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The Fallout canon is a set of ideas considered to be an official part of the Fallout universe.

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Canon disputes

Because each game of the Fallout series was created by a different development team and the plot and dialogues were created by mostly different people each time around, there are numerous inconsistencies between them and the canonicity of each game is a point of contention between various Fallout fans. For example, in case of inconsistency between games, some fans might consider newer entries in the series to override the older ones, while others might consider the original lore to still be "true" and inconsistencies to be mistakes on the part of the later titles' developers. Even various developers of one game might disagree on what holds true in the games' setting: for example, Tim Cain and Chris Taylor have different views on the origins of ghouls.

"Core" canon works

  • Fallout and Fallout 2 are canon according to Bethesda, and other games incorporate lore and backstory established by Fallout and Fallout 2.
  • Fallout 3 and its add-ons are produced by Bethesda, therefore are canon, as are all other games and supplementary materials released by Bethesda, like One Man, and a Crate of Puppets comic.
  • Fallout: New Vegas and its add-ons (with the exception of content changed with the Wild Wasteland trait), which were published by Bethesda, are canon, as are all officially released supplementary materials, like the All Roads comic.
  • Fallout 4 and its add-ons are produced by Bethesda and therefore canon, as are all other games and supplementary materials released by Bethesda, like Pip-Boy Operational Instructions manual included with the Collector's Edition.
  • Fallout 76 and its subsequent updates are produced by Bethesda and therefore canon.

As these works are established canon, events confirmed to have occurred in a later game can be referenced freely, including examples such as:

  • Dogmeat is referenced in Vault Dweller's memoirs, which mentions that he died in the Mariposa Military Base. This is canon and can be referenced freely.
  • The EPA was cut from Fallout 2 and is not canon. The inclusion of this information should carry a cut content/non-canon warning.
  • Tycho is not referenced in future canon games, aside from a non-canon comment from a younger Tandi in the Café of Broken Dreams Fallout 2 random encounter and a question with the Bridgekeeper that implies Tycho is has died before the events of Fallout 2. Whether or not he was recruited by the Vault Dweller is not established in canon. It is okay to discuss Tycho in relevant contexts (Fallout NPCs, Junktown quests, etc) and it is okay to include facts that are "history" at the start of Fallout (i.e. that he was a ranger, that he was in Junktown, etc.), but it is not okay to mention any possible fact that may depend on the game outcome. For example, on the Vault Dweller page, we cannot claim that the Vault Dweller recruited Tycho in Junktown.

Other canon material

Semi-canon works

  • Fallout Tactics is considered semi-canon: Major events are canon (and are referenced in Fallout 3 and Fallout 4), but some details are not.[1] As part of the Fallout Tactics release, Fallout: Warfare has the same level of canonicity.
  • Official Fallout game guides can be tricky to place. On one hand, the developers of the games are involved during their production, so through this, the authors do have access to inside information that may not make it into a game. On the other hand, these guides have to be completed well in advance of release date, meaning some information can be changed between when the book went to print and the eventual release. Information in these items can be considered canon (but should be referenced to the book with <ref> tags) unless directly contradicted in-game. Where the books are contradicted, it is usually notable enough to make an appearance in the "Notes" section.
  • Creation Club material has been cited by Emil Pagliarulo as being as "close to canon as we can get" but also blurring the lines between canon and non-canon. Creation Club content is reviewed by Bethesda, but Pagliarulo has compared it to being "parallel" to standard canon, as they do not want to limit themselves when it comes to the Creation Club. Content from Creation Club should include a warning that it might not be confirmed as canonical.[2]
  • The canon status of content from the Atomic Shop was discussed by Emil Pagliarulo in August 2020. Pagliarulo stated that the status of many purchasable objects in the shop do not strictly confine to established lore and canon, as the internal rules for what can be placed in the Atomic Shop are very loose. Some items may have conflicting status within the lore, but are placed in the Atomic Shop because of their "fun factor." As such, it is semi-canonical.[3]
  • The canonicity of the Fallout Bible by Chris Avellone has been disputed as the series' lore has evolved and changed over time. However, it does serve as useful commentary on the first two games and has been used by Bethesda as a source.[4][5] Some setting elements introduced in the Bible have been further developed in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 76.[6] The Bible does contain some erroneous elements, many of which were later corrected either in following issues of the Bible, in the games or by the developers themselves. In 2011, Chris Avellone recommended against using the Bible to determine canonicity.[7] In an August 2020 interview, Emil Pagliarulo specified that the Fallout Bible has served as reference material to Bethesda-made Fallout games. He explained, "[Bethesda doesn't] just assume that everything in the Bible is canon. We have to take it step-by-step." Pagliarulo went on to describe that selections from the Bible's fiction can become canon if those selections are added to an official Bethesda title. For example, "some of the stuff that is in Fallout 3 that is now canon came from the Fallout Bible." Any content using the Bible without separate verification from a canon source should include a warning that it might not be confirmed.[8]

