Fallout 4 EP47: Dying of Campster

By Shamus Posted Thursday Oct 13, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 147 comments

Link (YouTube)

Some people ignored the main quest. Some people did all the endings in various playthroughs. Some people were able to side with more than one faction.

I’m torn. I think the Minutemen are the least crazy in their goals, but the most boring to actually work with. I’ve played many characters to level 30, but I’ve only ever seen the ending credits once. I sided with the Institute. Yes, they’re evil imbeciles with no coherent goal and yes they force you to murder the other factions for no good reason. But when it was all over, I knew I’d get to live in a place with electric lights, clean food, and toilet paper.

Maybe life will be uncomfortable living with the guilt that I helped the robo-Fascists. Is that more uncomfortable than living in a pile of rubble and trading gunfire with supermutants and killbots every night? I doubt it.

But let’s say you have to choose once and for all. You have to choose one faction and destroy all the others because the game says so. Brotherhood of Steel, Minutemen, Institute, or Railroad. Which faction do you choose, and why?


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147 thoughts on “Fallout 4 EP47: Dying of Campster

  1. I-Spy says:

    Brotherhood, because I like hoarding technology and feeling superior to my fellow man. Also, I’m a sucker for flying.

    1. I’d have to go with the Minutemen, I think, if only because they’re the only faction that seems aware that a world exists outside their little fantasy romance bubble. The Brotherhood, Railroad, and Institute are all off in their own little universe.

  2. MrGuy says:

    Brotherhood. Because how am I supposed to do all the side quests without the airship?

  3. krellen says:

    Brotherhood, because they have way cooler iconography than anyone else.

  4. Phantos says:

    The problem is that I don’t hate Father because of anything inherent to Father as a character; I hate Father because the writers made him the dumbest thing ever. Yet I can’t shake the suspicion that they thought they were being really clever.

    Bethesda is so dumb that they think they’re smart.

    As much as I wish the SW crew would do more of the less godawful parts of this game, I guess I can’t blame them for wanting to get this season over with. It’s like if Skyrim was just the Thieves’ Guild quest over and over.

    1. Kelerak says:

      They did do one of the least awful parts of the game (the Silver Shroud quest), and that was a slog that took up a couple weeks.

      If it isn’t stupid, it’s boring.

      1. Phantos says:

        The Silver Shroud quest is like Phineas and Ferb.

        It’s not great, it’s just surrounded by so much garbage that it’s comparatively better.

    2. Chauzuvoy says:

      I mean, you can see how the writer’s room on this played out. They had a really cool idea for a character. He’s the PC’s son who is now the leader of the group that kidnapped him. And let’s play up the weird father/son angle even more by making his leadership very paternal. They’ll even call him Father. And the player has been fighting the institute and hearing horrible things about them, but not only is the Institute lead by your long-lost son, but he’s actually going to be a sympathetic character who kind of has a point. And it’s sophistication will contrast with the bombed out wasteland of the ‘real world.’

      The concepts of the Fallout 4 plot are pretty interesting. The Institute sounds like an interesting antagonist. Father sounds like an interesting character. And conceptually they are. But then you actually have to play the game and it’s so badly mishandled and stupid in the moment-to-moment that all the interesting high-level concepts for these places wind up totally failing. Bethesda’s writers on this one had some really cool ideas and absolutely no idea what to do with them, and it feels like they got so invested in their backstory and their world-building that they never thought about how to use all that effort in service of a decent story.

  5. potatoejenkins says:

    Everyone wiping a person’s mind can go die in whichever way they prefer.

    The Minutemen can’t keep two coppers together without their General. If they decide to follow their orders. Which they don’t always do, because “united we stand” is followed by “if it suits us”.

    The cat. I choose the cat.

    1. potatoejenkins says:

      I thought about it again and I think I’d only choose the Brotherhood because I wouldn’t want to blow up the ship.

      The Railroad continues to exist without HQ.

      The Commonwealth Militia will continue to exist without the Minutemen.

      I do not see any reason to preserve the Institute beyond making life more comfortable for myself. Teleportation will not save the world.

      The only reason I would not want to destroy the Commonwealth chapter of the Brotherhood is because that would start a war. A war I would start in the name of the Commonwealth without having any right to. So I’d want to keep these idiots alive until Maxson’s illusory notions of a great empire fall apart under his feet.
      The Commonwealth does not need the Brotherhood, but the Brotherhood needs the Commonwealth. What will they do if the farmers don’t sell them crops to feed their troops? Burn down their farms?

  6. Dev Null says:

    Minutemen. Because they are the least likely to hunt me down and kill me when I subsequently walk away from them. Or make the world unliveable for me after I break out on my own. Because the factions are all idiots, so why would I actually hang out with any of them long-term? Especially one that just forced me to murder the other 3?

    1. potatoejenkins says:

      Oh. Good point.

      Still Brotherhood. Predictable ally, predictable enemy.

  7. el_b says:

    the intitute, they may be chaotic stupid (i guess father is a cuftbert afterall) but if you take over you can at least pretend your character makes them a force for good when the games over. imagine what you could achieve if all those killbots lurking round the wasteland only targeted mutants and helped caravans, if they started rebuilding hospitals using state of the art technology and cyborging people up so they live for centuries. you have a cure for super mutants, you could save thousands right there and end a mjor threat to the people! use your tech to create fresh food or geck the land to make it arable again.

    1. yd says:

      Exactly this. I chose Institute and stopped before the ending because I decided my character would take control without destroying the wasteland in the process. It makes absolutely no sense to me, as a character who just stepped out of civilization a couple of weeks ago, to destroy such a source of power, technology, and potential.

      I also felt like running the institute was the only choice that would allow me to truly liberate the synths.

  8. Philadelphus says:

    You know, on the theme of why Father had cancer rather than anything else, you’ve got this world with fantastic radiated mutant creatures; why not apply that same line of thinking to diseases? Radmeasles. Direinfluenza. That sort of thing.

    1. Pax says:

      Since he was pre-War he could’ve been suffering from the ultimate pre-War disease: the New Plague, a genetically engineered superflu that FEV was developed to counteract.

      1. potatoejenkins says:

        What are you talking about? FEV was clearly developed to create Super Mutants.

        1. Raygereio says:

          Not sure if I’m missing the joke, but research for a cure to the New Plague (part of the Pan-Immunity Virion Project) was used to create the FEV.
          The whole super-mutant thing was basically an untended side-effect of a project intended to make people immune to biological warfare.

          1. potatoejenkins says:

            Is there a smiley for sarcasm? I should’ve used that. ;)

            (I still feel like that’s what the person thought who came up with the Commonwealth Super Mutants. “We need enemies. Super Mutants were popular. We need Super Mutants. Ok, someone experimented with FEV to … do things! Now we have Super Mutants.”)

            1. MrGuy says:

              So, FEV creates massive immunity, with obvious “becoming a Super Mutat” side effects.

              We met an institute scientist (Virgil) who developed a cure for “becoming a Super Mutant.” It’s still right there in his lab in the Institute.

              The answer is obvious. Father should infect himself with FEV, let it cute his cancer, then take Virgil’s serum.

              Boom. Problem solved.

            2. Raygereio says:

              You gave me an opening to sperg about Fallout lore. I took it.

              But yeah, the justification for why there are super mutants on the east coast is weak. That goes back to FO3 and how Bethesda seems to have a fanfiction approach to writing for their Fallout games.

              1. potatoejenkins says:

                Well then: Glad to be of service.

                They truly don’t even have some kind of Fallout bible or do they? I may have lost interest in Bethesdas’ Fallout (and to an extend Elder Scrolls) games, but the world and the lore, that I still dig. And all I have for that is the fan wiki. Though that one is no TES uesp.

                Someone really needs to save this franchise from becoming “Sonic the Hedgehog”. Or let it die like Firefly.

      2. Incunabulum says:

        a genetically engineered superflu that FEV was developed to counteract.

        That’s not how BGS does things. It would be *another* strain of FEV intended to create supermutated diseases. So you’d have something like, I don’t know, Super-Mutant-Measles.

        And there’d be a Legendary disease that drops a crap piece of armor when you kill it.

        1. Philadelphus says:

          *sniff* “Sorry, I think I came down with a Legendary Common Cold last week.”
          “Yeah? How come?”
          “Well, I’m feeling better now, and I dropped a Handkerchief of +2 Absorption earlier today…”

      3. Heck, the New Plague could be used as an excellent explanation for why they didn’t defrost you. Shaun would have gotten vaccinated (okay, I have no idea if there was a vaccine available, lore-wise but if Beth decides there is, it’s hardly the worst lore rewrite they’ve done) but any adult could have been vaccinated, be naturally immune, or gotten it and survived which makes them a carrier. Add in some damaged Vault records, and suddenly the Institute is risking unleashing the plague any time they defrost someone.

