Fallout 4 is an open-world Action RPG and the third Numbered Sequel in the Fallout franchise, following 2008's Fallout 3 and Obsidian Entertainment's 2010 Gaiden Game Fallout: New Vegas. Fallout 3's Bethesda Game Studios returns as the developer.
It's 2077, and Sanctuary Hills, Massachusetts is an okay place to live. You and your spouse have a beautiful baby son, a white picket fence, and even one of those fancy new Mister Handy robots to help out around the house. Times may be a bit tight, what with the food and medicine rationing, and the news says there's a lot of rioting about it in the cities, but surely that won't affect you out here. And sure, international relations between the U.S. and China are less than ideal, but who cares? Alaska's been liberated, American troops are marching towards Beijing, and with your reserved place in the nearby Vault-Tec fallout shelter, you can sleep comfortably knowing your family is prepared for the future.
Too bad nothing lasts forever. After the local newscaster announces that the United States and China have seemingly launched hundreds of nuclear warheads at each other, you and your family rush to Vault 111, praying that you'll make it inside in time. As the elevator to the Vault descends, you catch a glimpse of a nuclear detonation to the south, and hear the shockwave pass over the sealing entrance, eradicating the life you left behind on the surface. However, once you're inside, things start to deviate from what you expected — you're told by the Vault's staff to put on a strange jumpsuit and enter a "decontamination pod" before proceeding. Too shocked to question it, you do as you're told, and suddenly find yourself feeling very cold...
You lose track of time as your mind numbs. Everything goes dark, and you get the strangest sensation, as though years are passing by like seconds. For a moment, you swear things become clear again, your eyes making out the silhouettes of your spouse and your son struggling against someone... followed by a gunshot. Eventually, your pod opens and you awaken, the Vault littered with decaying skeletons and the frozen-solid remains of your neighbors... and your beloved. You check the readings, and every single person's tube except yours failed. You are the Sole Survivor. You clamber your way to the entrance, fighting off strange pests that have infested the metallic halls, and find yourself in the blasted ruin that was once your home.
This is the Commonwealth. The year is 2287. And somewhere out there, there's answers about what happened down below...
Fallout 4 changed the formula and plays more like a fast-paced loot-shooter. The Player Character is now fully-voiced and, unlike past games, the Player Character has an established backstory and family dynamic - previous games either allowed the player to choose their age (Fallout and Fallout 2) or explicitly established them as a young adult (Fallout 3). The Karma and Reputation system were removed, the Skills system was fused with the S.P.E.C.I.A.L system and now acts as Perks and Bonuses to the latter, and role-playing is limited to agreeing or disagreeing with NPCs and your loyalty to one of four factions. The game also added the ability to build communities across the Wasteland, as well as weapons crafting and upgrading.
Six pieces of DLC in total were released for the game, starting in February 2016. Two packs, Wasteland Workshop and Contraptions Workshop added several new items for settlement building, including creature traps, logic gates, and manufacturing. A third pack, Vault-Tec Workshop, was also largely a settlement-based pack; it gave you a new settlement, Vault 88 and a series of quests that opened it up, set down experiments, and cleared out the area for building. Automatron brought in a the new mechanic of building robot companions and settlers, and had quests involving the connection between the appearance of murderous groups of robots around the Commonwealth and Fallout 3's favorite superhero, the Mechanist.
The last two DLC were more traditional story-based exploration packs as seen in previous games. Far Harbor takes the Sole Survivor to Maine to find the location of a missing woman and ends up with them involved in local politics between the struggling settlers of the Harbor, a hidden colony of Synth refugees, and the growing threat of the Church of the Atom. Nuka World takes place in the cola-themed amusement park which has been taken over by raiders that want the park's themed lands for themselves, and need the Sole Survivor's help to reach their goals.
And then the game was still, continuously updated and received support, from minor bugfixes, to a surprise announcement of "Creation Club" in 2017, which released concurrently with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, which features an entire Microtransaction system and a variety of small quests and items (and some absurdly Game-Breaker enchantments) now added through in-store payments.
The following mods have their own pages:
- A Cannibal In Concord
- Vault 1080
- Maxwell's World
- Tales from the Commonwealth
- Sanctuary Hot Springs
- Vault 83: The Librarian
- Fallout UIF
- Fallout Frost