Fallout 4 EP46: 2 Butt 2 Skarn

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Oct 12, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 125 comments

Link (YouTube)

So which choice is more vacuous and pointless?

  1. Imperials vs. Stormcloaks.
  2. Railroad vs. Institute vs. Brotherhood.

This can be about ideology, but it can also be a matter of aesthetics. Which conflict got the most investment out of you, or made you care about a particular faction?


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125 thoughts on “Fallout 4 EP46: 2 Butt 2 Skarn

  1. Warclam says:

    I was always a Stormcloak sympathizer, because following the Stormcloak guy at the beginning lets you kill the woman who sentenced you to death just because she was lazy. Fallout 4 doesn’t really have anything like that, so I guess Skyrim wins thanks to that one asshole?

    1. Ilseroth says:

      Honestly, I was a Stormcloak sympathizer but it was consistently chipped away bit by bit right up until I got to Windhelm and realized they were dumb, racist and generally incompetent. They try to paint a picture of Ulfric being “Passionate” but instead he just comes off as a complete idiot with no tact and absolutely no reason to hold a position of authority; not to mention the fact you find information directly linking him to the Thalmor.

      1. Warclam says:

        Yeah, fair enough. I like Balgruuf and Elisif and wouldn’t want to fight against them. But I’m a chronic restarter, so I never got far enough into the civil war storyline to actually choose a side. For me it really is just which family is your pal in Riverwood (I like Ralof’s family a little better but they’re both fine) and who you kill during your escape from Helgen. And seriously, screw that one captain.

        1. Kerethos says:

          I wholly agree with the instant catharsis granted by killing that one imperial captain who sentenced you to death on a whim at the start, preferably barehanded, several times over. Suplex of justice! Seriously, she’s just a very mean woman.

          But the Stormcloaks are just comically incompetent, racist fools led by a Thalmor collaborator, and not a single one of them says a peep about you or Lokir not being Stormcloaks – even though the horse thief screams at them to admit he’s not one of them. All while you’re struck with “mute protagonist syndrome”, which I guess escaping Helgen finally cures; as you discover the true purpose of your life: murdering things in a number of ways and leaving naked corpses in your wake. :P

          You also get free Iron and Steel ingots for life if you go Imperial at the start. Which is nice, considering it takes selling a single firewood to Hod to get the stuff you’d get from going Stormcloak. No sweet, sweet revenge though.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I was waiting for this one whole last week.

  3. Decius says:

    You can kill off everyone in the Brotherhood, Institute, and Railroad as soon as you meet them.

    I killed off the Railroad when they demanded I hand over the tech that I went through a lot of trouble to acquire before they would let me figure out what it did. I killed off the Institute when they didn’t have an explanation for why they killed every adult I knew. I could have killed off the Brotherhood, but they weren’t hypocrites and they had internally consistent justifications for their genocidal tendencies.

    1. Pax says:

      Conversely, you can kill off everyone in the Brotherhood, Institute, and Railroad in the Bunker Hill mission, and no one knows or cares! And whether you kills the synths, free them, or send the back to the Institute, not one of the factions holds it against you! What the hell is this mission? What is the point? It’s great for farming power armor and gauss rifles, though.

      1. Ilseroth says:

        Because the devs aren’t ready to say “now you have to pick your side” at that point, despite it being a logical point to do it. They wanted to hold that off as long as they could, since it means less content for the player to go through. Ensuring the player can access just as much content as any other player and that their choices *aren’t* meaningful is a huge part of their design process.

        1. Garrett Carroll says:

          See, Fallout 4 is the least challenging and moral Bethesda game ever. At multiple points could they have forced you to pick a faction. Forced you to make that difficult decision of who to help. Instead they carry the main quest onward with soooo many fetch and kill quests, the likes of which I had a hard time swallowing as I wallowed in a sea of sorrow over my dead son because I shot him with a laser rifle before attempting to speak to him. Yeah… the Institute was out of the question before it even started.

      2. potatoejenkins says:

        You can kill everyone from every faction even outside of quests as long as you do not kill named NPCs. Leave them for a few days and no faction will hold it against you.

        Alternatively, recruit a certain companion after Blind Betrayal. As long as you travel together the BoS considers you an enemy and you can kill as many as you like as long as you don’t kill named NPCs. Dismiss the companion and they love you again. Nobody will hold it against you. Neither killing sprees ‘nor traveling with an Exile.

        The Companion doesn’t care if you kill BoS members either, btw. They will happily join you while shouting “Ad victoriam!”.
        And after that they will constantly tell you how great it is to be part of the Brotherhood.

        They clearly put much thought into this.

    2. Jokerman says:

      If you kill them right away, how do you get that tech analyzed?

      1. Micamo says:

        You can do it yourself by hacking a terminal in their headquarters.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      So if you kill them all,do you get a special ending?One where you and your minutemen conquer boston?

      1. Vect says:

        It’s not so much that you can kill off the Brotherhood and the Institute so much as neither Maxson nor Father are Essential characters, meaning you can kill them as soon as you meet them. All it does is piss them off and completely lock you out of content for them, I think. You can however wipe out the Railroad as soon as you meet them.

        Preston however is basically the game’s version of Yes Man, IE; the game’s way of ensuring that you can complete the game somehow and thus is Essential (as well as the standard Companion Immortality). So yeah, killing the other factions doesn’t get you a “special” ending so much as it just means that you’re now forced into the Minutemen ending like how pissing off the NCR and Legion and killing House locks you into the Wildcard storyline.

    4. GloatingSwine says:

      The Brotherhood manage to win the internal consistency fight in this game, being merely inconsistent with every other portrayal of them in the Fallout series to date…

  4. Mormegil says:

    Institute. Because when all choices are equally dumb, choose the side with the cleanest lavatories.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Institute. Because screw being railroaded by The Railroad into joining them to advance the main quest.

    2. No One says:

      Institute, because when given the option of taking over the organization with the best tech, weapons, and means of production, you take it.

      1. potatoejenkins says:

        Yeah, if I didn’t have the Wasteland Workshop DLCs, I would’ve thought twice about dumping the Institute.

        I’ll only regret not having fluffy towels. God, could we not at least save the fluffy towels please?

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This sums up the cinematic for old republic the best:


  6. Pax says:

    Where’s the option to convince Father his way is wrong and then in despair and remorse he kills himself and blows up the Institute? That’s a thing that happens in Fallout games, right?

    1. MrGuy says:

      I just wanted the option to blow up those synths I recaptured so no one else could have them.

    2. Christopher says:

      That’s the final boss of Mass Effect 1.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Ah,but fallout has changed.

      1. Gruhunchously says:

        [Insert MGS4 parody monologue here]

    4. Matt Downie says:

      You can at least try. Wait until the ‘Bunker Hill’ mission, rescue the synths, then try to convince him they were sentient beings in need of your protection.

