One of the most widely anticipated gaming releases this holiday season so far has been Fallout 4, which came out on November 10. Following in the path of the first four installments in the main series (Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas) gameplay centers around a future, post-apocalyptic world, in this specific case the year 2287. Fallout 4 continues the series’ open-gaming premise as players must navigate through a world wracked by nuclear war and full of competing micro-states in search of their lost child. A hallmark of the series, the ability to solve problems during gameplay in multiple ways and make multiple choices about the direction the game will take, continues in the new game.
But we already knew all that, didn’t we? What we want to know are the tricks and secrets buried in the game and the odd and unusual programming choices the game’s designers made. We want the fun stuff!
Here are ten nuggets and Easter eggs that should sate our appetites for insider information. Who knows? By the time we’re done we might even have unearthed a bone or two about Dogmeat.
10. Blade Runner Easter Egg
If you’re not a fan of the 1982 Sci-fi cult classic Blade Runner (you know, the movie that didn’t contribute to either Harrison Ford’s or Ridley Scott’s fame) you might not know that the Fallout world has a lot to thank that particularly bleak vision of the future for. And it seems Fallout 4’s designers wanted to honor that debt. It’s a pretty simple homage, really. Just go to the Mass Fusion Containment building (that’s both the simple and dangerous part), climb up the ventilation pipes and jump on the roof (if you’re a player you know what we’re talking about and if you’re not, why are you reading this?). Anyway, you’ll land right in the middle of a re-creation of the Blade Runner finale. Not incredibly exciting, we admit, and you won’t be able to grab any cool stuff but still, it’s the thought that counts.
9. Matthew McConaughey’s Alive And Well In 2287!
For True Detective fans, there’s a great Easter Egg in the Brotherhood of Steel’s (a Fallout 4 “community”) computer logs. The BoS’s logs denote some issues with “Knight R. Cohle.” Sound familiar? It should. Rust Cohle was the McConaughey character in season one of True Detective. You’ll remember him as the cop who drinks more in an afternoon than an entire frat does on Pledge Night. It seems “Brother” Cohle has the same problem as his 21st century predecessor and is basically on notice from the brotherhood’s version of Internal Affairs. Too bad. McConaughey’s character from the under-appreciated Reign of Fire would probably have made a better knight.
8. Hidden Armor For Dogmeat
Let’s get one thing straight right away. Dogmeat is awesome. Like Elika in Prince of Persia and other neutral characters, he’s a brave, loyal and true companion who cannot die and will help your dumb gaming behind more than you’ll ever know. But did you know you could give Dogmeat the armor he so richly deserves? You should, since just because he can’t die doesn’t mean he can’t get hurt and be a less effective companion. Good thing your friendly Fallout designers decided to hide some cool armor for him. If you want it (and why wouldn’t you?), go to Rocky Narrows Park and look around for some feral dogs; there’s some dog armor nearby. We won’t tell you more than that because it would ruin the fun and, anyway, it will all be worth it once you have a German Shepard wearing steel-plate armor by your side.
7. Raiders Suck: A Trick to Keep Them Away
Like a lot of open-gaming worlds, a lot can happen to you (or more precisely, your stuff) in Fallout 4 when you’re not paying attention. Like any settlement your character decides to build can and will be attacked by those annoying raiders when you’re not around. And you want to build settlements; they can only help you later. So what to do? Well, it’s actually a pretty easy solve that not everybody has noticed. Basically, if your supplies stats (food and water, mostly) exceed your defense stats (obstacles like turrets and weapons for your settlers) those raiders are going to come calling and they won’t be very friendly about it. So just make sure to load up your settlers with more weapons than food (makes perfect sense, we know) and we doubt a raider will ever come knocking.
