The Commonwealth

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This page is about the location of Fallout 4. For the 13 pre-War U.S. commonwealths, see United States.
For European organization of states, see European Commonwealth.
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The Commonwealth itself is nothing but a war-ravaged quagmire of violence and despair. Inside the sealed environment of the Institute, however... but the Institute's affairs are none of your concern. Your undeveloped mind couldn't even begin to comprehend what we've accomplished.

Dr. Zimmer

The Commonwealth (occasionally referred to as Commonwealth Wasteland) is what is left of the pre-War American state of Massachusetts in New England.[1] While traditionally called a commonwealth in itself, before the Great War, Massachusetts was also part of the New England Commonwealth of the United States in the alternate history of the Fallout universe. Most of it is a "war-ravaged quagmire of violence and despair" like much of the rest of the former United States, but it is also where Boston and the mysterious Institute are located.


The Commonwealth suffers from terrible radiation storms which are caused by the Glowing Sea. During a storm, the sky turns a sickly green colour and a thick fog forms, limiting the player's visibility. These storms behave in the same manner as thunderstorms, with every "strike" emitting radiation across the land. Despite this, the Commonwealth appears to be a somewhat healthier area of the post-nuclear United States. The skies are brighter and clearer and vegetation such as Mutfruit and Tato plants can be seen growing plentifully in the region, providing wastelanders with a source of food. The Commonwealth also sees regular rainfall, in a similar vein to Zion Canyon. The overall landscape is less blasted and scorched than other areas such as the Capital Wasteland - this is due to the fact that the Boston area never suffered a direct hit, with the nuclear explosion in the prologue possibly detonating far to the southwest. However, since the Commonwealth covers the entirety of pre-War Massachussetts, it is unknown whether the rest of the region has emerged as fortunate.


The most infamous faction within the Commonwealth, the organization known only as the Institute was founded by the descendants of the students who once attended the Commonwealth Institute of Technology. The scientists working within this underground, sealed environment possess highly advanced technology and technological skills. They have managed to create true artificial intelligence (A.I.) and are capable of manufacturing androids, also referred to as "Synths" - short for "synthetic humans," with the latest models completely indistinguishable from ordinary humans. The Institute has been blamed for many of the Commonwealth's disappearances; some have suspected that the Institute had a hand in the failure of the Commonwealth Provisional Government. The Institute seems to use the rest of the Commonwealth as a dumping ground for various failed experiments; the Commonwealth strain of super mutant can trace its history back to the Institute's experiments with FEV.

Another organization active within the Commonwealth, the Railroad, functions in direct opposition to the Institute. Named in honor of the Underground Railroad, the Railroad's mission is the rescue and salvation of synthetic humanoids primarily, though enslavement as a whole is also fought against.

There are more factions in play than The Institute and the Railroad, however. Preston Garvey (or the Sole Survivor) leads a group called the Minutemen, a citizen's militia that fought against the vicious bands of raiders and the super mutants which plague the area. Although they once commanded the respect of the Commonwealth, their numbers steadily dwindled after the disastrous Quincy Massacre, with infighting and corruption tearing the organization apart. By the time of 2287, the Minutemen are in few numbers, with the supposedly last member; Preston, trying to keep a small amount of people alive from violent Raiders which seek to end them. Their fate is entirely up to that of the Sole Survivor.

The Brotherhood of Steel sent several reconnaissance teams into Boston and the surrounding areas prior to 2287. Eventually, the Brotherhood deployed The Prydwen over the skies of Boston in the hopes of establishing a permanent foothold in the area. Led by Elder Arthur Maxson, the Brotherhood has reverted to its old ways and is now trying to bring the Institute down along with its synths.

Fallout 3Edit


The Commonwealth appears only in Fallout 4, and is mentioned in Fallout 3 and its add-ons The Pitt, Broken Steel, and Point Lookout.



  1. Interview with Emil Pagliarulo at 1up

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