        You could even tie this into finding sealed Vaults. No one wants to take the risk to unseal them but once you’ve gone through the ending that could be a fun high-level quest chain (get info on still-sealed Vaults, recreate vaccine or find cure or whatever, unseal Vaults and find new settlement people with OLD WORLD SKILLS (aka the ability to create non-ruined old world stuff for your settlements)

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Yeah, that’s what inspired me. :)

      2. Galad says:

        The last panel made me burst out laughing :D

  9. Gruhunchously says:

    I think they chose to have Father die of cancer precisely because it’s so normal and mundane, so that it would potentially resonate with people and ground the more science-fictiony elements of the story.

    Basically, somebody on the writing team was self aware enough to realize that having the main character’s close family die of Radiascular Pustularosis might interfere with the pathos a little. What they did not realize was that their efforts were far too late.

    1. Phantos says:

      What Mumbles talked about is true, about it being “too real” for some people, but I also think that would be true no matter what convenient disease they had Father dying of. Which is another reason why maybe they should have just made up some sci-fi BS disease that nobody playing the video game here in meatspace has.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        I think that’d be the only sensible option, in a game that’s wacky-fun-times. Although really, the game just doesn’t have a central theme. As said previously in the show, it alternates between wacky, serious, angry, adventurous, etc. I mean, you can make some of those work with each other, and you can use them as counterpoints to other ones if you do it well, but since this game is only painted in the broadest strokes possible, they should have just picked one theme and stuck with it. :S

      2. Tizzy says:

        I don’t even see the need for a fictional disease. Have him die of an unspecified ailment, or old age. Who cares? It’s not as if it’s going to break the story at this point!

        I find the choice of cancer a bit tone-deaf and insensitive. Several people I’ve known have died of cancer, including friends in their 30’s, more are currently battling it. It’s not enough for the offhand reference in a lousy story to traumatize me, but I have to imagine that some players who have been even more closely affected (or simply who react more strongly) would be hurt.

        That doesn’t mean you can’t use cancer in fiction, but it does seem unnecessary and careless in the context of a rather silly game.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          Shamus touched on this, I think the problem is that the author thought they were writing a good story, the kind with characters you actually care about. This moment was clearly trying to be serious, and had Father, the Institute, and really just everything been better written up to this point, “I have cancer” could have evoked real pathos where “I have radplague” would’ve been silly.

          If the writer were aware of what a mess the story was, they’d have done well to choose literally anything but cancer, but then again, if Bethesda were capable of recognizing a terrible story, they wouldn’t publish so many of them.

          So basically, yes. It’s unnecessary and careless, just like every other part of the story.

    2. Deadfast says:

      I recon it was pure laziness on Bethesda’s side. Everyone knows what cancer is. Making a disease up is a lot more effort.

      Not only do you have to come up with all the medical detail (symptoms, life expectancy, etc.) you also have to write and voice act a lot more dialogue because the players will want to know all this stuff.

      1. Ciennas says:

        Not if they used somebody ELSES fictional disease!

        Shaun is given Bone-itis. And then all your questions are answered, regardless of voice acting budget or not.

    3. Spojaz says:

      It’s also pretty ironic that the person kidnapped by the institute because they had not been exposed to radiation is the only person in this world to die from cancer.

      1. Peter H Coffin says:

        Bingo. Pretty much everyone IN this world, with this much radiation, can probably expect that cancer is just going to happen like grey hair and wrinkles. It’s what you die of if you don’t die from 10mm of lead poisoning first.

  10. Pax says:

    The Minutemen, because they alone have a chance of uniting the Commonwealth into one larger organization dedicated to the benefit of the common man. Given the choice, I’d destroy the Institute, drive off the Brotherhood, and conspire with the Railroad to be my spy network.

    My network of newly built up, fortified settlements guarded by men and women in my many suits of highly advanced power armor, connected by supply caravans led by freshly constructed murderbots, and allied to the Mayor of Goodneighbor, would bring law and order back to the wasteland and drive raiders, Gunners, and Supermutants from the land (if the game would stop respawning them).

    Only Diamond City would stand apart, but not for long, considering my influence with several notable citizens, my destruction of their imposter synth mayor, and, if it came to it, my network of long-range artillery batteries/nuclear missiles from a Chinese submarine.

    1. Incunabulum says:

      Within 10 years you’d be a tyrant every bit as horrible as any Raider king was.

      1. There aren’t any Raider kings with active artillery, though. :P

        1. Ciennas says:

          Sans maybe the Legion, depending on your approach through Bunker Hill.

          In most of my playthroughs for instance, I had no problem fixing the guns. I always reactivated the Securitrons, because I knew that hilarity was about to ensue come the Second Battle of Hoover Dam.

      2. Pax says:

        Within ten years? It only took about a year for them to release a raider DLC and things sure went downhill fast then.

  11. Phantos says:

    They should have had Father die of a terminal case of shark attack.

    1. The Rocketeer says:

      His last words could be, “Why did we make synth sharks?! WHYYYYY?!”

      1. MrGuy says:

        And who thought the laser beams were a good idea?

        1. Jakale says:

          And why did we let Dr. Daniel “Invented a laser ink gun to draw dicks on the ceiling” Carter to give them hover modules? We’re scientists, learning from failure is supposed to be our whole thing.

    2. Matt Downie says:

      “We made synth tapeworms, thousands of them, believing this was the best way to advance science for the benefit of humanity. Sadly, presumably due to another programming glitch, they rebelled against us, and now there thousands of them living in my bodies. They say they’re going to kill me as soon as you complete the final quest of the game.”

  12. Da Mage says:

    Here my take on the factions:

    Minutemen: They are the out and out ‘good’ faction, however it’s clear from their history that the moment they lose a strong leader, everything goes to shit due to power struggles. They are good in the short term, but in the long term they’ll fall apart again once the Sole Survivor leaves/dies.

    Brotherhood of Steel: The BOS always comes first. For all Maxson talk about saving the people of the commonwealth, unless the BOS can get something out of protecting settlers, they won’t. They are also run like a dictatorship, where Maxson makes the decisions and you follow them or get out.

    Railroad: Idealistic nutters who often put synths ahead of human lives. They have no long term goal once the Institute is defeated, since there are no more new synths after that. Too small to help the commonwealth on a daily basis and will protect a synth before helping a settlement.

    Institute: High tech unethical scientists, that care more about doing experiments on the wasteland than helping them. However, you become their leader and can move their research away from synths and after the MQ is over the Institute will start protecting Diamond city with synths.

    I like siding with the Institute as from RP perspective as I think as the leader if the game continued you be able to use your power to stop the terrible shit the Institute does and let them help people instead. They have a clean and safe headquarters, clean water and food and plenty of advanced technology. If you want to look at it from as an RP, it was part built by your son and you might not want to destroy his life work.

    1. SKD says:

      Your argument against the Minutemen is true of any organization that is based the leadership of one particular individual if there is no clear line of succession. If Maxson does not groom a replacement the Brotherhood is likely to fall back to politicking and infighting on his death whether it is in a battle tomorrow or in his sleep a few decades down the road. I agree with your assessment of the Railroad, they have no overarching purpose to drive them once the Institute is gone. The Institute is just as deeply flawed as any of the other factions though since the division chiefs still do not fully trust you (rightfully so) after Father dies since you are an almost complete outsider. If they had allowed the broadcast to be sent out to be as benevolent as I tried to make it in my Institute playthrough I might have been able to trust them but the best you can do is to warn all the surface dwellers to stay clear of Institute goals and initatives when it is revealed. Honestly I think the Minutemen have the best chance of rebuilding the Commonwealth as you are building it from the ground up and have the most ability to influence its future shape. The Brotherhood, the Railroad, and the Institute only care about their own narrow goals.

  13. Steve Online says:

    Honestly, I don’t know that the Minutemen’s goals are the least idiotic. I stopped playing the main plot after Goodneighbor because it felt like an active insult to my intelligence, but I made sure to explore every nook and cranny of the map I could before I put the game down, and do you know what I found?

    Dead settlements, full of dead settlers. Everywhere.

    (Probably) decent people that’d just tried to scrape a living out of a shitty postapocalyse, and gotten killed by raiders, or ghouls, or mole rats, or super mutants, or radiation, or they just starved. And when the settlements weren’t dead yet, they always had a problem that was beyond their means to fix. The next generation ran away to join the raiders, or super mutants in the army base killed all their brahmin, or the caravans had stopped coming. It makes you feel heroic to go fix their problems, sure, but the fact remains that, strictly speaking, those few settlements left that aren’t dead are dying.

    And what’s Not-General Garvey’s solution? Sprinkle penny-packets of unarmed, defenceless idiots all over the wasteland. Set up the radio with promises of safety to lure them to these scattered outposts, sometimes while the corpses of the last batch of inhabitants are still rotting in the corner. I know the idea is to bring points of light back to the darkness of the wasteland, but you’re building a network of hovels too weak to stand without the backing of an organization that crumbled to dust and blew away once already in living memory.

