With Fallout 4 getting closer and closer to its release date, we are getting more and more excited to see what the game will have in store for us. For some, it may be the improvements made in terms of game play from the previous games, while for others it is yet another continuation of the rich story the games have told us so far. With the new game approaching, it is a good time to recap on the events that have taken place in the Fallout Universe and how we can relate it to what we know so far about Fallout 4.
Fallout - Background Story
The world of Fallout takes place in an alternative time-line that diverges right after World War II, with the main difference being the fact that micro-technology has never taken hold, and many massive and in most cases inefficient technologies of the 1950s remain in place. Most of these technologies were heavily fossil fuel dependent. This alternative reality is heavily influenced by many different visions people had of the future from the 1940's through the 1960's. Many designs such as Protectrons, House keeping robots (Mr Gutsy's) and Automobiles have been based on such ideas.
In April 2052, the resources quickly became scarce. Fossil fuels quickly shot up in price and the Resource War began. In three months things took a turn for worse as the United Nations collapsed, leading to a very tense Geo-political struggle between the major superpowers of China, Russia, and the United States.
With the start of the Resource War, the US Government commissioned the Vault-Tec Corporation to build underground safe-havens called vaults. Their purpose was supposedly to protect people of America in event of a Nuclear war and to wait it out until the surface was safe to re-colonize and keep the human race alive. These vaults have held a far more sinister purpose however. The government saw this as a great chance to conduct human experiments to see how different groups react to various situations, going anywhere from a vault with only one man and puppets inside, all the way to a vault which instructs its occupants that they need to sacrifice people in order to survive.
Out of the approximately 122 vaults we currently have knowledge of, only 17 of them are actually designed to house American citizens safely through the Nuclear Fallout. These vaults are made in a way that the public eye does not notice anything suspicious about the project. All the various different vaults contain different amounts of people inside along with different designs to impact the atmosphere and results.
In the meantime key members of the US Government have moved underground, locking themselves in safe hiding in case that the US would fall. Over the years, these surviving members have turned into what we now know as the Enclave. US annexed Canada and soon after the nuclear hell broke loose; with the Nuclear War lasting no longer than two hours while all life on the surface came to a halt.
Fallout - Brotherhood of Steel
The Brotherhood of Steel is a highly advanced organization operating across the ruins of Post-War America. Its roots reach deep into the American military and government-sponsored scientific community from before the War. The Brotherhood was mainly founded by US Army officers after discovery of the FEV virus experimentation, which was backed by the government. Ever since that discovery, they took over the base where FEV was tested and put an end to the deadly experimentation. Over the years they quickly spread across Post-War America, taking over many bunkers around America, turning them into Brotherhood Bases.
We already know that The Brotherhood of Steel will be a major part of Fallout 4. This means most certainly, a hefty control on the more advanced Pre-War Technology. Throughout the story we will now be able to access Power Armor, technology which was accessible only through the Brotherhood in the previous games. Through this we can assume that in Fallout 4 there should be a decent amount of encounters within this faction, with a definite chance of joining them throughout the game.
Brotherhood of Steel is not an all good faction however; in the past they have been both helpful and problem causing. In Fallout: New Vegas for example, they were less than kind at the very start, capturing you and putting an explosive collar on you, making sure that if you disobeyed any of their orders you would lose your head, while in Fallout 3 they have been a great help with the Super mutants, helping you get through Washington safely and into the Radio Station. (Not mentioning the massive Behemoth which you had to take down yourself.)
Fallout - Super mutants
There are two main types of the Super mutants: Intelligent and Common.
"Intelligent Super mutants" are genetically modified humans who have been subjected to FEV. They were originally created by Dr. Richard Moreau after he was exposed to a pool of FEV and mutated into a being known as The Master. The Master was determined to rid the world of the human differences which had caused the World War in the first place. These super mutants are intelligent and unlike their Central Wasteland counterparts can be friendly, some of them being still capable of researching sciences just like they did before their transformation. Ultimately, these Supermarkets are slowly falling in numbers, seeing how their kind is incapable of reproduction and with death of The Master production of new Super mutants of this kind were halted for the most part.
The far more common type of Super mutants comes from the DC Wasteland. They have originated from one of the vaults in which scientists were experimenting with the FEV Virus. These super mutants are very aggressive in nature, often attacking anything that is not a Super mutant on sight. Brotherhood of Steel is one of very few factions that is capable of holding its ground against these powerful mutants, holding their numbers under control.
