on Sep 29, 2016
Look Bethesda, it’s simple: If you don’t want to give the player absolute power over the story, don’t claim they’re the “general” of an army of peons. If you want them to be constrained by the limitations of your prefab plot, then just leave them as an underling / hireling of whatever questgiver is making the decisions.
But if you ARE going to have someone promote you to “general” and then continue to give you orders, then at least deal with that conflict within the story. Have it be a joke between these two characters. Or make Preston Garvey a lunatic. What we have here is several different varieties of wrong. It magnifies our lack of agency, it makes Preston’s character even more ridiculous, it makes no sense, and it does all of this for no reason. Making the player character the “general” of the Minutemen doesn’t aid the story or lead to any kind of payoff.
The cast complained about the teleporter feeling a little out-of-genre. But as others have pointed out, Old World Blues had a teleporter. Here is why I think it works in one and not the other:
- In OWB, the teleporter is part of the super-science, which is central to the themes of the story. It’s supposed to be exotic and “out there”. In Fallout 4, you build the teleporter yourself with minimal fuss. Yes, I can accept that the Think Tank and The Institute can build teleporters in their secluded science base. I’m less accepting of wasteland rubble-farmers making a teleporter out of recycled desk lamps and automobile tires.
- Old World Blues was optional DLC that didn’t really feel like “Fallout”. That’s okay. We often give DLC a bit more thematic wiggle room. In contrast, we expect the central plot of a Fallout game to stick to the Fallout tone.
- Old World Blues is fantastic and Fallout 4’s story was written in crayon. We’re a lot more accepting of stuff if it leads to a fun payoff, and we’re a lot less tolerant of stuff that seems to bend the rules or tone of the world for no good reason.
The problem here isn’t that the teleporter exists in this story, it’s that the whole thing is just way too perfunctory. You show the plans to a guy who so far hasn’t shown any technical aptitude above the level of your average auto mechanic. He glances at it, says he can build it, and then does. This should be something that the player earns. Maybe he could send you to talk to some eggheads for additional help. Or maybe send you after some books. Or some exotic parts in a ruin. Each time you returned, another stage of the teleporter would be complete. This would create a sense that this project is a major undertaking and that you were pushing the boundaries. I know Sturges sends you to get “supplies” for it, but I think the main hurdle to be overcome isn’t the raw materials, but what to do with them.
Anyway, Chris needs to get mad more often. His anger-based analysis is way more incisive.