Fallout 4

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Welcome Home (Fan Poster Property of Lazare Gvimradze)
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"Everything can change in an instant, and the future you plan for yourself shifts - whether or not you're ready. At some point... it happens to all of us."
The Sole Survivor, reflecting back over their adventures in the Commonwealth
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Fallout 4 is an open world action role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The fifth major installment in the Fallout series, the game was released worldwide on November 10, 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Sanctuary Hills, Massachusetts, circa 2077 is a pleasant place to live in. You've done your service to your country and are just happy to settle down with your spouse and newborn son. And despite the worries of the age, it seems at long last that peace has finally come. That is, until the Great War finally arrives, forcing you and your family to flee to nearby Vault 111, making it just in time...only to be frozen as part of the Vault's experiment. By the time you wake up, your family's gone, centuries have passed, and you're desperate for answers in what's left of the old Commonwealth.

Fallout 4 is set in a post-apocalyptic Boston in the year 2287, 210 years after a devastating nuclear war, with a prologue set on the day the bombs fell in 2077. Gameplay is similar to Fallout 3, though significantly builds on the improvements introduced in Fallout New Vegas. The player completes various quests and acquires experience points to level up their character. With first- and third-person perspectives available, players can explore the Fallout 4 open world setting at will, allowing nonlinear gameplay. Companions can accompany the player on their voyages to assist them in battles and help with scavenging. Players have the ability to construct and deconstruct buildings and items, and use them to build a settlement, which can attract and be inhabited by non-playable characters.

Fallout 4 was rumored several times prior to the game's announcement. The game was announced on June 3, 2015, and the first gameplay footage of the game was shown at Bethesda's own conference at the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo. The game features full voice acting for the protagonist, a first in the series.

On February 16, 2016, Bethesda revealed details on the planned DLC for Fallout 4. The first of these, Automatron, was released on March 2016. This was followed by Wasteland Workshop in April, Far Harbor in May, Contraptions Workshop in June, Vault-Tec Workshop in July, and the final DLC, Nuka-World, in August.

Tropes used in Fallout 4 include:
  • Adorkable: Travis, the owner and DJ of Diamond City Radio, is very shy and constantly bumbles his delivery yet still tries to do his job. His questline eventually leads him to become much more confident and having a matching smooth radio voice to boot.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: If the Sole Survivor hasn't killed him before the final quest, then this happens with Father/Shaun in any ending where the player doesn't side with the Institute. Father dies knowing that his own mother/father is about to destroy his life's work, still convinced that the Institute was the only hope left in the world. His last interaction with the Sole Survivor isn't to scream in rage or pointlessly shoot at them: it's to just let out a bitter, weary sigh and quietly tell them to leave so he can die in peace. Even if you strongly disagree with his mindset and the Institute in general, it's really hard not to feel sorry for him.
  • Alternate History: Further expounded upon, in addition to the existing lore. Scollay Square, where Goodneighbor is located, was a major Boston attraction before it was demolished and remodeled in real life. Likewise, in the Fallout continuity, the Boston Red Sox still hadn't won a World Series since 1918 by 2077, when in reality, the team finally broke the "Curse of the Bambino" in 2004.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The titular town in the Far Harbor DLC exists in real life Maine as Bar Harbor.
    • The law school Nora got her JD from does exist, albeit under a slightly different name.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The ultimate fate of the Commonwealth Provisional Government.
    • Additionally, how sapient Synths really are.
  • Apocalypse Not: Despite Dr. Zimmer having implied otherwise in Fallout 3, the Commonwealth is arguably the nicest section of the Wasteland since visited in the entire Fallout series. Hell, it's (environmentally, at least) even better off than the Mojave!
    • To further elaborate, unlike the nuclear carpet-bombing Washington D.C. was subjected to or the 11 nukes that hit the Mojave Desert, Boston was only hit by one nuclear missile... and it missed, landing to the far southwest of the city. Like Zion Canyon, the Commonwealth enjoys regular rainfall, and plant life has rebounded surprisingly well since the Black Rain (trees are in the autumnal stage with dead leaves on the ground since the game begins in fall, and numerous grasses and farming crops are encountered throughout the region). Additionally, most of Boston's skyscrapers are still (largely) intact despite the intervening 210 years, and most settlements in the Commonwealth have both working electricity and running water. In general, the Commonwealth rivals the NCR on the West Coast in being a bastion of civilization within the Wasteland.
    • Despite these advantages, however, the Commonwealth is still largely feral wilderness and a hodgepodge of scattered communities without any form of united regional government. While part of this is due to the Institute deliberately sabotaging the formation/progress of any surface society that it disagrees with, there's also some other reasons given over the game's course:
      • First, the nearby presence of the Glowing Sea. Because Boston's nuclear missile hit an advanced nuclear reactor, the surrounding region is still dangerously irradiated in the game's present. Not only does this mean that anyone in the Glowing Sea not in Power Armor/a Hazmat Suit or have sufficient amounts of Rad-X and Rad-Away will die in minutes, but the Glowing Sea provides a "safe place" for Demonic Spiders like Deathclaws, Charred Feral Ghouls, and Bloodbugs to flee back to and "breed" so that they can keep menacing the Commonwealth. Additionally, the radiation storms can also sterilize farmland in some areas and make it easier for crops to fail, further impairing societal progress.
      • Second, it's established that the collapses of the Commonwealth Provisional Government and Commonwealth Minutemen caused the beginnings of an organized regional society to fall apart. Thusly, instead of forming new city-states or something like the NCR, many parts of the Commonwealth were effectively knocked right back to the levels of lawless anarchy created just after the Great War.
  • Arc Words: Continuing on from the rest of the Fallout series, "War... war never changes."
    • To a much lesser extent, there's also "Welcome home."
    • From solely the Nuka-World DLC, there's the phrase "The real deal."
  • Art Evolution:
    • The art design of the game got completely overhauled from the previous games where now environments are vibrant and have more color, almost every monsters, mechanical designs, and weapons, even staples of the series like what Vault doors look like got revamped (they are now somehow even bigger and the one you starts in has an entrance elevator).
    • Character creation is much more in-depth this time. In addition to preset shapes for features such as your eyes and nose, you can now fine tune the size, position, and shape of your facial features much better than in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. You can even morph their body within a "Thin-Muscular-Large" parameter, meaning that every human, Synth and Ghoul NPC no longer share the same physical build.
    • The Ghouls are slightly different than in previous games. A fair number of them are able to keep their head of hair and many now have completely black eyes. They also have varying levels of decomposition and don't all speak in raspy voices. Feral Ghouls also look more like lumpy, hunchbacked mutants rather than straight zombies, with bulging heads and twisted limbs. Overall, Feral Ghouls in Fallout 4 look more like actual real-life burn victims or patients suffering from severe degenerative disease, rather than the high-fantasy undead zombies they looked like in Fallout 3.
    • The Pip-Boy interface and icons now looks more high res, having a more solid font than in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. The Pip-Boy icons are now even animated humorously. It was also redesigned to have the switches and dials on the right side, where someone could actually use it when wearing it on their left hand.
    • Mirelurks are no longer bipedal crustaceans, instead looking more like oversized mutated crabs or lobsters depending on the species.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Everyone is a whole lot smarter now.
