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Video Game / Old World Blues

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War, war never changes.

Old World Blues is a popular Hearts of Iron IV Game Mod set in the Fallout universe, or rather, an alternate universe version of it. The player can play as any of the West Coast factions in addition to a plethora of original ones. Not only that, every major faction has options that the player can take to radically alter their directions, like turning Caesar's Legion into an actual nation-state or turning the NCR into an oligarchic dictatorship in all but name. Many of the game systems have been overhauled to better reflect the post-apocalypse nature of the setting.

The setting itself and the scale of the conflict also result in a very different map (not just because it only covers North and Central America instead of the whole world). While Vanilla HoI4 worldmap consists in several landmasses, no rivers, large seas, many islands, insular nations, and countries of various sizes distributed on all those lands, Old World Blues consists in a single landmass occupied by a hundreds of tiny countries all sharing borders with several others (there's literally two island nations, both minor), while rivers are treated as seas, allowing landings and naval battles in many places beside the Pacific ocean. Since the diplomatic AI is more aggressive, the new map layout forces the player to be more cautious.


The current version features the entirety of the West Coast, Southwest, Northwest, and Mexico. The developers have plans to make the entire map playable, with areas not covered by any game being given original lore and factions.

Compare this with Fallout Pre-War, which is set before the Great War.

This Game Mod provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The mod includes content based on Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 2, cancelled Fallout games and adaptations (J.E. Sawyer's Fallout Role-Playing Game, Fallout Extreme), and the Wasteland series. While the upcoming Texas update incorporates elements from the more infamous spinoffs Fallout Tactics and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, albeit retooled to fit with canon.
  • Adaptational Badass: City-states like New Reno and New Vegas hold more far more territories than they do in the source material, effectively turning them into full-fledged nation-states, since otherwise they wouldn't even be visible on the map.
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  • Adaptational Wimp: In earlier versions, robots still cost a considerable amount of manpower to use and maintain. This hit Mr. House pretty hard since his faction relied on robots and didn't have a lot of people. This was modified in later versions so that robots use a lot less manpower and make them more viable.
  • After the End: As this is set in the Fallout universe, it explicitly takes place after a devastating nuclear war shattered the old global powers and turned much of the world into irradiated wasteland.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Tlaloc, the AI in charge of governing and protecting a large part of Mexico, is a subversion. Its grip is undeniable, but at the same time, it's been remarkably benevolent, generally letting the various states and factions within the old borders do as they wished so long as there was some semblance of peace. By the starting date, however, it's slowly fracturing and dying, with subroutines forming into different AI personalities based on powerful figures in Mexican history. These "children" include Santa Anna (who has already broken off at the start of the game) and can end up fighting each other for control over Mexico.
  • Alternate Universe: The mod takes several liberties with Fallout's canon. Some of the differences include New Canaan surviving past 2277, the Courier playing no role in the Mojave conflict, the Mojave Rangers being the same as the Desert Rangers from the Wasteland seriesnote  and Mr. House being able to save a few more locations outside of Vegas.
  • Apocalypse Not: Even more so than the source material, which already has post-war nations with the population in the hundreds of thousands. Developed nations in the mod are so advanced they are capable of mass-producing pre-war technology like armored vehicles, airplanes, and even power armors.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Can happen if a Bishop-controlled New Reno and Arroyo go to war. Mr. Bishop and the Chosen One, the leaders of the two factions respectively, are canonically implied to be father and son.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores:
    • What raider nations basically are, going by the source material.
    • Recruitment policies can be modified, from "no recruitment of criminals, period!" to "every single criminal and raider who applies is immediately accepted in our ranks", and all sorts of in-between. It has consequences on available's manpower pool, the standards of your army, and an army with a high proportion of raiders also decreases the nation's stability.
    • The Washington Brotherhood stands out for being an Advanced nation with such a military from the get-go, likely due to The Immortal's thirst for war requiring a whole lot more warm bodies than normal. Going by unit names and their "raider conscripts" policy, much of their armed forces are erstwhile savages.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The Western Brotherhood of Steel is much weaker than it should due to the odd layout of their territory. Since they control three separate regions, split apart by oceans, the AI has trouble managing troops across all three areas. If they go to war, the AI can be confused as to how to proceed, to the point that they can even end up losing wars to the Shi.
