Fallout 2

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Fallout 2
Developer(s)Black Isle Studios
Publisher(s)Interplay Productions[a]
  • Feargus Urquhart
  • Matthew J. Norton
Programmer(s)Jesse Reynolds
  • Gary Platner
  • Tramell Ray Isaac
Writer(s)Mark O'Green
Composer(s)Mark Morgan
Rick Jackson
  • Windows
  • October 29, 1998[1]
  • Mac OS X
  • August 23, 2002[2]

Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game is a 1998 role-playing video game developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay Productions. It is a sequel to Fallout (1997), featuring similar graphics and game mechanics. The game's story takes place in 2241, 80 years after the events of Fallout and 164 years after the atomic war which reduced the vast majority of the world to a nuclear wasteland.[4] The player assumes the role of The Chosen One, the grandchild of the first game's protagonist, and undertakes a quest to save their small village on the West Coast of the United States.[5]

Fallout 2 was well received by critics, who praised its gameplay and storyline, and considered it a worthy successor to the original Fallout. Its bugs and limited updates to the formula of the first game attracted criticism. In 2008, it was followed by a sequel, Fallout 3, developed by Bethesda Game Studios.[6]


An example of dialogue between characters in Fallout 2

Fallout 2 is a role-playing video game. The player character is free to move until they enter into combat. Combat gives a number of action points to move, fire, check their equipment, reload and the like.

When a player uses up all of their action points, they end their turn and enemies start theirs. If the player survives unharmed, they have their action points restored. Injuries and poisons can reduce the number of action points available both in a single turn and semi-permanently, until combat ends and the player can be treated.

Combat and completion of jobs or quests reward the player with experience points with which they can level up their characters and apply beneficial perks to become more suited to the dangerous post-apocalyptic world.

General gameplay consists of traveling and interacting with local inhabitants and organizations to complete goals and aid or inhibit the NPCs. The player's actions dictate what future story or gameplay opportunities are available. Mature themes such as alcohol consumption, drug usage, and sex are present.

Organized crime, prostitution, and slavery are major elements of the setting. Character creation is based on the SPECIAL role-playing system.


In 2241, the primitive town of Arroyo suffers the worst drought on record. Faced with the calamity, the village elder asks the direct descendant of the Vault Dweller, referred to as the Chosen One, to retrieve a Garden of Eden Creation Kit (GECK) for Arroyo. The GECK is a device that can create thriving communities out of the post-apocalyptic wasteland.[5] The player, assuming the role of the Chosen One, is given the Vault Dweller's jumpsuit, a RobCo PIPBoy 2000, a Vault 13 water flask, a spear and some cash to start on their mission.

The Chosen One finds Vault 13, the supposed location of a GECK, devoid of the majority of its former human inhabitants and instead inhabited by intelligent Deathclaws. The Chosen One returns to find their village captured by the remnants of the United States government known as "The Enclave". The Enclave terrorizes the inhabitants of the continental United States with their supreme arsenal of advanced technology. The Chosen One, through various means, activates an ancient oil tanker and engages its autopilot, thus allowing them to reach the Enclave's main base on an offshore oil rig. It is revealed that the dwellers of Vault 13 were captured as well, to be used as test subjects for the Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV). Vault 13 was supposed to be closed for 200 years as part of a government experiment,[4] making them perfect test subjects. The Enclave modified the FEV into an airborne disease, designed to attack any living creatures with mutated DNA. With all genetic impurities removed, the Enclave (who remain protected from radiation) could take over. The Chosen One frees both their fellow villagers from Arroyo and the Vault 13 dwellers from Enclave control and subsequently destroys the Enclave's oil rig, killing Dick Richardson, the President of the United States and Frank Horrigan, a cybernetic Super Mutant working for the Enclave's Secret Service. In the end, the inhabitants of Vault 13 and the Arroyo villagers usher in a new era of prosperity to the dying village with the help of the GECK, turning Arroyo into a flourishing city.


Tim Cain announced Fallout 2 via a Usenet posting in December 1997, and wrote that it "should take 11 months".[7] Cain later clarified that the sequel entered development before the launch of Fallout, as the previous game had "really caused a buzz in the studio about six months before it was released".[8] According to co-founder of Black Isle Studios Feargus Urquhart, Interplay was experiencing financial difficulties at the beginning of 1998, which according to Urquhart, gave the studio "basically nine months to make the whole game".[9] In order to reach this deadline, many staff were taken from the Planescape: Torment development team and made to work on Fallout 2. Additionally, the development team were also made to work crunch time to make up for a lack of manpower and time.[10]


Fallout 2 received positive reviews, according to the review aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings. It was a finalist for "PC Role-Playing Game of the Year" during the AIAS' 2nd Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, along with nominations for role-playing game of the year awards from Computer Gaming World, GameSpot, CNET Gamecenter, and IGN; all were ultimately given to Baldur's Gate.[22][23][24][25][26] The editors of GameSpot wrote, "A bigger, better Fallout, this sequel to 1997's RPG of the Year was populated with more characters, more places to go, and more things to do."[23]

Positive reviewers praised the gameplay, storyline, and worthiness as a successor to the original Fallout, while detractors criticized frequent bugs and lack of improvement over the first game. Daniel Morris of GamePro praised the mix of action and character interaction as well as the non-linear gameplay.[12] IGN applauded the developers for the sizable game world, the writing, and "not fixing something that wasn't broken."[15] Game Revolution praised the game's depth and storyline but criticized its graphics and interface.[27]


