Fallout 4 EP7: What Does THIS Mean?

By Shamus
on Jun 15, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

156 comments


Link (YouTube)

The synth paranoia is great for illustrating the frustrations with the dialog system. The game creates a conversation seemingly engineered to make you curious about some piece of information, and then it gives you several dialog prompts that pointedly refuse to let you ask about it. It’s an interesting way to camouflage the holes in the story: You can sort of imagine there’s this grand tale of paranoia and treachery going on around you, if only your idiot character had the wit to ask about it. It sweeps all of the problems with the story into one location.

Why do you think your brother is a synth? How common are synths? How long has this been going on? When I kill synths, I always find synth parts on their body… can you detect that stuff? Do you even know ab out it? Have you ever conclusively proven someone is a synth? How do you know the Institute is behind all this. Given how they operate, how does anyone know the Institute exists in the first place?

In this conversation (the one in this episode, I mean) a whole community is working on this psych profile test supposedly designed to detect synths because they’re too subtle to detect by other means. But then elsewhere you’ll find people who are willing to murder loved ones over suspicion of being a synth. And they’re right! Which would be fine, except you’re not allowed to ask them what tipped them off.

On one hand, it’s better than Fallout 3. In Fallout 3, the plot told you water was a problem but the characters in the story never gave any sign that this was the case. At least in Fallout 4, when the game claims synths are a problem the behavior of the characters supports this premise. It’s still a dumb story about nothing where nobody ever has a coherent goal or motivation, but at least the writer has mastered the art of putting the premise of the story into the actual story. And as much as I rant about the game, I really do appreciate it. It would be so much worse if you spent the whole game fighting against a synth invasion that was never depicted.

Shaun who?

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  1. Ambitious Sloth says:

    There’s one radiant event in Fallout 4 that always sticks out to me, the one where you find a guy currently in a standoff his synth counterpart, and you arrive before the killing blow. There’s a bit of back and forth as you try to figure out who is the real one, as they both claim to be human, but even if you pick correctly the synth double decides to try and kill you both.

    The problem is that this guy only exists for the radiant event. If he lives then he’ll spend the rest of the time wandering around the location you saved him in, and then disappears from the world forever. Which brings into question why the Institute is doing any of this. It’s maddening to have a large amoral force in the world who never give a single reason for any of their actions that take place in the outside world. And the conversation system never lets you just ask the people in the Institute, “WHY?!”

    I seriously wonder if I missed something in this game because as far as I can see the Institute has no justification for any of their actions. It’s so hard to believe and an organization of brilliant scientists operates on the Chaotic Stupid end of the spectrum.

    • Jace911 says:

      New rule for the drinking game: take a very, very small sip every time the game swerves away from letting you ask about or examine the Institute’s motivations.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Oh I can’t wait until we get to the actual Institute part, there were so many ways that the writers could have handled it to make at least a modicum of sense, but no they basically went with “cus it’s something evul peeple wud do” and called it a day. I’m gonna save a longer rant for when the SW crew actually gets there.

        • Jace911 says:

          It’s not even that; they went through a lot of trouble to set the Institute up as a cold-hearted and evil faction before you get there, but they wanted to pull the rug out from under you when you did and make them seem reasonable and misunderstood.

          They just, y’know, couldn’t think of how to do the second part so they omitted any ability for the character to call them on any of their bullshit. Either you reject them out of hand or you accept them unquestionably–there’s no opportunity to grab one of them by the ears, point at any one of their many many atrocities, and ask “WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS?”

          Why do they need to kidnap and replace so many people with synths to spy when they A. have ubiquitous synth-crow surveillance and B. pay almost every freelance merchant in the Commonwealth to spy for them?

          Why are they so committed to making the synths as close to humanity as possible if all they’re going to do with them is use them to sleep the floor?

          Why did they spent over a century dicking around with FEV even though everyone involved was against it, the project yielded no results, and the runoff was an actual army of bloodthirsty super mutants?

          Why do they send armies of synths to burn settlements to the ground over pieces of advanced technology instead of just offering them a shit ton of caps (Which would be absolutely trivial for them to manufacture in absurd amounts)?

          Why, why, why do they do anything?

    • J Greely says:

      I hate this event, because it makes no sense at all. If the Institute kidnaps people to replace them, then the real one somehow escaped, which would be really interesting news. If they’re able to remotely scan someone well enough to create a duplicate and then send out the replacement, ditto. The only way it makes sense is if it’s an Institute trick, and they’re both synths, one without a control chip, and whoever resolves the standoff is tricked into trusting the “human”. Except that the chipped synth freely admits his nature to you and asks you to help him take down the other one.

      I kill both of them, every time.

      -j

  2. IFS says:

    So in FO2 there are some sexually active Super Mutants, you can hire a prostitute for Marcus and there is another who you can wind up having an encounter with if you lose to them at arm wrestling (very little descriptive text is given, but you get a ball gag added to your inventory). So yeah, sterile but as far as FO2 is concerned they can totally get it on, their current ‘prudishness’ probably just comes from how sexless Bethesda’s games tend to be in general.

    Now for a downside I don’t think Super Mutants remember their life before becoming a mutant much if at all (I believe Marcus in FO2 talks about this a little), which you could argue means that when you get dipped into the vat what comes out isn’t you anymore. Another downside is that a lot of mutants suffered negatively psychological effects when the Master died due to losing their psychic connection to him, which is part of why many of them are a little nutty.

    • Deadpool says:

      Fallout 1 also implies their genitals are fine since one of the ways to prove their sterility is to have the Master ask female Mutants about heir menstruation cycle (or lack thereof).

    • CosmoAC says:

      Fallout 1&2&Tactics Supermutants =/= Fallout 3&4 Supermutants. They are superficially similar but they have different origins and characteristics.

      • Henson says:

        What are the origins of Fallout 3/4 supermutants?

        EDIT: Nevermind, Jace911 answered below.

        • Deadpool says:

          Unless it’s a RetCon, 3 and 4 have slightly different origins. 3 came from some Vault that had a massive supply of FEV for some reason…

          • ehlijen says:

            In universe:
            FO3: the vault with the geck
            FO4: the institute

            Out of universe: Bethesda decided it’s not fallout without supermutants and therefore shoehorned in some more FEV factories whereever they could find the room in the open world. So every region had it’s own FEV program, it seems.

  3. Pyrrhic Gades says:

    The fact that these NPC’s are immortal goes well with your complaint that they’re “Too nice”. Of coarse these guys are nice, they can afford to be as the nuclear hollocaust has granted them immortality.
    Sturges and Co are probably old enough to remember the good old days, which is where their sense of morality and niceness comes from

    Infact, they may very well be ghouls. I don’t see any children amoungst them

  4. MrGuy says:

    In this conversation (the one in this episode, I mean) a whole community is working on this psych profile test supposedly designed to detect synths because they’re too subtle to detect by other means.

    Let’s be honest. This is just something that sounded cool to someone who watched Blade Runner. Not something designed to fit into this story smoothly.

    • Ninety-Three says:

      If we’re being honest, that description could apply to every single element of FO4. It certainly explain the lack of coherence.