    So in short I think their plan is also super stupid and they should be blown up along with everyone else.

    1. Matt Downie says:

      Those goals themselves are still perfectly reasonable: establish farms, protect the settlers. It’s only their competence that’s the issue.

      1. Incunabulum says:

        Its the bad part of the settlement game – where you’re pushed to establish settlements that are too far from Sanctuary to be able to protect easily before you can move on to the Castle part of the MM questline.

        The settlements Garvey is asking you to set up should be a lot closer in (say, including Abernathy Farm for example) and you should be required to set up more than a token defense. Basically a couple turrets at Sanctuary (as part of the Workshop tutorial) and that’s all you need right now.

        1. Matt Downie says:

          My settlements were generally surrounded by a ring of turrets. The game didn’t force it – it would have been annoying if it did – but if you wanted to role-play a protector of the people, there was nothing to stop you.

          1. Jeff says:

            My groups of two-dozen idiots all tend to be wielding combat rifles at a minimum, plasma rifles at best, and laser rifles on average.

            The outposts also tend to be bunkers with greenhouses on the top floor, surrounded by a minimum of two dozen turrets, three dozen on average.

            It’s hardly the Minutemen’s fault if their Minutemen’s general suck at it.

        2. Coming_Second says:

          Ding ding ding. From a general perspective there’s nothing wrong with the Minuteman’s goals, but they appear utterly futile in the way Steve Online describes because of Bethesda’s lazy and asinine implementation. Why am I being asked to protect Somerville Place – a tiny farm wedged between the swamps, the Glowing Sea, a Gunner base and a Super Mutant encampment – when Abernathy is still being attacked every other day? Why can’t I evacuate those idiots? Even San Andreas back in the day, which had a similarly tacked on take-and-hold side-game, understood the importance of adjacent territory and making some areas “safe” thanks to your efforts.

          Supply lines should have been the key mechanic. You should only have been able to reach them out further if you had adjacent settlements. Setting one up would have been dependent on heavily loaded peasants being able to travel the road between villages safely – which would have involved you knocking out the local Raider encampment for instance (instead of some ghouls on the other side of the map). Settlements behind lines no longer spam you with requests for help. Thus you would have had the satisfaction of watching your area of influence spreading, and seeing you were demonstrably making the land safer with your efforts.

          1. Matt Downie says:

            I wish the game hadn’t been set to make all cleared areas repopulate with enemies after a week or so. I’d rather have a game where I get to clean up the Commonwealth for good than one I can play forever.

            1. It’s only a week in Survival mode.

              Otherwise, it’s DAILY.

              1. Matt Downie says:

                From the wiki: “Normally non-Cleared locations take 7 in-game days and Cleared locations take 20 in-game days to start respawning. In survival mode, these are increased to 35 in-game days and 80 in-game days, respectively.”

                Though 20 in-game days is probably only one day in real-world time.

          2. Blunderbuss09 says:

            The problem is that would basically need to be its own game. A game I’d play the heck out of – it’s like a post-apocalypse Civilization – but the current FO4 can’t support it. Which is why I wonder why they bothered.

          3. potatoejenkins says:

            Give me an option to turn the Minutemen from a wannabe militia into a police force and I’d choose them any day.

            Why 24(?) settlements? Why not 5 or 6 settlements and the options for up to 5 Minutemen outposts? You build up settlements like before, but for the Minutemen outposts you build quarters, a training yard, maybe a small prison. I don’t care if the prison is only cosmetical. Connect it to outpost happiness and tell the player it conveys a sense of safety and law to the residents. Let the outposts have a positive influence on happiness of settlements in close vicinity. Maybe you can also build a place where they hang convicts. This would not contribute to happiness, but add to the outposts and other settlements defense, because raiders and criminals will be scared off*. The “outpost influences settlements in vicinity” mechanic is part of the Nuka World DLC, btw. It is in the game.

            And why is the only faction in this game using a prison and holding official trials the Brotherhood? Why are there no holding cells in the Castle? I tried to get thrown into the Diamond City prison once. I stole a plastic knife out of a garbage can. They just shot me, of course.

            *Building something like that wouldn’t be my thing, personally. But if its only cosmetical … and we already got these weird contraption to humiliate Marcy Long. For … some reason.

  14. Gruhunchously says:

    It goes without saying at this point, but if this were any other Fallout game, a science/medicine specced PC would have the option to treat or even cure Father’s condition.

    Then you would have the option to rule the Institute together as father/mother and son, or just let him die and take things over for yourself. Make you feel like you actually earned your character’s ending rather than having it clumsily handed to you.

    1. Matt Downie says:

      Yeah, but Fallout’s “make a skill check and instantly solve any problem” system usually comes off as fairly stupid. “If your medicine skill is 45 or above, you immediately discover a cure for cancer from whatever’s lying around.”

      1. Based on the injury sidequests from New Vegas, it’d probably be something more like 80-90 Medicine.

        Outside of endgame or DLC speech checks, the highest dialogue skill check I can think of is in Jacobstown where you’re trying to find a cure for the Nightkin schizophrenia alongside a highly-experienced doctor who had worked with the Enclave before the oil rig went boom. Finding a cure at all requires making a Science check of 90 along with an unrelated Speech check to keep the local head of the Nightkin from leaving and taking most of the other Nightkin with him. Being able to cure cancer with a handful of wasteland resources in that system would probably end up at 100, assuming someone with some sort of game design knowledge tried to keep it sensible.

        1. Pax says:

          You could cure Caesar of a brain tumor with like a 75 Medicine I think.

          Oh wait, the leader of the main antagonist faction is dying of cancer in both New Vegas and Fallout 4? (But the far superior New Vegas option allows you to treat him in a variety of ways or covertly kill him during the operation?)

          Well, how about that.

  15. Microwaviblerabbit says:

    I pick the Brotherhood – They are the only faction that actually compromises at any point, and cares about former and current members.

    The Railroad will sell you, your friends and family to ‘save’ a single synth. If you leave, you become a threat to their secrets, and if you end up in trouble, as shown with their safehouses, they let them die.

    The Minutemen will fail because they are inherently selfish. There is no ideology binding them together. Without a strong leader, as in the past, they will break down into factions. If you leave, everything falls apart.

    The Institute has a bright future, but the underlying issues of research spiraling out of control and synths rebelling will not change. It all depends on if you can change them, move things to a better direction. Although they have the best amenities, if you leave they will hunt you down.

    The Brotherhood may be violent, xeno-phobic, and a dictatorship, but they protect their own. You are a honored high ranking member, these problems won’t affect you. We see two ex-brotherhood people in the game – one works for the enemy, one abandoned their post. Both are allowed back into the ranks. Maxon will even compromise, change his mind, and let Danse live, and not punish you for directly challenging his orders The Brotherhood comes first, and they are willing to die alongside you. Plus, their amenities are nearly as nice as the Institute – your quarters aren’t half bad – and they also sweep their floors.

  16. Garrett Carroll says:

    I sided with the Brotherhood of Steel, because they offer you Headquarters in a flying machine. And! You get power armor and can kickass. That’s the only reason why.

    1. Dev Null says:

      I might have been more impressed by the shiny new armour, though, if I didn’t already have 4 better suits of power armour by that point in the game…

      The flying headquarters were pretty cool. I did have a serious attempt at taking it over, after I killed Maxson, but when I was running for a gunship to grab it’s door gun I accidentally fell off the blimp. Survived, but once you piss them off there’s no real way to get back up to the ship.

  17. ehlijen says:

    I sided with the minutemen. For all their flaws, they were the honest ones. Yeah, their long term plan is lacking, Garvey is annoying and their actual interest in the institute is questionable (none of the minutemen settlements interact with the synth threat plot, that’s all just other established settlements).

    The brotherhood seem harsh but well intentioned…until their quartermaster asked me to go start a protection racket squeezing the commonwealth settlements dry. Not an elder, or a commanding officer, but the shopkeep told me to go extort people.
    I think the BoS could have aimed a little high than feudalism for their ‘liberation’ plans.

    The institute…seemed to support slavery by default? Not so much through anything they did on screen, but rather by implication through the existence of the railroad. What got me more though was the utter silence on the program to secretly replace people with synths. As the institute presented itself, they’d have not gained any benefit from such projects, nor do they ever mention them (they claim to have no interest in the surface). So…was it actually them?
    The railroad also never talked about that issue, not even to condemn the institute. But they would arguably have more to gain by successfully replacing people with synths (hiding spots the institute might not search).
    And of course I didn’t get to ask either side. So…I couldn’t pick either because I didn’t want to be the idiot who helped the pod-people-synths faction due to game-enforced ignorance.

