Everything wrong with Fallout 4s writing

Discussion in 'Fallout 4' started by Jogre, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    @Tagaziel Due to the other thread being majorly derailed, and us talking over the same points over and over again, when there are a plethora that I have yet to even mention, here's a comprehensive list of every writing issue I had with Fallout 4. I wanted to see if you had a response to them.

    If anyone else has any issues they'd like to bring up, please feel free to bring them up here.

    • The Institute seem to have pointless goals. They waste resources making Synthetic Gorillas, there whole slogan is "Mankind Redefined" but when a project actually involves redefining mankind(The Cybernetics project) Shaun immediatly cancels it. They seem to have no thought put in to efficiency or how to run the Institute at all, and before you say "You can change all that", that's not the point, the point is that this faction is inherently flawed, and instead of being part of the story, these are oversights. You can't mention "Why waste resources making Synth Gorillas?" or "Why cancel these projects", the answer is they didn't think it through, or at least didn't think it through enough to make you able to ask simple questions.
    • The Railroad literally advertise there location to the world, and before you say "They would be gone if someone they didn't want to see them came along", what if someone followed the Freedom Trail, and started a siege outside?, The Institute has armies of Gen 1s and 2s who could stand guard outside and trap the Railroad in. They could easily just detonate an atom bomb or mininuke inside the church and trap the Railroad under piles of rubble. The Railroad making there position obvious gives them no advantage(They could recruit by observing interesting people and inviting them), and puts them in a very vulnerable position for no apparent reason.
    • The entire point of the Railroad is there role in the Synth debate. If you don't care about the whole Synth Debate(Which I will explain why I don't later), an entire faction becomes pointless
    • The Brotherhood repairs Liberty Prime to literally punch a whole in the ground. They waste resources remaking this gigantic robot, to do what they could have done with mining lasers or spades or explosions. They waste all this time working on a giant robot, put it in potential danger, create something which could be used against them, just to punch a whole in the ground. They don't even bother using it for anything else.
    • The Minutemen are about as generic as you can get. Remember how the BOS in Fallout 3 were basically "Help people, we are the good guys!"?, That's literally what the Minutemen were in Fallout 4. Good-hearted people who wanted to protect people, with no intricacies or depths. As black and white as you can get.
    • Nobody ever mentions what a faction victory would mean for specific communities, how all the factions you interacted with would prosper under certain regimes. New Vegas has every tribe and town having some level of involvement in the politics, in Fallout 4 other than everyone agreeing "Fuck de Institute", nobody really shows any concern for the bigger picture, or what certain victories would mean for them.
    • The long-term of factions is rarely mentioned. Fallout New Vegas is full of people speculating how long Legion can last after Caesar's death, or whether the NCR is growing overextended, with Mr House estimating that he can get colonies on the moon in 50 years. Fallout 4 never even bothers to mention what happens long term to certain factions. The best we get is a lazy "You are in control, you decide"(Which NV actually does well by questioning your competence as a potential leader). If we ignore the faction leadership for a moment, the Institute would presumably stay underground forever, never helping the surface, making them a poor choice, the Railroad would save synths forever and ever, the Minutemen helping settlements forever and ever, the Brotherhood would wipe out Mutants and Synths, and then what?, What happens next?, Not a single thought is given towards this.
    • The whole Synth debate is half-arsed to begin with. Bethesda takes an already existing debate on Artificial Intelligence, adds literally 0 specific context to it, gives each faction a stance(The brotherhood thinks they are a threat, the Railroad thinks they are people too, the Institute thinks they are just advanced toasters), and calls it a day. Synths have no context which seperates them from any other AI debate, and no factions have any new reasons for it, they just repeat the whole "There just machines" or "But machines like this are people too", and the writers assume you already have a stance in this debate, refusing to give any new, fresh points, or why a certain faction is right in the context. The game doesn't give us reasons to support any of these stances, it just assumes you have a reason
    • On the topic of synths, Bethesda did nothing at all interesting with them. Imagine if Synths thought in different ways to humans did, had more fact-based to-the-point minds, had some basic proggraming they couln't override, had anything interesting with them. They are basically just humans with human personalities, no thought given in to what it would be like to be an artificially made human, or how there minds may differ. They think like humans, and that's the way it is, with no further questions. If you want to see the topic of AI explored properly, where there is any genuine doubt to be had that these things have human emotions, where there's a logical way in which they are bound to there programming, yet at the same time a sensical way as to how they developed AI look at the Fallout: New Vegas mod "Autumn Leaves". That has an actual good way of handling AI with a unique context, instead of the bogstandard "What if humans weren't humans but machines? oooh spoooky!"
    If every faction in the game is poorly wrirtten, with little thought put in to them or there stances, then the main storyline is honestly a pile of crap.
    Side quests
    This may sound harsh, but I am going to say, completely seriously, that pretty much every side quest in Fallout 4 comes under two categories: Simple quests which can be summed up in 3 sentences with no great loss of complexities, and gimmicky quests that fall apart under scrutiny and ultimately add nothing.