    • acronix says:

      I would be more accepting to it if they hadn’t recycled the ‘goat’ test from Fallout 3’s opening. Then at least they could pretend it’s a new thing someone engineered rather than a massive coincidence: the test Vault-tek made for deciding the job of the vault dwellers is ALSO a magical way to distinguish between synths and organics.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        I got the impression the GOAT re-use was supposed to be a fourth-wall-breaking joke, rather than something we should take seriously. Of course, this game’s such a mess that taking the stupidity and contrivance of the GOAT appearing here would be about on-par, so I’m not sure why I’m giving Bethesda the benefit of the doubt.

        • Tom says:

          It’s possible. But, a tip for Bethesda’s designers, if that’s what they were going for: you’d better be damn sure the other three walls are solid enough to hold everything up before you go knocking holes in the fourth. Audiences don’t let you get away with a naff move like winking at the camera unless you’ve REALLY shown them a good time.

      • guy says:

        Is there any real reason to believe the test actually works? I figured they were just in full witch-hunt mode.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      That subplot came within the same county as interesting- a feat, for this title- and then swerved 180 degrees when the “scientist” lady blurts out, “Yeah, we’ve made huge progress; we’re down to an 80% false-positive rate detecting synths among the innocent people we abduct and murder!”

      With just a tiny bit of restraint, it could have been a reasonable dilemma. They just couldn’t resist the temptation of making it a wacky, psychotic cartoon.

      • Decius says:

        The problem is that there’s no way to measure sensitivity or specificity without knowing the base rate of synths, which requires randomly killing people and checking to see if they are synths regardless of whether or not they pass the test.

        • MrGuy says:

          I don’t see why that’s true. You should be able to measure the false positive rate without needing to make any assumptions about the base rate of synths with a simple test. Namely, kill everyone who tests as a synth, then observe the results. Every true human killed is a false positive (I assume here that you can always distinguish a dead human from a dead synth, which seems in line with the game).

          You can’t measure false negatives because there’s not an easy way to tell how many synths were incorrectly admitted because they passed the test, unless (as you say) you just kill everyone just to see how predictive your test really is…

      • PlasmaPony says:

        Seriously that bugged me so much. She actually had an interesting case, until she mentioned that they were wrong 80% of the time after a ton of testing. If it was like a 10% rate or something and they showed they were nailing a ton of synths I could see the merit. But alas, Bethesda cannot do subtlety to save their lives. They made it a crazy lady in goggles recycling a no longer funny scene from Fallout 3. This quest was a huge wasted opportunity. On my second shot at the game I left Covenant unfinished for most of the game since has a nice shop with great stuff on sale, a free bed, and a doctor all in a convenient small area.

        I would really love to see how Obsidian would have done the quest, I imagine they would have made it interesting.

    • Sunshine says:

      Funny thing is, the whole plot (synths, the Institute, the Railroad, the Synth Retention Bureau, etc.) and even the reason to set Fallout 4 in Boston is all based on one side-quest in Fallout 3 which was a pretty rote turn at an “artificial humans”/”are androids people?” story. Which was okay for what it was, but it needed work to make it a world.

    • I think they’re aware it’s a joke, since according to the game, the test has a 75% failure rate.

  5. Ninety-Three says:

    While we’re talking about how stupid it is that no part of the story addresses the obvious “hows” and “whys” of Synths, I’d like to ask a question I’ve not seen yet: How did this happen? How did Bethesda put out a game with a story this incomplete? Was the story a rush job in the last few months? Did some segment of the game get scrapped in development? Is Bethesda full of idiots who were unable to see the problem? Did literally no one care?

    • acronix says:

      Both of the last ones, considering their track record with previous games!

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      They are bethesda.Story was never their primary focus.Or secondary.Or tertiary for that matter.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        I think it’s in large part this, at this point they seem to almost make the stories as a necessity to the sandbox gameplay, and to be fair a big chunk of their core market treats them as such, playing through them once usually to find a point where they want to drop it off on future playthroughs. That said I’m going to submit two more factors.

        First, things like the size of the team, the development process and possibly the corporate culture of the company. There is probably all sorts of information flow issues, responsibility shenanigans between the people who make the core of the story and the people who make set pieces, locales or individual encounters. Let’s say there’s a person who’s mostly designing and scripting some dungeons, and they’re basically told that “the Institute is replacing people with synthetic doppelgangers and there’s no way to tell who’s real and everyone is scared that their family or friends could be synthetic”, and they’re told to make a random encounter or two based on that knowledge. So they can’t really do anything that rocks the boat, like provide a surefire way of detecting synths in a minor encounter. Do they even know about the “synth part” drops? Can they come up to the “big” story people and ask or are they told to just stick to their cubicle and churn out the bloody content? What if someone who’s doing minor stuff just puts in a random line of dialogue like “I even have a portable x-ray from before the war!” into a travelling doc’s spiel but then at the last minute someone higher up decides to put in a “synth’s metallic skull” drop into the game because they thought a trophy rack of those would look cool?

        Second, because I want to give the people some benefit of the doubt even though this is hardly a justification, I’m willing to believe that there is someone in there who has the idea thought out more but parts of their vision don’t make it into the game, or get lost in the constant repetition of story cues (like, because they said something so many times it becomes obvious and then they forget that the story is going to be experienced by people who haven’t discussed it several times a day for the last two years).

        Truth be told we’ll never know for sure and the bottom line is the MQ has been handled rather sloppily in Bethesda games for a looong time.

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      Bethesda has never been great with telling a narrative across a giant open-world game. Skyrim was frankly their high point, since the civil war actually made sense and had gameworld-spanning implications.

      The problem is that coordinating a plot like that with so much open-world content is hard, and doubly so when their questing/cinematic systems are so crude to start out with. I have a feeling their studio structure encourages a lot of piecemeal design.

      If you read through terminals/holotapes you’ll find some interesting and non-idiotic stories there. You’ll even find some pretty cool environmental storytelling every once in a while, like the bunker where you can see that somebody used a tractor to pull the door off of a bunker, but then when you go inside there’s another door father in where a bunch of skeletons are piled up outside, as if they were desperate to get in when the bombs fell and died scraping at the door.

      The problem is that it’s just a bit here and there. There’s no consistency to it, and there’s no overarching structure to tie it all together. One room will have a clear story being told with just how it’s laid out, and then you’ll go to Trudy’s diner where she hasn’t bothered to move the skeletons that have been sitting there for 200 years.

    • Tom says:

      It seems to be the curse of triple-A games, and parallel production paradigms in general. Plot is one of the least costly of all production values compared to, say, super-hi-quality sound and graphics assets, level design, cutscenes, movie-& TV star voice actors, programming latest-gen game engines, etc, all of whose development times tend to overlap a lot. Consequently, given the choice between adjusting a part-finished (or even finished) story to fit any other part-finished component of a game, and adjusting that other component to fit the story, the latter option will always risk a vastly greater financial loss as work is abandoned and redone. That means a lot of mangled, contorted and recursively retconned storylines by the time the average triple-A game is finished, unless the entire studio were absolutely committed to a fully realised, non-negotiably frozen backstory and plot before a single line of code was written.

