If Bethesda wants to get Fallout 5 back on track, then the game could learn from one interesting feature in BioShock Infinite.
Fallout 5 will need to breathe new life into the franchise after Todd Howard himself recently said that Fallout 76 “let a lot of people down.” Fortunately for fans of the franchise, there are plenty of ways Bethesda could add a fresh feeling to Fallout that could get one of the most successful RPG series back on top.
Music has always been a huge part of the Fallout franchise, with radio mechanics integrated into the games and a soundtrack packed full of 20th-century hits, the majority of them from the 1930s through 1960s. In regard to music, there’s one lesson Fallout 5 could learn from BioShock Infinite.
BioShock Infinite, like Fallout, had a great soundtrack. Although the game is set in 1911, it included hits from Tainted Love to Everybody Wants to Rule the World and even an instrumental version of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. In-universe, this is explained by the company Magical Melodies, run by Albert Fink. Fink discovered a Tear in his studio that allowed him to hear songs from the future and plagiarize the most popular ones to resell to the public of Columbia.
Out of universe, this was inspired by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, a performance collective that does stylized period versions of modern songs. Scott Bradlee himself has a composer credit on BioShock Infinite, and the game’s versions of Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Tainted Love, Shiny Happy People, and After You’ve Gone are his arrangements.
Although the musical culture of the Fallout games is mostly taken from the mid-20th century, Fallout’s Great War – the franchise’s main inciting incident – doesn’t take place until 2077. The Fallout universe explores a world that never moved past the pop culture of the Atomic Age while technology advanced greatly.
Fallout’s music could become more diverse if Bethesda – or Obsidian if Fallout: New Vegas 2 is developed – includes stylized versions of modern songs that came out between the ‘60s and the present. There are already mods for Fallout that put in songs from Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.
Music Pack for Radio NV adds 300 songs to Radio New Vegas, including many from Postmodern Jukebox, like its cover of Blondie's Heart of Glass. These songs fit seamlessly into the setting while also helping to patch up a huge gap in the development of popular culture which is never explained in the Fallout universe. While the perseverance of the style of the ‘50s is part of the premise, it’s never explained why no new songs are developed in that style from. While Bethesda would be hard-pressed to include original songs from the present to 2077, the covers could cover the rest of the timeline up until the present.
The inclusion of a cover of Country Roads, Take Me Home in Fallout 76 shows that Bethesda is already interested in doing just that, but this could be expanded extensively. The next Fallout game should still include the classics fans have got to know and love, but could expand the number of songs it uses significantly with collaboration from a project like Postmodern Jukebox.
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