Fallout (video game)

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Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game
Developer(s) Interplay Productions [1]
Publisher(s) Interplay Productions
Director(s) Feargus Urquhart [2]
Producer(s) Tim Cain [3]
Designer(s) Christopher Taylor
Writer(s) Mark O'Green
Composer(s) Mark Morgan
Series Fallout
Platform(s) MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, OS X
Genre(s) Open world
role-playing video game   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Mode(s) Single-player   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game is an open-world turn-based role-playing video game developed and published by Interplay Productions in 1997. The game has a post-apocalyptic and retro-futuristic setting, in the aftermath of a global nuclear war in an alternate history timeline mid-22nd century. The protagonist of Fallout is an inhabitant of a Vault, long-term shelters, who is tasked to find a replacement Water Chip and save their Vault.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Alternate history Genre of speculative fiction, where one or more historical events occur differently

Alternate history or alternative history (AH) is a genre of speculative fiction consisting of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently. These stories usually contain "what if" scenarios at crucial points in history and present outcomes other than those in the historical record. The stories are conjectural but are sometimes based on fact. Alternate history has been seen as a subgenre of literary fiction, science fiction, or historical fiction; alternate history works may use tropes from any or all of these genres. Another term occasionally used for the genre is "allohistory".

Protagonist The main character of a creative work

A protagonist is a main character of a story.


Fallout is considered to be the spiritual successor to the 1988 role-playing video game Wasteland . It was initially intended to use Steve Jackson Games' system GURPS , but Interplay eventually used an internally developed system SPECIAL. The game was critically acclaimed and a financial success. It was followed by a number of sequels and spin-off games, the Fallout series.

A spiritual successor, sometimes called a spiritual sequel, is a successor to a work of fiction which does not build upon the storyline established by a previous work as do most traditional prequels or sequels, yet features many of the same elements, themes, and styles as its source material, thereby resulting in it being related or similar "in spirit" to its predecessor.

<i>Wasteland</i> (video game) video game

Wasteland is a science fiction open world role-playing video game developed by Interplay and published by Electronic Arts in 1988. The game is set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic America destroyed by nuclear holocaust generations before. Developers originally made the game for the Apple II and it was ported to the Commodore 64 and MS-DOS. It was re-released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux in 2013 via Steam and GOG.com, and in 2014 via Desura.

Steve Jackson Games game publisher

Steve Jackson Games (SJGames) is a game company, founded in 1980 by Steve Jackson, that creates and publishes role-playing, board, and card games, and the gaming magazine Pyramid.


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 player may choose to solve in order to acquire karma and experience points. Fallout deviates from most role-playing video games in that it often allows the player to complete tasks in multiple ways, allowing solutions that are unconventional or contrary to the original task, in which case the player may still be rewarded, or earn an unconventional reward. The player's actions and/or inaction dictates what future story or gameplay opportunities are available, and ultimately dictates the ending of the game. Players will encounter hostile opponents and – if such encounters are not avoided using stealth or persuasion – they and the player will engage in turn-based combat. Excepting conversations with non-player characters, non-combat portions of the game are played in real time.

Karma concept of "action" or "deed" in Indian religions

Karma means action, work or deed; it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and happier rebirths, while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and bad rebirths.

An experience point is a unit of measurement used in tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game. Experience points are generally awarded for the completion of missions, overcoming obstacles and opponents, and for successful role-playing.

A non-player character (NPC) is any character in a game which is not controlled by a player. The term originated in traditional tabletop role-playing games, where it applies to characters controlled by the gamemaster or referee, rather than another player. In video games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer via algorithmic, predetermined or responsive behavior, but not necessarily true artificial intelligence.

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 points in their pool have been expended. Different actions consume different numbers of points, and the maximal number of points that can be spent is determined by a character's total agility statistic and modifying elements such as chems (which are temporary) and perks (which are permanent). "Melee" (hand-to-hand) weapons typically offer multiple attack types, such as "swing" and "thrust" for knives. Unarmed attacks offer many attack types, including "punch" and "kick". Players may equip at most two weapons, and the player can switch between them at the click of a button. The "perception" attribute determines characters' "sequence" number, which then determines the order of turns in combat; characters with a higher statistic in this attribute are placed at an earlier position in the sequence of turns, and subsequently get new turns earlier. Perception also determines the maximal range of ranged weapons and the chance to hit with them.