      • Bloodsquirrel says:

        I don’t think “non-negotiably frozen” is necessary, but having a solid pre-production phase where the basic structure of the story, themes, elements, and tone are nailed down is probably the key. You also need lead designers who are aggressive when it comes to getting and keeping everyone on the same page.

  6. Mersadeon says:

    So what was the point of that interrogation? Was it just a Fallout 3 reference? Because the questions are just straight up the GOAT questions, right?

      • Jarenth says:

        Is the baseball question in the GOAT? I think that’s the one added by them to actually catch out synths.

          • Benjamin Hilton says:

            Aww come on man. That can be hilarious in the correct circumstance, but this is a very casual forum, and in this context it comes off a little heavy handed and rude.

        • Shamus says:

          I know the baseball question was in the GOAT, because I remember playing Fallout 3 and thinking, “WHO THE SHIT PLAYS BASEBALL INSIDE A VAULT? How do these people even know what baseball IS?” And then you get to the common area – which is an oblong room about the size of six parking spaces – and they have baseball bases and bats laying around. It doesn’t make any sense and the space isn’t nearly large enough for baseball the way we understand it, but apparently they make it work somehow.

          • Jokerman says:

            Eh, at school we used to play in a pretty tiny little sports room… like barely bigger than an average sized living room, i was always surprised nobody died. People tend to adapt what they are doing to the space they have.

            • ehlijen says:

              Thing is, there are plenty of sports more suited to limited space than baseball. You have basketball, indoor soccer is a thing, volleyball, dodgeball, squash and badminton (probably more I haven’t thought of).

              I’m guessing bethesda picked baseball for its wholesome american-ness, which is fair enough.

              • Lachlan the Mad says:

                Even gridiron football would suit the inside of a Vault better than baseball does. I mean, there’s a huge risk of injury even with pads, what with the concrete floor and metal walls, but the actual rules of the game would sort of make sense.

              • Jokerman says:

                5-aside football (soccer) was the favorite at my school… which was a boarding school… so kinda like a vault?

                When it was raining we did everything in this small room, everything gets boring after a while, so you move onto the next thing. I feel it would be the same in a vault, they would probably do every sport, since they are there all the time… and people like variety.

          • I thought SW had hand-waved that along with the original vaults in Fallout 1: They’re an abstraction, since if you wanted them full-sized with the actual population needed, they’d be bigger than the entire game with mazes of rooms and corridors.

          • Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

            New Vegas, the Vault that is actually in New Vegas proper had one room that looked almost big enough for a modified version of the game. But yeah. Probably would have been better for basketball.

  7. Jace911 says:

    The super mutants in the Commonwealth were created by the Institute.

    Yes, I’m serious. The Institute, in its research to create synths, got their hands on FEV as early as Fallout 1 from…somewhere, and then they spent over 100 years abducting people and turning them into Super Mutants to…study the effects of turning people into Super Mutants? And they produced enough mutants through these experiments that barely two years after they started a “horde” of them almost overran Diamond City (Woo Minutemen), and to this day downtown Boston is still lousy with them because they just dumped them on the surface when they were done, and even didn’t bother to kill them first.*

    Oh, and the Institute learned jack shit through their experiments but they continued them for decades and decades and decades and only shut the project down when the most recent project leader had a crisis of confidence over how they were abducting and mutating innocent people for no reason.

    I am not bullshitting. This is for real canon in the game through terminals and holotapes (The best kind of worldbuilding!).

    Science!

    *Which makes their belief that the surface can’t be saved all the more fucking absurd because half the reason it’s a shithole is because of their own fucking incompetence!

    *deep breath* I’m not angry, I’m not angry, it’s better than Fallout 3…

    • It does kind of fit, in that the Institute’s main goal seems to be trying to make life forms that can function in the wasteland, if not rebuild it. The FEV thing was carrying on the pre-war work of the government.

      If I were being generous, I’d say that was a fairly natural thing to pursue, since they didn’t have the institute as we know it now up and running at first, so they’d go with what they had. But I’m probably giving them too much credit.

      • Jace911 says:

        There’s a bit of a gap between pursuing research on FEV, and creating so many super mutants as an unintentional byproduct of that research (Which goes nowhere in 100 years) that they nearly overrun the largest and most fortified settlement in the Commonwealth and are still plentiful after decades and decades. They couldn’t even be assed to kill the damn things before they dumped them in the wasteland.

        • If they’d played the Institute more like New Vegas handled Big MT, dumping mutants on the surrounding area would be completely in character with how SCIENCE! works, but they’re playing it too straight in Fallout 4.

          More’s the pity.

          • Sunshine says:

            It would also explain “Why did you make a synthetic gorilla/brahmin/noir detective?” “It sounded like fun! And SCIENCE!”

          • Couscous says:

            If they wanted to be serious, the Institute could simply a completely amoral research institute that is not wacky insane but only cares about advancing technology and science openly in its own little fiefdom. The government didn’t care about them doing horrible things before the apocalypse (government allowed the vault experiments by Vault-Tec and the secret FEV research that gave rise to the supermutants in the first place) and they themselves didn’t start caring afterwards. A lot of the crazier stuff could just be personal projects by some of the members or poorly thought out experiments like “let’s send out a bunch of supermutants to see how good they would be as shock troops against the settlers in this region.”

    • Sunshine says:

      I assumed they came from the Capital Wasteland. Actually, I just assumed they were there because it’s a Fallout game.

      Regarding Shamus’ comment that “The factory that builds them is on the other side of the country,” Fallout 3 has FEV experiments in Vault 87, where you find Fawkes and the GECK. The mutants will sometimes shout “We need you to make more of us!” But then they just shoot you, and besides, how do they have any FEV left by now? That’s at least a plan to sustain themselves, assuming these dumb , angry brutes actually plan for the future.

      • James says:

        Add this to the fact that the Enclave arrived there and presumably ‘cus its a vault secured the location and decommissioned the mutant making machine. where are all these dammed mutants coming from

  8. Sarachim says:

    Protection was totally a thing in Fallout 2! If you didn’t use it, you could get the ending where your long-lost son takes over New Reno.

    • Decius says:

      Even if you GTA the mother immediately afterward…

      • Sarachim says:

        Really? The famous walkthrough says she has to be alive, and I’ve never noticed an error in it before, but I admit I’ve never actually tested this myself.

        OTOH, you can take an in-game year to finish the game and the pregnancy still doesn’t happen until the epilogue, so you’re right that this ending has some “huh?” moments to it.

        • ehlijen says:

          I think either the Bishop daughter or the Bishop wife can allow that ending to occur? And it is possible to not have the wife turn hostile if you wipe out the gang.

  9. Is Josh going to cook any of that meat he has so he can stop eating Rads?

    • galacticplumber says:

      Wait wait wait wait…. wait. What the flying fruity fuck does cooking the meat have to with removing radiation? I don’t see how those two things are related.

      • You’re thinking too much about it. This is a game where the carrots=better eyes argument is literal, since the recipe for Orange Mentats requires 3 carrots.

