Vault-Tec conducted more than a fair share of sick and twisted experiments in their Vaults. Asking me to choose which I think is the worst would be like asking me which Ben & Jerry’s flavor I like the most.
What I can tell you, however, is that Vault 75 is definitely up there on the list. Initially, I thought it was a knockoff version of the SPARTAN-II program from Halo. But as I ventured deeper into the Vault, I quickly realized it was much worse than what Doctor Halsey put the first generation of Spartans through.
But if you want to discover the horrors of the Vault 75 experiment yourself, you’re going to have to make your way through a modern-day menace; the Gunners. They’ve taken up residence in Vault 75 and won’t take kindly to a snooping Vault Dweller.
In this Vault 75 Guide, we’ve got some mercs to take down, ladies and gentlemen, so let’s get to work.
Based in the ruins of the pre-War town of Malden, Malden Middle School is in a hot zone of activity. To the northwest is the Medford Memorial Hospital, which is a super mutant hideout with a Suicider always hanging around outside. A synth patrol squad spawns in this area, and sometimes a deathclaw is roaming around here as well.
Southeast of Malden Middle School is Med-Tek Research, an old-world medical facility. If you’re pals with MacCready, you’ll find yourself coming here for his companion quest. Not far from Med-Tek Research is one of several distress signals that can initiate The Lost Patrol side quest for the Brotherhood of Steel.
The Purpose of Vault 75
Vault-Tec liked to prop themselves up as saviors of the common folk from the possible impending doom of nuclear war. They took advantage of the people’s fear to get them to step inside their Vaults as unknowing participants in their sick experiments.
Vault-Tec used their lies to rope in people from all avenues of life; politicians, the upper-class, drug addicts, musicians, etc. The targeted demographic of Vault 75 were the children of Malden’s schools.
Vault-Tec allowed all nearby families in Malden to register for spots in Vault 75. When the bombs began to fall, those who had been granted spots in Vault 75 made their way inside what they presumed to be a safe place. It was far from it, however.
Vault security immediately began to separate the children from the adults. As security staff ferried the children to the atrium, some stayed behind and mercilessly executed every adult inside.
Vault 75 was an authorized military experiment to perfect human genetics to breed generations of peak-level humans in both physicality and intellect. The scientific team tested the children extensively, to a degree so severe that most would consider it torture.
They trained the children and taught them that the purpose of it all was to prepare them for Uptopland (Their name for the wasteland). They needed to be strong to venture out into Uptopland and help rebuild the world into a better place. But, of course, it was all a lie.
There were no winners in Vault 75. There was a graduation tradition in Vault 75 when the subjects turned 18-years old. Children who scored high marks on the tests would have their genomes harvested before, ahem, disappearing. Those who did poorly on the tests were killed outright upon reaching 18.
Children who did poorly on the physical tests but scored highly on the intelligence tests were the only ones with a chance to see past 18. If they displayed a level of obedience, Vault-Tec could decide to induct them into the scientific staff. All new recruits to the science team would remain separated from the children for many years to prevent them from recognizing their former fellow test subjects.
The experiment of Vault 75 went on for many years, but it turns out torturing a bunch of children into essentially becoming super soldiers isn’t the greatest of ideas. They gave the children the ability to overpower them, and one day, a revolt occurred. We never get the exact details, but it was fast and vicious, and the experiment of Vault 75 came to an abrupt end.
It is unknown how long Vault 75 sat as an empty crypt before the Gunners came along and made it one of their bases in the Commonwealth.
- Grognak the Barbarian #5
- Science bobblehead
- Vault-Tec lunchbox
Getting to Vault 75
The safest way to get to Malden Middle School and Vault 75 is to travel from the friendly Greentop Nursery northeast of Malden Middle School. Coming from the west will put you on a path chock-full of enemies that will distract you from your primary target.
After you discover Malden Middle School, feel free to explore the exterior for some minor loot in the form of crafting components. The main doors to the school are barred shut, so you have to find another way inside. Head for the cage near the office, go down the stairs, and into the basement of Malden Middle School.