      You’ll fail, but that’s not unreasonable. A guy who’s been pursuing the Institute’s crazy goals – hide in a bunker indefinitely, building rebellious androids and robot gorillas for unfathomable purposes – for fifty years isn’t realistically going to change his mind on the basis of a single conversation.

      But maybe you did affect him; after that, he acts as though robo-mini-Shawn is sentient. And he allows himself to start dying of natural causes even though he has access to life-extending technology, which is practically suicide.

      And then you can side with the Minutemen, who at least have mostly sane motivations – protecting farmers from raiders, ferals and supermutants.

      1. Pax says:

        This is the route I took the first time through. I kind of played along with all the factions to see where they were going, but the game gave me the opportunity to give Father a piece of my mind on the roof of CIT, and I did.

        And then suddenly my options were Brotherhood or Minutemen.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Christopher….why DOyou….hate…me for just walkin’?

    1. MrGuy says:

      They see me walkin’.
      They hatin’

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Dont feel bad Goddamnit,it couldve been worse:


  9. Wide And Nerdy® says:

    So how many synths is it?

    We’re not counting Deacon right? I know Shamus thinks he’s a synth but Deacon lies a lot and if you press him, he’ll tell you thats one of the lies.

    So we have Nick, the obvious synth. Curie who can end up as a synth. And Danse who is unbeknownst to him a synth As well as Hancock. Turns out that drug that Hancock took that he thought turned him into a ghoul actually killed him and the Institute harvested his brain for an experimental ghoul synth. It could be true, you don’t know. I’m certainly not trolling Mumbles.

    We really don’t know. Everybody in your party could be a synth. You could even be a synth. Think about it. Every other cryogenic pod failed. Maybe the technology didn’t really work. Father calls letting you out an experiment. Maybe he wanted to see if a paternal/maternal instinct could be simulated in a synth.

    Could you imagine the usefulness of that? Take everything you feel about that baby, swap out the baby for something else, and the synth will hunt through hell and high water for it.

    We have synth gorillas, why not synth Super Mutants? They’d be very useful. Why do you think Strong is so cooperative? Its because his synth programming recognizes you on some level because you’re like Father.

    Maybe the Institute already succeeded in replacing everybody in the Commonwealth with synths, including the Institute staff and Father. Some of the research was destroyed so that synths would seem less sophisticated to the Synth Institute so they wouldn’t suspect that they themselves are synths.

    And the trees are synth trees for no good reason.

    And you’re a synth. You in real life are a synth.

    So I disagree with Campster who is secretly a synth but he doesn’t know it and if he finds out, then the memory reset is activated and he becomes Josh This game has a unified vision because everything is synths.

    1. Henson says:

      Oh wow. I really, really like that idea of ‘testing the emotional bond’ of a synth. And it makes sense why Shaun wouldn’t help you find him, either, because the more hardship you go through, the more sure he can be of the synth’s devotion. The major sticking point, of course, it that it gives the player no incentive to side with the institute, but if we’re changing something as fundamental as this, I suppose the entirety of the endgame has to change, too.

      Still, that’s cool. Very Bioshock.

      1. acronix says:

        That’s very similar to something one of the main characters in the Far Harbor DLC speculates about you. You are railroaded into telling him that the first thing you remember is something that happened in the tutorial section. This makes him think that you must be a synth, because a real person would probably have more memories than that.

        1. Thomas Lines says:

          Oh wow, that’s so dumb. And worse because they probably thought it was great. Imagining your back story is one of the conceits they ask you to accept as a player. You need to do something more if you want to mess around with it

        2. potatoejenkins says:

          Oh wow! And since Nick remembers more than just the day when he woke up in a trashcan, he can’t be a synth! Wow. *mind blown*

          (This is so dumb, it doesn’t even work as a bad joke.)

      2. Blunderbuss09 says:

        Well you could still side with the Institute if it was clear that this was Father’s personal project that the rest of the scientists didn’t know about and you could kill him in revenge.

        But like people have said literally any change to the story is better than the original.

        1. Matt Downie says:

          You could side with the Institute because you hope to take over the Institute and use their powers for good (or evil). It makes as much sense as anything else.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      We're not counting Deacon right? I know Shamus thinks he's a synth but Deacon lies a lot and if you press him, he'll tell you thats one of the lies.

      And how do you know that he is not lying when he tells you that he is lying?

      1. Henson says:

        “My dear Doctor; they’re all true.”

        “Even the lies?”

        Especially the lies.”

        1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

          Certainly one of Garak’s best lines.

          Related. “I am not Dr. Bashir, and we are not sparring amiably over lunch” They really should have known what they had with Garak and Odo sooner.

          I love it when later on, Sisko uses Garak to keep Odo’s mind occupied with stories of intrigue so Odo thinks less about his suffering. It reflects things I like about all three of them.

    3. Ledel says:

      Taking this one step further, it could help to explain why you might be a soldier who has only mental stats but no good physical starts, or a lawyer who is all physical stats but dumb as a brick.

    4. Jokerman says:

      “You could even be a synth. Think about it. Every other cryogenic pod failed. Maybe the technology didn't really work. Father calls letting you out an experiment. Maybe he wanted to see if a paternal/maternal instinct could be simulated in a synth.”

      I like this plot :P

  10. MrGuy says:


  11. Da Mage says:

    Institute, cause if your going to pick a side, pick they one with advanced technology, a well defended base and clean rooms.

  12. Adrian Burt says:

    Imperials vs Stormcloaks. Because I’m more invested in Elder Scroll lore than Fallout, and because of the two games presented I’ve only played Skyrim.

  13. Jonathan Scinto says:

    Institute, because you’re in charge at the end, and they have clean floors.

  14. Daniel England says:

    I think Skyrim did the factions better, though neither holds a candle to New Vegas (obviously). Stormcloaks vs. Imperials is a good conflict. It isn’t stupid (mostly), unlike every option in 4. And it also pulls the whole bait-and-switch where you think the Stormcloaks are the Good Guysâ„¢ but it turns out they’ve got a lot of racists. I remember excitedly making my way to Windhelm, the Stormcloak capital, and looking to join up. Then they tried to send me off on some bullcrap errand, and I was just like “…Nevermind then.” And then I joined the legion.

    I think I recall from the Skyrim season many of us came to the conclusion that the civil war idea was one of the few things Bethesda did right. It’s kind of amazing that when they tried factions again, none of them were in any way interesting.

    1. It wasn’t that the civil war idea was good, it was that they let you have a peace conference.

      However, the leaders of each Skyrim faction are immortal. Even on the radiant quests after the main quest is done has you raiding camps run by whichever side you’re opposed to, but it still marks the commanders of those camps as essential!

      At least Fallout 4 lets me vent my frustration with lethal force.

  15. Christopher says:

    Speaking with all the expertise of a person who only knows Fallout 4 from this let’s play and never did the civil war quests in Skyrim: The Skyrim conflict is introduced immediately, you get an early chocie between them and you can see each side’s point of view and how they got there. I don’t give a crap about the Fallout 4 conflict. The Railroad seems to be the least villainous, so I guess I’d support them, but I haven’t been paying close attention to what either side wants here. They just seem to be the ones that don’t have murder airships or killer robots.

