Jay Castello
Freelance Writer
jaymcastello@gmail.com
@jayplaysthings

The Internet is Wrong About Preston Garvey

Listen. I get it. You’re just trying to play Fallout 4 and Preston won’t stop pestering you about another settlement that needs your help. There’s always another kidnapping, or another raider attack, or another promising new spot for a settlement that needs clearing out. And some of the parodies that have come from it are pretty funny.

They’re still wrong, though. Preston’s great.

Firstly, Preston is a great character. In terms of straight up representation, he’s a predominant black character who doesn’t fall into some of the common stereotypes. And from the start, he is shown to care about the people under his care, and then the people of the wasteland more generally. He witnessed the Minutemen, who he had always wanted to join simply to help people, being decimated in Quincy, and managed to pick himself up enough to rebuild from nothing, despite a struggle with depression.

Of course he wants the Sole Survivor’s help; he’s been struggling alone without the resources or ability to create some kind of home and stability and hope for people in the wasteland, and for himself. He’s relieved and reinvigorated by the Sole Survivor’s presence, and if he is constantly asking for assistance it’s only because there’s so much to do – so much that can be done – and all to improve and preserve the lives of ordinary people.

And that’s why, thematically, Preston’s infinite radiant quests make the most sense of any of the quests in Fallout 4. There’s just always something that needs doing. This reflects and creates the harshness of the wasteland, and reinforces the difference between the ‘haves’ like the Brotherhood and the Institute and the ‘have-nots’ – ordinary farmers and traders who just want to be able to sleep without fear of raiders coming and taking all of their food and supplies – or even one of their friends or family. People often talk about why the wasteland hasn’t properly rebuilt in the 200 years since the Great War, and one of the main reasons has to be that it’s difficult to plan for the future when you’re just struggling to get by day to day. 

Do you make your bed every morning even though you’re just going to mess it up again that night? Do you wash up even though you’re about to use that crockery and dirty it all up again? Do you vacuum your floors at least semi-regularly? These are the real life daily equivalents of Preston quests and they’re necessary and real and even though they might not be the most fun their reflections in Fallout 4 tell us something important about the world and the struggles facing its inhabitants.

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