Fallout 4 isn’t meant to played as a pacifist but that doesn’t mean players can’t bend the rules and try.
Player and YouTuber Kyle Hinckley has managed to complete the game on Survival, the hardest difficulty setting, without killing anyone. That doesn’t mean no one died in the game, but he didn’t do it himself. Rather, his character Dizzy came equipped with a high Charisma stat that allowed her to, in the few select cases where the game permits it, talk her way out of a fight. In most cases, she was required to use her perks to have enemy creatures and NPCs turn on each other.
In order for no kills to be counted, Dizzy’s companions couldn’t kill anyone either – as companion kills are counted as the player’s. It certainly wasn’t easy, the fight against Kellogg took five hours until the Institute synths finally finished him off so Dizzy didn’t have to.
“I’d love to ask [Todd Howard why pacifism is so difficult in this Fallout,” Hinckley said in an interview with Kotaku.
“I’m a little disappointed in the lack of diplomatic solutions in this game, it’s a lonely departure from the rest of the Fallout series,” Hinckley added. “My version of pacifism isn’t really diplomatic, it’s more exploitative of the game mechanics to achieve a zero-kill record. In other [Fallout] games, you had a lot of alternatives for bypassing the combat, whether it was with sneaking, speech checks, or a back door opened with lockpicking and hacking. In fact, in previous games (at least 3 and NV), your companion kills didn’t count towards your record either.”
In July game director Todd Howard said pacifism wasn’t really a goal of the development team. “You can avoid [killing] a lot,” he explained. “I can’t tell you that you can play the whole game without violence – that’s not necessarily a goal of ours – but we want to support different play styles as much as we can.”
As ever, players will try to find a way around such restrictions and some are already working on improving Hinckley’s approach. One of the biggest criticisms of Fallout 4 is the limited scope of the game’s RPG mechanics, hopefully Bethesda will offer more options in the game’s DLC or future entries in the series so pacifist players don’t have to break the game quite so much (or at all).