Was there any point to your character being from pre-war times?

Discussion in 'Fallout 4' started by Bekuta, Jan 31, 2020.

  1. Lucas9

    Lucas9 Still Mildly Glowing

    Jan 16, 2016
    Though I didn't play Fallout 4 I'm familiar enough with the big twist.
    Basically there are two reasons I can think of:
    1. They wanted to show the Pre-War world.
    2. The characters being frozen tie in directly to the twist of Shaun being older than you.
    The problem is that the twist required a cheap trick to even work:
    • Someone who pays a minimum of attention to the intro sequence will realize that time may or may have not passed since your baby was stolen from you (after all, you are frozen back again). This already plants the doubt of whether Shaun is or is not a baby anymore.
    • With that in mind, one wouldn't be particularly surprised at finding out Father is your son, but grown up, right?
    • This is why Bethesda pulled a cheap trick: it shows you Shaun, now a grown boy, showing you that A) Shaun did grew up, but B) He is still a kid.
    • And then comes the "big twist": no, that really isn't Shaun. Shaun is actually a grown man, the leader of the Institute.
    Imagine watching a movie and you can tell that a given character has died. Then the movie shows you that "no, this character is actually alive!". So you think "oh, I was mistaken". But no, turns out that is actually a clone, and the character was dead all along. Funny thing is Bethesda didn't really played along with synth Shaun being the real Shaun for too long. Maybe that could have made the reveal more interesting, but there's hardly any build up: you meet synth Shaun, and shortly after you meet the real Shaun.

    The Pre-War stuff doesn't warrant more explanation. As others have said, it was pure fanservice. And as any Fallout 1 player knows, the Pre-War world was far from the world we are shown in Fallout 4. The true Pre-War world of Fallout was going to hell before the bombs even dropped, and that's because there was a background to the bombs dropping as opposed to China and the U.S. going "haha nukes go boom": scarcity of resources, which also leads to people living less than idyllic lives.

    My idea of a Pre-War playing section was one where you choose your background and get to play as that character for a while before the bombs drop. That way you also get a glimpse of what life was before the bombs. But honestly, the beauty of Fallout is that you are placed in the shoes of the people that inhabit its world: just like them, you know but a handful of things about the Pre-War world. Getting to play through that dispels the mystery and, for a lot of people, it can only lead to disappointment ("this wasn't what I expected").

    Because Bethesda constantly drove the point home with Fallout 3 that the Pre-War world was "like the 50s but in the future", there's no wonder people ate it up: they got what they expected, because Bethesda had laid it out countless of times.
  2. Flymystical-DJ

    Flymystical-DJ just the Deputy

    Jun 10, 2021
    Same reason you came from a vault in Fallout 1 and Fallout 3. To help first time players immerse themselves into the world. Sure, pre-war Fallout is very dissimilar to modern day first world countries, but they still took showers every day and ate proper food. It's definitely under utilized but I think it still helps people feel immersed when they're disgusted by the prospect of eating mutant molerat meat or confused about various aspects of the world.
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  3. Risewild

    Risewild Antediluvian as Feck
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    When they could get proper food. The USA had riots before the bombs fell, because some people couldn't get any food (or electricity for that matter).

    Unfortunately, the pre-war shown on FO4 makes it seem like that alternate reality USA is a pretty great place to live, when in reality there was a war happening, a super plague running out of control in the country and many people suffered from lack of food, electricity and gas for their cars.

    Which is weird, because IIRC, in the intro of FO4, we even see images of a riot happening in a power plant or something like that. But then ingame we see an idyllic suburb, a couple with no worries in their minds, living in a 50's "American Dream-like" life.
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  4. Iprovidelittlepianos

    Iprovidelittlepianos Vault Senior Citizen

    May 12, 2020
    Let’s not forget that they’ve retconned cars even needing gas at all. Every car seems to be nuclear powered, it’s like the gas shortage doesn’t mean shit anymore.
  5. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Slippy sloppy, The

    Sep 11, 2010
    But don't you get it, dude? Mini mushroom clouds, man! Can't have that with gas powered vehicles, bruh.
  6. This, again, the game would had been better served with the MC either coming back from deployment or work through Boston, which is a hell hole. Cops are everywhere downtown, but then little else. Private security is rampant. Gangs loiter. People do live, but most are strapped, there's some fear, but it's high day so stuff still happens. Someone idly mentions they miss going out on night walks. Viral fear maybe? as well. Burnt out stores. Dead neighborhoods.

    It could had been a bio-shock esque cutscene. Musing on the rioters- Go political, who cares. There are communist-socialist ones, calling for the US to go like the USSR (which may be stable with 'only' bread lines, but they get bread!), or more European (without the intercine warfare, hopefully, fingers crossed), conservatives calling for more 'fuck em' policies, street battles, the cops are corrupt on one side, or meaning to do well but the politicians don't care or they can't do much as people are out there in riot armor, gangs are running around with protection rackets or even pseudo-governments, half the town is abandoned or on fire. In the case of the lawyer-wife she might be meeting or leaving a meeting with a corrupt manager-middle class politician, showing the grime of the world. But throw in a little Chekov's gun, maybe there's a egghead from the MIT talking about plans to save the world or the ecosystem or something.

