Fallout Cascadia is an ambitious overhaul mod for Fallout 4 under development by a team of dozens of members of the modding community, including some veterans of the Skyrim expansion project, Beyond Skyrim. Designed as an entirely independent entry in the post-apocalyptic RPG series, Cascadia takes place "decades after previous Fallout games, in the year 2329" in the ruins of Seattle. It won't allow players to import their existing characters from Fallout 4, but there's a good reason for that: Cascadia will feature the series' classic skills system which was controversially removed for its fourth entry.
Mathias "Flenarn" Dejerud, Cascadia’s project lead, popped into the FalloutMods subreddit with the above screenshot showing off the UI for the system. Classic skills such as Medicine, Guns, and Speech appear along the righthand side of the screen while available character perks can be viewed and selected on the left. It’s an image reminiscent of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas and a welcome sight to those of us who felt the more streamlined system of Fallout 4, which tied all character perks entirely to their S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats, was sorely lacking from a role-playing perspective.
The team went on to clarify that Cascadia will feature skill checks and that having a sufficient value in one or more skills may unlock "unique dialogue that opens up alternative options on some quests."
"We are taking great pains here at the team to ensure that the shortcomings of Fallout 4 are addressed with Fallout Cascadia," reads the projects official website. "Everything from the stunted dialogue system to the lack of S.P.E.C.I.A.L checks inside the game." The project’s team are referring, of course, to Fallout 4’s oft-maligned dialogue trees, which were minimal and restrictive by comparison to the other games in the series. In Fallout Cascadia, skills and stats will be integral not just to how you play the game but how you interact with its characters, too.
The team also intends to release a standalone mod that will integrate skills into "core Fallout 4" following the project’s release, although it remains to be seen what, if any, impact such a mod could have on existing dialogue. While I don’t expect that any mod could possibly fix all of the flaws I found in Fallout 4's character interactions, I know an expanded role-playing system would offer me ample motivation to roll a new character and dive back into the Commonwealth.
The team has not yet provided a release window for Fallout Cascadia, but we'll keep you posted.