    • Humanoid enemies are much more competent, and hostile NPCs won't just stand in place shooting at you. Enemies will move around to avoid your fire, will duck behind cover to heal and reload, peaking their heads out to look for you and fire back, and will fire around corners without stepping out to expose themselves. When facing multiple enemies they'll fan out to attack from multiple directions, particularly melee enemies who will sneak around and rush you from behind if they can. Enemies will use suppression fire to pin you down, and anyone who has grenades will use them to flush you out of cover and prevent you from camping. When attacking a group of enemies from range, even if you're in sneak and have a suppressor on your rifle, they'll start firing at your location and come to look for you random because even though they can't actually see you they can tell which direction the gunfire is coming from.
    • Enemies are also much smarter. Mutated animals such as Wild Mongrels will attempt to circle the player while in combat. Deathclaws are now intelligent enough to weave to the sides to dodge gunfire. Feral Ghouls, instead of serving as shambling bullet catchers, are now flailing, erratic, and extremely aggressive adversaries. Mirelurks now cover their faces with their pincers when they are charging at you. In cases where the enemy is incapable of finding its way to you (such as Deathclaws being unable to climb a truck), they will retreat to cover and stay there until you either manage to shoot them from another angle (which makes them retreat even further) or come down to ground level, which renders you vulnerable to attack once more.
  • Artificial Human: One of the main plot points of the game is that of synthetic humanoids - or, as everyone properly calls them, "Synths". Gen 3 Synths are virtually identical to that of ordinary humans, but have the following differences: they're Made of Iron in comparison to ordinary Wastelanders, require no food or water to survive (and, by consequence, can neither gain nor loose weight), are either The Ageless or just age incredibly slowly in comparison to ordinary humans, cannot interbreed with each other or have children with humanity, are immune to radiation poisoning, heal from injuries at a slightly accelerated rate than ordinary humanity does (along with generally having enhanced senses and strength), and can have their minds completely overwritten/reprogrammed. The division between how organic and mechanical they are is pretty blurry.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Unfortunately, there's still quite a few examples of this.
    • Generally speaking, NPCs don't handle the verticality of the world very well. Settlers will often determine that the only way to get down from a roof isn't to take the stairs carefully placed to let them up there, but to just walk off a nearby ledge. Raiders, and especially Gunners due to their raised highway forts, will sometimes just walk right off the edge of their vantage points and die instantly on contact with the ground.
  • Artistic License Nuclear Physics: As in every other game in the series, the laws of physics have more in common with 1950s pulp Science! than reality.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Many of the Institute's standard weaponry look sleek and advanced, but pack less of a punch than the Brotherhood's laser-heavy arsenal.
  • Awesome Yet Practical
  • Best Served Cold:
    • Nick Valentine's questline eventually leads to a confrontation with a ghoulified gangster boss named Eddie Winter who was responsible for killing the fiancee of the original Valentine. By then, however, he's largely forgotten about it, having taken place over 200 years earlier.
    • The Sole Survivor could opt to do this to Captain Zao, the Ghoulified Chinese naval officer onboard the Yangtze due to his part in the Great War, whether or not he was only following orders.
    • The confrontation against Conrad Kellogg is ultimately revealed to be this. While the Sole Survivor's grudge is still fresh by the time he catches up to Kellogg, for the latter it's been decades since the dirty deed was done.
  • Big Bad: Downplayed, as the game's new Grey and Gray Morality makes it so the game's main antagonist is solely based on the different factions. However, depending on the faction the Sole Survivor chooses to side with, you'll have to go to war with one (or more) of the most powerful factions in the game - These include Elder Arthur Maxson, the Synth-discriminating leader of the Brotherhood of Steel, or "Father", the leader of the mysterious Institute.
  • Big Good:
    • Desdemona, leader of the Railroad, is rendered this by default since she's in charge of the only faction opposing the Institute at the game's beginning.
    • The Minutemen in general are also this by default to the Commonwealth, should they successfully make a comeback with the Sole Survivor's help.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Cabot family as shown during their mini-questline.
    • The Sole Survivor's family also counts as this, considering how the Sole Survivor is a Fish Out of Temporal Water suffering from PTSD, their beloved husband/wife is long dead, their son Shaun is now the main leader of the Institute (and potential main antagonist), and their "replacement" child is a Synth copy of the original Shaun at 10 years old.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Much like New Vegas, all of the endings to the main storyline have their positives and negatives.
  • Black Comedy/Denser and Wackier: While not quite at the level of New Vegas, Fallout 4 has a much sillier and darker sense of humor than 3 ever did.
  • Boring but Practical
  • Call Back/Continuity Nod:
    • In Far Harbor, High Confessor Tektus claims that "the great prophet" Confessor Cromwell told his chapter of the Children of Atom to go north and "spread Atom's word", which is how they eventually got to the Island.
    • Possibly unintentional, but most of the songs playing on Radio Freedom and the Settlement Recruitment Beacons (the Minutemen's two radio stations) were also played on Enclave Radio in Fallout 3.
    • Nuka-World brings back both Nuka Cola Quartz and Nuka Cola Victory, both of which last appeared in New Vegas.
    • Like the Glow from way back in Fallout 1, the Glowing Sea is a highly-irradiated impact site left by a nuclear blast.
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel incorporate elements of the Midwestern chapter in addition to some of the reforms Owyn Lyons implemented in Fallout 3. They're also mentioned as being in contact with (and ultimately answering to) the original Lost Hills Elders in the West Coast, who haven't been seen since Fallout 2.
      • The Prydwen, the Brotherhood's Cool Airship and HQ in the Commonwealth, is mentioned as being built using parts from Rivet City and assembled in the former Enclave stronghold at Adams Air Force Base. Their airship is also mentioned as being based on the designs of airships used by the Midwestern Brotherhood.
    • The Institute can be described as what the Think Tank and Big MT would be like if fully sober and sane.
    • The Minutemen are akin to a prototypical NCR crossed with the Desert Rangers seen in the first Fallout games. The formal founding of the NCR itself is captured in a flashback sequence via someone else's memories: Conrad Kellogg's. The radio in the sequence specifically mentions Aradesh's election as its first president.
    • The Railroad were previously introduced in Fallout 3, but play a much larger role here in opposing the Institute and its enslavement of Synths.
    • Dunwich Borers, the same company that owned the infamous Dunwich Building in DC (as seen in Fallout 3), had operations around Boston that are just as Lovecraftian.
    • Quite a few characters from Fallout 3 make a return.
      • Arthur Maxson, who was just a young boy and very minor character in 3, is now Elder of the East Coast Brotherhood as well as leading the fight against the Institute. Unfortunately, since then he's lost all of his younger idealism and has become a charismatic and fanatical demagogue. And he's brought an almost refurbished Liberty Prime with him, which can actually be brought back into action.
      • Dr. Madison Li, who's now the chief scientist at the Institute for the Advanced Systems division.
      • Robert Joseph MacCready, last seen as the annoying, bratty mayor of Little Lamplight, has grown up to be a mungo. And a rather handsome, pleasant, and skilled one, at that.
      • Sierra Petrovita from Girdershade reappears in Nuka-World, somehow having safely traveled from the Capital Wasteland to the Commonwealth all on her own.
    • It's implied that Travis Miles of Diamond City Radio is friends with Three Dog from the Capital Wasteland, given how he's taken "fighting the good fight" to heart.
    • The family TV in the Pre-War sequence will occasionally play some of the Retraux viral commercials for Fallout 3 before returning to the news broadcast.
    • Combined with Brick Joke. But long after being teased at in one of the viral promotional videos for Fallout 3, you finally get to see Jangles the Moon Monkey.
    • The Mechanist from the Automatron DLC is implied to be from the Capital Wasteland, and is shown to have taken inspiration from the same comics that caused the mess in Canterbury Commons.
