Pittsburg has been through hell in the past two hundred years. At first the city was almost wiped off the face of the map during the war between America and the Chinese. When the remnants of the US army who call themselves the Brotherhood of Steel came through, killing all the mutants and monsters that had risen up, taking whatever technology they could salvage and leaving the city for dead. It didn’t die though. Raiders have taken over and are bringing slaves in to work the still standing steel mills. The slaves are subject to a plague that lowers their intelligence, changing their genetic structure and slowly turning them into the savage animalistic mutants known as Trogs (with children being most prone to the mutated disease) but the Raiders are holding a cure for the strange plague. And that’s where I come into the story presented in The Pitt, one of the downloadable expansions for Fallout 3. As we’re still not online we had to wait for the Game Of The Year edition to come out, containing all the downloadable packs so I’m playing this fresh now while others have had access to them over the past few months. Still, if you haven’t played it yet you should be warned that this post contains massive spoilers and the comments probably will too.
I left going to The Pitt for quite a while as I levelled up and got back into the game after not playing it since last year. I wandered the wasteland, completing quests, making friends and enemies, investing in shops and when I finally got to The Pitt I figured I was ready for anything that these Raiders could throw at me while I heroically rescued the slaves. Disguising myself as a runaway slave who’d gotten turned around and found himself back where he’d escaped from got me in, but it meant giving up on my hard earned items. Luckily a contact of mine concealed a weak weapon on me and promised to sneak my items to me later on. I set to work finding a new contact amongst the slaves and, in the process of introducing myself to her, I got roped into working in the steelyard, collecting pre-smelted steel ingots while dodging the Trogs that had taken over the area. The bodies of others who’d failed in this task littered the steelyard, and gave me a good source of weapons and ammunition needed to keep me alive so that I could return victorious. It was then that my contact came up with the idea of me fighting for my freedom in the gladiatorial battles held within the mill. I fought, I won, I got the chance to meet with the leader of the Raiders who ran the place, and the chance to swipe the cure which would help free the slaves.
And it was at that point that The Pitt proved itself to be a standout expansion with some great ideas. The cure you’ve been sent after is inside a baby. The baby has been born with an immunity to all forms of radiation based mutations including the plague that is hurting all the slaves. The parents of the baby are studying her carefully, trying to replicate her immunities so they can pass it on to everyone in the city and, once the cure has been perfected, they can stop kidnapping people into slavery and build the city properly across generations. So now I’m faced with a choice: kidnap a newborn baby and hand her over to enemies of her parents who would most likely treat her badly and not care for her while performing possibly painful and intrusive tests on her while I kill off the Raiders who keep these people enslaved, or leave the slaves to their plague and take down the revolution that would both free them and ultimately destroy the city over a couple of years time. Put simply there are no right answers to this situation, no specific good choice and bad choice, even the rewards you get at the end are the same so there’s nothing but your conscience to lead you through the choice. It’s absolutely brilliant and I wish more games would have a look at that decision for an idea of how to present moral decisions that actually matter and play on your conscience.
Oh, and in case anyone’s wondering, I couldn’t bring myself to kidnap the baby, not even to quickly save the countless lives of the slaves that will die while her parents find the cure more slowly and carefully.