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In a general sense, Fallout canon is the body of works considered to be an official part of the Fallout universe by its current rights holder (Bethesda Softworks since 2007).[1]

In the context of the Fallout Wiki, the term refers to the framework for authoring articles and resolving conflicts that may arise when covering topics spanning multiple games. The general idea is to provide a comprehensive overview of a subject drawing on all available sources, while clearly identifying their origin to allow users to identify what's binding for the current IP holder and what's not.

Note that the topic is complicated, as much of the Fallout series was created by completely different teams with limited overlap and developers of one game may differ on their approach to certain topics.[2]

Summary[edit source]

  1. Core canon or canon refers to all items in released games that aren't otherwise struck from it. These are the only binding sources.
  2. Supplementary sources refers to non-binding, non-game sources that provide additional information on the subject.
  3. Dependent sources refers to non-binding, non-game sources that can provide additional information on the subject, but cannot be reconciled with other sources or the involvement of game developers in their creation is unclear.
  4. Non-canon is a term used in a narrow sense, to refer to games explicitly removed from the continuity or those that have never been released.

All references that do not call upon released games that make up part of the canon should be grouped together according to referencing guidelines (see below), so that the origin of the information can be identified at a glance. This template should also be added to the references section.

Sources in detail[edit source]

Core canon[edit source]

Fallout canon in a nutshell
  1. Only released games constitute core canon, binding for the developers.
  2. All non-game sources or additional information are non-binding for the developer. They are categorized separately as supplementary or dependent sources, unless included in a released game.
  3. Cancelled games and games struck from continuity are explicitly classified as non-canon.
For us, canon always starts with what is in the games.Emil Pagliarulo

Canon sources encompass released video games and are the only binding source for the current IP holder.

These are the point of reference for every other source and take absolute precedence over other sources, if they have not been otherwise deemed non-canon. Unless facts are included in them, they can be changed, revised, or retconned at any time. For the purposes of the wiki, they are referred to as "core" canon.[3]

The Fallout canon includes:[3]

Supplementary sources[edit source]

The primal source of lore is what you see in the games [...] if it's not in the games, we may use it, we may not.Ferret Baudoin, CHAD

Supplementary content is any material that expands on what is included in the games and provides additional information. These sources encompass content outside video game sources, such as development documentation, developer commentary, presentations, online responses, and so on and so forth. These may be used as reference materials or inspiration by developers.

However, released games, as the only canon, take absolute precedence in all cases, and can contradict supplementary content at any time. In some instances, the lore on a subject may have been much more developed than the lore in a released game. Even in such instances that the specific, authoritative developer expands on in-game lore, existing or subsequent game releases take absolute precedence.[4]

If supplementary sources conflict with each other, these should be resolved on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the age, context, and degree of conflict with canon sources, if any.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of supplementary sources.

Complementary materials

This refers to materials provided as part of a game's release:

Strategy guides

Strategy guides frequently contain additional information not released in the game, such as character biographies, behind the scenes information, or other miscellaneous lore. However, they are usually authored based on early game builds and information is static at the time of their publishing, which may lead to discrepancies between the guide and the game they cover. These discrepancies should be listed where possible.

Developer commentary and documentation

Some Fallout developers have decided to share various pieces of information with the public, through blogs, forums, editorials, and other means. This can provide useful information regarding various topics and expand on the information already included in the game.

Examples of developer commentary include:

  • Chris Taylor interview for Vault13.net (2001)
  • Fallout Bible (2002): A collection of "background material and hijinks" released on Black Isle Studios' front page, compiled by Chris Avellone with commentary from various developers.[5] Commonly mistaken for a definitive guide to Fallout canon, it serves as one of several sources of inspiration[6][7] for Bethesda developers, after accounting for its age. However, they do not assume that everything in the Bible is canon and make judgement calls on what to include.[3][4] Numerous setting elements introduced in the Bible have been reintroduced in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76.[8]
  • Joshua Sawyer's Formspring responses (archived here), Tumblr posts, and SomethingAwful.com forum replies (2011+): J.E. Sawyer was always an active poster and his replies provide a significant amount of behind the scenes information, expanding on the setting of Fallout: New Vegas.
  • The Origins of Fallout (2012): A web article penned by Scott Campbell and released on No Mutants Allowed, the article goes into detail about the inspirations, the reasons, and the design decisions during the making of Fallout.
  • Ferret Baudoin interview on CHAD: A Fallout 76 Story Podcast (2020): Behind the scenes live stream interview and Q&A session with the lead writer for Fallout 76: Wastelanders.[4]

Dependent sources[edit source]

This category encompasses content that does not fall strictly into the non-canon category, but due to various reasons may not be compatible with the canon.

