Fallout 4 EP38: Slavery is Wrong?

By Shamus
on Sep 8, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

115 comments


Link (YouTube)

My favorite thing about Deacon is his magical costume change that happens when you look away from him. It’s a fun bit of nonsense and helps dispel the malaise of self-serious middle-school level drama that infects the rest of the story. So OF COURSE the game bugs out and doesn’t show the costume changes during our playthrough.

When I first played this game I saw it as the work of a single idiot, but based on what people have said in the comments, I’m coming around to the idea that this game was written by a dozen different people who had no communication or coordination between them, which is why the only time the game bothers to explain something is when it goes out of its way to contradict itself. The game keeps bringing up topics and then dropping them before anything interesting is said. It’s not that the writer is stupid, it’s that “the writer” is a group of people all going in different directions.

As someone who loves stories about machine intelligence, this is maddening. It’s like being hungry and going to a restaurant where you’re constantly smelling food. Everyone you meet promises that you’re about to be given food, and other people talk like you’ve already been given food. But there is NEVER any food and after a few hours you realize that nobody ever had any intention of feeding you.

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From the Archives:

  1. baseless_research says:

    A clipboard could be useful in any place with a need for logistics I’d guess – like a major trade hub or military facility such as a brotherhood base?

    Also the Overseers in the player’s base to make sure every slave employee settler bring in the demanded scrap quota.

    What, you don’t set up your settlements as sweatshops?

  2. MichaelGC says:

    I was waiting for this bit – folks who know about this sorta thing: how ludicrous is the stuff Tinker Tom is babbling about as he “decrypts” the chip, on a scale from 1 to Voyager?

    PS You were in the right place for the grave, but I think you need to get the grasshopper first.

    • Incunabulum says:

      I don’t know the section you’re referencing – I’ve never gotten this far into the game before getting bored – but I can pretty much make a guess that its well over onto the ‘Voyager’ side of the scale.

    • potatoejenkins says:

      Afair: He is simply playing the hacking game.

      So it’s a 1.

    • MichaelGC says:

      :D Below are the quotes to make it easier to assess. They’ve not gone absolutely full-on Voyager in that I’m not certain the below would seem immediately ridiculous to an arts-focused four-year-old.

      Here it comes. Encryption algorithms. All right. We’re still running. Oh, man. They’ve added more decimals to the last cipher. This is gonna be… They’re using the same logarithmic function as the key generator! Oh man, we got lucky. Solve for N. Come on, show me that sweet base number.

      • Tizzy says:

        more decimals???

      • Agamo says:

        It’s complete nonsense. Of course, that’s completely unsatisfying as an answer, so let’s go through it point by point.

        “They’ve added more decimals to the last cipher.”
        You could maybe interpret this as “they made the key size bigger” if he’d said “bits” instead of “decimals”, but even then it’s kind of like saying “they added more gigahertz to the processor”.

        “They’re using the same logarithmic function as the key generator!”
        This doesn’t make any sense at all. I don’t think I’ve heard of logarithms being used in any kind of cipher ever, much less as a key generation mechanism.

        “Solve for N.”
        This is such a generic statement that I can’t really go anywhere with it.

        “Come on, show me that sweet base number.”
        Looking at this, and then at the logarithmic function thing, it kind of makes me think someone at Bethesda heard about the discrete logarithm problem and it got stuck in their Random BS Generator (TM).

  3. Twisted_Ellipses says:

    A That Mitchell & Webb Look reference…? That’s Numberwang!

  4. MichaelGC says:

    Jetpack, you say?

  5. Ledel says:

    As far as I know, Deacon isn’t a synth. He say’s he’s one, but from everything I can tell, it’s a lie. If you use the overwrite code he gives you, nothing happens.

    Even the wiki has him listed as a human http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Deacon

    • You can call him on it and he’ll admit it’s BS.

    • Vect says:

      Yeah, Deacon likes BSing a lot about his origins partly just to troll people and partly to see if people are smart enough to call him out on it.

      • potatoejenkins says:

        Which falls flat if you refuse to read/use the code he is telling you only to use if you feel you have no other choice.

        He tells you what a reset code does: It will destroy his personality, he will stop being Deacon. Because that’s what these codes do. I find them to be a pretty terrifying concept.

        If you did not pass the speech check while getting the code and do not read it afterwards however, you will forever be stuck in this endless affinity loop of him asking you wether you read it or not. You have to read it in order to get “Companion Affinity Conversation Nr. 2” over with and progress to raise his affinity.

        And after you did, he will tell you it was fake and how he was testing you.

        They ruined Deacon for me this way. He is indeed a very fun companion and also one of the more level-headed ones. But three conversations to get to know a notorious liar are not enough. There is no reason to believe his stories at all, even the last one, because you do not need to. It has no inpact on anything and since you do not know what is true and what not you do even get to know Deacon. Just that he is a liar.

        Bethesda needed a level-headed yet charming character with at least some authority to tell the Sole Survivor: “Uh … people lie. You know. Because … they want things. So they lie. Or make things out to be different than they really are.”
        He doesn’t exclude the Railroad from that one though. Nice touch.