        The fun part is when you cook Mutant Hound Chops, since those REMOVE 50 Rads from you when you eat them.

        • galacticplumber says:

          Which can only even remotely be because the introduced material somehow absorbs the radiation as it passes through. So does this mean that if you got highly irradiated and ate a bunch of the stuff to cure it your next crap would glow?

          • That would imply some level of realism, which I think it’s safe to say that doesn’t exist anywhere in Fallout 4, considering one of the best ways to make money is to overload a single settlement with water purifiers so you get a couple hundred bottles every time you fast travel there, because that’s how purifiers work apparently.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        This is a game where water is radioactive for 200 years,and fusion reactors cause radioactive fallout when they blow up.So in this setting,it makes sense that evaporating water from something reduces its radioactivity.

        • I know I’m being a bit of a Fallout apologist today, but look at Fukushima. Right now, they’re having a massive problem with radioactive water and don’t know how to clean it on the scale they’re dealing with.

          Just for reference: Fallout/radiation from bombs vanishes pretty quickly. Radiation and radioactivity from slowly leaking sources (like nuclear reactors, unexploded bombs, etc.) can be around for hundreds if not thousands of years providing contamination.

      • Syal says:

        The meat is filled with tiny radscorpions. They don’t stab you if you cook them first.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Silence! Do not question the purifying power of the flame lest you be purified yourself of your heretical thoughts!

  10. So why didn’t the super-genius Master (or any critics of his plan) come up with the idea that if humans are needed to make Super Mutants, why can’t you have both? Humans could be farmed in one of the many Vaults and turned into Super Mutants later on. Had I been the Master, I would’ve mulled that over for a bit before self-destructing.

    • You’d need to wait a hell of a long time to replace your numbers, so if you lose, say, 5 smart Super Mutants you’ve gotta wait until some “pure” humans age enough to get dipped…in the meantime fighting more battles and hoping you can take enough wastelanders to replenish the numbers of the grunts.

      • Attrition didn’t seem to be a problem up until that point, since the Lone Wanderer wasn’t out massacring them.

        If losses had been that steep, you’d think the Master would have noticed there was no reproducing going on.

        • ehlijen says:

          I’m not even sure on that. His plan was in stage two of the
          1. Build army
          2. Use army
          3. Rebuild conquered regions
          plan.
          That is not the time when he wants his freshly mutated supermutants unavailable for battle due to pregnancies. The supply was still limited and more easily shored up by vat-dunking than baby making.

          It’s entirely reasonable to assume no serious procreation efforts were planned until the immediate region was secured.

    • IFS says:

      The Master’s whole idea hinged on making all of humanity into Super Mutants because then without imperfections and being all alike he would not only have saved humanity from the dangers of the Wasteland but brought an end to war. Having disparity between humans and Super Mutants would be very much counter to his ideology, and I don’t think that he would want to treat humans like cattle either given how he seems to respect them. His whole plan is to uplift humanity, and turning them into livestock would also be rather counter to his values.

    • Jarenth says:

      The Master doesn’t actually know that Super Mutants are sterile. For all the ‘amazing FEV-enhanced super genius’ air they had going on, they had a lot of oversights and blind spots.

      They only learn about the issue when a very armed, very angry Vault Dweller comes to tell them about it.

      • Deadpool says:

        To be fair, it took a lot of samples and a whole team of Brotherhood of Steel doctors to figure it out. And Grey didn’t have a lot of geniuses on his side… Or hands of his own…

    • Deadpool says:

      Richard Grey was mad. His “replace humans with mutants” plan was just an excuse so he can tell himself all the shit he’s done is for the Greater Good. When he was told about the sterility he couldn’t handle it and killed himself.

      • I don’t like relying on crazy to win. One could ask why his crazy didn’t just assume he could solve this problem eventually, and we need more humans to experiment with… like the ones in Vault 13!

        I know this means “you can’t win” in game terms, I just see it as something of a plot hole.

        • ehlijen says:

          How would it mean you can’t win?

          The other two options are still available: Kill the master in combat and blow up the base by sneaking in, finding the nuke and setting it to blow.
          Convincing the master to self destruct was only the social/smarts way to win, not the only way. And as far as that goes, it worked well, I thought.
          Miles better than FO3s ‘get railroaded in talking the president to blowing up his own base’ dialogue ‘victory’ in any case.

          • If you remove the smarts way of winning, leaving it only up to combat, that would remove a lot of the RP from that particular G.

            I don’t object to a smart way to convince him his plan won’t work, I just don’t think the method used makes a lot of sense.

        • Deadpool says:

          It is certainly NOT a plot hole.

          I am not sure why a character acting in like with his personality is something you dislike, but to each their own.

          • The master is, on some level, a super genius. His overlooking of the sterility factor in the first place is one thing, but to not even hold out hope that he or his people could maybe try to solve it before blowing themselves up is an odd turn, both for the plot and his character.

            I don’t know why everyone accepts it at face value like Captain Kirk talking NOMAD into blowing himself up, but to each their own.

            • Jace911 says:

              I don’t know if you remember this, but the Master was not the most stable of individuals.

              What with all the screaming in his head.

            • ehlijen says:

              You keep assuming the Master is a rational human being, or some sort of super logic computer. The idea that he’s deeply flawed is baked into the setting, however. He and his plan are imperfect and pointing that out successfully is what gets him to realise he is the threat that needs to be ended.

            • Deadpool says:

              Again, a character acting according to his personality isn’t a plot hole.

              You can say you don’t like it and that’s fine. But it’s not a plot hole.

              Master was three different personalities merged together into a Inhuman goo and an AI by some weird freak FEV virus accident. His being more than a little crazy is an established and important part of his character.

            • guy says:

              If I parsed the technobabble correctly, fixing the sterility thing was inherently impossible.

    • Artur CalDazar says:

      He genuinely believed he was making a better tomorrow, that he was doing some bad things but making a future so perfect it would be ok. The aim isn’t having everyone be mutants ’cause thats good by itself, it’s to have mutants who are united and cause no harm to their fellows and are not harmed by living in this wasteland.
      Its why when he realises there is no future for his mutants and thus no payoff for what he has done he loses the will to live. A sustained captivity of humans isn’t a better tomorrow, its an ongoing horror.

      • As opposed to the ongoing horror of the wasteland itself?

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          That’s precisely the point. Grey does not want to make people suffer, he was thinking he was building a brighter future for humanity and so the horrors he inflicted were temporary to prevent either the complete and utter destruction of humanity or permanent nightmarish existence (or at the very, very best nightmarish existence followed by slow and painful recovery followed by another “Great Oops” basically passing the extinction or suffering down the generations). The “breeding humans in captivity” would mean basically perpetuating the suffering, on top of which he was just faced with how blinded to an obvious issue his supposedly superior intellect was by his vision, meaning all the atrocities he committed were in vain and could be avoided had he just thought to check this one thing, and while I agree that it’s a reasonable argument that “he could try to figure something else out” and I don’t like the insanity justification for stupid actions any more than you do I think it’s fair to say that Grey has the right to be a touch unhinged and to snap at this point in his situation.

