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 to what happened down below...
Fallout 4 changed the franchise formula significantly from the previous games, playing more like a fast-paced Action RPG In the Style of... both the Mass Effect and Borderlands series. The Player Character is now fully-voiced and, unlike past games, has a more clearly 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 systems were replaced with an expanded version of the Companion Affinity system, 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 the new dialogue system consists of a four-option dialogue wheel. Combat was significantly overhauled, with grenades now being hotkeyed to their own button, Pistol-Whipping and bayonets being conceivable options for melee combat, the addition of the ability to sprint, and V.A.T.S. being altered from Time Stands Still to Bullet Time. The game also added the ability to build settlements across the Wasteland a la Minecraft, the "Legendary" system (where certain enemies are given special buffs to make them deadlier, but will also drop unique weapons/armor pieces on death with special boons), and further augmentations to the weapons and armor crafting and modification systems from New Vegas among other features.
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 advanced manufacturing systems. 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 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 DLCs 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 Children of Atom. Nuka World takes place in the titular 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.
The game is still continuously updated and receives support, from minor bugfixes, a massive update completely overhauling Survival Mode (now making it Nintendo Hard), and even a surprise announcement of "Creation Club" in 2017. The Creation Club 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 weapons) now added through in-store payments, created both by hired modders and Bethesda Game Studios' own developers.
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