Since 1997, Fallout has kept gamers at the edge of their seats, waiting for the next great release of the game. A product of Bethesda Softworks, the game is set in the post-World War II era dated around the 1950s. The game is slightly based on the Mad Max film series and is at times considered a successor of Wasteland.
So far, the franchise has released various titles, each of them better than the last. Given how far gaming and the franchise have come, it's worth taking a stroll down memory lane to see what Fallout had to offer and what it has in store for gamers.
Release date: October 1997
It all started in 1997 when the first Fallout in the franchise was released. The game was designed as the spiritual success of Wasteland, an innovative role-playing game that was released in 1988.
The mission of the developer of the game (Chris Taylor) was to define the environment of the game and set the ambience as being a Wasteland where life was cheap, and violence dominated the day.
One of the stakeholders in the creation process wasn’t comfortable with the excessive violence of the game. As a result, Interplay (one of the creators) pulled out.
The game opted for a unique approach that was called SPECIAL that used the attributes of the character to make the system stand out.
It also deployed a unique and captivating story in addition to the vast range of impressive organic choice-making. It was set in Southern California in 2161.
The player is tasked with a mission to recover a water chip in the Wasteland and replace it with the one used in Vault 13. Simultaneously, you’re required to prevent the Master’s plan and fulfil your mission.
There’s no doubt that the developers did an outstanding job recreating an atmosphere and artwork reminiscent of post- WWII America and the paranoia that came with the nuclear war, making for an excellent start to the franchise.
Fall Out 2
Release date: October 1998
The second instalment of the game followed in quick succession. As with any franchise that takes gaming seriously, the second sequel made several improvements over the first one. Among them was an improved gaming engine. You could also set the attitude of the NPCs in the second game, and you could push people blocking doorways.
There were more pop culture jokes, parodies and better game mechanics. Although this was a follow up of the first game, it is set 80 years after the first Fallout. It centres on a character who is a descendant of the Vault Dweller.
The player assumes the role of the Chosen One and tries to save Arroyo, their village, from famine and drought by searching for the Garden of Eden Creation Kit (GECK). Unfortunately, you find Vault 13 without most of its inhabitants.
You must then return back to the village and fight the Enclave, the remnants of the pre-war USA government, to save the village and the survivors of Vault 13.
The player has 18 different skills in the new game, including 4 passive skills, 6 combat skills, and 8 active skills. Each of the skills is ranked from 0% to 300%.
Most of the skills will start at about 0% to 50%, depending on the primary attributes of the character. With each level-up, the player is added skill points that you can use to improve your character and their skills.
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
Release date: Early 2001
The storyline of the game changes slightly with this release. However, the theme remains the same, and you're still trapped in the futuristic, post-apocalyptic earth. This time around, you’re a new initiate of the Brotherhood of Steel, and you’re in the Midwestern United States of America.
As the new recruit, you take on different missions to protect the spawning civilisation from the various mutated species.
The game also deviates from the initial two releases by focusing more on strategizing and tactical combat but less on role-playing.
Using the game’s unique character system, you can improve and customise the perks and skills of your player. The main character of the game is human. But you can also choose to recruit other characters in the multiplayer matches. These can be humans, dogs, super mutants, humanoid robots or Deathclaws. The only catch is, your recruits have to be from the Brotherhood.
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel was the first Fallout game that didn’t require the players to fight in a turn-based mode. Instead, the game adopted a combat system that had different modifiers, modes, and different stances. The game developers had done plenty to improve the third release, but one glaring downside was that the players didn't have dialogue options.
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
All this time, Fallout hadn't released a game for video game consoles. Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, which was released in 2004, was the first one compatible with PlayStation 2 and Xbox.
Interplay Entertainment was at the centre of the action surrounding this game, in what would be the last Fallout game developed by them. It also followed a brotherhood initiate that was given a suicidal mission to find some Brotherhood Paladin lost in Carbon.
In the first chapter of the game, your mission takes you to a nearby town filled with armed thugs. The storyline also features other areas where you have to battle with kamikaze ghouls, super mutants, radioactive scorpions, bandits and raiders. Saying the game is awash with action is an understatement.
Like the previous Brotherhood of Steel release, the focus in this sequel remains on combat and strategizing. This game still relies on the SPECIAL attribute system to determine various attributes of the character like Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck.
Each of the attributes has a numeric value that determines how the character interacts in the game. It’s the same approach that had been used in the previous Fallout games. The only difference is, in this game, the attribute values are constant and non-customisable.
It's worth noting that both Brotherhood of Steel releases are not considered canon because they have a stark contrast to the original game and have contradicting storylines of the original Fallout and Fallout 2.