    • A late part of Troll Warrens' tree consists in choosing whereas they'll first strike north (against Washington Brotherhood) or south (against Arroyo and/or Klamath); attacking the other part of the map is available later. AI chooses the strategy at random, which means, depending how the region's geopolitics evolved, the faction may draw the attention of NCR first (Klamath and Arroyo sometimes join it) and get invaded and defeated, while Washington Brotherhood's own faction would be weaker and conquering them first would make Troll Warrens' stronger before waging war against NCR and its allies.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The Free Fighters are a surprisingly positive and civilized example, as their government behaves like a wrestling federation. Member tribes are represented on the council by their mightiest Luchador, policy debates are settled by matches in the ring, and whoever is the current league champion is considered president. Their philosophy also means that the strength of their leaders must be put to use protecting the weak and freeing the downtrodden, or else they are deemed unworthy of their authority.
  • Balkanize Me: A constant possibility for New California and Caesar's Legion, since they're made up of numerous smaller nations unified behind a single banner. Low stability can lead to breakaway movements, or hostile focuses implanting agent provocateurs to foment rebellion.
  • Beam Spam: One flavor of Squad Automatic Weapon you can issue to your Fireteams are Energy Support weapons, from Rapid Capacitor Weapons through Gatling Lasers to Tesla Cannons. While they don't provide as much oomph against flesh and blood infantry as their bullet firing cousins, they have extra kick against armored targets, making them the logical choice for factions who expect to go up against robots or power armor.
  • Becoming the Mask: The Republic of the Rio Grande started out as a puppet regime propped up by the US before the Great War. By the game's start date, however, it has long since embraced its pretensions of being the proper successor to Pre-War Mexico.
  • Beef Gate: Tlaloc effectively serves as this for non-Mexican factions, especially Caesar's Legion, as it won't hesitate to nuke or attack anyone crossing the old border with a significant-enough force. It also acts as this for the Mexican factions as well, as no one can really wage any wars without its blessing. Once it dies, however, all bets are off.
  • Benevolent A.I.:
    • While Tlaloc certainly tries its best to be this, Maximilian (an AI personality based on the infamous Habsburg would-be Emperor) is even more so upon his "father's" death. He's genuinely concerned for his subjects' well-being, human or not, though whether his emphatic leadership survives in the wasteland is left to the player.
    • Santa Anna, who had already broken off from Tlaloc by game's start date, also strives to be this. On the other hand, he still retains the real Santa Anna's flaws and could wind up creating an AI-led dictatorship in his quest to recreate Mexico in his image.
  • Blood Knight: The Immortal, leader of the Washington Brotherhood, constantly seeks new opponents to conquer and enslave, much to the satisfaction of his equally cruel and bloodthirsty followers. Unlike most raider nations, who fight because its fun, it's suggested that the Brotherhood is being driven to fight by something truly evil and sinister lurking beneath the ruins of Seattle.
  • Canon Foreigner: Besides the major and minor canon nations, there are many new nations invented to fill the whole map. Many are minor nations of settlers, tribals, or raiders who mostly serve to provide easy targets for early game expansion and have a generic focus tree, but a few of them (Heaven's Gate, Broken Coast, Washington Brotherhood, Nueva Aztlan, Chichen Itza, Republic of the Rio Grande, etc.) are majors featured on the campaign start menu among the "suggested nations", and have custom focuses and events.
  • Canon Welding: The Wasteland series is welded into the Fallout universe here, complete with the Ranger Citadel and major characters from Wasteland 2.
  • The Cartel: In Mexico, cartels are the equivalent of the raiders present north of the old border, but generally behave similarly. Costa Cafeinada, however, plays it especially straight, being a major source for genuine caffeine, which Baron Garcia uses for both legitimate and criminal ends.
