Fallout Wiki
Fallout Wiki

Prepare for the Future...

Fallout 3 is a post-apocalyptic role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is the third major installment in the Fallout series (fifth overall) and a sequel to Interplay Entertainment's Fallout and Fallout 2. It was released on October 28, 2008, in North America, on October 31, 2008, in Europe and Australia and on December 4, 2008, in Japan. It is available on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. On November 11, 2015, Fallout 3 became backward compatible exclusively for Xbox One and later Xbox Series X/S.

The game takes place in the year 2277, 200 years after the Great War, on the East Coast of the former United States in an area now known as the Capital Wasteland consisting mainly of Washington, D.C., though also includes parts of the former states of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The player character is a teenager known as the Lone Wanderer who has grown up in Vault 101. The Lone Wanderer searches for their missing father, James. Along the way, the Lone Wanderer becomes entangled in both a clash for survival, with the goal of trying to make clean mass-produced non-irradiated drinking water a reality again, as well as a battle between the Brotherhood of Steel and Enclave. Fallout 3 has a unique storyline from its predecessors but shares common elements. Some minor elements in Fallout 3 appear in Fallout 4, which follow beats from the side quest The Replicated Man.


Main article: Fallout 3 gameplay

Changes from previous Fallout games

Lone Wanderer-SMG

Players can switch between first person or an over-the-shoulder perspective

While Fallout and Fallout 2 feature turn-based combat and top-down isometric view in a 2D engine, Fallout 3 features real-time combat and first- or third-person view in a 3D engine.

Perks and traits have been merged. In Fallout and Fallout 2, traits were chosen at character creation, and were commonly a combination of a powerful advantage and a potent disadvantage, where perks were purely advantageous. In the SPECIAL system, the number of skills has been reduced from 18 to 13, traits have been removed and perks are selected every level instead of every 3 to 4 levels.

Character system

Main character creation occurs as the player experiences the player character's childhood. The player decides the player character's general appearance using a Gene Projection, conducted by James. Afterward, James removes his surgeon's mask to reveal a face similar to the one chosen by the player for the player character; James's race will also be the same as the player's.

YoureSpecial Strength

A page from the book You're SPECIAL!

SPECIAL stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. These stats determine the effectiveness of attributes the player character has. As a child in the Vault, the player character receives a book titled You're SPECIAL!, in which the player can set the player character's seven primary aptitudes.

The player character receives training weapons (a BB gun) and a Pip-Boy 3000 later on during childhood, and the player's performance in various tests determines the rest of the attributes.

Skills and perks are similar to those in previous games: the player chooses three tag skills out of 13 to be the player character's specialties. Five skills have been cut out from the game (Fallout and Fallout 2 had 18 skills). First Aid and Doctor have been integrated into Medicine, Throwing and Traps have been merged into Explosives, Steal integrated into Sneak, and both Outdoorsman and Gambling have been removed completely. The maximum level the player can achieve is level 20 (which is to be raised to 30 after installing the Broken Steel add-on, along with the ability to continue their game after the main story quests are complete). The traits from the previous Fallout installments were combined with perks in Fallout 3, and the player can choose a new perk each time after gaining a level.


FO3 Vats

V.A.T.S. combat against Gary 43

Main article: Fallout 3 combat

The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S., is an active pause combat system implemented in the game. While using V.A.T.S., the otherwise real-time combat is paused. Attacks in V.A.T.S. cost Action Points, and the player can target specific body areas for attacks to inflict specific injuries. When attacks are selected, V.A.T.S. will then execute the attack in real-time slow motion, allowing the gory deaths in the game to be shown in great detail. The player will take 90% reduced damage from enemies during this sequence. While the player has a 15% increased critical hit chance while using V.A.T.S., weapon degradation per shot is greatly increased, forcing the player to strike a balance between using more ammunition or losing guns more quickly. This trade-off allows for two very different play styles throughout the game.