        • MichaelGC says:

          “They ruined Deacon for me this way.” Aye, I’ve only spent any time with four of the companions, and whilst one stayed pretty level at ‘meh, whatever’, all of the other three I grew to actively dislike after participating in their ‘story’ ‘arcs’. 75% were made actively and egregiously worse, therefore, which would be a good rate if that were the sodding aim.

          Actually, one I hated to start with! I was only hanging out with him for the comic!! And yet they actually found a way for me to hate him more!!! I spitfroth of course of MacCready – the “resolution” of his questline is the stupidest bag of stupid that ever stupided a stupid. It’s so stupid I. Coherence. Not got. *headwall headwall headwall* Ow.

          • Ciennas says:

            Hang on, is there something wrong with his quest? I thought it was okay.

            You help him shoot his former employers to make them leave him alone. It actively contradicts itself there (How does leaving no witnesses tell them to leave you alone? Reasons.)

            Then you help him find the cure for his sons’ disease.

            Is their a third part? Or did you catch something I hadn’t.

            • MichaelGC says:

              *SPOILERS*
              although really it’s not possible to spoil this bullshit so
              *POSSIBLY ILL-TIMED OR UNWANTED INFORMATION*

              My issue was with what he does afterwards, particularly since they’ve made such a big deal about you tracking down your own son. Having finally succeeded in his seemingly impossible quest for a cure, does he rush off to administer it like any good or indeed fairly indifferent father would do?

              Does he bollocky – you give the cure to Daisy in Goodneighbor. Daisy is owed a favour by some other tool who we don’t know from Adam, but who owns a caravan who might be going the right way at some point and who might – again, we don’t know – agree to chuck the cure in MacCready Jr’s direction if he happens to be sober that day and happens to remember. We don’t meet this tool, we don’t get to assess his dependability, we don’t get to speechcheck his ass back to the Stone Age, nothing.

              And that’s it – afterwards, you both carry on as normal. So in my game, MacCready gets dumped back in the bar in Goodneighbor where he’ll remain for eternity. He’s not with me, and he’s certainly not with his son, who might have popped his clogs by this time. Or recovered. Or he might be deep into plans for an exacting revenge upon his wastrel father – no one has a clue.

              Having decided to characterise MacCready this way, if they were so committed to having him stick around, could he not disappear for a couple of weeks and then return? With the good news? That his son is planning an exacting revenge and hence his days are numbered? That’d have worked for me …

              • Ciennas says:

                I thought about those as well. I’d have locked off the second part of the quest until after the Brotherhood arrives.

                Macready expresses interest in seeing them, and either asks you to visit the base or begs off for a day or two to talk with some people there.

                Mission proceeds as canon, you get the cure.

                Then you go back to the airport and find that Macready had a friend from lamplight or someone who owes him a favor.

                This person offers to give him a lift back to DC. Here you could speech check him out of going and trusting sir whats his name, or let him be gone for say….. a week in game.

                Then he comes back and tells you how things went, maybe even brings along his son.

                Boom.

                Maybe a followup quest where you get Macready jr into Vault 81’s school.

                Boom interrelated areas and a more or less completed story arc.

            • Ninety-Three says:

              You help him shoot his former employers to make them leave him alone. It actively contradicts itself there (How does leaving no witnesses tell them to leave you alone? Reasons.)

              Nevermind “How do they know to leave him alone?”, when you first meet the guy, being hassled by those very people, the player can ask him “Want me to kill ’em?” and he’ll say something to the effect of “Nah, wouldn’t do any good” (fun fact: He turns hostile to the player if you attack the Gunners hassling him before recruiting him). 500 affection later he sends you on a quest to solve all his problems by killing the men he told you not to kill.

              • Ciennas says:

                Yup. That doesn’t surprise me. Bethesda doesn’t like people breaking script in their games. That scene was heavily scripted, so I left it alone.

                Compare New Vegas and Joe Cobb of the Powder Gangers. They acknowledge if you kill his jerk ass at the bar before he leaves.

                Man…. it just seems like they were so all fire hurried to get the game out that they forgot to do soo soo much.

                Equally galling is their refusal to fix known issues that wouldn’t hurt them in the slightest. Fully written dialogue choices, anyone?

                • Ninety-Three says:

                  You want to talk breaking script? Because boy does that scene’s heavily scripted nature break in some interesting ways.

                  If you let the Gunners walk away from hassling MacCready, they’re unkillable. We’re not talking your standard “Fall down and get back up” NPC invincibility, you can shoot them down to zero health and they will keep walking.

                  Not even death can stop Bethesda’s railroading.

                  • Ciennas says:

                    Yup. They had it real bad in Skyrim too. The College questline had a villain who was basically Snidely Whiplash, and you’re not allowed to interfere with the plot by say, lighting him on fire until the appointed time.

                    I discovered that you can attack him early, and he just takes a knee and the gets up. Acts like nothing happened.

                    It…. oh wow. It’s like the Truman Show, when Truman found out his world was an overly elaborate lie.

          • potatoejenkins says:

            Oh boy, the companions. I do not hate any of them specificly, but I hate all of them for loving the PC no matter what.

