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Overview

The Great War

Fallout is a series of role-playing games originally published by Interplay but now being published by Bethesda Softworks. The games are set in post-apocalyptic United States after a deadly nuclear war wiped out most life on the planet. The war itself, referred to as the Great War, was a result of severe tensions between China and the United States following an energy and resource crisis. Over time fossil fuels and other resources became extremely scarce, and all of the advanced nations around the globe began scrambling to secure as much supplies as they could. A war broke out that lead to the invasion of Alaska by China. The United States then responded by invading China. Soon, nuclear missiles began flying everywhere, and after two hours the world descended into a barren wasteland. It isn't known who launched the first missile.

One of the interesting aspects of the Fallout universe is the 1950s vibe. Before the nuclear war devastated the planet, the United States was locked in 1950s culture as a result of dramatic technological advancements that lead to the development of robots, energy weapons, and other futuristic inventions. This created rather bizarre situations where high tech equipment is seen around 1950s aesthetics and other items from that era.

Vaults

A traditional birthday party in a Vault

The U.S. government knew that a nuclear war was probably going to happen sometime within the next few decades, so "Project Safehouse" was initiated to construct special nuclear fallout shelters known as Vaults. These vaults would house and protect privileged people from the atomic bombs. Unbeknown to almost everyone, the vaults were actually built for human research to test different psychological scenarios on the inhabitants. These include, but are not limited to, the effects of overpopulation and what would happen if one person lived in a vault by themselves with nothing to keep them entertained but a box of puppets. Only a few vaults were actually made to work as they were advertised, but this was only to compare and contrast the data of those vaults to the experimental ones. In essence, the normal vaults were just control groups.

Factions

Despite the United States being devastated by the Great War, several old and new factions exist:

A member of The Brotherhood of Steel, as seen in Fallout 3 (note the insignia on the armor).
  • Brotherhood of Steel - The Brotherhood of Steel is mainly concerned with the discovery and preservation of both pre-war and post-war technology. In the Capital Wasteland, however, the contingency stationed there focuses on protecting the people from Super Mutants. Because their goal differs from the rest of the faction, they receive no assistance from the west. In New Vegas, the Brotherhood of Steel hides out in a bunker in Hidden Valley and are lead by Elder McNamara.
  • Enclave - The remnants of the United States government. Their views on mutations are considered rather extreme; they believe that anything with a mutation of any kind, no matter how small, should be eradicated. The Enclave is prevalent in the Capital Wasteland but nowhere to be found in New Vegas.
  • Raiders - A rather disorganized group of murderers and thieves that kill anyone and anything that gets in their way. They occasionally have hideouts but usually they'll be seen roaming around in small or large groups. They will always attack on sight.
  • New California Republic - By far the largest known faction in western post-apocalyptic United States. Originally began as a small town called Shady Sands in the 1st Fallout then developed & expanded to form a new government system under the ideals of capitalism. It was established initially by former Shady Sands leader Aradesh but was later succeeded by his daughter Tandi as seen in Fallout 2 who became the NCR's longest serving president until her passing. The current president of NCR is Aaron Kimball as of the events of Fallout: New Vegas.
  • Caesar's Legion - An organization of slavers in the Mojave Wasteland. The Legion is lead by Caesar, who recruited members by dominating other tribes. Their structure, techniques, and style are taken from the Romans.
  • Super Mutants - Former humans mutated to great extent by the F.E.V. (Forced Evolutionary Virus). The first Super Mutants were created by Richard Grey, who became known as The Master when he was exposed to huge amounts of the virus and mutated into a hideous blob of mass. In the Capital Wasteland, the Super Mutants are created in Vault 87.
  • Slavers - Slavery is a business in the United States following the Great War. In the Capital Wasteland, the slaver headquarters is Paradise Falls.