Main article: Fallout 3 items

A dynamic facet of gameplay is that firearms wear out from use over time. As a weapon degenerates, its damage is reduced and it loses accuracy. However, worn-out firearms of the same type can be combined to make more reliable and powerful weapons. Weapon schematics can also be found and used to create various devices, such as the Rock-It Launcher that can fire various items such as lunchboxes and stuffed animals, or the bottlecap mine, made out of a Vault-Tec lunchbox, cherry bombs, a sensor module and bottle caps. Along with equipping various weapons, the player can also utilize different armors and clothing that may have effects that can alter various skills. For example, a pair of mechanic's coveralls may boost the player's Repair skill while it is worn. Armor and clothing come in two main parts for the head and body, allowing a player to wear different combinations of hats and armor as well as masks and facial clothing, which can be worn with hats. Also, a player's inventory has a specified weight limit, preventing a player from carrying too many items. Story-related or essential items like ammunition have no weight, due to the developer not wishing to bog down inventory management. The player character's weight limit can be increased by increasing the Strength stat in SPECIAL.


Main article: Fallout 3 companions

The permanent companions of Fallout 3

The player can have a maximum party of three, consisting of themselves, Dogmeat, and a single non-player character (NPC). The player's party can further be extended, with several temporary quest NPCs that will stay with them until the quest related to the NPC is completed. If their quest is never completed, however, many will stay permanently with the player until killed.

In addition to having Dogmeat in one's party, it is possible to send him out on his own to search for items, such as weapons and ammunition, radiation medicine, and stimpaks. Dogmeat can be killed during the game if the player misuses him or places him in severely dangerous situations, such as leading him into the deathclaw sanctuary. He cannot be replaced, unless one has the Broken Steel add-on, in which a perk can be chosen that allows recruiting Dogmeat's puppy (Puppies!). Dogmeat and Dogmeat's puppies can be given stimpaks to heal them if needed.


Main article: Karma

The Karma system is an important feature in Fallout 3's gameplay. A player's actions, including conversation and combat choices, affect the player's status in the game world; a player who makes good decisions is received more positively by NPCs, and a player who makes bad decisions has the opposite reaction. Crimes can also be committed by a player, and whichever faction or group that is harmed by a crime is fully aware of the player's actions in most cases. Other factions that were not affected by the crime will not be aware of it, and since a town is usually its own faction, news of a crime committed in one town will not spread to another. However, good or evil deeds will cause a bounty by the opposite alignment group. Talon Company (if one has good Karma) or the Regulators (if one has bad Karma) will ambush the player randomly, and are not bound to any particular area, appearing anywhere in the wastes. Factions can range in size and boundaries, however, and may not be restricted to a single area. The game world itself was planned to be significantly smaller than that of Oblivion's but is now similar in size.[1]


Art of Fallout 3 The Capitol

Concept art of Capitol Hill

Main article: Fallout setting

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic, retro-futuristic Washington, D.C. following the Great War (the Capital Wasteland). The Great War occurred on October 23, 2077, which caused immense damage and destruction despite lasting less than two brief hours.[2] Before the Great War, the Resource Wars brought riots to the streets, during which the United Nations disbanded, and Canada was annexed by the United States.[2][3]

The world map of Fallout 3 is dissected diagonally by the Potomac River, with the ruins of Washington in the southeast corner. Fallout 3 also includes a large metro system because many parts of Washington are closed-off areas only accessible through the tunnels.


In the year 2258, the Lone Wanderer (player character) is born from their mother, Catherine. Their father, James, is both a doctor and a scientist, and he assists the delivery with his friend Madison Li. However, Catherine enters cardiac arrest soon after seeing her child and dies. During unseen time, James takes his newborn baby to Vault 101, which was an experiment Vault intended for the residents to never leave.

Growing Up Fast

James celebrating his child's tenth birthday

As the Lone Wanderer grows up in the Vault, James frequently makes comments about Catherine's favorite Bible passage, Revelation 21:6, which speaks of "the waters of life." The player grows up alongside their friend Amata Almodovar and a bully, Butch DeLoria, who believes his Tunnel Snakes gang rule. In 2277, when the Lone Wanderer is 19-years-old, James mysteriously leaves Vault 101, throwing it into anarchy and causing the paranoid overseer, Amata's father Alphonse Almodovar, to send his security force after the Lone Wanderer, forcing them to flee as well.

FO3 Megaton bomb 4

Megaton, a shantytown built around a giant undetonated bomb

The main quest begins; the search for James takes the Lone Wanderer on a journey through the wasteland, first to the nearby town of Megaton, named for the undetonated atomic bomb at the center of town. Outside the town gates, the Lone Wanderer may briefly meet an older man begging for clean drinking water, foreshadowing the wasteland's desperation for drinking water. Inside Megaton, the Lone Wanderer meets Colin Moriarty who knows of James but will only divulge information on his whereabouts by getting the Lone Wanderer to do what he wants, such as giving him 100 caps or trying to get caps from a runaway prostitute named Silver.