    If we’re talking aesthetics then the Legion can go back to Asterix where they belong while I party it up with some vikings, and The Institute gets my vote for being the only clean and pretty place in the world.

  16. Jonathan Scinto says:

    Michael Kirkbride!

    Bethesda hired Chris Avellone. Maybe they can get him to help with the writing?

    1. Quent says:



      Oh my God! He’s working on Prey… Huh…

      You know, I wasn’t all that impressed by the reveal trailer but the more I hear about it the more interested I become. It seems to be tossing around an interesting setting, some lovecraftian ideas (which seems to be in fashion at the moment; I wonder what the next thing will be), and they allow you to select the main characters fully voiced gender (They did a version of the gameplay trailer with her here).

      1. tmtvl says:

        Yeah, I’d say Bethesda writing staff hasn’t got a lick of sense.

        1. bitterpark says:

          They’ve really been screwing the pooch lately

  17. Ateius says:

    I cared a lot more about Imperials vs. Stormcloaks than I did about the factions in Fallout 4 (why are Minutemen not in the list? Are they … not a faction? They feel like a faction…). They build a lot of the world around the idea of this divide between the Empire loyalists and Stormcloak rebels. It’s in your face right from the start, you get a sympathetic character to face for each, and in every tavern you come across there’s songs about the fighting and NPCs will sometimes comment on their allegiance. Then there’s the patrols fighting each other in the border zones, and the way the conflict comes into the main quest as something which needs to be resolved (or at least have a truce negotiated) before you can move on.

    The actual execution of the civil war left something to be desired, but the setup was very well managed and it got me hooked in right away. It helps that I’d played multiple Elder Scrolls titles before and knew the background of the Empire. Both sides managed to present an excellent case, and on my first playthrough, I actually wasn’t able to pick a side until the revelation in one main quest mission that … guy with the face … Head Stormcloak Dude (Ulfar?) was an unwitting Thalmor sleeper agent and an independent Skyrim played right into their hands. So I joined the Empire, because screw elves.

    In contrast, I’m barely even aware that the factions in FO4 are in conflict/exist. I’m apparently worried about recovering my baby, which isn’t even “my” child because damn if someone with my complexion produced that snow-white infant. Clearly I married someone who had a child from a previous engagement…

  18. Ilseroth says:

    When it comes to the three sides; I think Railroad sticks out as the obvious “good” choice. They do a lot in the game to paint the third version of synths as, basically, people with real emotions and thoughts and once they are free of the institute, free will. Yeah that means some of them will murder folks, but given the sheer number of raiders out there, that seems endemic to free will. The only real problem is, they are massively incompetent. You can blame this on them being RPG NPCs and therefore never ever able to handle their own problems… but still.

    The Institute is supposed to seem appealing because they hold a potential future for the wasteland other then… well… wasteland. They are clean, their tech is beautifully maintained (mostly) and having a force of loyal robots would help a lot. Unfortunately, Father comes off as brainwashed, as opposed to appealing, turns out his reasons for letting you out are kinda messed up, and they seem to be completely incapable of controlling the synths, despite their endless belief in their importance.

    Finally the Brotherhood were the “Good Guys” of FO3, coming in and saving everyone and giving you a giant robot and so on and so forth; I am glad that they are closer to their original interpretation in FO4 but it also means they are a bit less easy to pick as a “Good” choice. I would say they are the neutral option if it wasn’t for the fact that they make you go after the Railroad. Going after the institute makes sense, they are generating synths which are, to a group that simultaneously exalts and is horrified by technology, a major issue. The railroad on the other hand is way less important, and is just considered “Against their goals.” It makes sense, but I should think there would be some way to talk them down from mass murder,

    1. ehlijen says:

      The brotherhood in FO4 is clearly fascist and xenophobic.

      But the railroad didn’t work for me as ‘good guys’ either, in part due to how the institute was handled: Neither side will say anything about the synth infiltration and people replacement that pushed the plot in Diamond city and goodneighbour. Who are those synths? Why are they doing that? Is it an institute experiment that father just won’t ever mention and you’re not allowed to bring up? Is it the railroad trying to hide more synths in the population?

      You’re not allowed to ask, and no one says anything about it, not even to condemn the other side on the issue. To me, that made it feel as though both sides could be complicit.

      So I went minutemen for no other reason that being unable to ask the question that might have made me trust the railroad.

    2. GloatingSwine says:

      The Railroad is only the “good” faction if you ignore the way they mindwipe the synths they “save”, functionally killing the person they were before implanting a whole new personality.

  19. Viktor says:

    Stormcloaks. BC the Empire tortures people and wants to execute you to save on paperwork. When the choice is between 2 groups of bigots(religion vs race), choose the side that’s not evil dictators. Plus, the Empire already lost the war to the elves once due to their dumbass politicians, at least the Stormcloaks are trying to fight them.

    And I still care about that conflict, so Skyrim did it better. Though New Vegas did it best. Theres legit reasons to side with any group other than Legion. I honestly can’t call one of them “best”. That’s hard to do.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Plus, the Empire already lost the war to the elves once due to their dumbass politicians, at least the Stormcloaks are trying to fight them.

      True, but the way it was presented would be like the Warsaw Pact going to war with NATO, getting their buts thoroughly kicked and surrendering. Then Lithuania wants to start things back up again, and when the Soviets tell them to pipe down and shut up, Lithuania declares war on the Soviet Union and NATO simultaneously.

      The Stormcloaks are spoiling for a fight they can’t possibly win.

      They can’t win it if the Empire was fighting enthusiastically at their side. Let alone with them on the sidelines. Let alone actively fighting AGAINST them.

      There’s having principles and there’s being ludicrously suicidal.

      1. Matt Downie says:

        Well, let’s say NATO surrenders and then agrees to enforce a Communist dictatorship on all of Europe in exchange for a modicum of independent rule. They ban all religion and execute anyone who tries to exercise freedom of speech or crosses a border illegally (while some within their ranks are secretly planning for fight for freedom at some unspecified period in the future). And then Scandinavia starts an uprising. They also become pretty racist: “Scandinavia for the Norse! Death to the Slavic peoples!”

        NATO comes in to crush the Scandinavian independence movement (the Soviets leave them to it, figuring the longer it drags on and the more these Westerners kill each other, the better for maintaining their rule).

        Somehow, Scandinavia wins. I wonder what happens next? Maybe they have to fight another war with the Warsaw Pact? Maybe the Soviets have started a war with China and India by this time and have bigger things to worry about?

        I think the metaphor falls down because the Stormcloaks appear to somehow have no numerical disadvantage, even though logic suggests they’re fighting everyone in the world.

    2. Nessus says:

      Every faction in Skyrim tortures people. Only the Thalmore embassy mission calls attention to it, but they all have torture dungeons in their cities. It’s pretty much just part of the background scenery of the pseudo-medieval setting.

