Fallout 4: Main quest endings guide

So, you’re finally approaching the end of your journey through the Commonwealth—or maybe you just want to make sure you make the right choices when you get there. Either way, Fallout 4 keeps up the series’ tradition of offering multiple endings.

Mercifully, Fallout 4 doesn’t reduce the ending choice to a binary button press at the end of the storyline (we’re looking at you, Fallout 3), but instead has you lean toward one faction or another over the course of the game. While this means the story’s ultimate conclusion feels more natural, it also means the criteria for reaching certain endings aren’t the clearest. We’ve broken down every ending and its requirements below to help you get the most satisfying conclusion to your Sole Survivor’s story.

It goes without saying, but…

Heavy spoilers for Fallout 4 and its endgame await below!

Fallout 4 endings, explained

The Brotherhood of Steel

An image of Paladin Danse from Fallout 4
Your choice of ending affects the world and which companions you get to keep. Screenshot by Dot Esports

The Brotherhood of Steel are the mascots of Bethesda’s Fallout games (for better or worse), so it follows that their ending is the easiest to achieve—and also the canon one, if the Fallout TV show is anything to go by. Befitting the Brotherhood’s structure as a strictly regimented military organization, all you need to do is keep your head down and follow your Elder’s orders no matter what.

There are, however, two points in the story where it becomes easy to fall off this path. In the quest Mass Fusion, which serves as a point of no return, you need to make sure to claim the Beryllium Agitator for the Brotherhood rather than letting the Institute have it.

Finally, you need to decide what to do in Blind Betrayal, which tasks you with handling the execution of your companion Paladin Danse. If you have the Charisma, you should argue for Danse’s life, but be careful—if you can’t pass the speech checks, Danse will be killed regardless. This doesn’t have much impact on your standing in the Brotherhood either way, but it’s worth keeping one of the game’s better companions around. After completing the Brotherhood quests, the Commonwealth will be forcibly ruled over by a military junta, so it’s probably not your classical “good” ending.

The Institute

The Institute’s path is widely considered the evil one, but as is always the case in the Wasteland, morality is painted in shades of gray. The Institute does have the most advanced technology in the Commonwealth, so wanting them to take control is understandable. It’s easy to make the Director angry and get tossed out, however, so make sure you pay attention to your briefings. In quests like Synth Retention and the Battle of Bunker Hill where you’re given a significant degree of wiggle room, you’re often presented with less evil ways to take care of Institute business. Don’t take them. Naturally, you also need to claim the Agitator for the Institute at the start of Mass Fusion.

The Director’s trust is a fickle thing, and being a mustache-twirling baddie is the best way to maintain it. Execute the witnesses, recall the Synths to a life of slavery, and have a great time doing it. Life for most of the Commonwealth after an Institute victory is largely unchanged, as you’ll just be plugging away at your science experiments underground, so one could argue that at least it’s a neutral-impact ending. It’s also the only way to keep the slick Synth companion X6-88, as any non-Institute ending will immediately turn him hostile.

The Railroad

The Railroad questline is interesting, as it actually tasks you with doing most of the Institute’s questline as a double agent. Remember those alternate options I mentioned above? To be a freedom-fighting agent of the Railroad, you have to screw the Institute over at every turn while ostensibly doing their bidding, which means killing your Courser escort during the Battle of Bunker Hill and letting runaway Synths go whenever you’re given the opportunity. Just make sure you have a high Charisma score if you choose this route, as you’ll regularly be pulled into meetings by Institute staff to explain your apparent incompetence.

Be very careful here, as blowing your cover can result in failing the entire Railroad questline and locking off this ending permanently. A sneaky, charismatic approach is the best build for a Railroad character, fitting all the subterfuge you’ll be doing both before and after taking down the Institute.

The Minutemen

An image of Preston Garvey from Falllout 4
Another settlement needs your help. Screenshot by Dot Esports

The Minutemen are the failsafe option, similar to Yes Man’s route in Fallout: New Vegas. They’re a guaranteed way to see the credits even if you’ve already made enemies of the other three factions. (Or at least they were meant to be—more on that in the next entry.) They’re the good guys, the ones who want to see the Commonwealth band together, so it’s a shame their questline is so interminably boring. Rather than a linear questline like the other factions, you’re simply presented with more Minutemen quests as you continue to collect settlements that need your help.

This means literally all you need to do to unlock the Minutemen ending is recruit eight settlements and complete a single wave-defense quest, all of which can be taken care of in about two hours. It’s a pathetic showing, but it is an ending, and probably the best one for the Commonwealth in general to boot. Just be careful, as completing the main story like this will draw the ire of the other factions, who are presumably jealous that you took down the Institute before they could. This is, admittedly, the best route for people who like optimizing their settlements.

The Raiders

While not an officially recognized main ending, the Nuka-World DLC technically provides a fifth alternative route to ending the game. By siding with the wild raiders of Nuka-World, you can get the Minutemen to disown you, thus rendering you unable to properly complete the main quest. Bethesda polish at work, everyone. The consolation prize? You’re now able to wreak havoc on the Commonwealth, forgetting about the quest to find your son and pressing the other factions into your burgeoning raider empire. Who needs factional conflict when you can just turn the Commonwealth into your own personal game of Tropico instead?

Whether you want to build a new future for the Wasteland or just tear it all down, Fallout 4 has an ending to suit your whims. Still, once you’ve done everything the main quest has to offer, it may be worth turning your eye to Fallout 4‘s extensive modding community next.

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