Depending on the actions of the player, the Lone Wanderer may assist in agreeing Burke in detonating the atomic bomb which will destroy Megaton; this is because an old man named Allistair Tenpenny considers Megaton to be an ugly eyesore from his tower. After, resident Moira Brown, who is excited she is transforming into a ghoul, may also scold the Lone Wanderer, saying it is okay their town is destroyed as long as the Lone Wanderer apologizes and agrees to not do it again.

Madison Li

Madison Li, a scientist in an aircraft carrier

The Lone Wanderer makes their way to the Galaxy News Radio station where they witness a battle between the Brotherhood of Steel and a super mutant behemoth. During this battle, Sarah Lyons, a young woman who plays a role in the story later, is briefly met. Inside the radio station, the enthusiastic DJ Three Dog gives the player character the moniker of "The Lone Wanderer." From here, the player character travels to Rivet City, a derelict aircraft carrier now serving as a fortified human settlement. Here, they meet Doctor Madison Li, a scientist who worked alongside James and also assisted the Lone Wanderer's birth nearly two decades ago. Doctor Li informs the Lone Wanderer of Project Purity, a plan conceived by Catherine and James to purify all the water in the Tidal Basin and eventually the entire Potomac River with a giant water purifier built in the Jefferson Memorial. However, continued delays and Catherine's death during childbirth put an end to the project and James took the player character as a newborn to raise them in the safety of Vault 101.

Betty TL

"Betty," who is actually an old man who enjoys role-playing as a murderous little girl out of boredom

After investigating the Jefferson Memorial, the Lone Wanderer tracks James to Vault 112 and finds him from a virtual reality program, "Tranquility Lane," being run by the Vault's overseer, Stanislaus Braun. The simulation takes the form of an old-fashioned circular neighborhood in which all the residents, except for an old woman, have been mind controlled to believe they are in reality. James has been forced into the virtual body of a dog. Under duress by Betty, the Lone Wanderer takes the role of a child serial killer, and frees James by following Braun's cruel orders or by summoning a virtual Chinese military through a hidden failsafe.


Autumn demanding the purifier from James

James and the Lone Wanderer return to Rivet City, where James reveals he sought out Braun for information on the Garden of Eden Creation Kit (G.E.C.K.), a device that contains the components needed to finally activate Project Purity. James and Doctor Li lead a team of Rivet City scientists to the memorial with intent to restart the project. While the Lone Wanderer is doing project maintenance for James underground, the memorial is invaded by the Enclave, a powerful military organization formed from the remnants of the pre-War United States government. James floods the project's control room with radiation to stop the Enclave military leader, Colonel Autumn, from taking control of it, his last words urging his child to run. While James dies, Autumn survives due to injecting himself with an anti-radiation serum before he falls unconscious.


The Citadel, the headquarters of the Brotherhood of Steel

The Lone Wanderer and Dr. Li flee to the base of the Brotherhood of Steel known as the Citadel. Here, the Lone Wanderer becomes familiar with Owyn Lyons, the leader of the Brotherhood and Sarah's father. They may also encounter Arthur Maxson, a boy who will become Brotherhood leader a decade after Fallout 3. With Project Purity still inoperable even with the Enclave occupying the site, the Lone Wanderer travels to Vault 87 to find a G.E.C.K. and finish James' work. One method of entering the Vault involves passing through Little Lamplight, a society of children in a cavern led by the mayor Robert MacCready, and then through "Murder Pass." Inside the Vault, the Lone Wanderer meets a super mutant named Fawkes. It is discovered that the Vault was a testing site for the Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV) and the source of the super mutants in the Capital Wasteland. After acquiring the G.E.C.K., the Lone Wanderer is ambushed by the Enclave and captured.


An AI computer who is the Enclave's president

At the Enclave base at Raven Rock, the Lone Wanderer is freed from their cell by the Enclave leader, President John Henry Eden, who requests a private audience with them. En route to his office, however, Colonel Autumn defies Eden's orders and takes command of the Enclave military, ordering them to kill the Lone Wanderer. Fighting their way to Eden's office, the player discovers Eden is actually a sentient ZAX series supercomputer who took control of the Enclave after their defeat in Fallout 2 on the West Coast thirty years ago. Eden wishes to repeat the plan of then-president Dick Richardson using Project Purity to infect the water with a modified strain of FEV that will make it toxic to any mutated life. This plan will kill most life in the wasteland including humans; however, the Enclave, due to their genetic "purity" as a result of their isolation, will be immune and free to take control of the area. The Lone Wanderer, provided with a sample of the new FEV, is given a choice either to leave peacefully or convince Eden to self-destruct the entire base. The Lone Wanderer escapes Raven Rock and returns to the Citadel.