  • Chummy Commies/Dirty Communists: Zapata, one of Tlaloc's AI "children", retains the ideological foundations of his historical counterpart and will actively seek to bring all Mexico under his brand of socialism, one way or another. Meanwhile, the Guerreros de Honduras is still implied to be socialist even after the rest of the wasteland has either relegated it to history or forgotten it altogether.
  • Church Militant: New Canaan can go down this path, especially should Joshua Graham assume power. Compared to Heaven's Gate, however, the Mormons can be much more tolerant to tribals and other Christian factions in their drive to fully restore Deseret, should they choose to.
  • Cincinnatus: In the sub-mod Enclave Reborn, Arch Dornan begins as the venerated leader of the Enclave, the man who rallied the survivors, led then clear of the Sack of Navarro and brought them to the safety of the Sierra Depot. He is also adamant that a proper president be elected, since he's not happy that people keep calling him "sir" and just wants to return to being a drill sergeant. That said, Dornan's reputation is such that whoever he endorses for president instantly wins the election.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • The Salvatore focus trees for New Reno include various paths involving these, with the family cashing in on their old Enclave connections to consolidate their power. These include inviting Arch Dornan and various highly-skilled "professionals," which grant considerable perks and improvements. Upon completing those, however, those same people depose their supposed benefactors and formally re-emerge as the Enclave.
    • Played with if Valentina Rosado becomes President of the Rio Grande. She can use her connections with the Brotherhood of Steel to not only set up a new chapter within the Republic's borders, but also transform it into a more technocratic Brotherhood-centric nation.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Mexican and North American factions have a small, innate negative relation modifier to each others. There's no such a modifier for the relations between US and Canadian factions. This makes sense as Canada was annexed by the US a long time before the Great War even happened.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • In New Vegas, the Boomers and Jacobstown weren't major factions to begin with, but the mod demotes them further because they don't even exist at the campaign's start. They can be created from New Vegas (which controls Nellis Airbase and Jacobstown at the start of the game), either by releasing them as Mr. House, or dismantling New Vegas after conquest.note 
    • The Chosen One, the player character from Fallout 2 reappears, but they'll be merely one of the many rulers you can interact with, unless you play as them if you choose the minor faction of Arroyo.
  • Divided States of America: More than 90 factions fighting for control of a territory covering the Western half of USA, Canada, and Mexico.
  • Enforced Cold War: After a fashion. The “flower wars” between Nueva Aztlan and Chichen Itza are permitted by Tlaloc as a means to keep the status quo and a controlled outlet for violence, provided the conflicts don’t escalate to the point of toppling either side.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Troll Warrens consists in a horde of genocidal super mutants who aim to conquer large parts of the continent. Their neighbours and targets include the Washington Brotherhood and the Mirelurk Tribe, themselves bloodthirsty raider factions with their own ambitions of conquest.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Troll Warrens is a nation of super mutants. They suffer from a permanent -100 to their relations with other nations because they are super mutants (which is reciprocal: they hate every nations of "normies", too).
    • Brotherhood of Steel factions have a huge relation negative modifier with the supermutants and mirelurks factions.
    • From the upcoming Texas update, Lone Star deliberately averts this, being a place where regular humans and super mutants coexist in relative peace. That said, it's still possible for hardliners to usurp power and make it not unlike Troll Warrens.
  • The Federation: The NCR tries to be this, though whether it succeeds, or how it does so depends on what policies are enacted and who assumes the Presidency. The Republic of the Rio Grande can also become this outright should it preserve its democratic institutions.
  • Former Regime Personnel: There are still a number of former Enclave members and sympathizers lurking about, especially in the NCR and New Reno. While in Nueva Aztlan, the very un-Nahua looking Admiral Kinkaid is implied to also be ex-Enclave.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • When he appeared in Fallout 2, Arch Dornan was an entertaining but otherwise unremarkable sergeant of the Enclave. If he returns, thanks to the Salvatores of New Reno, he does so as the commander-in-cheif of the resurgent Enclave and usually in a prime position to challenge the NCR once again. If his scientists happen to develop a rejuvenation drug for the governor and his Old Guard via a Focus, he can oversee this resurgence from the front lines.
