The following article may include spoilers for Fallout 4 read at your own discretion.
Fallout 4 is a very deep and very complex game, there are so many tales to be found within the wasteland, so many people in need of help. There is so much to discover, the sheer level of things found within the wasteland can actually be overwhelming as you face down the sheer number of activities across the desolate landscape. There are so many stories out there and many of which are not even part of a particular mission, some are just found by simply strolling the world, the little discoveries made and the push to uncover what happened or what I can help with are what make Fallout 4 a truly great and surprisingly deep game.
While I explored the far reaches of the wasteland, dodging raiders and discovering new locations I stumbled across a radio antenna. Like numerous others I had encountered on my travels I approached the nearby computer and extended the satellites in order to pick up more signals. Soon enough a couple of signals surfaced one of which was a distress signal, I followed the signal into a small suburban neighborhood trying to find the best way to hear the message to which I was greeted with great sadness. The women speaking was filled with such distress, she was scared, sad, dehydrated, all she wanted was to be free from the walls that had trapped her and I made this my goal. Against all odds I was going to save her, to free her from her prison, I had continued onwards hearing the message get stronger and more coherent as I approached an old department store and entered.
As I looked around Fallon’s Department Store I knew something was wrong, the place was cold and dangerous and home to a gang of Super Mutants. The message was now playing quite clearly I could hear the panic in her voice, her cries of anguish as she called for someone who might never come, I could hear what she was saying clearly and part of me feared the worst, the other just wanted to save her. Her voice cried from the jewellery department she was locked in the safe, as I explored trying to find her, to set her free I took my sword and dealt with any Super Mutants that got in my way.
After a long search I found it, her voice still echoed in repeat on my radio and I had just two more foes standing in my way, I didn’t care for my own life my goal was set, I would save her. I foolhardily ran at the Super Mutants taking them out with a quick slice of my blade, and then proceeded to follow the womans instructions, “there is a button under one of the counters” this button would open the safe and I could free her. After a moment of searching I found it and pressed it, behind me I heard something open and saw a previously closed wall open to a new room, was this where I would find the woman, was she a prisoner of the Super Mutants. I wondered in and was shocked at what I found, the woman was long dead, and where she once sat lay a skeleton and the ham radio she had been speaking into sat playing in repeat. A voice from the past forever echoing this woman’s last words, her panic, her grief, she was gone, long gone.
I was two hundred years too late, her words finally hit me, I had previously feared the worst but had completely discounted some of her wording in my own desperation and need to help. She had cried out about the earth shaking, I didn’t realize it but what she cried about was back to where we began back when the bombs dropped. Her voice echoed without help for two hundred years, no one came for her, no one was willing to fight to potentially save a life and in trying I had still failed she was gone and there was nothing I could do. I walked away sad, depressed by the very thought that I had tried my best, I knew the chances were low and I tried to save her, but all she was is simply a voice from the past who died scared and alone.
There are so many of these tales to be found across the wasteland of Fallout 4, so many pleas of desperation, so many distress signals gone unanswered. These tales each time I encountered them filled me with great sadness, I fought the world in the hope of bringing someone their freedom, of granting someone a huge favor and giving them a chance at life but all they were was lost causes that led to sadness and depression. Simply a voice lost in time, using their last moment to cry out for someone to come to their aid but to no avail, Fallout 4 is a game about this, how cruel time can be where we can hear someone crying out for help but they are simply a message that lives on long after their gone.
It is hard to walk away from Fallout 4 feeling happy, the story I told of my own adventure in the game was just one example of the sheer sadness that is held quite strongly in the game. The major basis of the world in Fallout 4 is one of sadness, one of destruction, one of darkness, friends turn on each other, a life for a life. We are simply destined to die in this world with our goal left to be found is in survival or in rare cases risking your own life in order to help somebody else find their own. Still it is the voices that cry out in pain, in agony as their final words are recorded and left to the ages that stand out, for most it is two hundred years and still they cry out for help.
Fallout 4 is not a happy game, you are not supposed to feel good and walk away happy in the end it is all a tale of lost causes whether made up by history, or just by decision. The wasteland is a depressing place that will sooner mess with you and leave you wishing if only I could go back in time perhaps they wouldn’t be a lost voice crying out in the night.