    Had I known that that plot thread had simply been dropped and I needn’t have worried about any gotchas, I’d probably have gone railroad.

    1. SKD says:

      If you go into the terminals in the Institute there is definite evidence that they have been doing at least some abduction and replacement of people in the Commonwealth. Maybe not as much as Piper thinks but they have been doing it.

      1. Matt Downie says:

        I missed those – do they ever explain why they’re doing it?

        1. Da Mage says:

          They started after their first attempt at forming a government fell apart. Rather than create their own government, they would replace people and use their synths to covertly control the populations. It also shows that over time they started seeing replacement as an easy solution to any problem they had and replaced people even before they caused any trouble, such as Roger Warwick.

          It does not explain why they target random people like Art.

          1. Fists says:

            The Mayor of DC is an example, Piper wasn’t making it up

            I think the peasants that get swapped are for experiments, FEV subjects (Pretty sure this is the most evil thing TI do) and there’s a farmer that was swapped to carry out field work with a plant development program

            1. Matt Downie says:

              Do they just murder the people they’re replacing? I was always hoping to find the Institute’s secret prison. It wouldn’t be hard for them to teleport out their victims and drop in a replacement.

              1. potatoejenkins says:

                I would think so.

                However, the family part of the Institute “field work” program is deemed expendable. I’m very sure I overheard several small conversations indicating the place will be erased from the map as soon as the experiment is over.

      2. ehlijen says:

        I saw some of those, but you still can’t bring the issue up with anyone! You can’t even tell Piper to put it in her newspaper.

        I felt like I’d stumbled over left over assets from before a rewrite, not vital clues as to what was going on.

        1. Fists says:

          It triggers an event with the Mayor, you don’t get to talk about it but that info is still used for stuff.

        2. SKD says:

          That was one of my beef with it as well. The evidence is right there but you aren’t allowed to bring it up with Piper who would give her eyeteeth for the information or question Father/Shaun about it.

  18. mechaninja says:

    I would side with the institute only because they seem to be the most forward looking faction. It wouldn’t do ME any good, but maybe it would do the future some good. I feel like that’s the best you could hope for in a post apocalyptic wasteland.

  19. Daniel England says:

    Remember at the end of the first half of the first season of Sword Art Online, how the main antagonist, who had caused the deaths of hundred (if not thousands) of mostly teenagers and children, when asked why he had trapped all these people in an MMO with actual real life permadeath he says “Why? I forgot that a long time ago.”? That’s what this conversation with Father felt like. Just the writer admitting they had no plan for anything going on.

  20. The Rocketeer says:

    On siding with the Institute, from the forum:

    It occurred to me while playing the four ending paths of the game that the Institute ending is arguably the most sensible. The endings of the game serve primarily to divert the player between two sets of choices: who runs the Commonwealth, and do you reject or recognize synth personhood? The various endings have you pick one faction to take power and destroy various other factions, and may or may not force an answer to the synth question.

    But only the Institute ending leaves room for materially benefiting the Commonwealth while recognizing synth personhood. Now, that might sound absurd, but you become the Director of the Institute at the conclusion of that ending. Regardless of how long it would take, or how much pushback you might get, nothing says you can’t radically reorient the Institute’s goals, methods, and principles. The Institute deserves its bad reputation and more, but for decades, the responsibility for that reputation has been in the hands of Shaun, who was a jackass.

    The big sticking point is that you have to destroy the Railroad and the Brotherhood. If you want to both improve the Commonwealth and free synths, wiping out the Brotherhood is fair and sensible. Maybe you hate the Brotherhood, maybe they’re unfortunate collateral damage. Whatever. It’s the Brotherhood of Steel’s decision that they can’t coexist with the Institute. They invaded. They can’t complain if they get beat. And the faction’s own ending path leaves you in no position to reasonably influence Brotherhood doctrine. Maxson’s authority remains absolute, and he’s an immovable hardliner. So on the question of bettering the Commonwealth and freeing synths, you can compare the prognoses thusly. With the Institute, you end up in all but total control over an organization that has greater resources and ability to better the Commonwealth if and when they so choose, and a desire to eventually do so… even if the specifics of their supposed benevolence are either purely theoretical at best or an incoherent, narcissistic fantasy at worst. And they use synths as unwilling slaves, denying synth sapience. Not ideal, but again: you’re in charge, and you have as long as you want to change it. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood path leaves you as one of the top guns, with no personal authority, of an organization with significantly lesser means than the Institute to better the lives of the Commonwealth’s common people and absolutely no demonstrated will to do so, beyond their campaign to exterminate all synths by any means and with absolute prejudice. Assuming the player’s priorities in this hypothetical, the choice is crystal clear to me.

    [Wiping out t]he Railroad… well, there’s no whitewashing it. It’s ghastly. Many of the Institute’s missions let you bluff the Institute while pursuing more synth-friendly goals, and doing so is a requirement of ultimately siding with the Railroad. But you can’t bluff the Institute on the Railroad’s doom. Even though you’re sent to take care of them personally, with no backup, and taken at your word afterward that the deed is done. Even though smoke and mirrors, hiding and bluffing, is what the Railroad does. You can’t rush in, tell Desdemona “PACK YOUR SHIT, PACK YOUR SHIT!” This should be the moment when you and Des clinch the Railroad’s place in the Commonwealth once and for all. At this point, you already know that you’re the presumptive successor to the Director. You should already understand the ultimate authority and influence soon to be invested in you. The Railroad has been using your favor with the Director to advance their goals from within, but on the eve of your succession, this possibility is crossed through arbitrarily. But say there really was some good reason. Say that the Institute didn’t handle it the rock-fuck stupid way that they did and send three coursers and a dozen synths with you to outflank the Railroad HQ. Much easier to believe there’s no weaseling your way out of that. If that were the case, there’s still a strong argument to be made. As Director, you have the power to obviate the need for a Railroad by either stopping synth production or shifting the Institute’s philosophy on synth sapience and rights. But you also get the benefit of the Institute’s vast resources, its security, its research. All of that can be used for the Commonwealth. Not to be callous, but how many Gen-3 synths are there? A few dozen, at most? Aside from liberating them, what does the Railroad have to offer the Commonwealth? Bupkess. I respect their principles, but the Institute can have that cake and eat it, too.

    Maybe it’s a devil’s deal. Maybe accepting such a great cost in lives of those whose ideals you share, whose trust you might have held, in service of those ideals and that trust is an impossible needle to thread. Maybe I’m naive to think that you could, as an outsider, take command of an organization with two hundred years of xenophobic inertia and radically shift some of its most fundamental paradigms. Maybe you’d start out with those intentions and find yourself twenty or thirty years later having become Shaun’s successor in too many ways. But God damn it, Fallout 4 has never had any philosophical depth up to this point; why should I start expecting any here at 11:59?

    And ultimately, the question is academic. On the eventual fate of the synths and the Commonwealth, the game is agnostic, regardless of your choices. The black hole that is your player character, upon extending its authority across the Commonwealth, likewise extends its vacuous nature across it. But it’s that lack of commitment to ultimate, long-scale consequence that makes possibility itself the prime motivator, and I allege that the Institute offers pure possibility far beyond and above all the rest.

    1. Peter Sturdee says:

      Here is the source of my near rage-quit. I was playing the Railroad side, infiltrating the Institute. I’d been sneakily undermining the Institute’s actions to further the Railroad’s goals. And then Shaun tells everyone I’m the new Director. Woot! I’m the ultimate inside man! I now have the power to change the way the Institute treats Synths. I mean, I could take Justin Ayo quietly out behind the dumpsters and put a couple in his head, and then replace him with someone who is maybe a little bit less of a slave enforcer. Boom. No more coursers being sent to randomly murder people to get escaped Synths back. I could open up discussion inside the Institute about the autonomy of Synths, and actually end the slavery. In the mean time, I could be still helping Synths, under the table, escape the Institute with Railroad help. In a matter of months, years, maybe a decade, Synths would be considered people.

      But what are my choices at this point? Blow up the Institute (like the Commonwealth needs more radiation and less technology, and what about the Synths who didn’t make it out?), or dismantle the Railroad with extreme prejudice (dooming Synths to eternal slavery)?

      At the end, the good path through this game should have been seeking the maximum good for the maximum number of people. The Minutemen live on to help people reform civilization. The Railroad lives on, helping Synths integrate with humans, until they are no longer needed. And the Institute lives on as the wellspring of civilization-restoring technology.

      And the Brotherhood? Fuck those guys. Complete dicks the lot of them (except Scribe Haylen, she was cool).

  21. “The Institute” because they know how to use a broom!

    1. Stu Hacking says:

      Was thinking exactly this! :-)

      But in reality: If you spend a couple of years digging through rubble and eating withered corn, then suddenly find a place that is clean, protected, has power, grows fresh food and provides drinkable water, and they welcome you in… You’d have to be a fool not to take that option.

