Anomalous Apocalypse: Nuclear Union

Nuclear Union does look quite a bit like somebody took one slice of Fallout 3 and one slice of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and then made an irradiated sandwich out of them. Holding the post-apocalyptic pastrami together are the binding brains of Men of War developers Best Way. Jim spoke with the team last month to find out about the switch from strategy to RPG and found that the game will have tactical combat, mutants and environmental hazards. At Gamescom I saw a trailer that includes some gameplay and you can now see that same trailer below and you won’t even have to be in a noisy hall the size of an aircraft hangar, unless that’s where you live in which case you should totally apply to be on Grand Designs.

Anomalies, mutants, that bit where emerging from a shelter causes the light of the sun to wash out the player character’s entire vision – what in this wasted world will actually be new? There’s even a system strongly resembling VATS, although fights, whether alone or with a party, will apparently rely on intelligent, tactical use of abilities, equipment and the environment.

In a brief conversation with 1C I was told that the big difference between the setting of Nuclear Union and other post-nuclear environments is the continued presence of a government and other major organisations. Rather than newly formed factions and bandit groups, this world will still have leaders, an army and, horror of horrors, perhaps even actual politicians. It makes sense that they’d survive, with their bunkers and their cockroach genes. What this means for the game and the plot isn’t entirely clear, but it could well give a different sense of scale, with a world perhaps more populated, and groups powerful and sizeable enough that they can’t be overthrown by a single Vault dweller.

Development is still at an early stage but if the world can distinguish itself, despite all of the similarities evident in the video, it may well be through the plot and the journey through the world, which will hopefully reflect Best Way’s desire to show a different side of the dust and debris.


  1. JiminyJickers says:

    Looks good, I’m definitely keeping an eye on this one. I hope the rpg part is well fleshed out. Would love more rpg games in this setting.

  2. Wurstwaffel says:

    There is about a second of actual gameplay in that trailer 1:45. Ingame graphics != gameplay

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, that’s a bit unfortunate. I’m not seeing any evidence that aiming is VATS-like, just that for this trailer they used some very VATS-looking killcams.

  3. BULArmy says:

    Postapocalyptic things are my favorite overused things in the game industry, so I am very interested in this, even though now it don’t look so well. I hope they will improve movement animations at least.

  4. Sayori says:

    I was excited about NU but after this trailer – meh…
    Gonna play anyway, just because it’s about nuclear sh*ts.

  5. squirrel says:

    That player character doesn’t look like sixty. I thought this game is about the adventure of an old man.

  6. Enzo says:

    Looks bad.

  7. Turquoise Days says:

    How come the plants never mutate in these games? It’s rabid super dogs and giant scorpions as far as the eye can see, but all the trees just look a bit unhealthy.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      There were murderous pea plants right at the beginning of Fallout 2!

      • Fumarole says:

        There’s a mutant on our lawn; we don’t like mutants on our lawn.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Fallout NV has Spore Plants, but I think that’s the only naturally-mutated plant in the game. NV also has an engineered fungus that turns people into human-plant hybrids (Spore Carriers), but that’s not exactly a mutated plant.

      I think the near-absence of mutant plants in these games is partly due to the lack of examples in classic sci-fi books and movies, which mostly feature mutated animals. Aside from Day of the Triffids and the original The Thing (which was only nominally a “walking carrot”), plants just haven’t been featured all that much in the classic literature and movies.

      I guess if it doesn’t move, it’s just not that exciting. And if it moves, like a Triffid, then you might as well use a mutant animal instead.

    • yhancik says:

      I always thought those were kind of mutant plants link to

    • equatorian says:

      The scientific answer would be that plants are somewhat more resilient to mutagens than animals, and the effects are much less noticeable IRL. It’s one of the reasons why GMO and mutation breeding took off in plants much, much better than in animals, politics aside. A good chunk of decorative plants get to look that way from low-level radiation treatment as seeds, and you’ll never notice the physiological differences except for a few aesthetically pleasant patterns and colorations not found in wild types. It’s also one of the few ways to generate useful polymorphisms in certain edible species that do not produce seeds or naturally mate, though in this case the mutagens are USUALLY not radioactive. Also, since chromosomal duplication is very, very natural in plants in the same way that will never be with animals (see also : the entire Brassica family), it’s very resilient to changes that will turn animals into grotesque monsters at best and stillborn fetuses at worst.

      I honestly expect to see bigger watermelons, though.Then again, maybe watermelons can’t survive in the post-nuclear environment with its pervasive lack of water resources, so who knows.

      (Honestly, though, I’m more puzzled by the LACK OF vegetation in many of these things! Plants, by all accounts, survive radiation waaaaaaaaaay better than animals do so if animals survive they’d better do as well.)

  8. Shooop says:

    This trailer does not get my hopes up for anything. We already have STALKER and Fallout. Just throwing the two in a blender does not make a new exciting title.

    They need to tell me what makes their game different from the crowd.