Non-canon works

Released non-canon works

  • Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel has been declared as non-canon by Bethesda Softworks, and by Interplay prior to Bethesda's purchase of the franchise. Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel content should always contain a non-canon warning.
  • Fallout Shelter, while produced by Bethesda, is not canon as it has no over-arching narrative, contains some contradictions to established canon and focuses solely on gameplay and cameos. However, certain item descriptions (such as X-01 Mk I power armor) may provide additional lore insight, as well as content that is part of the Fallout 4 add-on Vault-Tec Workshop, which features dialogue and rooms from the game.
  • Fallout: The Board Game and its expansion Fallout: New California are not canon. Although they received assistance from Bethesda during development, the game's setting can take place in a myriad of different locales (the Capital Wasteland, the Commonwealth, the Pitt, Far Harbor and New California are all available options), at the player's discretion. This can lead to potentially lore-breaking scenarios with certain characters, items and locations. As such, this wiki currently considers Fallout: The Board Game non-canon for similar reasons to Fallout Shelter.

Canceled and ancillary works

  • While Van Buren (the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios) is not officially canon, some elements of it were incorporated into Fallout 3 and its add-ons, as well as into Fallout: New Vegas, and are now part of the Fallout canon. However, in many cases, people, places and concepts that were to appear in this game are very different from the portrayal in-game. Van Buren content should include a non-canon warning unless verified from a canon source.
  • Similarly, cut content from Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 is non-canon, but is a useful commentary on the games. Some cut Fallout 2 concepts have reappeared in different forms (such as the EPA's Hologram 00000 becoming Dr. 0 in the Fallout: New Vegas add-on Old World Blues).
  • Canceled games that were not developed by Black Isle Studios, such as Fallout Extreme, Fallout Tactics 2, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2, and Project V13 are non-canon and should always contain a non-canon warning.

Order of precedence

The order of precedence, when listing Fallout games, should be canon games first, non-canon released games second, all other non-canon canceled games and ancillary works third, listed in order of first known development dates:

Game Year released Canon status
Fallout 1997 Canon
Fallout 2 1998 Canon
Fallout 3 2008 Canon
Fallout: New Vegas 2010 Canon
Fallout 4 2015 Canon
Fallout 76 2018 Canon
Fallout: Wasteland Warfare 2018 Canon
Fallout television series Upcoming Canon
Fallout Tactics 2001 Semi-canon
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2004 Non-canon
Fallout Shelter 2015 Non-canon
Fallout: The Board Game 2017 Non-canon
Fallout Extreme 2000 Non-canon
Fallout Tactics 2 2001 Non-canon
Fallout Bible 2002 Semi-canon
Van Buren 2003 Non-canon
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2 2004 Non-canon
Project V13 2008 Non-canon

References

  1. Information acquired from Emil Pagliarulo by Paweł "Ausir" Dembowski. The wiki currently does not have a transcipt of this information, though all content from Fallout Tactics should still be tagged.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Welcome Back to Fallout
  5. Emil Pagliarulo on DAC: "Don't worry, guys. I sleep with a copy of the Fallout Bible under my pillow."
  6. Vault 106 in Fallout 3, Vault 34 in Fallout: New Vegas, Vault 29 in Fallout 76.
  7. Tweet by Chris Avellone
  8. 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.
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