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Institute super mutant
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A pair of super mutants in the wasteland

Institute super mutants are a creature found in Fallout 4. These appear to be mutants similar to Vault 87 super mutants.


The super mutants of the Commonwealth are a different strain from either Vault 87 super mutants or Mariposa super mutants. While they possess the imposing musculature and resilience of the former, they have a level of intelligence on par with the dumber examples of the latter. They are capable of following a chain of command, erecting fortifications,[1] and even setting up traps and ambushes - such as at Trinity Tower, where Fist deliberately used Rex Goodman as bait to lure humans and weed out the weak super mutants among his host. They are also capable of speaking like normal humans, unlike their practically feral brethren from the Capital Wasteland, and consider themselves the superior race of the Commonwealth.[2]

All Commonwealth super mutants are the result of The Institute's research into FEV,[3] which began in 2178 under the auspices of Doctor Frederick. Research on samples acquired by the team was authorized by the Directorate and the program began despite the objections of some members of BioScience.[4] Both women and men were abducted from the Commonwealth and submerged in The Institute's modified FEV, their mutations carefully tracked and extensively investigated. Successful mutations would be monitored to ensure survivability, then tagged and discarded.[5] In layman's terms, The Institute was simply releasing super mutants into the wild, creating a scourge on the Commonwealth that lasted for years.[6] In fact, the first super mutants attacked human settlements as early as 2180.[7] Their actions were even more heinous considering the fact that in case the mutation destabilized, it would create horrifying behemoths: Warped, immensely powerful giants with a fierce territorial instinct.[8]

The research was intended to produce effective synthetic organics, but it ground to a halt in March 2224. Despite perfecting two FEV strains, the accumulated radiation damage in test subjects provided an insurmountable barrier to further development.[9] Just three years later, in 2227, the organic synth project experienced a breakthrough due to the acquisition of Shaun and his undamaged pre-War genetic code. The third generation synth project was spun off from the FEV research initiative. The FEV research effort continued for several more decades, despite producing no useful data - except for manufacturing more super mutants for the surface to contend with.[10][11] When Brian Virgil succeeded Dr Syverson as head of the project in April 2286, it became evident that FEV experimentation ran its course and served no useful purpose, not with the availability of third generation synths.[12] Eventually, as Virgil's conscience took its toll, the scientist lodged a formal complaint with the Directorate.[10] When no reaction came, Virgil rebelled and escaped the Institute after transforming himself into a super mutant, destroying as much of the project as he could.[13]


Super mutants employ crude armor, fashioned out of junk. While it appears flimsy, the super mutants have inherent resistance to ballistic, energy, and poison damage, on top of total immunity to radiation. In combat, they rely on simpler weapons - melee implements, frag grenades, lower grade rifles (pipe rifles, assault rifles, laser rifles), and even miniguns and missile launchers among higher level mutants. They also employ mutant hounds as pets and guard dogs.[14]

As such, super mutants can be a considerable threat if engaged in the open and without scouting the area, especially in places like the Revere Satellite Array, where missile launcher mutants occupy the high ground and can hit their targets pretty much anywhere. The best way to counter the threat would be to scout the area beforehand and prioritize high threat targets like super mutant suiciders or the aforementioned mutants with heavy weapons.

The situation is complicated further by the way the spawning lists are structured. Super mutants do not follow any specific loadout and their armor is always randomly selected from a generous list of outfits and possible helmets. As such, it's possible to encounter a fully armor skirmisher and a half-naked warlord. Caution is advised.


Super mutant



The following map contains all the spawn locations on the world map (excluding interiors or harvested items)


Institute super mutants appear in Fallout 4.

Behind the scenes

Originally, Super Mutants were designed to have a softer and more approachable face to emphasize the human nature of a super mutant (as seen below). However, the more "thuggish" face was chosen instead.[15]


  1. Prydwen terminals; Scribe Neriah's Terminal, Entry 0769-CM22
  2. Fallout 4 loading screen hints: "Super Mutants are stronger and more resilient than humans, and consider themselves the Commonwealth's superior race."
  3. FEV lab
  4. FEV research notes: "Uhh... This is Doctor Elliott, with the official report for the Directorate from BioScience. The date is, umm, August 2178. I'm pleased to report that, as has been the case during my tenure, crop yields exceed expectations. In point of fact, everything down here is fine... with... one notable exception. Doctor Frederick has informed me that the Directorate has pre-approved research on samples of the FEV virus, which he already has in his possession. Now, I'm not one to question the Directorate... you all know that. I don't even want to know where this came from. But... well, this is troubling. Dangerous, possibly. I will do my best to make sure risks are minimized, but I really do hope that the consequences are understood."
  5. The Institute terminals; Terminal, Subject CM-153: "Baseline: Male, early 30s. Moderate overall health.
    Post-submersion results: Physical condition consistent with standard results. Mental acuity charting slightly higher than average.
    Subject Status: TAGGED, DISCARDED"
  6. Preston Garvey: "Those Super Mutants have been raiding across the Commonwealth for years. I'm glad to have the Brotherhood's help clearing them out."
  7. Fallout 4 loading screen hints: "The Minutemen first rose to prominence in the year 2180, when they defended Diamond City against a horde of Super Mutant attackers."
  8. The Sole Survivor: "Do you remember Edgar Swann?"
    Brian Virgil: "Swann? ...Yes, I saw his file. He was one of our first test subjects, years ago. His mutations destabilized. Started turning into a Behemoth. ...You think that could happen to me? Maybe I'm fine for a few months, a few years, but... god. I couldn't live like that."
    (Brian Virgil's dialogue)
  9. BioScience division report, 2224: "This is Doctor Elliott, reporting for the BioScience division. March 2224. We just received another batch of... subjects... but as my previous report stated, we're at an impasse here. More of the same won't help. I am officially echoing the team's position: the most likely progress for our research on synthetic organics requires new avenues of exploration. The two most promising strains of FEV have been adapted to an ideal state, but... we're still missing something. Additional Commonwealth subjects will not help. It's the same problem across the board: exposure to too much radiation."
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Institute terminals: "2287.2.10
    Entered By: Virgil.B
    Nothing new. Always the same. Have entered formal complaint with Directorate; these tests are not bringing in any valuable information. The organics project was spun off decades ago. Why do we insist on continuing this?"
  11. The Institute terminals: "2277.7.10
    Entered By: Syverson.C
    Latest round of testing complete. Results are all within expected parameters. Informed Dr. Zimmer directly, as he had ordered the tests personally. He seemed annoyed with the results; unsure what he was looking for. He declined to specify why he wanted the tests run to begin with."
  12. The Institute terminals: "2286.4.10
    Entered by: Virgil.B
    I have officially assumed the lead role on the project after Dr. Syverson's passing.
    Latest round of subjects show results similar to previous test runs over last 5 years. No statistical deviation noted.
    Synthetic organics continue to perform well; the necessity of further tests is unexplained."
  13. Brian Virgil Personal Log 0176
  14. Fallout 4 loading screen hints: "Super Mutants are often accompanied by Mutant Hounds, monstrous dogs that are just as dangerous as their masters."
  15. Jonah Lobe on Twitter