Take it Back!

Liberty Prime trying to defeat the Enclave from Project Purity

With the knowledge they possess, the G.E.C.K. and the means to activate Project Purity, the Brotherhood assault the Jefferson Memorial, spearheaded by a giant robot named Liberty Prime. In the control room of Project Purity, the player character is confronted by Colonel Autumn and has the choice to persuade him to give up or kill him. Dr. Li informs the Lone Wanderer that the purifier is ready to be activated, however, the activation code must be input manually from the lethally irradiated control room. To make matters worse, the purifier has been damaged and will self-destruct if not activated.


Main article: Fallout 3 endings

Fallout 3 contains some variants regarding its ending.

FO3 FEV endslide 5

The Lone Wanderer dies on the floor from radiation in one ending.

The first major choice regarding the ending is whether or not the Lone Wanderer agreed to poison the water supply with the modified FEV. The second major choice is who activates Project Purity.

  • The Lone Wanderer dies ending: The Lone Wanderer sacrifices their life to start Project Purity. Prior to this, if their radiation-immune companions (Sergeant RL-3, Charon or Fawkes) were asked, they talk their way out of it, with Fawkes even mentioning the Lone Wanderer risking their life is part of their destiny. Jericho in particular says, "Fuck that. Do your own dirty work."
  • Sarah dies ending: Sarah Lyons of the Brotherhood decides to sacrifice her life to start Project Purity. This ending is non-canon in the universe of the main series because a terminal in Fallout 4 mentions she instead died at a later time, after her father's death.
  • No one activates Project Purity: The reactor explodes and everyone dies.

If the Broken Steel add-on is installed, the Lone Wanderer survives if they activate it themselves. Their radiation-immune companions (Sergeant RL-3, Charon and Fawkes) also no longer refuse to start the purifier and can start the purifier with no casualties. The player also has the possibility to enter the FEV sample into the water prior to activation, having adverse post-ending effects on the game's side quests.

Moira's epilogue

An epilogue was written for Fallout 3 in the Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Collector's Edition, as a terminal entry written twenty years later by Moira Brown, who is now in her mid-40s. On September 10th, 2297, she remarks how the Lone Wanderer really changed the wasteland and its society. Moira has decided to collect tales about the Lone Wanderer and write a book about their adventures to preserve their story for future generations.

Main characters

This is a list of the game's main characters. Only those who are part of the main story quests are included:

  • Lone Wanderer: The protagonist who is a 19-year-old upon leaving Vault 101.
  • James: The Lone Wanderer's father who disappears one day, it is the Lone Wanderer's motive to find him.
  • Butch DeLoria: A bully of the Lone Wanderer and Amata, he may be recruited as a companion later.
  • Amata Almodovar: The daughter of the overseer who is a friend of the Lone Wanderer. She may be re-met again in Vault 101 after it turns to chaos.
  • Colin Moriarty: The owner of a saloon in Megaton who has information on James.
  • Three Dog: A radio announcer who implores the Lone Wanderer to visit Rivet City.
  • Madison Li: A scientist living in Rivet City who worked with James on Project Purity.
  • Sarah Lyons: An army member of the Brotherhood of Steel which is run by her father Owyn Lyons.
  • Stanislaus Braun: A Vault-Tec employee who runs a virtual simulation in Vault 112 called Tranquility Lane.
  • Robert MacCready: A boy who is the mayor of a group of children living in a cave called Little Lamplight, the Lone Wanderer must get his approval to pass through. He returns in Fallout 4.
  • Fawkes: A super mutant encountered in Vault 87 who may become the Lone Wanderer's companion.
  • Augustus Autumn: The commanding officer of the Enclave who is the game's main villain.
  • John Henry Eden: A computer which deems itself the new president of America.