      The Stormcloaks are way bigger evil dictators than the Imperials. The Imperials aren’t even dictators.

      Basically, once you start looking around and talking to NPCs, you find that the Empire has always been pretty hands off apart from the religion thing, and Skyrim is economically prosperous as direct a result of being part of the Empire. The religion thing is very recent and begrudging on the Empire’s part, with their own enforcement being mostly “just keep it out of sight, okay?”. It’s the Thalmore justicars that are doing the Spanish inquisition thing, and the Empire doesn’t want them around any more than the Nords do.

      The Stormcloaks on the other hand are fanatical traditionalists and xenophobes centered on a cult of personality around a Thalmore agent provocateur. It’s made clear that an ethnic cleansing jag is next on their to-do list if they win the civil war, and it’s implied that aside from religion, the average Nord will have less freedom under their rule (traditional conservatism will become law instead of personal preference). Plus there’ll be a big economic drop from cutting themselves off from the Empire. Stormcloaks win = hard times for most of Skyrim.

      Plus, in the bigger picture, it pretty much seals their fate when the Empire/Thalmore cold war heats up again. If the Empire loses Skyrim, or even if the civil war goes on too long (it’s implied things are already on the knife edge of too late), the Empire will fall to the Thalmore. If the Thalmore conquer the Empire, things will get WAY suckier for Skyrim fast (especially with a Thalmore patsy on the throne, but even without).

      Basically, when you start talking to NPC’s the pattern is that the Stormcloaks don’t really have a platform other than demagoguery. Their only non-evil talking point is the freedom of religion thing, and they’re basically just using it to grab power by misdirecting people’s ire at the Empire instead of the Thalmore.

  20. Flux Casey says:

    Imperials v Stormcloaks was the better conflict. At least in that they gave the whole thing a little nuance and allowed you to see it. Every character was aware of the conflict and had a stake in it somehow, and a lot of them were willing to talk it out with you.

    Stormcloak sympathisers were mad about the Talos ban. Some saw the empire as weak, dead weight. Some hate the Emperor specifically for capitulating to the elves. Some were tired of losing their kin to protect Cyrodil. Some see Ulfric as upholding Nord traditions while the Imperials spit on them. Some just straight up hate elves and beastfolk.

    Imperial sympathisers were mad about the threat to stability. Some see the rebels as traitors as bad as the Forsworn. Some see the rebellion as a betrayal of Nord ideals. Some see leaving the empire (paradoxically) as a slight against Talos, the Empire’s founder. Some particularly savvy people realise the rebellion plays into Thalmor hands. Some just really want the Empire’s gold.

    You can go around Skyrim asking people what they think of the war and you’ll receive those opinions and more. But in Fallout 4 you get people screaming in terror about synths or you get people saying synths are people too. No one really mentions the Brotherhood much. All people will say about the Minutemen is that they suck, and when they eventually don’t suck people will say they exist.

    There’s four factions here but they seem to exist in a vacuum. Very few people outside of them have opinions on them and when they do they’re pretty much “the Institute is evil” and “the Railroad is good/evil”. And that’s all the outsider’s perspective you’re gonna get.

    1. Blunderbuss09 says:

      Wow, that’s a good point. The only faction people talk about realistically is the Institute but in the end they only cower in fear or try and ignore it. There’s no attempt at pushback or retaliation like with Convenant trying methods to detect synths.

      It makes sense that people wouldn’t talk much about the RR, because they’re a secret, but they can talk about the rumor of ‘freed’ synths or that the RR think they’re people.

      Maybe people could talk about joining the BOS to have a decent life, how they traded technology for medicine, or how they’re doing with the DC wasteland (because we know nothing about that).

      As for the Minutemen people only say how sad it is that they were wiped out and then hooray they’re back! There’s no concern about the previous infighting, how the Gunners might come after them, or joining for glory and adventure.

      Just these NPC comments would round out these factions and the conflict a lot more.

      1. MrGuy says:

        Honestly, if they’d done a little more fleshing out of the Gunners and given them a less terrible name, they might have been a more interesting faction, maybe even one you could side with. The tradeoff between them and the Minutemen would (in theory) be that while the Minutemen are overly idealistic altruists, the Gunners value strength, and only take what they feel they can defend. Sort of like the NCR/Legion dichotomy, but a bit more relatable on both sides.

        Of course, the big issue is that, like the Institute, the Gunners don’t really WANT anything in particular.

        1. Blunderbuss09 says:

          Exactly. Pick between the ruthless and selfish Gunners that get shit done, or the idealistic and moral Minutemen that have already gone under before due to internal weakness.

          Then instead of random ‘kill ghouls to get a settlement quest’ you would actually have to sway settlements from using the Gunners as protection to the Minutemen. Or vise versa, telling settlements that it would be in their best interest to get in on the Gunner’s protection racket. This would obviously cause a lot of complications and moral problems.

          1. Coming_Second says:

            Don’t understand why the Gunners aren’t used as a protection racketeer threat against your reborn Minutemen movement, even if only as a “they are the bad guys” thing. Why do they even exist?

            1. Axe Armor says:

              They exist to drop combat armor.

              1. GloatingSwine says:

                And energy weapons.

                Given that the Gunners are immediately aggressive to everything I find it hard to buy the idea that they’re supposed to be mercenaries, they’re just raiders that are better tooled than usual.

  21. Blunderbuss09 says:

    I only messed around in Skyrim for a bit before I got bored but I cared more about that conflict too. Everyone had understandable reasons for believing what they did, both had a good balance of positives and negatives, and it was all mixed together with tradition and politics and cultural identity.

    In Fallout 4 it’s three factions slap-fighting because They’re Against Our Ideals. The battle of Bunker Hill is a perfect demonstration. You could have a three-way all out war between everyone but it’s just a bunch of idiots running around. The Railroad heavies even let you walk out even after enslaving those synths!

    The only faction I ‘cared’ about was the Institute because blowing up the most advanced society ever would be such a waste, but that was more about wanting to help the wasteland than giving a damn about them personally. I also felt disappointed about the BOS going back to fascism but they were so badly humanized that any sense of tragedy or irony was lost.

    The RR was the most likable though because it had so many awesome characters.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Yeah. Let’s talk about the Battle of Bunker Hill for a second.

      I get why the Railroad and the Institute would be fighting. They have diametrically opposed ideals on the subject of synths, and both think the other is “the bad guy.”

      Why the blue heck is the Brotherhood fighting either of them?

      The Brotherhood (back to their canonical roots, in theory) values technology, with the theory being that they keep technology alive. The Institute should inspire awe in them. These are people who they would actually LOGICALLY want to have join with them (unlike all those mook protagonists who they invite into their club because REASONS). If they can’t join them, they’d want to trade with them. Their mission is to collect and preserve technology, and the Institute has the best tech they’ve ever seen. What does the Brotherhood have to gain by fighting the Institute?