Note that once you enter the basement, two things will happen:
- Malden Middle School will now be Vault 75 on your map.
- If you leave the cell and travel back to Vault 75, there will be traps outside like frag mines and Tesla arcs. One of the frag mines is placed directly on the fast-travel spawn point. Surprise!
As soon as you enter the basement, you’ll be able to see the symbol of the Gunners on the wall up ahead. You know what you’re getting into now, so strap up and get ready.
In the first chamber is a machinegun turret and several Gunners. Take care of them before looting at your leisure. If you head down to the lower level, you’ll notice a lot of teddy bears and wooden blocks.
It would seem that some of the children who became test subjects of Vault 75 were very young. Check out the terminal in the nearby office to learn about the admissions protocols of the Vault. The quest Vault 75 will automatically begin when you do.
After you’re done looting, head for the elevator and take it down to get further into the Vault. The firefight upstairs will likely have alerted the Gunners down here, so stay ready. Exit the elevator and look behind the big storage container in the left corner.
Behind it is a skeleton with a Vault-Tec lunchbox. Keep exploring down into the Vault, dealing with Gunners as you go. Soon you will come across a locked door to the lab area. To get inside, you need to find a lab access card.
Head past the floating can of purified water until you reach what appears to have been a mess hall with a lone Gunner at the end. There’s a kitchen to the right with two Gunners, and several Gunners will be on the upper levels as well. On the left is a makeshift playground, complete with a baseball diamond, swings, seesaw, and toys. There will be two more Gunners inside here.
Loot the whole place before heading to the bottom right side of the mess hall and into the locker room. Use the sliding door at the end to progress deeper into the Vault. There is another locked door that you need a lab access card to unlock on the far side. Instead, head left and down the stairs.
There will be a few more Gunners here to deal with, but nothing too serious. Explore the bedrooms, medical bays, and bathrooms for some more loot before taking a left and making your way down the hall.
You’ll come across what appears to be a weapons storage room, and just further ahead is a combat simulation room that Vault-Tec used to train the test subjects. There’s a Gunner commander on the upper floor of the diner. Kill the commander and take the lab access card from the nearby locked tool case. If you want, you can do the combat simulation test yourself, but there are no rewards for doing so.
Double back the way you came after you’ve looted everything, and head to the lab door across from the mess hall locker room.
Vault 75 Lab Area
Once inside, you’ll see a door on the left to the Overseer’s office that requires an admin access card. The door straight ahead is the first lab door near the atrium entrance.
Take the sliding door on the right to push on. Head up the stairs until you enter a chamber that appears to be barracks and a training area with several Gunners up ahead. After you kill them, it’s time to get some more backstory on Vault 75.
Go down the stairs on the right and access the research terminal. You can learn about some of the training exercises the science team put the test subjects through. The entries on the terminal appear to have been written by an unnamed graduate who successfully made it onto the science team.
It looks like the test subjects had beliefs that not everyone went up top after graduation and that at least some graduates became members of the science team.
It’s clear from the entries that this graduate has no idea of the true purpose of the Vault. Once, when rejected by the Overseer to have supplies sent from up top to refurbish the combat simulation room, the graduate wonders why it’s such a big deal. Clearly, the graduate doesn’t know that the other graduates are sent down under rather than up top.
On the left side of the chamber is an assistant’s terminal. Two trainees, James and Rohit, are keeping correspondence with one another. They’re fed up with life in the Vault and are planning to lead a revolt.
You learn that they planned to pinch a bullet or two at a time from the range for when the time is ready. They also discussed plans to steal enough gunpowder for a fuse to blow their way out of the Vault.
After you get done reading both terminals, head back upstairs and through the sliding door at the north end of the chamber. One Gunner will be inside this room, and through the door up ahead will be two more Gunners. One of them will have an admin access card. Also inside this room is the Science bobblehead.
Unfortunately, Bethesda really dropped the ball with this bobblehead, as all it does is give you an extra hacking attempt at terminals. It’s the same effect in Nick Valentine‘s companion perk, Close to Metal.