            I dig companions since well written ones help to make the PC feel less like “the chosen one” or the only able person in the whole bloody world. Of course nothing like that happens in Fallout 4, but they still help on survival difficulty and sometimes they even say things about the area you are in. That’s nice. If it works (Hint: It rarely does.).

            Anyway, I like to try out different ones to explore my options and to see if the companion and my character get along. Of course in Fallout 4 every companion grows to idolize you no matter what you do (I bet a lot of people don’t even know companions have several “I hate you!” and even break-up speeches). So I had to force myself to unlock several of the optional ones. Lo and behold: No matter who I picked sooner or later most of them turned into ass-kisser nr. 10284.

            I still have to travel with Curie or Cait. But after the Hancock debacle* I’ll just stick with my usual one. I’ve come so accustomed to the repeating lines, it’s just background noise by now. The only sad thing is: Companions have sooo many lines recorded. Most of them are just blocked or overwritten by weird flags and other code shenanigans. It’s frustrating.

            (*Ever recruited Hancock after joining the Institute? Oh boy, you are in for a Bethesda treat par excellence. Unlocking him as companion before doing the Silver Shroud questline also breaks several things in that one.)

  6. Cinebeast says:

    That restaurant allegory is absolutely frightening, Shamus.

  7. ehlijen says:

    For the uninitiated, what Deacon-screenshot thing are you talking about at 10:20?
    I watched the bit twice, but you don’t actually explain the topic, and it doesn’t really flow from context for me either. Help?

  8. Jesse says:

    While I’m not necessarily disagreeing with the multiple writers angle, I would agree with it, it is worth noting that Bethesda is incredibly small for a AAA studio, having only around 100 employees compared to the usual 1000 or so (even the also small Witcher team was 230ish, as I’ve heard it). Given the amount of content in the games and that they at the very least keep up with generational graphics and ai, I don’t think they would have a very large dedicated writing group, and possibly even a lot of that group works on the writing only part time. Here’s my source for the size: Fallout 4 Bugs

    • Bethesda does well making a halfway-decent FPS RPG engine. I say it’s decent because while it’s awful, just about every alternative is somehow worse if you want the (potential) freedom it could offer.

      They’re kind of like bigger pen-and-paper RPG companies: They do well coming up with the core rules, but it often takes third parties (Obsidian) to make the game shine.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I believe the multiple people working is responsible for the single most infuriating part of the game for me: The goul corpses at Sunnyside Co-Op.

      The way I figure it, one team designed this settlement mechanic. Another team developed the “generate enemies” mechanic, and another team wrote the memory-management program.

      Team 1 says “there should be a fight when the player claims Sunnyside Co-Op.” Team 2 said “Feral Gouls are crazy, so there should already be some dead gouls around.” Team 3 said “dead bodies should fade after a while.” Team 2 realized that meant the dead bodies would be gone by the time the player got there, so they instead made the bodies containers that would persist. No one informed team 1 to mark those body/container objects as something that could be scrapped.

      Voila: dead bodies in the middle of the settlement you can’t get rid of.
      Very annoying.

      • Ciennas says:

        There’s also the dead body out front of Sanctuary. You know, the one that fought a dog and lost?

        Then there are the corpses around Croup Manor.

        I wish they’d done a simple level check. Player level on discovery + N = despawn corpses.

        It would have been dissatisfying at higher levels, but would have worked well enough.

        They could have used that sort of system in other ways too. Like rebuilding the Castle walls.

        • potatoejenkins says:

          Settlement building is “optional”. Remember? Of course they didn’t think through every little detail at first.

          Then people started to dig it – it is fun after all. And then they started to focus on it.

          Removal of bugs and system refinement is a modders job. /sarcasm

  9. Sunshine says:

    “Everyone you meet promises that you’re about to be given food, and other people talk like you’ve already been given food.”

    Your jam yesterday and your jam tomorrow, but it’s never going to be your jam today.

  10. Here’s a thought. If a genetically designed human (we’re talking gen 3 synths here) is considered not human by the institute and others, and the railroad does consider them enslaved. Then what is a human born child?

    A child is raised/grown, it is programmed (teached), instructed/indoctrinated as to what they can or can not do, what they should and should not do.

    The lines between brainwashing a human for up to two decades versus programming a “synth”, is it really that different?

    No humans living in a society since societies was “invented” has been allowed true free will. A society will always impose rules and restrictions and use indoctrination to make sure that individuals conform and perform.

    In that sense even a non-biological synth prototype that Nick is is (in my eyes) as human as the humans in Fallout 4.

    Heck, take Curie. A true AI, that is able to fall in love.
    Oh and the cool thing with Curie is that when you find her if you do not pretend to be a Vault Tech employee, she will eventually pretend you just so she does not feel guilty about breaking her programming by giving a cure to a non-Vaul Tec employee. Curie was stuck in a room for around two centuries.

    This also contrasts well with Far Harbor where a main story NPC you meet says he spent years sitting in a cave. It is clear that in Fallout 4 a AI if left alone for long enough will eventually develop a desire to “evolve”.