    • Troll Warren begins as a small tribe of super mutants hiding in a cave, but their focus tree will lead to them seeking to conquer and enslave much of Oregon and ultimately waging war with the Washington Brotherhood for dominance of the entire Pacific Northwest.
  • The Fundamentalist: Heaven's Gate is a theocracy led by a man named "Saint Michael" who is considered to be God's mouthpiece, their flag is based on the Chi Rho, and they have high negative relation modifier with any other nation because they consider any other as being "unfaithful", including the other surrounding Christian nations (New Canaan, Murtaugh, etc.), while the rest of the map hate them because they are "religious nutjobs". A chain of focuses which allows to become violently militaristic includes an explicit reference to The Crusades.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Mirelurk Tribe and Apostles' divisions can include battalions of human troops and battalions of Mirelurks. Both troops are hired from a single manpower pool. Technically, Mirelurks themselves are equipment that must be produced in arms factories.
    • Likewise, Super Mutant/ghoul factions can train both human and Super Mutant/ghoul troops from a single manpower pool. Like above, training Behemoths requires producing them in the same factories which produce weapons and various equipment.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Mirelurk Tribe is ruled by M'lulu, a female Mirelurk who regularly eats some of her subjects (which translates as -7 manpower per week, which results in a monthly manpower growth of +1 at campaign start).
  • Going Native:
    • Mirelurk Tribe is a faction of people who lived with Mirelurks for enough time (one to three generations, depending on an early choice) they eventually believed they were Mirelurks themselves.
    • Admiral Gail Kinkaid is a downplayed example. Despite his American origins and implied connections with the Enclave, following down his focus trees reveals that he cares for Nueva Aztlan and seeks to establish a proper constitutional democracy out of genuine loyalty.
  • Government in Exile: A successor state of New Canaan named "Canaan in Exile" will appear (formed in the Sorrows' most eastern province) if they are conquered by the White Legs.
    • Less officially, this can happen if a large state made up of many smaller potential states succumbs to civil war, but the old government retains control of fringe territories. The NCR and Caesar's Legion are quite predisposed to this.
  • Grim Up North:
    • What used to be Washington and Oregon is now a frozen, radiation-wracked hell on Earth, populated with cannibal tribes, a deranged cult of Mirelurk worshippers, and the genocidal Super Mutants hiding in The Warren. All this in addition to the bloodthirsty Washington Brotherhood, who seem to have fallen into the thrall of something they found buried in the endless, flesh-rending blizzard of Seattle.
    • Not that Canada is in much better shape, either. Much of their land is permanently under nuclear winter, and tends to be filled with Crazy Survivalist tribes, Ghouls doing their best white walker impression, or the local massive federation of pirate clans.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: Tlaloc was originally designed to protect Petro Chico assets and advance US interests (especially those who later became the Enclave). Eventually, its directives evolved to encompass protecting everyone and everything within the former national borders with nukes, as well as keeping the (relative) peace between the major Mexican factions.
    • The Enclave Reborn sub-mod makes it possible for the Enclave to send an expedition to find Tlaloc and either destroy it or reprogram it back to its original protocols.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the Enclave Reborn sub-mod, the Enclave itself can undergo this under President Granite, especially should it truly seek to redeem itself in its quest to rebuild America.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Certain Raider nations, who are considered savage even by their already subterranean standards, will indulge in long pork. This will ease some of their supply problems but it will, logically, penalize your manpower generation. You can choose to encourage or curtail the practice, should you take control of one.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats:
    • Amongst aircraft types, Airships are equally at home performing interception, strategic bombing or close support missions, with enough armor that they can safely airdrop troops right into a battle with minimal fuss. About their only downside is their slow speed, which largely disappears in their higher levels.
    • Vertibirds, especially those of the Gunship configuration, are just as flexible as Airships without the comparatively huge time investment to build them, albeit tempered by being much easier to individually bring down. Their greater speed also means they excel at dropping your elite soldiers far behind enemy lines, preferably right on top of their capital.
  • Just the First Citizen: If Leonardo Mora assumes power in the Republic of the Rio Grande as a dictator in all but name, he still presents himself as a humble servant of the people.
