One Of The Twists In Fallout 4’s Far Harbor DLC Is Too Damn Good

One Of The Twists In Fallout 4’s Far Harbor DLC Is Too Damn Good

The Fallout fandom is about to have a LOT of arguments over one of the plot points in Far Harbor, Fallout 4’s biggest DLC. Spoilers ahead!
Far Harbor starts out simply enough: you need to find Kasumi Nakano, a missing woman who suspects she might be a synth. Searching for answers, Nakano ends up retreating to a synth colony far north, in a place called Acadia. There, you’ll meet DiMA, the synth who looks a hell of a lot like Nick Valentine.

DiMA tells you that meeting Nakano is no problem; she’s there of her own free will, as are all the other synths in Acadia. But, DiMA suggests, maybe Nakano isn’t the only reason why you’re in Acadia. Maybe something else, a small doubt, has brought you to a colony full of synths seeking answers. Here’s how the encounter goes down, if you’re curious:

DiMA poses a question that I’m sure has crossed most Fallout 4 player’s minds at some point or another: is there any chance you could be a synth?

It is not an idle question. DiMA lays out all the different things that could be taken as proof of synthdom, such as the inability to recall early memories, and feelings of isolation. Since we as players can only experience Fallout 4 the day the bombs dropped, our experiences line up with that of synths perfectly by design. Our memory gap is enormous! There’s so much about our own life that we do not know. Being a protagonist means you are also literally nothing like the other people in the world, too. Being a synth would explain so much, wouldn’t it?

You might feel differently, of course. That’s what makes this potential twist so good: there’s no definitive answer. There is only doubt.

A twist like this could have been waffled easily — it’s basically the sci-fi version of “IT WAS A DREAM ALL ALONG!” But the reason it works so well here is because of the groundwork that Bethesda laid in the main game. By telling you that anybody could be a synth, much of the Fallout 4 playerbase was overtaken with paranoia. One question I saw pop up time and time again was, “how can you tell if a settler is a synth?” Videos on YouTube exploring this question racked up hundreds of thousands of views, and slowly, “foolproof” methods of recognising a synth in Fallout 4 started floating around.

Synths have higher energy resistance, they claimed. Synths behave oddly, don’t act like any of your other settlers. Put them into traps, construct elaborate tests in your settlements, players suggested. See how the NPCs react then. Worst case scenario, the settler dies. That’s the most certain way of knowing, after all: does the corpse have a synth component? Congratulations, you found your witch.

Is the player a synth? Maybe. Maybe not. Whatever the answer is, I hope we never find out.


  • Although I agree it’s a cool thought, citing the fact that the player character has no memory before the day the bombs dropped means she/he is a synth could too easily be taken to extremes.

    If their last memory is before the bombs dropped, then the memory is from before Generation 1, 2 and 3 synths had been created – and only the Gen 3 synths could pass as human.

    If they’re false memories, then why couldn’t any other part of the game be a false memory? Why couldn’t the entirety of Fallout 4 up to the start of that conversation be a series of false memories?

    Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

  • So, you’re telling me that the institute found a man/woman frozen in a vault, killed you, copied you, erased your memories, then put you back in the freezer for… profit?

    I’m sorry, but this sounds like the ‘explanation’ for death and chapter reloading in Bioshock: Infinite. Somebody notice this meta concept and tried to put it into the game.

    • not just erased the memories, but arbitrarily kept others that your player character refers to.

      Immediately after the DiMA conversation I had a companion loyalty conversation with Nick Valentine about a criminal that my character had heard of before the war.

      I hated the inability to respond with a memory before the game started, it felt shoehorned in.

  • Spoilers for the main quest of Fallout 4.

    In order for the player to be a synth everything we know about Father, the leader of the Institute, has to be wrong. To him (and most others in the Institute), synths aren’t people, they’re tools. They don’t treat synths like slaves, they treat them like hammers, or screwdrivers. He makes his position on this abundantly clear if you sabotage the the Institute at the Battle of Bunker Hill and tell him you did so because you think synths are people. Even his weird synth child clone is treated as a particularly indulgent experiment.

    Why then would Father appoint the Sole Survivor as his successor in a pro Institute playtrhough? Obviously he’d know, because the Institute is the only one who knows how to make synths and have access to Vault 111. He’s all about maintaining human “purity”; you can even find terminal entries where he shuts down a cyborg program that can halt aging because he disapproves of how that would change the definintion of what it means to be human. There is zero chance he would leave the Institute in the control of a machine he ordered created.

    There are other reasons it doesn’t work (e.g. Kellogs memories and how he treats you, the fact that there is no evidence of the protagonist being made in the Institute, etc), but honestly the Father plothole is sufficient on it’s own.

    The Sole Survivor is not a synth.

  • I always liked the idea that Shaun was infact a synth(or similar to kelogg) after-all, infact this play through I’m going to shoot him in the head, fck him. Not to mention he gets referred to as the ‘OLD MAN’ often in timelines and references that kinda point to him being the OLD MAN running the show since you were unfrozen.

    I’m pretty sure he took the baby, harvested DNA to save his own life, then made the Shaun fake boy as some sort of remorse rebound, then posses as your son… This makes more sense considering the Institute is replacing people and killing entire populations throughout the capital (people haven’t got them all wrong, just look at the evidence).

    Only hole in the whole thing is the OLD MAN wants you to take his place, perhaps this is out of remorse of actions of the past. Either way mass production of synth replacements can’t be a good thing (they are pumping them out every couple minutes, do the math!)

  • I finally got around to starting this and I’m annoyed that there wasn’t an “I don’t care option” for myself, talking with kasumi I get the option to tell her it doesn’t matter if she’s a synth or not, she’s still a person so why can’t I take that stance for myself.

  • I’m just going to say that if you join the BOS when you visit the doctor all of your sarcastic remarks have to do with the sole survivors childhood.

    • The sole survivor also remembers that he had a military background and that he visited many places before the great war

  • Honestly the most obvious evidence to me is the vault tech rep you meet right at the start of the game. When you next see him, he may look a little different, but he’s clearly the same guy. No way the institute would bother making a memory involving a guy who should have died during or shorty after the war.

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