Fallout (Series) Information
Fallout is a series of post-apocalyptic role-playing video games created by Interplay Entertainment. Although the series is set during the 22nd and 23rd centuries, its retrofuturistic story and artwork are influenced by the post-war culture of 1950s America, and its combination of hope for the promises of technology and lurking fear of nuclear annihilation. A forerunner for Fallout is Wasteland, a 1988 video game of which the Fallout series is regarded to be a spiritual successor. Although the game worlds are different, the background story, inhabitants, locations and characters draw many parallels.
The first two titles in the series (Fallout and Fallout 2) were developed by Black Isle Studios. Micro Forté and 14 Degrees East's 2001 Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel is a tactical role-playing game. In 2004, Interplay closed Black Isle Studios, and continued to produce an action game with RPG elements for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel without Black Isle Studios. A third entry in the main series, Fallout 3, was released in 2008 by Bethesda Softworks. The latest RPG game of the series, Fallout: New Vegas, came out in 2010 and was developed by Obsidian Entertainment with many former Black Isle employees who created Fallout and Fallout 2.
Bethesda Softworks now owns the rights to produce all Fallout games. Soon after acquiring the rights to the IP, Bethesda licensed the rights to make a massively multiplayer online role-playing game version of Fallout to Interplay. This led to a lengthy legal dispute between Bethesda Softworks and Interplay, with Bethesda claiming Interplay had not met the terms and conditions of the licensing contract. The case was decided in favor of Bethesda. The MMORPG only ever got to the beta stage under Interplay, and it is not currently known whether or not Bethesda plans to develop a Fallout MMO.
|1997 –||– Fallout|
|1998 –||– Fallout 2|
|2001 –||– Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel|
|2004 –||– Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel|
|2008 –||– Fallout 3|
|2010 –||– Fallout: New Vegas|
FalloutMain article: Fallout (video game)
Released in 1997, Fallout takes place in a post-apocalyptic Southern California, beginning in the year 2161. The protagonist is tasked with recovering a water chip in the Wasteland to replace the broken chip in his or her home, Vault 13. Fallout was originally intended to run under the GURPS role-playing game system However, a disagreement with the creator of GURPS, Steve Jackson, over the game's violent content required Black Isle Studios to develop a new system, the SPECIAL. Fallout's atmosphere and artwork are reminiscent of post-WWII America and the nuclear paranoia that was widespread at that time.
Black Isle Studios
Fallout 2Main article: Fallout 2
Fallout 2 was released in 1998, with several improvements over the first game, including an improved game engine, the ability to set attitudes of non-player character (NPC) party members and the ability to push people who are blocking doors. Additional features included several changes to the game world, including significantly more pop culture jokes and parodies, such as multiple Monty Python-referencing special random encounters, and self-parodying dialogue that broke the fourth wall to mention game mechanics. Fallout 2 takes place 80 years after Fallout, and 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 his village, Arroyo, after several years of drought and death.
Van Buren (Fallout 3)Main article: Van Buren (Fallout 3)
Van Buren was the code-name for the cancelled version of Fallout 3 developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay. It featured an improved engine with real 3D graphics as opposed to sprites, new locations, vehicles and a modified version of the SPECIAL system. The story disconnected from the Vault Dweller/Chosen One bloodline in Fallout and Fallout 2. Plans for the game included the ability to influence the various factions. The game was cancelled in December 2003 when the budget cuts forced Interplay to dismiss the PC development team. Interplay subsequently sold the Fallout intellectual property to Bethesda Softworks, who began development on their own version of Fallout 3 unrelated to Van Buren. Van Buren is considered to be a part of the main Fallout series, however it is considered semi-canon. Some parts of the game were incorporated into Fallout 3 and its add-ons as well as Fallout: New Vegas.
Fallout 3Main article: Fallout 3
Fallout 3 was developed by Bethesda Softworks and released on October 28, 2008. The story picks up 30 years after the setting of Fallout 2 and 200 years after the nuclear war that devastated the game's world. The player is a vault-dweller in Vault 101 who is forced to flee when the Overseer tries to arrest him/her in response to the player's father leaving the vault. Once free, the player is dubbed the Lone Wanderer, and ventures into the Wasteland in and around Washington, D.C., known as the Capital Wasteland, to find his/her father. It differs from previous games in the series by utilizing 3D graphics, a free-roam gaming world and real-time combat, in contrast to previous games' 2D isometric graphics and turn-based combat. It was developed simultaneously for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 using the Gamebryo engine. On release it received highly positive reviews, garnering 94/100, 92/100, and 93/100 averages scores on Metacritic for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, respectively. It won IGN's 2008 Overall Game of the Year Award, Xbox 360 Game of the Year, Best RPG, and Best Use of Sound, as well as E3's Best Of Show and Best Role Playing Game.