      Meanwhile, the Brotherhood has no real reason to be fighting the Railroad. The Railroad may be setting “technology” free, but they’re not really hurting anyone. The Brotherhood isn’t evil, or particularly power-hungry. They don’t fight people without something to gain. Really? The ability to capture four escapted synths is enough for them to go all LOL MURDER on the Railroad from their Final Fantasy airship? WHY?

      I know the game handwaves it, but other than “because we said so” there’s, like, no reason for the Brotherhood to be here.

      1. Blunderbuss09 says:

        Shockingly the BOS hating the Institute does make sense; the BOS was formed because of unethical lab experiments and science without moral restraint, which is the Institute’s modus operandi. But you’re right that they wouldn’t want to destroy the Institute, they’d want to take it over to safeguard its technology and only destroy it if they had no choice.

        As for the RR – this is going a bit into fan theory here – but they could have explained the BOS’s sudden turn to fascism by fleshing out Elder Maxon. The guy is twenty. You meet him as a kid in FO3 and he says he’s been told that his ‘soul has been forged from eternal steel’ because of his bloodline.

        So you have a kid groomed to lead a traditionalist order of soldiers that just recovered from a civil war while in his teens. Him leading the BOS into a hardline fascist order in order to keep power with such a shaky foundation makes sense. That means that the RR has to die. He can’t allow any sympathy or exceptions otherwise the civil war could start all over again.

        1. potatoejenkins says:

          Blind Betrayal and Tactical Thinking (aka wipe the Railroad) are connected. The BoS/Elder Maxson know/s about the Railroad. And then it turns out one of them was a synth all along. And not just anybody. One of the leading members and the Elders’ friend.

          They were compromised and they are paranoid. Wanting to wipe out the Railroad, who places synth all over the place in the population, is the next logical step. For paranoid people like Maxson and Kells at least.

          Concerning the “new” BoS being more militant: Young Maxson brought the Capital Wasteland Outcasts back into the fold. Or so his terminal entry claims. The Commonwealth BoS has the mindset of the Outcasts. Lyons’ BoS is dead and looked down upon.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        While the bortherhood values tech,they dont think anyone but them should handle it.So it does make sense that they would want to destroy the institute and take all their stuff.

      3. ehlijen says:

        The brotherhood is also looking at expanding their influence, and putting down two warring factions making hell for the civilians in the region might just be how they envision gaining popular support.

      4. guy says:

        The BOS just hates synths, I guess because they’re tech that might not so what they’re told.

  22. I liked Institute way more as I thought that you could change the institute (since you where now it’s leader).

    The optional and not so obvious peace “round table” meeting in Skyrim was interesting (a shame something similar was not possibly in Fallout 4), but the divying up of the holds seemed odd to me.

  23. JessieShye says:

    As someone who worked with Bethesda on a non-Fallout 4 title, your speculation on the creative writing / world building process is pretty on point and fairly standard for their titles. For example, the project I was on had writing broken up into map zones, with each zone being given to separate writing teams and assigned a certain set of graphical resources. Essentially, each team would create stories/lore/quests separately with a little communication between them. The sheer amount of planning and text involved in just one zone made it hard for us to collaborate between teams because we had to be constantly moving from one quest to another in order to get everything proofread and in a usable state for the program/design people. Again, I can’t speak for the Fallout 4 team, though I was working with Bethesda while it was in production and was able to make a few friends on the team who had a similar experience.

    Sorry if I come off a little rude. This is the first ‘season’ of yours I’ve seen, and I finally caught up to a point where my comments would be relevant. You guys have great chemistry as a group, by the way! :)

    1. Henson says:

      I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out how your comment could possibly be construed as rude. No such luck.

      As to your experience, I imagine most open-world games would use a similar tactic, given just how much content you need to fill the entire world. What I’m wondering is, do you think the Bethesda process is more or less interconnected than the industry average for a game of this size/type? And how much is that process shaped by an overarching guide regarding story, themes, player options, etc.?

    2. Rutskarn says:


      Thank you very much for your excellent and illuminating comment. It didn’t come off rude at all.

      And even if it had, we can hardly complain about an informed individual being rude to us when we’ve spent three Spoiler Warning seasons, plus a long-form essay series and a text Let’s Play, being rude to Bethesda.

      Thanks for watching!

    3. Blunderbuss09 says:

      This makes me want to cry. I realize that making videogames takes processes and necessities that I don’t understand but … this is basic storytelling 101. At the very least you would need a team of editors keeping an eye on everything to make sure it all made sense. Or at least a lore/game bible that they can all use as a reference that would be updated as the stories were written. Just … ugh.

      1. Dev Null says:

        Totally agree. The process is essentially exactly the same as modern episodic TV, and they’ve been managing that for years. The head writer sketches an overall story (maybe, if you’re lucky, takes feedback on that from the rest of the writing team) then divides it up into chunks with a rough “you will start here and must get to here by the end of your episode” and splits it out into different writing teams. Those teams try to write a real compelling story that gets them from their start to their finish with some kind of dramatic tension within the episode and then they have to pitch their episode back to the whole writing team. Which gives everyone a chance to say “Hey! That’s not how the Dave I wrote about would react” and you can try to wrangle out a consistent personality for each character, and tie all the stories together into a dramatic whole. It’s not _easy_ (I’m certain, but have no actual experience to back me up.) But it’s not exactly breaking entirely new ground to manage it either.

        1. Blunderbuss09 says:

          Exactly. Comic book companies with multiple titles have managed this too and many famous arcs have been criticized for not having everyone on the same page (looking at you, Civil War). Yes, FO4 is a huge undertaking but having a coherent story is right up there in priority as shooting mechanics.

          Worse than that I don’t think these writing teams were ever given a briefing of the overall story. What is the theme of the story? How should each faction be characterized and why does it act the way it does? What are the motives of the antagonists? And so forth. It’s more like each team got an individual briefing and thus came away with slightly different answers to the point that it’s a muddled mess. That’s why everything seems so half-assed; you can’t implement five different ideas properly without hacking them all down and mushing them together to get one finished piece.

          1. potatoejenkins says:

            I stopped bothering with Marvel/DC because of this crap.

            I guess this is a sign.

          2. Dev Null says:

            Speculating wildly, I’d be unsurprised to learn that there were fewer full-time writers involved in FO4 than there were in a season of your favorite show, or the whole of one of those comic book arcs. You may not always get great story just by paying a bunch of writers to work on it, but you’ll rarely get something great if you aren’t willing to pay to put some people on it.

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      But isnt it standard practice in cases like this to have a lead writer/editor?Someone whose only job would be to go through what everyone has written and make sure that it all fits together.

      1. That kind of job (title) would be Continuity Supervisor.

        Disney has a dedicated department at Lucasfilm for that now.

        The way Bethesda does it makes sense (I’m all for modular design). It’s a very efficient way to do it, but it’s also very easy to mess things up.
        Also Bethesda isn’t as much storytellers as they are world builders, each new game is a new world.