Statistic (role-playing games) piece of data representing a particular aspect of a fictional character

A statistic in role-playing games is a piece of data that represents a particular aspect of a fictional character. That piece of data is usually a (unitless) integer or, in some cases, a set of dice.

Hand-to-hand combat is a physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range that does not involve the use of ranged weapons. While the phrase "hand-to-hand" appears to refer to unarmed combat, the term is generic and may include use of melee weapons such as knives, sticks, batons, spears, or improvised weapons such as entrenching tools. While the term hand-to-hand combat originally referred principally to engagements by combatants on the battlefield, it can also refer to any personal physical engagement by two or more people, including law enforcement officers, civilians, and criminals.

Ranged weapon weapon that can harm targets at distances greater than hand-to-hand distance

A ranged weapon is any weapon that can engage targets beyond hand-to-hand distance, i.e. at distances greater than the physical reach of the weapon itself. It is sometimes also called projectile weapon or missile weapon because it typically works by launching projectiles, though technically a directed-energy weapon is also a ranged weapon. In contrast, a weapon intended to be used in hand-to-hand combat is called a melee weapon.

A diverse selection of recruitable non-player characters (NPCs) can be found to aid the player character in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Examples include Ian, an experienced traveler and gunman, who can use pistols and submachine guns; and Dogmeat, a dog the player may recruit in Junktown by either wearing a leather jacket or feeding the dog an iguana-on-a-stick. Unlike Fallout 2, there is no limit to the number of NPCs that the player may recruit, and NPCs' statistics and armor in Fallout remain unchanged through the entire game; only their weapons may be upgraded.

Player character fictional character in a role-playing or video game that can be played or controlled by a real-world person

A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters (NPCs). The actions of non-player characters are typically handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character.

Submachine gun class of automatic firearms

A submachine gun (SMG) is a magazine-fed, automatic carbine designed to shoot handgun cartridges. The term "submachine gun" was coined by John T. Thompson, the inventor of the Thompson submachine gun.

Dogmeat (<i>Fallout</i>) non-player character dog in the Fallout series

Dogmeat is a recurring dog non-player character (NPC) in the Fallout series of post-apocalyptic themed role-playing video games. Dogmeat was introduced as an optional companion to the player character in the original Fallout (1997), and has made cameo appearances in the sequel Fallout 2 (1998) and in some other video games. Other, different Dogmeats are featured in the same role in Fallout 3 (2008) and Fallout 4 (2015). All incarnations of the character were well received, becoming widely regarded as one of the best remembered features in the series, as well as one of the most popular sidekick type characters in video gaming overall.

An example of dialogue between characters in Fallout FalloutDialogue.jpg
An example of dialogue between characters in Fallout

SPECIAL system

The protagonist is governed by the system called S.P.E.C.I.A.L (an acronym for "Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck"), designed specifically for Fallout and used in the other games in the series. The player begins Fallout by selecting one of three characters to play as the protagonist, or alternatively, they can create one with custom attributes using the system. Character development is divided into four categories: attributes, skills, traits, and perks. These have been copied or otherwise adapted in some form or another through the ensuing iterations of the series.

Strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility and luck are the seven basic attributes of every character in the game. [4] The SPECIAL stats continually add bonuses to skills. This is done automatically, i.e. if the SPECIAL stats change, the bonuses are instantly adjusted. Some "perks" and coded events within the game require that the player has a certain level of particular SPECIAL stat before accessing it.