    Under the first category, think of The Gilded Grasshopper(Go chasing a mettalic grasshopper treasure, find the grave of a famous Boston figure, get a magic sword. The End), Cuirtain Call(Go through a tower of Supermutants to rescue a Shakesperean Actor, Recruit a Supermutant obsessed with a misunderstood line. The End.), Here Kitty Kitty(Talk to Vault Dweller, Go find her cat, Bring cat back. The end)

    You may think that's oversimplifying, but have I lost out anything important in explaining those quests?

    The other category, are gimmicky quests, poorly handled that don't hold up to scrutiny. Think about these quests: The Dissapearing Act, a quest added for the sake of a murder mystery, although it's handled so poorly it's completely unentertaining. Instead of having red herrings, and clues a series of suspects, and a plot twist, ect., you just follow a bunch of clues, get led directly to the guy responsible, who you've never met before, and solve the case(Not to mention the plotholes caused by him literally staying down there several days, not doing anything about it, nobody bothering to check on him, nobody demanding plastic surgery, not even his colleague entering the basement in the meantime, ect.).

    Another quest like this is Kid in the Fridge. The game furthers your suspension of disbelief, adds plenty of plotholes(A kid being locked away for 200 years not being at all psychologically damage, his parents remaining in the same house for 200 years, that nobody heard him for 200 years, ect.), all for a crappy escort quest with basically non-existent writing.

    Even flight of the USS Constitution, which I thought was one of the best side quests, is basically a giant gimmick.
    Apart from the Institute and the Railroad EVERYTHING about the setting is as bland as you can possibly get. You have so very few unique towns or tribes or factions with there own goals. Nobody vying for power apart from the generic good-guy Minutemen, no unique tribe or post-apocalyptic factions or gangs(With the exception of the Atom Cats who are post-apocalyptic greasers), everyone else

    You have generic raider goons threatening dead end farmsteads and towns.

    Even Diamond City which is supposed to be the game's main trading hub, has very little going for it. It adds new interesting twists they could have taken to an interesting turn, which are just thrown away as nothing.

    Diamond City establishes that there is a class inequality, doesn't bother to show it beyond a small scene, and doesn't even bother to explore how it effects day to day life, it establishes that the Mayor is a synth, doesn't bother to explain how that effects the lives of everyday people or what happens without him. It establishes that the Mayor is censoring journalists, but this doesn't effect anyone outside the small bubble that Piper is in. Everything is oozing with potential, which is completely disregarded, in return for a generic town with generic people and a generic governing system.
    With no exceptions, I am going to say that EVERY character in Fallout 4 is the most boring character in Fallout 4. Not a single character came across as interesting. For me at least, not a single character was hateable, not a single character was likeable. Every character was as one dimensional as they can get.