Development history


Main article: Van Buren

Van Buren Main menu

Fallout 3 was initially under development by Black Isle Studios, a studio owned by Interplay Entertainment, under the working title Van Buren. Interplay Entertainment closed down Black Isle Studios before the game could be completed, and the license to develop Fallout 3 was sold for a $1,175,000 minimum guaranteed advance against royalties to Bethesda Softworks, a studio primarily known as the developer of The Elder Scrolls series.[4] Bethesda's Fallout 3, however, was developed from scratch, using neither Van Buren code, nor any other materials created by Black Isle Studios. In May 2007, a playable technology demo of the canceled project was released to the public.[5][6][7]


FO3 poster

Poster of Fallout 3. E3 2006 expo

Bethesda stated they would be working on Fallout 3 in July 2004,[8] but principal development did not begin until after The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was completed.[9] Bethesda announced their intention to make Fallout 3 similar to the previous two games, focusing on nonlinear gameplay, a good story, and true "Fallout humor." Bethesda also stated the game is targeted for a rating of M for Mature, and would have the same sort of adult themes and violence that are characteristic of the Fallout series. Fallout 3 uses a version of the same Gamebryo engine as Oblivion, and was developed by the same team. Initially, Bethesda held the right to make only three Fallout games, with royalties to be paid to Interplay.[10]

In 2006, Bethesda bought the full Fallout franchise, leaving Interplay the right to make Project V13. Between May 2 and June 5, 2007, Bethesda showcased 5 pieces of concept art by Craig Mullins on the Fallout 3 website during the countdown to the teaser. The cinematic teaser trailer for Fallout 3, consisting of the first part of the intro, was released by Bethesda Softworks on June 5, 2007, after a 30-day countdown on the Fallout 3 website. On August 2, 2007, the game's website was opened.

Release issues

  • On July 4, 2008, Fallout 3 was refused classification by the OFLC in Australia, thus making the game illegal for sale in the country. For the game to be reclassified, the offending content in the Australian version of the game would have to be removed by Bethesda Softworks and the game resubmitted to the OFLC.[11] According to the OFLC board report, the game was refused classification due to the "realistic visual representations of drugs and their delivery method (bringing) the 'science-fiction' drugs in line with 'real-world' drugs." Despite this, Australia's Fallout 3 was expected to be released on October 30, on par with the European version, and was delivered on time with the drug-name changes.[12]
  • On September 9, 2008, Bethesda vice president of PR and marketing, Peter Hines, has described the idea of a censored Australian version of Fallout 3 as a misconception. All versions of Fallout 3 no longer include real-world drug references,[13] then morphine was renamed to Med-X.
  • Game content was edited in the German release to include less violence.[14]
  • Bethesda Softworks changed the side quest "The Power of the Atom" in the Japanese version of Fallout 3 to relieve concerns about depictions of atomic detonation in inhabited areas. In non-Japanese versions, players are given the option of either defusing, ignoring, or detonating the dormant atomic bomb in the town of Megaton. In the Japanese version, the NPC Mister Burke has been taken out of this side quest, making it impossible to detonate the bomb. Also, in the Japanese release, the "Fat Man" nuclear catapult weapon was renamed "Nuka Launcher," as the original name was a reference to the bomb used on Nagasaki, Japan.
  • Microsoft India decided not to release the game in that country, citing "cultural sensitivities."[15]



Fallout 3 devs

Fallout 3 development team

Main article: Fallout 3 developers

The project was led by executive producer Todd Howard. Other producers include Ashley Cheng, Gavin Carter and Jeff Gardiner. The lead designer is Emil Pagliarulo who previously worked on Thief games as well as the Dark Brotherhood quests in Oblivion. The lead level designer is Joel Burgess. Other leads are lead artist Istvan Pely and lead programmer Steve Meister. PR and marketing for the game are coordinated by Pete Hines.


Main article: Fallout 3 soundtrack

The ambient soundtrack was composed by Inon Zur, who also created the soundtrack of Fallout Tactics, and would go on to compose the music for Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4 and Fallout 76. Fallout 3 also has songs and other musical works which are played by in-game radio stations.




The Pitt, introduced in Fallout 3 and revisited in Fallout 76

Bethesda Softworks released five add-ons for Fallout 3. They cost $5 in USD each, although they are cheaper as part of the Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition.

  • Operation: Anchorage - Enter a military simulation and fight in the liberation of Anchorage, Alaska from its Chinese Communist invaders.
  • The Pitt - Visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and discover the lifestyles of its inhabitants while seeking a cure.
  • Broken Steel - Defy death and defeat the remaining Enclave in the Capital Wasteland. The level cap is increased from 20 to 30.
  • Point Lookout - Visit Point Lookout via a ferry and become involved with the plight of a ghoul named Desmond Lockheart, along with other residents of the area.
  • Mothership Zeta - Fight your way off the massive mothership Zeta while escaping aliens.

