It’s still a long ways until November 10th, and little new information has been released following Fallout 4‘s extended preview at E3. That leaves the doors wide open for further speculation and Zapruder Film-esque trailer analysis. Just like last week’s skills investigation, get ready to go back (and to the left) with a look at possible story points for Fallout 4. This may be the first time the player character isn’t even human!
There’s a few things confirmed for the beginning of the story, namely that the player will be either the husband or wife of a pre-War family that recently had a child. They’re also well-off enough to afford a robot butler and entrance into the Vault Program. After the bombs fall, the protagonist emerges 200 years later as the Sole Survivor of Vault 111.
It’s not a whole lot to run with, but there’s at least a handful of ways this scenario is plausible. An accident in cryogenic freezing could explain how a pre-War survivor could live for 200 years without becoming a Ghoul. There is evidence to support the cryo-freezing theory in some leaked documents from VA auditions. The player character could also suffer a fate akin to Vault 106, but that still leaves questions for how the player survives so long just fighting off lunatics driven violent by hallucinogens. There’s also the possibility that these are false memories, and the character is actually an android.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Bethesda included a life-like android in the Fallout world. It also helps that the Institute creating the androids is conveniently located in Massachusetts, this game’s setting.
Of course, the Institute’s role could just be filling the slavery quota. Morally upstanding characters would be able to side with the Railroad, to thwart their domination of synthetic people. Evil (or possibly pragmatic) characters could strap on their portable Voight-Kampff tests and return these machines to their “rightful” owners…for a price. Perhaps the player starts the game in a similar role as Harkness, and rounds up escaped androids without knowing the true purpose.
Furthermore, secretly being an android is a plot-twist that works exceedingly well in an open-world game. Fallout 3 truly shined during The Replicated Man, with NPCs from the farthest reaches of the Capital Wasteland adding new insight to the beginning portions of the quest. Players can peel back the layers of deception, finding hints on holotapes, scribbled messages and possibly other survivors from Vault 111. That way the reveal won’t feel like it was handled with the grace of a Super Sledge.
Tugging on loose ends is a great way to expand intrigue, and one such end may have been left in the initial trailer. Other sources, such as YongYea, have touched upon the likelihood of androids and how strange it would be if the pre-War family introduced at E3 survived the blast at ground zero.
The real kicker is another suspicious event from that segment of the trailer. Scott from FudgeMuppet noticed an anomaly: there’s a mysterious figure in a vault suit, with similar features as the main character, standing outside the fence watching the populace hurry into the vault before the bombs hit.
At the end of FudgeMuppet’s video, they posit that the player is watching these pre-War events unfold via simulation, like in 3’s Tranquility Lane. While that’s certainly possible, it does present the issue of how well the tranquility loungers are able to preserve bodies over multiple centuries. In the game, the “good guy” solution was to activate a failsafe and kill everyone involved in the simulation besides Braun. The player is encouraged to take “save everyone” options often in 3, and its tough to believe the option wouldn’t be present to save the Vault 112 dweller’s lives if the loungers left anything physical worth saving.
With the android theory, there’s no concern over preservation of the body, as they’re made of sterner stuff. It also lets the player experience a glimpse of pre-War life, a desire stated by Bethesda at E3, without creating too many internal logic hang-ups. Everybody wins with robots.
Want to watch C-beams glitter off the Tannhauser Gate? Check out Rob’s podcast: Co-Op Required.