Fallout: New VegasMain article: Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and released on October 19, 2010, in North America and October 22, 2010, in Europe. Fallout: New Vegas is not a direct sequel to Fallout 3. Rather, it is a stand-alone product. Events in the game follow four years after Fallout 3 and offer a similar role-playing experience, however, no characters from that game appear. However, it is more tied to the first two Fallout titles, featuring characters from those games. In New Vegas the player assumes the role of a courier in the post-apocalyptic world of the Mojave Wasteland. As the game begins, the courier is shot in the head and left for dead shortly before being found and brought to a doctor in the nearby town of Goodsprings, marking the start of the game and the courier's search for his or her would be murderer. The city of New Vegas is a post-apocalyptic interpretation of Las Vegas with only five standing casinos.
Pete Hines of Bethesda Softworks said: "The whole reason we went out and acquired the license and that we now own Fallout is that we clearly intended to make more than one. This is not something we're going to do once and then go away and never do it again. When that will be or how long that will be God only knows, but we acquired it specifically because we wanted to own it and develop it and work on it like we do with The Elder Scrolls."
On January 8, 2013, Fallout 3 voice actor Erik Dellums hinted via Twitter that his character, Three Dog, would be returning. In a follow-up tweet, he stated, "I was given permission to release that tease." This was widely interpreted by the gaming media as a sign that a Fallout 4 announcement is imminent.
While not much is known about the setting of the next Fallout installment, it is rumored that it will take place in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although no specifics were given, Jason Bergman did allude to a change in setting for the upcoming title (translated from Norwegian), "You'll get no tips from me. But the Mojave Wasteland was a fun place to explore, wasn't it?"
Fallout: TacticsMain article: Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
Tactics is the first Fallout game not to require the player to fight in a turn-based mode, and it is also the first to allow the player to customize the skills, perks, and combat actions of the rest of the party. 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. 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 Midwestern United States. The game was released in early 2001 to generally favorable reviews.
Fallout: WarfareMain article: Fallout: Warfare
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 Christopher 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 33 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 fansite No Mutants Allowed and several other sources.
Fallout: Brotherhood of SteelMain article: Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel became the first Fallout game for consoles 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. BoS is an action role-playing game, representing a significant break from previous incarnations of the Fallout series in both gameplay and aesthetics. The game does not feature non-player characters that accompany the player in combat and uses heavy metal music, including Slipknot, Devin Townsend and Killswitch Engage, which stands in contrast to the music of Fallout 3, performed by The Ink Spots and Louis Armstrong. It was the last Fallout game to be developed by Interplay.
Fallout OnlineMain article: Fallout Online
Fallout Online (previously known as Project V13, also known as FOOL) was a cancelled project by Interplay and Masthead Studios to develop a Fallout-themed massively multiplayer online game. It officially entered production in 2008, In 2009, Bethesda filed a lawsuit against Interplay regarding Project V13, claiming that Interplay has violated their agreement as development has not yet begun on the project. On January 2, 2012, Bethesda and Interplay reached a settlement where production of the Fallout Online is now cancelled by Interplay, with Bethesda now owning the entire Fallout franchise.
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The series is set in a United States alternate history scenario which diverges from reality following World War II. The transistor was not invented, while vacuum tubes and atomic physics became the cornerstones to scientific progress, eventually achieving the technological aspirations of the early Atomic Age and locking society into a 1950s cultural stasis. Thus, in this alternative "Golden Age", a bizarre socio-technological status quo emerges, in which advanced robots, nuclear-powered cars, directed-energy weapons and other futuristic technologies are seen alongside 1950s-era computers and telephones, and the aesthetics and Cold War paranoia of the 1950s continue to dominate the American lifestyle well into the 21st century.
More than a hundred years before the start of the series, an energy crisis emerged caused by the depletion of petroleum reserves, leading to a period called the "Resource Wars" - a series of events which included a war between Europe and the Middle East, the disbanding of the United Nations, the U.S. annexation of Canada and a Chinese invasion and military occupation of Alaska. These eventually culminated in the 2077 Great War, a cataclysmic nuclear exchange that lasted for only two hours, and subsequently created the post-apocalyptic setting of Fallout.