Game of the Year Edition

Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition was released on October 13, 2009, for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360; this edition includes all five add-on packs, a Vault Secure poster on the back cover, and a copyright information booklet with a "Wasteland Survival Guide" cover. Mothership Zeta is not available in any disc version aside from the Game of the Year edition.

The Art of Fallout 3

The Art of Fallout 3

The Art of Fallout 3

The Art of Fallout 3 is a 95-page hardback artbook that was available with the Collector's Edition. It features concept art by Craig Mullins and Adam Adamowicz. The art showcases characters, creatures, locations, architecture, weapons and armor, and storyboards.


Launch reception

Fallout 3 received a Metacritic metascore of 91/100 for PC, 90/100 for PS3, and 93/100 for Xbox 360.[16][17][18] The game outsold previous Fallout games (including all other spin-offs) in its first week.[19] Fallout 3 won several awards following its showcasing at E3 2007. IGN gave it the Game of E3 2007 award, and GameSpot gave it the Best Role-Playing Game of E3 2007 award.[20][21] Following the game's demonstration at E3 2008, IGN also gave it Best Overall RPG, Best Overall Console Game, and Overall Game of the Show for E3 2008.[22] Game Critics Awards gave the game Best Role-Playing Game and Best of Show for E3 2008.[23]

Erik Brudvig of IGN gave Fallout 3 a 9.6/10 and praised the game's writing, feeling the conversations have fantastic writing and that it has "an exciting, top-notch main story. It all comes together for a spectacular climax that is just flat out awesome." However, IGN felt that Fallout 3 still has a few flaws and most of them were technical issues such as bugs. Despite this, they felt "It's a fantastic game with incredible atmosphere that offers fun in so many different ways that you're almost sure to get hooked."[24]

Fallout 3 beyond its release

Over the years, some opinion on Fallout 3 has soured a bit, especially when New Vegas and Fallout 4 received their own fanbases. While it has a 93 Metacritic review, its user score is a bit lower at 84.

In 2024, Mark Roddison of RPGFan reviewed the game. While he praised the game for being a landmark game for its time in 2008 due to its immersive and atmospheric world, he criticized its main story, calling it weak, but said it is enough to ferry the player from point A to B. He wishes it had more role-playing options and more moral dilemmas. For example, the game tries to influence the player to fight for the Brotherhood of Steel, even having the Lone Wanderer awakening in the Brotherhood's base in Broken Steel. Roddison feels that the game shines more in its side quests. He criticized the game's NPCs; while there are exceptions such as Moira Brown, he felt many of them share a similar tone in their voices. He still called the game a satisfying open-world and gave it an 86.[25]

When it came to criticism, many players took issue with the ending.[26] A writer for Medium dubbed it "one-note" and felt the ending is the game's biggest flaw.[27] Players found it problematic because it can be seen as revering the idea of unnecessary sacrifice. Even if Broken Steel is installed, the ending slides call the radiation-immune companions (a robot, super mutant and ghoul) the true heroes of the story, implying the Lone Wanderer is not a true hero, despite that they risked their life to get everyone to the point that Project Purity can be salvageable in the first place, while their radiation-immune companions risk little due to their immunity. In response to the ending criticism, Emil Pagliarulo said the forced sacrifice was due to the writing team believing the idea of sacrifice was important, but the team realized not having more ways to end the game was antithetical to the spirit of Fallout, hence more change for Broken Steel.[28]

The PC version is known to have issues running on some modern systems, with a "your mileage may vary" situation. Originally designed for Windows XP, many players report the game does not run or has frequent crashes. As a result, many players play Fallout 3 using a mod called Tale of Two Wastelands which ports Fallout 3 into New Vegas, increasing stability.