  22. So I heard Josh mention “the end of the season.”

    Okay, someone from the cast, put us out of our misery: DLC or no DLC?

    1. Da Mage says:

      Considering they are at episode 47 and still have to destroy the railroad and BOS, along with a few misc quests, they’ll probably take another 2 weeks to complete the game. By then we’ll be in the mid fifties and that about as long as a season can go.

      Aka, no DLC, Fallout 4 has been long enough.

      On a personal note, would have loved to see them do Nuka-World, as it is the first Fallout DLC where reginald would have fit in.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Yep, I’m pretty sure they said ‘no DLC’ on the Diecast this week or last week. Which is to say, I’m certain they said it but not absolutely sure when it was said.

  23. The writer(s) could have done something awesome with this scene (and plot), if the player character was a well not a clone but a reconstruction of Shaun’s father.

    This would explain why he “unfroze” the player and let them loose into the wasteland to see what would happen (basically doing the same as the railroad), a mindwiped synth.

    And later during a certain scene Shaun could come clean about it “Shaun: I created you, after him. But your not like the other synths, there is no chip. No recall codes. No programming, just the memories that I managed to recover, but only fragments sadly.”

    I wonder if there is a lot of Fallout 4 fan-fiction out there exploring alternate tales (besides the Codsworth / Nick slashfiction that Butskarn is writing).

  24. Henson says:

    Actually, this section kinda sold me on Father’s motivations for setting you free into the wasteland. Consider: he’s spent the entirety of his life in the Institute, surrounded by people who value data and the scientific method. He doesn’t have any emotional ties to his real parents because he’s never known them or the world he came from; the only possible ties are ones of curiosity and a vague sense of camaraderie due to being, technically, of the same pre-war origin. For decades, you’ve been little more than a genetic backup.

    And now, when you are no longer necessary for the Institute’s project, what would Father want with you? In the absence of an emotional bond, his analytic curiosity would likely win out. Would another ‘untainted’ human be able to survive in the uncivilized wasteland? Do your own travails reflect what his own life could have been like, had he not been saved by the Institute? Releasing you into the wild becomes less about you and more about him; at least, until you demonstrate your own ability to survive and prevail.

    Yes, this line of thought makes a lot of people dislike Father, but I think that’s fine. So long as his reasoning reveals his character, we don’t have to like him.

    1. Fists says:

      That’s not really the thinking of someone ingrained with the Scientific Method, that’s just a version of the Hydraulic Press Channel where human life has no value (not more than a mighty bearing ball or a lava lamp anyway).

      1. Henson says:

        Yes, Father’s actions regarding his father have little to do with the actual scientific method and more with sheer curiosity. And yes, his value of human life is skewed by his sheltered perspective of superiority. I didn’t mean to imply that a scientific upbringing would make him an immoral being, but rather that it would shape some of his qualities, among them being curiosity and testing, albeit not as rigorous or unbiased as they should be. And I think that makes him an interesting character, if distasteful.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          Like everything else in Fallout 4, that characterization is undermined by the player’s lackluster ability to react. If there was a “You asshole!” response, it could work, but the muted “This is science to you? This is pathetic.” doesn’t sell it, and makes it seem like the writer didn’t realize Father was a terrible human being.

          1. Henson says:

            Well, you could make an argument that the sole survivor wouldn’t want to condemn his son so harshly due to sentimentality, but I absolutely agree that the dialogue options in this game are atrocious, and there definitely should have been an option for no-excuses condemnation. This is the main thing I’m taking from watching this game: it’s written by people who have interesting ideas and understand how to do a lot of the low-level dialogue writing, but anything overarching or regarding player input is terrible. Fallout 4 is written by talented short-story authors who don’t understand how to translate their craft to role-playing games. And they have no one upstairs to properly guide them.

            In short, they’re Bioware.

  25. Kinda ironic how Shaun thinks the commonwealth looks hopeless, yet behind in some camera angles on the roof you can see Diamond City lighting up the sky and nearby buildings.

    Why not a single throwaway line: “Shaun: *looking towards Diamond City’s lights* There may be a oasis here and there in the wasteland, but’s it’s not enough. Eventually the rot will get to those as well. My institute is the last and best hope.”

  26. @Rutskarn (6:44) don’t worry dude, your’ not talking out of your ass.

    Some of the stuff you, I and other’s suggest… Some of that stuff wouldn’t have been that hard to do. A few things would barely need that much change (other than re-record some lines).

    It makes me wonder why they didn’t choose those (to me) better story paths to write. Which is odd and a shame as the devs at Bethesda (and even the writers) are really talented.

    I’m tempted to use Witcher 3 as an example but I can’t as that game uses characterizations and takes story ideas from multiple books. Where’as Bethesda had to make everything from (almost) scratch for Fallout 4.

    I’d love to have seen from start to finish how they make a game. Or for Bethesda to publish a series of articles detailing the production process for Fallout 4 (or Skyrim for that matter).
    Similarly Id’ love to see CD Projekt RED and Rockstar do something similar. But I guess there are quite a bit of tradesecrets in all those companies.

  27. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You need a season of morrowind,so that Josh can finally jump off high things and not die.

    1. IFS says:

      We’d also probably get a solid episode of Josh sleeping nonstop to abuse Corprus, or doing alchemy abuse or maybe spellcrafting abuse… Morrowind has a lot of exploits.

  28. Loonyyy says:

    The institute, for the same reason. Like, it’s not the most reasonable, the Railroad and the Minutemen are “Good” options, but the Institute gets cool digs, and for some reason everyone else wants you to blow it up while you build shitty settlements instead of just moving everyone in there instead.

    I don’t feel like you can roleplay it though. You can say that it’ll get better later, but the game doesn’t let you do that. Supporting a side is supporting their ethos, and the game makes that clear by wiping pretty much everyone else out. And when you choose the institute, you participate in that. You sort of have to revise everything to do that, and that feels wrong.

    It’s not like the game gives you a lot to RP with. Every faction is dumb, and all of them give you no freedom. As everyone has noted, you can become leader of the Institute and you still can’t change them. You could tell the Railroad to scram and fix it yourself, but instead you have to wipe them out. Hell, you’re Shaun’s father. You should be bending that brat over your knee and telling him off for inventing sentient AI just so he could enslave it when there’s perfectly fine robots without sentience who don’t have the capacity to care that they’re slaves. And for loosing killbots in the Waste who you have to put up with. And for letting you wander around, and for the stupid kid synths who have absolutely no reason to be there, look like him, apart from a twist.

  29. tzeneth says:

    I’d choose the institute and then take charge with regards to learning and teaching with an emphasis on ethics, etc. I’d slowly mold the next generation to think about their actions and slowly introduce rules that treat sapient synths like actual human beings and replace all the manual labor that doesn’t need thinking with the true robotic beings so that there isn’t an ethical issue.

    After that, I’d also slowly spread the technology and start having lower rated generation synths start protecting caravans, etc. Do this so that rumors start of synths helping people and then use that as a method of spreading stories about the institute changing leadership and direction. I’d also make sure that I’d slowly evolve things like using the Mayor of Diamond City to introduce legislation and change the conversation about synths infiltrating and more about synths helping. I’d also end all of the replacement bull.

    Basically, I’d choose the institute and start slowly changing who is actually in charge and the thinking. If all else fails, I just make sure I carry enough guns and override codes that I can defeat any true coup attempts because I’m the Sole Freaking Survivor.

    1. Matt Downie says:

      I feel like there’s an interesting story-thread in there. The hero works for the sinister Institution, wipes out their well-meaning opposition for them, all in the hope that he will be able to take over the place and turn them to good. But after murdering so many people along the way, hasn’t he already become the villain, able to justify any crime as long as it serves his purposes?

      1. tzeneth says:

        “I’m the villain this Commonwealth needs. I will be written as a bloody tyrant who killed many innocents along his way to power. I hope that in 100 years or 200 years when things are brighter and the Commonwealth looks closer to what I remember my home looked like before the war, the historians will at least have a mixed opinion of me. All I care about is that the world my child should have been raised up in becomes good so that no child ends up like mine, an idiot along the wrong path.”

  30. Aitch says:

    Wait a sec. Forgive me if I’m getting this wrong, cause I’ve tried to stay as far away from Fallout lore as possible since 3..

    But why should anyone at the Institute by this point care at all about death?

    Alright, Nick Valentine is an old generation synth with the memories and personality traits of a person loaded into his brain / whatever, right? Basically the “soul”, the driving force, the library that the conscious aspect taps into for reference, and the ephemeral quanta that gives rise to that consciousness’s goals and desires, et cetera.