    5. Christopher says:

      Nice! I love it when there are developers in comments to shed some light on the speculating.

    6. Do you have any idea if this is why some places seemed so disconnected from the main world or seemed empty?

      I’m thinking of the RobCo shopping mall area, which apart from finding a passcard/ID in another area to shut off the security, it has no bearing on the rest of the game. The same goes for the Boston Bugle, which I would’ve bet money on being a part of a quest for Piper (like to get parts for her printing press), but it was just another place with doors on the outside to let you into an area for some killin’ and lootin’.

    7. Ooh! You worked on Skyrim! Did you get to create any characters?

  24. Mild spoiler regarding freeing or not freeing the 4 synths. you can free them, kill the courser, and talk your way back into the good graces of Shaun during the roof scene.

    1. Lachlan the Mad says:

      What happens if you free half of them and kill/disable the others?

    2. Ledel says:

      You can do that, but I feel like the reason they allow for it, is because you have to keep working with the Institute to continue the Railroad quest line.

  25. Alexander says:

    With regard to the people making new music/art thing that was briefly mentioned, in the nuka world DLC the radio DJ sings songs that he wrote. They aren’t very good and he can’t sing very well, but he does write his own stuff. This makes raiders the most culturally advanced population. Go Bethesda.

    1. Pax says:

      Don’t forget the singer in Goodneighbor, and they eventually play her stuff on Diamond City Radio as well. Apparently it’s only the low class and malcontent who have creative energy.

  26. Riley says:

    Fallout 4 had more potential for a good ideological conflict, but the game never let me argue about it with anyone, or even bring up most of the stuff I was thinking about in the first place

    Skyrim’s “civil war” was basically throwaway exposition, but at least the game treated it that way instead of making it the main questline
    Not that Skyrim’s main plot was much better, just half-assed instead of quarter-assed

  27. Ledel says:

    The FO4 factions are far, far stupider than the Skyrim factions to me for one reason. Where are the people who sympathize with an opposed faction, but still disagree with them? I think there might be a couple in the Institute, but where’s the railroad agent that says you really shouldn’t be taking synths from the Institute but still want them to be free? Where’s the member of the BOS who feels bad destroying later model synths because they are so human, but knows in their mind/heart that they aren’t really human?

    You got that kind of complexity in Skyrim. Several people supported the Empire, but turned blind eyes to people worshipping Talos. You had Stormcloaks who still wanted to be part of the Empire, but felt that Talos was too important to their history to be left by the wayside.

    I feel like I spoke to most of the people for the FO4 factions, and I never found someone who had the feel of “I know I’m doing what’s right, but that doesn’t mean I feel good about it.”

    1. Pax says:

      Very very few, but there are some, and I think that’s more to do with the fact that there’s barely anyone you can have a decent conversation with in this game. In the Institute, there’s Liam, the railroad’s contact, though he might not get a pass since he’s involved with the main plot.

      In the Brotherhood, you have Scribe Hayley, on Danse’s team, who isn’t quite sure about all the gungho-ness, and is definitely willing to give Danse the benefit of the doubt when it turns out he’s a synth. Also, there’s a mission for the Brotherhood where you track down someone who is stealing supplies to feed ghouls because he’s unnerved at the BOS’s habit of just mowing down the former humans.

      The real lack is of people in the Railroad who think that mindwiping is wrong. Everyone’s so cheerful about murdering the escaped synth’s minds. I don’t know if it’s better or worse that the synths in Far Harbor are horrified by it too. It definitely makes the Railroad look worse, since before Far Harbor you might imagine there’s something more to the mindwipe that you don’t understand.

      1. Ledel says:

        But that’s the thing, none of those people are what I’m talking about. They may disagree with their group on a fundamental level, but that’s different than sympathizing with an opposing group. Where’s the guy who says “OK, maybe the newer synths are more than machine, but that doesn’t mean the Railroad can just take them all away from us.” That would be a real human reaction and thought processes.

  28. Rack says:

    I found the central ideologies in Fallout 4 far more compelling and difficult to choose between than the Imperial Stormcloak divide. The Institute using technology to save the Wasteland at any cost, The Brotherhood too fearful of another Apocalypse to ever let such technology be developed and the Railroad who refused to accept the human cost of the Institute’s goals. Any one of these made sense.

    Until they started talking. And then. Yeah. Not a one made sense. So disappointing.

  29. Coming_Second says:

    I was never invested in the Imperials vs. Stormcloaks conflict, but it felt real, internally consistent and something that added depth and flavour to the setting. I was pleasantly surprised by the way neither side were obviously in the right, as well as the way the Stormcloaks’ fight for nationalistic emancipation provided cover for a lot of racism, as is often the case in such struggles. The fact that they had the Thalmor as ridiculous moustache-twirlers orchestrating all of it so there was a “real” enemy was weak, but at least they were a background element that couldn’t be third-wayed for players to have their cake and eat it.

    The synths and the three way conflict in F4 is just bullshit, from start to finish. The only side that comes out with any credit are the BoS, because at least their goals made some sort of sense. And that credit can’t go to Bethesda, because they didn’t even come up with them. The Railroad and the Institute are all theirs, their homegrown addition to the Fallout canon, how they imagine this universe works, and unfortunately that tells us an awful lot.

  30. Artur CalDazar says:

    The issue really is the lack of exploration of the central conflict, Synths. They are why everyone fights, to free, control or destroy them, remove them and one faction vanishes and the other two have no reason to fight. But we know very little about them and outside of a few people everyone you talk to gives the party line. An NPC in the institute more or less says “Our position on synths makes no sense, synths suck”, and that’s about the level of nuance. The Railroad maybe gets a little bit more, Deacon mentions they are unsure about Gen 1/2 synths and Glory seems to view synths as fundamentally the same as ‘other’ robots but the position on gen 3’s, the core issue of the conflict, is uniform.

    In Skyrim there is no central issue, but the many issues that make up the conflict, religion, culture, resisting the Thalmor, personal lust for power or wealth, racism of the casual variety vs fascism, etc. All of them get a good chunk of time for you to look at them, the introduction is horribly one sided but other than that it’s not so bad. It’s got issues, but if something there does grab you then you’re going to be given meat.

    The way you are utterly ignored by all factions at bunker hill is hilarious.

    1. Coming_Second says:

      What needed to happen, and clearly didn’t, was the lead writer putting up a whiteboard with “THIS is what a synth is: THIS is what a synth CAN and CAN’T do: THIS is why they’re being manufactured: THIS is how you tell one from a human” someplace everyone could see it.

      Instead we’ve got the product of a bunch of atomised teams attempting to write about a central element with the barest understanding of what it’s supposed to be or even what the essential theme is. I think NPCs’ constant assertion that this will all be explained later can also be pinned to this. “I don’t know, but don’t worry, somebody else does! Probably. Shoo along out of my jurisdiction now.”

