Making your way through the Commonwealth takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from the deathclaws and raiders sure would help a lot. If you would like to get away, Bethesda has carved out a little space for you in the Prost Bar, a fairly overt reference to the bar from the ’80s sitcom Cheers. Modeled to look like the Boston watering hole, Prost includes baseball memorabilia and skeletons dressed like the show’s recurring patrons. The deceased crowd at Prost may not know your name — not everyone can be Codsworth, after all — but on the bright side, they sure do make great listeners.
Nirnroot… or not?
Between Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, Bethesda is probably the biggest name in Western RPGs, and although the two series occupy very different universes, there are times when the worlds collide. Fans of Fallout’s fantasy counterpart will find an interesting easter egg in the Brotherhood of Steel’s flagship, the Prydwen. In the section of the ship where Senior Scribe Neriah conducts her experiments, a variety of flora can be found. While many of the samples will seem ordinary by the wasteland’s standards, one specimen named “Experimental Plant” may seem out of place. Elder Scrolls fans will note the plant’s uncanny resemblance to nirnroot, a common plant throughout Tamriel. Although the plant cannot be used to brew potions (sadly, scientists in Fallout have yet to pursue alchemy), players can consume it to heal damage and radiation.
The UFO crash
The Fallout games are a celebration of ’50s pop culture, and aside from nuclear war and suburbia, nothing is as representative of ’50s attitudes as aliens, specifically of the little green man variety. The previous Fallout games have all featured appearances by aliens in some capacity, and Fallout 4 continues the tradition in spectacular fashion. While wandering the Commonwealth, players may see a UFO crash in the distance. The wreckage can be found south of Oberland Station, with a trail of blood leading to a cave and the ship’s pilot. Sadly, the alien pilot will attack on sight, but this close encounter of the violent kind does have a happy ending, in that you can loot its corpse for an alien blaster pistol.
Fans of Golden Age comics will find many allusions and easter eggs in Fallout 4, including Grognak the Barbarian comics and, if they wander around the town of Goodneighbor, a radio drama called The Silver Shroud. Literate players will note these characters are inspired by Conan the Barbarian and The Shadow, the latter of which is a grim vigilante from the 1930s and a precursor to Batman. Players can even dress up as these heroes by visiting the ruined headquarters of Hubris Comics. The Shroud’s full costume can be found on a brightly lit dummy on the top floor, and a certain quest will actually direct players to pick it up. What players might not notice, however, is Grognak’s equipment. The Grognak costume, which increases the player’s melee damage, rests on a shelf on the top floor, while the Grognak Axe, which staggers enemies and causes them to bleed, is in a locked case on the first floor.
It’s no secret that there are fans of H.P. Lovecraft at Bethesda, with both Oblivion and Fallout 3 containing numerous references to the author’s works. Given that Lovecraft was a New England native, it’s fitting that Fallout 4’s depiction of Boston pays homage to the horror writer. In the northeast section of the map, there is a massive quarry titled “Dunwich Borers,” a not-so-subtle nod to Lovecraft’s short story The Dunwich Horror. Beneath the quarry is a long, labyrinthine-like mine occupied by raiders and… others. It would be telling to explain any further, but those who remember the Dunwich Building from Fallout 3 may have some idea what’s in store.
The Pickman Gallery
Another Lovecraft reference can be found in an unassuming house north of Goodneighbor. While the front of The Pickman Gallery looks like any old Commonwealth dwelling, inside are horrific works of art. The most mild are paintings reminiscent of Dore, but there are some sculptures made of… unique materials that are sure to disgust. Exploring the depths of the gallery, players may come to learn what madness drives the artist responsible. Pickman is inspired by the artist of the same name from Lovecraft’s story Pickman’s Model, in which an artist creates troubling paintings that seem to radiate evil.