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At that time, the year 2227, the Institute had made great strides in synth production. But it was never enough. Scientific curiosity, and the goal of perfection, drove them ever onward. What they wanted was... the perfect machine. So they followed the best example thus far - the human being. Walking, talking, fully articulate... Capable of anything.— Shaun discussing the creation of the Gen 3 synths with the Sole Survivor.

Shaun, also known as Father, is the son of the Sole Survivor and their spouse (either Nate or Nora). He is the director of the Institute in 2287. He serves as the main antagonist of Fallout 4 for three of the game's four endings.


Surviving the Great War[]

FO4 Nate Shaun

Shaun held by Nate in Vault 111

Shaun was less than a year old by October 2077.[4] On October 23, during the outbreak of the Great War, his parents took him and fled to nearby Vault 111 as the atomic bombs began to fall on the Commonwealth. Unaware of the true purpose of the Vault, Shaun and his parents became frozen in cryogenic suspension. Approximately six months following their internment, a revolt occurred and the staff abandoned Vault 111, leaving behind those frozen within, completely unaware of what had occurred.

The cryogenically preserved Vault participants remained undisturbed for around 150 years until the Institute discovered records regarding Vault 111. At this time, the Institute was desperate for genetic material unaffected by the radiation-ravaged wasteland for their Third Generation Synth project. The infant, Shaun, represented the perfect source of uncorrupted DNA, and the Institute set about to acquire him.

Sometime in 2227, the Institute dispatched their mercenary, Conrad Kellogg, to Vault 111 to retrieve Shaun. Along with two Institute technicians, Kellogg revived Shaun and his parents. The parent holding Shaun was unwilling to part with their son and resisted Kellogg, and was shot and killed. Kellogg then returned the other parent to cryogenic suspension and terminated the life support of the other frozen Vault participants.

Living with the Institute[]

Shaun was then raised by the Institute as one of their own, later nicknamed "Father" for his role in providing the DNA required to complete the third generation synths. In time, he became the acting director of the Institute. After his promotion, he learned the truth that one of his parents was still alive.

His feelings about the Institute as the future and last hope of humanity are based upon the beliefs he was instilled under their control; he possesses a fear of the surface, having never visited it himself since he was an infant, and he is concerned of the potential threats of the Commonwealth to the Institute.[5] Ultimately, Shaun wishes to take humanity further underground and away from the radiation, mutant, and danger-infested surface world.[6] Shaun does not require the rest of the Institute to adhere to his personal beliefs. In contrast to his contempt towards people above, he is not only open to recruitment of talented individuals, but allows them to gain high positions, like with Madison Li.

Reunion with his parent[]

Shaun’s surviving parent, who later becomes known as the Sole Survivor of Vault 111, would later escape the Vault in 2287. Unknown to the Sole Survivor upon their awakening, it was Shaun's personal choice to awaken the Sole Survivor from cryostasis, not an error of Vault 111. Shaun considered the Sole Survivor's awakening to be an "experiment" of sorts, wishing to see whether or not their parent would care about him enough to seek him out. Shaun has a very aggressive form of cancer and one of the endings is for the Sole Survivor to take Shaun's place as director of the Institute upon his death, which was his primary wish all along.

After building a teleporter to infiltrate the Institute, the Sole Survivor finds Shaun, shocked to discover he is an elderly man and not the boy they envisioned. Meanwhile, Shaun struggles somewhat with being reunited with the Sole Survivor in the Institute, ironically seeing one of his parents 'younger' than himself and wondering what they could have shared if the circumstances had been different.

The Sole Survivor can choose whether or not to side with him. Shaun is convinced that the Institute is the only hope for humanity and tries to subtly convince the Sole Survivor of this. He gives them nearly unlimited access to the Institute, introduces them to the personnel of the Institute and even trusts them with missions to seek out and retrieve rogue synths.

He also does not seem to mind if his parent disagrees with his stances as long as they don't endanger the Institute, and continues supporting them as their heir for as long as they are loyal to the Institute. Should the Sole Survivor, during the quest Nuclear Family, tell them that they don't believe that they can take his place, Shaun encourages them to create their own place rather than follow in his footsteps.[7]


I am sorry. I must think first of the safety of the Institute, and in the cruel world that has developed, those who are not with us are against us.