    • The Far Harbor DLC reveals that there's at least someone among the Children of Atom who's a defector from the Enclave.
  • Central Theme: A few different ones are offered over the course of the game.
  • The Conspiracy: Because of their relative lack of resources, the Institute controls the entire Commonwealth through a complex network of Synth spies and hired informants.
  • Controllable Helplessness: The prologue is ultimately this, after a fashion. With practically little more than the clothes on your back, you frantically get yourself and your family to Vault 111 as the Great War reaches Boston... and there's nothing you can do to stop the end of the world.
  • Cool Airship: The Prydwen. Also, potentially, USS Constitution.
  • Cool Boat: USS Constitution. Can also count as a Cool Airship.
  • Crap Saccharine World: The Pre-War world is this, in keeping with classic Fallout tradition. But this time though, it's deconstructed, as you get to glimpse for yourself how life in Pre-War America was like. On the one hand, America is shown as rife with near-constant shortages and economic turmoil even as the stand-off with China intensifies, with civilization elsewhere on the verge of collapse; and that's not getting to the Enclave's original plans of leaving Earth altogether. At the same time, however, society has noticeably changed since The Fifties, with the American Dream being pursued by anyone regardless of gender, race or even sexual inclination so long as they're not Communist. For all its flaws, people still managed to live good lives before the world as they knew it ended.
  • Crapsack World: Zig-Zagged/Downplayed with the Commonwealth.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The Institute fancies itself as this by 2287, with even its scientists' attire looking more like futuristic togas. Its shadier actions, however, suggest otherwise.
  • Dead Man Writing: Not only Kellogg's memories. But also Kellogg's last, unspoken thoughts to the Sole Survivor before he's killed.
    • Averted in the case of Arlen Glass, however. As while his logs can be found across the Commonwealth and give the impression of yet another Apocalyptic Log, it's eventually revealed that he's still very much alive as a Ghoul.
  • Death From Above: Getting in the Brotherhood's good graces can allow the Sole Survivor to not only call in a Vertibird, but also use it as transport. Defeating the Brotherhood with the Minutemen meanwhile also involves this, albeit by calling in a massive artillery strike.
  • Death World: The Glowing Sea, ground zero for the nuke that was intended for Boston during the Great War.
    • Mount Desert Island has also become this as consequence of the Great War.
  • Defector From Decadence: Of sorts. Grand Zealot Brian Richter was the sole survivor of his Enclave squad before joining the Children of the Atom.
  • Dirty Communists: Downplayed with Captain Zao, a ghoulified Chinese naval officer who's been stranded with his Yangtze submarine off Boston since the Great War.[1] Although he's far more concerned with getting back to his homeland than continuing a conflict that ended centuries earlier, he still refers to the Sole Survivor as "capitalist" and an "American".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A Downplayed Trope: during your physical from the Brotherhood of Steel, you're asked about your physical health, psychological stability and morals. They ask if you've been exposed to large amounts of radiation, have ever had sex with anything nonhuman (inferring carnal contact with animals), have ever been seriously sick, or would hesitate to kill any enemy of the Brotherhood.
    • This trope becomes downplayed due to the medical examiner stating that only killing the Brotherhood's enemies if it was in self defense is an acceptable and most frequently stated answer.
    • In a more subtle example, the game takes place in Massachusetts, where most people are simple farmers and settlers constantly struggling against nature to survive in a brutal Death World, and organized society is recently starting to form. Everyone is terrified about their loved ones being replaced with evil copies, even turning on their family and friends, with many innocent people getting killed in the crossfire. Taking out the surprising lack of religious symbolism (relatively speaking), and the Commonwealth's struggle over the identities of Institute Synths can be seen as an analogue to the Salem Witch Trials.
    • The excuses used by some of the Institute's members on why they shouldn't help Wastelanders are reminiscent of how residents of Western countries waive off supplying foreign aid to developing nations, right down to a few Institute scientists outright stating "We shouldn't try to think about it, as it's much too depressing to discuss right now."
  • Driven to Suicide: The dark secret of the once-exclusive Boylston Club. Where it's revealed that just after the Great War ended, the Club's patrons (made up of some of the most distinguished figures in the Pre-War Commonwealth) committed suicide rather than face the post-apocalyptic world.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Institute is so well hidden that the only ways to access it are either through special teleportation technology, finding a very obscure and well-hidden abandoned maintenance tunnel, or sending in Liberty Prime to the C.I.T. Ruins to simply blow a big hole in it.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: It's a relatively open secret among the Commonwealth's denizens that there are some shady goings-on within the Institute, enough to prompt the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel to intervene. But the full extent of its plans are so insidious that even those within the Institute either try to downplay it or may not even be aware of it themselves, instead focusing more on their pretensions of progressing humanity.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Similar to Fallout 3, cars will still explode if shot more than a few times. Also counts as an example of Artistic License Nuclear Physics, as said cars are fusion powered, and produce a miniature mushroom cloud.
  • Fantastic Slurs:
    • The official term for the Institute's Artificial Humans are "synthetic humanoids". Most people (both in the Institute and in the Commonwealth) call them "Synths" as an insult: an insult of which the Synths have reclaimed as the name of their species.
    • Like in previous Fallout games, Ghouls are often derogatorily referred to as "zombies" by racist humans. Ghouls in turn will call humans "smoothskins" when sufficiently pissed off. Also, BoS members will also call Super Mutants "Frankensteins", and the residents of the Commonwealth will also derisively refer to the Super Mutants as "greenskins".
  • Fictional Counterpart:
    • The Parsons State Insane Asylum is this to the real-world Danvers State Hospital.
    • CIT, the Commonwealth Institute of Technology, is an alternate version of the real Massachusetts Institute of Technology a.k.a. MIT. It's no coincidence that the Institute is hidden under it.
    • Boston Airport is also this to Logan International Airport, and is even partially modelled after it.
  • Film Noir: Nick Valentine's whole persona and questline are a Fallout rendition of this, which goes beyond having his own office in Diamond City or being a Synth with a Pre-War police officer's memories. Though unlike most Noir protagonists, he's rather friendly and kind-hearted for a gumshoe detective, especially compared to most everyone else in the Commonwealth. Goodneighbor also has this to a degree as part of its atmosphere.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water:
    • The Sole Survivor himself/herself, being an American citizen from before the Great War.
    • Nick Valentine, a Synth gumshoe detective who, despite his appearance, acts like he's straight out an old Film Noir piece ala Humphrey Bogart. It's Justified however in that his personality is that of a Pre-War police officer, whose memories and final case form part of his personal quest.
    • Vault 81, one of the handful of (if not the only) functional Vaults left, is a living microcosm of Pre-War America frozen in time. Of course, there's much more beneath the surface than meets the eye...
    • Averted with Shaun, the Sole Survivor's son. Not only was he too young to really remember what Pre-War life was like, but he was thawed out decades earlier by Kellogg and the Institute before his last living parent comes to. And by the time the Sole Survivor meets him, he's long since become known as Father, Director of the Institute.
    • Played with in the case of Curie. She's very much aware that it's been over 200 years and that quite a bit has changed since the Pre-War days. On the other hand, it's hasn't quite registered to her just how significant those changes are.
  • Foil:
    • The Sole Survivor is this to the Lone Wanderer. The Lone Wanderer was a young lad/lass who left their safe, secure life in comfy Vault 101 to venture out into the Wasteland to find their missing father. The Sole Survivor is a family man/woman who leaves their decaying, frozen tomb of a Vault (as well as the Pre-War world that they survived) and ventures out into the Wasteland to find their missing son. It does make you wonder what kind of conversation they'd have if they ever met.
