must go!
"Did you know that all nuclear weapons release an EMP - or 'electro mucho power' - blast upon detonation? These babies can fry a circuit board, cripple your electronics and even override a Furby's non-lethal safety protocols. Thankfully, said waves don't tend to outrun the immediate area of impact - great news if you live outside of the initial death sphere, less so if you're planning on tapping into that Starbucks' free-wi-fi now that the queues have died down. On the flipside, nukes detonated above a one kilometre altitude will spread their console-killing pulses a darn sight further.
"Only fast-acting surge protectors and EMP-shielded containers can possibly hope to withstand the blast, meaning that for the vast majority, your consoles, phones and television sets are now little more than overly-elaborate paperweights. Your main priority should now be to head out into one of the untouched rural areas in order to resupply. Take advantage of the frenzied food riots to snag yourself some winning discounts on the electricals aisle. Eating can wait. Fallout 4 shall be your sustenance now."
Step 3: Take the power back
"But wait, what about the power supply? Won't you need a functioning electricity grid in order to play? Not so, intrepid gamers, not so! Now, I'll admit, power isn't normally my main concern - I'm usually too busy sucking gunk out of cacti to even consider what sort of wattage I want. That being said, I do pride myself on being resourceful. I once climbed K2 with little more than a kebab skewer and a signed copy of 'Sean Connery sings the blues' to keep me company. Sure, six sherpas might have died in order to bring me down, to say nothing of the nine toes I lost to frostbite, but that's what my brand of self-satisfied survivalism is all about!
"Since most power companies are simply too stingey to insulate their wares against EMP, or to relocate their entire network some 80 miles underground, it's now entirely likely that your home is all out of juice. Follow up your trip to the electricals boutique with a visit to the local hardware emporium. You'll want to lay your hands on a portable generator unit, preferably one powered by propane. These are a little harder to find, but much less likely to see you lynched by cannibalistic muscle car enthusiasts. We've all seen Mad Max. We all know that those guys are going to be out in force by this point."
Step 4: Navigating the new used game market
"Power supply? Check. Functioning electronics. Check. Narrowly avoiding becoming an ashen silhouette flash burned onto a fence? Triple check. Looks like you're all set. Except that due to the collapse of the postal supply network, you never did receive that copy of Fallout 4 you ordered. Can't really blame Postie for late delivery when he's busy congealing on the floor somewhere. Whatever the case, you now have no other option but to head out back into the wasteland. But be warned, getting your increasingly skin-less hands on a disc wont be easy. By now, the various high school-style cliques will all have sprung up espousing devotion to one flesh-craving deity or another. Don't be fooled, just because they're chanting 'Blood for the blood god', doesn't mean they necessarily have proper NHS accreditation.
"Try instead to seek out some more amenable zealots, preferably those who have taken up residence in a one-time game shop. Do your best to barter with them, but given that supplies of any kind are going to be low, try to fob them off with something relatively worthless. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 should do it. And if you still have one lying around, chuck in a copy of Too Human to seal the deal. The trade-in value might have been deathly low before the apocalypse, but if the shop's new owners have gone sufficiently feral, you might be on to a winner."
Step 5: Praise be to mod
"So you're all geared up and ready to go. Top banana and tickety-boo! But what about when you inevitably run out of gameplay? Yes folks, even a vastly expansive game like Fallout 4 will eventually top out if it's the only game you have to play through the long, dark time after the end of days. What you'll need at that point is some brand new content, and quick! Sadly, it looks like whoever launched the nukes couldn't quite forgive Bethesda the horse armour debacle, and responded by annihilating the entire state of Maryland. So long Skyrim sequel, so long official DLC! Thank heavens then, that the game supports player-made mods on console and PC this time. Now if only you could access the internet!
"Thankfully, sufficient time should now have passed for a cult to form around the last vestiges of the web, or as it is now known, 'The Great Feline Expressway'. Cultists will be divided into those who worship the grand deity Keyboard Cat, and others who just really, reeaaaaally need to access this other site while no one else is around. Soon, bitter wars will be fought over the remaining servers. Until they're reseolved, you should attempt to gain an audience with the Internet in order to ingratiate yourself ahead of time, making whatever offerings its gatekeepers deem necessary. An aimless series of tweets about your (admittedly meagre) post-apocalyptic lunches, transcribed into polished stone tablets, ought to suffice."
Step 6: A kinder, better world
"With the medium to long-term future now sorted, you'll be sitting rather pretty. But don't get complacent. Like I said, preparation is key, and although Fallout 4 will probably last you a very long time, eventually you'll want a Fallout 5 to look forward to. It's at this point that you may want to consider totally rebuilding society, or at least just enough of it to get a fully-functioning games studio up and running. Using your advanced knowledge of Fallout, bartering, cajoling and/or threatening your way to a semblance of civilisation ought to be a cinch. Continue to do this until word of your township begins to spread far and wide, attracting surviving developers from all across the land.
"Remember, as their new employer you'll need to throw together a really compelling benefits package, although given the new world circumstances that might just amount to not having them burned at the stake should they miss a glitch. Yes, recreating a fully functioning human society might sound a big ask in exchange for a single video game, but hey, it's Fallout. It'll probably be worth it. But do remember, if Gabe Newell should emerge from the wasteland one day in the far-off, flame scorched future, keep him in a side office for a while. He'll almost definitely still need a bit more time to finish Half-Life 3."