Main Fallout Games

Fallout

Fallout
  • Main Article: Fallout
  • Released: September 30, 1997
  • Platform: PC

Considered by many to be the spiritual successor to Wasteland, the 1988 hit developed by Interplay. Fallout introduced the SPECIAL System used in many games in the franchise. The story follows the protagonist as they are tasked with replacing the broken water chip in their home, Vault 13. At the beginning of the game, the player has 150 in-game days to replace the water chip or the Vault Dwellers will die. However, the player can extend the time limit to 250 days if they get the merchants in the town of Hub to send water caravans to the Vault.

Once the chip is replaced, the player is tasked with destroying The Master (formerly known as Richard Grey) and his massive army of Super Mutants. The player can destroy him and the base in any order, but both most be completed in order to finish the game. There is more than one possible ending. If the player destroys the Master and the base, he returns to the Vault but is exiled because the Overseer believes that his iconic status will influence the children to leave and be like him. If the player has the Bloody Mess perk or has accumulated enough negative karma, he shoots the Overseer in the cutscene.

Fallout 2

Fallout 2
  • Main Article: Fallout 2
  • Released: September 30, 1998
  • Platform: PC

Fallout 2 takes place 80 years after the previous game and includes an improved game engine and several other additions and changes. The story centers around the descendant of the protagonist from the first game, and their mission is to save the town of Arroyo by retrieving a Garden of Eden Creation Kit (GECK).

Through some exploration, the player (called The Chosen One in the game) finds Vault 13 which is supposed to contain the GECK. The Vault is completely empty of its inhabitants. When the player returns to Arroyo, they find that the settlement has been captured by the Enclave. After finding an oil tanker and putting it on autopilot, the player rides over to the Enclave's base, located on an oil rig out in the ocean. While on the oil rig, he finds that the Vault 13 inhabitants are being used by the Enclave for F.E.V. testing. He releases the citizens of Arroyo and the Vault Dwellers and blows up the rig, killing many Enclave members, including United States President Dick Richardson and Frank Horrigan.

Fallout 3

Fallout 3
  • Main Article: Fallout 3
  • Released: October 28, 2008 (US), October 31, 2008 (EU, AU), December 4, 2008 (JP)
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
  • Giant Bomb Review: (Jeff Gerstmann)

Fallout 3 was developed by Bethesda Softworks and features a 3D game world, 1st person viewpoint, real-time combat, and other new features. Despite the dramatic shift from the original games, Fallout 3 does retain some elements from them, such as the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System. It was also the first Fallout game that was released on multiple platforms. The main story has players traversing the Capital Wasteland as a Vault 101 Dweller to find their father, who left the vault one day without explanation. As always, there is a large number of side quests to take on and over a hundred locations to discover. Upon release, Fallout 3 was described by some critics as "Oblivion with guns", a comparison that can be made given it was Bethesda's latest project after Oblivion.

Five pieces of DLC were released for Fallout 3. The first one, "Operation Anchorage", takes place during the Chinese invasion of Alaska and had players fighting them off through a simulation. The second one, "The Pitt", takes place in Pittsburgh. The third one, "Broken Steel", continues the main quest after the initial end of Fallout 3 and raises the level cap. The fourth one, "Point Lookout", takes place in Maryland and introduces a brand new open area to explore. Finally, the last one, "Mothership Zeta", takes place on an alien space ship.

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas
  • Main Article: Fallout: New Vegas
  • Released: October 19, 2010 (US), October 22, 2010 (EU)
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
  • Giant Bomb Review: (Jeff Gerstmann)

Fallout: New Vegas was developed by Obsidian Entertainment who are comprised of people from Black Isle, and published by Bethesda Softworks. New Vegas retains the same combat from Fallout 3, while adding new features such as iron sights, weapon modifications, and the return of a faction reputation system, last seen in Fallout 2. The main story has players traversing the Mojave Wasteland as a courier who was shot in the head at the beginning of the game. The man that shot them took the package they were carrying, and the player must track down the man and the package. Eventually, they will have to align themselves with one of the major factions in the game and decide the fate of New Vegas.

