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In Fallout 4, after the Sole Survivor's son is taken from the vault, they are refrozen in the cryogenic tube. After escaping from that, he or she goes on the quest to get their son back.

I haven't yet finished the game and maybe I didn't pay enough attention at the start, but to me it seems like the Sole Survivor is absolutely convinced Shaun is still alive and hasn't yet, well, died of old age.

When and how does s/he learn how much time has elapsed since the kidnapping? Do they know this from the start?

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Yes, later on during the main quest the Sole Survivor does figure out how much time has passed since Shaun was kidnapped.

During the quest Institutionalized, when the Sole Survivor first visits the Institute, they meet the leader of the Institute, Father. It turns out Father is Shaun, and 60 years have passed since he was kidnapped. Up until this time, the Sole Survivor assumes about 10 years has passed since the kidnapping.

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  • Can you add some information about the last statement inside the spoiler? I agree with this answer and have upvoted, but I don't remember how the last part of your spoiler came about.
    – nhgrif
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 15:52
  • @nhgrif at the very least F****r did assert that the Sole Survivor would not be surprised to see S***n as a 10 year old boy - hence the little surprise Sole Survivor gets when inside the I*******e. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 16:49
  • Did anyone else realise this? There is clues... everywhere. If you only care to look and listen. (The first one coming from the robot...). Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 19:32
  • @nhgrif I can't remember when it came about either - I know it was early on in the game, though. I'll see if I can find anything more about it.
    – Adeese
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 19:36
  • @nhgrif I couldn't find anything specific, but if I had to guess it was sometime around Reunions or Dangerous Minds.
    – Adeese
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 19:58

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