My partner and I recently just finished our play through of Fallout 4 together. It was a really unique experience for me and while Fallout 4 is a single player game, we decided that we would play through the entire game together. This is a short blog post about that experience and the fun I had with this strange new RPG adventure. Naturally, lots of Spoilers follow, including the game’s ending.
I got given my copy of Fallout for Christmas and I had started my play through, all the while I had been narrating my experience to my partner. He had the bright idea of playing it himself and that it might be fun to play through the entire game together. So we each started up a new game, we were each playing our own version of the game side by side, we went on the same missions together and explored the same stuff. We communicated via discord and it ended up being a lot of fun having two people exploring the same wasteland. We alerted each other when we had interesting conversations, varying encounters or when we found something really interesting. It almost felt like a parallel universe where each of us was doing the same thing but our characters had still gone through the loss of their spouse.
It was exciting to hear our different reactions to major events and discuss our interpretations of some of the game’s mysteries and our choices in dialogue. This was something that I had felt I had really been missing from my single player RPG’s which I spend most of my free time playing. Together, we shared nearly all of the game’s main faction quests and notable adventures, while we had different play-styles, which could at times be frustrating, our games were still fairly similar.
I had someone to share my nerdy character with, this became even more apparent when we reached the game’s ending. Tom wanted to side with the Institute while I was leaning more towards the Minute Men. Up until this point we had nearly identical play through, but it was fun to explain why we thought that this path was best for each of our characters. His character’s mission had been to do anything and everything for his son, whereas mine was more concerned about the greater good. After meeting Shaun at the Institute we were both faced with a dilemma as to which path we should each take and if this was finally the point where we ‘go our separate ways’ and our stories diverge. Our choices were also heavily influenced by our love-interest’s; he had romanced Curie and I had romanced Danse. Curie was a preserver of knowledge and a student of science. Danse, on the other hand, had just been exiled from the Brotherhood and was coming to terms with being a synth, how could I, the one who always had his back, side with people who considered him nothing more than a machine? It was a hard decision and I admit to watching some videos which showed companions reactions to the player’s choices and this influenced me heavily. One of the lines that stuck with me near the end was “I dreamed of you as an adult for so long. Here you are… and I am so disappointed”. When I told this to my partner it hit home in such a harsh and personal way. In the end, we both ended up being as true as we could to these characters we had created.
It was such a unique experience for us and I feel like this kind of emergent game play is what is missing from so many RPG’s. Video games like Fallout are confined to a set of rules and even infinite freedom can limit our characters development and exploration. Simply being able to share my choices and experiences made my game feel more like a tabletop RPG, where you have complete agency over your character’s actions. In the future, I would love to see game’s like this paying better attention to character development and how the other NPC’s of the game react to the player’s character. I would also like to see players’ love interests have more of a reaction to the events around them and to the player’s choices. As a player, it is exciting to have every opportunity to explore your character and share this experience with someone else. This was a wonderful experience that I would recommend for friends and couples.