HomeArticlesA Profile of Nick Valentine: Synth, Detective, & Decent Human Being – Fallout 4 Lore
A Profile of Nick Valentine: Synth, Detective, & Decent Human Being – Fallout 4 Lore
September 6, 2019
Nick Valentine is one of the best made characters
in Fallout 4. He has one of the best written backstories. He has something important to say
in nearly every major quest. He’s a major plot element in the main story
and also in the Far Harbor DLC. This guy has a lot going on. Because of that, I’ve already made
more than one video on Nick Valentine. Some of his more in-depth quests
and his relationships with other characters. But until now, I haven’t focused on
Valentine himself, on the person. Who is Nick Valentine? That’s what I want to do with today’s video. Now there are two major parts of
Nick Valentine’s personal story that we need to understand first
before we can understand the synth. The first part is where he came from. Nick Valentine was created by the Institute
but he was a prototype synth. He is more advanced than the Gen 1s and 2s but not quite as advanced as a gen 3. He’s made of metal and plastic,
not of DNA and flesh like the gen 3 synths are. He and his brother DiMA, whom we meet in Acadia,
are the only two known prototype synths. But DiMA and Nick are very different. We learned from DiMA that DiMA was allowed to develop his own personality based on experience, but that Nick Valentine had a personality
imprinted onto him. DiMA has made modifications to himself to expand
his memory to allow him to remember more things But Nick Valentine is stuck with the base components
that the Institute gave him. He has a limited memory, which is why he forgets
many of the earlier parts of his life. This is how he forgot that he and DiMA were brothers. For the longest time he thought he was simply discarded by the Institute like some old trash. This feeling of being discarded helped build up
a lot of resentment in his heart against the Institute which may have led to many of his anti-Institute beliefs. We learned from DiMA, however, that that wasn’t true.
He wasn’t actually thrown out. DiMA helped him escape. This changed Nick’s perception of himself
and how he felt about the Institute. But not in any meaningful way.
He still dislikes the Institute. But the personality that was placed
within Nick Valentine’s mind was the mind of a pre-war cop named Nick Valentine The major problem with this is that Nick doesn’t know
where the original Nick Valentine ends, and he begins. Memories from the old Nick appear in flashes
like Deja vu or dreams. He harbors no resentment towards the original Nick.
After all, it’s not Nick’s fault. But these flashes are constant reminders
that he’s not really his own man. That he was manufactured. His memories are not his. The very person that as Nick Valentine isn’t real,
and that is what bothers him. This feeling of not being real makes him insecure. That’s partly the reason why he enlisted your help
in hunting down Eddie Winter. Eddie Winter was a mob boss before the war whom the original Nick Valentine,
the detective, was trying to put behind bars. But the original Nick Valentine ultimately failed, leading to the death of his fiancee
at the hands of Eddie Winter. I covered that full story in great detail
in my video about Eddie Winter that you can watch here. But the result of this is even after we kill Eddie Winter,
even after Nick Valentine gets his revenge or “justice” this doesn’t make him whole The other major story about Nick that
we need to understand is his relationship with DiMA. We learned from the Far Harbor DLC that
because Nick has limited memory. He doesn’t even remember DiMA He only eventually accepts the fact that DiMA is his brother when he and the Sole Survivor uncover an old recording. A recording of the very moment
that Nick escaped the Institute. It’s a troubling recording, because in that recording,
Nick becomes violent. In that recording, Nick Valentine doesn’t realize
that he’s a synth. He sees DiMA. He sees plastic. He sees metal. He sees a mockery of humanity.
And his pre-war human mind kicks in. He pushes DiMA away.
He thinks of DiMA as a monster not realizing yet that he is DiMA.
That he and DiMA are the same. That’s why in the recording we hear
Nick Valentine become violent. We hear DiMA forced to defend himself. The health of Nick’s relationship with
his long-lost brother DiMA is up to the Sole Survivor. The decisions the Sole Survivor makes helps guide Nick to either embrace DiMA as his brother or push him away. I covered the full ramifications of those decisions
in my video “Brother Synth” Where I go into full detail about the relationship between Nick and DiMA. You can watch that video by clicking here. But these two stories, as they are told in Fallout 4,
reveal the true character of Nick Valentine. And they raised some troubling questions. Because Nick is a synth,
he’s been subject to prejudice his entire life. His response to this prejudice is stiff. He doesn’t allow himself to be bullied. He pushes back, usually with wit.
