Fallout Wiki
Fallout Wiki
Gameplay articles
Fallout 2Floater
Fallout 3Floater Cut content
Fallout: New VegasFloater Cut content
Fallout 76Floater flamer
Floater freezer
Floater gnasher

Floaters are a unique species of creature, found in New California and Appalachia.


Floaters are deadly, mysterious creatures,[1] born from experimentation with the Forced Evolutionary Virus.[Non-game 1] They were widely deployed alongside Unity forces, together with centaurs. Following the death of the Master, floaters became ubiquitous in New California, preying on unwary travelers entering the regions.[2] They are common in Appalachia, but scarce elsewhere.


West Coast[]

FO2 Floater bio diagram

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 effective and may cause the creatures to suddenly combust.[Non-game 2]

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.

In place of a brain, floaters have a rudimentary ganglion inside the bow of the head. 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.[3][4][Non-game 2]


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.



FoModel Floater
Gameplay articles: Fallout, Fallout 2

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.


FO76WL Floater gnasher transparent
Gameplay article: Fallout 76

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.


Floaters appear in Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout 76 and were cut from both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas.

Behind the scenes[]

  • Floaters are the creation of Jason D. Anderson. According to this wiki's founder, Paweł "Ausir" Dembowski, Ausir acquired a quote from Anderson in which he said that "We called it the "Sphincter Monster" after I used a porn image for its mouth." Although an archived copy of this quote has not ever been made available, internal files for the floater in Fallout and Fallout 2 use the name MASPHNxx.FRM, supporting the "sphincter monster" assertion.
  • The FEV experiment disk includes a note regarding flatworms being infected with FEV in May 2075. Although floaters do, in some respects, resemble flatworms, there is no explicit link between flatworms and floaters, as the latter are not mentioned by name in the FEV experiment disk.[5] When developer Jesse Heinig was asked about this on a No Mutants Allowed IRC chat, Heinig stated that he was unsure of the history of floaters and referred users to Chris Taylor, though nothing has ever come of this.[Non-game 3]
  • When asked if the floaters in Fallout 76 were the same as the ones in prior Fallout games, designer Ferret Baudoin said "Yes, they are the same Floaters from before. FEV research was being done both in Appalachia and the West Coast." This asserts that floaters were indeed the product of FEV experimentation, though flatworms being their origin remains unconfirmed.[Non-game 1]
  • The Art of Fallout 3 includes concept art for a lamprey floater, manowar tendril floater, and needle tooth floater, none of which were implemented in-game.
  • Floaters were also cut from the final version of Fallout: New Vegas. They appear in the game's files in name only, using the centaur's assets. Joshua Sawyer explained that their animations would have been too expensive and time-consuming to produce.[Non-game 4]



  1. Fallout 76 loading screens: "The enigmatic and deadly mutant creatures known as Floaters store noxious gases in their floatation bladders, which allow them to move through the air in search of prey."
  2. World map encounters in Fallout 2.
  3. Floater appearance and behavior in Fallout and Fallout 2.
  4. 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}
    (COMBAT.MSG (Fallout 2))
  5. FEV experiment disk


  1. 1.0 1.1 Baudoin, Ferret; Gardiner, Jeff (April 23, 2020). "Hey r/fo76! Jeff Gardiner and Ferret Baudoin are here today to answer your questions and chat about Wastelanders." Reddit. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
    "Yes, they are the same Floaters from before. FEV research was being done both in Appalachia and the West Coast.
    In the earlier Fallouts they added a great tactical dimension to Super Mutant encounters. And they do the same for us. :)"
  2. 2.0 2.1 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."
  3. "[00:22] <Ausir> Jesse_Heinig: just wondering, although you probably won't remember. a FEV research holodisk mentions flatworms being experimented on with FEV. were these meant to be the ancestors of floaters? they look rather flatwormy to me"
    "[00:23] <Jesse_Heinig> Couldn't tell ya. I am not really privy to the backstory of floaters. Chris Taylor might know. It's *possible* that centaurs and floaters had a specific backstory made up and written down somewhere, but it's also *possible* that they were just weird monsters that artists made up and which were then installed into the game. I don't know which."
    (Fallout Developers Profile - Jesse Heinig)
  4. 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)