Fallout is a series of post-apocalyptic computer role-playing games originally produced and published by Interplay. Although set in and after the 22nd century, its story and artwork are heavily influenced by the post-World War II nuclear paranoia of the 1950s. The series is lightly based on the Mad Max film series, and is sometimes considered to be an unofficial sequel to Wasteland, but it could not use that title as Electronic Arts held the rights to it. In particular, Brian Fargo, one of the original developers of Wasteland, is noted in the intros of Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics, with the caption "Brian Fargo Presents", despite him not actually working on any of the games. Even though the Fallout series contains many references to items, persons, and scenarios found in Wasteland, the games are set in separate universes and are distinct from one another.
There have been five full role-playing titles in the series (Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4), one squad-based tactical RPG combat spin-off (Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel), one action RPG dungeon-crawler spin-off for PlayStation 2 and Xbox (Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel) and one simulation game for Android and iOS (Fallout Shelter). There was also an online MMORPG, Project V13, that was being developed at Interplay. However, after legal disputes, Bethesda removed the rights Interplay had, and the game production was completely halted.
The background story of Fallout involves a "what-if" scenario in which the United States tries to devise fusion power resulting in the whole country becoming hegemonic and having less reliance on petroleum. However, this is not achieved until 2077, shortly after an oil drilling conflict off the Pacific Coast pits the United States against China. It ends with a nuclear exchange resulting in the post-apocalyptic world in which the game takes place.
Before the nuclear exchange took place, great underground Vaults were constructed across America, supposedly to protect the populace from the dangers of radiation. Although only 122 were constructed, over 400,000 would be needed to protect the entire nation. This is because the Vaults were not intended to save humanity; rather, they were social experiments being conducted by the United States government. Most vaults featured some variable to test how certain things influence people (and presumably the personal characteristics of the vault's occupants) such as Vault 69, which reportedly contained 999 women and one man.
Each installment of the series takes these facts as the context to the subsequent adventures: much of the landscape the player travels through is scarred with wreckage as well as radiation. These effects are not limited to the environment. Mutated survivors - those who lived through the attack outside a vault - are often physically unrecognizable as human. Even livestock - mostly represented by cows - are rarely if ever seen with fewer than two heads or an udder the size of their head.
Published video games
The original two games were developed by Interplay's RPG division (named Black Isle Studios during the development of Fallout 2) and published by Interplay between 1997 and 1998.
In 2004, Bethesda Softworks licensed the rights to develop three Fallout games from Interplay. In 2007, they acquired the Fallout franchise entirely. In 2008, Bethesda released Fallout 3.
Released in 1997 for DOS, Windows and Macintosh, Fallout is the spiritual successor to the 1988 hit Wasteland. The protagonist of the game is tasked with recovering a water chip to replace the chip that broke in his home, Vault 13. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic southern California, beginning in the year 2161. It was originally intended to run under the GURPS role-playing game system, but a disagreement with Steve Jackson, creator of GURPS, over the game's violent content required the development of a new system, the SPECIAL System. The atmosphere and artwork of Fallout are reminiscent of post-WWII America and the nuclear paranoia that was widespread at that time. Some key people who worked on Fallout later left Interplay and formed Troika Games.
Fallout 2 was released in 1998 for Windows and in 2002 for Mac, using a slightly-modified form of the engine used in the original Fallout. Taking place in 2241, 80 years after the original game, Fallout 2 centers around a descendant of the Vault Dweller, the protagonist of Fallout. The player assumes the role of the Chosen One as he tries to save Arroyo, his village, after several years of drought. The game featured several improvements over the first game, including the ability to set attitudes of non-player character party members and the ability to push people who are blocking doors. However, it also included several changes to the game world and a more focus on humor, including significantly more pop culture jokes and parodies.
Fallout 3 is a post-apocalyptic computer and console role-playing game developed and published by Bethesda Softworks as a sequel to Interplay's Fallout and Fallout 2. It was released on October 28, 2008 in North America and was released on October 31, 2008 in Europe for Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The game takes place in the year 2277 at the Capital Wasteland, on the East Coast of what used to be the United States, mostly in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia and is not a direct continuation of the previous games' story. The protagonist, a young vault dweller from Vault 101, escapes the vault and embarks on a dangerous journey in search of their father, James, who mysteriously disappeared. The game's plot centers around the protagonist's search for their father, and the reemerging of a dangerous faction called the Enclave, who seeks to take control of the Capital Wasteland and eventually post-war America. The gameplay features include real-time combat and first or third person perspective, in contrast to the previous games, which were turn-based and isometric.
Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas is a Fallout game built upon the same game engine used by Fallout 3, it was developed by Obsidian Entertainment which was announced by Bethesda. Fallout: New Vegas was released on October 19, 2010 in North America for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas in the year 2281, four years after Fallout 3. The protagonist, a courier for the Mojave Express, is dug out of a shallow grave by a robot after being shot in the head and their delivery stolen by their attempted killer. The game's plot centers around finding the main character's attempted killer and retrieving their stolen package, and the war between NCR and Caesar's Legion, as well as the inevitable intervention of New Vegas, over Hoover Dam.
Fallout 4 is a Fallout game developed and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 10, 2015, except in Japan, where it was released on December 17.
The game takes place in the year 2287, 10 years after the events of Fallout 3 (and six after New Vegas), in a post-apocalyptic Boston renamed "the Commonwealth." The story centers around the protagonist's son, Shaun, being kidnapped while they are in cryogenic sleep in Vault 111 and the protagonist's subsequent attempts to find their son amidst the controversy of a mysterious "Institute" reportedly replacing citizens of the Commonwealth with synths, androids meant to be as close to a human as possible.