We see this on board the Prydwen. And a Nick’s interactions
with some of the other companions. That said, Nick is an understanding guy. And he’s surprisingly forgiving,
for a synth in his position. He admits that the people of Diamond City treated him with a great deal of prejudice when he arrived. But he understands why they did. He explains that the massacre of the CPG, the Commonwealth Provisional Government, had recently happened. And it was done at the hands of a synth. They had also just survived the Broken Mask incident. Nick Valentine explains exactly what happened. These two incidents introduced synths to the people of Diamond City, and it was a bad introduction. No wonder they distrust synths The very first synths they met tried to kill them. Nick understands this, instead of
holding it against the people of Diamond City, he empathizes with them. This I think is partially due to the way some of the first people he met, after leaving the Institute, treated him. Nick recalls the story with great fondness. You see, it was these people. These people who didn’t know him from Adam
who treated him with kindness. Yes, he was a bit of a sideshow attraction. But they could have responded with fear.
They could have responded with violence but they didn’t. And Nick remembered that. And he encourages the Sole Survivor
to recognize that, too. This was a very important thing for Nick
to experience right out of the Institute. Because it set in his mind the way humans can act forever. He goes to Diamond City and he sees a lot of prejudice but he remembers these people who opened their homes to him.
These people who gave him a free tune-up. These people who treated him like a human being. And he realizes that all people can be like that. He just has to earn their trust. He understands why the people of Diamond City
distrust synths. They have great cause to! Synth have killed their members, and so he spends his time earning their trust. He could have responded a number of ways. He could have become indignant.
“Well, if they don’t want me. I don’t want them.” He could have started protests.
He could have tried to get revenge. Instead, he shouldered their abuse.
He shouldered their bigotry and treated them with kindness, took on their cases, helped find their missing family members,
helped solve their personal problems. Day after day, week after week, until after a few years of working hard
for the people of Diamond City. He earned their trust. They may hate all the synths in the world,
they may distrust every synth they meet. But Nick Valentine? He’s a synth they trust. Nick Valentine: he’s one of the good ones Nick believes, possibly naively, that
if you treat people good, they’ll treat you good. Well, I don’t think that’s true. I think there are plenty of times we can all point to where we’ve treated people well only to receive hostility in return. History teaches us the same thing. There are some people who will look a gift horse in the mouth. They don’t appreciate the goodness that they’ve been given. The kindness that they’ve been shown. When they’re treated well,
they don’t necessarily treat you well in return. But Nick has uncovered a truth about humanity,
and it’s that most people are fair-minded. You will have some that are so crazy that
they won’t like you no matter what you do, but most people, when forced to confront the fact that you’re not a monster, even though you’re synth. When forced to realize that you can do good to them,
and you will do good to them Even after they’re bad to you. They soften and they begin to embrace you. That’s what Nick discovered. He spent years in Diamond City
earning the trust of the people of Diamond City and he seized that city as his home. Even when DiMA tries to get Nick to join Acadia
because “that’s where synth belongs” Nick disagrees. You see, he’s not just a synth.
He’s a member of Diamond City. Those are his neighbors. Those are his people. He doesn’t believe people should be
segregated by what they are. He believes people should be neighborly. He believes that you should help people who need help As a private detective working in Diamond City, Nick Valentine has seen a lot of evil
done to the people around him. Tragically, he tried to revisit those people who showed him the first human kindness he ever experienced They had been wiped out by raiders. Nick doesn’t excuse that. He doesn’t say
“Well, I’m sure those readers were just trying to survive.” “I’m sure those raiders were just trying to find a place for themselves in this Wasteland.” “Well, there’s no such thing as the morality. It’s the post-apocalypse.” Nick doesn’t believe any of that. He sees evil for what it is. Those raiders rob those people of their lives. All those people managed to live for years without killing others, without raiding other settlements. The people of Diamond City are able to band together and forge a city for themselves. They don’t have to raid settlements for food and caps.
They engage in trade. You see, theft and murder and being a raider
is not excusable in Nick’s mind. It’s something that must be fought. He’s seen how hard his neighbors have had to work
to defend themselves in Diamond City to set up their shops, to live their lives, and Nick himself has worked hard to help them live their lives to rescue the Mayor’s daughter when the Mayor’s daughter gets kidnapped. To find missing people when they Institute kidnaps people. He’s put a lot of personal effort into righting those wrongs. He’s not afraid to work hard. He knows that hard work is necessary to build society, to keep people free. This is why he feels so strongly about finding
Eddie Winter and bringing him to justice. Eddie Winter didn’t kill his fiancee,
but he did kill Nick’s fiancee. Eddie Winter didn’t cause him any harm, but he did cause great harm to people who lived hundreds of years ago. Nick is a man of justice. And he’s not afraid to fight for what’s just,
even if it means killing someone. So that justice be upheld. This is why he opposes the Institute. Yes, he was wrong by thinking that the Institute just chucked him into a trash can. But the Institute still comes to Diamond City and kidnaps people under cover of darkness The Institute still makes a bad name for synths.