          I mean, let’s not drag it into real world too much but we criticize the narrative as an abstract scenario and at this point we’re close to something like saying in real life “you know, if we just stopped all the wars and conflicts, pooled all the resources and used them in such a way as to provide the best possible existence to everyone and progress at the same time we’d have a way better time, I don’t see why people are acting this unreasonable”.

          • “Grey does not want to make people suffer…”

            Apart from the whole vat-dipping thing.

            And if his goal was to “save humanity,” the smart super-mutants were certainly an appealing solution, and surely being prepared for genius mutant-hood is a far better fate than being stuck in a vault forever or released into the wastes?

            We’re getting down to “Why? Because video game” territory here.

    • Syal says:

      If you go into the Vault with your Super Mutants you’ll get radiation all over and it’ll be just the same as farming people on the surface. Plus you have to find a Vault that isn’t destroyed, irradiated or covered in Master goop like all the ones he knows the location of.

      (But of course the real reason is that if he did that there wouldn’t be any way to win non-violently.)

      • Gordon says:

        Wait, why would sending mutants into a vault irradiate the dwellers? The mutants were the result of FEV, not radiation, and they were pretty much immune to radiation themselves. Unless they were to carry a crapton of Fallout dust in with them to throw around like confetti, there shouldn’t be a problem.

        And if you mean the trek back to his lair, you can walk from Vault 13 to the boneyard in Fallout 1 without getting a single rad. People who were born in the wasteland, with two generations of exposure to the more or less safe background radiation were the ones who were unviable.

  11. Echo Tango says:

    Here’s my thoughts on how to do Radiant Quests right (Just off the top of my head; I’m sure there’s more you could do.):
    0. Don’t have nested quests. Save that for the stuff the players actually care about, and which isn’t randomly generated. Otherwise, it’ll just be tiring.
    0.1. All of these are optional. I mean, like, they don’t even show up in your quest log until you agree to them, or say “maybe to them”, or at least start a conversation with the person / sign-board that says there’s a quest. Don’t hassle the player.
    1. Have the quest-giver be a robot, ghoul, or other non-human, so there’s less pressure to have their voice acting sound good / less Uncanney Valley effect.
    2. Have all of their lines of audio generated by the game on the fly. License an existing voice thing (e.g. Microsoft Sam), or make your own by having your voice actor(s) read an appropriate piece of text and feeding it into some existing piece of software for this task. Have them read it in a “ghoul” voice, or a “super mutant” voice, or whatever seems appropriate.
    3. Make several types of mad-lib style quest. e.g. Rescue person J from place S. Retrieve item M from location G. Go to location H and hold off Z waves of bad guys X1, X2, etc. Take a package from me to drop-off D. Have the flavour-text be a mad-lib too.
    4. Fill in the mad-lib boxes for each quest, and the quest’s flavour-text.
    5. Optionally, give a choice of a couple quests. Have one available to all characters, and have the others randomly locked off behind a stat-check, skill-check, karma-check, faction-check, etc. (role-playing)
    6. Have the rewards randomized when the quest is finished.
    7. Optionally, have X-checks on loot. e.g. High science or energy weapons gets you a plasma pistol, otherwise you get a pipe-gun. (role-playing)
    8. Optionally, have some randomly science-locks or physical-locks on some random chests or doors in the missions.

    • My problem with the radiant quests isn’t so much the random-ness, but the “I murdered EVERYTHING in this area, and now suddenly a nest of Raiders with a kidnap victim is here?! HOW?!”

      Also, I’d love it if half the radiant quests required skills other than combat. Maybe someone needs to be convinced of something. Maybe someone needs to be rescued from a caved-in mine via explosives. Maybe a water chip has failed and my science skills (plus some scavenging) can save the day.

      I hate how all Bethsoft radiant quests are basically the assassin’s guild with a different coat of paint.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Another annoying feature.

        “Hey I need you to go deal with these ghouls that are bothering us. They’re over here, halfway across the Commonwealth, near this other settlement of yours. The ghouls are inexplicably pestering us instead of them.”

        Zero effort.

        The one thing I do like that they’ve done with the radiant quests is when they find a way to build some sense of progress into them.

        Like in Dawnguard, you ran all over retrieving schematics to upgrade your Dawnguard crossbow and bolts. At least that way you were getting something lasting out of it. And I guess in this game its can be nice for a while till you’ve settled everything and built all your artillery. Eventually, you can rain fire down from the sky anywhere on the map.

        • The artillery never paid off for me. I never thought I needed it. I also didn’t even consider building it anywhere except on the Castle because it looked cool on the ramparts.

          I don’t recall why I didn’t care for it. Maybe it was the delay between the smoke bombs and the eventual explosions? I’m usually in running melee, so my target would probably have changed position by the time the shells came down.

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            Oh I didn’t use it often either but I liked knowing I could.

            The best way to use it was to be in continual sneak mode and try to guess where enemies are so you can throw the signal flare before everyone was alerted and charging you. Bethesda was somewhat averse to letting you get the drop on people a lot of the time in this game so its of limited usefulness.

      • Microwaviblerabbit says:

        The radiant quests do really undermine any sense of progress with your settlements.
        Preston: Someone was kidnapped by low level raiders.
        Player: From the settlement with walls, everyone armed with at least combat rifles, with artillery support and missile turrets covering every angle? How?

        They should have been tied to settlement stats, and if locations are cleared. Such as kidnapping can only occur if a settlement loses an attack or has a low defense rating. They can only be threatened by raiders/mutants/ghouls from uncleared locations. On a related note, the minutemen artillery should really have an effect of stopping settlement raids.

        All of this, plus the patrols you encounter of minutemen/BoS, and the defend the checkpoint missions leads me to the conclusion the game really needs a territory control mechanic.

    • ehlijen says:

      Ironically, I think open world games are not suited for radiant quests. Ideally, you’d want a procedurally generated map for each to ensure that you don’t get sent into the same place again eventually. If map space is finite, you inevitably will get repetition.

      Take the original XCOM, every mission was essentially a small radiant quest on a brand new map. M2/3 could have implemented random map radiant quests if they’d just kept ME1’s planetary exploration system (for each mission you scan for a new area and land on a new map).

  12. JackDaDipper says:

    “You are so horrendous I need to kill you on general principle.”

    Maybe The Master could have won you over if he was still in his silver fox Roger Delgado body.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      Really, any of his bodies other than his crispy death-face one.

      • Gruhunchously says:

        Also, if the Master ever needed a companion in his travels, I think Mumbles would be a pretty good fit. She could be his PR agent and explain to the denizens of the universe why they should submit to his will while he’s off coming up with his embarrassing plans for conquest (Plastic flowers! Shape shifting robots! Turning everyone into copies of myself! Yes!).

  13. I have to say one thing . . . I’m so glad they actually made the Moon a decent size in this game. Getting sick of games where the moon looks like a flipping gas giant.

    • Ah the famous “Moon Illusion” rears its ugly head.

