Preston Garvey originally enrolled with the Minutemen under Colonel Hollis at the age of seventeen. An avid believer in the espoused justice of the Minutemen cause, Preston joined the Minutemen under the direct command of Hollis himself. Things began to change for the worse when settlements under the protection of the Minutemen grew complacent. Freed from the greater concerns of the erstwhile dangers of the Commonwealth, settlements increasingly neglected their obligations to the collective in favor of petty self-interests.
In 2287, Sturges, an inhabitant of the influential trading hub at Quincy - requested the aid of the Minutemen after having heard one of Mama Murphy’s visions, which foresaw the town being surrounded and massacred. Although the majority saw Murphy as a burned-out chem addict, Sturges went behind his fellow citizens to invoke the protection of the Minutemen. Preston joined Hollis on a mission to rescue Quincy, where they found the Gunners besieging the town.
The Minutemen dispersed the Gunner lines and were welcomed by the citizens of Quincy while the Gunners temporarily retreated. An ex-Minutemen officer named Clint had revealed himself to Colonel Hollis as the leader of the invading force. Hollis felt extreme anger at this betrayal. The citizens expressed confusion and frustration. Clint sought to establish terms of surrender for Quincy and its defenders; these terms were summarily rejected by Hollis.
While the subsequent events are not explicitly recorded in text, the outcome for the Minutemen is broadly established by dialogue with Preston and various other wastelanders: the Minutemen requested support, which did not arrive; the Gunners overwhelmed the defenders and murdered nearly all of the civilians; Col. Hollis, the linchpin of the long-dwindling Minutemen cause, died fighting. The event is known as the Quincy Massacre and it catalyzed the disintegration of the remaining settlements under Minutemen protection.
Consequently, Preston gathered the few remaining Quincy civilians and loyal members of the Minutemen and fled. Several of the refugees lost their lives at the hands of the Gunners before the group shook their pursuit at Jamaica Plain. The refugees next moved to Lexington. Regrettably, as Preston testifies, Lexington was filled with feral ghouls; the hardships of the town gradually whittled the group's numbers down to just over ten. Eventually the group moved to Concord where they took shelter in the Museum of Freedom, only to find themselves under the constant predation of raiders, who unbeknownst to the group are under orders from their leader, Jared, to acquire Mama Murphy
By the time the Sole Survivor arrives to help Preston, he is leading the last pocket of people under the protection of the Minutemen. His group numbers only five - a mere fraction of the original twenty who escaped Quincy under his guidance.
When Freedom Calls: Preston asks of the Sole Survivor to equip properly and clear out Concord so he and his people can move away to a safer place.
The First Step: Preston asks the Sole Survivor to help out a settlement. If this quest is completed, Preston will become available as a companion.
Taking Independence: Preston asks the Sole Survivor to help take back The Castle (Fort Independence) previously occupied by the Minutemen.
The Molecular Level: If the Survivor chooses to build the Relay Interceptor with the Minutemen, Garvey will tell them to ask Sturges for help, since he's the best engineer he's ever met.
Defend the Castle: If played as part of the Minutemen quest line, Garvey will assist in defending the Castle from the Institute attackers.
The Nuclear Option: Garvey, along with Sturges and a few other members of the Minutemen, will assist the Survivor during their attack on the Institute. Garvey will also be present when the Survivor sets off the nuclear blast from atop the Mass Fusion building.
Radiant Minutemen quests: Garvey will assign the Sole Survivor up to three radiant quests every time he is spoken to, provided none of the quests mentioned above are currently active.
After appointing the Sole Survivor as the new general of the Minutemen, he assigns quests that slowly extend the influence of the organization by capturing new territory and defending the settlements already loyal to the cause.
When reaching the highest affinity with Preston, he grants the United We Stand perk, which increases damage dealt by 20% as well as increasing damage resistance by 20 points when facing 3 or more enemies at once.
If the player character attacks a member of the Minutemen, Preston will instantly and permanently disassociate from the Sole Survivor as a companion.
Preston can be romanced.
Nuka-World (add-on) When the Sole Survivor becomes the overboss of Nuka-World, Preston Garvey becomes angry at the player character asking them to repent their actions and to leave the Nuka-World raiders. If the Sole Survivor ignores the request, the Minutemen will turn hostile; if the player character accepts, he will simply no longer be an available companion. They can't stay hostile forever, since they are the unbreakable way of beating the game story.
Preston Garvey will remain friendly if he isn't present during Taken for a Ride. However, establishing a raider outpost and planting the flag for a raider gang will immediately drop his affinity to the lowest level, even if he isn't present.
