Okay, calling it "Mad Max with lasers" is selling it a bit short. This is an idea that I've had for a while, inspired by the dustbowl phenomenon of the great depression in the 20s (look it up to see what I mean). The premise for the game map and some of the core mechanics is that the bombs combined with about two centuries of no farming loosened up the topsoil and turned the dustbowl area into a desert, which is as good as an ocean for separating one end of it to another. We know that environments similar to this can exist in lore from the Divide in the Lonsome Road DLC for New Vegas. The story would be that you're some randam human or ghoul (because it's about time you got to play as one of them) and some contrivance makes ti so that you have to get from one end of the dustbowl to the other as quickly as possible. The reasons for it could be many, from Caesar's legion taking a loved one, or another delivery gig like New Vegas, an assassination contract. It doesn't really matter, it should just be justification enough to get the player character into the dustbowl and then cease to be important. With the legion example, maybe you get into the dustbowl only to fnd out that your loved one is already dead, but now you owe the person who tried to help you. I don't really know. The main thing in the game would be that it's basically impossible to traverse the dustbowl on foot. People get through it either by avoiding it and walking around it, a vertibird, or on "rigs" as I'll call them. This is where it gets very Mad Max-y. Rigs are big platforms on top of cobbled together pieces from the remains of cars, trucks and other automobiles. They would have the same function as, and more resemble, boats on the sea. There could be smaller versions of them which utilise the hovercraft type technology, like those airboats people get around the everglades in. You might be thinking, 'but how would they get cars to work again?' Well it's happened in the lore once before, I believe it was mentioned in Fallout 2, and I would also say this: fucking vertibirds. But anyway, it would be a thing where only sufficiently advanced, and therefore powerful factions could build them, which would force you to pick a team. I would intend for there to be at least three main factions to pick from in addition to raiders crews with stolen rigs. None of the factions would be perfect; they would each have at least one flaw that would make the discision to choose which one you help in order to get out of the dustbowl difficult. Also, fallout games, at least the ones I've played (which excludes the first two, I"m sorry to say) have a tendancy to have a sort of hub or main city which the player ends up revisting a bunch, i.e. New Vegas or Diamond City. Ther could be one in the dusbowl, but in order to avoid dangers like raider attacks and radioactive dust storms, it would constantly move, as the city would be on wheels/built on top of rigs. And the layout of the city would change each time, if it wasn't to annoying, which would force the player to always be explorative. Maybe there could also be a thing where all the factions would visit the city, and there's a kind of unspoken agreement that they don't fight in the city, which would probably end up getting broken in the second or third act. The city itself would be a collection of traders and people offering accomodation and "comfort services", as well as probably slave markets. Fallout is meant to be dark. Factions have been mentioned enough without being expanded on at this point. The Brotherhood could certainly be there, though there's no real need for them, other than that they're a fallout signature at this point. Perhaps they could have another airship above the dustbowl, but that might make them too OP'd and the less this has to do with the lore of Fallout 4, the better. I wouldn't be a fan of the enclave being around, it's not really nesscessary and they're meant to be defeated after Fallout 2, especially so after FO3, but I guess there is room. Caesar's legion is another possibility, from what we know of them the dustbowl would theoretically fall within or form their eastern border. I don't really see a need for them to return after New Vegas though. Two thing I am certain of though: raiders, and a faction called, 'The Purifiers'. Raiders in the dustbowl would basically function the way pirates did in the age of sail: they would use stolen rigs and raid whatever they thought they could get away with, merchants and the like. This raises the need for a faction that would offer merchants transport through the dustbowl, possibly the Brotherhood or possibly a completely new faction. Raiders would organise into "gangs" with multiple rigs, however. Rather, each raider crew with their own rig would identify as one group, the rest be damned, and they'd probably name themselves after whatever their rig was named. Now, the Purifiers, or to give them their full title, 'The Purifiers of the wasteland'. This is a little silly, but the faction is inspired by one perk in FNV called "purifier" which grants you bonus damage to "abominations" (basically anything that's mutated and wants you dead) with melee weapons. So the Purifiers are fanatics who want to wipe out any and all mutated monstrosities from the wasteland. They also believe that firearms and energy weapons are cowardly, so they only use melee weapons, especially shishkebabs (they have a whole "cleansing fire" thing, it's a litle religious). Now, they don't accomplish the feat of killing a deathclaw or a yaoi guai with a flaming piece of metal un-aided. They wear their own brand of power armor (possibly painted caution yellow or fire red, you know, for style) and are augmented with FEV (This is where you could fit in the Enclave, the FEV facility could have been previously owned by them, but a take over by the Purifiers sparks a conflict between the factions). This makes the fact that they revile all mutants quite ironic. They do count themselves as monstrosities though, (they basically took the phrase 'he who fights monsters should take care he does not become a monster himself" and did the utter opposite) and they believe in ritual suicide for all Purifiers once they kill an assigned number of abominations (which could be a possible point of story contention, if the player character grows attached to a certain Purifier through having them as a companion). They keep count of the abominations they've killed which tally-mark tattoos (I like Into The Badlands, sue me). Now onto what the augmentations do. Basically, they give a Purifier full, conscious control over all of there bodily functions. This means that they can take as many chems as they like and not get addicted, as well as only absorbing the amount necessary. It also means that they have to consciously remind themselves to breathe, and keep their hearts beating, et cetera. This, in turn, means that they can't sleep, somthey rest by a form of meditation where they only use their mind to keep breathing and keep their heart beating. Now, as a consequence of them viewing all mutated things as unatural and deserving of death, they are extremely racist towards ghouls and super mutants, which could definitely be a source of contention if the player character is a ghoul (this is the reason I would like ghouls to be playable in the game). On a sidenote, if the Purifiers ever encountered synths, they would probably view them as perfect beings. The inclusion of ghouls as playable characters segues nicely into gmae mechanics. If there were to be a FNV style hardcore mode, humans would, as expected have to eat, drink, sleep and avoid radiation with reasonable revulsion. Ghouls, however, would be exempted from the need to eat or drink or sleep, but not doing it enough could result in them going feral. Ghoulified players would also have to avoid radiation a deal more than human ones, as it would mean them almost certainly going feral. Duststorms would be extremely radioactvie, so players would have to seek shelter or just avoid them completely. The type of enemies in the dustbowl could/would be quite different from those in other parts of the wasteland. Giant sand worms are not just on the table, they're almost a certainty (though they'd probably be called dust worms, just to keep things consistent). Perhaps there could be a Purifier quest where the player and a team of purifiers take one down, harpooning it from the back of a rig, the Purifiers leaping off the rig and landing on the beast, swords first. Maybe they could be flamable. A new type of Deathclaw adapted to the shifting dust dunes as well, perhaps. Anything that you can imagine that would make sense in the context. Raiders, as mentioned, would work using the same modus operandi as pirates, and whether you were aligned with them or not, rig versus rig battles would be a core mechanic. I imagine it working similar to the ship-to-ship combat in AC4: Black Flag. So, that's about everything. the main story of the game would be found in the conflict between the main factions, whatever they'd end up being. So, please tell me your thoughts, suggestions and criticisms. And if you read this far, thank you for taking the time.