      For those who don’t know, the Moon Illusion is how many people think that the moon is bigger when it’s closer to the horizon. This isn’t helped by graphic artists making the moon huge for dramatic purposes, especially over skylines. To confirm it’s the same size, put your thumb over the moon when it’s high in the sky. Later, do the same when the moon is near the horizon. You’ll see the moon is the same size.

      Researchers currently think the moon appears larger to our minds when it’s by the horizon due to it being visible alongside things like buildings and trees, making it look larger by comparison, whereas when it’s overhead, there’s nothing else near it and it appears tiny amongst the vastness of the sky.

  14. I was thinking about how you could design non-annoying radiant-style quests for an MMO, and basically my idea was that you have NPC’s with “standing” quests where they’ll buy so much of X material off of you in exchange for random equipment of varying types (not cash, that’d be boring), and if you ask them for a pointer they’ll send you to a location you *haven’t discovered yet* where you can loot the kind of thing they want. So, basically it’s just a turn in for random stuff, but at least that’s semi-interesting and sustainable. Maybe have a final limitation on it that when you’ve discovered everything they just say “I think I have enough stuff for now, thanks, but if you REALLY want to bring me more I guess I can take it since you’re such a big help.”

    Also all the radiant quests would go into a static list instead of being entries in the “things you should do” quest journal. You’d be able to highlight the list item to find where the most recent new location was, but instead of it being “argh I can’t clear this fuggin thing from my fuggin journal!” it’d actually be a kind of collection where the point was just to FIND all the sources of radiant quests to fill the list out.

    I think that’s about the most non-annoying and reasonable-seeming way you could do it. I was thinking about it in the context of an MMO where your character wasn’t based so primarily around gear–make gear “easy come, easy go” and have it actually get stolen/demolished, and if you’re totally nekkid and gearless you can always do these eternal “get me some bear hides” quests to get basic gear again.

    • Incunabulum says:

      make gear “easy come, easy go” and have it actually get stolen/demolished

      Something that could have worked would be to have gear degrade from damage – but have most of non-repairable.

      After all, you can’t really repair a bulletproof vest or impact plate, only replace it. If an enemy shoots a weapon out of your hand (or you do it) the weapon is damaged/destroyed when you pick it up.

      It would fit into the tiered loot grind that the game has. And make finding 60,000 of the same item not pointless as you’ll be using them to replace the stuff that’s getting broken.

      But that would get in the way of their core audience’s enjoyment of the shooting.

      • I don’t mean that Fallout should have easy come/easy go gear (although I did actually like the way Repair worked in Fallout 3 right up until I started finding items that basically couldn’t be repaired because they were unique or ultra-rare). It was a system I was pondering for a hypothetical MMO where you would beef up your character by having different experiences that would give you benefits–kind of like achievements but designed to be more repeatable. Gear would be something you’d change constantly as it got destroyed or stolen.

        It’d be focused more around exploring and trying new things than on doing the same raids over and over and over and over and over to get gear.

  15. Artur CalDazar says:

    A nice addition to the synth aspect is if you are ever attacked randomly by synths (because the institute raids you as if they were, well raiders) then synth people in your settlement fight on the side of the attackers and have to be killed. Of course that usually plays out as they die moments after you fast travel and you find a component on their corpse, but still.

    The tests and people “knowing” seems to be pretty erratic, usually. The safe tests is right at most 40% of the time, which makes it worse than flipping a coin. The guy who tries to kill his brother in Diamond City is wrong about him being a synth. There is an institute quest where you help a discovered agent, but he was actively doing institute things and struggling with the idea that he was an imposter. However in Good Neighbour they seem to just instantly know who is a synth with no reason given for how.

    So I think the game gives a wide variety of events surrounding it all.

    Why is Shamus desperate for adhesive? You turn a settlement into a glue farm to solve that problem. Seriously though some crops make starch which is great adhesive. Think thats made from a cooking station.

    • Shamus says:

      See, I play as a loner. No settlers. So I can’t run a glue farm.

      Also, taking everyone’s food and turning it into gun glue (?!?) is just too bonkers for me.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well these are some pretty efficient foods.One of them can keep a person alive for a whole day,and that person can grow 6(was it 6?)foods per day.And yet,they still cant make a hole free wall.Figure that out.

      • GloatingSwine says:

        Greygarden has all the things you need for glue, and you can just walk in and take it, the robots don’t care.

      • Axe Armor says:

        Having settlers farm glue is mainly useful if you’ve got a lot of farming settlements connected by supply lines, and can muster a huge volume of produce. That’s great if you’re going to build robots or mod power armor, but if you’re just putting the best receiver on every new legendary you find, you’ll probably be good just planting a vegetable garden at your main settlement and doing the picking yourself every time you’re at home. It’s more like a hermit growing weed than plantation slavery.

      • I dunno. You could couch it in terms of “Hey, that murder-machine that’s building everything and slaughtering every raider that draws near wants some of our plants to be turned into stuff to make their guns better. Sounds like a decent trade-off to me.”

      • There’s a guaranteed Adhesive item in every toolbox in the game. It can range from Duct Tape to the Industrial Wonderglue, worth 4 of them. It’s…actually kind of disappointing when you realize that, though.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      See here, if the game was actually focused on settlement management that would make for a really cool thing. So you’re building up this settlement, making it increasingly more safe and comfortable, and you attract various people from the wasteland but not only is there limited room but which of them might be synth infiltrators who’ll turn against you when the attack comes? Will you trust letting Railroad freed synths in? How will people react to that (if they find out, or will you tell them…)?

    • Jace911 says:

      “A” settlement?

      I have half the Commonwealth slaving away to produce buckets of adhesive for my crafting addiction genius.

    • Neil D says:

      One of the first things I read before I played Fallout 4 was that adhesive was super-rare and valuable. So as I played I made a point of grabbing up all the duct tape and Wonderglue I came across. And as a result I never once found myself wanting for adhesive. Instead I kept running into aluminum and, I think, circuitry shortages.

      What feels like a short resource probably has a lot to do with what your play style is. Like, if you don’t build settlements, you don’t need to build a bunch of turrets, so circuitry wouldn’t be that important, that kind of thing.

      • Axe Armor says:

        Yeah. I didn’t realize how rare rubber is until I started building a robot army to patrol South Boston. If you build laser guns, it’s fiber optics you run out of.

        • There’s sometimes a disconnect between what I think should contain a resource and what actually does contain a resource. I’ll think something should contain loads of circuitry and all I wind up with is a bunch of screws.

      • guy says:

        Thing with Adhesive is that you need it for pretty much literally every mod. If you run out of one of the other resources, there’s probably still something you can make, but adhesive is a limiting factor on everything for your personal gear.

  16. MosbyRedux says:

    Greetings, Shamus!

    Not directly related to the topic of this post, but I shot you an email awhile back and just wanted to make sure you received it. It was from a gmail address with this username, originally sent back on February 23. I sent it to the email you posted for yourself in the “About Me/Author” section of the blog.

    I sent you a followup this evening, just in case the previous one ended up in a spam folder. In it I was just letting you know how your writing has been influential on my own, and suggesting a possible column topic.

    If you’ve already seen the email and passed over it, I apologize for spamming. Take care!