  • La Résistance: The Guerreros de Honduras, which is implied to be descended from Latin American resistance fighters, in the vein of the Zapatistas and Sandinistas.
  • Masked Luchador: The Free Fighters' nation in Mexico is led by a trio of them, named The Green Titan, the Blue Devil, and El Santo. This nation is apparently born from the merging of several tribes of them roaming the region. The Free Fighters' flag consists in a Mexico flag with a Luchador mask instead of the eagle.
  • Modern Mayincatec Empire: Downplayed, but Nueva Aztlan and Chichen Itza are the closest equivalents to this trope in the mod. Rather than simply being tribals or Mexicans who had reverted to Pre-Columbian cultures, they have retained at least some Pre-War knowledge and technology, making them one of the more powerful factions in-game.
  • Moral Myopia: Being based on Vanilla "Democracy" ideology, factions governed by the People ideology get a non-reciprocal negative modifier toward factions who generated world tension. But, since factions in Old World Blues are more warmongering than in Vanilla and more prone to annex lands, you'll quickly have tons of nations who dislike others for disturbing the regional peace or annexing their foes' territories while they themselves have the same behavior (NCR is notable for its violent foreign policy).
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Each of the two Cartel nations are led by a ghoul ganglord.
  • Not So Different: In their own respects, both the NCR and Rio Grande are this, each seeing themselves as the heirs to the United States and Mexico respectively. This is even more pronounced should Leonardo Mora assume power, who's revealed to be more than a tad reminiscent of Aaron Kimball (being a war hero with ambitious plans, regardless of who stands in his way), albeit less self-serving.
  • Obviously Evil: The Washington Brotherhood would be best described as gleefully evil, if they were capable of glee, or indeed any emotions beyond ice cold murderousness. If the demonic-looking Midwest Power Armor or the red and black flag and focus tree icons don't immediately clue you in on their nature, then perhaps their deliberate association with ice and cold or their use of machines which produce complex materials in exchange for being fed living humans just might.
  • One Nation Under Copyright:
    • The Texas Arms Association, which starts out as part of the Republic of the Rio Grande, is a consortium of American-descended businesses that survived the Great War as gunsmiths and industrial tycoons. Should they break off, they become this trope outright.
    • Costa Cafeinada, run by a ghoul named Baron Garcia, is this crossed with The Cartel, controlling one of the last places left that produces coffee.
    • New Vegas itself also counts. Mr. House treats it like a company and fancies himself its CEO.
    • The Baron's Republic, which can emerge should the NCR fall into civil war, is heavily implied to be this, being dominated by powerful ranchers and caravan companies.
    • The Free Fighters are what happens when a lucha libre federation ends up responsible for the well-being of a small nation.
    • Petro-Chico is an interesting combination of this with All Hail the Great God Mickey!: they are led by "El Seeyo" based on a religion derived from how a corporation operates. Their deities are a corruption of "shareholders", and they believe all will be judged at the end of the "Fiscalear".
  • Pirate: Broken Coast is a raider nation located on the coast of British Columbia. Its flag is distinctly pirate-ish (a arm wielding a scimitar on blue background on the left half, a skull-and-crossed-bones above a hourglass on a black background on the right half), and its specific focus tree has many navy-related items.
  • The Remnant:
    • Two factions are descended from the Enclave even if they aren't referred as such. If certain conditions are met, they can become the Enclave once again.
    • The Republic of the Rio Grande began as a puppet government set up by the US before the Great War as Mexico was being pacified. Which would make it, technically, one of the only Pre-War states still around.
    • The Guerreros de Honduras, starting off at the southernmost section of the map, is implied to be descended from socialist resistance fighters and is still fighting the United States long after the Great War.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction:
    • The Brotherhood of Steel is split in three independent nations: the Western Brotherhood (the one from Fallout and Fallout 2), the Mojave Chapter (the one from Fallout: New Vegas), and the Washington Brotherhood (a nation made-up for the mod, it is basically the Brotherhood Outcasts from Fallout 3 moved on the Western coast). Since Western Brotherhood and Washington Brotherhood both form their own faction (respectively "Brotherhood of Steel" and "Northern League"), they'll eventually clash against each other. Mojave Chapter starts neutral and can join either of them. Western Brotherhood and Mojave Chapter start with a neutral yet slightly positive relation, while Western Brotherhood and Mojave Chapter start with a one-sided hatred toward Washington Brotherhood for being "misguided zealots".
