|For the synth prototype child created by Shaun, see Shaun (synth).|
Shaun, also known as Father, is the son of the Sole Survivor and is the leader of the Institute in 2287. He serves as the primary antagonist of Fallout 4 unless the player character chooses to side with him.
Shaun was less than a year old by October 2077. 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. Shaun’s surviving parent, who later becomes known as the Sole Survivor of Vault 111, would later escape the Vault in 2287.
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. The Sole Survivor can find Shaun and 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. His feelings about the Institute as the future and last hope of humanity are mildly fanatical; he possesses an irrational fear of the surface and the potential threats of the Commonwealth to the Institute. Ultimately, Shaun wishes to take humanity further underground and away from the radiation, mutant, and danger-infested surface world.
However, 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. 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.
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 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. 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. Interestingly, 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 reveals it was his personal choice to awaken the Sole Survivor from cryostasis, not an error of Vault 111. He 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.
It is later revealed that 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.
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."
Interactions with the player character
|This character starts quests.|
|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.
- Mankind - Redefined: Shaun speaks with the Sole Survivor aboard the rooftops of the C.I.T. ruins, and later at the directorate meeting where he reveals his medical condition and his plan for the Sole Survivor to be his successor.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 a Institute pistol and some fusion cells.
- "You've seen the Commonwealth. You must have some idea of how this world works. You're either with us, or you're not. I'm afraid it's that simple."
- "The Institute... It's important. It really is humanity's best hope for the future, no matter what those above ground might think of us."
- "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."
- "You have traveled very far, and suffered a great deal, to find your son. Well, your tenacity and dedication have been rewarded. It's good to finally meet you, after all this time. It's me. I am Shaun. I am... your son."
- "The Institute is now your home as much as it is mine. Please, take some time and get to know it. Meet the people you'll be working with."
- "Ultimately, all our knowledge and resources are focused on a single goal. That goal is best summarized by our motto: Mankind - redefined."
- "As remarkable as our synths are, they can be... dangerous without proper supervision."
- ""Father" is my unofficial title. It's what I've come to mean to the people of the Institute. Just as... As you are a parent to your son. To Shaun."
- "You'll want to introduce yourself to the Division Heads... Doctor Fillmore in Facilities, Doctor Ayo in the SRB... ah, Doctor Holdren in BioScience..."
- "I'm glad you can appreciate what we've accomplished. None of it has been easy."
- "While I am not overly fond of putting my own father in harm's way, he has proven more than capable of handling himself."
- "The Institute cannot survive without leadership. The Directorate must continue to govern with the best interests of all in mind. To that end, I am naming my father/mother as my successor."
- "Ultimately the Commonwealth has nothing to fear from us. Whatever you've seen or heard, I know I can convince you of that."
- "Let's start anew. I am Father. Welcome to the Institute."
- "And here I am. Raised by the Institute, and now its leader."
- "I want you to know that I'm grateful for the time we've had. Thank you, father/mother. You've helped a boy achieve his dreams."