New Vegas meets Heart of Iron IV in Old World Blues

An ambitious Hearts of Iron IV mod seeks to turn grand strategy into a battle for power in the wasteland of the Fallout universe.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Fall is that almost every game in the series tells multiple stories that all have an impact on the fate of the wasteland. Entire factions can ascend and descend during a Fall game, often due to player intervention. Fans have often speculated on what the fate of the post-apocalyptic America would have been if the Vault Dweller, Chosen One, Lone Wanderer, and Sole Survivor had never walked in the wilderness.

A mod for the grand strategy game developed by Paradox Iron Hearts IV it may help players answer this question. The old world blues is a Fall-Themed total conversion model that allows players to take control of their favorite factions and attempt to navigate the political climate of the post-war world. It’s an exciting project that first uploaded to the Steam Workshop in 2018 and has continued to grow, becoming one of the most popular Iron Hearts IV mods of all time.

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A screenshot of the map from the Hearts of Iron 4 mod, Old World Blues

Those who know the type Hearts of iron gameplay will probably know what to expect with The old world blues. Players will attempt to gather resources, research technologies, and progress through their faction’s focus tree while facing specific threats and decisions that can impact the entire world. This core gameplay remains intact, however OWB introduces a ton of unique dilemmas with its Fall-the factions and the precise world.

For example, playing as New Vegas will allow the player to explore a world where Mr. House got the Platinum Token and got to see his plans for New Vegas come to fruition. However, they will also have the option of allowing Benny to take over, assassinating Mr. House and establishing New Vegas as independent territory. The latter may be the best choice for New Vegas, but it also means the Colony will have to forge their own alliances to help in the inevitable Hoover Dam war.

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Fallout: New Vegas’ The final story mission takes place during the massive conflict between the Republic of New California and the Ceaser’s Legion, as the two factions battle for the Hoover Dam. Although the factions involved may change, a war for the source of life energy will almost always occur during a game of OWB. While the player is free to make their own decisions, the myriad other people of interest across the wilderness will also progress through their own trees of concentration, influencing events.

This means that there are no two playthroughs of OWB are guaranteed the same, especially when fan favorite simulation scenarios may occur at any time. The attention to detail in this mod allows for incredible fan service, like the Mohave chapter of The Brotherhood of Steel joining the Western Brotherhood of Steel or the Legion of Ceaser collapsing in a group of territories after Ceaser’s death. There is also the possibility of events that intersect the games, such as Fallout 2Vault City is waging war on the NCR as it expands west.

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A screenshot from Old World Blues showing the defeat of Hidden Valley.

Not only can Fall fans play like a ton of factions that are true to the lore of the main series games, but there are also some really creative fan-made factions that fill in the gaps. The playable groups found in Mexico are particularly noteworthy. For example, there is a trio of Luchador Super Mutants who engage in a Lucha libre style feud for power. There is also a nation controlled by an old AI that will inevitably break down and split into several “children,” who are just smaller AIs with different personalities.

The only downside to OWB is that not all factions will have their own unique focus trees, which means they won’t have as much of an impact on the game’s story. However, the mod is still in active development, the team working to fill the whole of the United States with factions. In the most recent version of the mod at the time of this writing, version 3.4.4, the Midwest is really the only area still missing. This also happens to be the main focus of the mod’s next big update, so it’s likely that all of the post-war Unleashed States will be playable, given enough time.

Blues of the old war absolutely worth playing for any fan of the Fall series, because the development team did an incredible job not only translating the existing tradition, but also adding their own. Many factions added in updates were also born out of community suggestions, which makes Blues of the old war a true community effort driven by passion. Iron Hearts IV costs $ 39.99 on Steam and is required to play the mod, although the mod itself is absolutely free to download.

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