So, remember that train you saw in Fallout 3‘s “Broken Steel” DLC? Well, funny story: that wasn’t actually a train. It was really just a NPC (non-playable character) with a train car-shaped hat that could run really, really fast. Let me explain:
Recently shared on 4chan by a user who discovered this in the Gamebryo engine code, the image above shows the NPC in question wearing the train car hat. You see, Gamebryo — the engine that Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas were built on — was not designed with vehicles in mind. Think about it: whenever you saw a car in the Fallout games, it was merely a relic from before the nuclear fallout. So rather than trying to update the engine, which would surely have taken an excruciating amount of time and additional funding, Bethesda Game Studios just pasted a train onto the head of a NPC and ramped his speed up significantly.
Many users on the 4chan thread as well as on Reddit seem upset by this revelation. But, if you really think about it, this is a brilliant move from the developer. Think of how many times a Bethesda game came out and it was full of glitches. So rather than create a piece of DLC to add vehicular movement, Bethesda found a brilliant work-around that no one noticed for over six years. Even then, you had to be inspecting the game engine to notice.
Luckily, Fallout 4 is being built on the heavily-modified Creation engine from Skyrim, so this most likely will not be an issue. But if anything else indeed comes up in future DLC that Bethesda does not anticipate, I cannot wait to find out what they do to hide it. Future game developers, take note of this.
UPDATE: Thanks to PC Gamer for going even further in-depth on this story. It turns out the train isn’t actually a hat, but a very big hand. And more importantly, it isn’t a NPC that powers the train, but the player.
Above is a player image without a right hand. The train acts as an arm piece. Then, when the player gets in the train, an animation script is activated causing the player to power the Presidential Metro car. All in all, still a remarkable piece of design from the Bethesda team here.