Fallout 2 was a commercial success.[28] In the United States, it secured third place on PC Data's computer game sales rankings for the first week of November 1998. It was absent from the weekly top 10 by the following week, but debuted at #20 for the month of November overall.[29][30] Fallout 2 sold 123,000 copies in the United States by March 2000. GameSpot writer Desslock considered these "very good sales, especially since the overall [worldwide] figures are likely double those amounts."[28] According to Keza MacDonald of Eurogamer, Fallout 2 was unsuccessful in the United Kingdom; she noted that the game and its predecessor totaled just over 50,000 sales combined in the region.[31]


In 2013, GamesRadar ranked Fallout 2 number 68 on their list of top video games of all time.[32] That same year, IGN ranked it as the 28th best role-playing video game ever.[33] In 2015, PC Gamer ranked the game #3 on its list of best RPGs of all time.[34]

In retrospect, the designers of Fallout 2 expressed reservations about the game, with Chris Avellone calling it "a slapdash project without a lot of oversight". Retro Gamer described Fallout 2 as "an impressive feat, yet still one that rubbed Fallout diehards the wrong way."[8]

Fallout 2 was the first game to feature same sex marriage,[35] and one of the first games to include LGBT representation in general.[36]


  1. ^ MacPlay published the Mac OS X version.[3]
  1. ^ Mullen, Micheal (October 26, 1998). "Fallout 2 Ships". GameSpot. Archived from the original on June 10, 2000. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  2. ^ "MacPlay". February 20, 2005. Archived from the original on February 20, 2005. Retrieved March 27, 2023.
  3. ^ Samhain, Cynn (July 2, 2002). "Fallout 2 For Mac". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on July 5, 2022. Retrieved July 5, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Avellone, Chris (March 8, 2002). "Fallout Bible 0". Black Isle. Archived from the original on December 26, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "The Story". Fallout 2 Website. Interplay. 1998. Archived from the original on December 4, 2003. Retrieved September 3, 2006.
  6. ^ Bradon; Boyer (April 13, 2007). "Fallout IP Sold To Bethesda". Game Developer. Archived from the original on March 25, 2022. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
  7. ^ Asher, Mark (December 4, 1997). "Fallout 2 Under Way". CNET Gamecenter. Archived from the original on May 6, 1999.
  8. ^ a b Dransfield, Ian (2018). "The History of Fallout". Retro Gamer. No. 186. pp. 20–29.
  9. ^ "How Fallout 2's wild wasteland came to define a series". PCGamesN. October 10, 2017. Archived from the original on May 12, 2021. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  10. ^ "World on Fire: The Oral History of Fallout and Fallout 2". Shacknews. November 15, 2019. Archived from the original on May 23, 2021. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  11. ^ House, Michael L. "Fallout 2 - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Morris, Daniel (January 1, 2000). "Fallout 2". GamePro. Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved December 5, 2008.
  13. ^ Scorpia (February 1999). "Help Me, I'm Falling". Computer Gaming World. No. 175. pp. 214, 216.
  14. ^ "Fallout 2 Review". GameSpot. December 9, 1998. Archived from the original on October 10, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
  15. ^ a b "Fallout 2" (November 13, 1998). IGN. Retrieved December 5, 2008.
  16. ^ Vaughn, Todd (February 1999). "Fallout 2". PC Gamer US. Archived from the original on January 16, 2000.
  17. ^ Mayer, Robert (November 13, 1998). "Fallout 2". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on November 5, 2002.
  18. ^ Staff (February 1999). "Fallout 2". Next Generation (50): 98.
  19. ^ Barrick, Gordon. "Fallout 2 Review". PC Gaming World. Archived from the original on August 19, 2000.
  20. ^ "Fallout 2 for PC". GameRankings. Archived from the original on July 16, 2016. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  21. ^ "Fallout 2 for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on July 16, 2016. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  22. ^ "The CNET Gamecenter.com Awards for 1998". CNET Gamecenter. January 29, 1999. Archived from the original on December 16, 2000. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  23. ^ a b Staff. "GameSpot's Best and Worst of 1998". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 15, 2000.
  24. ^ "IGNPC's Best of 1998 Awards". IGN. January 29, 1999. Archived from the original on April 4, 2002. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  25. ^ "Second Interactive Achievement Awards; Personal Computer". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on November 4, 1999.
  26. ^ Staff (April 1999). "Computer Gaming World's 1999 Premier Awards; CGW Presents the Best Games of 1998". Computer Gaming World. No. 177. pp. 90, 93, 96–105.
  27. ^ "A kiss to build a dream on..." Game Revolution. February 1, 1999. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  28. ^ a b Desslock (May 11, 2000). "Desslock's Ramblings – RPG Sales Figures". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 3, 2001.
  29. ^ Feldman, Curt (November 25, 1998). "Top Sellers of the Week". GameSpot. Archived from the original on June 9, 2000. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  30. ^ Mayer, Robert (December 13, 1998). "November Belongs to Deer Hunter 2 3D". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on April 6, 2005. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  31. ^ MacDonald, Keza (October 27, 2008). "Fallout Retrospective". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on October 29, 2009. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  32. ^ "GamesRadar Top 100". GamesRadar. February 15, 2013. p. 37. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  33. ^ "IGN Top 100 RPGs (Fallout 2)". IGN.com. Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  34. ^ Banks, Cory; Johnson, Leif (December 18, 2015). "The best RPGs of all time". PC Gamer. Future US. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
  35. ^ Thier, Dave. "'Fallout' Had Gay Marriage Back In 1998". Forbes. Archived from the original on February 13, 2023. Retrieved February 13, 2023.
  36. ^ "A Brief History Of Gay Marriage In Video Games". Kotaku. June 26, 2015. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2023.

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