I never really got the paranoia of the Institute in Fallout 4. In fact, the Institute seems to be one of the only decent factions in the game, if you want to look at it realistically. Yet when I say I favor the Institute, even other Fallout 4 players get upset with me because they’re supposed to be “evil”. But why are they evil? Why are they worse than anyone else in the game? Let’s look at that, shall we?
To be honest, I don’t think much of the post-apocalyptic world. Oh, I love the game, I just don’t think much of the people. It’s been 200 years since the war and people are just barely scraping by. They live in holes. They can’t build a structure without gaping holes in it. Yes, that’s a design decision by the developers, but I’m not looking at the design, I’m looking at the world and frankly, the world sucks for anyone living in it.
But you know who it doesn’t suck for? The Institute. They have clean, futuristic buildings, complete with advanced medical technology, weapons, foods and power. They have an operational nuclear reactor. And if you read the flavor text in the game, they didn’t start out “violent”, they started off trying to help everyone until they were attacked by the ignorant wastelanders. The Institute scientists continually say they want to bring their technology to the wasteland, but the only thing the wastelanders talk about is synths.
So let’s talk about the synths for a moment. Are they actually slaves? Not if you talk to the vast majority of them in the Institute. Most of them seem pretty happy to me. It’s only the ones that have come into contact with the Railroad that want to escape and even those don’t seem particularly thrilled with their circumstances. The happiest synths in the game are either the ones that have been brainwashed and don’t know they’re synths, or the ones living relatively freely at the Institute. And you can’t say they’re slaves because they don’t come off that way. R2-D2 and C3PO from Star Wars are much more slaves than the synths of Fallout 4. Are we calling for death to the rebellion because they keep slaves? I think not.
We really have one path forward in Fallout 4, one group with the technical know-how to bring civilization back to the wasteland. No other group has the ability or even the interest in doing so. The Railroad? They’re fanatics. The Brotherhood of Steel? They’re highly technical fanatics. The Minutemen? They just want to live in peace, which is an admirable goal, but they have no way of actually improving the situation.
And in all honesty, even if you think the synths are a slave class, what better way to change that than as the head of the Institute? You functionally take over pretty immediately, if you’re really offended by what they’re doing, why not change things for the better? I mean yeah, the Institute isn’t a utopia, but this is post-nuclear war America, who is? And even when the Institute wins, even when both the Brotherhood of Steel and Railroad are eliminated, the synths don’t stop being happy, they even get happier. It isn’t like any of the other factions are any morally better, even the Minutemen spend a lot of time running around murdering people who are just trying to survive, so the moral high ground doesn’t make any sense to me.
So I went with the Institute and can’t imagine wanting to do otherwise. Now I have, at least lore-wise, a functional nuclear reactor, lots of high-tech toys and the power and position to change the direction of the Institute to help the rest of the Commonwealth improve their lives. I doubt anyone who took any other option can say the same.