We have seen a Super mutant in a Fallout 4 Trailer engaging in combat with the Sole Survivor (Playable Character), so it is safe to assume that we will all be dealing with the DC Wasteland Super mutants. Seeing as Brotherhood of Steel will be also included in the game we can expect to see some of their encounters. There isn't much known about the Boston Super mutants, but we know one thing... There are Behemoths roaming around. So carry the Tactical Nuke Launcher with you. You never know when they will strike!
Fallout - Ghouls
Ghouls are decrepit, rotting, mutated humans. They have been mutated over a long time of exposure to radiation which has decayed their skin. Their lifespans have been greatly extended and they have developed near-immunity to radiation, with the harmful energy now doing nothing but helping them heal. Consistent exposure to concentrated levels of background radiation for an extended period of time will randomly result in humans undergoing a mutation into a Ghoul, the most known case of this however is in Vault 12, later called Necropolis. This vault was created to let through radiation; its walls rigged to slowly fill. This transformed its inhabitants into the Ghouls we know today.
There are two types of Ghouls: Normal and Feral.
"Normal Ghouls" are simply mutated human beings, turned and twisted from their exposure to the radiation, but they still retain their intelligence and skills they had as humans. With the mutation their lifespans have been extended, reaching centuries on some occasions. Ghouls often live in concentrated areas with others of their kind, often looked down by humans and they have been subject to abuse for many years. In some cases they are even shot on sight by travelers due to their wild counterparts.
"Feral Ghouls" are a group of violent and uncontrollable Ghouls which have become insane after prolonged exposure to radiation. These kinds of Ghouls usually attack their targets by leaping and punching whoever is unfortunate enough to be close to them. These Ghouls are one of the main reasons that the intelligent normal Ghouls are looked down upon, with most people not being able to see the difference between them.
On rare occasions, Feral Ghouls turn into what we know as The Glowing Ones. These Ghouls begin producing radiation themselves. They are easy to spot by simply looking at their body that is a namesake for them. It gives off an ominous green glow of radiation that heals the nearby Ghouls, increasing their natural regeneration as well as putting humans at risk of catching Radiation Sickness themselves.
In the Fallout 4 Trailer we have seen Feral Ghouls briefly engaging in a fight with the Sole Survivor and since Ghouls are more or less a staple of the franchise, it is easy to suspect that they are returning in the next installment. Even if they do not play a major part in the story they will surely become fierce enemies at the very least, and perhaps a recruit-able follower somewhere down the pipe.
Fallout - The Institute
"The Commonwealth itself is nothing but a war-ravaged quagmire of violence and despair. Inside the sealed environment of the Institute, however... But... the Institute's affairs are none of your concern. Your undeveloped mind couldn't even begin to comprehend what we've accomplished." - Dr. Zimmer.
The Institute is a mysterious organization within the Commonwealth. It is known to possess advanced technology rivaling- if not surpassing that of Brotherhood of Steel. The Institute is known to produce Androids of high enough quality to pass as Humans.
The Institute has existed long before the Great War with even Robert House (Mr House in Fallout: New Vegas) attending the Institute in his youth. After the Great War, the Institute of Technology located in Massachusetts survived, becoming known to the people within the wasteland as a secretive organization known as the Institute. Little more is known about the mystery that is the Institute. All the knowledge we know is based around their technology which is advanced enough to create True Artificial Intelligence, one that is aware of its existence.
It has been revealed in the Fallout 4 Trailer that The Institute is likely to play a major role in its story line, but that involvement however is still just as shrouded in mystery as its true objective, so it only leaves us more to speculate on.
Fallout - The Railroad
"We call ourselves the Railroad. Our mission is the rescue and salvation of synthetic humanoids." - Victoria Watts.
The Railroad is an underground movement working to free sentient androids from their creators and give them a chance at life without being controlled by The Institute. They also assist runaway slaves on occasions. The Railroad is known to do everything; even the most extreme of plans in order to assist Sentient Androids. They are known to do things such as escort androids into faraway parts of the Wasteland or getting Doctors to perform facial reconstructions on the Androids in order to disguise them from the Institute. We have already had a glance at this organization back in Fallout 3.
This is a confirmed Faction in Fallout 4 and is said to be join-able. This certainly offers us room for speculation as to what may happen throughout the stories, perhaps allowing us the player to free Androids from Institute's hands and/or crack in to find out their dark secrets?
Fallout - Minutemen
Minutemen are shown as a Faction in Fallout 4. There is very little known about them apart from their Leader Preston Garvey and the Raider attack that we will see near the beginning of the game. It is currently unknown if we will be able to join them.