    The Institute has gone through several generations of Synth upgrades since then if I’m not mistaken. And the tech to transfer human consciousness into a Synth was… what, just some crazy one off with Nick? Not improved upon in any way shape or form since what must have been decades ago?

    No, I know, the sole holotape containing the methods and records of this procedure fell in between the cushions of that couch they got rid of when they decided to redecorate the place to look like an Apple Store?

    You’re telling me they were on to a technology that could literally have advanced to the point of granting immortality, and just said “Meh whatever, let’s divert our efforts elsewhere to something more important. And make sure it’s something that isn’t curing cancer in a world dominated by radiation. And by the way, from here on out, doors to go outside are the new headphone jack – what we need is a matter teleporter instead! Then once that’s done we’ll get down to the real essence of bettering humanity through scientific and technological advancement – glass that doesn’t get slippery when it’s wet! Yeah, that’d look super neato! It should only take round about our entire lives to do, all in favor?”

    Hey hold on, another thing. Their current main goal is building a nuclear power plant?! In a world where automobiles and even guns can run on fusion power? Fusion power so advanced it can be done in something the size of a car battery?

    …I sense a darkness approaching. This story is sucking so hard that the barometric pressure is dropping wherever it’s being shown.. The tethers holding disbelief suspended can’t withstand the strain! The plot holes, they’re becoming fractal and converging! It’s accelerating! Not even criticism can resist the collapse! Not even the worst pun could generate the cringeforce needed to escape! It’s becoming… It’s… a Plothole Singularity!! Where it constantly feeds on people’s time and effort, their minds permanently and forcefully transfixed on the horror as every direction in free space is warped towards the center of the mass, yet no entertainment of any sort can ever escape its inky black clutches…

    Or I dunno, they’ll make a mod or something. One that lets you draw dongs on whatever wherever. That’ll fix it.

    1. Matt Downie says:

      Philosophically, the Institute believes that consciousness can only exist in a natural brain; a Synth brain is ‘fake’ and a Synth with your memories could never be ‘you’, even if it was able to fool your friends. It wouldn’t have a ‘soul’. I guess the Institute are religious or something.

    2. Jabrwock says:

      Yeah, that was the point they lost me. “So wait, the only thing holding you back is a decent power supply? You have a monopoly on the most brilliant minds in the Commonwealth, and splitting the atom is the best solution you can come up with?”

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Wait, are you telling me they have fusion power and they want to use fission??? The mind boggles.

    3. Pax says:

      It occurred to me while watching the episode that a more excellent use of the various plot elements was for Father to be building the young Shaun synth to transfer his own consciousness before the big C got him. He could have this weird obsession with you, his last parent, and a desire to be raised by you. I’m not sure how you could expand this into messing around with the other factions, but it’d be great if Father was the absolute villain of the entire story, transcending the factions so that even the Institute opposed his madness.

      1. Aitch says:

        Yeah, now that could’ve actually been pretty cool, with an extra twist of creepy to boot.

        Grah Bethesdaaa! [fist shake into the ether]

  31. Incunabulum says:

    But let's say you have to choose once and for all. You have to choose one faction and destroy all the others because the game says so.

    Minutemen. No doubt.

    The Railroad – only exist because of The Institute, the instant The Institute is gone then the RR has no more reason to exist.

    The Insitute – Sure you might get to live in a clean place with running water and electricity. Its also a strongly fascist state and at any moment you might be chosen to be the subject of some insane whackjob’s latest ‘experiment’.

    The BoS – are just going to run around shooting at synths, robots, and mutants without giving a single shit about any of the people who end up between them and their targets. The extent that they ‘bring order’ to the Commonwealth will be to the extent needed to enslave enough of the population to make their pogroms locally-supportable.

    I’m not necessarily a fan of the Minutemen – I think they should limit themselves to being a mercenary force that will pacify areas in exchange for support and not try to become a government themselves (let the individual areas self-govern and contract with the MM for protection). But they’re certainly the least destructive group out there and they *will* take no for an answer.

  32. Matt Downie says:

    Electric lights? These are easy to build. Food? In the Commonwealth, I dine only on the finest Deathclaw Steaks with Tatos on the side! Toilet paper? Have you seen a unit of pre-war currency? Each one like a hundred sheets.

  33. Jabrwock says:

    But doesn’t your son make you de-facto leader of the Institute? Couldn’t you reform their stupid murderous ways? I mean the synth division is just one department. Just tell them “hey, new goal, stop developing super-smart toasters, it’s causing us more grief than benefit”.

    But that requires the Institute to be populated by something other than “because SCIENCE!” stereotypes.

    The Institute would have made much more sense as an equivalent to the Big MT. But then they tried to be all serious about it and it fell apart.

    1. Grudgeal says:

      The Institute makes the Think Tank look competent by comparison. At least the Think Tank have the brain damage as an excuse, and if we take the (non-canon) alternate ending of F:NV where the Think Tank break out of the recursion loop and get access to the Mojave, they’re really very competent even if they’ve completely lost track of why they’re doing all of it.

      1. Kelerak says:

        When your faction is stupider than people who think that toes are penises attached to your feet, you’ve done something wrong.

    2. Incunabulum says:

      The problem with reforming here is the exact same problem real-life companies have.


      Is a good breakdown of how hard it is to force top-down change into a resistant polity. Everyone has the way they’re familiar with doing things, changing things requires more energy on the part of these people than the status quo (even if, once the changes are themselves the status quo, everything will be easier).

      Its not a matter of ‘here’s a new CEO’ and the organization just falls in line with his desires.

    3. potatoejenkins says:

      The difference between the PC as the leader and Shaun as the leader is: They needed Shaun. They don’t need you.

      Every division has their own head. And while those guys answer to you, I did not get the feeling they’d have to follow your orders. The Sole Survivor would be a supervisor, not a totalitarian leader.

      Anyone correct me if I got that wrong.

  34. Sleeping Dragon says:

    The answer depends on a few assumptions. For example I’m going to assume that each faction is at least minimally competent rather than what is demonstrated in the game. If I were to decide which faction I’d join on ideological grounds I’d probably say the Railroad. In sci-fi I always tend to consider non-human (or alt-human) inteligences and modes of thinking and in real life… well, if I was more outspoken and not terrified of human interaction I’d probably be an SJW, in short the “synth slavery” is pretty clear cut for me. For the sake of discussion I’m going to ignore the whole “wiping of minds” thing or the issues of integrating the synths into the society.

    Now, assuming I got (absolute) leadership I’d take over the Institute but steer it in a new direction ideologically.

    Assuming we were both more realistic and the factions were closer to what they are in game? Minutemen. They are the only group that is not in pursuit of some insane goal and just tries to organize and improve the life of normal people trying to survive.

    If we were even more realistic and I were to be sort of like I am myself and I had my pick of a faction? For the love of Eris put me in the Institute and just make me sweep floors, or do a list of all the brooms in the facility, or wipe freshly minted synths’ butts just don’t make me ever go out there into the irradiated horror. I hate camping and living in nature today and we don’t have bugs the size of dogs (not to mention the raiders or supermutants).

    Actual myself? I’d get killed by the first molerat/wild dog/whatever that decided I looked tasty, or lock myself somewhere and die of starvation rocking back and forth and sobbing. Heck, being caught by slavers and put to work in a field somewhere would probably be the best thing that could happen to me in terms of improving my survival odds.

    1. Matt Downie says:

      It’s not that I’m not on the side of the free synths… But wiping their minds and making them think they’re human (which the Railroad does a lot) doesn’t seem like an ethical solution. And are there really so many synths who need help so badly that it’s worth sacrificing dozens of lives for this cause? And, given that Nick seems to do fine on his own, why do they need to be smuggled anywhere?

      Meanwhile the Railroad are working in a place where there are gangs of deranged murderous monsters every couple of hundred feet in every direction who slaughter anyone they see and decorate their territory with severed heads. The Railroad doesn’t seem to care. They have very strange priorities.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Which is why I said I’m going to ignore some of the things that are actually in the game and go with the interpretation of the factions that the devs, probably, intended.

      2. Jeff says:

        “But wiping their minds and making them think they're human (which the Railroad does a lot) doesn't seem like an ethical solution.”

        It’s literally as ethical as euthanasia, as the choice is made by the synth.

        The RR recommend it, but don’t insist on it.

  35. Humanoid says:

    I shoot the starchild.

    Okay, assuming that’s not an option, my FO4 run didn’t last long enough to encounter either the Institute or the Railroad, and I had exactly one encounter with each of the Minutemen (who I only did the mandatory Concord deathclaw fight with) and and Brotherhood (that one starter quest) each.

    Now based on that, I learned that the Minutemen is just a grandiose name for a group of five hobos, so they’re out, which I guess leaves the Brotherhood.

    1. Fists says:

      Concord isn’t compulsory, I completed a game with the Institute while Garvey was still stuck in that museum.

