War Never Changes is the prologue, a main story quest and an achievement/trophy in Fallout 4. The quest takes place on October 23, 2077, in the Sole Survivor's pre-War home in the suburban neighborhood of Sanctuary Hills. It begins immediately after the game is started.
|Main Quest: War Never Changes|
|Complete Character Creation.|
|Speak to the Vault-Tec rep.|
|Check on Shaun.|
|Watch the TV announcement.|
|Get to Vault 111.|
|Step into the pod.|
|Reward: Vault 111 jumpsuit|
|Leads to: Out of Time|
The Sole Survivor begins in front of the bathroom mirror, preparing to go to a veterans hall meeting alongside their spouse. Upon finishing character aesthetic customization in the mirror, the player character leaves the bathroom to answer the door. Within the house, one can interact with a variety of objects and goods, such as bottles of Nuka-Cola, boxes of Salisbury Steak, their infant son Shaun, and the house's resident Mister Handy named Codsworth. Opening the door, the player character encounters the Vault-Tec rep, who states that they have been selected to enter the nearby Vault 111. During this speech sequence, the player character's name and S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points are customized.
Once the customization is done, the Sole Survivor returns to find that Shaun is still crying, despite Codsworth's attempts to calm him. The player character enters Shaun's room and tries to calm him down by spinning the mobile. Upon activation of the mobile, their spouse enters Shaun's room and engages them in conversation. Once this discussion ends, Codsworth rushes in and urges both Nate and Nora to the television. The distressed reporter on the television proclaims that nuclear detonations have hit New York and Pennsylvania before abruptly signing off. The player character, with their spouse and son, then rushes toward Vault 111, alongside other Sanctuary Hills residents as U.S. Army vehicles block the streets, the air-raid sirens wail, and Vertibirds fly overhead, warning residents to evacuate as many neighbors panic and try to either choose to head to the vault or evacuate to put distance between them and the impending apocalypse. Upon reaching the vault gate, they find the Vault-Tec rep, who is refused entry and threatened by the officer as one of the power armored soldiers forces him to leave under threat of being shot by his minigun. The Sole Survivor then approaches the officer, who checks their credentials ("infant, adult male, adult female") and is then granted clearance to enter, wishing them good luck as the rest of them who can't enter the vault prepare to face their inevitable doom, subsequently instructed by the Vault-Tec security men to step on a platform that will take them into the vault, despite knowing they too will be killed saving those going into the vault to escape the nukes.
Just moments before the platform begins to lower, a bright flash is seen, followed by a loud noise and a blast of smoke. A nuclear detonation has occurred on the outskirts of the Boston area and the platform rapidly lowers just in time as the blast wave hits Sanctuary Hills. The platform further lowers into Vault 111's entrance, where the player character and a few other Sanctuary Hills residents approach the vault's entryway.
Once inside the vault, the player character and the rest of the Sanctuary Hills survivors are screened by the vault overseer and Vault-Tec staff. The player character is given a Vault 111 jumpsuit and is directed through a passageway. Within the vault, the other residents are anxious and struggle to grasp what just transpired. The Vault-Tec staff members try to reassure them, telling the player character to allow them some space, and redirecting their attention to the vault's amenities. The player character continues along the passageway to a room filled with several chambers, where a Vault-Tec doctor is standing. The doctor claims that the chambers are for decontamination purposes and the player character is instructed to enter one of the cryo pods, with the spouse and Shaun taking another. Inside the cryo pods, the doors seal shut and an automated voice begins a countdown as they activate, with the player character's vision fading to white.
The player character is then jostled awake by the automated voice. The room outside is dark, with the other Sanctuary Hills residents still inside their chambers. Three unknown figures, a mercenary and two scientists, enter the room. They open the chamber holding the player character's spouse and Shaun and the spouse wakes from cryosleep. Confused, the spouse asks what they are doing, and they demand to have Shaun. The spouse refuses and holds onto Shaun and after being asked and refusing a second time, the mysterious man shoots the spouse with his pistol and instructs the scientists to take the baby. The man turns to the player character's pod, addressing them before they re-enter cryosleep once more.
Waking again as the automated PA system announces a malfunction, the player character falls out of the chamber and stands up, shivering, beginning act one of the story with the quest Out of Time.
- The player character can take as long as they like to reach Vault 111, but if they stray too far from the game's intended path, the nuclear bomb will detonate in the distance, resulting in instant death.
- During the TV broadcast, the newscaster gives insight to the current military activity of the U.S., mentioning mechanized U.S. Armed Forces units near the island of Mambajao and in the Bohol Sea.
- If the player character refuses the Vault-Tec rep, their spouse will override their choice and force the player character to fill out the forms.
- Even though the mysterious man uses a revolver to shoot the player character's spouse, a spent casing can be heard hitting the floor.
- The two power armored soldiers at the gate leading to Vault 111 are equipped with T-60 power armor with military paint. In the gameplay trailer, their armor is not equipped with the paint.
- When awakening for the first time, the player character can fruitlessly punch the cryogenic pod's window by pressing the interact button. This can be done for the entire duration of the event.
- This quest does not appear in the Pip-Boy.
Behind the scenes
- This quest has a number of references to previous Fallout games and the Fallout series in general:
- Shaun's crib mobile plays the Baby Steps theme from Fallout 3.
- On the floor to the right of Shaun's crib is the You're SPECIAL! book used in the Lone Wanderer's childhood sequence to assign Stat Points.
- The commercial that plays on the television is the live-action promotional video for the Fat Man, used as part of Fallout 3's marketing campaign.
- During the broadcast, while discussing the upcoming World Series, the newscaster quotes John Henry Eden's speech on baseball almost verbatim.
- The name of the quest is a reference to the famous Fallout line: "War, war never changes." The player character can speak this line at Fraternal Post 115 later in the game.
- Despite witnessing the bomb detonate, the Sole Survivor enters the vault with no visible life-threatening injuries.
- Ron Perlman, who narrates the opening scene in previous Fallout games, voices the newscaster on the television.
Once you step out of your cryo-chamber for the first time, you may not be able to move at all, nor be able to save your game.[verified]
- This can only be resolved by restarting the game and reloading your last save.
- The achievement may not unlock after leaving the vault and entering the wasteland.[verified]
- [verification overdue] Jumping on the platform at the right angle will make the player character stumble off the elevator, sending it down without them, and as the screen fades to black the game will freeze.