Behind the scenes


The original size dimensions

  • The downtown D.C. area in Fallout 3 was twice the size at one point. The team decided it was too large and confusing and cut the area space in half. The Capital Wasteland area was half the size, and the team felt it was too small, so the wasteland size doubled.[29]
  • Todd Howard mentioned he felt concerned while developing Fallout 3 because he felt a lot of the hardcore Fallout fans would be pissed off simply because Bethesda were not the creators of the original Fallout, as well as Fallout 3 having a different style. This would put Fallout 3 under heavy scrutiny. Despite this, he is happy that the installment found its own audience within the Fallout community. He mentions he had a positive time working on the game, and he is very fond of the Vault 101 prologue because he felt the moment the Lone Wanderer can explore the wasteland to be more emotionally impactful.[30]
  • During the development of Fallout 3, its developers received death threats from certain fans of Fallout and Fallout 2, resulting in Bethesda hiring their first security guard.[31]
  • According to Fred Zeleny, approximately 30% of the dialogue for the game was cut at one point so that all of the voiced dialogue would fit on the disc. This included most of the dialogue that differentiated between male and female player characters.[32]
  • The Capital Wasteland also appears in Fallout Shelter Online, an Asia-exclusive sequel to Fallout Shelter developed by an outside studio (Shengqu Games). Fallout 3 characters and locations appear throughout the game, but their place in the main continuity is not established.

Potential remaster

In September 2023, IGN reported on a leak of Microsoft's court documents that included a forecast of future ZeniMax Media releases and their financial impact. The document was dated to July 2020 and included a Fallout 3 remaster in its projections for the 2024 financial year. However, the document was three years old at the time of reporting and did not yet account for several later changes to the release schedule (for example, Starfield is included in the 2021 forecast, but was later delayed and did not release until 2023). Bethesda and ZeniMax have made no comment on the leak or the potential for a Fallout 3 remaster.[33]

Unofficial remake

An unofficial remake called Capital Wasteland is in progress which adapts the game into the Fallout 4 engine, with Point Lookout already finished and released. Despite the Fallout 3 remake rumors in 2023, the developers of Capital Wasteland mentioned they are committed to finishing their project regardless. Due to copyright, the entire game is being remade with different voice actors. As of 2024, the developers are currently working on The Pitt which will have an expanded more open-world map and a new Vault, Vault 86. The game's script and dialogue will be the same as Fallout 3. The Washington area will be kept divided like the original game in order to prevent sizing and layout issues with having to make it open world. There is no release date for Capital Wasteland due to the developers waiting for voice actors.

Some developers, Joseph Simpkin and Baden Gill, were recruited by Bethesda to work on Fallout 76. Richard Edwards also had his short Creation Club quest Best of Three inserted into Fallout 4 and made canon.




Concept art


External links


  1. E3 2008: Bobble-Head Apocalypse Interview HD
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fallout intro
  3. Capitol Post terminal entries; Capital Post Top Stories -- January 11, 2077, Commies Crushed - Alaska Liberated!
  4. Herve Caen (2004-10-13). "Interplay" (Form 10-Q). Q2 2004. SEC EDGAR. Retrieved on 2006-10-30.
  5. Van Buren tech demo
  6. Leonard Boyarsky interview - Escapist Magazine
  7. Leonard Boyarsky interview - Duck & Cover
  8. Bethesda Softworks to Develop and Publish Fallout 3
  9. Gamespot News
  10. Interview: Bethesda Softworks' Pete Hines
  11. Fallout 3 Officially Refused Classification in Australia
  12. OFLC Report: Why Fallout 3 Was Banned In Australia
  13. Edge: Censors Force Fallout 3 Changes
  14. NMA Forum: Fallout 3 to be censored in Germany
  15. 08/11/11 No Fallout 3 for India-UPDATED
  16. Metacritic PC (Archived)
  17. Metacritic Xbox
  18. Metacritic PS3
  19. Fallout 3 outsells all previous Fallout games
  20. IGN Pre-E3 2008: Fallout 3 Confirmed for Show
  21. GameSpot E3 2007 Editor's Choice Awards
  22. IGN's Overall Best of E3 2008 Awards
  23. Game Critics Awards 2008 Winners
  24. Fallout 3 Review - IGN
  25. RPGFan review
  26. Reddit post
  27. Medium article Medium article
  28. [https://web.archive.org/web/20120711053239/http://www.1up.com/do/feature?pager.offset=2&cId=3172024 1UP interview
  29. GDC 2009: Fallout 3 lead opens game design vault
  30. Lex Fridman Podcast - Todd Howard interview
  31. Kotaku: Fallout 3's Reveal Led To Death Threats And Bethesda's First Security Guard
  32. Fred Zeleny on Tumblr
  33. IGN: "Oblivion Remaster, Fallout 3 Remaster, and More Leaked From Microsoft Document"