    ~MR

  17. GloatingSwine says:

    Most of the settlement locations are really bad to build on. They’ve all got non-removable but utterly useless buildings, and the ones that have decent buildable area tend to be in the corners of the map where they’re awkward, especially if you want to minimise fast travel for immersion.

  18. James Porter says:

    So this and a ton of other related Fallout content I’ve seen recently got me to pick up and try this game out again, and I’m really trying to play the game the way it wants me to(with a couple mod given freedoms) and while the majority of Preston’s settlement quests are radiant, there is a line of seemingly planned ones. Like the fight with the Deathclaw had a named raider who has a key to a place in the Corvega plant, which you always go to. Then I was sent to the Forged guys, and they have a terminal talking about the leader of raiders in the plant. It is some sparse storytelling, but it is there and I have to admit that it has sent me to a couple pretty cool early game places.
    So radiant quests do take some of the fun out, however it makes them look more important, since most people calmly ignored radiant content in Skyrim. More importantly I imagine that its a fun way to send early players off in vastly different directions so they can all have different experiences. Its kinda clever if you look at it like that though.

    Oh, and to be the desenting opinion, I really like how the GOAT is used in this game. Its a cute wink at and old joke, but its use does remind me of some of the evil science that the earlier games and New Vegas had.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Wait till you’re basically done with majority of the exploration but every time you come within hearing distance of Preston as you’re trying to do other stuff he’s all “these settlements need our help!” and throws another 3 quests at you where some shack is attacked by mutants/raiders/synths/ghouls/smurfs, It’s going to get old quick (and if it doesn’t for you than hey, whatever floats your boat far as gameplay is concerned).

      • Jokerman says:

        I am glad you can ignore them though, you never have to go and see Preston at all, you can just head left out the vault and never see him, and it doesn’t stop you gaining access to workshops through quests, so you can still build up your settlements, but never ever gets forced onto your quest log.

    • James Porter says:

      Oh, and this just happened, but I found the formal explanation of caps as currency in Fallout 4, its at the Abernathy Farm right outside Red Rocket, and you get the conversation with Lucy Abernathy, who basically will pay you for bringing her melons(pretty boring). That is a really random spot for something like that. I mean I had already got behind the idea that we just never bring it up, so this is weird.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        Also, if you complete the Abernathy farm quest before talking to Lucy, the whole melon-selling thing goes away. It lead me to a weird place where I talked to Lucy who asked for melons, finished the quest, turned it in, picked some melons for Lucy, and she wouldn’t take them.

    • GloatingSwine says:

      Each settlement has one fixed quest to “recruit” it as a settlement, but from there on it’s radiant all the way.

      The upshot of that though is that there are almost no quests which aren’t part of the settlement system, and because each settlement only has one handcrafted quest and from then on turns immediately into a personality free building site that you can’t do more than art projects or glue farming in and which the world will never acknowledge anything you do with either means that it all feels shallow and boring.

      I would have preferred if there was only one settlement, but it was full of interesting characters and they all had various quests, possibly even some unlocked by you having certain things in the settlement so there was a reason to build anything but glue plants ever.

  19. Sleeping Dragon says:

    So I disliked the minutemen radiant quests (I got very little in terms of others, I think every faction has a set of those but I just kinda rushed through the plot at one point and didn’t bother) because I really disliked the settlement side of the game. I would have much preferred if the settlements just built themselves up as I did radiants for them, ideally eventually becoming mostly secure with just an optional “do you wanna help with the raid” type of radiant. Not only would it spare me the tedium of settlement management it would actually give me some perceivable reward for doing the quests.

  20. Destrustor says:

    What bugs me the most about the synth impostor subplot of many quests in the game is:
    IT REALLY SHOULDN’T BE THIS HARD TO DETECT SYNTHS
    Like seriously, they’re made of metal, guys. Just slap them with a metal detector or throw a magnet at their heads and you know.
    X-rays work by basically taking a radiation photograph, right? In the fallout world you probably can’t even throw a knife into an empty field without stabbing at least two things with which to build an x-ray machine, and that’s not even considering all the ones you could find by just raiding hospitals and dentist clinics. Just buzz them a little and you know!
    You guys have doctors, right? Just poke a tiny hole in someone’s arm or whatever and take a bone sample. If it comes up with metal, you know!
    The railroad can reprogram and mind-wipe synths, right? I’m betting this isn’t an instant procedure, because they could just run around blasting the mindwipe signal on all frequencies instead of bothering with guns to fight the institute, so why don’t we use their tech to detect synths? Just try to plug in/wirelessly transmit the mind wipe reprogram signal into someone; if they don’t have the USB port or you don’t get a response, you know!

    The only way the synths could remain undetected with all of these ideas is if they are really literally made of bone and flesh all the way through, at which point they’re not robots, they’re clones!
    The game acts as if synths are some insidious, undetectable force of evil, but keep reminding us that the main defining characteristic of this menace is a physical, material difference. You know, the easiest-to-test aspect of a person…
    It really infuriates me how no one in the game, (most infuriatingly not even the player character) even tries to address all these possible tests I just came up with off the top of my head. It feels like these guys are just lying about being worried, because they really aren’t even trying.

    • “What bugs me the most about the synth impostor subplot of many quests in the game is:
      IT REALLY SHOULDN’T BE THIS HARD TO DETECT SYNTHS
      Like seriously, they’re made of metal, guys.”

      Correct for Gen 1 – Gen 2 synths, not correct for “Gen 3” synths.
      When you get to the Institute make sure to go into the I forget what it’s called, one of the labs there… you’ll see “Gen 3” synths being made on the molecular level. Only when you kill one of these synths will you find a chip, presumably this is a control chip embedded in their head, the rest of the body is purely biological. No different than what scientists are working on now in real life with growing organs from your own DNA for transplanting to your self in case of accidents.

      • Destrustor says:

        Wait, so that somehow makes even less sense.
        By that point the people shouldn’t be freaking out about “being replaced by synths”, they should be freaking out about mind control chips.
        If your best friend suddenly goes insane and, once he’s dead, the only sign of anything wrong with him is a computer chip in his head, I’d expect the logical assumption to be about mind control, not “This entire guy has been replaced by a robot”
        Because that makes no sense.

        Am I wrong to expect just a little logic from a Bethesda game?

        • Yes and no. The paranoia of people is mass hysteria. The institute is the boogeyman, and it’s easier to consider synths as robots/machines, because if they where “human” then that means people would be cold blooded murderers.

          My guess is that someone started the rumor that they where all machines to justify a murder. Or alternatively nobody thought to throw caution to the wind when the human looking ones appeared.
          Kinda wish some more backstory was found on this. A Synth origin story if you will for the gen1/2/3’s.

      • Tuskin says:

        Except, for some reason even though they’re 100% biological, Gen 3 synths don’t need to eat, p. sure Deacon says this

        • Don’t believe everything Deacon says.

          Also Gen 3’s may take energy from radiation or maybe they are engineered to be 100% efficient, which means no liquid/solids goes unused. I’ll assume they they’ll still shed skin like a normal human, and hair will fall out and nails will grow. Humans loose a lot of body heat, Gen3s would probably loose less/more/same? I’ll also assume they sweat. I wonder if a good dection method would be to see if some people eat and drink very little.

