This is an overview article, focusing on background information and cross-game comparisons. See articles on the right game-specific information.
Gameplay articles
Fallout/Fallout 2Floater
Bloody floater
Nasty floater
Fallout 3Lamprey floater Cut content
Manowar tendril floater Cut content
Needle tooth floater Cut content
Fallout: New VegasFloater Cut content
Fallout 76Floater flamer
Floater freezer
Floater gnasher
Fierce floater
Savage floater
Ravenous floater
Vile floater
Hideous floater
Vicious floater
Bloodthirsty floater
Menacing floater
Abominable floater
Deadly floater
 
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Floaters are a unique species of mutant found in New California and Appalachia that comes from flatworms infected with the Forced Evolutionary Virus.

Background

An offshoot of West Tek experiments on flatworms from 2075,[1] floaters are unique creatures that were widely deployed alongside Unity forces, together with centaurs. Following the death of the Master, floaters became ubiquitous in the Central Valley in New California, preying on unwary travelers entering the regions.[2] They are common in Appalachia, but scarce elsewhere.

Biology

West Coast

FO2 Floater bio diagram.png

The floater is a large, soft-bodied invertebrate, named after the flotation sacs that allow it to hover in the air. Noxious, flammable gases are generated by the creature and stored in the flotation bladders, giving the creature its distinctive appearance and ability to hover. The sacs are of various sizes and dangle along the underside of the mouth. As the flotation gases are highly flammable, energy and flame weapons are notably effective and may cause the creatures to suddenly combust.[3]

The primary mouth comprises a majority of the top of the creature's disk-like "head." Surrounded by sharp teeth, the funnel-shaped aperture can be radially opened or closed. A long tentacle is able to rapidly protrude from the mouth, ending in a prehensile cross-shaped maw. When a floater attacks prey, the head lowers with the mouth pointing directly toward the target. Its tongue-like tentacle maw is abruptly launched forwards, spiraling through the air while grasping at the target. A smaller mouth, denoted the fore mouth, appears as a slit running from the bottom brim of the head into the gaping primary mouth.

Despite its awkward and uncoordinated appearance, floaters are remarkably fast. Aided by flotation sacs, the creature uses its flexible body and tail to slither and propel itself along the ground. At the base of the head, floaters have an ovipositor used to lay eggs, although only asexual reproduction was observed in the original FEV samples.[1]

In place of a brain, floaters have a rudimentary ganglion inside the bow of the head, similar to non-mutated flatworms. The pathways are sufficient for the creatures to recognize prey and members of its pack, but leave them unable to work in cohesion. Floaters often haphazardly swarm any target in sight, making them tenacious adversaries despite their relative simplicity.[4][5][3]

Appalachia

Similar to floaters cultivated on the West Coast, Appalachian floaters are large, soft-bodied invertebrates, named after the flotation sacs that allow it to hover in the air. Noxious, flammable gases are generated by the creature and stored in the large flotation bladders atop their heads, giving the creature its distinctive appearance and ability to hover.

Appalachian floaters have a single mouth consisting of an upper jaw and two large mandibles, each lined with sharp teeth. A remarkably long tongue is kept folded in the mouth. When attacking, the tongue unfurls and shows that its length is roughly the same as the rest of floater's body. Unlike West Coast floaters, the creature's mouth lies on the front of the body rather than horizontally on the head.

Above the mouth is a large, singular eye with eyelids capable of blinking and squinting. Multiple smaller eyes are dotted around the head, although only two others are capable of independent rotation. Each floater variant has a different eye color and pupil shape. Gnashers have bright green eyes with cross-shaped pupils, flamers have yellow eyes with vertical rectangular pupils, and freezers have bright blue eyes with thin, horizontal rectangular pupils.

The main body is conical, with a thick torso tapering into multiple tentacles that wrap around the central tentacle. Two squid-like tentacle "arms" extend from the sides of torso and reach down roughly half the body length. A single tentacle, denoted the tail, protrudes from the back of the main body. The torso and limbs are covered with groups of pulsating growths called pus sacs that are used to store volatile chemicals used in combat.

The head consists of a single balloon-shaped flotation sac mounted above the eyes. A central ridge of hard material runs along the top of the head. The sac continually pulsates, expanding and contracting as the floater hovers. Similar to the growths seen on the body, the vein-covered head emits a glowing radiance easily seen in the dark.

When killed, floaters bring their arms to their head and emit a loud shriek as the flotation sac violently expands. Upon rupturing, the explosion spreads volatile entrails in a circular radius, leaving a lingering pool of pus for a short duration.

Variants

Floater

FoModel Floater.png
Gameplay articles: Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout: New Vegas

Only one variant of the floater exists across New California, and is frequently encountered in packs. The Unity harnessed floaters for use as war animals, accompanying patrols across the wasteland and protecting key locations in their domain. After the fall of the Master, packs of floaters and centaurs began to appear across the Central Valley, with another used by the Enclave to deny access to the navigational computer onboard the PMV Valdez.

Floater Cut content

Centaur.png

Gameplay article: Fallout: New Vegas

The floater is a creature cut from the final version of Fallout: New Vegas. They appear in game files in name only, using the centaur's assets.

Elemental floater

FO76WL Floater gnasher transparent.png

Gameplay article: Wastelanders

There are three types of elemental floaters in Appalachia as of 2103, generally encountered in groups and frequently found alongside super mutants, who consider them friendly and treat them as companions and attack animals. Floater flamers glow red, have incendiary abilities, and have vertical pupils. Floater freezers glow blue, have cryogenic abilities, and horizontal pupils. Floater gnashers glow green, have pupils in the form of a plus sign, and have acidic abilities.

Appearances

Floaters appear in Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout 76. The Art of Fallout 3 includes concept art for a lamprey floater, manowar tendril floater, and needle tooth floater. Creatures named floater budding and floater evolved also appear in the files of Fallout: New Vegas, though they use the centaur model, a legacy of development.[6]

Behind the scenes

Floaters are the creation of Jason D. Anderson.

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 FEV experiment disk
  2. World map encounters in Fallout 2.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fallout 2 Official Strategies & Secrets p.26-27: "Floaters hover by, manufacturing and storing noxious gases in their flotation bladders. They're stupid, but move fast and are very difficult to kill. Floaters will try to surround you, so keep your distance. The gases that allow them to float turn them into a wonderful "flambé" when you crisp them with fire or energy weapons."
  4. Floater appearance and behavior in Fallout and Fallout 2.
  5. Fallout 2 combat description:
    # Floater
    #
    {1230}{}{the head}
    {1231}{}{the mouth}
    {1232}{}{the fore mouth}
    {1233}{}{the body}
    {1234}{}{the float sac}
    {1235}{}{the tail}
    {1236}{}{the ganglion}
    {1237}{}{the ovipositor}
    {1238}{}{uncalled}"
    (COMBAT.MSG (Fallout 2))
  6. Joshua Sawyer: "I think Floaters are cool critters in the Fallout universe, but, like Centaurs, they have really weird bodies that require unique animation rigs. From an animation perspective, limbless flying things tend to be really cheap (usually), human-like bipeds are cheap, quadrupeds aren’t too bad. Once you start getting into creatures with multiple heads, snake bodies, tentacles, etc., they get really expensive. IIRC, we talked about having Floaters but we just didn’t have the animation time for them."
    (Joshua Sawyer on Tumblr)
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