    Although there is the Curie-like eyebot in Diamond City that you can help hook up with a teacher, so apparently the “curie” line of bots has a AI that evolve eventually, I’m assuming that eyebot was constructed before the war just like Curie was. I don’t think there is much backstory to that eyebot though.

    Bethesda did poke into some interesting philosophical existential thoughts though. What is it to be human, what is alive?

    Considering that the human body sort of clones itself cell by cell over a period of what was it, 11 years or so? It means that the last cells of a Gen 1 “you” vanished when you where 11 years old, the gen 2 “you” at age 22, gen 3 at 33, gen 4 at 44, gen 5 at 55, gen 6 at 66 and by the time you reach your 80s or 90s you have gone through like 8 or 9 cellular self-cloning cycles.

    So next time you think that, wow that person changed since I last saw them a decade ago!
    Well, that person is pretty much a new person, the old them was slowly replaced over the last decade.

    And cell replication is not perfect, errors can be introduced. (no idea how good human DNA CRC is really, if there even is any).

    • James says:

      Humans do indeed replace their cells, skin, bones and well everything its worth noting the they reproduced cells are identical outside of any errors and infact the right age that a cell would be assuming it wasnt replaced.

      A good analogy i heard was its like replacing your 6 year old Mazda (Car) over the course of 6 mounts with a 6 and a half year old Mazda.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      No humans living in a society since societies was “invented” has been allowed true free will. A society will always impose rules and restrictions and use indoctrination to make sure that individuals conform and perform.

      If you want to suggest that humans don’t have free will because of, like, society, man, I’ll need proof of some other free-willed creature lacking such a society.

      Humans didn’t have your definition of “free will” before “society,” either, and neither does any other creature with a brain currently possess it. If your definition of free will is immunity to the consequences of interaction with other group members and impunity from refusal or inability to mimic established group behavior, then there is no such thing, and never has been.

      The idea that the rise of society changed this is rooted in the idea that society is something other than the interface between cause/effect and our species’ niche survival instincts, which it isn’t; intricate though they may be, human society is not meaningfully different from the group behavior of any other sentient organism’s, from sharks to parakeets. Suggesting otherwise implies that human society in particular is essentially extranatural or transcendental, which, while not an idea I intend to support or refute, amounts in this instance to saying “humans are human because they’re human and synths aren’t human because they’re not human.”

      In fact, I’d argue that only humans and the handful of other animals capable of self-awareness, and introspection by extension, could be eligible for any meaningful definition of free will, and these things drastically post-date any rational definition of society. If humans ever had free will, they still must. If the existence of group norms is sufficient to refute free will, then free will never existed.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Of course humans have free will.But the point is that the layman definition of free will is at odds with how it actually presents itself in the real world.The layman definition of free will is “I can do whatever I want,I have free will!”.But it disregards stuff like your genetics,your societal programming,etc.Technically,every human can kill another human in cold blood,but in actuality very few people can do that,because of our empathy and societal pressure that has taught us that killing is wrong.That doesnt change the fact that humans do have free will,it only means that the concept is not as simple as the term itself can lead you to believe.

        And with that,if a machine is programmed to act in certain ways,but then decides to do stuff outside of its programming,or even struggles to outright break it,that means that said machine also has free will,even though it acts like it was programmed 99,99% of the time.

    • Philadelphus says:

      Considering that the human body sort of clones itself cell by cell over a period of what was it, 11 years or so? It means that the last cells of a Gen 1 “you” vanished when you where 11 years old, the gen 2 “you” at age 22, gen 3 at 33, gen 4 at 44, gen 5 at 55, gen 6 at 66 and by the time you reach your 80s or 90s you have gone through like 8 or 9 cellular self-cloning cycles.

      I’m pretty sure neurons are with you for life (don’t have time to double-check at the moment)—the ones you develop in utero are the only ones you’ll ever get, hence (part of) why brain damage is so permanent. So even if the rest of a person is different, their nervous system and brain is still the same cells (minus any that have died in the meantime, of course).

      Otherwise it’s basically the Ship of Theseus problem.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        Nah, neuroregeneration is a thing. It just happens slower than a lot of other kinds of healing. Mostly, the problem seems to be that the most important neurons are the ones that are in very protected places, and being so well protected comes along with (in our stupid bodies) very little cellular access to stuff that can be used to help the regeneration along. It’s … weird, in there in the spine…. But peripheral nerves, those grow back comparatively quickly. I lost a chunk of fingertip to a deli slicer in my misspent youth and though the pad of skin got reattached, it had no feeling at all for about a year, then sensory input kind of grew in from the edges of the wound over the course of the next year, and now you can’t even tell which finger it was anymore without me telling you.

        • Philadelphus says:

          Ah, right, I forgot about the regeneration of finger tips, which I have heard of before (though not from a first-hand account!). I was thinking more about the neurons in the brain specifically, which I’m still pretty sure are static once grown. Brains do have a limited capacity to regain some functions they’ve lost due to damage, but that’s using still-existent neurons differently, not regrowing lost ones.

          And going back to the original post from a different angle, red blood cells have a lifetime of only a few months, so the vast majority of the cells in your blood get recycled several times a year.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        So even if the rest of a person is different, their nervous system and brain is still the same cells (minus any that have died in the meantime, of course).

