Fallout (video game)

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Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game
Developer(s)Interplay Productions
Publisher(s)Interplay Productions[a]
Director(s)Feargus Urquhart
Producer(s)Tim Cain
Designer(s)Christopher Taylor
Writer(s)Mark O'Green
Composer(s)Mark Morgan
Platform(s)MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, OS X
October 10, 1997
  • MS-DOS
    • NA: October 10, 1997
    • EU: 1997
    Microsoft Windows
    • NA: October 10, 1997
    • EU: 1997
    Mac OS
    Mac OS X
    • WW: July 2002

Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game, most commonly known as Fallout, is a turn-based role-playing video game developed and published by Interplay Productions in 1997. The game has a post-apocalyptic and retro-futuristic setting, taking place in the mid-22nd century decades after a global nuclear war. The protagonist of Fallout is an inhabitant of a Vault, part of a network of long-term nuclear shelters, who is forced to venture out into the wastes to find a replacement part to fix their Vault's failing water supply system and save their fellow Vault dwellers.

Tim Cain is the creator of Fallout, working on it as early as 1994. The game was treated as low-budget by Interplay and was outsourced to the role-playing game division of Interplay, though it would cost $3 million. Fallout was conceptualized as a game where the player could do whatever they want. It was initially intended to use Steve Jackson Games' system GURPS, but Interplay eventually used their own internally developed system, SPECIAL. Fallout is considered to be the spiritual successor to the 1988 role-playing video game Wasteland. The art style drew inspiration from works from the Atomic Age.

Fallout was a critically acclaimed and financial success. It was praised for its open-ended gameplay and character system. The game reached 600,000 sales worldwide and is considered one of the best video games of all time. It won "Role-Playing Game of the Year" from both GameSpot and Computer Games Magazine, along with being nominated for an equivalent award by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and Spotlight Awards. Thanks to the karmic system in Fallout, It helped revive the role-playing video game genre, which was getting unpopular at the time. It was followed by a number of sequels and spin-off games, collectively known as the Fallout series.


Character creation[edit]

Fallout is a role-playing video game. The player begins Fallout by selecting one of three characters to play as the Vault Dweller, or alternatively, they can create one with custom attributes.[2] The Vault Dweller's primary statistics are governed by the system called S.P.E.C.I.A.L which consists of Strength, Perception, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck.[3] Strength determines the weight of the weapons the Vault Dweller can carry and the attack power of melee weapons. Perception determines the amount of detail of objects the Vault Dweller will notice, along with how far they can shoot weapons. Endurance affects the Vault Dweller's hit points and resistance against effects. Charisma determines how well the Vault Dweller can communicate with others without resorting to violence. Intelligence affects the number of dialogue choices available, along with the number of skills the Vault Dweller can learn. Agility adjusts many of the combat statistics. Luck determines the likelihood of events happening.[4] By default, the primary statistics are set at five. The player can adjust the value of each statistic from one to ten, though can only add five points to the default statistics.[5]

Two other statistics that can be changed upon character creation are skills and traits.[6] Skills are the learned abilities that the Vault Dweller can have. The initial value of each skill is determined by the primary statistics. The Vault Dweller has 18 skills. Three can be tagged during creation to give them +20%.[7] Traits are character qualities that have a positive and a negative effect. The player can pick up to two traits during character creation[8] out of a possible 16.[9] When the Vault Dweller levels up after obtaining a certain amount of experience points through various actions, the player can increase their skills with a limited amount of skill points.[6] Every three levels, the player can assign a special ability, or "perk", to the Vault Dweller which can aid them in their journey through the wasteland.[10]

Exploration and combat[edit]

An example of dialogue between characters in Fallout

The gameplay in Fallout centers around the game world, visiting locations and interacting with the local inhabitants. Occasionally, inhabitants will be immersed in dilemmas, which the Vault Dweller may choose to solve in order to acquire karma and experience points.[6][11] Fallout often allows the Vault Dweller to complete tasks in multiple ways. While almost every quest can be completed through diplomatic, combative, or stealthy methods; some quests also allow solutions that are unconventional or contrary to the original task.[12] Based on how the Vault Dweller completed their quests, they can either earn or be rescinded of karma points.[8] The Vault Dweller's actions and/or inaction dictate what future story or gameplay opportunities are available,[13] and ultimately dictate the endings of the game.[6]

