Friendly faces are few and far between in the Wastes, so it’s no wonder everyone is abuzz about who will be willing to follow us to almost certain death in the newest instalment to the Fallout series. In Fallout 4, it has been confirmed that there will be over a dozen possible companions, but most of them are still a mystery. All we know so far are the identities of four of them, and that we will have massively more options for what to do with our companions once we’ve met them. It has been confirmed that ever-modded-for romance options will be available with any human companion, which I’m sure comes as a thrill to many of you. With every new release, we find new reasons that Fallout 4 will take over every aspect of our lives.
Companions in the Past
Bethesda has never given us an entirely solitary sort of Fallout game, but in the past the companions have been nothing like what they appear to be now. I will be focusing on Fallout 3 and New Vegas, due to their similarities in play-style to the upcoming game.
In the former game, companions were mainly the same; damage-dealers that helped you tank damage. Because of this, the player needed to handle all of the hacking, diplomacy, and looting on their own.
Bethesda has announced that most companions can recognize and pronounce an abundance of names, which means no more “you there” or the constant “sir/madam”. Now “Senior Numnuts” can truly be a name to fear around the Wasteland. I’m way too much of a role-player to name myself something so entertaining, but I can’t wait to see players test the limits of Fallout 4’s name recognition. Bethesda must know what is coming.
In the past, companions have mainly served as bullet sponges or additional damage-dealers, which turns them into strategy-free bonuses and makes them boring after a short time. Fortunately for us, Bethesda has given us a command system, allowing us to order companions to move to specific places, operate distant objects, and retrieve items from the scorched terrain. This should lend another level of depth to the game and give our followers even more of a purpose and personality than before.
Companions We Know So Far
One of the first revealed companions is a woman named Piper. She is described as wearing an old fashioned newsboy hat and seems to be a post-apocalyptic reporter, even stating that the Sole Survivor gave her an idea for an article for the newspaper she runs, called “Public Occurrences”. Interestingly, she is confirmed to have a little sister. What effects this might have on the progression of her as a character is unknown, but it stands to reason that her character might be more reluctant to put herself in deadly situations if she is one of the few Wastelanders to have a living family member.It will be interesting to see how having a journalist could affect dialogue options with the new, more dynamic dialogue system Bethesda has promised. Could she provide evidence? Will she be seen gathering notes or taking pictures? No one knows yet, but it’s always a possibility. As for combat, she does not seem like the sort who would engage opponents directly, but maybe she’d be focused on stealth or subversion? I could see myself teaming up well with a charisma-stealth character. In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing how the game handles itself outside of the story and combat and what sort of character development they have in mind for her.
He’s back! Wagging tail, incessant barking, and all! For those of us who have played the previous games, the return of Dogmeat as our four-legged sidekick is something that causes us to squeak uncontrollably with excitement. However, our benevolent benefactors at Bethesda have given us even more good news.DOGMEAT IS INVINCIBLE!
Let me just clarify this point. Dogmeat. Cannot. Die.Finally, I won’t have to worry about that lovably stupid mutt running himself into certain death at the hands of a Super Mutant Master and then reloading my save over and over and over again. Apparently the devs don’t want the player reloading for any reason other than their own deaths. A good move, in my mind, as I’ll be keeping this adorable canine by my side from day one and I can’t have him dying and leaving my squishy wastelander body unprotected.
This is a weird one, readers. A Mr. Handy companion has been done before, yes, but now he’s over 200 years old and was YOUR SERVANT BEFORE THE WAR. This is an interesting design choice, as he will probably allow for more deliberation on what the world was like before the war. We have a lot of information from flashback scenes, books, and missions like Operation: Anchorage (Fallout 3 DLC), but I’ve always been a sucker for pre-war gossip.From what we’ve been shown, it would appear that he is missing his flamethrower, a classic Mr. Handy tool, but makes up for it with the saws and lasers that make his mechanical brethren so formidable in the early wandering days. I don’t think he’ll be much for stealth or ranged combat, but toss him in a room with a few raiders and watch him do his blender impersonation and I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
- Preston Garvey
Strange that the Sole Survivor could team up with a minuteman, but that’s the beauty of Fallout’s thematic anachronism. Nothing feels futuristic, despite the game taking place in 2277. Preston is the leader of a group of survivors called the minutemen, though it’s debatable how good of a leader he actually is, since his group originally numbered 20, but has dwindled to 5 when the Sole Survivor finds him. With that in mind, will the player become a minuteman? Can we look forward to joining a group of other survivors like The Regulators from earlier games? There are countless possibilities, but we’ve seen a resurgence of faction-based play in similar games in recent years, so let’s not count this out quite yet.Preston looks to be a Lucas Simms type character. Stoic, unyielding, and essentially a cowboy. He wields a laser musket and wears what appears to be a pale duster and is likely an early companion to the player, based on the tradition of cowboy types appearing early on in the games, like Jericho in Fallout 3 and Boon in New Vegas. With what we know about him now, it’s impossible to determine how he’ll stack up against the other possible companions, but sometimes the basic run-n’-gun is nice to have around.
Become Lone Wanderer
Even with all of these characters being introduced, there is still a place in the Wasteland for a Sole Survivor. Wandering alone gives the player an additional challenge in combat, but an advantage to stealth (how many times have your sneak attempts been sabotaged by Fawkes’ shouting and maniacal laughter?). There will always be feeling of desperation when one is wandering alone, without anyone to help him fight against the countless enemies and monsters that roam the irradiated landscape. Equipped with nothing but your own armor, tools, and the few weapons you can scrounge up, you head out across the wastes in silence. The atmosphere of the game is drastically altered when one is playing alone. No longer can you rely on the, occasionally repetitive, exclamations from companions to keep you from going insane. Now all you have is you. The sounds of the Wasteland grind on you, wearing you down and increasing your paranoia until every bloatfly buzz sounds like the thrumming death-bringing Cazador.
Things to Consider When Wandering Alone
You may not be able to carry as much and you might have to be much more cautious in combat, but you’ll never find yourself stuck behind an unresponsive NPC in a doorway or have your cover blown by the shouts of your allies.
When travelling alone, ensure that you have ample stimpacks and a practiced exit strategy as you won’t have anyone to watch your back while you heal up.
There is little revealed on this so far, but it stands to reason that the Wanderer will occasionally cross paths with groups of people who, stay with me, don’t want to murder him and loot his still-twitching corpse. Sounds crazy, right? In one of the gameplay videos, there was a super mutant who was helping the player fight. Whether this is a companion or a random NPC is unclear, but it stands as a reminder to the Brotherhood of Steel patrols or the caravans you could find in the previous games or your worker in your settlement. Even if one chooses to walk solo, they will doubtlessly find others who have chosen the path of nonviolence…against the player, that is.