There are 18 different skills in the game, ranging in value from 0 to 200%. The starting values for Level 1 skills are determined by the player's seven basic attributes, and most initially fall within the range of 0 to 50%. Every time the player gains a level, skill points are awarded, which can be used to improve the character's skills. The player may choose to tag three skills that will improve at twice the normal rate and receive a bonus at the start. Skills are divided into three categories: combat, active and passive. Books, although scarce in the early game, can be found throughout the game world and permanently improve a specific skill when read. However, after a skill reaches a certain level, books no longer have an impact. Some NPCs can also improve skills by training. Some skills are also improved by having certain items equipped. For instance, a lockpick improves lock-picking skills. Stimulants can also temporarily boost a player's skills, however, they often have adverse effects such as addiction and withdrawal.

Traits are special character qualities that can have significant effects on gameplay. At character creation, the player may choose up to two traits. Traits typically carry benefits coupled with detrimental effects. [4] For example, the trait "small frame" improves agility by one point, but negatively affects maximal carrying capacity. Once a trait is chosen, it is impossible to change, except by using the "mutate" perk, which allows a player to change one trait, one time.

Perks are a special element of the level-up system. Every three levels (or every four if the player chooses the "skilled" trait), the player is presented with a list of perks and can choose one to improve their character. Perks grant special effects, most of which are not obtainable through the normal level-up system. These include letting the player perform more actions per round or being able to heal wounds faster. Unlike traits, perks are purely beneficial; they are offset only by the infrequency with which they are acquired.

The game also tracks the moral quality of the player character's actions using a statistic called "karma", as well as a series of reputations. Karma points are awarded for doing good deeds and are subtracted for doing evil deeds. The player character may receive one of a number of "reputations", which act like perks, for meeting a certain threshold of such actions or for engaging in an action that is seen as singularly and morally reprehensible. The effect of both karma and reputations is subtle, altering the reactions of some NPCs in game altering ways (for example, the player may complete a quest, but not receive the greatest possible reward due to their low karma).



Fallout is set in a timeline that deviated from between the end of World War II and the start of the Apollo program, where technology, politics, and culture followed a different course. While technology advanced, cultural and societal progress stagnated, giving the general world a Raygun Gothic appearance with advanced technology. [5]

In the mid-21st century, a worldwide conflict is brought on by global petroleum shortage. Several nations enter Resource Wars over the last of non-renewable commodities, namely oil and uranium from 2052 to 2077. China invades Alaska in the winter of 2066, causing the United States to go to war with China and using Canadian resources to supply their war efforts, despite Canadian complaints. Eventually, the United States violently annexes Canada in February 2076 and reclaims Alaska nearly a year later. After years of conflict, on October 23, 2077, a global nuclear war occurs. It is not known who strikes first, but 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 has collapsed leaving only survivor settlements barely able to eke out a living in the barren wasteland, 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, 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:

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.

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 that was formerly pet of a man who bore a great resemblance to Max Rockatansky, 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 mutant army, and Morpheus, his right hand 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. With 150 days before the Vault's water reserves run dry, the Vault Overseer tasks the protagonist, the Vault Dweller, with finding a replacement. [6] 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 has free rein across the Fallout world to travel where they wish and do what they like, but later games in the series clarify what the Vault Dweller canonically did.

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. The survivors of Vault 15 have founded a town named Shady Sands, and the Vault Dweller is given the option to defend them from the Khans, a group of raiders that attack the town, and radscorpions, mutated scorpions that plague the town's herds. The Vault Dweller then travels south to Junktown, where they can help the mayor, Killian Darkwater, bring the corrupt casino head Gizmo to justice, or help Gizmo assassinate Killian to take over the town. 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. With clues from the Hub, 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. The Vault Dweller finds and joins the Brotherhood of Steel - remnants of a top-secret genetic research program involving the U.S. Army that survived the war, and continues to research advanced technology. The Brotherhood supplies the Vault Dweller with equipment and information on the Super Mutants, which so happen to be directly related to the genetic research they conducted before the war: a mutagen called the Forced Evolutionary Virus, which can be used to mutate humans into Super Mutants, but leaves all such mutants sterile as a side effect. The Vault Dweller travels to the Boneyard - the ruins of Los Angeles - and finds out that 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.