    Fallout 1 and 2 had all there complex characters in the form of talking heads, which were usually the most interesting characters and the ones the dev put the most thought in to. New Vegas had less interesting characters, but at least the companions had a great depth to them, and were interesting fleshed out characters.

    Even the companions who are ever so slightly better written, are still one dimensional with Cait being the addictedtoliterallyeverydrug drug addict with the standard tragic backstory, Piper at first seeming like a cool journalist character with a cute nickname for you, until you realise there is nothing more to her than being a cool journalist character with a cute nickname for you(Who is worried about her sister becoming a cool journalist character, because she has no depth beyond her job), Danse being a literal mouthpiece for the Brotherhood of Steel who ends up becoming the thing he hates, and instead of seeing actual character proggression or a conflict with himself, still remains a mouthpiece but with a slightly less harsh attitude to Synths, Nick being a standard noir detective with the standard noir tragic backstory.

    I have not found a single character with any depth to them beyond the very basic.

    • Enemy types are boring AF. What happened to having Raiders from different gangs, like Raiders being called "Yakuza" or "Vipers" or "Jackals", rather than just having hundreds and hundreds of generic "Raiders" everywhere.
    • Also, already mentioned this but Supermutants add very little, have very little of an actual reason to be fighting you, and have a very basic unfleshed out culture.
    • Boston Bugle Building is contradictory to the very core of the setting. Post-war US is supposed to be near to an open dictatorship, with rioters being shot in the streets by power armoured soldiers. I fail to see how a trustworthy newspaper can get away with exposing state secrets/questioning the war efforts, or at least there is no reference to them being silenced.
    • Clearly Bethesda cares more about loot placement than lore, given that they made up that bullcrap "Nuka Cola has the best chemists" to justify military grade equipment in a fucking theme park.
    • [Like] [Like] x 7
  2. Ediros

    Ediros Vault Dweller

    Feb 4, 2016
    Do not forget about how pre war US was hell, with people dying from starvation and riots happening all over the country and shitout 4 ignores it.

    Or robots who are now sentient, EVEN BASIC mister handy.

    Or how DLCs are completely not connected. You can't give mechanist's lair to anyone.

    Or how generators run on fuel, when the last reserves were at the oil rig.

    Or how water pumps make shitout 3 storyline even more pointless.

    Or how almost every character is essential and you can't kill almost anyone.

    Or how you can't affect anything. Even if you say to keep violence at minimun, everyone goes on a massive attack.

    Do I have to say more?
    • [Like] [Like] x 7
  3. Einhanderc7

    Einhanderc7 Vat dipped, grown and still oozing with perfection

    Apr 22, 2016
    So basically what everyone is saying is that Fallout 4 contradicts not only the original titles, but Fallout 3 itself.

    Gold stars for everyone!

    I'm just going to post this preemptively because we know this thread is going to get heated quick...
  4. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    I've explained this in the other thread, repeatedly. Their goal is the preservation of humanity in the long term. After the failure of the CPG, they believe that they can achieva that by ensuring their own survival (which is what everything they do is geared towards).

    As I also explained, the seeming randomness of projects is due to the structure of the Institute, which is made of five different divisions, each with its own agenda and competing with each other for resources.

    Your notion of "it's an oversight" is arbitrary. It's part of the story. The fact that you can't ask Father about them is not particularly relevant, since you can't ask the Master about the experiments the Unity conducts. However, you can ask his scientists about them and this is the case with Holdren:


    He describes them as an exploration of the idea of synthetic animal life, which is basically a pet project at this point, but it provided important lessons about the practicality of the technology.

    As for Kellogg, it's unclear, but Father does mention the jealousy spreading among the regular humans. Dumping the project after it's been mined for data might seem confusing to you (since you're arbitrarily limiting the redefinition of mankind to purely biological changes), but when you consider this emergent jealousy, it might have been axed to curtail long term strife that would emerge between effectively immortal leaders.