However, should the Sole Survivor become the overboss of Nuka-World prior to becoming the general of the Minutemen, Preston will not drop his affinity to the point he will be unattainable as a companion since he wasn't recruited yet. Instead, the next time Preston is spoken to, he will be upset at the Sole Survivor for supporting the Nuka-World raiders. He will ask them to repent their actions and eliminate the gang, saying that "the last thing the Commonwealth needs is another gang of Raiders." Regardless of accepting or ignoring his request to leave the raiders, Preston will simply tell the Sole Survivor that in order to work with the Minutemen more, they must eliminate the Nuka-World raiders first, thus blocking further access into the Minutemen questline.
Accepting Garvey's request to eliminate the Nuka-World raiders will start the quest Open Season, where the Sole Survivor has to execute the Nuka-World raider gang leaders and fight a massive horde of other raiders to free Nuka-Town's traders from slavery. This is the same quest the Sole Survivor gets when they meet Mackenzie Bridgeman.
Even though Preston Garvey orders the player character to eliminate the raiders, they don't have to be eliminated. The player character must become an enemy of the Nuka-World raiders, and doing so returns Preston's dialogue back to normal.
If the game is completed without evacuating the Institute, the next time when the Sole Survivor speaks to Garvey he will scold them for not evacuating Institute survivors before blowing up the Institute.
If taken to Nate/Nora's corpse in Vault 111, he will say, "Is this...? Oh. I'm sorry, General. Take all of the time you need."
If the player character promotes the Minutemen, settlers will sometimes recognize Garvey as a Minuteman and give him a few caps or other supplies.
Max affinity with Preston will reveal that he was actually dealing with depression when the Sole Survivor found him in Concord. He says he would just not care about living if the Sole Survivor didn't help them as they did.
Preston's colonial duster and Minuteman hat can be obtained from a level 4 clothing vendor at any allied settlement. One example of such vendors is Anne Hargraves, who will sell these items when assigned to any Level 3 clothing stand.
Preston will be disgusted with the player character if they finish The Nuclear Option with the Brotherhood of Steel or the Railroad but did not activate the evacuation notice, stating that the player character not allowing Institute civilians to evacuate is mass murder.
Preston's colonial duster and Minuteman hat can be obtained an infinite number of times, i.e. If one equips him with any other outfit and takes his duster and hat then dismisses him, his clothes will respawn in his inventory after some time.
When inside settlements, settlers will sometimes chat with Preston, give him caps and saying "I know it ain't much, but we support the Minutemen's cause." The Sole Survivor can take these caps from Preston's inventory.
Although Preston is a fairly passive companion, when asking him his thoughts when at Quincy or any other Gunner outpost he will show much aggression (example "Gunners are scum that don't deserve to live."). This could be due to the fact that the Gunners are mostly the reason the Minuteman fell at Quincy.
Preston's concept art shows him with a hood or cloth wrapped around his head and a star on his hat. It also states that he got his coat from a revolutionary war museum. His icon in When Freedom Calls also appears to look more like his concept art than his final in game appearance.
Once the Taking Independence quest has been started, one will not be able to initiate dialogue with Preston to recruit him as a follower until that quest has been completed.
"This is gonna be a black mark on the Minutemen forever. As happy as I am that the Institute is destroyed, this wasn't the plan. Dammit, General! You've dragged us down to their level! It didn't have to be this way!" – Completed The Nuclear Option (Minutemen) without sounding the evacuation alert.
"As if we didn't have enough problems without the damn Brotherhood making things worse."
The following is based on unverified behind the scenes information and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
Preston Garvey may be an allusion to early 20th Century British-Jamaican philosopher and political figure Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey was a populist community organizer who advocated for unification of African-American peoples under the collective banner of their African heritage in much the same way Preston Garvey is a populist community organizer who advocates for the unification of the Commonwealth under the collective banner of American heritage. They are also both known for wearing distinctive hats.
End of information based on unverified behind the scenes information.
pcps4xboxone When destroying the Institute with the Brotherhood of Steel and when talking to Preston, he will keep saying the that the Institute is gone and one could have helped the innocent unless there is a settlement in need or reporting that a settlement has been helped. [verified]
pcps4xboxone Preston may become unavailable to recruit before the siege on the Castle. If the Castle is then retaken, he will no longer engage in dialogue past a greeting or a settlement quest. [verified]
This can be fixed by selecting him, then using the console command removefac 00075d56.
xboxone Sometimes if there is any weapon near Preston even if it is weaker than his laser musket he may equip it.[verified]
pcps4xboxone If the player character destroys the Institute without issuing the evacuation order, Preston's dialogue will always be his immediate reaction to seeing it go up. One will be able to have the conversation with him repeatedly with no way of moving on. Though the final quest can be concluded by fast traveling elsewhere, the Sole Survivor will not be able to recruit Preston again. The player character will be able to do minutemen missions, however. [verified]
pcps4xboxone There is a known bug where after the quest to reclaim the Castle it becomes impossible to get him as a companion. [verified]
This can be fixed on PC by opening the console, selecting Preston Garvey and inputting removefac 00075d56.
