Video games get a bad rap for featuring violence. Within the past couple of years alone, we’ve seen a ton of exploratory articles and research papers that paint the industry in a negative light, by making bold assertions that allowing players to kill other entities (whether it be a human, a beast, or a mechanical monster) can fuel an unhealthy lifestyle. Whether or not that is true, what most people don’t realize is that there’s a particular group of gamers that actually strive for violence-free runs of their favorite games. There are even specific titles, like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Dishonored for example, that go so far as to reward players with trophies and achievements for accomplishing such a feat.
Fallout 4, however, apparently isn’t one of them. Folks who’ve played the game will know that Bethesda has made it nearly impossible for people to complete the story without dirtying their hands. That, of course, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it was yet another hurdle for fans like Kyle Hinckley to leap over after taking matters into their own hands. Although, I’m sure there are a handful of people who’ve probably reached the end without killing a single being, Hinckley has done it on the highest difficulty level, which is impressive if you ask me. If you find this hard to believe, take a gander at the video at the top of the page, which he posted as part one of a series on his YouTube channel, The Weirdist.
Now that doesn’t mean he didn’t run into any issues along the way. He told Kotaku that his first attempt was “dismal” and that he “got discouraged immediately on the first quest, which insists all the raiders in [one of the early missions] die.” To combat issues like this, he either avoided those missions altogether, or found creative ways to get other characters to do his dirty work for him. Also, since most of the XP comes from kills, Hinckley decided to instead focus on building settlements right away; reaching level 10 by rebuilding the same structure over and over; and repeatedly pickpocketing an NPC.
Seeing as the title isn’t designed to work this way, it doesn’t come as a surprise that he faced several issues that almost broke the game. When his character tried to pacify an enemy (which is made possible with the “Wasteland Whisperer” perk), during a specific part of the plot, he started to experience issues with the audio, saw random enemies spawn, and had problems with the dialogue. To put it simply, it was a mess, but he got through it.
“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 said in the same interview. “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.”
So, if anything, this is an interesting look at how the game’s combat system is structured. If this is your jam, and you want to learn more about how he did it all, check out the full playlist he has on his channel.
Image Credit: Bethesda