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And so, for a generation since its founding, Arroyo has lived in peace, its canyons sheltering it from the outside world. It is home. Your home. But the scars left by the war have not yet healed. And the Earth has not forgotten.— The Narrator, Fallout 2 intro.

Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game is the sequel to the original Fallout. Released in the fall of 1998,Note exclusively for PC, it was developed by Black Isle Studios which, before the release of Fallout 2, had become a full-fledged developer division of publisher Interplay Entertainment.

The story is set 80 years after the original Fallout in 2241. A resident of the village Arroyo known as the Chosen One, who is also the grandchild of the protagonist from the first game, has been tasked to find a G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit). The G.E.C.K. is a device believed to be able to fight back against the village's starvation and drought.


Fallout 2's gameplay is similar to the original Fallout. It is a CRPG or computer role-playing game with turn-based combat and a pseudo-isometric view.

Character attributes

Fallout 2 uses a character creation system called SPECIAL. S.P.E.C.I.A.L is an acronym and initialism of Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. These are the seven basic attributes of every character in the game. They are used to determine the skills and perks of the given character.


Main article: Fallout 2 skills

There are 18 different skills in the game. They are ranked from 0% to 300%. The starting values for those skills at level one are determined by the character's seven basic attributes, but most of those skills would fall between 0% and 50%. Every time a level is gained, the player will be awarded skill points to be used to improve their character's skills, equal to five points plus twice their Intelligence. The player may choose to "tag" three of the 18 skills (though later a fourth skill may be tagged). A tagged skill will improve at twice the normal rate. Some non-player characters can also improve Skills via training.

There are:

Combat skills improve accuracy and (generally) damage with weapons which correspond to that combat skill. For example, the effectiveness of a minigun would be governed by the Big Guns skill, while the effectiveness of a 10mm pistol would be governed by the Small Guns skill.

Active skills may be selected and used on the player, non-player characters, and the environment to accomplish tasks. For example, a player may use First Aid to heal themselves or allies, or use Repair to fix a generator. Active skills can also contribute to the in-game dialogue. For example, someone with a high Science skill could talk to a scientist and get a better response out of them than if they had a low science skill.

Passive skills also contribute to the in-game dialogue, along with various other things throughout the game. However, they can't ever be selected and used as active skills can.


Main article: Fallout 2 books

Books found throughout the game world can improve Small Guns, First Aid, Science, Repair, and Outdoorsman skills, up to a maximum of 91% skill value; using a skill book after that will do nothing to raise the skill any further. Books are scarce early in the game, and the max cap can make books less useful later on. Vault City and San Francisco are good sources of books.

Tools and lockpicks

Main articles: Lockpick, Tool

Lockpicks can make it easier to open locks; note however that not all doors have the code script required for all lockpick types, and the bonus may vary. Normally +20-40%, it can range from +10-50%. Some skills can also be improved while having certain items equipped. (E.g. equipping a lock picks would improve lockpicking skills.) Stimulants can also temporarily boost a player's skills; however, they often have adverse effects such as addiction and withdrawal. As Skills grow higher in rating, they begin to cost more Skill Points to increase.

Traits and perks

At character creation, the player may choose two optional traits. Traits are special character attributes, such as 'Skilled' (which drastically increases the player's skills, but adds an extra level before the player may choose each perk), or 'Jinxed' (enemies have a greater chance of critical attack failures, but so does the player). A Trait normally contains one beneficial effect and one detrimental effect, and are listed below the Perks section in the character sheet. Once a Trait is chosen, it is impossible to change, except by using the "Mutate" Perk which allows the player to change one Trait, but only once.

"Perks" are special elements of the leveling system. Every three levels (or every four if the player chose the "Skilled" Trait), the player is granted a perk of their choosing. Perks grant special effects, most of which are not obtainable via normal play in the game, such as letting the player take more actions per round. Unlike traits, most perks are purely beneficial—they are usually offset only by the infrequency of acquiring them.