  31. SPCTRE says:

    The choice in Skyrim was pretty toothless, much like the one in Fallout 4, but I generally preferred it because I’m an Imperial fanboy :o

    Not being able to decisively “win” the war was a major disappointment, in some ways one could argue that at least in Fallout 4, you can be sure that you have “won”.

  32. Dev Null says:

    For me, Imperials vs Stormcloaks wins the “most vacuous” choice, because it was (as it appeared to me at least, in my game) essentially a noop choice between two nearly-identical factions of idiot jerks. In Fallout, I may have chosen the Railroad mostly because they were well-intentioned idiots, while the Institute were genocidal slaver jerk idiots, and the Brotherhood were racist jerk idiots, but at least I could tell the different brands of idiot apart.

  33. Grudgeal says:

    I liked the Stormcloaks vs. Imperial choice better. I mean, the whole civil war literally starts the beginning of the game, as it’s due to the civil war that your character is captured and attempted beheaded by the Imperials. Ultimately you can continue the rest of the game without finishing that plot line at all, unlike in Fallout New Vegas, but like in New Vegas it at least starts out being a motivating factor (House’s plan to tip the scales lead to the Platinum Chip delivery that got you shot in the head and the Stormcloak rebellion got you captured and almost beheaded) and you get the feeling that the whole cold war mentality between the sides dominates the entirety of Skyrim. In Fallout 4, the whole factions fighting thing doesn’t become important until, well, when does it become important? You never really get the feeling the wasteland at a whole is affected at all.

    For the record, I’ve always supported the Stormcloaks. As an amateur historian world-spanning empires in fantasy realms annoy me, and a state that lets foreign inquisitors within their own borders to snatch away citizens with impunity has failed at upholding its side of the social contract and should expect rebellion. Also, Imperials tried to chop my character’s head off.

  34. Mersadeon says:

    Imperials vs. Stormcloaks always seemed more interesting to me, since you can actually argue both sides convincingly.

    – if they don’t keep a grip on Skyrim, EVERYTHING may fall to the Talmor later on
    – A High King probably really shouldn’t be chosen by duel
    – Stormcloaks are huge hypocrites, since everything they accuse the Empire of (suppressing local culture, ruling without consent from the populace and vilification of age-old traditions and religious aspects) they do themselves with the Forsworn. Like, the exact same thing!
    – Ulfric MAY be a sleeper agent purposefully put in place by the Talmor
    – all that, you know, uncomfortable, hypocritical racism

    – the Imperials still really DO all those bad things, but at least the Stormcloaks are doing it for their own people, without imperialistic attitude
    – the whole “High King by duel” thing was absolutely accepted tradition at that point and the High King accepted the challenge, so executing someone for making use of it is, you know, pretty wrong
    – the Imperial situation with the Dominion may not ever get better, especially since the Empire is giving them free reign to manipulate it, so maybe it’s best to resist immediately

    Whereas in F4 it seems to be

    – builds cool shit for no reason?

    – they are saving people from slavery, how is this even a contest? Oh wait, cause the writing is bad.

    – don’t want anyone else to have cool shit

    Any actual debate seems to stem from the fact that the factions are ill-defined, never make their arguments and reasons clear or completely botch any attempt at it.

    Aesthetically, however, F4 obviously has cooler differences. Stormcloaks and Imperials don’t really have much “theme” going on. Also, the choice itself in Skyrim feels completely empty and unimportant.

    1. krellen says:

      The railroad is actually saving bodies from slavery, but arguably not people, since they mindwipe the synths they rescue. I’m not actually sure what their justification is.

  35. Regarding Shamus’ “What are their goals?!” for the Institute: The synth-raider is a perfect missed opportunity.

    Assuming the Institute was trying to repopulate the wasteland with synthetic humans, then releasing them to see what they’d do would make sense. You’re testing the autonomous functions of your creations, seeing how they’d operate in the field.

    When you get sent out to retrieve them, you’re doing so because they “went bad,” becoming for lack of a better term “evil,” if not counter to the goal of a new and better kind of humanity. The fact that a synth became a successful raider leader should also play into this.

    I’d love it if you could go back to Shaun and note that if a synth became as “bad” as a murderous human, then they succeeded in making sapient robots. Conversely, you could argue that there’s no difference in synth and human sapience, that the world is just broken and putting synths out there who can just be better villains is counter-productive.

    So many missed chances to fix their story at so many points in the game…

  36. I don’t mind things in Fallout 4 being made of junk, but it’d be nice if it was more like “found art” when it’s put together. Have a TV made of scrap, but the metal is cut well, some parts are painted to be more aesthetically pleasing, etc.

    Couches should be made from car bench seats that are still in good shape. A table from a plane wing is cool in any era. Heck, just having unique furniture from parts of the map (go to X downed plane to get some nice chairs/wings) would’ve been cool.

  37. WilliamontheMount says:

    I felt obligated side with the Imperials. Oblivion was my first TES game, and in Oblivion the Empire is objectively good- Patrick Stewart is the Emperor, Sean Bean is the heir, the Blades are your allies and restoring the rightful king is what will hold back the demon army. It’s more like Gondor in LOTR than, say, the British Empire. My gut reaction was “The empire I worked so hard to save in the last game is in trouble!” and I think this colored how I saw everything the two factions did and every new reveal about them, looking for justification for the Empire’s actions and highlighting the Stormcloak’s flaws. Like real-world politics. It was a preexisting emotional attachment that affected how I saw them. I think only Arena and Oblivion treat the Empire/Septims this way so people who played Morrowind or Skyrim first probably didn’t have this connection.

    1. Christopher says:

      Yeah, I just figured they were a big ol’ evil empire, and then later on, that they were a rather middle of the road empire caught between a rock and a hard place.

    2. tmtvl says:

      Same, the only problem I had with the Empire in Skyrim was their Jarl for Riften (Blackbriar) being the absolute worst NPC in that entire game.

      Maven Blackbriar is basically female Kai Leng.

  38. krellen says:

    I finished Skyrim, and dropped Fallout 4 after I met the shallowness of the whole thing, so I think Fallout 4 gets my vote for most vacuous and pointless.

  39. potatoejenkins says:

    I played until Blind Betrayal. Since then my character has killed more BoS members than the Capital Wasteland Super Mutants and the Enclave together. They don’t care though.

    I will end up “siding with” the Brotherhood.


    Because after talking to a certain NPC and starting a quest the Railroad will turn hostile. It will not matter what I did until then. For them or with them. Talking to this NPC, standing in range so this NPC will initiate a conversation, pardon, dialogue pop-up with my character will turn the Railroad hostile. No matter what I do or my character says. So they will die (and that’s a shame because not liking a faction or disagreeing with a faction is not motivation enough for me to kill them).

    I will not “side with” the Institute. And to get the option to use the Minutemen would require meta-gaming, because I’d have to randomly shoot someone in the Institute for them to turn hostile. And that’s something my character would not do.

    So Brotherhood it is.

