What is it that you think of when you think of the Fallout games? Is it the scorched, blasted world in all of its desolate glory? Is it the ridiculous gore which makes Skyrim's decapitations look like something from Reading Rainbow? Is it that time that you blew up Megaton, just for a laugh, or robbed that trader before turning him into a pile of dust? For me, one of the things that I always think of are the games' secrets. It's not exactly new for developers to utilize their open worlds to bury a metric megaton of secrets, but Fallout does them exceptionally well. It does this by tending to keep them locked in the game's aesthetic. You have the beauty and efficiency of the faux-1950s world which went all Dr. Strangelove, and the savagery and dog-eat-dog (sometimes literally) world which replaced it.
Whether you want to talk about a door with an exceptionally rude welcome mat, a wasteland serial killer, the option to make yourself essentially a vegetable, the desirability formula in Fallout 2, an Indiana Jones moment gone wrong, or many more, the series is chock full of hidden depths for you to explore. This has been a consistent theme among all the games. Even in the CRPG days, the games beat almost all its rivals when it came to content. Now, there's only a handful of franchises which could even hope to compete with Fallout's vaults of hidden content. With no further ado, let's start the list!
To get to them, you’re going to exploit physics, clutching an item and backing into the wall. This will eventually allow you to exploit your way up to the room where the boots can be found. Equip them, and fall damage need never bother you again. Hop, skip, and jump your way from the highest heights, and enjoy baffling your enemies!
Southwest of Goodsprings Cave, you can come across this unfortunate soul, still in their chilly casket. Their hat gives you a perception boost, so feel free to grab it. I’m pretty sure that Indiana Jones, a man with a penchant for looting ruins, would approve.
Some have suggested they’re used as decoys to draw enemy fire, but that wouldn’t explain, for example, the trio around the bathtub. Others have said that they could be a reference to I Am Legend, which I’d buy, but why not lampshade it a bit more? Either way, Bethesda, please, no more mannequins.
What’s the name of the bar? Prost, the German word used to toast your buddies! I can think of far worse ways to go into the nuclear hellfire than drinking with your friends.
Despite working for Vault-Tec, this guy didn’t get into one of their vaults, and found himself turned into a ghoul by the blast. Two hundred years later, he’s morose and completed his butterfly-like transformation into a fully pathetic figure. He was trying to win a set of steak knives as part of a company-wide promotion. That’s possibly the worst reason to be condemned to wander the wastes for eternity that I’ve ever heard.
The second reference, and my favorite, is the strange gang which can sometimes attack you in-game. This is a gang made up not of young guys in Roman cosplay, or the NCR’s military getup – they wear pink dresses and grey bobs. Maud’s Muggers, as they’re known, are old women, who tear at you wielding knives and bats, referencing a Flying Circus sketch about Hells Grannies, a bunch of motorbike-riding tearaway elders. Watch out for the Keep Left signs too.
The small, apparently ideal little town of Andale, known as the “greatest town in Virginia” holds a dark secret that’s easy to miss without investigation. The town survived the war without as much damage as the rest of the wasteland, and plays host to four families. However, the problem of food scarcity is universal, and once food ran out, the families turned to…unconventional sources. By which I mean human parts. Outsiders are routinely slaughtered for meat. If you refuse to keep their secret, the villagers will turn hostile, and attempt to turn you into literal shish kebab.
The town with a dark secret has been explored in other Bethesda games too. In Oblivion, you can come across the village of Hackdirt, where the seemingly normal villagers worship Daedra and have warped underground neighbours who hate outsiders with a passion.
You can come across them fighting a rat later in the game, a reference to the scene in The Holy Grail where the knights battle the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. If you wait until they’ve been dealt with, you can grab the Holy Hand Grenade, and all its explosive power, for yourself.
While the alien secret was made explicit in the Mothership Zeta DLC, which saw the Lone Wanderer abducted by extra-terrestrials, as well as a spacewalk, the single UFO in the base game offered a tantalizing hint to players that the wasteland wasn’t ALL we would get.
Makes you wonder how the elves, Argonians, Orcs, and Khajit survived the apocalypse really, doesn’t it?
The Commonwealth may not be that happy a place, but even they need to let off some steam and celebrate the holidays. Well, holiday. New Years, Halloween, and Easter etc aren’t celebrated, but they couldn’t forget the big one. I hope I find a Deathclaw Gauntlet or a Big Boy under the tree.
Wend your way into the Cave of Abaddon, and you’ll find a fossilized dog, going by the name of Seymour. As well as sharing the namesake of Fry’s hound, he also shared the same fate, getting enrobed in stone, only to be found years later. Next to him, you’ll find the body of Sunflower Summers, who was his owner, presumably.
While there evidently wasn’t much time for the pilot, crew, or passengers to worry, it’s still a haunting listen, with the pilots getting increasingly worried as the situation becomes clearer. The plane also contains a hidden compartment containing chems and weapons under the cockpit.
This formula came about due to an experience with dating that developer Tom French had. According to French, the girl he was seeing had also been into another guy, who French described as “much better looking.” From this, he decided that charisma had to play a big part in attraction, and factored it into the game’s formula.
Firstly, it looks horrifying. Secondly, can you imagine what wearing one of these would be like? It’s making my skin crawl. Lastly, and most horrifyingly, is that some poor ghoul had the job of sewing together faces of their compatriots into a mask. Absolute nightmare fuel.
You’ll find a skimpy Grognak outfit, allowing yourself to maraud around the landscape in style. There’s also Grognak’s axe, and this isn’t made of plastic, it’s a real weapon. The attacks from this battleaxe stagger enemies and make them take bleed damage, and only uses as much AP as a combat knife. Go out there and live that Grognak dream.
The aim of the game is for Pip Boy to rescue Pip Girl, who’s stranded just past the anthropomorphic Chinese flag. There’s also a couple of other retro games in Fallout 4, including Missile Command (apt), Pitfall, and Space Invaders.
Lying face down in the dirt, you can come across a pair of skeletons, bearing the names Owen and Beru. Just as with Luke Skywalker’s adoptive parents, they had been brutally ended in their desert dwelling. Unlike Luke however, you have no personal attachment to them, so feel free to loot them for any valuables. What? Don’t give me that look.
That’s right, you begin to go absolutely crackers (check) before coming across a cult (check), who worship an ancient god (DING DING DING). The Sole Survivor will hallucinate his way back into one of the cult’s rituals, and you’ll come across a sacrificial knife called Kremvh’s Tooth. Then, at the bottom of the mine, you’ll come across the likely cause of all this strangeness: the recently unearthed head of a massive statue.
I’m looking forward to the Asylum Mutants and Estus hip flasks we’ll find in Fallout 5.
If you do, you’ll find he has exceptional night vision abilities, and is highly skilled in sneaking.
Was this the work of bored Brotherhood soldiers? Nah, they’re probably a bit too uptight. If not them, then maybe the bandits? Though an obscene slogan and not a booby trap seems a little weaksauce for their tastes.
The littlest deathclaw is named for the antagonist of the film Gremlins, who is the leader of those mischevious and deadly little buggers. In the film, Stripe is also fond of chicken, and you can find a chickenleg in the dog’s bowl which Stripe has co-opted.