Fallout 76 is a multiplayer Fallout game developed and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was announced on May 30, 2018, and released on November 14, 2018, for PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
The game takes place in Appalachia in 2102, twenty-five years after the Great War, and follows the story of Vault 76, one of the 17 known control vaults. The player character emerges from Vault 76 following a celebration of Reclamation Day, having been sent on a quest by the Overseer. The game is entirely online but solo play is possible via avoidance of other players.
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel is a tactical combat game developed for Windows by Micro Forté and published by Interplay in early 2001 to mixed reviews. Although it was given high scores by reviewers (PC Gamer gave it an 85%), many fans were disappointed by the game. Fallout Tactics focuses on tactical combat rather than role-playing; the new combat system included different modes, stances, and modifiers, but the player had no dialogue options. Most of the criticisms of the game came from its incompatibility with the story of the original two games, not from its gameplay. Its important events are considered canon by new owner Bethesda Softworks, while everything else was deemed semi-canon. Tactics is the first Fallout game to not require the player to fight in a turn-based mode, and it is also the first to allow customization of skills, perks, and combat actions of the rest of the party. Fallout Tactics includes a multi-player mode that allows players to compete against squads of other characters controlled by other players. Unlike the previous two games, which are based in California, Fallout Tactics takes place in the Midwest.
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel became the first Fallout game for consoles (PlayStation 2 and Xbox) when it was released in 2004. It follows an initiate in the Brotherhood of Steel who is given a suicidal quest to find several lost Brotherhood paladins. An action role-playing game, BoS is a significant break from the previous incarnations of the Fallout series, in both gameplay and style. BoS takes place in three locations: The towns of Carbon and Los and a Secret Vault. BoS also does not feature non-player characters who would accompany the player in combat. BoS is not considered to be canon due to its stark contrasts and outright contradictions with the storyline of Fallout, Fallout 2, as well as Fallout Tactics in any way. BoS is the last Fallout game to be developed by Interplay. The game also features music from nu-metal bands, including Slipknot and Killswitch Engage, which stands in contrast to the music of the main Fallout series, performed by The Ink Spots and Louis Armstrong.
Fallout Shelter is a non-canon construction and management simulation game. The player acts as an Overseer for their own vault, and controls dwellers' jobs, adding rooms to the vault, managing resources, fighting off raiders and emergencies and more. Players are sometimes rewarded with lunchboxes that contain rewards, such as items or resources. Lunchboxes can also be purchased separately through microtransactions.
Bethesda Pinball's Fallout table
Fallout Trilogy (also released internationally as Fallout Collection or Saga Fallout) is a compilation of the three PC games in the Fallout series, consisting of Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, published by Interplay and Kalipso.
Fallout Anthology is a collection of five Fallout games, Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout Tactics, as well as all of their add-ons. It was released on September 29, 2015, in North America and October 2 in Europe.
Fallout: Warfare is a tabletop wargame based on the Fallout Tactics storyline, using a simplified version of the SPECIAL system. The rulebook was written by Chris Taylor, and was available on the Fallout Tactics bonus CD, together with cut-out miniatures. Fallout: Warfare features five distinct factions, vehicles, four game types, and thirty-three different units. The rules only require ten-sided dice. The modifications to the SPECIAL system allow every unit a unique set of stats and give special units certain skills they can use, including piloting, doctor, and repair. A section of the Fallout: Warfare manual allows campaigns to be conducted using the Warfare rules. The game is currently available for free online from the fansite No Mutants Allowed and several other sources.
Fallout: The Board Game
Fallout: The Board Game is a Fallout-themed board game published by Fantasy Flight Games. It is a tile-based game for one to four players, who can either compete or work together. Players can choose whether to play as a human, ghoul or super mutant. The player can also choose between four scenarios, taking place in the Capital Wasteland, the Pitt, the Commonwealth or Far Harbor. While exploring different location tiles, the players can gain equipment cards or special influence cards to advance their character. Each player also has a special character board, where they track equipment, hit points and radiation damage.
Fallout: Wasteland Warfare
Fallout game for the first PlayStation
An unnamed Fallout game meant for the first PlayStation console. Canceled after about 3–4 months of pre-production and early prototyping.
A tactical squad-based TPP/FPP game developed at 14 Degrees East. Canceled after several months of development.
Fallout Tactics 2
Initially approved by Interplay some time after Fallout Tactics, development started at Micro Forté and was eventually canceled.
"Van Buren" was the project codename Black Isle Studios assigned to their version of Fallout 3. Canceled following financial issues.
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2
A sequel to Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, canceled following layoffs at Interplay.
A Fallout pen and paper RPG, formerly under development by Glutton Creeper Games. Canceled after a cease & desist from Bethesda Softworks, the publisher of Fallout 3. It was redeveloped into a post-apocalyptic game called Exodus.
An MMORPG developed by Interplay, canceled due to legal obligations.
Fallout Movie (Interplay Entertainment)
In 1998, Interplay Entertainment founded the film division Interplay Films to make films based on its properties, and announced that a Fallout film was one of their first projects. Interplay confirmed that a film based on the original Fallout game was in production, but the division was later disbanded without any film produced.
Possible future and hypothetical games and media
Fallout: Resource Wars
A proposed team-based multiplayer game that J.E. Sawyer said he would like to make.
Fallout Movie (Bethesda Softworks)
In 2009, Bethesda Softworks expressed its interest in producing a Fallout film. In February 2012, instead of a Fallout film, a special feature was made, entitled "Making of Fallout 3 DVD", which was accepted as a film on March 27 of the same year. In the DVD commentary of Mutant Chronicles, voice actor Ron Perlman stated that if a Fallout film was made, he would like to reprise his role as the Narrator. In 2016, Todd Howard stated that Bethesda had turned down the offers of making a film based on Fallout, but that he did not rule out the possibility.