    • The Commonwealth itself is the Foil of the Mojave Wasteland. Both are places that're comparatively untouched by the Great War and are practical crucibles of new civilizations within the Wasteland. However, due to roughly a century's worth of manipulation (courtesy of the Institute), the nearby presence of the Glowing Sea, and the Commonwealth Minutemen's fall from grace, the region has failed to organize and remains largely a feral wasteland (occasionally blasted by rad-storms) around a ruined city with only a few bastions of safety and even fewer attempts at logistics. Due to the unifying influence of Mr. House's New Vegas - along with the recent arrival of the NCR and Caesar's Legion - the Mojave has a lot more societal advantages and even has highways and major cities being built as of 2281. Also, the Mojave is a landlocked desert while the Commonwealth both enjoys regular rainfall and is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
    • The Minutemen are this, after a fashion, to the Enclave. While both evoke patriotic memories of Pre-War America and were thought to be dead, the Minutemen legitimately seek to help the Commonwealth and make a difference, all the while hearkening back to what America wished it was. They also serve as this to the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel by being everything Lyons wished he could turn the Brotherhood into but ultimately failed in achieving, and with far less technology, resources, and influence.
    • The Brotherhood are this to themselves, or rather their incarnation in Fallout 3. Although concern for the people and their well-being remain part of the East Coast Brotherhood's creed, the main priority is once more the acquisition and preservation of advanced technology, much like the Midwest and West Coast. And as pointed out on the Faction page, they're even one towards Caesar's Legion.
    • Vault 81 is this to Vault 101. Whereas the latter was slowly dwindling into oblivion with each generation while following its stated purpose, Vault 81 remains a thriving and sane, if secluded community despite not following its intended directive.
      • There's also one to Vault 21. Both were experimental Vaults that were fully expected to result in the demise of their inhabitants (one way or another). However, while Vault 81 decided to abandon its experiments for the sake of its inhabitants, Vault 21's experiment proved to be perfectly compatible with its inhabitants' comfortable survival until Mr. House came along.
    • The Far Harbor DLC reveals DiMA to be this to the "current" Nick Valentine. Being an intelligent, old-generation synth forsaken by the Institute, albeit much more cold and robotic than Nick could ever be.
  • Fridge Logic: One In-Universe example occurs in the Vault the Triggermen hide out in during "Unlikely Valentine". One of them alludes to this trope when mentioning it makes no sense to build a Vault in a subway station, and a Ghoul gangster who was alive since before the War points out this was invoked as a means of grifting money for a construction project doomed to fail.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Hancock remarks how the Raider boss known as Sinjin, given enough time, could become as big a threat to the wasteland as Caesar was if he's not stopped.
    • Part of the Brotherhood's rationale behind stopping the Institute, according to Elder Maxson, is to make sure that it doesn't become even more of a threat.
    • The Minutemen are a benevolent example, as they can go from being almost wiped out to the last man at the start of the game's plot to becoming the dominant force in the Commonwealth.
  • Great Offscreen War: Averted, as for the first time, you get to witness the Great War as it happened.
    • Played straight with the espionage war waged between the Institute and Railroad over the freedom of Synths, as the Sole Survivor's intervention will permanently decide the conflict's result - one way or another.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The fact that the player can choose any of the game's main factions - the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, the Institute, the Railroad and the Commonwealth Minutemen - without feeling like they're picking "the evil choice" highlights that everyone is pretty flawed (even more so than New Vegas, which primarily relied on Black and Grey Morality), and it's up to you as the Sole Survivor to decide which faction is, in your eyes, the lightest shade of grey. Instead, the conflict between the Brotherhood and Institute falls more along the lines of Romanticism Versus Enlightenment, with the Brotherhood as Romantics and the Institute as Enlightened. The Minutemen and Railroad, while not actively fighting each other, also fall along the above lines.
    • There's also the conflict between Honest Dan and the town of Covenant. Dan is just trying to rescue Amelia Stockton as per his contract with Bunker Hill. However, the citizens of Covenant are made up of the survivors of Synth assassins, who infiltrated their families and friends before brutally killing them. As a result, they're trying to develop a psychological test to root out Synths. However, not only are they torturing dozens of innocent people in the process, but their test doesn't discriminate between the innocents rescued by the Railroad and Institute infiltrators.
    • Even Raiders are significantly humanized via conversations the player can overhear between them when they haven't been detected, and terminals in various Raider-controlled setting show countless shades of villainy among them.
    • The Far Harbor DLC has the conflict between the Church of the Children of Atom, the inhabitants of the titular Far Harbor, and even DiMA's Acadia. Far Harbor's inhabitants are distrustful of outsiders (particularly the Children of Atom), but the main reason for their hatred and ignorance is that they've lost numerous loved ones as the radioactive Fog drove them to the docks. The Children of Atom, despite their Church Militant nature and wish to blanket the entire Island with the Fog at the expense of Far Harbor, are not responsible for the Fog and only became more hostile due to being led by an extremist leader like Tektus. While DiMA and the Synths of Acadia live in peace and even provided Fog Condensers to Far Harbor to help them hold back the Fog, DiMA himself killed Captain Avery and replaced her with a mind-wiped Synth in the manner of the very Institute he had fled from. Despite his reason for that being peace between Acadia and Far Harbor, he can get called out on being Not So Different from the Institute. The story does have a Golden Ending, but it involves either killing Tektus or convincing him to leave so he can be replaced with a Synth to prevent a war between Far Harbor and the Children of Atom.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: It's possible for the Sole Survivor to do this against the Mechanist in the Automatron DLC while dressed as the Silver Shroud. The ensuing dialogue is practically a contest on who can overact who.
  • Happy Ending Override:
    • Played with for Fallout 3. The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel seized the day in the Capital Wasteland, with no small thanks to the Lone Wanderer. On the other hand, both Owyn and Sarah Lyons died not long after, many (but not all) of their reforms undone as the current Elder, Arthur Maxson once more reunited with the Outcasts and the previously estranged West Coast Brotherhood in the Lost Hills. It's also implied that the Brotherhood rules over DC like feudal overlords.
    • Averted for Fallout New Vegas: it's strongly suggested if not outright stated that the New California Republic crushed Caesar's Legion at the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. It's even shown in-game that people in the Commonwealth are at least aware of Caesar's failure and the NCR's existence. The continued existence of the West Coast Brotherhood (it's even mentioned that the Brotherhood is operating on the surface again back out west) also implies that the peace treaty between the Mojave BoS and NCR has expanded to include all western Brotherhood of Steel chapters.
  • Heroic BSOD: The Sole Survivor is strongly hinted at undergoing this through a good deal of the game, being that they're suffering from PTSD by consequence of the game's prologue. Which can plausibly explain his/her at-times muted emotional reactions.
  • Husky Russkie: Vadim and Yefim Bobrov in Diamond City are this, giving the impression of being a post-apocalyptic version of The Mafiya despite actually being rather amiable and friendly. They're likely descended from Soviet immigrants or delegates around Boston when the Great War happened.
  • Iconic Outfit: Two, actually - the T-60 Power Armor and the Silver Shroud costume.
  • Insistent Terminology: Due to a case of Future Imperfect, the residents of Mount Desert Island in Maine (the setting of the Far Harbor DLC) only refer to it as "the Island".
  • Internal Homage: The Minutemen's resurgence under the Sole Survivor's leadership, in conjunction to them all but uniting the Commonwealth under one flag, bears more than a passing semblance to how the New California Republic ultimately came to be, paralleling how the Vault Dweller and Shady Sands under Aradesh helped lay down the foundations for a stable regional identity to arise.