Unless referenced in canon, works in this category should be considered as existing within their own continuities. For distinguishing these works, the term dependent is used, as they depend on their inclusion in the canon (i.e. games). When used as a reference in articles, information sourced from these titles is to be marked [Non-canon] as a rule of thumb.

Released video games and additional content
  • Fallout Shelter, designed, directed, and currently updated by Bethesda[9] with developmental assistance from Behaviour Interactive, is considered a dependent source by the wiki. Its environment and gameplay features were designed "to fit within the aesthetic and storyline of the Fallout universe," though Bethesda have not explicitly commented on its canonicity status.
  • Fallout Shelter Online, while published by Bethesda, was developed and distributed by outside companies (Shengqu Games and Gaea Mobile, respectively), and is also considered a dependent source. It has only officially been released for Asian markets, though its APK is available for download worldwide.
  • The Atomic Shop for Fallout 76 generally emphasizes fun over absolute conformity with canon, leading to looser standards for inclusion.[10][11]
  • Creation Club for Fallout 4 is distinct from the Atomic Shop and blurs the lines between canon and non-canon. Although Bethesda reviews all Creation Club content to ensure content works within the game and is consistent with the general setting of the game, they tend to prioritize the attractiveness of content and gameplay over absolute compliance with canon games. The situation has been described as "parallel to canon."[12]
Other games

This category encompasses board and tabletop games that are created by third parties and may freely interpret the setting for the sake of gameplay. These include:

Official merchandise

Currently, it is not known how merchandise offered through licensed third parties is vetted, if any such process exists. All content based on merchandise should be marked as dependent canon and grouped separately.

Non-canon[edit source]

This category includes media that are explicitly not part of the main narrative continuity. Released games may freely reference individual elements of these games as part of an homage or continuity nod, creating exceptions to the rule.

Released games
Cancelled games
Developer lore expansions

Recycled elements[edit source]

Released games may sometimes reference elements featured in Fallout Tactics, Van Buren, and other non-canon content either to pay homage or to re-use accepted concepts. These specific elements become part of Fallout canon, although their extent is limited specifically to elements as they exist in the canon release:

Fallout Tactics canonic elements
  • The presence of a small, rogue detachment of the Brotherhood in Chicago...[14]
  • ...battling super mutants in the city (a retcon of Tactics, where super mutants were fought in Missouri, starting with St. Louis)...[15]
  • ...which arrived there by airship.[16][17]
  • Fallout Tactics was originally stated by Emil Pagliarulo to be "broad strokes" canon in correspondence with our founder.[18] The game has been referenced at three points in canon games (twice in Fallout 3 and once in Fallout 4), simultaneously rewriting all events in the game.
  • Commonly mistaken for a definitive guide to Fallout canon, the Fallout Bible serves as one of several sources of inspiration for Bethesda developers, after accounting for its age.[24][25] However, they do not assume that everything in the Bible is canon and make judgement calls on what to include.[3][4] Numerous setting elements introduced in the Bible have been reintroduced in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76.[26]

In these cases, the content referenced should be placed in a separate article to help distinguish between core canon and non-canon incarnations, eg. the Chicago detachment and the Eastern Brotherhood. The non-canon incarnation is to be retired as a citable reference in favor of the canonical source.

Conflicts[edit source]

For the purpose of resolving conflicts: References from a more recent release will override information from an earlier release.[3]

For example, super mutants are stated to have a limited lifespan in Fallout. Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas establishes that their lifespan is functionally indefinite. Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas take precedence, as they are later releases.