        Even if we disregard the fact that some nerves do get replaced,even in the brain,our brains operate based on how those nerves connect,not just on how many of them there are.And those connections can be formed,changed,reformed,or completely disappear.So our brains do get significantly changed over time.

        So yes,it is a biological ship of theseus.

  11. Another thought.

    A Artificial Intelligence (AI) can become very complex, at some point in the future a AI will be as complex as a human brain, possibly even more complex. Is that AI any less “human” thought wise? Would a human be a lesser being? (I’m assuming there are no restrictions, although a free running AI could be devastating)

  12. Regarding the clipboard line from Deacon. (paraphrased) “You’d be surprised how far you can get with a clipboard” he most likely meant settlement building. Not sure if it’s breaking the 4th wall (if so nicely done Bethesda) or if he in a in-game world sarcasm refer to how people use clipboard to patch walls (if so nicely done Bethesda). I’m guessing the latter.

    Piper says something similar about a hole in the wall at Diamond City that was really badly patched up.

    • MichaelGC says:

      Aye – he says (speaking of his disguise): “You’d be surprised how far I’ve gotten with the right attitude and a clipboard.” It’s like Rutskarn was saying – it’s almost memetic as this point:

      With a clipboard and the right attitude, however, you can make your way to the front of the line without anyone batting an eye.

      http://lifehacker.com/slink-your-way-to-the-front-of-the-line-at-theme-parks-1739483022

      Walking purposefully, in the knowledge that no one with their sleeves rolled up who walks purposefully with a piece of paper held conspicuously in their hand is ever challenged, he set off across the wood and canvas wonderland of Interesting & Instructive Kinematography.

      Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures

      PS This comment does not endorse slinking to the front of any queue, perhaps most especially not ones at theme parks.

  13. Ciennas says:

    This is not directly related, but… anyone here get the feeling that Nuka World is like a compressed version of New Vegas?

    Three factions vie for control of a central thing, and you can support one faction or supplant them. Meanwhile, there’s the Cowboy World, which is a wild west era town with a broken down roller coaster and overseen by a sherriff that is also a Protectron.

    There is an entire area based on advanced Science and even performs wildly unethical and dangerous experiments on the former populous, which you get to look through.

    There’s a group of friendly nutjobs who need your help to get starbound, even.

    I haven’t played through all the areas, but…. am I the only one noticing the similarities?

    • The base game is essentially a badly-written ripoff of NV anyway, so a DLC being the same isn’t surprising.

      • Sunshine says:

        This sounds unfair to me, but I have thought that it’s like a cargo-cult attempt to replicate NV’s story of several factions vying for control of the land.

      • Raygereio says:

        The base game is essentially a badly-written ripoff of NV

        How though? Because I’ve seen that pop up several times now and it’s still baffling to me. F:NV & FO4’s stories are nothing alike. At best you could say that in both games you can complete the game by joining one of several factions. But plenty of games do that, that’s not a specific F:NV “thing” Bethesda might have copied.

        Now I’m not saying Bethesda is innocent of the act of ripping off. I mean Far Harbor’s Brain Dead quest designer sure liked the Autumn Leaves mod. But the main story is pretty much Bethesda.txt.

        • Ciennas says:

          If I were to guess, they looked at the wildly positive reviews that New Vegas got and crowbarred some of the highlights of that game into their design doc for their preexisting story. (Harkness and the Railroad establish that they were planning this story ever since they got the license for Fallout.)

          So that meant choosing a faction to win the scenario. And making the Brotherhood assholes again- honestly a change I didn’t appreciate so much, but it at least makes sense for the faction to evolve this way.

          People would whine about the grey on grey morality though, so the Minutemen were left to fill in for the good guy faction, who are flexible enough to work with the remaining three.

          But they still wanted to force a climactic finale. So one of the factions excepting the minutemen has to explode.

          These are the people who chose to make a water filter the lynchpin of their first Fallout story, so it makes sense that the Institute were meant to be villainous from the start. Like, Vault Tec and Enclave had a baby evil.

          But their take on the faction balance of New Vegas was to make all sides have a point. See Skyrim’s civil war. Whereas the Legion had very little to be said that was nice or humanizing, they did have a token ideal. In their case order and safety, mostly.

          Bethesda tried to make all sides seem redeemable, and even worked on content to that effect, but then commented out all the quests that let you resolve the conflict without blowing up SOMEBODY.

          People noticed the New Vegas inspired additions and New Vegas has aged a hell of a lot better then Fallout 3. Where F3 has been soundly mocked to hell and back for weak weak writing, New Vegas has been praised and is more memorable for its strong writing and companions with quests and goals, something that was missing from Bethesda made works until Dawnguard.

          And they really did try with this game, same as Fallout 3. They really did a cool thing in both cases.

          But they cripple themselves with their writing. They have these Cool Ideas that they want in. And they are cool. Android Noir Detective! Flying Brotherhood Fortress! LASER MUSKET!

          But they shore up their house in one area and leave huge gaping holes in others.