    • Arthur Maxson was selected to be his chapter's Elder at the age of 16... the same age that the Vault Dweller of Fallout 1 could be.
    • While the Sole Survivor is called such in all of the game's promotional and meta material, they're actually described as "the Vault Dweller" by Diamond City Radio's Travis Miles in yet another reference to Fallout 1.
    • The default appearance of the Male Sole Survivor (Nate) looks more than a little like Albert Cole, one of the pre-made player characters for Fallout 1.
    • One of the possible fates of Nuka-World's Hubologists is almost identical to their fate in Fallout 2.
    • Speaking of Nuka-World, the positive ending to the story is the quest "Open Season". This quest has the Sole Survivor metaphorically Storming the Castle and massacring the entire Nuka-World Raider army. Considering how both Nuka-World and Paradise Falls are both utter Wretched Hives (even by the standards of the Wasteland) ruled over by enslaving scumbags who're actively spreading their power and influence throughout the region, "Open Season" is pretty much "Rescue From Paradise" turned Up to Eleven.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Conrad Kellogg's memories revealed that his parents didn't really believe that the then-newly founded NCR would really amount to anything, especially given how it progressively becomes more powerful and stable by Fallout 2 and New Vegas. The Institute, however, averts this, doing whatever it can to keep a NCR-like Commonwealth from becoming a reality in part due to the failure surrounding their "Commonwealth Provisional Government" plan decades earlier.
  • Jerkass Victim: The Mayor of Boston is revealed to have commissioned an underground shelter for himself, his family and a handful of guards using taxpayers' money. When the Great War finally happened, the survivors topside weren't too happy knowing about that, resulting in said Mayor, family and supporters dying a brutal death. Which would be tragic, if they weren't so sleazy.
  • Just Before the End: The prologue sequence is set in 2077, on the very day of the Great War.
  • Large Ham: Your character can do this when talking to Hancock while wearing the Silver Shroud outfit. He humors you and mostly plays along during this. You can even ham it up in both Nuka-World in "Dry Rock Gulch" and "Automatron" against the Mechanist.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Downplayed, but Father's constant statements about how the Synths only resemble human sapience can be seen as a commentary on programming video game NPCs and making them resemble actual characters in a story people should invest in.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than both Fallout 3 and New Vegas.
    • Albeit zigzagged with the Nuka-World DLC, which allows the player to make the Commonwealth about as miserable as the worst aspects of the Capital Wasteland should they choose.
  • Lovecraft Country: This vibe is given off more and more the farther north you go. The Far Harbor DLC takes this even further, being set in post-apocalyptic Maine.
  • Medium Blending: The game's intro is done in live-action. While gameplay-wise, it not only builds on the RPG/FPS fusion introduced in previous entries, but also incorporates certain elements like settlement construction.
    • The Automatron DLC meanwhile adds robot construction and customization into the mix. While the Vault-Tec Workshop DLC allows the Sole Survivor to become the de facto Overseer of his/her own Vault.
  • Melee a Trois: There are four major factions in the game, three of which are in opposition to each other: the Institute, the Railroad, the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, and the Commonwealth Minutemen.
    • The Institute is a cabal of scientists living in secret within the Commonwealth. The goal of the Institute is their own continued existence and to protect themselves from the outside world, which they view as a dangerous hellhole. They also want to advance their technology for the betterment of humanity (or so they state). To further their goals, they create Synths, artificial humans that they implant in Commonwealth society for reasons known only to them (it's implied, but never directly stated, that the Institute wants to culturally alter the Commonwealth into forming a society they can share their tech with). They seek to destroy the Railroad, who work to subvert them and steal away their slave labor; and the Brotherhood of Steel, who seek the utter destruction of them and their Synths.
    • The Railroad is an underground espionage-based resistance movement dedicated to the liberation of Synths and the eventual downfall of the Institute. They rescue Synths that seek asylum and help them assimilate into Commonwealth society, giving them reconstructive surgery and rewriting their memories to prevent them from being singled out, either by the Institute or the paranoid people of the Commonwealth.
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel is a feudalistic military organization that rules the Washington D.C. area with an iron fist and seek to expand into the Commonwealth. They view the Institute as the greatest threat to mankind since the creation of the atomic bomb, and the Synths as mechanical abominations that would be deserving of genocide if they could be considered a race at all (their opinions of Ghouls and Super Mutants are not very positive, either). This also puts them in opposition with the Railroad, since they harbor Synths.
    • The Commonwealth Minutemen is an armed citizen's militia with a single goal: protecting the people of the Commonwealth. Since they lack manpower and resources, they stay out of the conflict between the Institute, Railroad, and BoS and focus on protecting the citizenry. Under the Sole Survivor's guidance, however, they can grow large enough to take on both the Institute and Brotherhood.
    • The Brotherhood, Institute and Railroad all battle against each other if you do the "Battle of Bunker Hill" quest, with the Institute trying to capture escaped synths, there. You can optionally warn the Railroad and/or the Brotherhood about it and more Brotherhood and Railroad soldiers appear.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: It's revealed in the Vault 111 logs that it was never meant to sustain the staff, guards and scientists overseeing the experiment for more than six months. As the Enclave intended to remotely observe the Vault, all the while lying to said personnel about an "All-Clear signal" coming from Vault-Tec. They were all expendable.
    • The Institute doesn't particularly care how many Synths are destroyed so long as they get the job done, given how any losses incurred could be replaced. The Institute also doesn't seem to care about how many people they abduct and replace with Synths, either.
  • Monumental Damage: Several historical landmarks in and around Boston are still standing more or less intact, and in the case of USS Constitution, stuck on top of a building with rockets strapped on. It's justified in that the warhead meant for Boston never hit its intended target, instead landing in what's come to be known as the Glowing Sea.
    • Fenway Park has seen better days, though has long since found new life as the site of Diamond City.
    • While having sustained some damage and decay over the centuries, the Bunker Hill Memorial still stands tall. Even Liberty Prime is able to recognize it.
  • Multiple Endings: Similar to Fallout: New Vegas, the ending of the game is determined by which faction you side with at the end of the game, leading to a final mission in which you act to assure your faction's dominance over the Commonwealth. Regardless of which faction you choose, the game's ending cinematic and narration is the same (as it is simply the main character reminiscing about how far they've come), but the consequences for the in-game world vary quite a bit.
    • Well, almost the same. The first sequence is different if you choose to side with the Institute.
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel: fearing the continued proliferation of synths in the wasteland, the Brotherhood of Steel wipes out the Railroad in a surgical strike. Afterwards, the newly repaired Liberty Prime leads an assault against the Institute, blowing a hole in its roof with a nuclear device. The Brotherhood then storms the Institute and detonates its nuclear reactor, securing the order's control over the Commonwealth.
    • The Institute: having finally gained an inside man in the Railroad, Father sends the Sole Survivor to assassinate the organization's leaders, finally eliminating the possibility of synths escaping from the Institute. The Survivor then leads an assault the Brotherhood of Steel's base of operations, killing Elder Maxson in a final battle, and re-programs Liberty Prime to target and destroy the Prydwen, allowing the Institute to continue its shadowy dominion over the Commonwealth.
    • The Railroad: fearing that the Brotherhood will commit genocide against synths in the Commonwealth, the Railroad infiltrates the Prydwen and crashes it into Boston Airport, decimating the Brotherhood of Steel. They then use their contacts within the Institute to launch an invasion, evacuate the synths inside, and detonate the facility's reactor, leaving the Commonwealth free from the control of any major faction.