Upcoming[edit source]

The upcoming Fallout television series by Kilter Films was made in conjunction with Bethesda Softworks (Bethesda executives Todd Howard and James Altman serve as executive producers on the series). However, its relation with the rest of the franchise and especially the games is yet to be established and has not been placed in any canon section as of yet.

Formatting guide[edit source]

Anything source that is non-canon should be referenced with the following format:

In front of a single citation, or a citation that will only appear once in an article.
Instructions Code
In front of a single citation, or a citation that will only appear once in an article, replace <ref> with:
<ref group="Non-canon/game" >
The code will look like this in the article:
A man named Angus founded the Hub.<ref group="Non-canon/game" >''[[Fallout Bible 0]]'': "2093 ''The Hub is founded by a man named Angus''".</ref>
The citation will look like this in the article:

A man named Angus founded the Hub.[Non-canon/game 1]

In the reference section, a single referenced article will appear like:

Fallout Bible 0: "2093 The Hub is founded by a man named Angus.

In front of duplicate citation, or a citation that will be used more than once in an article. Must be given a unique name that is not solely numerical.
Instructions Code
In front of duplicate citation, or a citation that will be used more than once in an article, give a descriptive name and replace <ref> with:
<ref name="name" group="Non-canon/game">
The code will look like this in the article:
The Mariposa Military Base was newly completed in January 2077.<ref name="BibleMariposa2077" group="Non-canon/game">''[[Fallout Bible 0]]'': "2077 January 7  ''Major Barnett orders transfer of all FEV research to the newly-constructed Mariposa Military Base."''</ref>
The citation will look like this in the article:

The Mariposa Military Base was newly completed in January 2077.[Non-canon/game 2]

For subsequent, identical references, instead of the full reference, replace it with:
<ref name="name" group="Non-canon/game" />
The code will look like this in the article:
Barnett decided to move all FEV research to Mariposa.<ref name="BibleMariposa2077" group="Non-canon/game" /> The scientists objected to the orders.<ref name="BibleMariposa2077" group="Non-canon/game" />
The citation will look like this in the article, the same after each reference:

Barnett decided to move all FEV research to Mariposa.[Non-canon/game 2] The scientists objected to the orders.[Non-canon/game 2]

In the reference section, a duplicate article will appear like:

2.0 2.1 Fallout Bible 0: "2077 January 7 Major Barnett orders transfer of all FEV research to the newly-constructed Mariposa Military Base."

At the end of an article where any non-game reference is used, after the canon references.
Instructions Code
If there are only canon references in an article, the following is placed at the very bottom:

==References==
{{References}}
If there are non canon/game references also, the following must be added:
==References==
{{References}}
;Non-canоn/game
<references group="Non-canоn/game" />
The citations will look like this in the article:

References
1. ↑ Alice McLafferty: "The Crimson Caravan Company has been in business for over 130 years. We're partially responsible for the progress in the NCR."
(Alice McLafferty's dialogue)

Non-canon/game
1. ↑ Fallout Bible 0: "2093 The Hub is founded by a man named Angus.
2. ↑ 2.0 2.1 Fallout Bible 0: "2077 January 7 Major Barnett orders transfer of all FEV research to the newly-constructed Mariposa Military Base."


Reference box format[edit source]

When articles contain a significant number of references, there are several ways to improve readability.

Instructions Code
How to create a reference box with two columns.
{{references|2}}
Instructions Code
Another option is to place all references in a scrolling reference box.
{{ref box}}
Instructions Code
To use the reference box with non-canon sources, you can add the reference groups.
{{ref box|Non-canоn/game}}
Instructions Code
For an article with both canon and non-canon information, the following is an example of how to format the reference section using reference boxes.