  36. lurkey says:

    Railroad, because I’m a closeted anarchist punk who would love solving all my problems by tossing Molotovs at them until they all burn away. Would try convince Railroad to occupy Institute with minimal casualties and absolutely keep lavatories clean, but fascist assholes Brotherhood and useless ninnies Minutemen can go burn in (Molotov) fire.

    ‘sides, Railroad is the faction that would have least issues with Goodneighbor, the best place in the Commonwealth.

    1. Mortuorum says:

      I’m an anarchist at heart as well, so I went with the Railroad once I realized I had to make a choice between the Railroad and Institute. (I naively thought for most of my play-through that I could allow both groups to continue through proper application of misinformation.) Plus, I wanted to keep Piper happy.

      I didn’t give a rat’s ass about the Brotherhood and was happy to let those fascists burn. And the Minutemen were too aimless to ever amount to anything.

  37. Blunderbuss09 says:

    Firstly, a few things before I get to my ending choice:

    1. They’re the smartest people in the world but they haven’t cured cancer? It’d be one thing if they never got it but if someone who never left can get it why haven’t they cured it!? As someone who has a very personal beef with cancer it also really ticked me off that they just dump cancer as an excuse when there is every reason that it no longer exists! They’re testing new revolutionary ways to treat it right now.

    2. Goddamn it pissed me off so much that Justin said my character ‘isn’t even a scientist’. I had 9 intelligence, dammit! I wanted my character to be a pre-war scientist that maybe studied at the original C.I.T! But nooo, she must be a lawyer. Screw that noise.

    3. Like mentioned, it killed me that I could never contribute to scientific conversations with people. Instead of dumbly saying ‘What’s an ___?’ my character could say ‘Oh, an ___? I’ve worked with that before!’ Being able to shock the Institute scientists with my intelligence would be incredibly satisfying, especially if I could debate with them about synth sapience on their level.

    As for what ending, let’s just say for the sake of example that the endings are exactly as given by the game where you continue the methods of that faction without changing things.

    So I would choose the Minutemen. I honestly really like the idea of the Minutemen as a home-grown guerrilla style militia to protect homes and I wish more post-apocalypse stories would use things like that instead of perpetual gritty lawlessness. I also like the idea of the underdog being able to outsmart the Institute to get inside their impenetrable fortress and take it down. It’s partly the same reason I went with the Wild Card ending for FNV.

    If I could choose what I wanted I would use the Minutemen to take over the Institute and bring it under the control of a rebuilt Commonwealth government. They’re too set in their ways to magically change just because I said so and there’s no reason that the next Director would change things back once I died, whether by assassination or not.

    1. el_b says:

      it could be some kind of mutant strain, they are working with wierd shit down there and it might not be natural cancer. the institute seems very focused too, and are obsessed with synths to the point they phased out the life extending technology that kellogg had.

      your character has a set backstory in this, a soldier, so not only can you not talk how you want and you cant level how you want…you cant even pretend to be your own character in lore.

      once again bethesda really didnt want anyone to roleplay in this roleplaying game. i understand wanting to tell a story but theyve never had this problem before. it was simply so butchered down for consoles there was no room for dialogue choices.

      i would have liked new vegas to have some sort of broken steel expansion so i can set up my nwo after the battle, they could have just had a big mission about either killing, subjugating or negotiating with the factions and how the ncr would react to having their water stolen by some random postman if you went independent. imagine making the boomers your new airforce, letting the brotherhood control robco and helios in exchange for electricity and robot builders. the khans could patrol the highways and keep towns safe while the followers could deal with medical care. any casino gangs you killed could even be replaced with smaller groups from off the strip there was so much they didnt deal with.

      1. Fists says:

        All cancer is a mutant strain*, that’s exactly why it’s such a PITA here in reality land, there are so, so many variants. For this it actually makes sense to me that the institute wouldn’t have a good solution to any cancer that pops up, they have such a small population they would have very little data on the trends across types and so few subjects for ‘clinical trial’ level testing, chances are, every time a resident develops cancer it would likely be distinct from every form they’ve seen before.

        I mean, if the game had some science magic that cured all cancer it wouldn’t be out of place considering the rest of the game but not unreasonable it’s not a solved problem.

        *Save for maybe some like the facial tumours destroying Tasmanian Devil populations.

        1. el_b says:

          i was talking about some kind of fev mutation or something caused by genetic engineering or cyborg implants rather than something that occurs in real life. besides, like i said even if the institute had the tech to cure cancer i dont think they eve care, theyre too busy building slaves and replacing people because science.

  38. GTRichey says:

    We’re sure just burning them all to the ground and starting over with just the companions isn’t an option? I went with railroad in my playthrough purely based on their ‘be nice to the robits’ policy. But it infuriates me to no end that not one of the other factions says “hey, maybe we should try communicating and seeing if we can work out our differences or reach a compromise.” Because at no point has any faction in this game interacted with another besides shooting!

  39. deiseach says:

    The Minutemen. I’m playing a lot of a boardgame called Washington’s War at the moment. I’m doing it solo, which it is not designed for, but it works pretty well except for one little wrinkle – in my heart, I can’t side with the Brits. The Redcoats. Goliath. The bully. Siding with the Institute or the Brotherhood feels like siding with the machines in the Matrix. And yes, Joe Pantoliano’s speech gives a perfectly valid reason as to why you might do that. I can’t though. See also: in three playthroughs of The Witcher, I always side with Vernon Roche against Dijkstra. The last time around I promised myself I wouldn’t Just To See What Would Happen. And I couldn’t. Taking up the side of the big guy and the status quo and order over the little guy and rebellion and anarchy? No.

    But what about the Railroad? I can only stomach so much anarchy, particularly when it’s an excruciating kind of hipster anarchy, thanks.

    I’ve been waiting for this section to describe one of the best things – probably the best thing – that happened to me in this game. In this mission when you get to the part where the synths are cowering before you, I thought no, I don’t want to do this. So I turned to the unsuspecting coarser and blam! that was the end of him (Chris correctly noted in the previous video how frustrating it was that you couldn’t do this in the previous mission with the Raider synth). Duly we wind up on the roof of the Institute and Father gives a very different speech. The cool thing was that I hadn’t received a specific instruction from the Railroad to save the synths but the game was able to accommodate my choice. Wow, role-playing!

  40. Fists says:

    I’m Minutemen all the way, they’re the only group with some actual humanitarian values and the most realistic structure for actually developing a civilisation.

    The Railroad are inspired by a humanitarian issue, but they’re extremists that have completely overshot on correcting any wrongs and their cost/benefit just doesn’t pan out.

    The Brotherhood are brainwashed zealots who nigh-on outlaw compassion. No view to improving anything, just hating and destroying.

    The Institute are monumentally evil and show no critical thinking skills.

    The Minutemen (as rebuilt by you) are good people with flaws, all the other factions are led by bad people that might have a few redeeming features. (“Hey, I don’t want to say Hitler was a good guy but he did rebuild Germany from being destitute”)

  41. Attercap says:

    The Railroad, for no other reasons than Deacon was my main buddy and a post-transformation Curie was my gal. And I didn’t want to lose them.

  42. Christopher says:

    The minutemen are the nicest. I’ll take nice and dull over clean and evil. If some of the guys here can go “I’ll take over the institute and totally make it nice”, then I can go “I’ll take over the minutemen and totally make them competent and exciting”.

  43. Christopher says:

    8:11…. Hall of the Mountain King?

    On a different note, it’s a good thing we’re nearing the end of this playthrough. When the criticism goes from the incoherent tone in this game to “This game is not like Fallout 1, a 20 year old game made by different people” it gets a little tiring when I never played that game(And when I played the beginning of Fallout 2 and found it completely unplayable).

    It doesn’t feel fair on the creators of Fallout 4 the way the other criticism of their designs do. Having looked it up, the owners of the original Fallouts went bankrupt at some point, and a decade after Fallout 2, they launched their own Fallout 3. They even gave the sequel over to Obsidian, apparently formed from former members of the original Fallout team. Complaining that Bethesda’s Fallouts is not the same as the other Fallouts looks whiny to me in that context.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      What's Bethesda's wrongdoing supposed to be here?

      It’s that much like the reviled X-COM FPS a few years ago, if they wanted to make something that wasn’t much like Fallout, they shouldn’t have called it Fallout. Bethesda is inviting the comparisons.

      1. Christopher says:

        But it’s been eight years since Fallout 3 already! That’s nearly a decade of not getting over the change. The comparisons get old.

        1. IFS says:

          That doesn’t mean they don’t still have merit, and in those intervening years Fallout NV came out and showed that you can have a Fallout game with Bethesda’s gameplay that is still true to the spirit and qualities of the original games. Since its part of a series that invites comparisons to other entries in the series.

          It is still important to judge a game on its own merits of course, but I’d say even doing that FO4 falls short.