    There's already plenty of tension between the divisions and secrecy. Now add scheming immortals to that and it can blow up.

    As I said, it's a weakness, but not as big as you make it out to be. The Railroad demonstrated aptitude in getting out of tight spots throughout their history and has an escape tunnel in place that leads to the edges of North End. Filling an entire district with synths just to siege a faction that's rated as a nuisance is a waste of resources. You might as well ask why the NCR doesn't just position soldiers over every inch of the Mojave to siege their enemies.

    Then there's the little problem that Railroad adapts quickly and attacking the HQ without fully understanding the extent of their operations will force them to go to the ground and they're back at square zero. Hell, the Institute has to use you, an insider, to wipe out the Railroad and ensure it's properly decapitated.

    I think the benefits of having an unstoppable war machine at your disposal that you can air drop into contested zones and effectively decimate the opposition should be obvious to everyone. I'd like to see you complain this much about the previous games in the series. Especially the Children of the Cathedral, which according to your logic is a complete waste of time.

    You're ignoring the whole history of the Minutemen, their collapse, and reliance on strong leadership that makes them a deeply flawed faction.

    They do. Each faction has its policy explained in detail and it doesn't take some great intellect to foresee how they are going to affect the wasteland. And actually, nobody mentions what a faction victory would mean for specific communities in the Mojave either. A lot of it is inferred from evidence presented in the game, which is what Fallout 4 also does.

    And this isn't bad. Neither Fo1 nor Fo2 did it and they're not bad games. The point is that the long-term future of the Commonwealth is not easily foreseen, as neither side has the weight of an entire nation behind them. In other words, Fallout 4 isn't about war between nations, but the potential birth of one: You succeeding where the CPG failed.

    Furthermore, it really doesn't take a special kind of wisdom to extrapolate on the potential future for the Commonwealth based on your choice of faction. If you prefer to be spoon-fed exposition, that's your problem, not the game's.

    It does. The specific context is that the Institute has reached a position where they can manufacture human-like organic robots and whether they can be considered human... Or if they are a threat or no. In general, this point is non-sensical, as you declare the debate is half-arsed without proving actually why.

    To me it's an interesting voice, because unlike most discussions, it raises a legitimate point about our biases in perceiving AI. Some people reflexively imbue synths with humanity, based purely on their appearance, raising the question of whether they would do the same if they were, say, a box with manipulators. The fact that the game doesn't provide an easily digestible answer as to whether they are sentient is also great.

    I've also had enough discussions on the topic with non-prejudiced people to say that you are incorrect. There's a wealth of stuff to discuss. And frankly, they could defend their point a lot better than you, primarily because they didn't arbitrarily deem the game as dumb.

    I get the feeling your complaints boil down to "I don't like it, so it sucks." The first part is okay, the second part is showing your head where the light don't shine.

    To me, it was interesting specifically because the synths blur the line between robotic and organic. Their minds are programmed and manufactured, loaded into the body and they're sent off on their merry way. I've had a rather pleasant discussion on the matter and whether the origin of the mind matters, the ramifications of the development by humans, and of course, whether such a creation is a genuinely human mind or just a sophisticated program, given that robots can pull off a convincing impression of being sentient.

    You have yet to prove it's objectively poorly written or that little thought was put into it. This is your bias.

    FNV had similar quests, actually. For every Beyond the Beed there's two or three quests that boil to go there, do that.

    Yes, FedEx quests are simple, your skills at stating the obvious. Have you considered the possibility that maybe these quests are there to help you keep track of tasks?

    Not every quest has a great structure. Again, great discovery.

    People keep dredging this up, I'll keep dredging Coffin Willie up. Which is the same thing, whether the ghoul is buried for 200 years (it's unclear if that is the case) or a week. Humans don't last long buried.

    See, this is bias. You think it's one of the best side quests, but it's Bethesda, so it's a gimmick.

    That's a personal taste. I found the Commonwealth to be distinctive.

