The thing about open world games is that they never stop offering up new secrets. Fallout 4 debuted way back in 2015, when total nuclear annihilation seemed like a wacky sci fi premise and not a distinct possibility. You play as the Sole Survivor -- a person who wakes up in Boston 210 years after the Great War. Beantown is not the city they remember. Instead, it's full of mutants, robots, and airships. As you make your way through the Commonwealth, you have to decide the fate of the three factions that are vying for control of the new world.
The Fallout series has always included some wacky extra material for its fans. Every installment has included at least one flying saucer, for example. The last game, Fallout: New Vegas, had a trait you could choose at the beginning of the game to make things sillier and stranger. The makers of Fallout 4 have apparently decided everybody should be able to find these oddities.
We’ve gathered a list of some of the more off-the-beaten path things to do in the Commonwealth Wasteland; a TimeOut Irradiated Boston, if you will. When you get tired of making Codsworth call you Nipple Springsteen, give these 15 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do in Fallout 4 a whirl.
In 2077, Jack Rockford invented the Freefall Legs, a set of leg armor that allows the wearer to jump from any height and walk away unscathed. He’d planned on showing them off at the Mass Fusion office Christmas party by jumping off the roof, but it was not to be. Rockford was trapped on the top floor of the Mass Fusion building when the Great War started, with his prized invention locked in a safe. Apparently, he hadn’t put enough points in his Lockpick skill.
The Freefall Legs are located at the top of the Mass Fusion building, and they're almost impossible to access without a jetpack. But there is a way. In first person mode, go to the broken elevator on the ground floor. While holding a trash can, back into the wall and look down. Keep looking down, and you’ll slowly start to climb up the wall. It may take many, many tries, but you can eventually climb up to the room where the boots are located.
Once you have the boots, the wasteland is your jungle gym. You can jump from the helipad of the Prydwyn into Boston Airport, or off the newly relocated USS Constitution to surprise some unsuspecting super mutants. Just remember that both legs need to be equipped with the armor in order to turn Fallout 4 into Portal 2.
With a name like Dunwich, you know you’re in for some spooky stuff. A reference to HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, the Dunwich Company first graced the wasteland in Fallout 3. The Dunwich Building was home to some gnarly ghouls, a freaky altar in the basement, and one time travelling flashback to before the Great War. The Dunwich Borers site in Fallout 4 offers more of everything: more ghouls, more eldritch horror, and more flashbacks.
Once you clear the top level of the Borers, you can enter the cavelike dig site. Through memos and holotapes found on four terminals throughout the site, you can piece together that Dunwich Borers LLC was interested in more than granite. Workers at the dig site were losing eyes from falling rubble, the whole quarry shakes because management didn’t sufficiently support the structure, and -- oh yeah -- they were probably performing human sacrifices in the basement. The site supervisors for Stations 1-3 were summoned down to Station 4 by management for unknown reasons. At the bottom of the dig is Station 4, where another flashback shows several men and women handcuffed around an altar. Coming out of the flashback, you are attacked by the ghoulified former site supervisors. Swimming to the bottom of an irradiated pool, you’ll find yet another creepy altar, a partially-uncovered colossal statue, and the unique weapon Kremvh’s Tooth.
Even though the residents of Vault 111 were supposed to stay in cryogenic suspension for an indefinite amount of time, Vault-Tec built a fully-functioning vault, complete with recreation area. On one of the terminals in the recreation area is a holotape for the 8-bit Pip-Boy game Red Menace. You play a Pip Boy intent on rescuing a Pip Girl from an anthropomorphized version of the Chinese flag. As you climb ladders towards your beloved, the Red Menace throws bombs and barrels at you. So, yeah, it’s Donkey Kong.
Red Menace is one of many games-within-a-game in Fallout 4. You can also play wasteland versions of Missile Command, Space Invaders, and Pitfall. Six games are scattered throughout the Commonwealth and Automatron DLC.
For all of you '90s kids who were traumatized by the “lizard stole my identity” episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark, Bethesda has a little something special for you. One of the random encounters you can see in the wasteland is a deathmatch between a Commonwealth citizen and their synth doppelganger. The Institute is known for killing and replacing people throughout the Commonwealth, though what intelligence they're hoping to gather from random dirt farmers in Southie is beyond us.
You will usually find the human and synth (both named Art) with one pointing a shotgun at the other. Through a series of speech checks, you can determine which of them is human and which is synth. If you’ve taken the Awareness perk, you can determine which Art is a synth based on their damage resistance. Synth Art is much more damage resistant than Human Art. From there, you can tell Human Art to shoot Synth Art, or plead for mercy. Synth Art will then become hostile. Different companions react positively or negatively to your choice, depending on how they view synths. Nick Valentine and Deacon will be especially ticked if you recommend killing the Synth.
