Depending on player choice, the Sole Survivor is either a male retired Army veteran or a female law school graduate. According to pre-War records of the Lookout at the USS Constitution, the husband served in the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment, while the wife was a lawyer.
At some point during the Sino-American War, the Sole Survivor married, had a son named Shaun, and bought a robotic butler named Codsworth. On October 23rd, 2077, the Sole Survivor was preparing for an event at the Veteran's Hall when a Vault-Tec representative approached the family and approved them for the papers that allowed them access into Vault 111. A few moments later, a newsreader announced that that nuclear detonations were being reported, forcing the Survivor and their family to rush to Vault 111. They were then trapped in cryogenic stasis under the pretense of being "decontaminated." The Sole Survivor is kept in this state from 2077 to 2287.
In 2227, the Sole Survivor and their spouse are reawakened by two seen unknown individuals and one off-screen, who open the spouse's cryogenic tube with the intent of kidnapping Shaun. Though conscious, the Sole Survivor is trapped in their tube and are powerless to do anything but watch their spouse being shot and their child abducted. The Sole Survivor is re-frozen, awakening in 2287 and escaping the cryogenic tube. Learning that they are the sole survivor of Vault 111, the Sole Survivor emerges from the Vault and vows to avenge their spouse's death and locate Shaun.
The main story of Fallout 4 directly follows the Sole Survivor's actions. Template:Collapsible content
- Like the Lone Wanderer from Fallout 3, the Sole Survivor is seen being accompanied by a dog in promotional material for the game.
- The Sole Survivor is the first fully-voiced protagonist in the Fallout series.
- In a departure from previous games, character customization is done without slider options. During the opening portion of the game, the character stands in front of a mirror and alters facial features using a cursor. While making changes, the spouse stands behind the Sole Survivor and makes comments about the alterations. It is here where sex can be changed, having the default male character step aside allowing the female to be altered and become the protagonist.
- Once the Sole Survivor's sex is chosen, the other will become a non-player character.
- In the character creator one can choose facial hair called "Lone Wanderer" which is a reference to the protagonist referred to with the same name from Fallout 3.
- The Sole Survivor's appearance affects the appearance of their son Shaun.
- Codsworth can refer to the player character by name as Bethesda has recorded over 1000 popular names for use in-game. This includes both real names and joke names. A list of names can be found here.
- The Sole Survivor has the option to romance many of their human companions, except Deacon. In addition, the Survivor may romance some synths, such as Curie and Danse, and the ghoul Hancock.
- The default character build for male Survivor is called Nate, and female called Nora.
- The Sole Survivor is the first player character to have lived in the Pre-War era.
- Prior to the release of the game, the universal default name for the male Sole Survivor was Mr. Howard. This was due to Bethesda Softworks director Todd Howard using this name during Bethesda's first E3 presentation.
- The title of Sole Survivor is never actually used in-game. In-game radio refers to the protagonist as the Vault Dweller. However, they do sometimes call themselves the "only survivor", notably while in Vault 81.
- If one lets Desdemona pick a Railroad code name for the Sole Survivor, her choice will be "Wanderer", a possible reference to the Lone Wanderer of Fallout 3, or the song "The Wanderer", played on Diamond City Radio.
- When interacting with the dog bowl in the intro to the game, the Sole Survivor will quote "Never gonna find that dog", implying that the Sole Survivor owned a dog before the Great War.
- Dialogue between the Sole Survivor and their spouse reveals that Shaun was conceived after the two had sex at a park. When Nate suggests going to the park, Nora's sarcastic response option is, "Oh, right. The Park. With you. Because I want to get pregnant AGAIN."
- Interestingly, if one skips dialogue during conversations they may hear the Survivor mumble sarcastic comments about the NPC they are talking to instead of just "mmmh" and "alright"-for example they might say "Nice hat" when talking to Nick Valentine, "Minutemen, jesus" when talking to Preston Garvey or "Ugh, old people" when talking to Mama Murphy.
The Sole Survivor appears only in Fallout 4.