The Vault Dweller explores the Cathedral of the Children and finds a prototype Vault beneath it, from which the Master commands his Super Mutant army. Disguised as one of the Children, the Vault Dweller infiltrates the Vault and destroys the Master. The Vault Dweller travels north to a military base, where the Super Mutant army was using the Forced Evolutionary Virus to mutate humans into Super Mutants, bolstering their numbers. The Vault Dweller destroys the base, stopping the creation of more Super Mutants and splintering their army. 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.

If the Vault Dweller does not return to the Vault with the Water Chip before the Vault's water reserves run out, the player loses the game. In earlier versions of the game, if the Vault Dweller did not destroy the military base and the Master before 500 days passed, the mutants found Vault 13 and invaded it, resulting in an automatic loss. This time limit is shortened to 400 days if the Vault Dweller hires water caravans from the Hub, as the caravans traveling to the Vault allow the Super Mutant scouts to find it more easily. The 1.1 patch, and subsequent re-releases of the game, extend this time limit to 13 years, effectively giving the player enough time to do as they wish. There is also an optional alternate ending triggered if the Vault Dweller has a negative reputation or the "Bloody Mess" trait, where after the Overseer exiles him, the player character shoots and kills him. At various points of the game, the Vault Dweller also has the choice to join the Super Mutants, which results in a small video showing the Super Mutants rampaging through the Vault and ending the game.


POV-Ray render mimicking Fallout's oblique projection and hexagonal grid Fallout camera angles.png
POV-Ray render mimicking Fallout's oblique projection and hexagonal grid

In early 1994, Interplay Entertainment announced that they had acquired the license to create video games using the GURPS role-playing game system. [7] Fallout was then created by Interplay as a spiritual successor to their 1988 post-apocalyptic role-playing game Wasteland . Although it was initially developed as an official sequel, Interplay did not have the rights to Wasteland at that point. [8] [9] The budget for the game was approximately US$3 million. [10] In the early stages of planning, other settings based on the GURPS role-playing game handbooks were considered, including a time-travel theme with aliens and dinosaurs. [11] According to producer Tim Cain, "[They] actually worked with the game designer who [wrote] the 'GURPS Time Travel' manual and worked out a complete time-travel adventure, but it was just too much artwork for [them] to get done in a reasonable amount of time." [7] The game's working titles included GURPS: Wasteland and Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure. The final title Fallout was suggested by the Interplay boss Brian Fargo. [12]

Tim 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, [13] but that deal fell through. According to IGN, this was due to GURPS licensor Steve Jackson Games objecting to the excessive amounts of violence and gore included in the game, [13] forcing Interplay to change the already implemented GURPS system to the internally developed SPECIAL system. According to Steve Jackson Games, this was a decision taken by Interplay, with no reason given. [14] [15]

Cain said that they "all loved X-COM " and that the original version of Fallout (known as Vault 13, before the game was redesigned after they lost the GURPS license) featured combat very similar to the battles in UFO: Enemy Unknown . [16] The gaming media of the time also commented on the strong similarity to X-COM. [7]

Cain worked with fellow employees at Interplay in their spare time, starting in 1994. He built the engine alone in six months, given no money and no resources, only time. Later, Cain assembled a team of 30 people to work on the game for the next three years. 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 , Cain successfully resisted the pressure to convert the game to multiplayer and real-time based. [12]

The game was purposely balanced so that, while the sidequests are optional to progressing the main story, characters who did not improve their skills and experience by completing sidequests would be too weak to finish the game. [7]

To create the detailed talking heads, a sculptor built heads of clay, which the artists studied to determine which parts should be most heavily animated. [7] 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 . [7] A number of well-known actors were cast as voice-talents. The game's narrations were performed by Ron Perlman, and the prologue featured one of the foremost iconic catchphrases of the game series: "War. War never changes"; Perlman was re-invited to narrate several later Fallout games. Other appearances included Richard Dean Anderson as Killian, David Warner as Morpheus, Tony Shalhoub (credited as Tony Shalub) as Aradesh, Brad Garrett as Harry, Keith David as Decker, Richard Moll as Cabot, and Tony Jay as The Mutant Lieutenant. 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. [17] This song was later licensed by Bethesda for Fallout 3 . The song "Maybe" by the same artists was used instead for the original Fallout theme song.