Many characters in Fallout don't talk very much, only walking around and giving out predetermined short messages to the Vault Dweller. However, some characters do engage in longer conversations with the Vault Dweller.[8] Some even have a 3D model of their head when talked to, or a "talking head".[14] Those types of characters are usually of significance to the Vault Dweller.[8][10] The Vault Dweller can barter with other characters through either trading goods or buying them using caps.[15] The karma points the Vault Dweller receives or is rescinded of from each quest determine the other characters' reactions to the Vault Dweller and how they treat them.[8] Four non-playable characters can be recruited by the Vault Dweller to aid them on their journey, though they can't be directly controlled by the Vault Dweller.[8]

Combat in Fallout is turn-based. The game uses an action-point system, wherein each turn, multiple actions may be performed by each character until all their action points have been used.[16] Different actions consume different numbers of points, and the maximal number of points that can be spent is determined by the Vault Dweller's Agility and modifying elements such as perks.[17] The Vault Dweller may equip at most two weapons, and the player can switch between them at the click of a button.[18] The Vault Dweller has diverse range of guns the they can acquire and use.[11] Melee (hand-to-hand) weapons typically offer multiple attack types, such as "swing" and "thrust" for knives. If the Vault Dweller doesn't have a weapon equipped, he can punch or kick.[19]



Fallout takes place in a post-apocalyptic future. In the 21st century, a series of conflicts break out all around the globe over dwindling resources such as petroleum. The conflicts include China invading Alaska, the United States annexing Canada, and the European Commonwealth dissolving.[20] After years of conflict, on October 23, 2077,[21] a global nuclear war occurs. In less than two hours most major cities are destroyed. The effects of the war do not fade for the next hundred years, and as a consequence, human society collapses leaving only survivor settlements barely able to eke out a living in the barren wasteland,[22] while a few live through the occurrence in underground fallout shelters known as Vaults. One of these, Vault 13, is the protagonist's home in Southern California,[23] where the game begins in 2161, 84 years after the war.


The player controls a Vault resident sent into the Wasteland to save their home. The player can create a custom protagonist or choose to be one of three already available:

  • Albert Cole, a negotiator and charismatic leader, whose background is somewhat in the legal system;
  • Natalia Dubrovhsky, a talented acrobat and intelligent and resourceful granddaughter of a Russian diplomat in the Soviet consulate in Los Angeles;
  • Max Stone, the largest person in the Vault, known for his strength and stamina, but lacking intelligence due to childhood brain damage.

Each of the three characters presents either a diplomatic, stealthy or combative approach to the game. Games set later in the Fallout series refer to the player's protagonist as "the Vault Dweller". Official canon states that the Vault Dweller was male, but his name is unspecified.[24]

The player is allowed to recruit four companions to aid them in their quest – Ian, a guard in Shady Sands; Tycho, a desert ranger in Junktown; Dogmeat, a dog in Junktown; and Katja, a member of the Followers of the Apocalypse, living in the remains of Los Angeles (now known as the Angels' Boneyard). Other characters in the game include Aradesh, the leader of Shady Sands; Killian Darkwater, the mayor of Junktown; the Master, the leader of the Super Mutants; and Morpheus, his right hand man as the leader of the Children of the Cathedral.


In Vault 13, the Water Chip, a computer chip responsible for the water recycling and pumping machinery of the vault, malfunctions.[25] With 150 days before the Vault's water reserves run dry, the Vault Overseer tasks the protagonist, the Vault Dweller, with finding a replacement. They are given a portable wristwatch-like computer called the "Pip-Boy 2000" that keeps track of map-making, objectives, and bookkeeping. Armed with the Pip-Boy 2000 and meager equipment, the Vault Dweller is sent off on the quest. The Vault Dweller travels to Vault 15, the closest known Vault that may be able to provide help, but finds it collapsed into ruins and abandoned.[26] The survivors of Vault 15 have founded a town named Shady Sands. The Vault Dweller then travels south to Junktown, a town under conflict between Killian Darkwater and Gizmo. Further south the Vault Dweller finds The Hub, a bustling merchant city, where the Vault Dweller has the option to hire water caravans to aid Vault 13 and extend their estimated survival by 100 days. The Vault Dweller travels to Necropolis, a city of mutated humans called ghouls who are under occupation by large mutated humans, dubbed Super Mutants. Under the city, the Vault Dweller finds Vault 12 and recovers a water chip.