Another possible fix is if one attaches a generator to the conduits and wires already setup in the castle the power requirements will turn green in the workshop menu and he will be able to act normally again.
Preston's perk can be obtained without being able to get him as a companion. Assign him to an Artillery piece so he stays put, then build a Weapon Bench nearby. Modify a weapon at the bench and one should see the message "Preston liked that". Quicksave the game, load the Quicksave, and modify a weapon again. Repeat the Save/Load/Modify sequence until he idolizes the Sole Survivor, then go over and speak with him to get the perk.
pcxboxone If ordered to use a suit of power armor and either dismissed or if he leaves due to quests requiring him to leave (e.g. meeting at the Castle), it can disappear, with Garvey later found no longer wearing it. [verified]
xboxone If after choosing the Brotherhood ending and destroy the institute, to collect the holotape for Sturges from Proctor Ingram Preston may be "stuck" in the Museum of Freedom in Concord and enemies will continue to spawn inside. There is no known fix for this issue.[verification overdue]
pcps4xboxone Once the highest affinity level with Preston is reached, and the romance option is not chosen in the corresponding dialogue, the same "last talk" may pop up from time to time, especially if Preston is dismissed and re-recruited or spoken to a few days later.[verified]
xboxone Preston's default may become invisible. This can be fixed by equipping and unequipping a different weapon in his inventory. [verification overdue]
pcps4xboxone After the player character gains max relationship with Preston he will stop offering new radiant quest and he will keep looping the last affinity speech over and over every time the player character returns to Sanctuary; this will also happen with every male companion the player character has full affinity without choosing the romance option.[verified]
ps4xboxone When equipped with a piece of clothing, after a certain amount of time he will take it off and equip the colonial duster without being instructed to.[verified]
↑Sturges' terminal - Mama Murphy's vision: I don't like this. Mama Murphy's been holed up in her room since that trader came through. She got a fresh stash of chems and when I went to make sure she's eating something she said she's ben having "the Sight" again. Said she saw the town surrounded, then overrun. Our people dead in the streets or captured. It sounds crazy, but she's been right about things before, and we were able to convince Jackson to put out a call for the Minutemen. I just hope it's not too late.
↑Jun Long's terminal: I can't believe Mayor Jackson is actually trying to get the Minutemen out here based on Mama Murphy's drug crazed-hallucinations. Marcy tried to explain to him that she's just an old loon, and we've been refusing to sell her chems anymore, but she's even got Sturges convinced!
↑Jun Long's terminal - She was right: I can't believe it, she was actually right. Sloan and Irma were working making repairs to the walls and saw them sneaking around by that old warehouse. We tried to scare them off, but they were still advancing on the monorail stairs. Then just when it looks like they are going to break through, the Minutemen actually showed up and drove them off! They're led by a man named Col. Hollis, and Kyle is completely awestruck. Said he is going to join them when he gets older and has been following them around like a puppy.
↑Jun Long's terminal - Something's up: Something's going on. We thought at first that another of the Minutemen had shown up, since it seemed like Col. Hollis recognized him. The two of them went off to talk with Mayor Jackson in private. Not ten minutes later the man left and Col. Hollis followed him to the wall shouting about what he would do to deserters. Was that guy one of the Minutemen or not?
↑Hollis's terminal: He actually had the nerve to try to convince the mayor and me to stand down. I politely informed him that there was not a chance in Hell of that happening, and what I would do to his traitorous ass if he showed up again. If someone of his experience is leading them, we'd better be ready for anything.
↑ 7.07.1Quincy ruins terminal entries#Col. Hollis: Shame I couldn't convince Col. Hollis to see reason, but the attack plan worked all the same. Once we blew the support on the highway and took the high ground, there was nothing they could do. Garvey managed to escape with a group of the settlers, but the rest was just a bloodbath.
↑Clint's terminal: The detachment I sent after Garvey returned yesterday. They managed to pick off several more of the settlers before losing them in Jamaica Plains.
↑Jared's terminalGristle says there's a caravan headed this way. Some joker in a cowboy hat with a laser musket, three civilians and one frail old woman dressed like a fortune teller. It's her. I know it's her. I sent Gristle to collect her. I wonder if she'll recognize me? Of course she will. She saw this coming, after all.