War. War never changes.”
Fallout is a series of 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. The series 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 four full role-playing titles in the series (Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, and Fallout: New Vegas), one squad-based tactical RPG combat spin-off (Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel) and one action RPG dungeon-crawler spin-off for PlayStation 2 and Xbox (Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel). 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.
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 questionable changes to the game world, 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 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 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 is dug out of a shallow grave by a robot after being shot in the head. The game's plot centers around finding the main character's supposed assassin, and a three-way war between NCR, Caesar's Legion, and the citizens of New Vegas over Hoover Dam.
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel is a tactical combat game developed for the PC 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. It is 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: 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: 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 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.
Games in development
- A Fallout game for the first PlayStation (canceled after about 3–4 months of pre-production and early prototyping)
- Fallout Extreme, a tactical squad-based TPP/FPP game developed at 14 Degrees East and canceled after several months of development
- Fallout Tactics 2 was initially greenlighted by Interplay some time after Fallout Tactics, and development for it started at Micro Forté, but it was eventually canceled.
- Van Buren (BIS project codename), an attempt at making Fallout 3 developed by Black Isle Studios after Project Jefferson (Baldur's Gate 3: The Black Hound) was canceled when Interplay lost the D&D license for the PC. It did not last long before it too was canceled and all the developers were fired / forced to leave.
- Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel: Vagrant Lands - a sequel to FOBOS
- Fallout d20, a Fallout PnP 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 generic post-apocalyptic game called Exodus.
- Project V13, the MMORPG that Interplay worked on was canceled due to legal obligations.
Possible future and hypothetical games
- Fallout 4 - a future sequel to Fallout 3
- Fallout iPhone game
- Fallout: Resource Wars - a game J.E. Sawyer said he'd like to make
For information on fan-made modifications to Fallout games, see Vault-Tec Labs, the Fallout Modding Wiki.