Upon returning with the chip, the Vault is saved, but the Overseer is concerned about the Vault Dweller's reports of the Super Mutants. Believing the mutations are too widespread and extreme to be natural, and that they pose a threat to the Vault, the Overseer charges the Vault Dweller to find the source of the mutations and stop them.[27] Information that is picked up throughout the wasteland reveals that humans are being captured and being turned into Super Mutants by getting exposed to the Forced Evolutionary Virus (F.E.V.).[28][29] They are being led by someone named the Master who wants to turn every human into a Super Mutant to establish "unity" among Earth.[30] The cult-like Children of the Cathedral operating around the Wasteland are a front created by the Super Mutants' Master, who is using the Children to preach his message to wastelanders and get them to submit to him peacefully.[31][32]

The Vault Dweller has to kill the Master and destroy the vats containing the F.E.V. and can choose which one to do first.[15] To kill the Master, they explore the Cathedral of the Children and finds a prototype Vault beneath it, from which the Master commands his Super Mutant army. The Vault Dweller infiltrates the Vault and can either convince the Master that his plan will fail, kill him directly, or set off an explosion that destroys the Cathedral.[33] To destroy the vats, the Vault Dweller travels to Mariposa Military Base, where the Super Mutant army is using the F.E.V. The Vault Dweller destroys the base, stopping the creation of more Super Mutants. After the Vault Dweller does both, a slideshow plays showing the impact the Vault Dweller had on the societies they had met.[34] The Vault Dweller returns to the Vault and is greeted at the entrance by the Overseer. The Overseer is happy that the Vault's safety is secured, but fears the Vault Dweller's experiences have changed them, and that hero worship of them in the Vault may encourage others to leave. For the greater good of the Vault and to preserve its isolation, the Vault Dweller is exiled into the wasteland.[35]


Tim Cain is the creator, producer, and one of the programmers of Fallout.

Development on Fallout started in early 1994.[14][36] The game was developed by the role-playing game division of Interplay Productions under the direction of Feargus Urquhart.[3] The video game took three and a half years to complete and cost approximately $3 million.[14][37] For the first six months, Tim Cain was the only one making the video game. Over the course of development, the team behind Fallout garnered up to 30 people.[14][36] Cain considered the team to be "amazing",[14] though Urquhart considered Interplay at the time to be "barely controlled chaos."[38] Fallout was initially treated like a B-project.[14][3] Interplay considered Fallout to be risky as it was unlike any other video game developed by Interplay at the time, and it was threatened with cancellation at least three times.[36]

The game was tentatively titled Vault-13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game, but the team later felt that the title was unfitting. Armageddon was proposed as a title, but was already in use for another Interplay project, which would later be canceled.[3][39] Interplay president Brian Fargo gave Cain the idea to name the game Fallout.[36] Interplay intended to use "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" by The Ink Spots for the theme song, but could not license the song because of a copyright issue. The song "Maybe" by the same artists was used instead for the original Fallout theme song.[14][3][40] Fallout completed development on October 1, 1997.[41]

Concept and influences[edit]

Before even settling on a setting and style, Cain visualized Fallout as a game where the player could do whatever they wanted and be allowed to play in their own style of gaming.[14][42] Cain decided that the game would be a "top-down experience", with every element being used emerge the player into the game.[36] He believed that the player should experience the game along with the Vault Dweller.[38] Fantasy and time traveling settings were considered before the development team decided on a post-apocalyptic setting.[33][36][42] Designer Christopher Taylor wrote a document called Vision Statement, which was about what the video game was trying to accomplish.[14] The document became inspirational to the team behind Fallout, with Cain citing it as "a major reason why the game came together at all."[36]