Changes from Fallout

Fallout 2 features a much wider array of items, weapons, and armor than Fallout. Most of the items from Fallout returned, but had alternate and upgraded forms: the minigun, for example, is now joined by the Avenger and Vindicator miniguns. Item prices were also increased at stores, making scavenging for items more important. In addition to old, upgraded weapons, several new weapons were introduced for all branches of combat, thus making no combat skill the best, and allowing the player to be powerful with any weapon. The range of enemies was also increased to a wider diversity. The result is a much more complex combat environment.

Skills start off at a lower rate than in the first game, and the various skills are also more important. Previously, skills like Unarmed, Doctor, and Traps were used sparingly, but now, all skills are useful to a degree. The maximum level of a skill was increased from 200% to 300%. Another notable change is that a skill, after reaching 100%, requires more than one skill point to increase, up to six skill points per 1% (2% if the skill is tagged) increase after 200%. The Unarmed skill, in particular, was made much more sophisticated by adding different types of Punches and Kicks depending on the player's Attributes and skill level. Several new Perks were added while most others were retained, allowing a greater degree of customization. The Friendly Foe perk of Fallout is now a default feature in Fallout 2.

Karma is accompanied by Reputation, and while Karma affects the player as a whole, Reputation affects how the player is received in a single town. While Karma is achieved by doing good things and killing villainous characters, Reputation grows based on how the player helps the city, usually by completing sub-quests. By nature, Reputation and Karma tend to grow parallel to each other. As in Fallout, good and evil characters react differently to players with different Karma. Also, the player can acquire certain titles (Gigolo, Made Man, Slaver) based on their actions that also affect the game and how others react to them.

Recruitable non-player characters were very simplistic in the first game, and the only control the player had over them was to designate a specific weapon for the non-player character to use and how far away they should stand. In Fallout 2, team non-player character control became much more sophisticated, with non-player characters being able to gain levels, equip armor and be issued orders before and during combat, ranging from when to run away to when to heal themselves, as well as ordering them to holster their weapons. The non-player characters also possess distinct personalities and characteristics, similar to previous games. The recruiting process has also been made more complex, with some non-player characters refusing to join the player if they have negative Karma or before a certain quest has been completed. Finally, there is a limit to the number of non-player characters a player can recruit (depending on the character's Charisma), as well as a larger number to recruit (over a dozen).

In the original Fallout, subquests in the towns and cities were usually solved within that city, with only a few subquests requiring the player to travel. The cities, fairly isolated except for caravans, were concerned with their own problems. In Fallout 2, however, the cities have a great deal of contact with each other, and with the sole exception of Klamath, actions in one city will affect the state of another, and subquests will often require the player to go back and forth from location to location to kill enemies and deliver messages and items.

The game's overall subject matter was generally more mature, with drugs and prostitution becoming major elements of the setting. The use of strong language remains uncensored, with an optional dialogue filter. In the game, players can join the Mafia, become a Porn Star, get married, and subsequently divorced, and prostitution is a strong recurring theme. Slavery also becomes an important subplot, and players can either side with the Slavers or join their opponents (such as New California Rangers) who try to stamp slavery out. Non-player characters can be bought and sold as slaves, as well.

Speedrunning is much more difficult than in Fallout. In Fallout, players could go straight to the Military Base, destroy it, then travel to the Cathedral and do the same. In Fallout 2, the final areas cannot be accessed until a computer part from Vault 13 is found, and Vault 13, in turn, cannot be found until one of two quests have been completed, thus requiring a great deal of fighting that requires a higher-level character to survive. Also, while the player can recruit allies for the final encounter, there is no way to completely avoid the final boss battle in Fallout 2 —again, encouraging combat and making a speedrun difficult. In spite of these factors, players manage to beat the game in 10 minutes and less.