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. [17]

Fallout ultimately "took just under 4 years to make", according to Tim Cain. [18] The game was released on September 30, 1997. [19]

Influences and references

Fallout draws much from 1950s pulp magazines, classic science fiction films such as Forbidden Planet and superhero comics of Atomic Age: computers use vacuum tubes instead of transistors; energy weapons exist and resemble those used by Flash Gordon. Fallout's menu interfaces are designed to resemble advertisements and toys of the time period; for example, the illustrations on the character sheet mimic those of the board game Monopoly , and one of the game's loading screens is an Indian-head test pattern.

There are also many references to various works of post-apocalyptic science fiction, such as Mad Max and Radioactive Dreams . 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 . The player can also get a dog, as in Mad Max 2 and A Boy and His Dog , named Dogmeat. Fallout contains numerous Easter eggs referencing 1950s and 1960s pop culture. Many of these can be found in random encounters, which include a vanishing TARDIS from Doctor Who (complete with sound effect), an enormous reptilian footprint, and a crashed UFO containing a painting of Elvis Presley. The game also refers to other pieces of fiction, including WarGames and Blade Runner .

Although the time frame of Wasteland is completely different from Fallout – and despite the fact that the game's designers deny that the Fallout franchise takes place in the same universe as Wasteland – there are many references to the events and the style of Wasteland in the Fallout series, which is why Fallout is sometimes regarded as a spiritual successor to Wasteland. For example, the protagonist can meet an NPC named Tycho, who mentions that he is a Desert Ranger and, under the right conditions, will talk of his grandfather, who told him about Fat Freddy, a character from Las Vegas in that game.


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. [20] Fallout and Fallout 2 also appeared together in "dual jewel" format. [21]



Fallout was a commercial success. [22] In the United States, it debuted at #12 on PC Data's computer game sales rankings for October 1997. [23] [24] 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." [23] Fallout totaled 53,777 sales in the United States by the end of 1997. [25] Worldwide, over 100,000 units of the game had been shipped by December, [26] and Erik Bethke later reported sales of "a little more than 120,000 units" after a year on shelves. [27] 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". [28] Conversely, Fallout was unpopular in the United Kingdom: the game and its sequel totaled just over 50,000 combined lifetime sales in the region. [29]

According to Brian Fargo, sales of Fallout ultimately reached 600,000 copies. [30]

Critical reviews

Aggregate score
Metacritic 89/100 [31]
Review scores
AllGame Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [32]
CGW Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [33]
Game Revolution A- (Mac) [34]
GameSpot 8.7/10 [35]
Next Generation Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [36]
PC Gamer (UK) 86% [37]
PC Gamer (US) 90/100 [38]
Computer Games Strategy Plus Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [39]
GameSpot RPG of the Year (1997) [40]
Computer Gaming World Role-Playing Game of the Year (1998) [41]
Computer Games Strategy Plus Role-Playing Game of the Year [42]
Edit on Wikidata Blue pencil.svg

Fallout was met with a very favorable critical reception. Computer Gaming World called it "a game that clearly was a labor of love ... with humor, style, and brains to spare, and with a wonderfully refreshing emphasis on character development and decision making". [33] GameSpot's reviewer wrote that "character creation system is detailed and thorough" . [43] Todd Vaughn of PC Gamer US wrote that the game's "tightly integrated mix of combat, storytelling and puzzling keeps the pace brisk and lively, and it'll keep you coming back for more". [38] According to Computer Games Strategy Plus , "in an age where many are predicting the death of traditional RPGs at the hands of multiplayer extravaganzas, Fallout is a glowing example of the genre, one which positively radiates quality". [39]