==References==
{{ref box}}
;Non-canоn/game
{{ref box|Non-canоn/game}}

References[edit source]

Policy voted in: Forum:Vote: Fallout canon policy overhaul (2020)
  1. Asset Purchase Agreement
  2. For example, Tim Cain and Chris Taylor had different views on the origins of ghouls, with the issue eventually resolved by a completely different development team.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Fallout 76: Would the Fallout bible be considered canon or not?:
    Emil Pagliarulo: "So, there's actually different versions of the Bible, too. A lot of the stuff from the Bible is on- public on the Fallout Wiki, online, and you can look at that stuff. For us, it's always... for us, canon always starts with what is in the games. And so... it's what is in Fallout 1, Fallout 2... even some of like, Fallout Tactics is- there's some stuff from canon from Fallout Tactics as well. And our Fallout games. So, we always look at what's in the games first, and then we go to the Fallout Bible and look at the stuff. So, some of the stuff that is in Fallout 3 that is now canon came from the Fallout Bible, some of that fiction. And so... it depends. We look at the Fallout Bible and some of the lore that really... was written, y'know, back in the day. It makes sense and we use that and put it in our games. We don't just assume that everything in the Bible is canon. We have to take it step-by-step inside. It's a judgement call."
    Note: This video is an excerpt from a longer interview at Gamescom 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Ferret Baudoin - 12/16/2020 Fallout for Hope - CHAD: A Fallout 76 Story Podcast Twitch stream: "The primal source of lore is what you see in the games. Everything after that is varying degrees--I would say, if it's not in the games, we may use it, we may not. There's things we may fully like, 'no, this is what happened!' No, that's just headcanon for a writer. That doesn't actually exist until you see it... the funny thing is, there are things I intend that have already been re-written, but that's OK. That was never in the game. Sure, alright. You wanna change that? That's a great story; go for it! We will get inspiration from all sorts of sources, right? Who's to say what we'll take and what we won't?"
  5. The Fallout Bible on blackisle.com (archived)
  6. Welcome Back to Fallout
  7. Emil Pagliarulo on DAC: "Don't worry, guys. I sleep with a copy of the Fallout Bible under my pillow."
  8. For example, Vault 106 in Fallout 3, Vault 34 in Fallout: New Vegas, the T-51 power armor development timeline in Fallout 4, and Vault 29 was mentioned in Fallout 76.
  9. File:Bethesda Softworks LLC v. Behaviour Interactive, Inc. et al.pdf Page 1: Bethesda conceived of and designed the environment and gameplay features for FALLOUT SHELTER to fit within the aesthetic and storyline of the FALLOUT universe. To realize its design, Bethesda contracted with Behaviour under a work-for-hire agreement to develop FALLOUT SHELTER to Bethesda’s specifications
    Page 6: “On January 22, 2014, Bethesda engaged Behaviour to assist developing the FALLOUT SHELTER game under the code name ‘Underground’… Bethesda provided the conception, design, and overall direction of the game’s mechanics and resulting look and feel, and Behaviour provided the implementation
    Page 8: Bethesda retained and exercised complete ‘creative, technical and promotion control over all phases of development and distribution’ including ‘all text, graphics, artwork, voices, designs, gameplay, music, screens and characters.’”
  10. Fallout 76: Is the Atomic Shop or Creation Club considered canon?:
    Emil Pagliarulo: "Atomic Shop is a lot...we found that Atomic Shop tends to not be canon so much, it's a lot looser. Just because it's, y'know, stuff that you purchase or use Atoms get into your game that is, like... there's a big fun factor there. There's a lot of stuff in Atomic Shop that we could take out because it's not strictly Fallout canon, and then players would be bummed. Because it's in a live multiplayer game, you... it's always a judgement call, it's tough. There's a lot of stuff that's... the canon rules are a lot lighter with the Atomic Shop stuff. Because we want people to have what they want and just have fun."
    Note: This video is an excerpt from a longer interview at Gamescom 2020.
  11. Ferret Baudoin - 12/16/2020 Fallout for Hope - CHAD: A Fallout 76 Story Podcast Twitch stream: "I think if you're buying it in the store, you're choosing to go outside of the game in order to customize your experience. The same way that you would getting a mod that you particularly enjoy. So I tend not to sweat that stuff. If people can rationalize it, fantastic."
  12. Fallout 76: Is the Atomic Shop or Creation Club considered canon?:
