With Fallout’s addition of Nuka World DLC we got several interesting new features; raider settlements, park rides, building mods, half a dozen maddening collection quests, and a goddamn breathing ghoul chair…
But cruelty to human(ish) creatures and living furniture isn’t why I’m arguing that the Sole Survivor is a villain. I wouldn’t want to anger the BDSM community. No, the real reason the Sole Survivor is the next Genghis Khan is because of his actions leading up to Nuka World– the DLC that features a quest that confirms everything I believed about “Blue” transitioning into an evil dictator. More than a dictator, even. I believe the Sole Survivor might one day challenge the NCR.
But before we go forward, there will be…
1) The Sole Survivor Is Uniquely Qualified (To Be An Evil Warlord)
Yes, the voice actors who gave life to the Sole Survivor, both male and female, make them sound friendly, fun, and f-relatable. (Nailed it!) But I argue that all great and terrible leaders have been charismatic in some way. Genghis Khan was said to have striking green eyes and red hair, as opposed to his black-haired Mongol brethren. Heck, Scientific American has published multiple articles on why our political leaders are voted in by their unique looks and seemingly friendly temperament. Want to appear trustworthy to the public? Smile more, and win that vote!
I know this doesn’t count if you didn’t select the default faces/voices of the Sole Survivor, but your John Cena mod isn’t canon to the story. The character default is.
Let’s also not ignore the fact that the Sole Survivor was an Army infantry vet, with enough influence to be the keynote speaker at a VA gala (as mentioned by your wife in the opening scene) and that you time-travel to the wasteland from an era of American exceptionalism; when uniting under the banner of immoral corporate warlords was a good strategy for a prosperous retirement.
Unless that banner is Vault Tec.
Military experience? Check. Temperament and charisma? Check. Technology hoarder? Check.
What, you don’t think the Sole Survivor is a tech hoarder capable of outfitting a band of marauders? Let me ask you this quick question; would the contents of your personal weapons locker be enough to hijack the Prydwen? I think we both know the answer to that. And at least the Brotherhood distributes its tech to their own people. When was the last time you gave a legendary weapon to a provisioner?
2) Your First Quest Is To Re-Establish Serfdom
Last May I wrote a post about why Fallout 4 was secretly about feudalism. This also appeared on a Reddit [Toilet Thought] almost two months after my article, which hit all the same arguments. But I’m sure they arrived at the same conclusion independently.
Okay, I’m being a bit of a shit. I really do think this was an easy conclusion to come to, since the return to feudalism has been a strong theme since the very first Fallout game. I will merely restate here that feudalism is necessary to wage the kind of expansion war we saw from Caesar’s Legion in New Vegas and the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout 4.
When it comes to resources, in order to wage a continent-spanning war and establish an empire you need one of two things:
A) A government-backed army, supported by an industrialized population with the resources and morale to wage continuous war.
B) Peasants who pay you tribute.
There’s a good reason other people came to the same conclusion that I did. As the Sole Survivor you play as a literal Knight in shining armor who eats up settlement resources faster than Sonic snorts rings. And in case you believed your wanton “adhesive” habits were morally justified in the end because you killed the evil [Railroad/Brotherhood/Institute], think again, because…
3) The Raider Ending Is Canon
Prior Fallout games have always favored the good karmic ending as the canon ending. However, in the Nuka World DLC we run into a bit of a wall as far as canon lore goes. For the first time in Fallout history the final chapter of the game requires the player to work toward the “evil” karmic ending. The primary quest line cannot be completed without conquering parts of the Commonwealth under a raider banner. The bonus perks and achievements cannot be unlocked without siding with the raiders. Hell, the “good” ending, which is gained by assassinating all the raider bosses, isn’t even the main quest, nor does it reward the player with achievements or perks.
VinylicPumaGaming made a damn fine video laying out why the evil ending is the canonical ending. I will simply add that once you establish a raider outpost in the commonwealth the very next step is to inform the nearby farms that they must now supply your raiders with food, while your raiders focus on fighting and doing drugs.
Instead of Fallout 4 distancing themselves from the feudalism side of conquest, the new DLC fully embraced it and holds it up as the canon storyline.
4) You Are Uniting The Tribes
Ya’ll remember Caesar and his Legion from Fallout: New Vegas? Or, if we look to real conquerors, do you remember you history lessons about the Mongol hoards? The Huns? The rise of the Persian Empire? They all followed this one weird trick in order to begin expanding their empire.
They united the tribes. That was the weird trick. And you didn’t even have to click on the ad…
Each case of violent rapid hoard expansion (VRHE for short) starts with a tough, charismatic leader uniting all the outskirt tribes and giving them a single unified purpose. Almost without exception this unified purpose is to curb-stomp other cultures out of existence and take their best stuff. Attila got his rocks off by running mob protection rackets on entire cities. Genghis dubbed himself the “Flail of God” and set Baghdad back so far that their ruined irrigation still hasn’t recovered.
Compare this to what the Sole Survivor has accomplished by the time we wrap up in Nuka World. The Sole Survivor has destroyed large facilities and/or factions with weapons of mass destruction. The Sole Survivor has united the outlying tribes. The Sole Survivor has seated himself as the king on multiple faction thrones. And, if this pattern of behavior continues, he will continue to expand. Believe me when I say,
5) There Will Be Future Conquest
In Fallout: New Vegas we learn that the Legion is doomed to fail. Caesar has a brain tumor that will soon end his life. And even if the tumor doesn’t get him, something will. A bullet. Poison. Time. Boone’s hate-stare, which he keeps trapped behind aviator sunglasses like a rage-shooting Scott Summers. Eventually Caesar will die, and when he does his tribes will scatter. His generals are brutal and effective, sure, but they’re not charismatic or clever enough to take on the NCR without him.
You, on the other hand, have two seasoned raider leaders who have cut their teeth on the toughest enemies in the wastes. They’re clever. They’re calculating. Oh, and there’s also Strong…your Legate Lanius.
By the time Fallout 4 concludes you’re a battle-hardened warlord with competent generals, an impossibly rich armory, an incredible resource network, and a fighting raider force that literally carries the toughest default armor and weapons in the game. Depending on which faction you sided with during the main Fo4 game, you’ve either cowed potential competitors for the commonwealth or positioned yourself at the head of their table. If you blew up the Institute you have a power vacuum to fill, and if you kept them alive you have an endless supply of foot-soldiers for your future conquest.
Oh, and let’s not forget what the Sole Survivor’s next target will be, now that the Commonwealth is under your heel; The Capital Wasteland. Go ahead, tell me you wouldn’t march on DC– a land recently re-taken from the Super Mutants, with an endless supply of fresh water, and a faction still reeling from their most recent battle (see: Broken Steel)
I give it a year before the Sole Survivor changes his tune from “War never changes.” to “Deus Vult!”
Featured image from Fallout 4 / Fallout Wikia.
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