Having foreseen this outcome decades earlier, the U.S. government began a nationwide project in 2054 to build fallout shelters known as "Vaults". The Vaults were ostensibly designed by the government contractor Vault-Tec as public shelters, financed by junk bonds and each able to support up to a thousand people. Each Vault is self-sufficient, so they could theoretically sustain their inhabitants indefinitely. However, the Vault project was never intended as a viable method of repopulating the United States in such a deadly scenario. Around 400,000 vaults would have been needed, but only 122 were commissioned and constructed. Instead, the Vaults were part of a secret and unethical social experiment, and were designed to determine the effects of different environmental and psychological conditions on its inhabitants. Experiments included; a vault that was designed to never open, a vault where the inhabitants were exposed to the Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV), and a vault where the door never closed, exposing the inhabitants to dangerous amounts of radiation. A few control Vaults were made to function as advertised to contrast with the data from those Vaults with intentional flaws. Nevertheless, many Vaults had their experiments derailed due to unexpected events. Many of these Vaults were so self-destructive that by the time other survivors opened them, they were nothing but graveyards.
In the years following the Great War, the United States devolved into a post-apocalyptic environment commonly dubbed "the Wasteland". The war and subsequent nuclear fallout severely depopulated the country, leaving large expanses of property decaying from neglect. In addition, virtually all food and water is irradiated, and radiation exposure, combined with a mutagenic bioweapon that was accidentally released into the atmosphere during the war, have caused mutation in nearly all forms of life. With a large portion of the country's infrastructure in ruins, basic necessities are scarce. Barter is the common method of exchange, with bottlecaps providing a more conventional form of currency. Most cities and towns are empty, having been looted and deserted in favor of smaller, makeshift communities scattered around the Wasteland.
Many humans who could not get into the vaults survived the atomic blasts, but many of these, affected by the radiation, turned into so-called ghouls. While they were given an extended lifespan, most lost their hair and their skin decayed, giving them a zombie-like appearance; often their voices became raspy. Many ghouls have a hatred for humans, either through jealousy or due to discrimination by the humans. Almost all ghouls resent their comparison to zombies and being called a zombie is viewed as a great insult by them. After suffering mass amounts of radiation, a number of ghouls eventually go insane; these "feral ghouls" become mindless aggressive creatures, driven only by their instinct.
There are many factions present within the Fallout series. These factions are often the major players in the larger events of each game's primary storyline.
- The Brotherhood of Steel is a group dedicated to the collection and preservation of pre-war knowledge and technology. They pursue these goals with religious fervor, and many are descendants of American military survivors. Seen as xenophobic, the Brotherhood believes that they are the sole heir to pre-war technology, bringing them into conflict with other factions. On the East Coast however, in the D.C. area (or Capital Wasteland), the Brotherhood takes on the form of protectors of the Wastes. Actively engaging Super Mutants in the region and helping to distribute clean water to the people of the region.
- The Enclave is composed of the remnants of the pre-war U.S. federal government, and acts as the main antagonist in Fallout 2 and Fallout 3. They have access to superior technology available before the war, such as advanced power armor and plasma weaponry. Their main goal is to wipe out all mutation in the Wasteland, which, given the pervasive radiation, is almost every living thing in the Wasteland besides themselves. In Fallout 3, it is assumed the player has completely decimated the Enclave and Fallout New Vegas hints the Enclave is largely neutralized. However, it is also implied that there is still an Enclave presence within the ruins of Chicago.
- The New California Republic (NCR) is a constitutional republic, and is the largest faction in post-apocalyptic America, both by population and landmass. The NCR bears a great resemblance to the pre-war United States, with a democratically-elected government and a commitment to "pre-war values". Based in California, it has holdings in Nevada, Oregon, Mexico and along the Colorado River.
- Caesar's Legion is an autocratic confederation consisting of 86 conquered tribes that rejects the use of most technology and instead uses slave labour. Basing its culture and ideals on the historic Roman Empire, the Legion expands its borders by violently conquering nearby lands, massacring and enslaving the original inhabitants and obliterating their previous culture. (Van Buren and Fallout: New Vegas only.)
- Mr. House is the owner of New Vegas, the post-war version of Las Vegas. Previously an influential businessman, he had predicted the Great War and spent 12 years developing a plan to save the city from destruction. He managed to save the Vegas Strip, however radiation from nearby bombs devastated the surrounding area. Hoping to guide human progress after the apocalypse, House entered an immortal stasis, in order to develop long lasting plans for rebuilding civilization through the profits of the New Vegas strip, treating the other factions as customers. (Fallout: New Vegas only.)