Main article: Fallout 2 locations

At the end of the original Fallout, the hero, the Vault Dweller, was exiled by the Vault 13 overseer for prolonged exposure to the outside world. Unable to return home, the Vault Dweller, with a group of willing companions, traveled north. Eventually, they started their own tribal village called Arroyo in what we know as Oregon. Decades have passed since the original Fallout, and the Vault Dweller disappeared from Arroyo after writing their memoirs.

In the time since the Vault Dweller's exile, a new government known as the New California Republic (abbreviated as NCR) has begun to unify the southern towns and is spreading to the north. A mysterious new organization known as the Enclave has emerged with the most sophisticated technology in the wastes, even surpassing the Brotherhood of Steel. A new drug, Jet, has become a burden on many towns, its addictive properties forcing many to rely on the town of New Reno to keep them supplied.

FO02 NPC Elder N

The village elder sends the player, the Chosen One, to find the GECK.

During 2241, the humble village of Arroyo suffered the worst drought on record. Faced with this hardship, the village elder asked the direct descendant of the Vault Dweller, referred to as the Chosen One, to perform the quest of retrieving a Garden of Eden Creation Kit (G.E.C.K) for Arroyo. The GECK is a device that can create thriving communities out of the post-apocalyptic wasteland. The player, assuming the role of the Chosen One, is given nothing more than the Vault Dweller's jumpsuit, a RobCo Pip-Boy 2000 handheld device, a Vault 13 water flask, and some cash to start this quest on July 25, 2241.

The player eventually finds Vault 13 (the first place possible to obtain a GECK) devoid of the majority of its former human inhabitants. The Chosen One returns to find their village captured by the Enclave, a mysterious group that is later revealed to be the remnants of the pre-War United States government. The Chosen One can activate an oil tanker and its autopilot, thus allowing them to reach the Enclave's main base on an offshore oil rig.

It is revealed that the dwellers of Vault 13 were captured as well, to be used as test subjects for FEV (Forced Evolutionary Virus), alongside Arroyo tribesmen and women. Vault 13 was supposed to be closed for 200 years as part of a Vault-Tec vault experiment; this makes them perfect test subjects. The Enclave modified the Forced Evolutionary Virus into an airborne disease, designed to attack any living creatures with mutated DNA. With all genetic impurities removed, the Enclave (who remains protected from radiation) could take over. The Chosen One frees both their village (Arroyo) and the Vault 13 dwellers from Enclave control and destroys the Enclave's oil rig.


Main article: Fallout 2 endings

No matter the ending, the inhabitants of Vault 13 and Arroyo will always create a new prosperous community with the help of the GECK together. Despite this, there is some variation on the fates of other people and locations.


Main article: Fallout 2 soundtrack

The game soundtrack for Fallout 2 was composed by Mark Morgan, who also created the soundtrack of the first Fallout.


See also: Fallout 2 press pack and Interplay Product Presentation 1999
I think we had a lot of people wanting to swing away and get their ideas in. That's what you want, but we had that perfect storm of Tim, Leonard, and Jason on the first game, with a vision for it. One of the designers on the first game had designed a city that was described as, "It's Raccoon City [from Resident Evil] with mutant raccoons!" It wouldn't have been a terrible idea, but Tim said, "No. Not in this game." We didn't have that sort of guiding hand. We didn't have an overall lead designer who really had a vision for what the world was and how everything fit. You had a lot of disparate parts.— Producer Eric DeMilt

Fallout 2 began development before the first Fallout released.[1] Early in the game's development, three of the creative leads from the first game, Timothy Cain, Jason D. Anderson and Leonard Boyarsky left the Fallout 2 project. Tim felt Fallout did not really need a sequel as he intended the first to be a standalone project and was not enthusiastic about the idea as he had already spent years creating Fallout, preferring to work on something different. Despite this, he still contributed some story ideas anyway.