    If you bothered to ever explore the relationships between the raider groups, they are explored in detail.

    And neither does the Hub, but I don't see you making the same complaint about Fo1's setting being bland and uninteresting. Which does the very same thing, actually, as it paints a very interesting political situation with the merchant oligarchy (paralleling Venice and competing families).

    You seem to forget that every game has an ultimately limited scope and complaining about... World building, I guess?

    And seriously, first you gush over Diamond City as a setting, highlighting interesting parts, and then simultaneously claim it's a generic town with generic people and generic governance.

    Seriously, what the hell?

    See, this is why I don't like you. You have a patently visible bias against Bethesda, refuse to even consider giving them the benefit of the doubt and make grand, sweeping statements that are pointless insofar the game is concerned.

    As are Fallout 4's companions and the major players. There's literally zero difference between their writing, and actually a lot more background to them than in Fo1/2.

    Again, bias. You seem to forget that talking heads were barely realized in Fallout/Fallout 2, with only a handful having an indepth story to them. The rest sort of... Were.

    Yeah, sorry, the bias is almost painful to see.

    I don't know, maybe it requires actually reading something in the raider bases highlighting their relationships. The rations dump has a different history, as does the East Boston Preparatory School (which is positively brutal), or the Forged, the Gunners... There's a lot of it. But you just ignore it.

    Their reason is that they believe themselves superior and hate humans for what they've done to them (extending the hatred of the Institute to humanity in general).

    It's not contradictory. Overt censorship isn't referenced in the setting and the fascist junta may have allowed a degree of freedom to the press - or simply didn't care, because they had the military under their direct control. I don't see you blowing your top over the direct news reports from reports showing American soldiers executing unarmed prisoners of war in the streets.

    Yeah, it's almost as bad as showing military gear onto an oil rig.

    It doesn't. There's references to the food riots, martial law throughout Boston, rationing established...

    The game never makes it clear if they are sentient or not. It's part of the story, actually.

    This was the problem in FNV as well. DLCs don't reference one another.

    I guess you hate FNV too, where Boomers had diesel generators running on biomass from their harvests.

    Sure do. Unless, of course, the Capital Wasteland was blasted to the point it can't support a proper water table, which is why it's a derelict devoid of settlements.

    Not in my experience, but knock yourself out.

    That's kind of the nature of war and conflict, dear.
  5. NMLevesque

    NMLevesque Commie Ghost

    Jul 2, 2016
    "You can change all that"

    Translation: headcanon fixes everything.
  6. TorontRayne

    TorontRayne This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Moderator Orderite

    Apr 1, 2005
    @Tagaziel The difference between your Coffin Willie and Kid in a Fridge comparison is people have been known to survive in coffins while buried alive. Not much chance of that happening in a fridge over 200 years.
  7. Ediros

    Ediros Vault Dweller

    Feb 4, 2016
    I have explained my stance, so do whatever you want with it. That said, I can and will prove to you that shitout 4 is steaming pile of shit that was written by a people who shouldn't get close to writing machine.
  8. TorontRayne

    TorontRayne This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Moderator Orderite

    Apr 1, 2005
  9. Ediros

    Ediros Vault Dweller

    Feb 4, 2016
    Touche. But I think a typo is less damaging than bugthesda's writing.
  10. TorontRayne

    TorontRayne This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Moderator Orderite

    Apr 1, 2005
    I hate to play Devil's Advocate but their writing has dramatically improved. I keep seeing complaints about the writing (not just this rather appropriately titled thread mind you) when the biggest issue is the RPG mechanics. The BoS were the best part of Fallout 4, with much more appropriate lore regarding their ideology, their history, and how they act. It's a shame the Institute, Railroad, and Minutemen could not have been given a similar treatment. I wager the Minutemen were thrown in with little regard to their role in the plot since it is threadbare.