Fallout was created as a spiritual successor to Wasteland,[3] with almost everyone who had worked on Fallout having previously played Wasteland.[14] After the team decided on the post-apocalyptic setting for the game, they wanted to do a sequel to Wasteland for the game. However, they were unable to secure the license from Electronic Arts, so Fallout became a stand-alone game.[33] The role-playing system GURPS served as the basis for the engine of Fallout before the license for it was revoked.[42] The retrofuturistic art style of Fallout drew inspiration from many literature and media released during the late Atomic Age, especially Forbidden Planet.[36][43]

The concept of vaults was influenced by the science fiction movie, A Boy and His Dog.[36] Cain said that the team "all loved X-COM" and that the original version of Fallout featured combat very similar to the battles in UFO: Enemy Unknown.[14] The gaming media of the time also commented on the strong similarity to X-COM.[44] Cain also admired Star Control II for its open and near-unlimited exploration, which became an inspiration for the open-ended design of Fallout.[45] Fallout featured many pop culture references. The team had a rule that they would only make a pop culture reference if it could make sense to someone unfamiliar with the original source material. For example, the name for the Slayer perk was a reference to Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, though the name makes sense on a general level because the perk turns all attacks to critical hits, matching the name.[14] The game's somber prologue, which includes the series catchphrase "War. War never changes", was written by Tim Cain while he was watching an episode of The Simpsons, and was the second version to be written after Cain and assistant producer Fred Hatch were dissatisfied with the original version.[33]

Engine and game design[edit]

POV-Ray render mimicking Fallout's oblique projection and hexagonal grid

Fallout started out as an engine that Tim Cain was working on during his spare time from other projects in Interplay. Because of the lack of resources, early development was rough.[14] In 1994, Interplay Productions announced that they had acquired the license to create video games using the GURPS.[44] Cain created the game engine and most of the design for the game. He worked on it, by himself, developing the mechanics of the design and incorporating the GURPS system.[3] The team considered making the game first-person and 3D at one point.[38] They scrapped the idea as the 3D software renderer would've been slow on a massive game like Fallout.[46] The first prototype of Fallout was finished during 1994.[14]

The game was nearly canceled after Interplay acquired the licenses to the Forgotten Realms and Planescape Dungeons & Dragons franchises, but Cain convinced Interplay to let him finish the work on his project. Later, after the success of Diablo, which was released in late 1996, Cain successfully resisted the pressure to convert the game to multiplayer and real-time based.[36]

Fallout was designed to be open-world and non-linear.[14][42] It was purposely balanced so that, while the side quests are optional to progressing the main story, characters who did not improve their skills and experience by completing side quests would be too weak to finish the game.[44] Fallout also originally had a time limit of 500 days before the game ended. Taylor added this to keep the player focused on the main story line. It proved to be controversial and was removed in a patched version of Fallout.[33][3] The view was in cavalier projection in order to arrange the hexes on the hex map in a neat fashion.[14]

In March 1997, the license for GURPS was dropped due to creative differences between Interplay and Steve Jackson Games, the creator of GURPS.[47] The license was dropped by Interplay. According to Interplay, this was due to Steve Jackson Games objecting to the excessive amounts of violence and gore included in the game, among other things.[36][48] Interplay was forced to change the already implemented GURPS system to the internally developed SPECIAL system;[47] with Taylor given a week to design it and Cain a further week to code it.[36][42] Afterwards, before releasing the game, the team fixed some of the bugs present in Fallout,[3] with many of the QA members of Interplay coming on weekends to work on Fallout for free.[14][36]


The sprites in Fallout were highly detailed and took up a lot of the memory of the game.[14] Various actors were hired to voice 21 NPCs; along with Ron Perlman hired to voice the narrator.[3] The talking NPCs when talked to would display talking heads, most of which were created by Scott Redenhizer. Each one took eight weeks to create and were expensive.[14] To create the detailed talking heads of the NPCs, a sculptor built heads of clay, which the artists studied to determine which parts should be most heavily animated. The heads were digitized using a Faro Space Arm and VertiSketch, with LightWave 3D used for geometric corrections, while the texture maps were created in Adobe Photoshop.[44]

