The same applies for the Super Mutants in F76, but I'm way too much of a whiny manbaby/Obsidian fanboy to even pretend that game exists.
Also originally posted to
r/falloutlore, I'm hoping to discuss and debate with more people.
When the trailers for Fallout 4 dropped a few years ago, I watched them a good couple dozen times. Super Mutants can be seen here and there in a few different shots, and a Super Mutant Behemoth appears in one of them. In the buildup to the game, there was a lot of speculation. I thought that the Super Mutants shown in the trailers for Fallout 4 were none other than the very same Super Mutants from Fallout 3. They might look a little bit different, but hey, that was probably because of new graphics or what not.
For me, this made a lot of sense.
In Fallout 3, you can overhear the Super Mutants talking about how they're running out of "green stuff" (i.e. FEV/EEP) to convert captured wastelanders into more Super Mutants. This occurs at the Vault-Tec Headquarters, proving that the 87s began to search the immediate area as best they could, based on what evidence they had to work with/what they could understand. It's clear that the Vault 87 strain aren't the most intelligent beings in the wasteland, and they might have just connected the material and notes within Vault 87 to the similarly named materials found at the Vault-Tec Headquarters, but it's obvious that this group began to make efforts to prolong their resources and themselves when they realized they were running short of the one thing that could bring them into existence.
In Fallout 3's "Broken Steel", there's Super Mutant dialogue to be overheard where they bemoan the fact that the "bucketheads" (i.e. Lyons' Brotherhood of Steel) have been killing too many of them. While the Brotherhood was in a complex and costly situation at the time, just barely winning the war against the Enclave and managing the distribution of Project Purity's output at the same time, it's clear that the tide against the Super Mutants might have begun to turn.
When the trailers for Fallout 4 dropped, we get those quick shots at the Super Mutants, but much of the trailer time is devoted to showing off the Brotherhood of Steel — Maxson (then yet-unnamed/unconfirmed), power armour, airship and all. While not confirmed to be the same Brotherhood of Steel as Lyons' from Fallout 3, how could it not be? And how could those Super Mutants not be the same as the Vault 87 ones? Either a) they were advancing north to Boston in hopes of finding more "green stuff", and/or b) the Brotherhood established relative control over D.C. and had driven the 87s out, maybe leading to a great exodus of 87s out of their homeland of D.C. After all, the Lone Wanderer learns of where the 87s come from, and has the option to tell Elder Lyons later on. For this, the old man is grateful to hear of the 87 homeland, after his soldiers failed to find the source of the 87s following decades of fighting them in a costly urban war.
Obviously that was a bit of headcanon and heavy assumptive thinking, but I thought it could have made a lot of sense. Plus, it would have been some nice continuity, and everyone loves continuity. Why would Bethesda not continue to develop one of the main groups from their previous game? While the 87 strain never had any real lore to their lengthy history, and while there weren't any named ones (besides friendly Fawkes and Uncle Leo), I thought, yo, this is great, Bethesda is carrying over a faction/group/race that I thought was pretty cool and deserved more attention. Maybe we'll get to see more of their story, a story I thought was a bit tragic and had barely any development to it. The 87s need more green stuff, and the Brotherhood finally seems to have won in D.C., so oh boy, where does the 87 story go next. And why would Bethesda introduce a THIRD strain? No, they already added a second one, and they would probably want to develop things from where they left off. Adding a third one wouldn't make sense.
But oh man, my assumptions had been wrong.
It's not that I'm disappointed that my headcanon and assumptions weren't what ended up happening. I'm disappointed that Bethesda ended up adding a third strain of Super Mutants, and this one with even less logic, backstory, and justification behind them than the 87s. I remember playing through Fallout 4, finding out about the Institute strain, and thinking … oh. Well, maybe there's just some NPC or terminal I missed and there's some greater explanations. But when I went on my lore hunts through the wikis, I found the same things I had already learned, and little more than that.