    Personally I think every faction is as dumb as a pile of rocks. But at least the Brotherhood has side quests that gave me the feeling of doing something that has any amount of impact and choice (Lost Patrol, the airport investigation and the “feed the troops” radiant quest everybody hates). The stuff connected to the main quest sucks as bad as in the other factions though.

    1. Blunderbuss09 says:

      Woah, which NPC did this? I’ve never heard of this before.

      1. potatoejenkins says:

        After returning to turn in ‘Blind Betrayal’ to Maxson he tells you to talk to Kells. This starts ‘Tactical Thinking’. Having Tactical Thinking in your questlog alone already shuts down the Railroad NPC PAM. She will refuse to talk to you and consider you an enemy (without attacking you though). This will make you unable to turn in quests she gave you. If you haven’t gotten the Ballistic Weave mod already you are out of luck.

        If you proceed with the Brotherhood and talk to Kells he will tell you to join the attack on the Railroad HQ. This will make you an enemy of the Railroad.

        No, you can not go there and kill the BoS. No, you can’t try to initiate dialogue with any members of the Railroad.

        Mind you, I do not have a problem with the Railroad thinking you may have betrayed them. But why do the players previous actions not matter? My character is trying her best to help the Institute synths rebel – I did every quest for the Railroad. She defied her superiors orders to kill a supposed synth infiltrator. She is best buds with Nick.
        There are flags for this in the game. Flags that can be set with the console. Why is there no option for the game to call on these flags to check what your character did and what not?

        You helped the Railroad thus far? Yes. You killed the BoS attackers? Yes. Congratulations, Desdemona initiates dialogue with you and asks you on whose side you are on. For her to believe you if you say you are on the Railroads’ side, she demands you help with destroying the Prydwen (It is stupid, but Glory is dead, they want revenge and they need proof of your loyalty.). If you refuse you will be forced to kill them.

        It’s not perfect, but it is … something? Now I’d just have to mow them down. I really dislike the Railroad and I would not destroy the Prydwen. But I need a reason to destroy a faction other than “you talked to an NPC and got a quest”.

        Edit: The Tactical Thinking quest icon is hilarious. It’s an evil, evil BoS vault boy stomping the poor little Railroad lamplight. As we have seen in todays episode: The Railroad is an army, and they usually kick everyones ass at Bunker Hill.

        1. Microwaviblerabbit says:

          Plus, they already have this as an option for the Institute quest to kill the railroad, where you can side with the railroad, or choose to kill them.

  40. Kelerak says:

    Imperials, Stormcloaks, Institute, Railroad, Brotherhood…

    I choose Caesar’s Legion.

  41. potatoejenkins says:

    Last night I did a quest for the Railroad that involved checking on one of their safehouses that had gone dark. The conversation with Desdemona boils down to: We are pretty sure Coursers wiped our safehouse. Go there and investigate. If there are no survivors on the enemies side your cover will remain intact.

    Naturally, I stealth killed the courser as soon as I saw him. No one turned hostile and I cleared the whole building without a problem (aside from the turrets. They shot on sight.). Or so I thought. The problem was that the Courser wanted to talk to my character. My hidden character. Before he could, I killed him to keep my cover intact. And broke the quest.

    By not talking to the Courser the quest refused to update beyond “Investigate the location”. I had to use the console to progress. And when I reloaded to get the game to spawn the second Courser I had to kill (who turned hostile the moment the hostile turret saw me), the half of the building where Dogmeat got stuck in the elevator refused to load and the dog fell into the black void.

    I only play on survival mode. The mode that forces you to heal your companions if you want to keep them around.

    So I was stuck with a broken quest in a barely loaded building with an injured dog whimpering from beyond the black void.

    TL;DR: Turrets know what’s up. And always do what you are told. In the questlog. Not what the characters tell you. Or logic.

  42. Mathnygard says:

    Alternate title: “2 butts, 1 skarn”.
    You’re welcome.

  43. Microwaviblerabbit says:

    I much preferred Skyrim’s civil war because it actually had an affect on the world, and NPC’s cared a lot about it. The Imperial – Stormcloak conflict is literally the first thing you experience as the player. Fallout 4 doesn’t even introduce synths until the first act is almost over, and you never meet a ‘standard’ synth who isn’t hostile until you reach the Institute or do specific side quests. They should have had Gen 1 synths with Kellogg in the opening. We know they existed because of his memories.

    Nick Valentine is also terrible for the Synth related conflicts in the game, despite being a great character. As a prototype Gen 2/3, he is an exception unlike any other synth in the base game, yet the game treats him like a Gen 3 despite being obviously mechanical.

    I ended up siding with the Brotherhood, because it felt natural for my male ex-military character to fall back on the familiar. The Brotherhood also acknowledges your deeds and respects your rank a lot more than other factions. Troops salute, in shows up a lot in conversation, and you get a quest to teach the next generation. You even get to pull rank on several occasions to shut up NPC’s. Plus, the whole Gen 3 synths being based on Shaun’s, and thus your DNA thing made me uncomfortable so I decided to destroy all those abominations – except Nick because he is clearly a mechanical robot man.

    1. potatoejenkins says:

      Troops salute, in shows up a lot in conversation, and you get a quest to teach the next generation.

      I hate that quest. In a good way. Yes, it is an annoying escort mission with an immortal NPC. But it’s world-building. It characterizes the BoS. They want you to train children, want them to watch you mow down undesirables. That is kind of disgusting by our real world standards.

      And not everybody in the BoS likes it either.

      Where are these kind of quests when it comes to the other factions? What does killing a Courser tell me about the Railroad other than “We are enemies with the Institute”. What does pulling a lump of flesh out of a Super Mutant tell me about the Institute? They are scientists who do scientist…y things with dangerous … FEV … stuff. Whatever.
      No, I don’t care about settlements thankyouverymuch.

  44. Ciennas says:

    Skyrim’s choose a faction actually had two fleshed out factions with motivations, both being punked by asshole Nazi Mage Elves, who also had a clearly defined goal and motivation.

    Fallout 4 doesn’t. The Institute, against whom the other 3 factions lie opposed in some way, has no motive, so the whole thing starts to inevitably fall flat.

    So yeah. I chose the Imperials. They were an ideal worth holding together, just needed to scrub the garbage and grime out of the system.

  45. j0rdm31s73r says:

    To me skyrim handled introducing the factions a lot better, even though it immediately asked you to pick a side. Having the long, tedious introduction to the world was an awful start, but it made clear that the world was having a larger conflict with keyfigures already in their place. And then the Dragons attack. The player can follow most of the storyline, isolated from everyone, until they are required to pick a group of idiots to maintain or gain dominance in that one convenient castle.
    Fallout 4 tells you your son is gone, and that there are a bunch of survivors called the minutemen, and then whispers of institutes and synths crop up, and the brotherhood of contractual obligations appear, followed by an abolitionist movement that does not do a whole lot of abolitioning. And then your missing son turns out to be leader of the institute which ends that narrative thread. and it is decided that suddenly everyone needs to go to war.

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