The characters were purposely given moral ambiguity, with no clear right or wrong choice during each event. This was made so the player could take whatever choice suited them best.[14] An example of which would be the endgame encounter with the antagonist, the Master, which featured multiple solutions.[33][49] At one point in Fallout's development, in Junktown, if the player aided local sheriff Killian Darkwater in killing the criminal Gizmo, Killian would take his pursuit of the law much too far, to the point of tyranny, and force Junktown to stagnate. However, if the player killed Killian for Gizmo, then Gizmo would help Junktown prosper for his own benefit. The game's publisher did not like this bit of moral ambiguity and had the outcomes changed to an alternate state, where aiding Killian results in a more palatable ending.[40]

Vault Boy, the mascot of Fallout, was created as a parody of films made during the 1950s.[38][50] The companions, or "followers", were not in the original specifications of Fallout and could not be coded. They had to be added through script. As a result, the companions were riddled with glitches, including their tendency to shoot the Vault Dweller when they are in the way of an enemy. Dogmeat was the first companion added.[14] Dogmeat was not designed to survive the entire game, but has been proven to be possible.[38] Another companion, Tycho, was a reference to the desert rangers from Wasteland.[3]


The promotion and advertising for Fallout was headed by lead artists Leonard Boyarsky and Jason D. Anderson.[51] A demo for Fallout was released on April 25, 1997.[52] According to Taylor, there was discussion among the development team about creating a demo for Fallout. The reason the demo was created and released was because "[they] just wanted people to play [their] game!"[53] On October 10, 1997, it was reported by PC Gamer that Fallout had started shipping in North America.[54] Version 1.1 was released on November 13, 1997 for MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows and on December 11, 1997 for the Mac OS. It fixed many bugs from the original release and greatly extended the 500 day time limit.[55][56][57] The European version was released later as version 1.2, which removed children from the game to make it eligible for release in Europe.[14][56] The Mac OS X version was released worldwide by MacPlay in August 2002.[1]

The game has been mistakenly believed to be released on September 30, 1997,[3] including by Bethesda Softworks vice president Pete Hines. The game was given out for free on Steam, a video game digital distribution service, on September 30, 2017 to mark its 20th anniversary.[58][59][60] However, on September 30, 1997, Fallout was not even finished. Interplay was fixing a major glitch related to sprite memory on that day.[55] The game, along with its two follow-ups, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, were later sold together as part of the Fallout Trilogy.[61] Fallout was later included in Fallout Anthology on September and October 2015[62] and Fallout Legacy Collection in October 2019.[63]



Fallout was a commercial success;[64] though it failed to meet expectations in sales.[65] In the United States, it debuted at #12 on PC Data's computer game sales rankings for October 1997.[66][67] A writer for CNET Gamecenter noted that the game was part of a trend of role-playing successes that month, alongside Ultima Online and Lands of Lore 2: Guardians of Destiny. He remarked, "If October's list is any indication, RPGs are back."[66] Fallout totaled 53,777 sales in the United States by the end of 1997.[68] Worldwide, over 100,000 units of the game had been shipped by December,[69] and Erik Bethke later reported sales of "a little more than 120,000 units" after a year on shelves.[70] By March 2000, 144,000 copies of the game had been sold in the United States alone. GameSpot's writer Desslock called these "very good sales, especially since the overall [worldwide] figures are likely double those amounts".[71] Conversely, Fallout was unpopular in the United Kingdom: the game and its sequel totaled just over 50,000 combined lifetime sales in the region.[72] According to Brian Fargo, sales of Fallout ultimately reached 600,000 copies.[73]

Critical reviews[edit]

Fallout was met with a very favorable critical reception; receiving an aggregate score of 89/100 from Metacritic.[74] It is considered one of the best video games of all time.[78][79][80] Peter Suciu of AllGame stated that "Some PC role-playing games are disappointing and dull but Fallout breaks the mold and puts players in a believable and somewhat realistic fantasy world."[75] Andy Butcher from PC Gamer UK called "the look and sound of the game" combined with the "moody and ambient music" delivers a believable environment.[2] Game Revolution said that the story is "so well developed in this game you'll wonder why you've been playing mindless shooting games like Quake."[10] Felipe Pepe in his book, The CRPG Book: A Guide to Computer Role-Playing Games, said that Fallout "excels at atmosphere and world-building" thanks to its "coherent internal logic" and its dark soundtrack.[81]