          Also While hey may not need to eat and drink or sleep etc, they probably still can. (excess food/liquid not needed has to get out somehow) I kinda wish the player would learn more on the design of these synths, even if it was just 3-4 written logs in a terminal somewhere.

    • “they’re clones”

      Not exactly clones, with the exception of the “Shaun” synth which probably was made from “Fathers” DNA with minimal changes. The other synths are made from artificial templates, rather than clones resembling the original, “Fathers” DNA was probably used as the core for those. Rather than clones it’s more correct to say they are “Designed” or “Created” people. And Shamus may hate me for saying this but, are these synths any less a living being just because they where “created” by a intelligent being? (yes I’m hinting to Adam and Eve being created rather than born. Did Adam and Even have a navel at all? (since they we’rent born they wouldn’t have) nor would they have finger prints as those form while floating around in the womb. Sadly Bethesda never explored this stuff that deeply (That I’ve noticed so far).

    • Sunshine says:

      This is also true of Blade Runner: replicants are so human-like that they can only be detected by complex personality tests, but they can also dip their hands in liquid nitrogen without effect.

    • Joe Leigh says:

      Same deal with the human-cylons in BSG. They’re totally undetectable, but can interface with a computer by sticking their hands in… water? And also their spines glow when the have sex? Why can’t we just put them through a metal detector and say “oh yes, you have LEDs grafted to your spinal column for some reason.”
      But back to Fallout; I would understand if it was just the dumb yokels of the wasteland who think there’s no way to tell the difference, but in Far Harbor there are some people in the synth settlement surrounded by advanced technology and they reiterate that there is no possible scientific test to tell the difference between a human and a synth. They actually ask you if you’re a synth or not, and you can just choose whether you believe you’re a synth or not. Everyone in synthville just decided they’re a synth, with no proof whatsoever. And in that case… what’s the difference between a synth and a human? Are synths just test tube babies at this point? If so, why is the Institute calling these “Gen 3 Synths” and not “an entirely different, unrelated project?”

    • Ninety-Three says:

      The worst part is that the gameplay shows us numerous ways of testing Synthhood. Gen 3 Synths are full of Synth Parts when you kill them. Can’t we just X-ray or metal detector these people? Okay, forget about Synth Parts.

      Synths have higher energy resistance. With Awareness, you can pick a Synth out of a crowd just by pulling up VATS. Even if we say VATS is an abstraction, give everyone a laser burn on the arm or something and see who’s unaffected.

      But fine, let’s say Synths are perfect organic humans. They were still grown in a test tube, and this game makes a big deal that there is a distinction between Vault-dwellers who were never exposed to radiation, and Wasteland folks. Synths, having not grown up in the Wasteland, should lack the effects of a lifetime of radiation. Just test for that.

    • Just detecting parts shouldn’t be that easy. If you use a metal detector, how can you tell the difference between a synth bit and a bunch of bullets put in someone by a super mutant? What if they found a doctor that gave them cybernetic implants?

      The tech level of the average settlement shouldn’t allow for an easy way to detect them.

  21. Preston seems to be he kind of guy that pretended to be a Minuteman to impress others, then it got over his head, people died and here is this awesome super duper vault dweller that for some reason he managed to talk into to become the leader.

    Maybe Preston’s dad was a minuteman, but I don’t think Preston is/ever was. He’s a poser.

  22. Jeff R says:

    Noticed in the very last seconds: Is ‘lugging around 100 carry units of power armor pieces’ going to be the new carrying heavy weapons you never use?

    • They’re weightless if they’re entirely broken.

    • PeteTimesSix says:

      (Un)fortunately the game cheats in Josh’s favor here: broken power armor pieces have a weight of zero so that youre not suddenly encumbered mid-fight when a bit of your power armor breaks and drops from the frame (where its weightless) into your inventory.

      [Edit]…and I probably should have refreshed the page before adding a comment two hours after opening it.

  23. Disc says:

    Thing I’ve been personally wondering about the Super Mutant Suiciders is how does one even get the job? Do the rest of the super mutants just give the job to the drooling idiots or do they actually volunteer for it? And if they do volunteer for it, where do they get the motivation to be willing to blow themselves up?

    • Ninety-Three says:

      Whether they’re volunteers or not, they must be drooling idiots. The threat level of the suiciders would quadruple if any of them ever invented throwing.

      (Seriously, they’re trivial to kill thanks to VATS, a single pistol shot to the arm and boom.)

  24. Gruhunchously says:

    Hey, the menu music over the intro is back. That’s so cool, I’ve been missing that! Gives a real Classic Spoiler Warning feel (if Classic Spoiler Warning is even a thing).

  25. Guile says:

    Would it be better or worse to have that first pre-war scene, then cut to a completely different main character that you play the game as? Some wasteland settler, presumably, given the game’s obsession with the settlement mechanic.

    Shaun and Reginald could still drive the main quest, but the MC is an outsider who is one step removed.

    On the one hand, you wouldn’t get that neat ‘man out of time’ experience… but on the other, it doesn’t feel as dissonant when you should be chasing after your kid and instead you stop to build a wasteland theme park. But with a different MC, obviously you don’t care about that kid as much as Reginald, he’s not YOUR kid.

    Maybe Reginald could just be a party member that comes and goes; whenever you run into him, you know the main quest is rearing its ugly head again.

    EDIT: I suppose to make the MC care at least a little, Reginald should save you at some point, and then borrows on that cred for the rest of the game. It’s like this game’s Mysterious Stranger perk. Except every time Reginald smashes into a fight in full power armor, you know you’re going to have to listen to his sob story and go help track down his kid.

    ‘My wife is deeaad! Shaauuunn!’
    ‘I know! Ugh, let’s just go.’

  26. Sunshine says:

    In Fallout 3, the plot told you water was a problem but the characters in the story never gave any sign that this was the case.

    There are a number of things that bring up water as an issue: the engineer in Megaton’s water processing plant tells you he keeps patching up the contraption but expects that someday its faults will exceed his ability to keep on top on them, there’s a repeated conversation in Rivet City that’s something like “One of the new arrivals died. I heard she was drinking river water.” “The ship’s water isn’t much better. We’ll all be in trouble if it doesn’t improve” and there’s the karma-dispenser beggars who can’t handle dirty water any more. (I think there were others, but I’m either forgetting or wrong.)

    On the other hand, for Tenpenny Tower, the Brotherhood, and several other factions, the issue simply doesn’t come up. Tenpenny Tower’s doing well enough to grow orchids. Still, there is an effort.

  27. PatPatrick says:

    We still reading you, cause you represent collective conscience of modern gamedev. Cause you are the voice of minority, who don’t want to accept shameful politics of “let’s leave it as is, they’ll swallow it anyway.” Cause we glad to know, that we not alone in our “bitching” =)

    Keep up the good work!

  28. MichaelGC says:

    There’s a Trudy in Fallout: New Vegas. Bartender in and mayor of Goodsprings.

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