    Emil Pagliarulo: "Okay, lemme answer this. So... um, Creation Club and Atomic Shop are two very different things, first of all. Creation Club is, let's start there, Creation Club is sort of as close to canon as we can get but also sort of the lines get blurred. So, for example, the team that does the Creation Club stuff always runs fiction by me and says 'would this work? Is this canon? How close is this?' And any time there's any writing or anything that goes into Creation Club, we wanna make sure that it's, y'know, everything fits. So for example, y'know, there was a cyberpunk apartment that went in that you access in Fallout 4 that you access via Goodneighbor. And there was some notes in it, it was like a synth's apartment. So all the fiction there had to be right. It could be canon, it could be... So it's sort of like parallel to canon, almost. It's... we don't wanna limit ourselves. We don't wanna not do something completely. It's tough. Because you don't wanna not do something that would be awesome, because it might get a little close to not being canon. So, it's always a judgement call. We weigh everything."
    Note: This video is an excerpt from a longer interview at Gamescom 2020.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Todd Howard: "For our purposes, neither Fallout Tactics nor Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel happened."
  14. The Lone Wanderer: "Then where's the rest of the Brotherhood?"
    Reginald Rothchild: "The West Coast, unless something has changed. There's been no contact with them for the last several years. There's also a small detachment in Chicago, but they're off the radar. Gone rogue. Long story."
    (Reginald Rothchild's dialogue)
  15. The Lone Wanderer: "Care to share anything about the Super Mutants?"
    Elizabeth Jameson: "The Brotherhood has been battling Super Mutants for decades. First out West, then in Chicago. Now here. But this group of Super Mutants is different, somehow. Physically, yes, but mentally as well. If we knew where they came from, we'd know why."
    (Elizabeth Jameson's dialogue)
  16. The Sole Survivor: "Did the Brotherhood ever build other airships?"
    Kells: "There were less advanced versions of this ship built on the West Coast a long time ago. Historical records about their current status are in dispute, but we're fairly certain that they were destroyed. In any event, I hope your tour of the Prydwen helped acclimate you to our way of life up here. I think you'll find that the more familiar you become with both her capabilities and her crew, the longer you'll survive as a member of the Brotherhood. You're dismissed, Knight/Paladin/Sentinel."
    (Kells' dialogue)
  17. Brotherhood soldier (1):"I still can't believe I was posted to the Prydwen. I mean, look at her... she's one of a kind."
    Brotherhood soldier (2): "Actually, the Brotherhood of Steel had a whole fleet of these things at one time. They weren't as advanced as the Prydwen, mind you... but seeing them fill the sky must have been an impressive sight."
    Brotherhood soldier (1): "Are you kidding me? What happened to them?"
    Brotherhood soldier (2): "Not sure, really. Most of them were destroyed fighting Super Mutants or scuttled for parts. I think one of them crash landed somewhere in the Midwest. I heard that the wreckage is still there."
    Brotherhood soldier (1): "Wow... I had no idea."
    (ConvBoSAirportPrydwen07Scene)[verification needed]
  18. Information acquired from Emil Pagliarulo by Paweł "Ausir" Dembowski. The wiki currently does not have a transcript of this information, and all content from Fallout Tactics should follow the referencing guidelines below.
  19. Chinese stealth suits in Hoover Dam in Fallout: Vegas
  20. New Canaan from Van Buren served as basis for the Canaanites in Honest Hearts and several characters from it are mentioned by name.
  21. The Tibbets Prison was altered into Big MT.
  22. The Courier: "What happened next?"
    Elijah: "After that... I wandered, alone. Saw the storms of the Divide, walked among the Ciphers of the West. Traveled to the Big Empty. I heard the signal. The woman's voice, the Sierra Madre, promising a chance to begin again, reverse my fortunes. All... nonsense. I tracked the signal. Came here, scouted the city... using other hands. Kept dying on me, killing each other. You - you got the farthest of all."
    (Elijah's dialogue)
  23. Last day of school
  24. Welcome Back to Fallout
  25. Emil Pagliarulo on DAC: "Don't worry, guys. I sleep with a copy of the Fallout Bible under my pillow."
  26. For example, Vault 106 in Fallout 3, Vault 34 in Fallout: New Vegas, the T-51 power armor development timeline in Fallout 4, and Vault 29 was mentioned in Fallout 76.
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