Tim was unhappy with the direction the game's design was going in, such as a mandated decision that the Temple of Trials be unskippable, even on repeat playthroughs. More sources of Tim's unhappiness included a short deadline for the game to be released which would result in crunch, and Brian Fargo reduced his bonus pay due to Tim not wanting to expose who was responsible for accidentally creating a memory overwrite bug from the first Fallout. He also felt that other employees at Interplay created a hostile environment towards gay people. Tim had been in the closet during this time.[2] After Tim resigned, Jason and Leonard followed.[3]

Because the three leads of Fallout left, this meant that the developers of Fallout 2 had more creative free reign. The game was made in a time limit of nine months, although half a year of early development had already begun.[4] To help the game's development, developers of Planescape: Torment also worked on the project. Some of the development of Fallout 2 was challenging; the developers faced crunch and because the goal was to create a world that felt 50% bigger than the original, addition map designers were hired for the project.

Developer Scott Everts commented, "I suppose I preferred Fallout because it was something new and different. They were both stressful projects, but I enjoyed working on Fallout more. Fallout 2 became a death match near the end. We had so much content, and we had to get it all done."[5]


Fallout 2 received positive reviews. It has a lower Metacritic critic score than Fallout at 86 instead of 89,[6] although it has a higher user score rating. GameSpot gave it a 8.8, praising the game for having a "significantly larger gaming world" than the original; the first game's main story has a HowLongToBeat.com length of around 16 hours, while the main story of Fallout 2 is listed at 30 and a half hours, almost double the length. They also complimented the improvements to the NPC companion system.

Fallout 2 received criticism for bugs, with GameSpot mentioning that it seems Fallout 2 was released before it was thoroughly play-tested and debugged. They also criticized the inventory screen for being "somewhat awkward, as it requires you to page down a relatively narrow display in order to view everything you're carrying."

The game's frequent pop culture references to media (made 1998 and before) are not appreciated by some players who feel they are cheesy and make the game feel dated. For example, the player can obtain Cheezy Poofs and there is a computer called Skynet, a reference to The Terminator series.


In 2024, Todd Howard said Bethesda has no plans to remake Fallout and Fallout 2, although he did not mention the possibility of outsourcing.[7]

Project Arroyo is an unofficial project remaking the game in the Fallout 4 engine. They announced they have intentions of releasing it on Steam, but having it a requirement that their remake will only be available to those who own Fallout 2 and Fallout 4 to prevent legal issues.[8]

Behind the scenes

  • ^ Note Sources differ on when Fallout 2 was released in 1998. A GameSpot article from October 1998 says it "should show up on retailers' shelves nationwide on Thursday, October 29,"[9] and this is reflected in some online databases.[10] Other contemporary articles have said it released on September 30, 1998,[11] and designer Chris Avellone has celebrated the anniversary of its release on September 30.[12]
  • Fallout 2 is considered one of the earliest video games to allow same-sex marriage,[13] and began the introduction of LGBT+ characters into the Fallout series, particularly Davin, Miria and Leslie Anne Bishop.
    • Despite this, the representation has been criticized since its comedic framing may be perceived as ridiculing the player for having a shotgun gay marriage, rather than it being portrayed as something to be celebrated.
    • The Rainbow Confederation is a negative portrayal of gay people that was cut from the game.
  • Speedrunning is much more difficult than in Fallout. In Fallout, players could go straight to the Military Base, destroy it, then travel to the Cathedral and do the same. In Fallout 2, the final areas cannot be accessed until a computer part from Vault 13 is found, and Vault 13, in turn, cannot be found until one of two quests have been completed, thus requiring a great deal of fighting that requires a higher-level character to survive. Also, while the player can recruit allies for the final encounter, there is no way to completely avoid the final boss battle in Fallout 2 —again, encouraging combat and making a speedrun difficult. In spite of these factors, players manage to beat the game in 10 minutes and less.
  • Chris Avellone, one of the game's developers, abhors and regrets the idea of intelligent talking deathclaws, feeling they do not belong in Fallout. One of them re-appeared later as the Wise Deathclaw from the Chinese game Fallout Shelter Online.



See also

External links