- Raiders are primarily nomadic tribes, scavengers, and bandits that rely on violent tactics to sustain themselves and obtain valuable resources. There are many sub-factions of raiders, most of which express hostility towards the player.
Fallout draws from 1950s pulp magazines, science fiction, and superhero comic books, all rooted in Atomic Age optimism of a nuclear-powered future, though gone terribly awry by the time the events of the game take place. The technology is retro-futuristic, with various Raygun Gothic machines such as laser weaponry and boxy Forbidden Planet-style robots. Computers use vacuum tubes instead of transistors, architecture of ruined buildings feature Art Deco and Googie designs, energy weapons resemble those used by Flash Gordon, and what few vehicles remain in the world are all 1950s-styled. Fallout's other production design, such as menu interfaces, are similarly designed to resemble advertisements and toys of the Atomic Age. Advertising in the game such as billboards and brochures has a distinct 1950s motif and feel. The lack of retro-stylization was a common reason for criticism in spin-off games.
A major influence was A Boy and His Dog, where the main character Vic and his dog Blood scavenge the desert of the Southwestern United States, stealing for a living and evading bands of marauders, berserk androids and mutants. It "inspired Fallout on many levels, from underground communities of survivors to glowing mutants." Other film influences include the Mad Max series, with its depiction of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In the first game, one of the first available armors is a one-sleeved leather jacket that resembles the jacket worn by Mel Gibson in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
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SPECIALFallout Tactics' character creation uses the SPECIAL system.
SPECIAL is a character creation and statistics system developed specifically for the Fallout series. SPECIAL is an acronym, representing the seven attributes used to define Fallout characters: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. SPECIAL is heavily based on GURPS, which was originally intended to be the character system used in the game.
The SPECIAL system involves the following sets of key features:
- Attributes (listed above) represent a character's core, inborn abilities. Attributes stay largely constant throughout the game, though they can be temporarily affected by drugs, altered indefinitely by conditions such as the wearing of Power Armor, the presence of certain NPCs or eye damage received in a critical hit, or permanently changed at certain points in the game, through use of certain items.
- Skills represent a character's chance of successfully performing a group of specific tasks (such as firing a gun, or picking a lock). They are represented as percentages, though these percentages can extend well beyond the expected maximum of 100%, at increased cost for skills over 100%. The SPECIAL stats continually add bonuses to skills. This is done passively, i.e. if the SPECIAL stats change, the bonuses are automatically and instantly adjusted. Skill Points that are earned each time the character levels up can be used to raise skill percentage. At character creation, the player also selects three Tag Skills — Skills which can be increased at multiples of the normal rate, starting at one skill point per 2% skill at under 101% skill.
The SPECIAL system has thus far been used in the role-playing video game Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel. A heavily modified version of the system was used for Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout: Warfare, a tabletop battle game available on the Fallout Tactics bonus CD.
Aside from Fallout games, modified versions of SPECIAL were also used in Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader (also referred to as Fallout Fantasy early in production), a fantasy role-playing video game that involved spirits and magic in addition to the traditional SPECIAL features, as well as the cancelled project Black Isle's Torn.
The PIP-Boy and Vault BoyThe Fallout series' look and feel is well represented in the user interface of the Pip-Boy computer, and the frequent occurrences of the Vault Boy character, here illustrating the Bloody Mess Trait.
The PIP-Boy (Personal Information Processor-Boy) is an iconic wrist-computer given to the player early in Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas which serves various roles in quest, inventory, and battle management, as well as presenting player statistics. The model present in Fallout and Fallout 2 is identified as a PIP-Boy 2000, and both games feature the very same unit, used first by the Vault Dweller and later inherited by the Chosen One. Fallout Tactics contains a modified version of the 2000 model, called PIP-Boy 2000BE, while Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas uses a PIP-Boy 3000.
The Vault Boy character is Vault-Tec's mascot, and is a frequently recurring element in Vault-Tec-related items in the world. This includes the PIP-Boy, where Vault Boy illustrates all of the character statistics and selectable attributes. From Bethesda's Fallout 3 onward Vault Boy models all of the clothing and weaponry as well.