Having been raised in and by the Institute rather than by his parents, Shaun mostly lacks compassion, though he has a strong desire for humanity to survive and believes he is doing what he must to protect humanity from extinction. Although he puts on a well-mannered attitude when reuniting with his parent, if the Sole Survivor keeps doing quests for Shaun, it soon becomes evident that Shaun has the capacity for being quite homicidal and violent to those who wish to get in the Institute's ways, particularly when he orders the deaths of two other factions. If the Sole Survivor refuses to kill the Railroad, Shaun then changes it to an order instead of a request, claiming it "needs" to be done. Shaun never uses "kill" or "slaughter" when he insists the Railroad and the Brotherhood of Steel be taken out, using language like "destroy" and "eliminate" instead. Shaun only uses "kill" regarding the possibility of the Institute being killed.

FO4 Shaun dead Commonwealth

"But now... this just confirms the truth I've always known. The Commonwealth is... dead. There's no future here. The only hope for humanity lies below."

As he has never explored the surface himself beyond infancy, as well as being raised to become a leader who dishes out orders, Shaun is used to ordering others to do his requests indirectly for him, such as using synths as his lapdogs. Shaun is never shown expressing a desire to talk things out with Desdemona or Arthur Maxson peacefully. Another example of his observant nature is his desire for the Institute to remain in secrecy, as well as him condoning his organization abducting people for the Institute's research. Shaun and the Institute are also unable to solve the issue of runaway synths to the degree the Institute requires an entire bureau to retrieving them; rather than solving the issue first, Shaun instead tells his parent to go murder the other factions. This shows Shaun's priorities, his very cynical attitude towards other people, as well as his reluctance to compromise. His view that humanity should remain underground for its protection is similar to that of the Vault-Tec Corporation, as well as Alphonse Almodovar.

His impersonal attitude towards murder is also shown by him freeing his parent, but also potentially allowing his parent to be killed by the various dangers in the wasteland. However, it is suggested that Shaun wanted to test his parent as an example of humanity, and to have faith restored in human nature as well as the parent he never knew. The Sole Survivor may try to challenge their son's beliefs, though it is impossible for Shaun to fully come around regarding his attitudes towards the people of the Commonwealth, partially due to some of the limited dialogue options of Fallout 4. If the Sole Survivor tells Shaun that life on the surface is not that horrible and people manage anyway, Shaun replies, "Perhaps, but at costs too great to be worth it." He is idealistic when it comes to his parent and admits to not having given much thought to the possibility of the Sole Survivor wishing not to represent the Institute.[8]

Shaun does not believe that synths are truly "sentient" and views them as tools, finding the idea of sentient synths to be ludicrous.[9] As such, he views the Railroad as an illogical and ridiculous organization with misguided beliefs. He claims he has dealt with them and seen the lengths they do to complete their objectives and says they refuse to listen to reason, calling them zealots with a bizarre crusade with no regard for human life. If the Sole Survivor reveals they helped the Railroad during the Battle of Bunker Hill, Shaun calls their actions "so stupid" and raises his voice, saying synths can not truly feel emotions like fear. Shaun seems to be in denial of synths gaining consciousness similar to humans, even in spite of Alan Binet's evidence.

Shaun seems indifferent upon remembering the death of one of his parents. He refers to the "incident" as "collateral damage" which potentially angers the Sole Survivor, though Shaun does offer that he has had his whole life to come to terms with that information. While Shaun agrees his parent was killed, he is unsure if it should be called murder. However, despite this indifference, he never lets go of hatred towards his parent's murderer, Conrad Kellogg, whom he does not forgive even if the Sole Survivor does.[10]

He does occasionally show some compassion. For instance, he apologizes to his surviving parent for the Railroad's destruction, which he does even if the Sole Survivor destroys them before Shaun orders it. He also claims he does not take pleasure in their destruction and that he has never been one to advocate violence, but views it as a necessity in their situation. If the Sole Survivor keeps working with the Institute, Shaun does eventually agree to finally address the people of the Commonwealth and engage in public relations with them, though in the style of a recorded message with his parent as the narrator instead of him, another example of Shaun's indirect behavior.

Interactions with the player character[]

Interactions overview[]

Icon quest starter
This character starts quests.
FO76 ui icon quest
This character is involved in quests.