    • The Commonwealth Minutemen: Essentially the game's "Wild Card" ending, for players who don't want to side with any of the above. After forsaking and declaring war on the Institute, the Sole Survivor helps the Minutemen infiltrate the Institute through a hidden maintenance tunnel, storming the reactor and destroying the sinister scientific cabal once and for all. Depending on the player's actions, they may also have to contend with the other factions: if the player does not activate the evacuation signal before destroying the Institute, the Railroad will blame them for the deaths of all the synths inside and declare war on the Minutemen. Should the player become enemies with the Brotherhood at any point prior to or after the ending, war is declared and the Minutemen shoot down the Prydwen with their artillery. Some decisions made during this event can decide the fate of the other factions.
      • Minutemen-Railroad-Brotherhood: the "normal" ending. This ending requires the Sole Survivor to not only not become enemies with the Brotherhood during the game, but to also issue the evacuation order when destroying the Institute. This allows the Minutemen to join the Railroad in helping Synths and getting the Brotherhood's help in domesticating the region.
      • Minutemen-Brotherhood: the Sole Survivor is still friendly with the Brotherhood, but fails to throw the evacuation order while destroying the Institute. Furious for the Minutemen letting countless innocent Synths die, the Railroad declares war on them. This requires the Survivor to kill off their leadership before teaming up with the Brotherhood and taking over the region.
      • Minutemen-Railroad: the Sole Survivor has both become the Brotherhood's enemy and still throws the evacuation order when destroying the Institute. This results in the Minutemen crushing the Brotherhood of Steel by shelling The Prydwen with their artillery. They then team up with the Railroad and peacefully take over the Commonwealth.
    • The Joke Ending: if the Sole Survivor fails to leave Sanctuary Hills quickly enough in the Pre-War sequence, the nuke drops immediately and kills everyone.
    • The Fillicide Ending: quite possibly the darkest ending possible (and one of the most difficult to accomplish). The Sole Survivor Goes Mad From The Revelation upon first meeting Father/Shaun in the Institute and kills him. This renders the Institute permanently hostile, meaning the Sole Survivor must also Kill Em All before they can leave, and the surface Commonwealth collapses into violent infighting and war between the Institute's remains, the Railroad and the East Coast Brotherhood.
    • For the Nuka-World DLC, the Sole Survivor could opt to side with any of the dominant Raider gangs to wipe their rivals out and ultimately plunge the Commonwealth into darkness.[2] The Sole Survivor can, of course, Take a Third Option and kill every single one of them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: You get this reaction from the Mechanist, but only if you convince them to accept the truth that their Robobrains are directing their bots to kill innocents.
  • Myth Arc: The majority of side quests, dungeons and other locations throughout the Commonwealth are (in some way) tied into the Institute and their Synths, even if some cases are more distanced than others to the central focus of Synths.
  • Mythology Gag: Quite a few appear.
    • The first trailer begins in a manner similar to the intro of the first game, by slowly panning out from a TV set to show the ruins of the Wasteland around it.
    • In the Vault-Tec Workshop DLC, you can make your own Vault Gear-doors. However, they look like the smaller doors with the side-arm pulling them away, as they were in the art style for the original two Fallout games.
    • Porter Gage calls Mirelurks "Mudcrabs" in a reference to Fallout's sister series, The Elder Scrolls.
    • The relationship between the Commonwealth Minutemen and the Settlers they protect is heavily based after that of the Desert Rangers from the original Wasteland. The Fallout series is generally seen as the Spiritual Successor to Wasteland.
    • Looking at The Art of Fallout 4 will show that the design of the Fog Crawler in Far Harbor is based on a Dummied Out design for the Mirelurk Queen.
  • Not So Different:
    • Captain Zao is this to a Minutemen-aligned Male Sole Survivor. Both are the last living residents of the Pre-War militaries that nearly caused the extinction of all life, and simply want to rebuild their long-since dead nations into what they should have been. And his friendly demeanor to the Sole Survivor can help show that China wasn't that different from the United States before the Resource Wars and resultant Great War.
    • The Institute have some surprising similarities with Caesar's Legion. For all its scientific, enlightened and technocratic pretensions, it also seeks to purge what remains of the "corrupted" Pre-War world and create a new order. And they does this all while treating Synths as slaves and maintaining a rather effective network of infiltrators, much like the Legion.
    • Both the Minutemen and Railroad are rather similar in their outlooks, to the point that it's possible for the two factions to join forces.
    • To a degree, the Railroad and the Institute. As both, due to lacking resources in one way or another, have to resort to subterfuge, covert operations and generally keeping a low profile. Also, the fate of Synths under their "protection" is largely the same - having their personalities destroyed through memory wipes, but they happen for different reasons - the Institute do so because they view the Synths' self-awareness as software bugs, and the Railroad do so because giving Synths new personalities and appearances makes it harder for the Institute to track them down while taking away their traumatic memories.
    • Despite the fact that both factions despise each other, both the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel and Institute are a lot more alike than either would ever admit. Both factions rely on superior technology and limiting interaction with the locals (the Institute is the Commonwealth's boogeymen, and it's mentioned that unauthorized fraternizing with Wastelanders is a punishable offense within the Brotherhood), both are descended from highly advanced Pre-War societies (C.I.T. for the Institute and the Pre-War U.S. military for the Brotherhood of Steel), both believe they're the best hope for the Commonwealth (and, by extension, the rest of the post-apocalyptic world), use that aforementioned belief as a justification to lord over weaker factions, and both see Synths as less than human... though in the Brotherhood's case, they see them as abominations to be exterminated, while the Institute sees them as mere tools with no actual free will.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: It's implied that corporations under the Enclave's influence like Vault-Tec behaved like this in Pre-War America, to the point of feigning authority over the actual government in the event of nuclear war.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Ghouls also appear in the Commonwealth.
    • This trope does zig-zag somewhat, depending on whether one is referring to sentient ghouls and ferals. Sentient ghouls look much more human than they did in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the point of having decent hair and much more normal sounding voices, albeit ones still tinged with a slight rasp. Ferals, on the other hand, only got creepier, as they are now faster and much more agile, and coupled with a higher level of details due to the game engine, look horrifying close up. Especially the severely mutated tougher versions that are bloated up and have charred flesh.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Super Mutants, the Fallout verse's analogue to Orcs, appear in Fallout 4. Here, they seem to generally draw more inspiration from the Orks of Warhammer 40K (tying in with how the Brotherhood of Steel are now based after the Space Marines of the Imperium of Man, to a certain extent).
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Feral Ghouls return yet again in this installment.
  • Patriotic Fervor:
    • Downplayed somewhat, but both the Minutemen and Railroad evoke rousing shades of America at its best. Also portrayed much more positively than both the hyperjingoistic, fascist Enclave of Fallout 3 and even the mostly positive and yet still checkered variety portrayed by the NCR of New Vegas.
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel is a peculiar case. Its members by and large are fervently loyal and see themselves as the vanguard of a sovereign country, further highlighted by how (unlike their West Coast counterparts) their actions have evolved into nation-building.
  • Punch Clock Villain: The Vault-Tec Sales Representative in the intro, the same one the Sole Survivor stumbles upon in Goodneighbor centuries later, had nothing to do with Vault-Tec's shady activities, which suggests that many of those who worked for the company never knew its true nature. Seems like the company didn't put much thought on employee benefits, especially for those out-of-the-loop.
