"Fallout 4" (2015): The Institute's Plan and the Point of Synths, A Theory

Updated on May 23, 2019
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Ash is a total nerd who has played video games all her life. She enjoys writing about them as much as playing them.


As a Star Trek fan and a huge fan of any story involving robots, I've had a theory for a long, long time regarding Fallout 4. Now keep in mind that it's just a theory, though I enjoy at least pretending it's true. Makes roleplaying in the game more fun.

So what is my theory? That it was originally the Institute's plan to somehow possess their synth creations and take over the surface.

Think about it.


This is just a theory written for entertainment purposes. Please take it with a grain of salt.

Synth Posession


There are a lot of reasons a human might want to possess a synth body.

For starters:

  • Synths are incredibly durable and strong. Especially the coursers. This strength would ensure survival against the dangers on the surface.
  • Synths are immune to radiation. Probably the largest bonus.
  • Synths don't age! Which means that any human who possesses a synth body is going to be young and powerful forever!

To me it makes perfect sense that the original Institute scientists would spend all their resources trying to figure out some way to survive the inevitable fallout. Why wouldn't they use synths to do this? Their experiments indicated this before the fallout even happened.

Nick Valentine


If you've played the Far Harbor DLC, you know that Nick Valentine was an experiment. The real Nick Valentine had his brain scanned and his personality was loaded onto a synth—the "Nick Valentine" we encounter in the game.

It's pretty obvious here that the Institute was trying to find some way to imprint human consciousness on synths, thus allowing the survival of humankind.

With this in mind, the Institute's slogan about synths being the future of "mankind" aka "mankind redefined" makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

But I believe this was the goal of the original Institute scientists. Over the years, the original plan was abandoned. This was finalized by Father, who didn't believe the surface world was worth infiltrating and encouraged his people to give up on the plan and instead focus on trying to survive underground.

I actually feel this was a bad move, since there was no way the Institute was going to survive underground forever. Even the surviving vaults, such as Vault 81, rely on trade with the surface. The Institute scientists knew they would have to one day open the gates, but Father stubbornly insisted that they try surviving on their own.


In my opinion, that was a poor leadership decision, one that Father made based on his own fears about the surface.

As a boy, Father was needed for his un-radiated, genetic material, which was used to create the synths. And because he was an un-radiated prewar "specimen," he likely had the ability to fight his way out of the Institute just like his parent. To prevent this, the Institute filled his head with boogeyman stories about the Commonwealth, and eventually, he became so terrified of the surface that his terror was reflected in the decisions he made as a leader.

Star Trek Connection


Now before you jump down my throat or mock me for creating "headcanon," robots and humans switching bodies is a common theme in science fiction.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation's episode The Schizoid Man, a dying robotics expert decides to download his consciousness into Data, a robot, in order to avoid death. He is able to live in Data's body for some time, while Data's own consciousness struggles under the surface to push him out.

It almost seems as if the same thing is going on with Nick Valentine's downloaded personality and the synth it was downloaded onto. I always assumed the real Nick Valentine died after his brain was scanned, just like Dr. Ira on Star Trek died when he downloaded his consciousness into Data.

The Body-Hopping Craze


Body-hopping happens over and over in this world (so it's amazing that other fans have ridiculed my theories all these years).

Curie was able to download her consciousness into a synth. Because the original synth was pretty much brain dead, there was no struggle of two different consciousnesses and Curie was alone in the body.

Kellogg's consciousness inhabits Nick Valentine after you use Nick to travel his memories. I don't believe Kellogg magically disappears, either. He's able to take control for a second but Nick's stronger personality soon takes over again—pushing both Kellogg and the original synth consciousness (the one that belonged to DiMA's "brother" and was there before Nick was downloaded) to the back again.

There's also a very disturbing halo tape that you can find inside the Institute. It's recorded by Dr. Li and you have to steal it from her desk to hear it.

In the recording, Dr. Li expresses her concern that Father is obsessed with creating a child version of himself—almost to the point that the child would have his own personality and memories. She sounds worried and suspicious in the tape, and I think it's because she suspects that Father wants to possess Synth Shaun in order to escape his cancer.

Plan B


It sounds "crazy" and "outlandish," but Father knew for a long time that he was dying of cancer. He was the one who pushed Dr. Virgil into doing more and more brutal FEV experiments, until the man snapped and ran away into the Glowing Sea.

Dr. Virgil didn't know Father had cancer, so he had no idea why he was being made to torture people and turn them into super mutants.

To me, it only makes sense that Father would turn to Plan B, which is to possess a synth. As one of the Institute's top scientists, he would know about the original Institute's attempts to possess synthetic humans. Why wouldn't he revive the old experiments and try them out for himself?

In the end, he failed. Or, if you want to believe otherwise, maybe he managed to scan a copy of himself into Synth Shaun after all.

Are you in there, Father?
Are you in there, Father? | Source

"It's Just a Game"

Anyway, that's what I believe the original point of the synths was: they were going to be possessed by the Institute scientists, who meant to use them to re-inhabit the surface world. Thus, the plant experiments and all the interest in the soil up top.

I feel the Institute tried to keep up with the original plan over the years, which was why they kept sending look-a-likes to replace people. They wanted to see if they could possess a synth with one of their own people, then send it to the surface, thus stealing someone else's life but saving one of the Institute citizens in the process.

Think about it. When you first come to the Institute, they are actually on their last leg and are desperate for power. Kellogg was sent to University Point to secure what they needed to keep the power running, but he (purposely?) failed his mission (Kellogg hated the Institute, after all) and they were screwed until the Sole Survivor came along.

That's the theory, anyway. Again, this was written just for entertainment purposes. Don't take it too seriously.

It's just a game.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Ash


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