I have a confession to make: I’m not a Fallout 2 guy. As much as I love Fallout 1 and New Vegas, the second game’s pop culture reference-filled and salacious style has always grated on me. But maybe my relationship with Fallout 2 isn’t doomed. Maybe I just need a new perspective. Literal.
The Fallout 2 Remake 3D (opens in new tab) (through PCGamesN (opens in new tab)) from Polish developer Jonasz Osmenda offers just that. The mod transforms the opus of Black Isle into disturbingly direct first-person and uses the resources of the original game to recreate environments such as Klamath, Arroyo and the Temple of Trials in great detail. Of course those are assets made for a late 90s isometric game, so basically everything becomes an inextricable mess of pixels when you get close to it, but it’s nice to see familiar, post-nuclear faces like ‘woman in jacket’ and again ‘bent bald man’.
The whole thing is at an incredibly early stage (and may never get past it, if Bethesda’s lawyers have anything to say about it), so right now it’s more of a tech demo than an actual game. The bizarre wedding of Fallout 2’s original mechanics – where the turn-based battles were regulated by each participant’s action points – is… well, hard to match, and the map you can currently explore turns into infinite nothing on its edges. The more I write about it, the more it sounds like Morrowind, so maybe Fallout 2 Remake 3D is already the best game of all time right now.
Still, it’s a valiant effort, and it’s always cool when passionate fans try to keep games alive, even if their parent company has moved on to bigger and more lucrative things. I am reminded of attempts like Daggerfall unit (opens in new tab) and OpenMW (opens in new tab): Open-source reimplements of the old Elder Scrolls games that make playing the classics a breeze on modern systems. Those fan projects don’t use the game’s original resources, they are just alternate engines that allow you to put those resources into yourself (from the games you already own). Crucially, this makes them unacceptable, at least for now. That sort of thing could be a more sustainable direction for a Fallout 2 revival, even if Osmenda’s work is truly impressive.
I hope someone picks up that torch. In a world where we have Enhanced Editions of Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale keeping the old Infinity Engine games alive, it feels increasingly odd that Bethesda hasn’t done something similar for the beloved classics in its own stable. I suppose it’s not strange to leave it to the fans to sort.