  • Ragnarok Proofing: Utilities seem to have held up remarkably well, given a nuclear war and over 200 years of neglect. Some buildings still have working water fountains, and working lights, computer terminals, and recorded announcements are ridiculously common. Implicitly Justified, with it being implied that Boston was especially "prepared for the future", even when compared to other American cities.
    • A number of places in the Commonwealth are also shown to have survived by design. Whether it's the time capsule in Jamaica Plain or the pyramid-shaped, radiation hardened Sentinel Site in the Glowing Sea.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Technically, the Sole Survivor and Shaun a.k.a. Father/the Director, though they Slept Through the Apocalypse.
    • Several Ghouls are around who were alive when the Great War happened. Examples include Arlen Glass (a renowned toymaker responsible for Giddyup Buttercup), Kent Connolly (a diehard fan of the Silver Shroud living in Goodneighbor), Eddie Winter (an intentionally ghoulified mob boss who was responsible for killing the original Nick Valentine's fiancee) and even the Vault-Tec Sales Representative seen in the intro, who's more than shocked to see you.
    • Thanks to implants and enhancements courtesy of the Institute, Conrad Kellogg is considerably older than he appears - old enough to remember the day the New California Republic was formally established.
    • The enigmatic, intellectually-minded and seemingly human Cabot family have managed to maintain a Pre-War lifestyle and have clear memories of how life was like generation before. This is explained as due to an immortality serum that the family patriarch, Lorenzo Cabot, discovered in an alien wreck 400 years earlier, also giving him telepathic powers in the process. Said immortality however doesn't extend to bodily harm, meaning that they're just as prone to gunfire as most anyone else in the Wasteland.
  • The Remnant: Initially, all that's left of the Minutemen (at least who still openly identify as such) are Preston Garvey, a handful of volunteers and a small group of wasteland refugees. It's up to the Sole Survivor, however, whether the Minutemen can rise into new heights or disappear forever in blood.
  • Retcon: Quite a few, as noted below:
    • Vertibirds and Power Armor more advanced than the T-51 (the T-60, which is explained away as being a Super Prototype that was around before the Great War) appear, though only in limited quantities and present solely during the last years before the bombs fell post-Battle of Anchorage. The T-60 in particular is also described not as a wholly new model, instead as being a more refined upgrade on the T-45 as seen in Fallout 3.
    • Drugs like Jet, which were implied to have existed prior to their discovery in Fallout 2, are confirmed to have been around in the Pre-War world, implying their rediscovery by Myron was a coincidence. Since the crafting recipe is pretty much poop fumes (fertilizer + plastic), it's likely that Myron wasn't the first one to come up with it.
  • Revenge: Part of the main plotline involves finding the man who killed your spouse and stole Shaun. And you get to confront that man, Conrad Kellogg, who even admits to expecting such a situation to be inevitable.
  • Right-Handed Left-Handed Guns: Some of the guns are modeled this way, notably the Thompson and, particularly glaringly, the bolt-action hunting rifle. Possibly Justified, as current militaries often do supply bolt action rifles with opposite to normal actions, with the intent of the wielder using their left hand to cycle the weapon & their right to operate the trigger, allowing for faster shooting. Or it might have been done to just give the reload animations a more unique look.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel and Institute fall along these lines, respectively.
    • Relatedly, the Commonwealth Minutemen and Railroad also fall in the above categories.
  • Scenery Gorn: In addition to the blasted ruins left behind by the War, there's the Glowing Sea, an irradiated hellscape where the nuclear bomb meant for Boston actually landed.
  • Scenery Porn: Both the Pre-War and 2287-era Commonwealth are quite a sight to behold, to say the least.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: The biggest reason why Vault 81 continues to thrive is thanks to the first Overseer refusing to pull through with the Vault's true purpose, instead sealing off the few scientists who managed to make it in when the bombs fell with their lethal cargo. It helped as well that said scientists soon developed a conscience and accepted their fate.
  • Self-Deprecation
  • Shout Out: As with any good Fallout game, it's pretty Reference Overdosed.
    • The Silver Shroud is an Affectionate Parody of old-time radio serials and comics like The Shadow. His more violent attitude, however, is closer to The Punisher.
      • The Silver Shroud's storyline is also heavily based after The Boondock Saints, a film about twin brothers who become vigilantes and kill prominent members of Boston’s criminal underworld
    • The Adamantium Skeleton perk returns once again.
    • The Institute consists of a bunch of scientists living in an underground facility creating artificial humans led by a man named "Father".
    • Exploring the Wasteland, you'll frequently come across bundles of sticks and twigs up in the trees, which look disturbingly familiar.
    • One of the random encounters involves finding a dead postman surrounded by mongrels.
    • Early on in the Brotherhood of Steel quest line, the Sole Survivor and Paladin Danse fight a squad of synths in a rocket testing chamber, and you can ignite the test rocket to kill all of the attacking synths.
    • In the C.I.T. Ruins, you can find an old mop and bucket along with the clothes of a janitor next to a chalkboard with a complicated math equation.
    • One of Hancock's random conversations with unnamed Goodneighbor residents involves a traveler attempting to sell the town a monorail.
    • The main Raider boss at Malden Center is named "Helter Skelter".
    • Captain Ironsides' vendetta against the Boston-based Weatherby accounting firms that the U.S.S. Constitution repeatedly crashes into is a reference to the Monty Python short film The Crimson Permanent Assurance, which also features a gang of unlikely pirates (elderly accountants in the film rather than robots) in a flying ship who attack American accounting firms.
    • As pointed out on the "Factions" page, the Robobrains have been reworked into Expies of the Daleks, and the information given about the experimental subjects is inspired by RoboCop 2.
      • In another example from Automatron, the sequence of doors at the entrance to the Mechanist's stronghold is straight out of the opening sequence of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
    • At Nuka-World, there is the "Vault-Tec: Amongst the Stars" exhibit found in the Galactic Zone. The exhibit also has Vault-Tec experimenting on both their employees and visitors to the exhibit. One of their employees is called J. Hodgson.
    • The Deliverer, a unique silenced pistol given to the Sole Survivor by the Railroad (the faction of the Commonwealth most heavily based on espionage agencies) is heavily based on the Walther PPK, the iconic pistol used by James Bond.
    • Just like in Fallout 3, the Church of The Children of Atom’s religion is based around nuclear technology in a similar way to the worship of unexploded nuclear bombs in Beneath The Planet Of The Apes. Also, many of their newer and more antagonistic mannerisms are deliberately based after various cults from the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
      • And it wouldn't be a Bethesda game without a ton of Lovecraft references! Let's go into some of them!
        • One side mission has you looking for a Mad Artist Serial Killer named Pickman, who makes macabre and disturbing paintings and has creepy tunnels under his studio.
        • In the Dunwich Borers Quarry (itself already a Shout-Out to H.P. Lovecraft), there's for some reason four Feral Ghouls all named after famous rock musicians.
        • third reference to Lovecraft is the Kingsport Lighthouse. Kingsport was the earliest fictional town in what became known as Lovecraft Country, and in The Festival, a group of cloaked cultists perform pre-human rites there.
        • very obscure one involving Cabot House. The House may be named after the Cabot Museum from the H.P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald story Out of the Aeons. The museum is located in Beacon Hill and used to be a mansion before its conversion.
        • The Mirelurk Kings seem to resemble the Deep Ones, what with their human-fish-frog look. Another (lesser) example would be the Lurkers.
    • The Bloodworms found around Nuka-World (especially at Dry Rock Gulch) are more or less the Graboids from the Tremors franchise, albeit scaled down heavily in size.