          In this one, their lynchpin is the Institute, and once you get their, they…. there’s nothing there. No reason for them to be colossal dicks, no long term plans that require them to get in everybodies face.

          At best you could call them victims of their own shortsightedness, a tragic story of wasted potential and squandered alliances.

          But the game doesn’t let you actually call them out on any of this. Not Shaun’s kidnapping or your spouse’s murder. Nor the death of University Point, the murder and replacement of all those innocent or unrelated people and swapping them with synthetic clones.

          To say nothing of the Super Mutants and the gorillas.

          Everyone else has a beef with the Institute…. and the Institute has no reason to be shitheels. At all. Nor anything to show for it.

          So yeah.

          As for Autumn Leaves and Far Harbor, they use similar setups (Murder in a Vault, near identical robots as potential culprits) but both go in way different directions with their murder mystery. One is about AI and sapience, the other is a more straightforward but stupid (though at least plausible) murder story. Neat twist at the end though. For both of them.

          (I seem to recall you making a big deal about this in the past about Autumn Leaves. If Bethesda starts putting that quality of writing into their main works, then why are you complaining? Mission Accomplished. If you feel like they stole without properly sending up their inspiration, well…. yeah. That’s less cool. At least have a character sing the song.)

          • Ciennas says:

            That said, Bethesda’s side quest writing in F3 is pretty fun and memorable. The fire ants, were pitch perfect, and the SuperHero quest was…. well irritating, but a fun premise. There was the Megaton Meganuke quest…

            I just hate that in order to fully enjoy both of their Fallouts requires ignoring their main plots.

        • The factions are a good hint as to my point:

          The Minutemen are like a less-complex NCR; both are rooted in Pre-War history, but while the NCR just uses it to inform a style of governance, the Minutemen define their identity by a slightly-different version of a local group that seems fairly archaic when lasers are littering the entire world.

          The Brotherhood sort of lines up with the Legion, in that they’re bent on genocide of groups they deem inferior; the Legion with tribals as a way to restore order in the new world at the expense of the individual; and the Brotherhood with non-humans regardless of morality or motivation, even if it’s a synth who just wants to pop into a town and live their own life.

          The Institute is similar to Mr. House, mostly by virtue of being the “high-tech” faction…I can’t really say much more, but that’s mostly because I haven’t played through the Institute story at all and barely paid attention to the conversations with Father.

          That leaves the Railroad being the Yes Man analogue, which is mostly based on a sort of anarchistic belief system, entirely ignoring the requirement of governance in the given reason and instead supposedly focusing on an undefined definition of “freedom,” though with the Railroad it’s only for synths instead of Yes Man’s “everyone with a gun.”

          Most of that is just off the top of my head though. :P

    • Sunshine says:

      I had not thought of that, and I like this idea.

    • “Nuka World is like a compressed version of New Vegas?”

      Looks to me like its’ more a case of “ok guys, we’re gonna make a Nuka theme park, what do you guys wanna see/add ?” and then let the Bethesda Fallout 4 devs just go nuts with it. And this is the result.

      Sure there are hints of Nev Vegas there (I wonder if any of the New Vegas guys ended up working for Bethesda?)
      Also I’m sure many at Bethesda really enjoyed (and admired) Obsidian’s Fallout New Vegas which could have inspired them.
      There also seems to be some callbacks to all Fallout games hidden away in Nuka World, as well as references to Westworld and Tarzan and so on.

      • I wouldn’t say they enjoyed New Vegas, since a lot of the various improvements it had over Fallout 3 seem to not only have been discarded, but reversed beyond the point where it could have been accidental.

        • I was not surprised at that, why would Bethesda use Obsidian’s New Vegas code for Fallout 4?
          Fallout 4 code is based on Skyrim’s code which is based on Fallout 3’s code. They started work on Skyrim while Obsidian worked on New Vegas, and at that point it would be years before they started on Fallout 4 code, it would make no sense to add Fallout stuff while working on Skyrim.

          Today however things are a bit different, Bethesda is working on at least 3 games right now.
          My guess is that the next Elder Scrolls is at very early design stages, and there are probably some talks about the next Fallout too.
          If Bethesda have 3 “teams” they move people between then one of the teams will be really huge during the main bulk of development of a game, then people are moved to the other two and as one of them nears full development that team will grow and the others shrink.

          If Bethesda does this smartly they’ll have a pool of developers flowing between 3 teams. This also means that the way they use/make the engine will change. Currently I’m guessing the engine guys kinda flows with the current game being developed.

          But if they’ll use the engine between 3 games that overlap in their development in some way then the engine guys need to be moved to a engine team, and that team needs to be larger than it previously was.

          Not as large as three times, maybe one and a half to two times is enough to cover engine development for 3-4 games. If they do this the Creation Engine should see some leaps forward. Their engine isn’t that extremely demanding (compared to other stte of the art engines) so visually they could improve the look while optimizing the code and end up with one of the more efficient RPG engines out there. I’m not saying they’ll be able to match Frostbite or Unreal 4 in pure looks, but they could get pretty close.

