A rather nasty, game-breaking bug in Fallout 4 underlines why you should never delete any save files in a Bethesda Softworks role-playing game if you can ever help it. Don't be like me, girls and boys. I just lost 25 hours' worth of progress.
The bug: It's possible to develop permanently blurred vision, akin to the view (first- or third-person) when you have taken a critical hit to the head, until you heal it with a Stimpak. Here is what the entrance to Diamond City looks like when you have this bug.
I have no idea how I picked it up. It must have happened last night on the walk back from The Memory Den in my second playthrough (where I am not using fast travel). Google "blurred Fallout 4" and you'll kick up panicked threads such as this one at GameFAQs. Others have reported glitches where their vision is in black-and-white (also an effect of taking a critical hit). There appears to be no cure for this. I've tried:
- Resting in a bed I owned.
- Treating myself with RadAway and Stimpaks.
- Changing my attire.
- Saving and re-loading the file.
- Developing an addiction, radiation poisoning, or injuring myself to then visit Dr. Sun for treatment in Diamond City.
Other drastic changes, such as getting facial reconstruction surgery (completely changing your character's appearance), also have not worked. Still, my visit to Dr. Sun was enlightening. Here you can see him treat me for minor radiation poisoning. When the procedure is finished, it shows I am still suffering from radiation poisoning.
I can heal myself with RadAway and remove all rads; returning to Dr. Sun then shows I am radiation free and he has nothing to offer me. Then, as a test, I went back to the waste pile at Jalbert Brothers' salvage yard, filled up my radiation sickness bar to half health, returned to Dr. Sun and he still couldn't cure me.
Bethesda's role-playing games have had a kind of accepted shabbiness when it comes to glitches, somewhat like a good-hearted goof-off who turns his homework in late. A guy who heard my anguish on Twitter mentioned that his character shows two permanently broken arms, even though he still plays at full health. "Annoying but can still play," he said.
That glitch is eye-twitching; this one is eye-watering. It's very disappointing that a gameplay feature which alters the visual information couldn't be completely bulletproofed. That said, I have no idea what triggered the glitch, and an open-world RPG such as Fallout 4 has simply too many scenarios, decisions and combinations such that everything can be tested and checked off.
The wasteland is full of hard lessons
Now, it is definitely my fault that I deleted save files leading up to this, such that I am faced with a total loss of the character. Why would I do something that stupid? I have a 500 GB Xbox One that is constantly in the 98th or 99th percentile of its hard drive capacity. So at the end of each night I've gone back through my save files and thrown out all the old ones, starting over the next morning with a new master save. When I got up this morning, I noticed the blur.
A Bethesda representative confirmed for me today that save files take up 10 MB and the game does not automatically delete or cycle out old saves as memory fills up (they have no way of telling if something is a separate character or was a major decision-making point). Even so, it would take about 500 game saves to equal 1 percent of my hard drive. I have to acknowledge my own stupidity and OCD is directly responsible for my loss, where this bug, bad as it is, is only proximately culpable.
While I hope the fact the glitch involves Dr. Sun means it is patch addressable, and a game save could be repaired by visiting him after the game is updated, Bethesda has only recently put out a beta patch for its PC editions of Fallout 4. A full patch will follow, and then console patches will come later. I'm not sure when that will happen. I have, no kidding, thought about accepting this near-sightedness as a character limitation and trying to role play that, but it destroys the beauty of the game. There will be a major scene when I join the Brotherhood of Steel that is simply ruined by this glitch.
So I will re-roll my character — which is a shame, as I was really enjoying what she'd become, to say nothing of all the random items she had found or modded to make her unique. There's no getting those back. On the bright side, I know to take the Scrapper perk earlier and not screw up my starting SPECIAL the way I did in this play-through. (Also, in the first mission: If you dismiss Dogmeat from the Museum of Freedom after finding the fusion core, wait a little while and then put on the power armor, you can draw out the Deathclaw early, let it and the dumbass raiders duke it out, and pick the bones.)
I will also save every last goddamn file going forward. I'll delete games off the hard drive if I need to make more room for them. But when Bethesda gets back from Thanksgiving, fixing the blurred-vision bug really should be at the top of their to-do list.