6. Do Fallout And Skyrim Have The Same Worlds?
It stands to reason that there might be some crossover in games designed by the same company; Nintendo’s made a living on Mario crossover’s for a quarter century, after all. But what is game designer Bethesda doing with Skyrim and Fallout, we wonder? As we’ve already stated, Fallout’s world is one where you can make certain choices, such as which group to “join” or support. Well, it seems that one of the groups, the ‘Brotherhood of Steel,’ has got themselves an interesting little plant specimen in the lab aboard their Skyship. Interesting because the plant looks (and acts) exactly like Nirnroot, the healing plant found in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Hmmm… But Skyrim supposedly takes place in the far future and Fallout is in the near-future. The Fallout world is technologically complex, the Skyrim one not so much. So what happened in between the two story lines? Hopefully Bethesda Game Studios wants to know as badly as gamers do.
5. Underwater Adventures: A Practical Joke?
Sometimes it pays to make a mistake. Recently one gamer, while battling raiders, accidentally fell into the ocean (or maybe Boston Harbor, the area where the game takes place). Deciding to create something out of nothing (and having the necessary breathing apparatus in his suit) this gamer went for a little ocean-floor stroll. Imagine his surprise when he found a building underwater with working power but no access. Is it just a dead-end, a designer’s practical joke? Or did the designers abandon an underwater scenario? Even better, other gamers have stumbled across a harpoon gun that works but doesn’t do anything to enemies. Another clue? Or just shoddy design. Only time will tell.
4. Go Forth and Make Mods!
Think you have what it takes to make a killer mod, one that will bring the whole Fallout world to its knees? Well, at least initially, you’d better be gaming on a PC. You see, Fallout 4 has a “Modding Tool” but you can only use it on the PC version. And it’s not quite available. Yet. Look for it early next year. Mods will still be available to use, once created, on other platforms, you just can’t make anything on your Xbox or PS. Of course, plenty of Modders are already making tons of cool stuff for the game’s community. But, like any modding anywhere, Caveat Emptor. That means when some guy’s mods crash your game, don’t go crying over the spilt milk (or “fallout,” if you prefer). You should have waited for the official mod tool to come out. Like that was going to happen.
3. Classic Mini-Games Easter Eggs
Who doesn’t love themselves a good mini-game? We know we do, which is why the hidden mini-games found in Fallout 4 are so cool. First of all, we’re not going to give away every single place you can find those mini-games because it’s just so much fun when you find them on your own. We will hint that “Atomic Command” (an oh-so-appropriate clone of Atari’s classic Missile Command) can be found in the same place you find major character Preston Garvey. We’ll even let it slip that “Red Menace,” a Donkey Kong knock-off, is in a certain vault you’ll get to know very early on in the game. Other games to look out for include “Pipfall” (Pitfall),” Grognak” (Bard’s Tale) and “Zeta Invaders” (Space Invaders). They can all be played on your player’s Pip Boy (hence “Pipfall) and are totally enjoyable. We love that the designers took the time to honor their 8-bit forbearers.
2. Ted Easter Egg
Okay, so we know Fallout 4 takes place in and around Boston. There are plenty of famous locales mentioned or visited in the game (like a massively fortified Fenway Park) but one of the best nods to Boston’s finest has to be the one that shows Ted (you know, that foul-mouthed, over-sexed, original Boston Teddy Bear created by Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane, whose parents are from Boston) sitting on an abandoned restroom’s toilet, reading the paper. As a bonus, you can take both Ted and his newspaper for your inventory. We haven’t tried giving Ted to Dogmeat yet, though.
1. Walk Into Cheers Bar
We’ve already mentioned that Fallout 4 takes place in a nuclear-decimated Boston. What better way for the designers to pay homage to that fact (apart from exhuming a mutant Paul Revere) than to hide Cheers down a small set of stairs off Boston Common. That’s right; you can walk right into the most iconic bar in TV history. Of course, there’s no one there to pour you a drink but you can still look at the Red Sox memorabilia in Sam’s office and even pat what we assume are Norm and Cliff’s skeleton’s on the back as you pass them by at their usual places at the bar. As they say in Boston, that’s “Wicked cool!”