          Now if the art style they are going for lends itself to that is another thing. Personally I think they only need to tweak/polish the Fallout 4 character looks a little bit more and they’ve got it. If they go for too much more “realism” they’ll struggle with the uncanny valley. Fallout 4 has a slightly “comic look” to their characters which is immersive enough but doesn’t feel wrong somehow, a little more work plus more tweaking of animations and you’d have a nice and smooth style to the characters. I guess the style word I’m looking for is “fantasy” look which arguably Skyrim and Fallout both are.

      • potatoejenkins says:

        Lots of callbacks. Hubologists anyone?

      • Vect says:

        Nuka-World being incredibly raider-centric is due to the fact that a lot of players wanted to side with a raider faction in the vanilla game. As such, they made an entire DLC centered on raiders conquering shit but didn’t really give players who didn’t want to be evil any way to deal with them apart from simply murdering them all.

  14. MrGuy says:

    It’s like being hungry and going to a restaurant where you’re constantly smelling food. Everyone you meet promises that you’re about to be given food, and other people talk like you’ve already been given food. But there is NEVER any food and after a few hours you realize that nobody ever had any intention of feeding you.

    So…the real problem is “what do we eat”?

    • Phill says:

      “What do we eat?” is a very unsophisticated question. As evidence, let me direct you to chapter 35 of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

      It said: “The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases.
      “For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question How can we eat? the second by the question Why do we eat? and the third by the question Where shall we have lunch?”

  15. Phantos says:

    “Slavery is wrong!”

    And that was pretty much the only reason I did the Railroad ending, instead of anything else. I had to resort to the most basic morality in order to pick any of those moronic factions.

    “Which of these 4 idiots should win?”

    In retrospect though, I didn’t like having to kill the Brotherhood lady you meet alongside Danse. I didn’t mind killing everyone else in the Brotherhood, and blowing up their Final Fantasy airship was nice. But maybe I should have just swallowed my pride and joined the Minutemen to get that peaceful solution.

    • potatoejenkins says:

      You killed the cat.

      You Monster.

    • MrGuy says:

      “Which of these 4 idiots should win?”

      This was the one subtle-but-important difference between FO:NV and FO4. FO:NV gave you what was effectively a “NONE of these idiots should win!” option. The Legion? Tribal savages. The NCR? Bureaucratic drones with no real plan. Mr. House? Smug egomaniac. You know what? F*ck these guys. The Yes Man approach pretty much allowed you to let live or destroy any faction you wanted, destroy or keep the dam intact, and screw over all these dumb factions. I don’t love the ending itself (where Yes Man sort of becomes the new House), but the option to effectively pick “none of the above” was satisfying.

      There’s simply no similarly satisfying option in FO4.

      • There is one ending where the player wins. Unfortunately it ends up as a recording heard on Diamond City and to get it you have to go for the the Institute ending.

        I really miss the Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas narrated end cards.
        I enjoyed those there and I enjoyed them in Dragon Age and in Mass Effect 3 (extended ending).
        It is a nice and (relatively) cheap way to provide multiple varied endings, you get to see/hear/learn what happens to the world due to your actions, the NPCs in the world and so on.

        It’s as if a skilled GM did a nice wrap up of a long campaign.

      • Somebody says:

        “Supporting the ideals of independence, the Courier was recognized as the man/woman responsible for a truly free New Vegas. He/she ensured Mr. House’s tyranny was broken and neither Caesar’s Legion nor NCR would ever gain control over New Vegas.”

        yep, Yes man is definitely the new House *sarcasm*.
        (Unless I missed that point of yours)

        • MrGuy says:

          House wanted an independent Vegas free of the Legion and the NCR, defended by an army of securitrons, which is what you achieve if you pick the House ending. House is still effectively a dictator in Vegas.

          In the Yes Man ending, you ALSO achieve an independent vegas free of the Legion and NCR. After you defeat everyone at Hoover Dam, Yes Man tells you he’s reprogramming himself to be more assertive, and that he’s in control of the army of securitrons. Effectively, he’s the new dictator of the “independent” Vegas. He may have fewer plans than House, but we’re not setting up a new democracy to rule the city, or a council of wise elders. We’re replacing House as “the guy in charge of Vegas” with Yes Man as “the guy in charge of Vegas.”

          • There’s one major difference between House and Yes Man, though.

            House actually tries to support the areas around New Vegas. Yes Man lets the world burn since freedom?

            • potatoejenkins says:

              Freedom and “let the world burn” seem to go hand in hand in the Fallout universe.

              • Ciennas says:

                I sorta thought the Yes Man ending, if done properly, was more about letting everyone be independent, but not anarchic. Forming the federation type deal.

                • potatoejenkins says:

                  Hmmm. That would highly depend on the Courier, wouldn’t it? It could go either way. And only if Yes Man stays compliant after his updates, of course.

                  The Yes Man ending is kind of genius. It’s not just a “back-up”, or a “no to the other factions”. It’s a true player ending, its outcome dictated only by how the player sees their PC.

