Fallout 3's "Killable Children" mod was released in 2008, and since then, it's been downloaded over 150,000 times by PC players. It's probably no surprise this relatively popular type of mod made a comeback with Fallout 4, too, right?
OK, maybe this seems weird to some of y'all. But, this type of mod has a very specific history within a segment of the Fallout fandom. Back when Fallout 3 was released, there was some drama surrounding children in that game. Older Fallout games let players murder kids if they so pleased, and there was even an associated negative reputation that players could earn for doing so. Fallout 3 left that "feature" out of the game, though, and this was a move by Bethesda that some hardcore players really disliked.
Why would anyone want to kill kids in the first place, though? There are a few things going on here, judging from the comments people have left on the "Killable Children" mod page for Fallout 4. There are players that consider killing children a part of Fallout tradition. Other players like this mod on principle, because it represents a political ideology. Perhaps they have no intention of using it, really, but they still want it to exist because they see it as a blow against so-called politically correct culture. Then you've got players who see invincible children as a nonsensical feature in certain contexts the game itself sets up. Typically, these players think invincible children is 'immersion breaking.' You've also got players who don't think the mod goes far enough. And finally, there are players who just...dislike certain characters, or intend on playing Fallout 4 as a serial killer of sorts.
Here's some of what people have said about this mod. Bolded emphasis mine.
OH yes !!! thanks you so much for this mod, I can't wait for someone making an "alternative start" to this garbage so I can role play like in a real Fallout game, remember the good old times when you can have and sell slaves and blow up entire towns or just be whatever you want? ...the truly form of the wasteland and not this crappy " Disney" version. I can't wait for the new Creation Kit !
I HATE this politically-correctness limitation of "no killing children on-screen"
3 days and yet this mod could not be more needed
Thank you for this. During the "Battle for Bunker Hill" quest, one of the children NPCs named 'Meg' would not die from the Synths (I sided with the Institute). So at the end of the battle, Meg was cowering in a shack while the Synths unloaded thousands of rounds of plasma, laser and machine gun ammo that just went right through her...
Nice mod, will there be a version with full gore?
Fallout is a game designed with a ton of story, character development, and a lot of small details all made to draw the player into the world. Fallout is also set in a post apocalyptic world where you have rampant murder and people stealing babies from their mothers before executing said mother. It is a world where most people, whether by choice or to survive, have thrown out their cares for their fellow man. That is the setting. That is the story we want to see when we delve into Fallout. If you look at how terrible the world is today, would not a post apocalyptic one have people committing more heinous actions? You would see children shooting people, and people shooting back. Abuse of all kinds would be present, sexual or otherwise. An immersive setting is created both by what is in it and what ISN'T in it. How immersion breaking is it when I see (and this actually happened in my FO4) 3 deathclaws surrounding a kid hitting him while he flees, and give absolutely no shits? The kid is apparently a god anyway. Terrible. Moments like that should be gutwrenching, seeing something like a kid torn to shreds by deathclaws, a reminder of how harsh the wasteland would actually be. It could be a moment that immerses the player further, but instead does the absolute opposite. And hey, some people want to play the mass murderer in their video game. Who are we to judge? In such cases, killing an entire town's grown ups and being forced to leave the children alive makes absolutely no sense either.
Obviously, not everyone is in favour of a mod like this. While most people posting at Nexus like the idea of the mod, at least a couple of people are pushing back and debating its existence in the comments:
ModofDuty: Why can't nude and killable mods just stay for adult men and women. Seriously what do you get out of killing a child in a video game? I can't wrap my head around it as a parent and it seems so psychopathic.
I admire modders' skills and dedication but this takes it too far.
gamingdevil80: None of the kids are really annoying enough in this game to kill like FO3 aka little lamplight
As a veteran Fallout player, I can't say I miss having the ability to kill kids. Fallout's believability as a world never hinged on killable children for me; Fallout doesn't stop being Fallout based on whether or not I can kill children. Besides, it was pretty different back then, too! In Fallout 2, for example, kids could totally steal your precious gear, thus leaving your character totally fucked. In that context, I can understand why someone might feel murderous rage at a video game kid, especially when said children weren't rendered realistically, as they are now. Stuff like gear stealing doesn't happen in the modern Fallout games, though. Kids mostly exist as window dressing, or for quests.
I sympathize with the idea that invincible characters can make the game feel weird in certain contexts, too. At this point, though, I've filed that away as just a video-game-arse thing, you know? My companions are also invincible and can never die in combat, and that invincibility doesn't bother me at all. It's not something that needs "fixing" in my mind. I also just don't play as psychotic characters who like murdering people, adults or otherwise. The people who die in my games usually deserve it in some way. I respect that some people might play the game totally differently than I do, and I wouldn't judge anyone for that. It's just, personally, I can't get particularly worked up over the inability to kill children in Fallout. I've got a ton of gripes with the game, which I outlined in my review, but killable children is not one of them. That's just me, though.
At the moment, Fallout 4's "Killable Children" mod has been downloaded over 11,000 times. It's not a particularly large part of the Fallout player base, especially in light of the millions the game has sold. Regardless, because they have chosen to download and install this mod, it means that one of the most controversial features of the Fallout universe continues to live on in some way.