          1. Christopher says:

            I think the merit to those kinds of comparisons is limited because it’s not actually helpful criticism. Yeah, New Vegas shows you can make a Fallout game with Bethesda's gameplay that is still true to the spirit and qualities of the original games if Bethesda hands it off to a studio that’s made up of the people who made the original games in the first place. Comparing them just ends up being that you want Bethesda to give the IP to Obsidian and leave it alone. Asking for writers for individual zones to talk to one another so there was a coherent story here, that’s helpful criticism. But asking them to be this different company is just pointless, especially the second time around. There are no surprises here. They made a typical Bethesda game with their normal strengths and weaknesses and some improvement in the graphics, companions and combat system departments.

            I don’t come to Spoiler Warning to not hear nitpicking, critiquing and complaining, mind. I just don’t see the value in this specific line of criticism, and it’s the one thing I’ve found annoying in a season that’s otherwise been really great.

  44. Disc says:

    Deacon is the coolest faction-tied companion, so Railroad I guess.

  45. Kelerak says:

    It really speaks to Bethesda’s current design philosophy when your faction choices is “pick the one you think is the least awful”. Why should I care about ANY of these factions, or this world for that matter? If the game wanted me to be a Pre-War dude, seeing that this world is fucked and that none of the factions really want to rebuild society to the way that it was in Pre-War days, why should I give a single shit about any of them?

    This is a problem that ties all the way back into Skyrim. I typically like playing Dark Elves, but neither side in the conflict has viable reasons for me to side with them. The Stormcloaks is filled with a bunch of racist Nords, and the Empire is just a continuation of imperialism through the nation (fitting, I guess), so why would MY character, someone who hails from Morrowind, give a single fuck about what happens to Skyrim?

    I wouldn’t be so harsh about it if Bethesda actually took a page from New Vegas’ book and let you set up your own faction to decide what happens to the world. Or, hell, just have something that naturally accommodates your forced role in the world.

    For a critically acclaimed roleplaying game, there sure isn’t a whole lot of roleplaying. Unless we’re talking about Piper and her collar, of course.

    1. Corsair says:

      The central conflict of Skyrim is the Dragon Invasion, not Ulfric’s Rebellion – the war between Empire and Stormcloak Skyrim is the backdrop for the apocalypse, not the story itself. That alone makes it far more palatable than the shitshow of Fallout 4

      1. MrGuy says:

        Yet another “literally any idea would be better than what they came up with” idea.

        What If there were a reason why we needed the synths?

        For example, rather than the Berillium reactor be a place you go, What If it’s a pre-war automated reactor whose automated systems have kept it going for years, but are starting to break down? The only one who can survive in the massive radiation to keep the core contained are synths, and even they break down after a few weeks in there. Without a constant supply of synths, the reactor will blow and destroy the region.

        Now the Institute has a reason to be pumping out synths. They’re literally saving everyone by using synths to keep the explosion at bay. Not only is it self preservation, but they can’t just pick up and move without leaving so much of their research and equipment behind. Heck, you could even explain their FEV experiments if you’re being generous – maybe super mutants can do the work instead of synths?

        The railroad comes off a little more “good guy” in this case – building synths and sending them to their deaths in a massive radiation field comes off as a lot more sympathetic motivation. But they also have to know that, without the synths, the reactor WILL blow and everyone will have to leave. So they’re sort of fighting on the side of “evacuate and abandon the area.”

        The Brotherhood could possibly go either way. They could try to take over the institute, in which case they want to save the reactor. Or they could be “if we can’t have it, no one can!” and want to destroy the reactor and the institute.

        The Minutemen, in this instance, NEED the institute – they need the reactor to stay intact or all those settlements they worked so hard on have to be abandoned. So the real need with the Minutemen is to find a way to make peace with the Institute that protects the settlements, which might mean kicking the railroad out of town and possibly also the brotherhood (or, alternately, working a deal with the brotherhood where the brotherhood takes over the institute and they together defeat the current institute and the railroad).

        If you want to sort of nerf all that conflict, you could have an “everyone wins!” option where, with the help of some kind of splinter cell off of the institute, you find some way to stabilize the reactor permanently, neutralizing the whole conflict. I like this a lot less well, but Bethesda gotta Bethes.

  46. MichaelGC says:

    I like how expert we got at the run to the Fillmore’s, there. First try pick the wrong landing having been sent awry by the questmarker, as is traditional, and by the end impossible ninja parkour flips off the balconies and suchlike. Practice makes perfect! :D

  47. SlothfulCobra says:

    Absolutely everything about Father’s cancer would be set right if they just called it radiation sickness instead. Cancer isn’t a thing in this setting.

    1. Coming_Second says:

      Problem then would be players wondering why they can’t throw Radaway at him.

      1. MrGuy says:

        Agree that Radaway makes radiation sickness not tenable.

        Problem is that they made cancer not a very tenable problem either.

        First of all, radaway appears to negate the effect of radiation exposure, which would have to mean curing cancer-like cellular damage. OK, handwave that, I guess – they never explain how radaway works, but it’s not clear how they have it and NOT something that can work against cancer.

        A broken-down auto-doc repaired by a ghoul was able to cure Caesar. You can say “well it was a tumor, and not all tumors are cancer, so technically they never showed it curing cancer!” OK, fine.

        But that was a semi-broken auto-doc. We’re talking about the Institute, which appears to have better-than-pre-war tech. And we’re close to treating many kinds of cancer now. And cancer would likely be a major issue for people who survived a nuclear war and live in an irradiated wasteland. So, really? They’ve got nothing for cancer?

        Not saying this isn’t necessarily fixable. Just that there needs to be more surprise in the fact that Father is dying. “We’ve made so many advances in science, in medicine. We’ve discovered cures for dozens of major pre-war diseases. We can treat over 20 kinds of cancers. But not mine. Not mine. Not yet, anyways, and I’m running out of time.”

        And, say hey and by the way, why does Father HAVE to have an incurable disease? He’s OLD.

        He could have had a heart attack or a mild stroke that put the fear of death in him – he’s mortal, like all of us, and he’s getting way on in years. Heck, if you want to go crazy with it, have his heart fail, and he’s living with an artificial heart. It’s enough to keep him alive, but he knows the clock is ticking before the artificial heart fails.

  48. stratigo says:

    The hypothetical nullifies a major draw of the minutemen, EG, having to be the least assholish asshole and only kill one faction instead of the two all the others demand. I go with the minute men cause I never feel like taking out the railroad or brotherhood

  49. Lucas says:

    My first playthrough of Fallout 4, I actually finished most of the optional quests before the Brotherhood showed up in force. The Minutemen were a powerhouse in the commonwealth, patrolling from the fortified shelters that I’d run regular extermination crusades against raiders and mutants to arm up. Ballistic Weave enhanced caravans brought supplies from one corner of the map to the other, and with a flare I could call out support, or with smoke I could call down wrath like a fatman at none of the rads.

    It was still nonsense that the general had to go out and shoot kidnappers, but whatever; it’s a shooter now.

    Then the Brotherhood shows up, Danse makes his offer, and I see what they’ve got.

    Oh, they want to kill all ghouls. The Slog is a bunker. Good luck with that. Oh, they want to kill all synths. Nick, got an opinion on that? Well, what are their radiants? Oh, go escort to uncover some pre-war data? Okay, that sounds goo- wait, why is this locked out now? Under the authority of the Brotherhood. Ah. Aaand sweep and purge. Well, at least they can help with… did you just die, Paladin? You’re wearing powered armor. Alright, lets call in a Vertibir-and now it’s exploded and the wreckage fell on me.

    When I eventually came to the ‘extorting farms’ quests, I’d been to Libertalia and read the logs. This was clearly the Brotherhood rationalizing their fall. I was going to have to escort them out, but the rest of the plot required further exploration.

    Joining the Railroad was more about that neat freedom trail quest than anything else, but their story was clearly about being on their last legs and trying to recover. The fact that I got to raid the caches was a bonus. Also Deacon.

    The Institute runs headlong into the issue of designated villain syndrome. Finding out they create supermutants after catching gen-3s attempting to kill their replacements and never getting an answer to the question of ‘why’ made their fate pretty straightforward. I’d spent the game building the Minutemen. I’m not going to throw away the child I raised for anyone, especially one that grew into his kidnapper’s shoes.

  50. Duoae says:

    Okay, pharmaceutical chemist here… who produces anti -cancer drugs for a living. I’m late to the viewing but I never considered father’s cancer as antithetical to the setting or science as a principle. It certainly didn’t disagree with the science of the setting either.

    As a scientist, I sometimes find myself “screaming” at the let’s play when you guys veer off into peusdo science or slight misunderstandings regarding things. I still enjoy the show so keep on going but I really wish you guys had at least one “not lit major” person to counteract the “classics” readings of things…

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