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, [44] but gave these prizes to Dungeon Keeper and PaRappa the Rapper respectively. [45] Similarly, the Computer Game Developers Conference nominated Fallout for its "Best Adventure/RPG" Spotlight Award, but this went ultimately to Final Fantasy VII . [46] However, Fallout was named the best computer role-playing game of 1997 by Computer Gaming World , [41] PC Gamer US , [25] GameSpot and Computer Games Strategy Plus . [42] [40] It also received GameSpot's "Best Ending" prize. [40] The editors of Computer Gaming World summarized it as "quite simply the best RPG to hit the PC in years". [41]


In retrospect, CNET Gamecenter's Mark H. Walker wrote, "The RPG genre was clearly in a slump in the mid-'90s, but in August 1997 the renaissance began when Interplay's Fallout hit store shelves." [47] Over the years since its release, Fallout was ranked as the fourth (2001), tenth (2005), 13th (2007), 21st (2008) and seventh (2010) best PC game of all time by PC Gamer , [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] fifth (2007) and 19th (2009) top PC game of all time by IGN, [53] [54] and 21st (2007) best PC game ever by PC Zone . [55] IGN also ranked it as the 55th (2005) and 33rd (2007) top video game of all time overall, [56] [57] as well as the 34th top RPG in 2013. [58]

Fallout has been inducted into "Hall of Fame" or equivalent of Computer Gaming World , GameSpot, GameSpy, and IGN, among others. [59] [60] [61] [62] In 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).

In addition, Fallout was included on the lists of top ten best endings and best game worlds by GameSpot in 2000, [63] [64] and top openings by Game Informer in 2008, [65] while Polish web portal Wirtualna Polska ranked it as the sixth most addictive classic game. [66]

Related Research Articles

<i>Planescape: Torment</i> role-playing video game

Planescape: Torment is a role-playing video game developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay Entertainment. Released for Microsoft Windows on December 12, 1999, the game takes place in locations from the multiverse of Planescape, a Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy campaign setting. The game's engine is a modified version of the Infinity Engine, which was used for BioWare's Baldur's Gate, a previous D&D game set in the Forgotten Realms.

<i>Fallout</i> (series) Series of post-apocalyptic role-playing video games

Fallout is a series of post-apocalyptic role-playing video games created by Interplay Entertainment. The series is set during the 22nd and 23rd centuries, and its atompunk retrofuturistic setting and artwork are influenced by the post-war culture of 1950s America, with its combination of hope for the promises of technology and the lurking fear of nuclear annihilation. A forerunner for Fallout is Wasteland, a 1988 game developed by Interplay Productions to which the series is regarded as a spiritual successor.

<i>Fallout 2</i> video game

Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game is a turn-based role-playing open world video game developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay Productions in September 1998. While featuring a considerably larger game world and a far more extensive storyline, it mostly uses similar graphics and game mechanics to those of Fallout.

Obsidian Entertainment, Inc. is an American video game developer based in Irvine, California. It was founded in June 2003, shortly before the closure of Black Isle Studios, by ex-Black Isle employees Feargus Urquhart, Chris Avellone, Chris Parker, Darren Monahan, and Chris Jones.

Tactical role-playing games are a genre of video game which incorporates elements of traditional role-playing video games with that of tactical games, emphasizing tactics rather than high-level strategy. The format of a tactical RPG video game is much like a traditional tabletop role-playing game in its appearance, pacing and rule structure. Likewise, early tabletop role-playing games are descended from skirmish wargames like Chainmail, which were primarily concerned with combat.

<i>Icewind Dale II</i> video game

Icewind Dale II is a role-playing video game developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay Entertainment, released on August 27, 2002. Like its 2000 predecessor Icewind Dale, the game is set in the Forgotten Realms fantasy setting in the Icewind Dale region. The player assumes control of a group of mercenaries in a war between the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale and a coalition of persecuted races and religions.

Master (<i>Fallout</i>) main antagonist and the final boss in the original Fallout post-apocalyptic role-playing video game

The Master, also known as Richard Moreau and Richard Grey, is a fictional character and one of the central antagonists that influences the events of the post-apocalyptic video game series Fallout. A horrific mass of mutated flesh infused with the computer system of the underground vault in which he resides, the Master is the leader of the Unity movement that wants to replace the human race that had not suffered mutation with his new race of mutants, believing that they will never fight among each other.

