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Fallout Wiki
For the Fallout character, see Chris Avellone (Fallout).
For the Fallout 2 character, see Chris Avellone (Fallout 2).
For the Fallout Tactics character, see Chris Avellone (Fallout Tactics).

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Christopher Frederic Avellone (born September 27, 1971) is a video game designer who has worked on Fallout 2, Van Buren (the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios), and Fallout: New Vegas. He also compiled the Fallout Bible.


Before Interplay

Avellone is a descendant of Sicilian immigrants. After receiving his high school diploma at the renowned Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, he attended the College of William & Mary in Virginia (with Todd Howard) and completed with a Bachelors in English. During that time, he wrote short stories and scripts for role-playing games, some of which were published in the Dungeons & Dragons magazine Dragon.

Through Bruce Harlick, then an editor with Hero Games, he received the chance to write a book for the role-playing game Dark Champions. After several publications with Hero Games, he decided that game design was a career option.

Black Isle Studios

Steve Peterson, one of the founders of Hero Games, provided Avellone an interview with Interplay, a large game publisher at the time. His knowledge of role-playing games and his ideas impressed Interplay, and he was offered a position as a game designer. Around 1995 or 1996, Avellone moved to Orange County, where Interplay was located.

Although he was offered the opportunity to work on Fallout, he instead worked on Descent to Undermountain, a decision he later came to regret.[1]

Avellone got involved with the Fallout series when production was started at Black Isle Studios on Fallout 2. While many feel that his "feel" for the Fallout canon was lacking, the design of New Reno has been praised by just as many and Chris says that other areas (such as the raiders area) were perhaps lesser developed due to the extra emphasis he placed on this area.[1] Following the completion of New Reno, he helped complete Vault City and worked on the special encounters as well[1] While he enjoyed his work on the game he felt that a lot of mistakes were made during development including the lack of overall control over a united feel, mistakes that would go on to become the basis of his game design philosophy.[1]

Later, he became the lead designer of a project codenamed Van Buren, which was canceled in 2003 and revealed to have been Black Isle's attempt at developing Fallout 3. He wrote the Tibbets Prison design document.

Aside from Fallout games, Avellone was also the lead designer of Planescape: Torment.

Obsidian Entertainment

After leaving Black Isle Studios, Avellone, together with Feargus Urquhart, founded Obsidian Entertainment.

At Obsidian, Avellone has worked on such titles as, Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expansion, Mask of the Betrayer, and was lead designer on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and Alpha Protocol. He also wrote All Roads, a prequel to Fallout: New Vegas, and has also written a few Star Wars comics such as "Unseen, Unheard" for the Star Wars Tales series of comics and a few issues of Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures comic series, such as "Heroes on Both Sides" and "Impregnable," all of which have been published by Dark Horse Comics. He was a writer on Fallout: New Vegas and lead designer on New Vegas add-ons. He also co-wrote the lyrics for the song "Begin Again" featured in Dead Money add-on.


Avellone announced on his Twitter account on June 9, 2015, that he had left Obsidian Entertainment[2] in order to use his talents as a freelancer[3] working on titles such as the reboot of Prey[4] and System Shock.[5]

Avellone was also involved in the development of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, Dying Light 2, and The Waylanders, though the developers of these games distanced themselves from him and his work following accusations of sexual harassment in June 2020.[6]


Chris has been referenced directly in many Fallout games. In Fallout players can encounter a mercenary who bears his name, and in Fallout 2, when fighting alongside Marcus, he will yell out "Chris Avellone loves you!!" before attacking. Avellone is also referenced in Fallout Tactics through both an off screen location and as the Mayor of Springfield.

When asked about the Fallout Tactics dialogue, Chris Avellone stated that if he had realized the character was being included he likely would have asked that it be removed due to it breaking the fourth wall.[7]


The biggest lesson [learned from Fallout 2] was if you give the player the ability to create a certain type of character, make sure that you honour the player's character build. What I mean by that is if you give a character to option to dump 500 points into speech, make sure they have an experience thats very cool and is appropriate for a speech based character. The same thing is true if you're a stupid combat monster, if you're a sneaky thief who no one ever sees... If you're allowing the players to build a character like that with the rule set, then make sure your content supports that experience.— Chris Avellone, Extrasode episode 61
There are issues with domesticating tribals and forcing them into one view of the world, there are issues with treating a wonder of the old world as nothing more than a bloody battleground, there are issues with propping old flags from Rome and California without a clear understanding of what those flags represent, and the long-range perspectives of many characters you'll encounter in the world have strong opinions about what's going on in the present, all born from the elements above. The question of the Old World making itself heard in the present - in the Mojave - is a core theme in Fallout: New Vegas, and whether overt or not, we hope it sinks in with the player as well.— Chris Avellone on the themes of Fallout: New Vegas, Developer Diary: What's Old is New Again

Employment history

January 1995May 2003Interplay Entertainment/Black Isle StudiosLead Designer
June 2003May 2015Obsidian EntertainmentCreative Director/Chief Creative Officer/Co-Owner


Fallout series

YearTitleCredited as/for
1998Fallout 2Designer
2002Fallout BibleWriter
2003Van BurenLead Designer
2010All RoadsWriter
2010Fallout: New VegasSenior Designer
2011Dead MoneyProject Director
2011Old World BluesProject Director
2011Lonesome RoadProject Director

Other work

YearTitleCredited as/for
1997Star Trek: Starfleet AcademyAdditional Mission Design
1999Planescape: TormentLead Designer
2000Icewind DaleDesigner
2002Icewind Dale IIDesigner
2004Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith LordsLead Designer
2006Neverwinter Nights 2Creative Director
2010Alpha ProtocolLead Designer
2011Dungeon Siege IIIChief Creative Officer
2014Wasteland 2Highpool and Ag Center Design
2014South Park: The Stick of TruthChief Creative Officer
2015Pillars of EternityNarrative Design
2016Torment: Tides of NumeneraWriting
2016Divinity: Original Sin IIAdditional Narrative Design
2018Pillars of Eternity II: DeadfireAdditional Writing
2019Star Wars Jedi: Fallen OrderStory and Writing Consultant
TBADying Light 2Head Narrative Designer



External links