Interplay was threatened with bankruptcy and sold the full Fallout franchise to Bethesda, but kept the rights to the Fallout MMO through a back license in April 2007 and began work on the MMO later that year. Bethesda Softworks sued Interplay Entertainment for copyright infringement on September 8, 2009, regarding the Fallout Online license and selling of Fallout Trilogy and sought an injunction to stop development of Fallout Online and sales of Fallout Trilogy. Key points that Bethesda were trying to argue is that Interplay did not have the right to sell Fallout Trilogy on the Internet via Steam, Good Old Games or other online services. Bethesda also said that "full scale" development on Fallout Online was not met and that the minimum financing of 30 million of "secured funding" was not met. Interplay launched a counter suit claiming that Bethesda's claims were meritless and that it did have the right to sell Fallout Trilogy via online stores via its contract with Bethesda. Interplay also claimed secure funding had been met and the game was in full scale development by the cut off date. Interplay argued to have the second contract that sold Fallout voided which would result in the first contract that licensed Fallout to come back into effect. This would mean that Fallout would revert to Interplay. Bethesda would be allowed to make Fallout 5. Bethesda would also have to pay 12% of royalties on Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 5 and expansions plus interest on the money owed. On December 10, 2009, Bethesda lost the first injunction.
Bethesda shortly afterword tried a new tactic and fired its first lawyer, replacing him and filing a second injunction, claiming that Bethesda had only back licensed the name Fallout but no content. Interplay has countered showing that the contract states that they must make Fallout Online that has the look and feel of Fallout and that in the event Interplay fails to meet the requirements (30 million minimum secure funding and "full scale" development by X date) that Interplay can still release the MMO but they have to remove all Fallout content. The contract then goes on to list all Fallout content as locations, monsters, settings and lore. Bethesda has known that Interplay would use Fallout elements via internet emails shown in court documents and that the contract was not just for the name. The second injunction by Bethesda was denied on 4 August 2011 by the courts. Bethesda then appealed the denial of their second preliminary injunction. Bethesda then sued Masthead Studios and asked for a restraining order against the company. Bethesda was denied this restraining order before Masthead Studios could call a counter-suit. Bethesda then lost its appeal of the second injunction.
Bethesda then filed motion in limine against Interplay. Interplay then filed a motion in limine against Bethesda the day after. Shortly after, the trial by jury which Bethesda requested on October 26, 2010 was changed to a trial by court because the APA contract (aka the second contract that sold Fallout to Bethesda) stated that all legal matters would be resolved via a trial by court and not a trial by jury. The trial by court began on December 12. In 2012, in a press conference Bethesda revealed that in exchange for 2 million dollars, Interplay gave to them full rights for Fallout Online. Interplay's rights to sell and merchandise Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel will expire on December 31, 2013.
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Fallout games feature well known actors as NPC voice talent. Notable appearances include:
Ron Perlman as The Narrator
Charlie Adler as Harold, Richard Dean Anderson as Killian Darkwater, Clancy Brown as Rhombus, Keith David as Decker, Jim Cummings as The Master, Tony Jay as The Lieutenant, Richard Moll as Cabbot, Ron Perlman as Butch Harris, CCH Pounder as Vree, Tony Shalhoub as Aradesh, Cree Summer as Tandi, David Warner as Morpheus, Frank Welker as Maxson.
Liam Neeson as James, the player character's father, Malcolm McDowell as President John Henry Eden, Craig Sechler as Butch DeLoria, Odette Yustman as Amata Almodovar, Erik Dellums as Three Dog, Dee Bradley Baker as Dr. Braun.
Fallout: New Vegas
Rene Auberjonois as Robert House, Zoë Bell as Melissa Lewis, Rob Corddry as Billy Knight, Roger Cross as Ulysses, Felicia Day as Veronica Santangelo, Barry Dennen as Dean Domino, John Doman as Caesar, Michael Dorn as Marcus the Mutant, Dave Foley as "Yes Man", Richard Herd as Father Elijah, Michael Hogan as Doc Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson as Chief Hanlon, Zachary Levi as Arcade Gannon, Jason Marsden as Craig Boone, Wayne Newton as Mr. New Vegas, Matthew Perry as Benny, Alex Rocco as Big Sal, William Sadler as Victor the Securitron, Danny Trejo as Raul Tejada, Wil Wheaton as Robobrain, Keith Szarabajka as Joshua Graham, Dave Fennoy as Jed Masterson (Honest Hearts Expansion Pack).
|This section requires expansion. (September 2012)|
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- Fallout series official website
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- The Vault, the Fallout wiki