Spin-Offs

Fallout: Tactics

Fallout: Tactics

Tactics was developed by Micro Forte and is a squad-based tactical RPG set in the Fallout universe. Fallout Tactics retains some RPG elements like its leveling and perk system, and integrates an optional "continuous turn-based feature" that allows players to play the game using the other Fallout title's action point based system but in real-time.

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel

Fallout: BoS follows the adventures of an initiate in the Brotherhood of Steel. This was the first game in the Fallout series playable on consoles. The game had top down real time gameplay similar to Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, which used the same engine. It was poorly received due to changes in tone, gameplay, and canon from the rest of the Fallout series. The game was declared non-canonical in the Fallout universe.

Canceled Games

Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure

  • Canceled: Around February 11, 1997
  • Platform: PC

Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure (called Fallout: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure later in development) was going to be a collaboration between Interplay and Steve Jackson Games. The game was going to use Steve Jackson's GURPS system, which stood for Generic Universal Role Playing System. However the two companies eventually decided to part ways after arguments on the creative and visual direction of the game. Interplay replaced the GURPS system with the SPECIAL system and rebranded the final product Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Adventure. As a reference to the Fallout franchise's history GURPS is sometimes a password on computer terminals in Fallout 3.

Fallout Extreme

  • Canceled: 2000
  • Platforms: PS2, Xbox

Fallout Extreme was going to be a squad-based first and third person tactical shooter for the Xbox and PS2. It was in development by Interplay for a few months in 2000 before being canceled. The game would have allowed for the player to switch control over 4 squad members, each having unique abilities. The game would have featured a world map that the player would move around and capture territories on. The story of the game begins with the player trying to fight the Brotherhood of Steel, who have rapidly expanded across much of what's left of America, with territory as far as Alaska. They are cruel to anyone they conquer, wastelanders and mutants alike. The crux of the first half of the game was freeing towns and fighting against the tyrannical Brotherhood. The plot changes when the player beats the Brotherhood of Steel and learn that the Brotherhood has been trying to expand into Asia to stop the Chinese from launching a massive nuclear missile to destroy what's left of America. After this the player fights their way through Alaska, Russia, Mongolia, and finally have a showdown with the Emperor of China in the Forbidden City. The game was also designed to have multiplayer with game modes like Capture the Flag and Deathmatch as well as being able to play through the campaign with other people. Almost all of the story in this game is considered non-canon, from the survival of many foreign nations such as Russia and China to the expansion of the Brotherhood of Steel.

Fallout Tactics 2

  • Canceled: 2001
  • Platforms: PC

Pre-production of a sequel to Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel began before the first game was released. Micro Forte, the same developer that created Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, was responsible for developing its sequel. The game would have been set in the Southeast, with a tyrannical, oppressive sect of the Brotherhood of Steel trying to destroy an irradiated G.E.C.K. that is rejuvenating the Wasteland and allowing for rapid plant growth but also killing any thing that didn't come from the G.E.C.K. After the mediocre sales of Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel its sequel was canceled.

Van Buren (Fallout 3)

  • Main Article: Van Buren
  • Canceled: December 8, 2003
  • Platform: PC

Van Buren was a codename Black Isle Studios gave to the original Fallout 3 before it was canceled on 12/8/03 due to financial problems at parent company Interplay Entertainment. Members of Van Buren's development team would later go on to join Obsidian Entertainment and work on Fallout: New Vegas.

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2

  • Canceled: 2004
  • Platform: PS2

The sequel to the critically panned Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. The game was in development before the first Brotherhood of Steel was released. It was nearing completion in 2004 but Interplay laid off most of their employees. The plot of the game was going to relate to parts of Van Buren and Fallout Tactics 2. The story involved the Brotherhood of Steel having most of their technology destroyed and having to stop the results of a mutated G.E.C.K. from overrunning what's left of civilization as well as dealing with Caesar's Legion and other story elements that were planned to happen in Van Buren.

Fallout Online (Project V13)

Fallout Online, codenamed Project V13, was Interplay's attempt to make an MMO set in the Fallout universe.

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