Created by the RobCo corporation, protectron robots were designed (as their name suggests) for protection, although they can also be seen being used in a manual labor role as well. Typically used in office-type settings, their secondary programming is modular, making them useful as greeters, ticket collectors, bartenders, celebrity or historical figure impersonators, even sexual partners. In terms of combat, protectrons are usually weak and easy to defeat, because of their weak weapons and slow movement speed.
Some attributes of the protectrons looks were derived from 1950's comic books, the era in which many of Fallout's designs come from.
Many protectrons were commissioned by the U.S. Army before the Great War of 2077. They are painted a dark olive drab with a white star on their chest. These mechanized soldiers still wander the wastes, attacking everything from radroaches to Brotherhood Outcasts. Interestingly, the Brotherhood Outcasts use their own protectrons which are painted in rust and black. The Pitt adds a new variety of protectron called the "factory protectron", which lacks a glass dome but possesses a single ocular lens, and a cage around the combat inhibitor. The top of where the dome would be appears to be made to look like a construction hard-hat and the body has a yellow coloration. Broken Steel adds "Enclave protectrons", which appear to be much newer, with red glass domes and a polished steel-gray finish. A special red-painted protectron appears at the House of Wares in Point Lookout.
Protectrons in various areas have been programmed differently; the protectrons in the Nuka-Cola plant for example, say that they are operating under the authority of the Nuka-Cola Corporation as they attack you, with the words "Nuka-Cola!" being dubbed in from an exterior source. Other protectrons have even been supplied with sophisticated personalities, such as Button Gwinnett and Dean Dewey.
A protectron with the basic personality loaded can execute "sequences", lists of tasks to complete, such as patrolling an area for intruders or scanning passengers for tickets, in the case of the metro station protectrons. Some sequences may have been programmed by RobCo Industries, while others were written by robotics technicians at the locations where they are used. When not in use, a protectron unit is stored in a base pod, which also charges its battery. The protectron is connected to its base pod via radio uplink, and the pod is in turn linked to a control terminal or computer system, which can be hacked to release the protectron from stasis.
Protectrons have a glass dome on top of their heads that acts as an ocular lens that allows the protectron to scan its surroundings and act accordingly. In this glass dome is a laser emitter that shoots a high-powered laser. This laser is also in both "hands/claws". The body of a protectron can swivel up to about 90 degrees to either side before having to step into a different position.
All protectrons come with a combat inhibitor mounted on their back that allows them to selectively target opponents. The combat inhibitor is generally left exposed, making it easy to disable when approaching a protectron from behind. When the combat inhibitor is crippled, the robot will fly into a frenzy, automatically targeting the nearest possible target, regardless of any previous affiliation.
All protectrons have three laser weapons: one in each arm and another in their domed head. Due to it being similar to a laser pistol, they are ineffective at long-range attacks. Protectrons also lack any melee attack, and are slow to turn 180 degrees, leaving them vulnerable to attackers staying directly behind them.
These may be found roaming many parts of the wasteland. The player's first encounter with one may be Deputy Weld outside Megaton, but they will be found in many other places. Protectron carcasses are not uncommon, as robots will frequently attack stronger non-player characters, more often than not with fatal consequences to themselves.
Metro protectrons are protectrons found in many metro stations. When approached, they will ask the player for a metro ticket. If the player possesses a ticket, then it will be automatically removed from their inventory and the protectron will remain friendly, continuing to walk around the metro station attacking any enemies. If the player does not possess a ticket, the protectron will turn hostile.
On the Red and Blue metros in D.C., the associated red and blue pass cards serve this purpose. Metro protectrons have the same stats as the standard Protectrons, despite their mundane functions.
This model of protectron is only found active on the Nuka-Cola plant's factory floor. They are easily identified due to their distinctive color scheme, possessing a red border around their head and hands, with the logo of the Nuka-Cola Corporation emblazoned on their body. They are programmed with a generic guarding routine where they attack all intruders on sight. As part of this program, their speech systems are designed to fill in their owner's name with a recording (in this case, the recording is, "Nuka Cola!"). In Fallout: New Vegas you can find an inactive Nuka-Cola protectron in Mr. House's penthouse next to the bed on the higher level.
This model of protectron can be found in the Nuka-Cola plant's storage and mixing vats room, along with a nukalurk. It is located in a holding pod and can be activated by the nearby terminal. If activated, it will then begin to patrol the room, confused but friendly. The factory protectron will request to see the player's office ID, and if the player does not have an ID in their inventory the Protectron will become hostile. If an ID card has been acquired, then the Protectron will remain friendly towards the player, and will attack the Nukalurks.
These heavy duty industrial robots feature a reinforced "head", a cage on their backs to help guard the combat inhibitor and a distinctive yellow coloring. Markings on the left side of the "head" reads CP 1143-85. This model of protectron can be found in the Pitt steelyard, the Pitt underground and in the Supply plant.
This deactivated protectron appears only during the quest Reilly's Rangers. It will be found in a storage room of the Statesman Hotel's restaurant. Once the Lone Wanderer has reached the roof, Butcher will direct you to Donovan who asks you to retrieve the robot's fission battery, so it can be used to repair the broken elevator.
A one of a kind named protectron model, which is locked up in a holding pod in the National Archives' Archival Strongroom. The player may encounter it, but unlike the Thomas Jefferson robot, it can not be reprogrammed during the last part of the quest Stealing Independence. It has the same appearance as Button Gwinnett. It was always intended to be a standby protection unit ready to be programmed in case any of the historical reenactor protection units broke down.
This protectron model has been reprogrammed by the Brotherhood Outcasts, and is generally found being used as a sentry or to supplement Outcast patrols. One can be found patrolling the overpass bridge near Fort Independence, while others may be randomly encountered with Brotherhood Outcast patrols near Vault 101 or the Scrapyard. Outcast protectrons do not have the blue color of the common protectron, nor the typical Outcast red paint job, but are instead decorated with a rusty, brownish color. They will sometimes refrain from assisting other Outcasts, such as during the Raider attack on Fort Independence.
Although the official trailer depicts all metro protectron units as having a "Taxi" paint-job, only the Old Olney protectron and some deactivated protectrons in the Robot repair center have this color scheme.
When activated, a Metro protectron attempts to contact computers at Metro Central, but doesn't receive any response. Because of this, it is authorized to use "lethal force".
If you have a follower they will not be attacked by a Metro protectron, despite not having a ticket.
In some cases (most notably the Super-Duper Mart protectron), talking to an "Office Protectron" will cause it to say "Hello fellow Office Worker, may I see your ID?" If the protectron does not receive an office employee ID from the player, it will later say "Scan failed. Please show ID or leave the building." After another period of time, it will finish by saying "Intruder alert! Prepare to be forcibly removed!" However, it will turn hostile for a second but it will then return to neutral mode and walk off.
pcps3xbox360 Protectrons are known to have physics glitches when laying dead in ragdoll mode, specifically when transiting from a cell via doorway into one with a dead protectron in it, or when loading a saved game with a dead protectron in the vicinity. When this happens, they get flung high into the air, or will jiggle as if being electrocuted. [verified]
xbox360pc Sometimes protectrons are rendered as allies, but will attack on sight. Sometimes the compass will still render the protectron "allies", until you kill or knock them down. [verified]
pc Sometimes a protectron will literally fall out of the sky to be crippled on impact. [verified]
pcxbox360 If you later return to the Statesman Hotel, the maintenance protectron there might be alive and hostile. [verified]