    • The caricature of Father that appears in the quest pictures looks exactly like Dr. Light.
    • The creation process of Gen 3 Synths seems to be partly based after both Leeloo's regeneration scene from The Fifth Element and the famous construction sequence from Ghost in the Shell.
    • A corpse can be found beside a tractor, a broken fence and two Feral Ghouls, referencing a scene from Episode 1 of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead.
  • Simple Yet Awesome:
    • Normally, submachineguns aren't that hot as weapons due to low damage and high ammo consumption. Spray n' Pray (a unique SMG sold by Cricket) turns this upside-down. Thanks to its "Explosive" legendary effect, each bullet does an extra fifteen points of AoE explosive damage. The Commando perk buffs its base damage while Demolition Expert buffs the explosive damage; investing in those perks turns Spray n' Pray into an engine of devastation. To top it all off, the explosions have a chance to stagger the target. Did I mention that Spray n' Pray is a full-auto weapon?
    • Ordinary projectile guns are just as effective as energy weapons if not moreso, due to the high availability of ammunition which is cheaper to buy and is far more common as scavenged loot. Even with all points in the Scavenger perk, the player will most often discover plain old bullets in crates, desks, lockers and such, rather than energy cells and plasma cartridges.
    • The "Instigating" legendary effect doubles the damage the weapon does if the target is at full health. For most weapons, this is kind of pointless, as it just gives a little extra damage to the first shot and there are far more useful effects (such as "Explosive", mentioned above.) However, this is the best effect for a sniper rifle. Fully upgraded with mods and in the hands of a character with the right perks, that one shot will be all you need to drop nearly anything in the wasteland. A character who maxes out the Rifleman perk and has an Instigating Gauss Rifle will kill anything but the absolute strongest enemies in the game with a single shot. And they can be killed with a single Sneak Attack.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
  • Story Breadcrumbs: There are a number of areas where you can only conclude what happened through environmental clues. A lot of that has to do with the Railroad and their symbols. A dead Protectron with a Railway Spike on its body near a Relay antenna is a clear sign someone from the Railroad killed it at that location. Several hidden pointers show the way an escaping Synth was guided through a feral-infested train yard. And the railsign for "Ally" is marked on a hidden observation post overlooking Vault 111 and Sanctuary Hills... someone's been watching you.
    • In general, the game is really fond of this, intentionally leaving many details vague about the story, setting and characters so the player can fill it in with environmental details.
  • Super Soldier: The Institute's rightfully feared Coursers definitely count as this.
    • Considering their impressive training, superior armaments compared to most other factions, and usage of Power Armor, Brotherhood Paladins and Knights also count as this.
  • Take That: One can sometimes find tiny hairbrushes on dead Deathclaws, which might be a jab at Fallout Tactics' infamous "hairy Deathclaws" redesign.
  • Take That, Audience!: The Institute can be seen as a subtle middle finger by Bethesda towards the residents of Western nations (who make up the majority of their audience), in how they implicitly accept the abuse of developing nations by their own countries in return for pampered lives and (relative) comfort.
  • Tech Demo Game: Has become one for Bethesda, who have recursively used the improvements made in the engine for a backport to Skyrim, as well as serving as a test bed for their own built-in mod support and delivery platform. Nvidia even used the game with Bethesda's approval as a platform to show off their graphical capabilities with the Vault 1080 mod.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Vault 81 is a rather benevolent example. On the one hand, it's a rather upbeat time capsule of Pre-War America that's a control vault in all but name, though it's (rationally) wary of outsiders. But its original purpose, as a testing ground for diseases and bioweapons, was never implemented in the first place. The first Overseer sealing away the few scientists meant to conduct the experiments, while said scientists developed a conscience and willingly accepted their fate.
  • Troubled Production: An In-Universe case. You discover that Hubris Comics was trying to make the Silver Shroud radio serials into a successful TV show. Unfortunately, it was rife with infighting, drama and backroom passions - which proved to be all for naught as the nuclear apocalypse put said show and its creators off the air permanently.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe:
    • The Viking ghoul raiders around the FMS Northern Star wreck. They're much less wacky, however, in that they're strongly implied to be what's left of a Norwegian ship crew who've been stranded in the Commonwealth since the Great War. Their entirely Norwegian dialogue even highlights how they want to be left alone and just want to get home.
    • The Children of the Atom in Far Harbor, a formerly bizarre yet harmless Cult version of this, have become much more deadly and dangerous than they started as. Especially since they began as pacifists in Fallout 3, albeit with an obsession for worshiping nuclear weaponry like bombs.
    • The Hubologists, previously seen in Fallout 2 make a return in the Nuka-World DLC, only this time even more deluded. Somehow.
  • Weak but Skilled: The Institute makes up for their lack of resources with a massive spy network and being excellent at espionage warfare.
  • Wetware Body/Wetware CPU: The Generation 3 Synths are seem to be mostly, but not entirely, organic. Paladin Danse is outed by DNA records, implying that they have actual flesh and blood; Father confirms this inside the Institute, stating that Gen 3s were based on Shaun's Pre-War, and thus un-mutated, DNA. Those with the Cannibal perk can eat them just as they would normal humans, and they are shown to be constructed with cloned blood, muscle, bones and tissue in the Institute's Robotics Division. However, when killed, Synths will have an inorganic "Synth Component" on their corpses, and they differ enough from humanity (such as not needing food or water to survive) that they're clearly not perfectly organic creations. Nick Valentine also references that they have mechanical components to them when referring to the Broken Mask Incident.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The entire set-up of Fallout 4's story is virtually lifted wholesale from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. It's a future where humanity has been devastated by a nuclear apocalypse, a group of people simply decided to leave the resultant wasteland (though these guys live underground) and make android slaves that are almost perfect "replicants" of humans to where you can't even tell their identity unless you kill them, many attempt to escape to gain freedom, often having their memories replaced to do so, only to be hunted down by other androids and hired bounty hunters.
  • World Half Full: Compared to the Crapsack World that's the Capital Wasteland and even the (relatively) thriving Mojave, the Commonwealth has quite a bit going for it. Only one nuclear warhead was ever launched at Boston... and missed it. Despite the chaos and turmoil (as well as the deliberate machinations of the Institute), there is a stronger sense of continuity with the Pre-War world as well as a more stable semblance of civilization getting back on its feet. The people in the Commonwealth even come across as largely more idealistic and friendlier than the residents of the Mojave and especially those of the Capital Wasteland.
    • Applies in a meta sense to what the player can do to change things, since they were unable to have a direct hand in actually rebuilding civilization, with they can now do, with the effects immediate and apparent due to the settlement mechanic.
  • Wretched Hive: It's implied that at least some parts of America had become this by 2077, justifying the existence of pipe guns even in Pre-War times. With a gun magazine even featuring the "Street Guns of Detroit".
  • Yellow Peril: Averted with Captain Zao. As while he hails from Pre-War China, he's an otherwise honorable if ghoulified officer who sincerely regrets his role in the Great War and just wants to return home.
  1. Zao is arguably the first conversed character in the Fallout series to actually be from China, in contrast to the simulated Chinese soldiers in Fallout 3's Operation Anchorage or the Ghoulified Chinese soldiers and agents still holding out in the Capital Wasteland long after the Great War ended.
  2. However, you should try and wait to do this until after accomplishing the main storyline for the base game. This is one of the only ways to make the Minutemen hostile to the Sole Survivor, and will render you S.O.L. if you've already suitably antagonized the Railroad, Institute and Brotherhood.