    • Hilariously, the Washington Brotherhood has its own RSF in the form of The Cause, a federation of the more civilized tribes in Oregon founded by a group of deserters fleeing the unconscionable and vile acts of their comrades
    • The Mirelurk Tribe and the Apostles both com from the split of a community where men and mirelurks lived together. Both have awful relations at campaign start and their respective focus trees include focus to annex the other.
  • Rock Beats Laser:
    • It's entirely possible for a Tribal society to conquer an Advanced society, and given the mechanics at play, it's easier than you might think. On a tactical level, because they're technically suited for interception missions, a wood and canvas glider launched via catapult and crewed by tribals can shoot down B-29s, A-10s or even B-58s with alarming regularity.
    • Almost mentioned word for word in the first tech on the Asymmetrical Warfare strategy, which asserts, "Lasers won't win wars, our hordes of warriors will."
  • Schizo Tech: Naval tribal-tier ships consists in 19th century sailing ships coexisting with triremes (warships from Ancient Greece). Also, the lowest tech for tribal ships light guns is a light machinegun, while the next tier is a repurposed medieval-era siege engine.
    • Navies in general are great for technological hodgepodges, especially if you don't coordinate hull and equipment research. It's not uncommon to have modern yachts mounting the aforementioned Roman-era artillery, or Viking longboats and Native dugout canoes fitted with microwave arrays and laser blasters.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Investigating Area 51 can result in an army of robots controlled by the Zetans emerging, who were sealed inside Area 51 to protect the rest of the world from them.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Space Orcs: Not only is Troll Warren a nation of Super Mutants (who are basically Fallout's Orcs), but the faction is a low-tech, genocidal nation determined to conquer large parts of the map.
  • Technology Levels: Items in the research tech tree has been sorted between three levels named "tribal" (primitive technology and scrapped, improvised weapons and tools), "civilized" (early-to-mid 20th century technology, as well as low-tech robots and salvaged power armors), and "advanced" (21th century and futuristic technologies; iconic Fallout stuff like miniguns, most robots and power armors, etc. are found there). Most nations are barred from accessing advanced technology, the obvious exceptions being the Brotherhood of Steel-related nations. Some are also able to tech up to Advanced technology using events and focus trees. Some of the most primitive factions are initially locked at tribal level.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Enclave Reborn sub-mod has the Enclave starting off as a barely-cohesive, though still potent remnant with little more than the old Sierra Army Depot under its control. It's still possible, however, for it to rise like a phoenix, though how it goes about rebuilding America can range from reviving the US as a genuine democratic nation, to purging the wasteland of all impure humans.
  • What If?: Some focus-triggered events represent choices and events that happened before the start-date, a prominent example being that Mr. House can choose to have incorporated different tribes as his casino-running Three Families (the Ultra-Luxe can be run by the Consiglieres (reformed Fiends), Gomorrah can be run by the False Khaganate (an induced splinter of the Great Khans), and the Tops can be run by the Kings).
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: In Mexico, there's a playable faction of tribals descended from Petro Chico executives and employees who used an oil refinery as a shelter during the Great War.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Heavily implied to happen should the Salvatores not only win out as New Reno's leaders, but opt to use their old Enclave connections. Once the related focus trees are complete, it doesn't take long before their erstwhile allies usurp them and reveal themselves as the Enclave once again.
  • Zerg Rush: The Asymmetrical Warfare tech tree is all about employing the quality of quantity to overwhelm technologically superior foes, making it a solid choice for Tribal nations looking to bring their Civilized neighbors down a peg. Part of what makes Caesar's Legion the juggernaut that it is, is combining Asymmetrical Warfare with access to a colossal manpower pool, letting them field absolutely mind-boggling numbers of soldiers.

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