Game Revolution and Jason of The Electric Playground had differing opinions of whether not the graphics were amazing. Game Revolution said that the graphics were really good for an RPG; citing its realism and calling the cutscenes "some of the best rendered art [they've] seen in a while."[10] Jason said that the graphics weren't stunning and were just "decent"; comparing them harshly to the video game, Blade Runner. He did call the opening cutscene "most haunting opening movie" he has seen.[15] Desslock of GameSpot called the graphics "detailed" and compared them to the video game series, Crusader.[8] Next Generation criticized the isometric view that Fallout took on,[76] and Todd Vaughn of PC Gamer US felt that the hex maps limited the character movement.[77]

Fallout was praised for being open-ended.[76] Game Revolution said that "The world isn't as big as Daggerfall, but there is still plenty to do"; pointing out the many side-quests the Vault Dweller can do.[10] Suchi commended the side-quests and open-ended story making for a "very interesting driving story as well as unique and enjoyable sub-plots and scenarios."[75] Pepe pointed out how every quest, including side-quests, could be completed in multiple ways, especially through either diplomatic, combative, or stealthily.[12] Unfortunately, many critics found that the open-ended gameplay resulted in glitches[10][8] that could, as Butcher put it, lockout quests or mess up the dialogue of NPCs.[2] The 150 day limit on the first quest to find the water chip was criticized by Ray Ivey of Just Adventure, who stated that he "wanted to be able to take [his] time and explore and try new things."[6]

The combat in Fallout was also praised.[75][15] It appealed to Ivey due to its more tactical nature.[6] Computer Games Strategy Plus's Robert Mayer said that fans of turn-based RPGs will be in a "near-Nirvana" when it comes to combat due to the variety of weapons there are.[11] Jeff Green of Computer Gaming World said that the combat being turn-based "might bore or disappoint Diablo fans, but will be welcome to most hard-core RPGers." He however criticized the companions due to them being computer-controlled and having a tendency to get in the Vault Dweller's way during combat or shooting the Vault Dweller back.[16] Vaughn agrees, saying "When you’re fighting alone in Fallout, the turn-based combat is a great asset, but if you hire non-player characters to join you in battle, be prepared for a little frustration."[77] Pepe felt that despite its animation, the combat system lacked depth and was unbalanced.[13] Green criticized the battles, saying "given the close distance at which fighting occurs, many battles seem to go on for what often feels like a ludicrous amount of turns."[16]

The character creation system was called "fascinatingly complex" by Ivey.[6] Desslock felt that "the variety of characters that can be created and the truly different experiences that each type of character can have should satisfy even hard-core RPG players."[8] Mayer praised Fallout for having a character system that allowed different builds to do equally well in the game.[11] Butcher disagrees, saying that the game "tends to be quite combat heavy, and solving the game with a less robust character, while possible, is much tougher."[2] Jason found that "All of Fallout's skills can be used to some advantage, and WILL alter gameplay."[15] The karma system in Fallout was also highly praised.[76][6][11] GameRevolution says that the effectiveness of it was something that other companies have been trying to produce, saying "Interplay has finally succeeded."[10]

Awards and accolades[edit]

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences nominated Fallout for its "Personal Computer: Role Playing Game of the Year" and "Outstanding Achievement in Sound and Music" awards.[82][83] Similarly, the Computer Game Developers Conference nominated Fallout for its "Best Adventure/RPG" Spotlight Award.[84] Fallout received GameSpot's "Best Role-Playing Game" and "Best Ending" prize; and was nominated for GameSpot's "Game of the Year".[34] It also won Computer Games Magazine's "Role-Playing Game of the Year" award.[85] The game has been inducted into "Hall of Fame" or equivalent of Computer Gaming World, GameSpot, GameSpy, and IGN, among others.[86][87][88] In March 2012, Fallout was exhibited as part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's "The Art of Video Games" exhibition under the category of "adventure" games (along with Fallout 3).[80][89]