    I also don't like how bad the writing can get when you do things your companions should be furious about...like how Piper acts when you side with the Institute. Granted I didn't play it as much as Tagaziel, but I did explore every single quest outcome and lore dump (minus the DLC) to get what I could from the game.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  11. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    If they were dug up within six hours they. Otherwise, they suffocated.

    Don't you think it's a wee bit contrived to assume that Coffin Willie was always buried less than six hours before your arrival in Golgotha? Well, less than that, since you need to dig him up and that takes a good while?

    Kid in a Fridge isn't more damaging to lore than Coffin Willie or Kung Fu Frisco. I mean, everyone obsesses over one quest where the writers dropped the ball, forgetting shit like this happened with Fallout and Fallout 2 as well.

    So you're more interested in proclamations than discussion. OK, I guess? Saves me time.
  12. TorontRayne

    TorontRayne This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Moderator Orderite

    Apr 1, 2005
    No more than the rest of the series.

  13. Ediros

    Ediros Vault Dweller

    Feb 4, 2016
    Maybe, I am not sure. I thought it was bad, with brotherhood destroying the institute, instead of taking technology for itself. In fact every faction destroys institute, rather than taking over or just butchering everyone and moving in.

    To me BoS was better than in 3, but still kind of shit. Though, I do agree that they improved writting, even if just a little bit. I mean the companions are more than just meatshields so there is that.
    I am interested in discussion, but you are more interested in shooting down every argument that paints shitout 3 and 4 in bad light, no matter how accurate it is.
  14. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    It's called even-handed and rational, TR. Something these forums could use.

    I don't think that. Hit me up on Discord or Telegram and I can explain in detail. Will certainly require less time. But the Minutemen get enough characterization for my tastes, consistently presented as something that could be a force for good... But was consumed by greed and infighting.

    She is furious. Or rather, disappointed and sad, powerless to change it.

    With an attitude that are, you aren't interested in discussion, but validation of your hatred. I don't provide that, sorry.
  15. TorontRayne

    TorontRayne This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Moderator Orderite

    Apr 1, 2005
    Well, she sounded furious for one or two lines of dialog. Then her attitude stayed the same. Personally that to me would have warranted a moment like in Fallout 2 where you piss off Marcus and he turns on you. She didn't seem like the type to just up and side with the bad guys because she likes someone.
  16. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    Technical limitations, unfortunately. They could've solved it better, yeah, but recording an entire separate set of lines for angry!Piper... Everyone has limits. It seems I'm just a lot more forgiving the older I get and the more I learn about gamedev (if you remember me from Fallout 3's times... Yeah, that Tagz is gone).
  17. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    They could have given the player the opportunity to explain him/herself. I mean, you're the Director now. You can stop all the bullshit the Institute has been doing, but all you can say is "Uh, we're the future, duhdoy!"
    • [Like] [Like] x 6
  18. TorontRayne

    TorontRayne This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Moderator Orderite

    Apr 1, 2005
    I am settling much the same way, but to me it felt like them not wanting to remove the power fantasy from the typical players they cater towards. I can already see people getting pissed if Piper left you if you went Institute.
  19. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    Well, you already have pissed players who can't handle having to decide between blowing up the Institute or saving it. :3

    Also, it's funny. I can have a civil conversation with you guys and any older member, but the new ones... Jesus. Reminds me of myself when I first signed up in 2003. Ever browse your old posting history?

    It doesn't happen that. If you try to turn a faction 180 degrees around, you wake up with a shiv in your neck.

    Bethesda thought carefully about that, it's obvious from the fact that they axed the incredidumb plot to replace Maxson with Danse, which would result in the same thing happening to you, except you'd be naked and thrown over the railing of the Prydwen.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  20. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    I'm most annoyed that I can't even get properly rid of Pesto Gravey. I supported the Institute and the fucking Raiders, and yet I'm still your goddamn general and I can boss you around in Sanctuary. Granted, he won't talk to me, but still, if I could just fucking kill him...