The Institute created a new strain of Super Mutants, abducted people from the Commonwealth for decades, filled them with FEV, released them back out into the world after conducting research, and even created convenient guard dogs for them (for real, these mutant hounds have absolutely no lore, backstory, or justification behind them, even less than the Institute Super Mutant strain; W H Y D O T H E Y K E E P M A K I N G M U T A N T H O U N D S). The Institute produced hundreds (maybe thousands) of these Super Mutants, and just let them wander the wastes for about a century? Apparently, the Institute even continued to produce Super Mutants into 2287, despite there being no real useful data to learn from these experiments, and despite the Institute making breakthroughs in Synth technology, as pointed out by characters within Fallout 4 and within the Institute.
I understand Bethesda would want to bring back Super Mutants for Fallout 4. I get the addition of Behemoths and mutant hounds for gameplay purposes. Please, by all means, make the game fun, give us a million different enemy types and variants like F76. But how wrong am I in wanting there to be some interesting backstories and lore behind the groups I'm fighting or interacting with in a Fallout game? I'm not saying a friendly little community or travelling merchant band of Super Mutants in Fallout 4 would have sufficed; after the other games introduce Super Mutants as:
F1) the biggest threat to the entire wasteland headed by the greatest and most dangerous antagonist in all Fallout, the Master and his Army,
F2) remnants of that movement decades later, allowing us to meet a number of interesting Super Mutant characters (e.g. Marcus, or that one with the ball-gag) who have to go on with life after their one singular purpose and organization came to an end,
New Vegas) two Super Mutant communities, one hostile, one friendly, each with their own ideologies, in addition to several interesting Super Mutant characters that expand their lore or backstories or spark general interest (e.g. Mean Sonofabitch explaining his interaction with the NCR, or Davison and his search for stealthboys and his Cult of Antler)
… I would expect to get to interact with some interesting groups and factions, or engross myself in some cool lore. Instead, it's apparent that Bethesda just dumped Super Mutants into Fallout 4 purely for gameplay purposes and slapped together some weird and illogical explanations for their existence in the game (and don't even get me started with the Huntsville Super Mutants, ohmygod). They even went so far as to make all of them (except one or two, for a second time) hostile, big and angry orcs.
Fallout 3 introduced a brand new strain of Super Mutants with their own backstory and justification, and while it's obvious Bethesda wanted Super Mutants in a Fallout game and hurried something together so we would get another enemy type to fight, there's enough interesting tidbits for me to support it getting a pass. But not with Fallout 4. To me, the Super Mutants that appear in Fallout 4 should definitely have been the Vault 87 strain, and have their story continue, get more fleshed out, or concluded in Fallout 4. Or — and I know this is asking too much — the Super Mutants appearing in Fallout 4 should have had some greater lore explanations or backstory, instead of "scientists bad, make big orcs, study them, then drop them into the wasteland, and MAKE ATTACK DOGS FOR THEM". I thought my reasoning for their lack of green stuff and/or Brotherhood militancy would have made for some good enough justification for getting them into Fallout 4, and genuinely would have wanted to see what might happen with their story. Instead, they don't even get much more than a mention in Fallout 4. We learn that they once almost organized under a warlord named Shepherd, who was defeated by a younger Maxson, but like, we could and should have gotten more. The 87s existed for apparently 200 years, and had been fighting and abducting people for that entire time.
I don't know why Bethesda refuses to develop and continue characters, factions, and plot points from their previous games. Talon Company I can kinda see not worth getting a mention. But killing both Owyn and Sarah Lyons between games (and okay, they weren't the most memorable Fallout characters, but we spent the majority of our play-time in the main story with these figures) and hardly giving them a mention aside from "they died"? Hearing NOTHING about the Lone Wanderer, who was active just 10 years earlier? C'mon, Bethesda. Don't be afraid to develop the lore you invented. Bring us back the Vault 87s, or at least explain what happened to them — even a short little blurb about them goes a long way. Stop bringing in new strains and threats and justifying it with lazy, uninteresting, or illogical lore. I'm all for shooting big, angry orcs, but make them flavourable big and angry orcs. Or make some that aren't so angry all the time — MORE than just one or two that I can make companions out of.
Or am I whining too much…
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