Nuclear disasters are different wherever they strike, shaped by the particular landscape unfortunate enough to suffer their indiscriminate wrath. Picture the wooden buildings of Hiroshima completely eradicated, a single brick-and-concrete dome surviving. Imagine the eerie Red Forest of Chernobyl, a reminder of how quickly mankind can render a tranquil, verdant landscape uninhabitable for centuries.
That’s why the setting of a Fallout game is as important as anything else – and why the prospect of an irradiated Boston is so exciting. Like the Capital Wasteland and New Vegas before it, Fallout 4’s Boston delivers a similarly novel experience. After all, this is a city that traces its origins to nearly 150 years before the Declaration of Independence. On the scale of U.S. history, it’s downright ancient.
Naturally, a city this distinct brings all sorts of intriguing destinations to the Fallout experience, and we’ve got several that players should look for in Bethesda’s latest open-world post-apocalyptic role-playing game. Of course, Fallout takes place in a retro-future world somewhat different than our own… but plenty of similarities remain. In the 23rd century, it turns out that plenty of Beantown’s iconic landmarks are a whole lot sturdier than you’d think.
The Revolutionary Seeds
We have to start, of course, with the foundation that helped build America as we know it. And what better way to begin than with a connection to a man who embodies the American Revolution for so many: Paul Revere himself? The Old North Church – where Revere’s lanterns famously delivered the urgent midnight message of “one if by land, two if by sea” in 1775 – still stands defiant even after nuclear disaster.
With a construction date of 1723, however, the Old North Church is but a child compared to another historic location players will find in Fallout 4: Boston Common. It’s been around since 1634, which makes it the oldest public park in America. In Fallout 4, players can even investigate and learn about the history behind this and other landmarks. Just be careful that a super-mutant doesn’t sneak up on you in the process!
Finally, how could we let a trip to Boston go by without a visit to Old Ironsides herself, the USS Constitution? This venerable warship, originally commissioned in 1797, survived the likes of Barbary pirates and confrontations with British ships during the War of 1812. Unlike the White House, it escaped that conflict unscathed – and it even withstood nuclear armageddon and is still around in 23rd-century Boston… even if it’s not anchored in the bay anymore.
The Modern-Day Icons
These days, there might not be a more iconic Boston location than Fenway Park, home to the no-longer-hard-luck Boston Red Sox. The ballpark’s more than 100 years old in 2015, so it would certainly be an impressive feat if it survives intact another 262 years – particularly after nuclear armageddon. Sadly, it doesn’t quite make it in one piece, but some of the most famous sections do appear in Fallout 4, including the famous light towers and 37-foot-high Green Monster. In the time of Fallout 4, however, baseball isn’t exactly a defining characteristic of the Fenway area; simply surviving is all anyone cares about. In fact, do the 23rd-century residents of Boston even remember the rules?
Next on the list is an edifice most modern-day Boston residents would just as soon cast into Massachusetts Bay: the State House, home to the legislature and governor. Just as you’d expect, politicians are as resilient as cockroaches, and the State House still stands even after the devastating nuclear blasts. Do super-mutant politicians roam within its walls? Only one way to find out!
Fallout 4 doesn’t simply take place within the confines of Boston proper; it’s part of the Fallout world’s Commonwealth, an area that includes all of present-day Massachusetts. One important area is Concord, home to Walden Pond, immortalized in the writings of Henry David Thoreau. The Walden you’ll find in Fallout 4, however, isn’t exactly the serene, back-to-nature retreat that it was in Thoreau’s time.
The nearby town of Lexington also holds an important place in history as the site of the first battle of the Revolutionary War. Unlike serene Walden, what you’ll find in Fallout 4’s dilapidated Lexington is a bit closer to the blood, guts, and gore seen in the 18th century battles between Redcoats and Minutemen.
Finally, we get to Cambridge, home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in our time – and to the enigmatic “Institute” in Fallout’s world. Previous games have hinted at the Institute’s existence and purpose, but in Fallout 4, players will finally get the chance to learn more about it. But just as a heads-up: The in-game Cambridge isn’t exactly the picturesque college town you know today.
These are far from the only historic and familiar places to find in Fallout 4, of course, so you should definitely take your time and see what you can uncover for yourself. And how do all these iconic New England landmarks fit together to deliver Fallout 4’s riveting narrative? That’s an answer you’ll need to discover on your own – we dare not spoil the details – on Xbox One and Windows PC.