<i>Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel</i> video game

Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel is a turn-based real-time tactical role-playing game set in the post-apocalyptic Fallout universe. Developed by Micro Forté and published by 14 Degrees East, Fallout Tactics was released on 14 March 2001 for Microsoft Windows. It sold above 300,000 units worldwide by 2008.

<i>Wizardry 8</i> 2001 video game

Wizardry 8 is the eighth and final title in the Wizardry series of role-playing video games by Sir-Tech Canada. It is the third in the Dark Savant trilogy, which includes Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge and Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant. It was published in 2001 by Sir-Tech, and re-released by Night Dive Studios on GOG.com and Steam in 2013.

Leonard Boyarsky American computer games designer and visual artist

Leonard Boyarsky is an American computer game designer and visual artist. He is one of the key designers of the video games Fallout and Diablo III.

<i>Fallout 3</i> 2008 action role-playing video game

Fallout 3 is a post-apocalyptic action role-playing open world video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The third major installment in the Fallout series, it is the first game to be created by Bethesda since it bought the franchise from Interplay Entertainment. The game marks a major shift in the series by using 3D graphics and real-time combat, replacing the 2D isometric graphics and turn-based combat of previous installments. It was released worldwide in October 2008 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

<i>Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel</i> video game

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel is an action role-playing game developed and published by Interplay Entertainment, and distributed in Europe by Avalon Interactive for the Xbox and PlayStation 2. Released on January 14, 2004, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel was the fourth video game to be set in the Fallout universe. It was also the first to be made for consoles, and the last to be made during Interplay's initial run on the series, before the rights passed to Bethesda Softworks. The game chronicles the adventures of an initiate in the fictional Brotherhood of Steel, a militant quasi-religious organization that has come to power in a post-apocalyptic world.

Tim Cain American video game designer and producer

Tim Cain is an American video game developer best known as the creator, producer, lead programmer and one of the main designers of the 1997 computer game Fallout. In 2009 he was chosen by IGN as one of the top 100 game creators of all time.

<i>Fallout Shelter</i> simulation video game

Fallout Shelter is a free-to-play simulation video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios, with assistance by Behaviour Interactive, and published by Bethesda Softworks. Part of the Fallout series, it was released worldwide for iOS devices in June 2015, for Android devices in August 2015, for Microsoft Windows in July 2016, Xbox One in February 2017, and PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in June 2018. The game tasks the player with building and effectively managing their own Vault, a fallout shelter.

<i>Fallout: New Vegas</i> 2010 action role-playing video game

Fallout: New Vegas is a post-apocalyptic action role-playing video game. It is a spin-off of the Fallout series and was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was announced in April 2009 and released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 19, 2010. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic open world environment that encompasses a region consisting of parts of Nevada, California, and Arizona. It is set in a world that deviated onto an alternate timeline thanks to atomic age technology, which eventually led to its devastation by a nuclear apocalypse in the year 2077 in an event referred to as "The Great War". This war was caused by a major international conflict between the United States and China over natural resources. The main story of New Vegas takes place in the year 2281, four years after the events of Fallout 3. It is not a direct sequel, but it does mark the return of a number of elements found in the Black Isle Studios-developed Fallout 2.

There are six pieces of downloadable content (DLC) for Bethesda Game Studios' action role-playing video game Fallout 4. Released once a month from April to August 2016, each expansion pack adds a variety of different content, with Far Harbor being the largest in terms of additional gameplay and Nuka-World being the largest in terms of file size. The season pass contains all six expansion packs, and due to the size of Far Harbor, the price was increased after its release.

<i>Fallout 76</i> Online multiplayer role-playing game released in November 2018

Fallout 76 is an online action role-playing game in the Fallout series developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. Released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 14, 2018, it is a prequel to previous series games. Fallout 76 is Bethesda Game Studios's first multiplayer game; players explore the open world, which has been torn apart by nuclear war, with others. Bethesda developed the game using a modified version of its Creation Engine, which allowed the accommodation of multiplayer gameplay and a more detailed game world.


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