    Then they literally escape to their gated community-suburb, protected by the army as the guy is a Army Vet. It's almost like a Roman colony now, the military in force, the walls are high, there's killzones and empty, demolished spaces between it and the next suburb. Then the vault notification (which should just be a letter MC picks up) saying they've been selected. The TV reports on the war, with the Chinese in chaos but progress slow going as the US advances up the Yangtze. Throw a line in how 'China only has around 200 nukes, most of which we can intercept' from some Patton-like general after being asked how he can be so gung-ho about invading another nuclear power.

    They go to sleep, they wake up, muse about what they want to do that day, then the alarms blare, they rush to the vault, people are killing each other, rioting, looting, fighting in the chaos, then MC makes it in (with no nuke going off right in front of their eyes, but maybeeee they get to see a mushroom cloud and a vault Technician is telling them to move it).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2021
  7. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I think the Outer Worlds method would have been fine, honestly. Your character creation screen is flavoured as your Vault-Tec resident profile and your Traits are themed to pre-war occupations or something. But your background is blank other than "you got into Vault 111"

    Vault AI Overseer wakes you up. You're the only survivor of several he's tried to wake-up who then died of post-cryonic syndrome. You're a genetic miracle in that you'll only turn into goo in a year's time, not instantly. Find technology to fix the issue to save yourself and the rest of the frozen Dwellers. Best place for that would be MIT.

    Off you go.
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  8. TheGM

    TheGM The voice of reason

    Aug 19, 2008
    But we got to have the cool scene where you see the Atomic Bomb going off in the back ground that you are within spitting distance of but some how aren't vaporized by and you get the emotional attachment of the family that you've only know for 3 minutes. you know CINEMATIC!
  9. Norzan

    Norzan So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Apr 7, 2017
    The stupidest part of the intro was the player's character and their family just conveniently winning the privilege of going to the vault. Writing something that makes actual sense? Nah, just makes them win basically the lottery.
  10. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    Memory Den, my friend. Wowza looked like we, alternative universe good developers Bethesda, noted what background you picked in character creation and made special FMV flashbacks for each one for the war starting instead of doing something silly like recording over 1000 different names for one single scene
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
  11. TheGM

    TheGM The voice of reason

    Aug 19, 2008
    NOT CINEMATIC ENOUGH! *Decks Postman* They gotta take my Baby and leave me to build tree houses with my robot because OPEN WORLD GAME!
  12. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    But why is this pastiche memory event all you can concretely recall of your past life in the Memory Den, is it faulty technology, trauma or are you actually a synth with implanted memories?!? Was the Vault tampered with by the institute as an experiment in seeing if a Synth could have it's own drive and return to the Institute convinced of its own autonomy and all the rest of the dwellers are just corpses in waiting?!? Mystery! Intrigue!

    Please don't hit me again Mr. Howard!
  13. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    That already starts better, and from there you could build even further.
    I myself would for example bring back the Vault Experiments concept, how flawed that concept was, and the Enclave's space program to colonize another planet.

    Big reveal is that the program is still running despite the Enclave being gone.
    Perhaps the threat is some pre war machinery that will "terraform" all of America if not shut down in time, killing everything else a la the Genesis Torpedo from Star Trek.

    During the journey to save yourself the player discovers the current state of the world, and depending on interaction with governments and factions the player may decide that this world is worth saving, or that it should be 'reset'.

    Additional, player may find out that someone else turned the 'terraforming' machinery on, and this person tries to convince the player it is best to start over again with only Vault Dwellers such as the population of the player's Vault being the new inheritors.

    Kind of like the plot I made up for my take on The Outer Worlds.
  14. Jogre

    Jogre So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 25, 2015
    Gotta have the protagonist be Middle Class, otherwise the post-apocalyptic world might not seem bad in comparison to literally starving due to the ongoing shortages of the pre-war world.
  15. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    As someone else said it does seem the intro was gemmed up for their great E3 Demo and that was that.
  16. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Fossil

    Jun 7, 2015
    I do like this concept as a treatment of the AI in Tactics, I've always been a fan of nigh-omnipotent AIs continuing to idiotically exercise their orders long into the future. I've always thought this would fit right in in Fallout. Though I don't think the AI concept really works with Fo4 especially well, though I guess it does with cryonics.

    As Fallout 3 teaches us, the 50s (which is the time it was before the War) were epic
  17. Flymystical-DJ

    Flymystical-DJ just the Deputy

    Jun 10, 2021
    I wonder what sort of person would be the type to view pre war America the way the MC does in Fallout 4.
  18. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    It's why in my one and only playthrough of F4 I played him as a jarhead jackboot who signed straight up with the BoS and followed his orders.
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1