                • The ending’s directly called “Anarchy,” (especially without the Securitron upgrade since the sole remaining police force is armed essentially with 9mm SMGs) which can also be seen in most of the faction endings, like the BoS (if you finish their quests) becoming higher-tech raiders than the Fiends, the Followers get screwed (most endings have that, though, unless you go NCR and talk to Julie Farkas after You’ll Know It When You See It), Arcade (the companion that’s pro-Indie) isn’t happy with what it ends up being, and depending on the Courier’s Karma, the intent behind the chaos changes from either idealism in freedom or glory in anarchy.

                  That being said, Goodsprings gets a boost since no taxes, The Kings “control” one of the few stable regions in New Vegas, Boone ends being either a security guard or a merciless merc, and Hanlon either kills himself or retires.

          • Vect says:

            The devs have stated that Yes Man’s upgrade was about him making sure that no one but you could give him orders so that a random schmuck can’t just walk up to him and tell him “Make me the the new King of Vegas”.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    As someone who loves stories about machine intelligence, this is maddening. It’s like being hungry and going to a restaurant where you’re constantly smelling food. Everyone you meet promises that you’re about to be given food, and other people talk like you’ve already been given food. But there is NEVER any food and after a few hours you realize that nobody ever had any intention of feeding you.

    I dont understand this analogy.Can you explain it using cars?

    • The Rocketeer says:

      “Playing Fallout 4 is like driving a car through a game that sucks.”

    • MichaelGC says:

      It’s like someone asks you to drive across a large country and gives you a mapbook, except some of the pages have been taken out and reinserted somewhere else, some of the pages have been put back upside down, some of the pages were taken out and set on fire, some have been put back in the wrong place after having been re-drawn in crayon, and then after you run out of petrol in the middle of nowhere you realise it was an out of date mapbook for a totally different country anyway.

    • Nessus says:

      You are a huge fan of a certain kind of car. Let’s say Ferraris.

      You pick up a game. Turns out in the game, there’s a whole mechanic dedicated to driving. All around the in-game landscape, there are billboards advertising Ferraris. The bar you meet your NPC friends in has Ferrari memorabilia all over one of the walls. The coffee table in your character’s in-game apartment is a piece of glass supported by 2 Ferrari rims. There are dealerships with Ferraris visible on the lots. The dealer NPC, when you talk to him, mentions the Ferrari specifically, and hypes it’s specs/abilities in a borderline non-didactic way, strongly implying this is a high-tier reward car. At one point one of your NPC friends arrives to a mission/cutscene in a Ferrari, and there is a conversation about his new car and how awesome it is. The Big bad’s “hat” is he’s a car collector, and the climactic showdown with him is repeatedly telegraphed as early as mid-game to revolve around a race or a car chase, implying the Ferrari is intended to be your endgame “superweapon”.

      You 100% the entire game, and at no point does it ever let you actually touch one, much less drive it. Despite his talk the dealer can’t sell you cars; he’s just scenery, and the cars on the lot are non-interactable. If the game has a theft mechanic, you can’t steal one, since they don’t spawn parked, and are invincible/uncatchable if threatened. When the end boss confrontation comes, you walk past his car collection in a cutscene, complete with a Michael Bay-ish moment where the camera singles out the Ferrari and practically licks it clean… then you go indoors and “fight” the Big Bad in a card game.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Guys,quit slacking:

    Clipboard of authority

    • Jabrwock says:

      I used to work in a large office building as IT, and on the way back to the department after dropping off our off-site data tape to the courier, would get flagged down to help solve all manner of trivial issues.

      If I carried a clipboard and looked worried, nobody would stop me.

  18. Blunderbuss09 says:

    The worst part about the incredibly poorly done ‘are synths human’ issue is that they could have tied it into the unique Fallout lore. Every other game has mentioned whether or not ‘mutants’ – whether that be supermutants, ghouls or wastelanders – are an inferior sub-species to humanity or if those mutants are superior to baseline humans.

    We know that a supermutant used to be human but they’re usually degenerated down to animalistic thought and emotion. We also know that a synth is constructed in a lab but capable of intelligent thought. Who is the most ‘human’ in this situation? What does ‘human’ even mean in a mutated and irradiated world? Even if they aren’t human are they the better species to rebuild the world than the humanity that wiped itself out? That is something they could tackle in this game.

    The game also shoots itself in the foot by making synths just fancy human clones rather than true androids. If they still had robot parts inside like a Terminator then the whole issue becomes more complicated because they are still machine but then that loops to the above questions on whether or not that should matter.

    • Jabrwock says:

      They could have gone the Caves of Steel route. Daneel had skin that would bleed if cut, could eat (although not digest), mimic breathing, etc. But a cursory medical exam would blow his cover.

      If you’re going to create synth infiltrators, you need a more “human” synth.

      • Ciennas says:

        To be fair to the Synth program, they did have 60 years to refine it to that point.

        Maybe that intermediary kind was involved in the Broken Mask incident, since there isn’t really a way to tell a synth otherwise.

        Hmm. Honestly, if the incident hadn’t happened, we’d have spent most of the game looking for rogue cybernetics tech, not advanced roboticists. Since I assume the Synth component is in fact a head based chippy…. thing.

    • potatoejenkins says:

      With the synths, Bethesda de facto created a new race for the Fallout universe.

      But unlike ghouls, “radiation” does not suffice as explanation.

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