  • War Never Changes: Shaun is present as an infant when the Great War begins, and the Sole Survivor's spouse carries him to Vault 111 where he is put into stasis along with them.
  • Institutionalized: The Sole Survivor makes it to the Institute and meets Shaun for the first time since he was taken as a child; now grown up and the Institute's Director.
  • Synth Retention: Shaun requests help dealing with a renegade synth turned raider at Libertalia.
  • The Battle of Bunker Hill: Shaun tells his parent about the importance of taking over Bunker Hill. Shaun's motive is to reclaim some escaped synths held there under the protection of the Railroad and progress the Institute's control over the Commonwealth. He later speaks with his parent aboard the rooftops of the C.I.T. ruins about how he has never seen the surface until today, which only affirms his belief the Commonwealth is dead and has no future. Shaun reveals the truth about his abduction as an infant, as well as his parent's awakening. Shaun's reaction will either be satisfaction if the Sole Survivor helped succeed the mission, or disappointment if the Institute lost the battle. The Sole Survivor decides whether or not to keep supporting Shaun's mission.
  • Mankind - Redefined: Shaun appears at the directorate meeting where he reveals Phase Three, the completion of a reactor to ensure the Institute can thrive underground, as well as his fatal medical condition and his plan for the Sole Survivor to be his successor.
  • Mass Fusion: Shaun requests the Sole Survivor help Allie Filmore take the beryllium agitator from the Mass Fusion building to keep the Institute running.
  • Pinned: Shaun requests T.S. Wallace be recruited into the Institute, potentially causing a quarrel between the Sole Survivor and the Minutemen.
  • Powering Up: Shaun requests the Sole Survivor record a message for the Commonwealth so they know the Institute's intentions. The Sole Survivor also activates the reactor and attends a board meeting.
  • End of the Line: Shaun requests Desdemona and the Railroad to be killed.
  • Airship Down: Shaun requests the Brotherhood of Steel to be killed.
  • Nuclear Family: Shaun speaks with the Sole Survivor on his deathbed, after they have agreed to carry on his legacy and secured victory for the Institute in the Commonwealth.

Non-Institute endings[]

F4 Shaun

Shaun's last moment with the Sole Survivor before he dies of cancer

During the Minutemen/Brotherhood of Steel/Railroad endings, when the Sole Survivor can talk to Shaun on his deathbed, he remains convinced to the end that by destroying the Institute they are making a terrible mistake, and is forthcoming in his bitterness at the turn of events. His parent can convince him to grant the access codes to at least partially disable some of the synth defenders fighting the player character's allied forces, assuming they pass the Charisma checks, before he asks them to leave him be as his death is coming regardless of whether or not the Institute detonates. If this ending is taken and the young synth is taken with them, the Sole Survivor will receive a holotape recorded by Father after being interacted with. The synth Shaun tells the Sole Survivor "I didn't listen to it, so I dunno what it says, but I think it's important".

It is revealed that the young boy was reprogrammed to believe that the player character is their parent, as the first meeting between the synth and player character (who was led to believe that the synth was their missing son) caused the synth to become confused and call for help. The reason for him being reprogrammed is explained by the real Shaun in the holotape, saying "I would ask only that you give him a chance. A chance to be a part of whatever future awaits the Commonwealth."



  • Shaun's crib mobile plays the Baby Steps theme from Fallout 3.
  • Shaun's appearance will alter based on Nate and Nora's appearance, similar to how James' appearance alters slightly depending on the Lone Wanderer's race in Fallout 3. Todd Howard's comments on this were originally assumed to refer to the infant version of Shaun, as they were made public at the game's E3 demonstration before the adult Shaun was even known to be a character. In truth, only the skin color and eye color of the infant version of Shaun will change to match his parents. The adult version of Shaun encountered in the Institute will have the same hairstyle and beard as the player character, as well as eye and hair color. However, Shaun's skin tone amalgams both parents at initial character creation. He will usually have similar eyebrows and skull structure to the female player character, set during initial character creation.
  • A copy of "You're SPECIAL!" can be found in Shaun's room before and after the war lying next to his crib. It can be collected by the Sole Survivor after the war and allows the player character's choice of 1 point in one SPECIAL stat.
  • Dialogue between the Sole Survivor and their spouse reveals that Shaun was conceived at a nearby park.[11]
  • If the Institute ending is chosen, a grave marker will be seen in the Institute's main room in front of the Robotics section. The Sole Survivor will then say "Goodbye Shaun" if interacted with.
  • Shaun can be damaged without him turning hostile.
  • Shaun can also be killed right after meeting him; doing so will lock one out from the Institute storyline and make the faction permanently hostile.
  • Shaun is one of the few characters that has a scripted death and will not survive any of the four endings regardless of any action that the player character takes.
  • Shaun may speak the speech from Powering Up on Diamond City Radio if enemies with the Institute.
  • If the player character attempts to carry Shaun's body the message "the item is too heavy to carry" will be given until all objects are removed from his corpse.
  • Upon meeting for the first time, in dialogue, Shaun will state he stands with the player character unarmed. However, Shaun will be carrying an Institute pistol and some fusion cells.