  9. Paul says:

    Look, Stalker as a full blown action RPG is pretty much the best thing ever. So I could not care less if it is extremely inspired by other games. Gimme gimme gimme.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    I am cautiously optimistic about this. They seem to have gotten the right color palette for it to resemble S.T.A.L.K.E.R., even though that anomaly is a bit too obvious (trust me, I’ve gotten crushed by run into enough around Cordon and the Garbage to know they don’t stick out THIS much).

    The world needs more S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

    • Baines says:

      The thing in the video looks like a large scale version of the floating ball lightning thing in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., particularly with the floating objects around it, and that thing did stick out.

      Although I could see a developer wanting to use highly visible anomalies because they want to make a wider appeal game, both to show off graphics and to keep people from accidentally frying themselves. (I like how S.T.A.L.K.E.R. handles it, but I could see more general audiences taking sometimes-nearly-invisible-until-triggered anomalies poorly.)

    • Torgen says:

      Yeah, traveling in a thunderstorm at night is going to lead to a bad time if you don’t already know where the anomalies are, because you can’t hear your sensor beeping.

  11. dave_salmon says:

    To ignore the blindingly obvious lifting of themes and features from Fallout and Stalker would be idiocy, I agree. But.

    Other than Fallout and Stalker, which other games have managed to do something post-apocalyptic, on a decent scale with a good dose of immersion? – For the love of god please tell me because I’ve replayed Fallout 3/NV and all three Stalker games countless times now.

    I could care less if they’ve lifted the best bits out of two wonderful games, I WANT more of that on my screen. It’s just gravy if they manage to do something new to spice it up. So long as they don’t take the good bits and make the end result less than the sources they pilfered from.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, hopefully you’ll be able to add Wasteland 2 to that set, unless party-based top-down isn’t immersive enough to count.

    • Fumarole says:

      Metro 2033 didn’t have much scale but it was balls-deep in immersion.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Yeah, I didn’t play Metro 2033 because it sounded like there were some gameplay issues I wouldn’t enjoy, but it’s another one following the theme. The sequel coming next year looks even better, since it seems it will deal a little more with the outside world.

      What bothers me about this Nuclear Union trailer is that it seems a bit too neat and “un-Apocalyptic.” Everyone is wearing clean clothes, the buildings don’t look all that damaged, the guns look too new. No cobbled-together and rusting guns like Fallout 3/NV. Our protagonist has a nice haircut and shave. I dunno… it just doesn’t have the right post-nuclear-exchange survival look to me. It could be a modern day shooter except for the mutants. Maybe they can grunge it up more, before release.

    • dave_salmon says:

      Regardless of how I tinkered, I couldn’t set Metro up in a way which didn’t cause me a headache. I’m not sure what it was about the game, but 15 minutes in I’d have a head ache or feel sick.

      I noticed a few things about the visuals too that didn’t quite add up. Even the ‘new’ or well preserved stuff from Fallout 3/NV was obviously years old. Looking closer at the power suits you could see that they were pitted and worn. So, year, that might be an issue but just look at what the ‘Complete’ mod guys did for Stalker – They made saved the game completely for me.

      I still remember the seething rage I had from the sheer volume of bugs that were in the vanilla release and, just as strongly with the modded game, remember my crying joy when I saw my first storm swept Ukranian road-way at night lit by a strike of lighting reflected on the wet ground.

  12. kud13 says:

    how does “New Union” (“Новый Союз”) translate into “Nuclear Union”? oh, publishers…..

    that being said, the trailer makes me cautiously optimistic–it seems to convey the same “the world doesn’t give a damn about you” atmosphere that made me so enamoured with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

  13. kibble-n-bullets says:

    Hopefully the kill cam can be disabled, I hate be taken out of the moment. The environment and mood seem excellent and I’m sure the animations will improve over time. My preference is for some co-op play. Any word on that front?

  14. NarcoSleepy says:

    I don’t see what this has to do with Borderlands 2 coming out Sept 18th!

  15. Jimbo says:

    Looks nothing like I was expecting at all. Disappointing.

  16. buzzmong says:

    At 0.40…is that a set of bagpipes doing a speedy orbit?

    Either way, still looking forward to this.

  17. Shuck says:

    So I guess “post-apocalyptic” is now S.T.A.L.K.E.R./Fallout (i.e. Mad Max+Gamma World) in the same way that “fantasy” is Tolkien by way of Dungeons and Dragons?
    The palette from which larger game projects draw inspiration is weirdly limited – Alien(s), Star Wars, Star Trek, zombies (Romero via Resident Evil), the Godfather films, Lovecraft (but not really), Indiana Jones, the aforementioned Tolkien, and now STALKER/Fallout. Am I missing anything?

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      Qazinsky says:

      WW2 and modern guntoting.

      • Shuck says:

        Yeah, I was thinking more of fictional references from which elements were stolen wholesale, but that more or less rounds it out in terms of the breadth of game settings.

  18. Barnaby says:

    Holy shit, I love Grand Designs. (Hard to actually find being an American though)

    Hopefully this game is muy bueno as it seems like it could be fun.

  19. beema says:

    Maybe it’s just the mid-90’s game ad music, but this just seems… a bit more goofy than say STALKER. Still looks very interesting, though.