It only makes sense that Boston’s favorite bar would make its way into the Fallout-verse. Near Boston Common and Swan’s Pond, you’ll find stairs leading to a basement bar. Inside, the interior of Cheers has been recreated with eerie accuracy. The Great War wasn’t kind to the barflies and staff of Cheers, however. Norm and Cliff Clavin’s skeletons are found in their usual seats (Cliff is easily identified by his postman’s uniform). Frasier is seated alone close to the entrance. Apparently, Lilith survived. Behind the bar, we find skeletons that could easily be Sam, Carla, and Woody.
The in-game bar itself is called Probst, the German word for Cheers. This Easter Egg is either funny or incredibly depressing, depend on how you look at it. All your friends are here! And they’re dead. The same could be said about the show Cheers, which at its heart was about functioning alcoholics making a family for each other while avoiding their real families.
Fallout 4 takes place only 10 years after the events of Fallout 3, and both games take place on the East Coast. As a result, many characters from the Capital Wasteland show up in the Commonwealth. Both the Institute and the Railroad were first hinted at in the Fallout 3 side quest The Replicated Man, and it’s super satisfying to see them in all their glory seven years later. Dr. Li also returns, now working for the Institute. You can persuade her to work for the Brotherhood of Steel once again, if you can convince her that the Institute isn’t what it seems. And remember Mayor MacCready of Little Lamplight, the settlement populated only by minors in Fallout 3? He grew up, and is now a merc living in Goodneighbor. You can even hire him as a companion. Hilariously, he’s prone to shouting “Tunnel Snakes rule!”, claiming to have heard someone say it a long time ago.
In the Nuka-World DLC, you can meet up with Sierra Petrovita, the woman who’d pay you handsomely for Nuka-Cola Quantum in Fallout 3. In Nuka-World, she’s on a quest to find all the hidden Cappys in the park (a reference to the hidden Mickeys in Disney theme parks). Going with her on this quest leads you to the preserved head of Nuka-Cola founder John-Caleb Bradberton, a not-so-subtle reference to the fate of Walt Disney himself.
Fallout 4 keeps time within the game. Choosing to sleep or wait will let you see the in-game date and time. You are unfrozen on October 23, 2287, 210 years after the Great War. If you go to Diamond City on Christmas Day, the residents will have decorated for the holiday. Christmas trees top many of the buildings, and Christmas lights are strung overhead. Even the Diamond City guards get into the holiday spirit, greeting you with a “Ho f****** ho.” It wouldn’t be Fallout 4 without gratuitous swearing, after all.
Christmas is the only holiday celebrated in-game. Halloween decorations are strewn throughout the Commonwealth, however, because the bombs fell about a week before the holiday. Some enterprising Raiders have even MacGyvered jack o’lantern trick-or-treat pails into makeshift booby traps.
There is one other holiday you can celebrate, although the game-makers probably didn’t intend you to do so. Northeast of Relay Tower 0BB-915, there is an unmarked shack above a cliff. Inside the shack are tons of propane tanks and three ramps. If you place the tanks on the ramps and shoot them, they go rocketing off into the sky.
Who set up this light show? We don't know for sure, as the shack in uninhabited by the time the Sole Survivor gets to it. But in the wasteland, you have to make your own fun, and it only makes sense that fun is as potentially lethal as the rest of the world. To see the explosions in their full glory, wait until nightfall. They’re not as predictable as traditional fireworks, but a pretty explosion is a pretty explosion.
Someone had too much fun decorating the Milton General Hospital parking garage. Specifically, they outfitted it as a gauntlet full of radiation, explosions, and ghouls. Plywood walls separate the different death traps, with white arrows guiding the player along the way. The architect of this maze also set up puzzles along the way to test maze-goers' brains as well as their brawn. And just like many of the other creepy locales in the Commonwealth, there are mannequins aplenty. Fans have named the location the Saw maze, because of the sadistic choices the maze forces you to make are similar to those featured in the Saw film franchise.
Other traps include super mutant suiciders, a turret decorated with a Christmas tree (with a Raider head acting as the tree-topper), and hallways that fill with fire. Once you reach the end of the maze, you have the choice of two trunks of loot. One set of loot is more offensive, while the other has more aid items. Choosing one will cause traps to destroy the other, so choose wisely.