Notable quotes[]


Shaun appears in Fallout 4 and Fallout Shelter Online.

Behind the scenes[]

  • Shaun is voiced by Tony Amendola, who also voiced Josh and Colonel Gage. Once Amendola was cast, knowing what Shaun sounded like as Father helped the development team capture his character better, using the sound of his voice to their advantage.[Non-game 1]
    • In localized versions of the game, Shaun's voice is dubbed by Naomi Kusumi (Japanese), Antonio Paiola (Italian) and Luis Mas (Spanish).
  • Quest designer Brian Chapin worked on Shaun's writing. The very first scene of meeting Shaun as Father in the Institute was very important to Chapin; he and lead designer Emil Pagliarulo revised that first conversation for years during Fallout 4's development. Chapin also made sure to emphasize that the player should have the opportunity to kill Shaun during the reveal.[Non-game 1]
  • According to Pagliarulo, the team always knew that the Sole Survivor's son would be Father in the Institute, but were not always sure exactly how that would be written. Chapin took the weight of it very seriously, and "spent a lot of time" thinking it over and talking to other developers about how to handle the reveal.[Non-game 1]


Fallout 4[]

Fallout Shelter Online[]

Magic: The Gathering[]


  1. Shaun: "In the Vault, you had no concept of the passage of time. You were released from your pod, and went searching for the son you'd lost. But then you learned that your son was no longer an infant, but a 10 year old boy. You believed that ten years had passed. Is it really so hard to accept that it was not ten, but sixty years? That is the reality. And here I am. Raised by the Institute, and now its leader."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  2. Events of Nuclear Family and The Nuclear Option quests
  3. Hi honey!
  4. The Sole Survivor: "My baby, Shaun, was kidnapped. He's not even a year old."
    (Nate and Nora's dialogue)
  5. The Sole Survivor: "Why do you care what happens on the surface? You're in your own world down here."
    Shaun: "Because there are forces on the surface that could pose a threat to us, and only a fool ignores a possible threat. We might diminish that danger by correcting the false perception that we intend some great harm to mankind."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  6. Shaun: "You know, in all my years, I've never set foot outside the Institute. Not once, since the day they brought me here. I've never had a reason. But now... this just confirms the truth I've always known. The Commonwealth is... dead. There's no future here. The only hope for humanity lies below."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  7. The Sole Survivor: "I don't know if I can take your place."
    Shaun: "You don't need to look at it that way. Don't worry about taking my place. Make your own place."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  8. Shaun: "To be quite honest: no, I hadn't considered that. It would be such a poor decision on your part, I had not given it much thought."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  9. Shaun: "They no doubt mean to "free" these synths, in their delusion that synths are somehow sentient beings."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  10. The Sole Survivor: "After what I've seen, I pity the man. He was as much a victim as anything."
    Shaun: "After what he did to you? I'm shocked you would be so generous. But yes, I understand you've... experienced things. Perhaps you ended up knowing him better. I, for one, will never truly forgive him."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  11. Nate: "Is it gonna be like the last time we went to the park?"
    Nora: "Right. The park. With you. Because I want to get pregnant again."
    (Nate and Nora's dialogue)
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Writing the Worlds of Bethesda (reference starts at 1:03:43):
    Brian Chapin: "It's a tough call, I think I'm gonna go with... meeting Father in the Institute in Fallout 4. That was... Emil, I don't remember how many revisions of that conversation we did over the years. That was a big piece of it. But then also for me, it was super important, I was like 'Listen... we gotta let you shoot him.' We have to handle, like, what if you don't wanna deal with this? What do we do? We have to let you get away with it. And I'm really glad that we took the time."
    Kenneth Vigue: "Yeah, that was a very unexpected moment for me."
    Emil Pagliarulo: "Yeah, we knew when we were doing the game that the kid was Father. But we didn't really know how we were gonna write that. And then like, Chappy, you spent a lot of time just thinking about it and talking about it. Taking it seriously, like wow. It was... yeah, oh boy."
    Brian Chapin: "And that was definitely a case where, like, we did some revisions, we did some drafts of that. And then once we cast the role and we had that to work with. Then we could kinda go back and say, 'Alright, well now I know what he sounds like, how can we use that to our advantage?' And I think that helped a lot."
Major antagonists
Institute flag
Fo4 Institute Seal