It was predicted in December 1997 by Seth Schiesel of The New York Times that the renaissance of role-playing games had started following the release of Fallout.[69] Role-playing games had not been popular since 1995. Fallout helped revive the genre of role playing-games through its karma system. The game would serve as a model of karma or morality systems in many future video games.[90][91] In retrospect, CNET Gamecenter's Mark H. Walker wrote, "The RPG genre was clearly in a slump in the mid-'90s, but ... the renaissance began when Interplay's Fallout hit store shelves."[92] It was called the "first modern role-playing game" by Rowan Kaiser writing for Engadget.[91] In a 2018 article, Patricia Hernandez from Kotaku ranked the original Fallout ahead of more recent entries from the 2000's and 2010's, commenting that the game's atmosphere still held up in spite of its dated graphics and mechanics.[93]

The Vault Boy character would go on to become an iconic mascot of the Fallout franchise.[3][38] The Master has received acclaim from critics and players as among the best villainous characters in video game history.[94][95][96][97][93] The encounter between the Vault Dweller and the Master was considered by GamesRadar+ to be "one of the most striking storytelling devices of its era", [98] and IGN praised it as one of the most memorable moments in the Fallout series.[99] PC Gamer praised the optional boss fight with the Master as among the best in PC gaming.[100]


Interplay started work on a sequel to Fallout before the first game was even released. The RPG division of Interplay was renamed "Black Isle Studios" and the deadline was 15-months after the original game's released. This resulted in crunch time and overworking of developers that resulted in many resigning during development, including Tim Cain. The deadline was met[65] and Fallout 2 was released on October 29, 1998.[101] Interplay allowed an Australian video game developer, Micro Forté, to develop Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, a tactical role-playing game. It was released in 2001.[102] Meanwhile, Interplay was working on a sequel to Fallout 2; codenamed Van Buren.[65] However, a portion of Interplay was owned by Titus Interactive, resulting in a troubled production. Interplay released the spin-off, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, an action role-playing game, on 2004. Afterwards, Titus collapsed and Interplay canceled Van Buren. Bethesda purchased all the rights to Fallout in April 2007.[103][102]

Bethesda revived the franchise through Fallout 3 an open-world action role-playing game that changed focus to a science fiction setting. It was released in October 2008.[104][102] Later, Bethesda paired up with Obsidian Entertainment to create Fallout: New Vegas, which was released in October 2010.[105] It became a cult video game despite its glitches at launch.[106] Bethesda worked on a direct sequel to Fallout 3 and released it as Fallout 4 on November 10, 2015,[107] where was relatively well received.[106] A free-to-play simulation video game named Fallout Shelter was released by Bethesda on June 14, 2015[108] to mixed reviews.[109] Afterwards, Bethesda worked on an online action role-playing game called Fallout 76. It was released on November 14, 2018[110] to negative reviews due to its numerous bugs and lackluster content.[111]

Other media[edit]

In 2002, Chris Avellone published his research of the lore of Fallout and Fallout 2. The project was known as Fallout Bible and compilations of documents of his research into the lore were released as issues throughout 2002.[112] However, ever since Bethesda's acquisition of the Fallout franchise, a lot of Fallout Bible has become non-canon.[21] Mark Morgan, the composer for Fallout, released a remastered soundtrack album for Fallout on May 10, 2010 for free.[113][114]


  1. ^ MacPlay published the Mac OS X version.[1]


  1. ^ a b Witham, Joseph (July 7, 2002). "MacPlay to Release Mac Versions of Fallout 1 and 2". RPGamer. Archived from the original on August 4, 2020. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Butcher, Andy. "Glowing". PC Gamer UK. No. 56. Archived from the original on January 17, 2001.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m McLaughlin, Rus; Kaiser, Rowan (July 21, 2010). "IGN Presents the History of Fallout". IGN. p. 2. Archived from the original on March 23, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  4. ^ Taylor 1997, p. 3-5.
  5. ^ Taylor 1997, p. 3-6.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Fallout". Just Adventure. Archived from the original on December 25, 2001. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
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