In the ruins of the old C.I.T., you can find a nod to Boston’s favorite besties, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The skeleton of a janitor can be found next to a blackboard with the same linear algebra problem on it that Damon's titular character solves in Good Will Hunting. This is one of the most iconic scenes in that movie, so it makes sense that it’s the one referenced by Fallout. It’s a shame we don’t get a tableau of the janitor with his therapist, perhaps with a holotape of the therapist talking about his wife farting in her sleep.
Good Will Hunting is just one of many movie Easter Eggs in Fallout 4, of course. A boat near Oberland Station features Quint’s death scene from Jaws. The skeleton of a bandana’d man lies next to a giant mutated river dolphin, and swimming under the boat reveals a shark cage as well. Meanwhile, the Far Harbor DLC contains a Titanic Easter Egg, with two corpses found in the water in the same pose as Jack and Rose. If only Bethesda had included a unique “Heart of the Ocean” clothing item!
Power armor is incredibly customizable in Fallout 4. Crafting is a bigger part of Fallout 4 than any other game in the series, and your power armor is no exception. Different paint jobs award different skills and perks, but some paint jobs are just for the style. With each issue of Hot Rodder magazine you collect, you get more options to make a sick set of armor. If you’re not concerned with stealth, you can paint yourself hot pink. If you’re looking for a more menacing appearance, try the grinning shark’s mouth on your chest plate.
The Atom Cats are a gang inside Boston who are obsessed with their power armor. By joining their group, you gain access to their power armor customizations as well as a cool greaser set of threads.
A strange altar to the sun exists in the Nuka-World DLC. Travel outside of the theme park to the town of Bradberton. In a mostly demolished house, you’ll find a recently extinguished fire with a Chinese Officer’s sword sticking out of it. Kindling the fire will cause three stimpaks to spawn out of thin air, and taking the sword will cause three more stimpaks to spawn.
In the Dark Souls video games, bonfires act as checkpoints. Lighting one and resting at it will refill your HP and stamina, as well as taking off effects and setting your respawn point to that bonfire. The bonfire in Bradberton isn’t nearly that powerful, but six stimpaks are also nothing to sneeze at. Praise the sun!
Throughout the wasteland, you can find copies of the pulp comic book Grognak the Barbarian. Reading these comics can boost your unarmed and melee damage. But did you know that the publisher of Grognak the Barbarian, Hubris Comics, is located in the ruins of Boston? The location is swarming with ghouls, but where isn’t? If you make it to the top floor, you can not only find a Grognak costume, but his axe as well. And the axe isn’t a cruddy replica -- it really works. The costume is very revealing on either sex, but it provides good damage resistance early in the game.
If you so choose, you can now run through the Commonwealth dressed and armed like a sexy stone age hunk/bombshell.
Harrison Ford’s action movie career is predicated on being the hero. And in Harrison Ford action movies, the hero doesn’t die. It doesn’t matter how absurd a situation he gets himself into, the perennial A-lister will come out of it with merely a sexy scratch for the heroine to kiss. He’s sort of the anti-Sean Bean, an actor you just know is doomed the minute he shows up on screen. Fallout 4 has Easter Eggs alluding to famous movie scenes were Harrison Ford definitely should have died.
On the roof of the Mass Fusion Containment Shed, you’ll find a tableau referencing Roy Batty’s death scene in Blade Runner. Two men -- one synth, one human -- lay dead on the roof. Presumably, this synth got the drop on his pursuer before his lifetimer ran out.
The oddest Harrison Ford nod of them all, however, is located in Nuka-World. On the roof of the Disciples’ lair, Fizztop Mountain, you can find a tiny person frozen in what looks to be carbonite. The trapped figure is much, much smaller than any human could conceivably be, yet the character spurts blood if you shoot it. It’s not much of a stretch to assume shrink ray technology could exist alongside gamma guns, cryonics, and the other sci-fi weirdness of the Fallout universe. Maybe this poor soul was shrunk before he was frozen. We may never know.
The Fallout games have always had a very active modding community. From TARDISes to plague doctors, it’s all been modded into Fallout. It makes sense, since the Fallout world has always been a mashup of a lot of different aesthetics: diesel punk, Lovecraft, and cyberpunk to name a few. GPG Shepherd, however, made a mod to end all mods back in 2016, crafting the floating city of Columbia from Bioshock Infinite. The two games have a lot in common. Both are continuations of long-running, critically-acclaimed series, both explore class inequality and weird science, and both games have been accused of being too much of a shooter and not being thoughtful enough.
Shepherd writes on girlsplaygames that “99% of the objects in my settlement are vanilla,” meaning they already exist in-game. So if you want to make your own monument to American Imperialism, go right ahead.
Are you aware of any other fun Easter Eggs and hidden abilities within Fallout 4? Let us know in the comments!