Release date: October 28, 2008
Between 1998 and 2008, when the last canon Fallout game was released and this release, a lot had changed. Along the way, Bethesda Game Studios had purchased the rights to the franchise and Fallout 3 was the first game they developed and released. The game was available on multiple platforms like Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
It picks up 30 years after the events of Fallout 2 and over two centuries since the devastating nuclear war. It chronicles a Vault 101 dweller in the Capital Wastelands after he flees when an Overseer tries to arrest them because their father left the Vault.
After leaving the Vault, the player becomes a Lone Wanderer as he ventures into the Wasteland around Washington D.C in an area called Capital Wasteland to find his father – a scientist and doctor, as he learns about his own past along the water.
After rescuing his father and freeing him from Vault 112, the Lone Wanderer discovers his father's plan to seek the Garden of Eden Creation Kit. This marks the beginning of a rollercoaster event, which includes the player being captured by the Enclave.
Compared to the previous two games, there are a few changes to this one. Rightfully so, considering that the games are ten years apart.
Fallout 3 utilizes 3D graphics, a free-roam gaming world and real-time combat, while the previous two relied on 2D isometric graphics and turn-based combat. The changes might have been minimal, but according to the overwhelmingly positive reviews, they were just enough to earn praises from gamers.
Fallout 3 would go ahead to win the IGN 2008 Overall Game of the Year, Xbox 360 Game of the Year, Best Use of Sound, Best RPG, Best of the Show and Best Role Playing Game.
Fallout: New Vegas
Release date: October 19, 2010
Fallout: New Vegas was an Obsidian Entertainment project. The team of developers featured some familiar faces that had worked on Fallout and Fallout 2.
The game is not a direct sequel to Fallout 3. It is set four years after the events of Fallout 3. It has the same experience, but there are no characters from the main sequel. In the game, the player is a courier in the dangerous post-apocalyptic world of the Mojave Wasteland.
The game is set in a world ravaged by nuclear war after a China-U.S. conflict over resources. New Vegas is a city that surrounds old Las Vegas, and just like the fallen city, the new one is filled with gamblers and appears untouched by the effects of the nuclear war.
At the start of the game, the courier is robbed and shot in the head. He is left to die but is saved and taken to a doctor in a nearby town. Your first challenge of the game is to find the attacker and recover the stolen package.
Along the way, the player makes new friends and enemies and gets embroiled in a war to control the Mojave Wasteland and New Vegas.
The game has a simple approach. You level-up with experience. You can take up some side-quests then continue with your main quest later on to pile up your points.
Release date: November 10, 2015
Fallout 4 is the fourth main sequel of the Fallout universe. The game is set in 2288, over two hundred years after the nuclear war and 10 years after Fallout 3.
The storyline features the Sole Survivor, who has been in a long-term cryogenic stasis in an underground nuclear shelter in Vault 111. The survivor witnesses the kidnapping of his son and the murder of his spouse.
The Sole Survivor now has to such for his son and sets out the Commonwealth, a journey that takes him through the desolate lands. During your journey, you will complete various quests and improve your experience and skill points that will help to improve your abilities.
You will fight with Deathclaws, Raiders, Mole rats, Feral Ghouls and Super Mutants. As with the previous Fallout games, this one also uses a SPECIAL character system that you can use to choose your perks and develop your player’s character depending on the playstyle.
Release date: November 14, 2018
The most recent release in the Fallout franchise is by Bethesda Game Studios. It is the first multiplayer Fallout game and is available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The developer did an excellent job of incorporating most of the advancements in the gaming world into the new entry. It features an expansive game world (Appalachia, West Virginia) and can handle up to three players. The game follows the story of Vault 76, one of the 17 known control vaults. Most of the enemies and monsters in the game are based on regional folklore.
The SPECIAL character progression system finally got a much-needed revision. Initially, the game did not have non-player NPCs or character dialogue. But after a recent “Wastelanders” update, it received these vital features.
A combination of robots and environmental storytelling provide you with all the information you need to make progress in the game.
There's a possibility that the first human NPCs in the game could be featured in the near future, something that would take the game to the next level.
Other than the canon games and spin-offs listed above, there have also been tabletop games released at various times. These are Fallout 2d20, Fallout: Warfare, Fallout: The Board Game, and Fallout: Wasteland Warfare. Each of these takes a unique twist creating its own storyline of events, presenting gamers with short bursts of gaming.
From the look of things, the Fallout universe is far from over. So far, the franchise has built a solid fan base. Unlike most games that have one bad apple in their sequel, Fallout has done a decent job improving after every release.