It’s a useless effect since you can exit and re-enter a terminal whenever you’re on your last attempt. But it’s nice for the bobblehead collection, anyway. Let’s wrap this up and get into the Overseer’s office.
Vault 75 Admin Area
Head back to the entrance of the lab area and use your newly-acquired admin access card to get inside the Overseer’s quarters. Once you head up the stairs, you’ll be in a room with a lone Gunner. Dispose of them and then access the chief scientist’s terminal to learn all about the twisted experiments they did.
For those of you who played Fallout 3, you’ll be in for something of a shock. One of the names mentioned in the terminal as one of the head scientists of the project was none other than Stanislaus Braun. That’s right, that nutjob from Vault 112 was involved in Vault 75.
Is Braun the evilest known person in the Fallout universe? I sure can’t think of anyone who tops him.
Pick the lock on the sliding door to the right and loot the bathroom before heading to the northern sliding door. Head up the stairs, and you’ll be in the Overseer’s office with the final two Gunners. Kill them and then access the Overseer’s terminal. Doing so will complete the Vault 75 quest.
By reading the entries on this terminal, you’ll find out that the final Overseer was worried about the newest recruit to the science team.
There’s no official confirmation, but it may be the same recruit from the research terminal entries. Entries from the assistant terminal suggest that Rohit and James were getting help from a graduate. It appears the Overseer was correct to be worried, but too little too late. Good riddance, I say.
There’s a Master-locked safe on the right side of the Overseer’s desk and an Expert-locked door to the Overseer’s quarters. If you don’t have the lockpicking skills, you can use the terminal to unlock both of them.
Go inside the Overseer’s quarters, and there will be a copy of Grognak the Barbarian on the bed. After claiming the final prize of Vault 75, head down the stairs on the left.
The door on the left leads to the playground area, and on the right, the mess hall. That’s it for Vault 75. Head back down the atrium to use the elevator to get back up to surface level. It’s time to head home to count your spoils.
Scattered throughout the Commonwealth are piles of wooden blocks. Many make direct reference to the infamous Gary Vault of Fallout 3 by spelling out Gary.
You can find four of these piles throughout Vault 75 in the dorm rooms.
Post-Endgame: New Enemies
If you put off exploring Vault 75 until after finishing the main quest, then the enemies you encounter here will change. Synths spawn here if you sided with the Brotherhood of Steel or Minutemen. If you sided with the Railroad or Institute, Brotherhood members take over Vault 75.
Question: Can I Get Any Vault 75 Jumpsuits from Vault 75?
Answer: Unfortunately, no. Vault 75 and Vault 95 don’t have any intact vault suits.
Question: Is Vault 75 the Birthplace of the Modern-Day Gunners?
Answer: It’s a popular fan theory, but there’s no conclusive evidence that the escapees of Vault 75 go on to become the Gunners faction.
Question: Do We Find Out What happened to the Test Subjects after Escaping the Vault?
Answer: No. The timeline isn’t clear on even what year the trainees escaped. We have no idea where they went after their revolt.
Maybe this is a hot take, but I’m a little disappointed in the Vault exploration in Fallout 4. I think it pales in comparison to both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, and I find Vault 75 to be the most disappointing.
Vault 75 isn’t bad, but part of me feels like it’s a little too short. The Science bobblehead should be a nice reward, but it isn’t due to a poor decision made by Bethesda. I would’ve expected something are fortifiable as a Vault to be better garrisoned, but there aren’t that many Gunners here.
The backstory of Vault 75 is by far the best aspect of it, but I really would’ve loved more terminal entries. They give us enough to get a pretty clear idea of what happened here, but something still felt missing. A little more meat on this story’s bones could’ve left me fuller after finishing my plate.
But I won’t pretend like there’s ever been a Fallout game where I was satisfied with every location in the wasteland. Fallout 4 has plenty of other areas to explore, Vaults and otherwise, and they’re all out there waiting for us. So throw on some tunes from Diamond City Radio and hit the road for some more adventures. I’ll see you next time here at Wasteland Gamers!