Fallout New Vegas 2 Can Fix Bethesda's Super Mutant Retcons

With rumors of Fallout: New Vegas 2 recently circulating, fans are theorizing the many ways developers Obsidian could fix some of Bethesda’s retcons, particularly those surrounding super mutants. With Microsoft now owning both Bethesda and Obsidian, a sequel to the 2010 game seems more likely than ever before. Giving a Fallout: New Vegas sequel to the original creators of the Fallout IP could not only breathe new life into the franchise but fix some plotholes created by recent games.

Black Isle Studios originally created and released the Fallout series, and they developed and released Fallout and its sequel Fallout 2. In 2004 Bethesda was licensed to develop three Fallout games, and in 2007 Bethesda purchased the franchise outright. Since then, three of the four Fallout sequel games have been produced by Bethesda, with only Fallout: New Vegas being developed by Obsidian, which was formed before the closure of Black Isle Studies by ex-Black Isle employees.

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With so many authors, the Fallout franchise has suffered from inconsistencies when it comes to lore. What was seen as canon in Black Isle’s Fallout was reconned in Bethesda’s sequels, leaving lore fans scratching their heads. Super mutants and their creation are areas that have become more than a little complicated, and hopefully, Fallout: New Vegas 2 will be able to clarify some of these issues.

Super mutants first appeared in Fallout as creations of the Master, a heavily mutated individual who wanted to replace all humans in the Fallout world. The Master created a movement called the Unity, and out of his headquarters at Mariposa Military Base, the Master used a pre-war military virus to turn humans into super mutants. The super mutant created at Mariposa were made using the forced evolutionary virus (FEV) strain developed and almost perfected by the military before the bombs fell. FEV-II created intelligent super mutants unaffected by the radiation of the wastelands and stronger than humans but completely sterile. Super mutants who appear in Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas are also remnants of the Unity and created using the Mariposa FEV strain.

Under Bethesda, Fallout 3 moved from California to the Capital Wasteland and reintroduced super mutants in a different form. The super mutants encountered in the Captial Wasteland were created in Fallout 3 by Vault-Tec in Vault 87 using an inferior FEV strain. Super mutants made in Vault 87 were still strong and immune to radiation but were vastly intellectually inferior to the average human and were much more aggressive. Capital Wasteland super mutants were sterile like their cousins in California; however, they also seem to have lost much of who they were prior to transformation. With the exception of Fawkes, a super mutant companion found in Vault 87, super mutants in the Captial Wastleland don’t display any traces of their former humanity.

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In Fallout 4, Bethesda introduced a third FEV strain into Fallout’s lore after the Institute gained access to the virus. It is unclear where the Institute got its supply of FEV from, but many fans have theorized that it could have been from Vault 87 due to the similarities between the two East Coast mutants. Super mutants from Fallout 4's Commonwealth display average intelligence, being able to construct armor, weapons, and fortifications but are unable to integrate into human communities.

The final strain of FEV was established in Fallout 76 as a pre-war experiment at the West Tek research center in Appalachia. Here, under orders from President Eckhart, the Enclave infected the residents of Huntersville before the Great War. The super mutants in Appalachia are most similar to those found in California and the Commonwealth, with average intelligence but very hostile to anyone other than other super mutants.

Different strains of FEV in each Fallout game do not necessarily create contradictions, but they do create confusion. With each new game, new information about super mutants is introduced, which changes previously established lore. Fallout set up that the Master began his experiments and created the first super mutants in 2103. However, Bethesda changed this in Fallout 3, which had Vault 87’s experiments taking place in 2078.

However, the biggest super mutant retcon came with their introduction in Fallout 76, which overrode much of established lore. Players can find an entry in the Citadel in Fallout 3 that mentions Vault 76 being opened after 20 years; however, in Fallout 76, 25 years have passed since the bombs, which is yet another example of Bethesda contradiction its own lore. Super mutants seen in Fallout 76 predate the Master’s Unity experiments and even predate the bombs falling. The presence of super mutants in 2102, a year before the Master began his experiments and almost 60 years before the events of Fallout, has agitated many longtime Fallout fans.

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So how can Fallout: New Vegas 2 fix these discrepancies? The best way is for the game to focus on the differences in sources and bring attention to them rather than ignore them. Fallout: New Vegas 2 could benefit from having missions surrounding super mutants that draw attention to and explain the different information. Fallout: New Vegas 2 would take place in Nevada, so the super mutants there would be from the Mariposa strain and therefore more intelligent than Bethesda East Coast super mutants.

Developers could have one or more super mutants as companions for the player who could help add clarity to who super mutants are and "humanize" them. Perhaps these companions could have personal quests where the player could help them find out how they were made and where super mutants come from. Another mission could be to gather information about super mutants where the different dates and FEV sources could be acknowledged and perhaps even joked about it.

Fallout: New Vegas 2 is still only a rumor, but if true, it presents an excellent opportunity to settle questions surrounding super mutants and other areas of lore. The worst thing any developer could do would be to ignore the issues created by having so many authors. Only time will tell if Fallout: New Vegas 2 becomes a reality and whether it will fix gaps in Fallout’s lore or create new ones.

Next: Bethesda Games More Deserving Of A Remaster Than Skyrim



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