Making his life harder. He believes people should be free to succeed or fail based on their own merits. That’s what he had to do. He crawled out of a trash pile and made a life for himself. Made neighbors by being neighborly,
friends by being friendly. And he that every person should have that same freedom. To have a big organization robbing that freedom
from people, that bothers Nick. Which is why if you side with the Institute,
he takes you aside. But if you destroy the Institute, Nick Valentine approves. For being a synthetic human, he has a surprising knowledge of pre-war literature. We heard him make a reference to
a “Brave New World” in that last bit. It’s possible that he’s referencing Aldous Huxley’s
1931 novel Brave New World, set in the year 2540 where people are psychologically manipulated where people are conditioned to believe in act a certain way. It would certainly make sense with the Institute at the reigns, what has man to look forward to but a distopian future? But he’s actually referencing Shakespeare. He mentions a brave new world when you first meet him. Which is a nice bit of foreshadowing on Bethesda’s part. Here they tie the beginning in the ends of the game together through Nick Valentine. Here he’s quoting act 5 scene 1 of
William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” “Oh, wonder how many goodly creatures are there here?” “how beauteous mankind is?” “Oh, brave new world that has such people in it.” In Shakespeare’s play the person
who said that line, Miranda, was honestly talking about how impressed she was
by such people in it But when Nick uses the line, he was doing so with irony. Thrust into a post-apocalyptic world, surrounded by bigots and raiders and murderers. A brave new world with such people in it. He makes references to literature during great moments in the game If you choose to blow up the nucleus, Nick Valentine says, This is a reference to a line in the hindu scripture
the Bhagavad Gita. It’s fitting here because it is said that
J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the Nuclear bomb, repeated this very same line upon witnessing the world’s first nuclear detonation. Another moment is when the Brotherhood of Steel appears in the Commonwealth. The zeppelin flies overhead and Nick Valentine says This is a reference to Edgar Allan Poe
from his poem “The Raven” The full quote goes, “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there. Wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming,” “Dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before” “But the silence was unbroken
and the stillness gave no token” “and the only word there spoken
was the whispered word Lenore” Here we see the silence of the night broken
by the arrival of the Brotherhood of Steel. Nick Valentine stands there
wondering, fearing, doubting. And as an immortal synth, he dreams dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. How can a synth with memory problems be
so well-versed in pre-war Literature? Hindu Scripture, Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe? Well, I think it’s unlikely that he stumbled upon these tomes as he wandered the wastes. I think the more likely explanation is that he’s remembering things that the original Nick Valentine at one time read. We learned from DiMA that
Nick Valentine’s memory is limited, but he gets these flashes. These moments when he remembers things from his past. And it’s possible that in times of duress
or in times of great significance He can reach back into the original Nick Valentine’s memories and pull out a fitting pre-war quote. This ability leads us to a tough question – Is Nick Valentine really a person? Or is he just a walking holo-disk?
A collection of recorded memories, programmed to retrieve them at appropriate times, programmed to cobble together a personality. His name is that of a man long dead. He even dresses and talks the way he remembers the original Nick Valentine, and detectives of that time dressed and talked. In a previous video, I argued that Gen 3 synths are indeed people. I recognize that they’re not human,
but they are made from Human DNA. They are made from organs that grow.
They do have independent minds that accumulate experiences and memories
on their own. I think that they’re people. But Nick is not like that. He’s not like DiMA. DiMA, even though he is a synth,
he creates his own personality over time by accumulating memories based on experience. But Nick is not like that.
Nick had a personality implanted into him. So is Nick a person? Is Nick alive? It’s certainly a debatable question, but I say yes. I do think Nick Valentine is his own person. Mainly because he is self-aware. He realizes that he is not human and it bothers him. It bothers him that he’s not human. It bothers him that his very presence can scare people simply because of what he is. He is painfully aware of his robotic limitations, and he exists in a different place in time from the original Nick Valentine. People change as they age. The person I am today is not the person I was 10 years ago. If that person and I were to ever meet,
we would probably have a lot of arguments. We would probably see the world in a different way, but does that make me any less Oxhorn then the Oxhorn of 10 years ago? Does that make him any less oxhorn than the oxhorn who lived 20 years ago? Who’s the real oxhorn? The Oxhorn that was a child or the oxhorn sitting in front of a microphone talking now? The answer is that they’re all Oxhorn.
They’re Oxhorn living in different moments of time. If you were to take a man’s life and stretch it out over a line, and then visit that man at any point along that line,
you would visit a different person. All of those people are the same person and yet they’re different from each other. Ever so slightly different from each other. They are their own people.
They have their own thoughts and opinions. I think the same is true of Nick Valentine. At one moment in time the original Nick Valentine
sat down in a chair Inside the CIT, and had his mind placed on a holodisc. He then left and then lived the rest of his life until the bombs dropped and likely killed him. The Nick Valentine who died when the bombs dropped is different from the man who sat down in that chair and had his mind saved by the Institute. All those Nick Valentines, all those moments
in time, are gone. They no longer exist. The synth Valentine is the only Valentine left. And just like the original Nick, this Nick changes over time. The Nick we meet in vault 114 is not the same Nick who crawled out of that Garbage pile near the Institute. If those two Nick’s were to meet, they would have very different opinions of each other. The garbage pile Nick would probably attack the newer Nick thinking that he was a crazy mechanical man, but the Nick from vault 114 is a more mature Nick, a more seasoned Nick. A Nick with greater experiences.
A Nick who has changed over time Which is a very human thing to do. This I think proves that Nick is more than just a photocopy of a man from the year 2077. Yes, DiMA, and Nick were made differently.
DiMA was a clean slate. He made himself over time. Nick was not a clean slate.
Nick was an intact personality But since that moment, the moment he escaped,
he has had all those decades to become his own man. To learn from his own experiences. Yes, he had a starting point,
but he’s at a completely different spot now He’s not the same man
he was when he left the Institute. He’s changed. He’s matured. He’s become a different person. We don’t know how much of Nick’s personality
comes from the original Nick as a program or evolved within
the new Nick as he lived his life. The Nick Valentine we meet dislikes sarcasm. He does so because
he recognizes sarcasm for what it is. Sarcasm is a coping mechanism
by those who have unresolved anger. It’s not humor. It’s hostility disguised as humor. It’s irony used to mock another human being. It’s fundamentally unkind, and Nick Valentine
hates it when people are unkind for a good reason: many people have been unkind to him his entire life. So when the Sole Survivor is sarcastic,
when the Sole Survivor is unkind, Nick Valentine is one of the few companions who doesn’t just laugh it off. He will sometimes,
but usually he gets in your face about it. Especially if the Sole Survivor is sarcastic
at the worst of times. Instead, Nick believes the Sole Survivor
should be sincere. The Sole Survivor should be honest.
The Sole Survivor should be kind. Nick is honest and upfront and kind. He treats respectable companions
with a great deal of respect. But he’s bad at keeping secrets. He’s honest to a fault. He understands and knows exactly who Deacon is and he talks about it openly. Imagine him having this conversation
in the middle of Diamond City. Diamond City which is being observed by
the Institute who use their watchers. It’s no wonder it makes Deacon a little uncomfortable.
Somethings should not be spoken of in public. But Nick Valentine is not a fan of secrets. Nick Valentine’s job is to uncover and expose secrets which is one reason why he likes Piper so well.
He and Piper live in the same city. They’re neighbors. They both equally dislike the Institute because of what the Institute does to their neighbors. And they have similar jobs. Piper is a reporter seeking to uncover the truth. Nick is a detective who also uncovers the truth. which is why Piper is the only person in the entire Commonwealth whom even Nick Valentine will flirt with. *laugh* Nick Valentine, the synth who cannot be romanced. Nick Valentine who was always about business:
even he has a soft spot for Piper. He is compelled to question the Sole Survivor’s judgment when the Sole Survivor goes off gallivanting with companions who do not have scruples. But even though he questions your judgment,
he’s never unkind to these people. He still treats them with human dignity. Especially if they are first kind to him. Whether or not these personality traits originated in the flesh and blood Nick Valentine. They live on only in the Nick Valentine we know. The synth, the detective, the decent human being. And that, ladies and gentlemen,
is a character profile on Nick Valentine. He is such a fascinating character, and
Bethesda put so much time and energy into him that sometimes it may be worth it to just replay the entire game using just Nick as your companion. He has something to say for almost every event in the game. What are your thoughts on good ol’ Nick Valentine? Do you like him as much as I do, or do you think that he’s an annoying robot, a dirty filthy synth that should be destroyed
like all of the others? Ad Victoriam! Let me know in the comment section below. I read all of your comments and I use your comments as inspiration for my future videos. Which character profile should I do next? I’ve done a number of character profiles for Fallout 4 and for other games including Fallout New Vegas. Let me know the character profile you would like to see next in the comment section below. I publish a new video 6 days a week, so if you want to make sure that
you don’t miss my next character profile, be sure to subscribe and click that
bell notification button. And did you know that I’ve got a t-shirt shop? That’s right, folks.
If you’re interested in a Fallout or oxhorn themed T-shirt, you can find a link to my shop in the description below. And if you like what I do, and you want to support me in a more personal way, consider becoming one of my patrons on Patreon. Patreon Subscribers gain access to a private channel on my discord server, as well as a bunch of other cool oxhorn perks. But more than anything ladies and gentlemen I’m just so glad you’re watching this video with me today. Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning, bright and early with a brand new video.