Fallout (video game)

Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game is a role-playing video game developed and published by Interplay Productions. In a mid-22nd century post-apocalyptic and retro-futuristic world, decades after a global nuclear war, Fallout's protagonist, the Vault Dweller, inhabits an underground nuclear shelter called Vault 13. After customizing their character, the player must scour the surrounding wasteland for a computer chip that can fix the Vault's failed water supply system. Gameplay revolves around exploring the wasteland and interacting with other survivors, some of whom give the player missions. The game's combat is turn-based; the player can perform actions on each turn until their action points are depleted.

Fallout
The cover of the Windows version of Fallout. On the left is the metallic head of the Power Armor, with its shoulders taking up the bottom side, and in the background is a desolate city in front of a red sky. The Fallout logo is at the top right corner, underneath which is the logo for Interplay Productions.
Developer(s)Interplay Productions
Publisher(s)Interplay Productions[a]
Producer(s)Tim Cain
Designer(s)
Programmer(s)Tim Cain
Artist(s)
Writer(s)Mark O'Green
Composer(s)Mark Morgan
SeriesFallout
Platform(s)
Release
October 10, 1997
  • MS-DOS
    • NA: October 10, 1997
    • EU: 1997
    Microsoft Windows
    • NA: October 10, 1997
    • EU: 1997
    Mac OS
    Mac OS X
    • WW: July 2002
Genre(s)Role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player

Fallout's main creator, Tim Cain, worked on it at Interplay as early as 1994. It began as a game engine framework, inspired by tabletop role-playing game GURPS published by Steve Jackson Games. After a period of collaboration between the companies, the license was eventually dropped (Interplay citing creative differences—Steve Jackson objected to the game's excessive violence); Cain and designer Christopher Taylor then created a new character customization scheme, known as SPECIAL. Although Interplay initially gave the game little attention, development would ultimately cost $3 million and employ up to thirty people. Considered the spiritual successor to Interplay's 1988 role-playing video game Wasteland, Fallout drew artistic inspiration from 1950s literature and media emblematic of the Atomic Age. The game's quests were intentionally made morally ambiguous. It was released in North America in October 1997 and later in Europe, with modifications to comply with the European market.

Fallout received critical acclaim upon release, being praised for its open-ended gameplay, combat, character system, plot, and perceived original setting, and is now often listed among the greatest video games of all time. It won "Role-Playing Game of the Year" from both GameSpot and Computer Games Magazine, and was nominated by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences at the Spotlight Awards. Among other games, Fallout has been credited for renewing consumer interest in the role-playing video genre due to its setting, as well as its open-ended plot and gameplay. Fallout was a commercial success, selling 600,000 units worldwide, and developed a strong fan following. It spawned a successful series of sequels and spin-offs, the rights to which were purchased in 2007 by Bethesda Softworks.

GameplayEdit

Character creationEdit

Fallout is a role-playing video game. The player begins Fallout by selecting one of three characters, or one with player-customized attributes.[2] The protagonist, known as the Vault Dweller,[b] has six primary statistics, governed by a system known as SPECIAL: strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility, and luck.[4] Strength determines what weapons a player can carry and the damage inflicted by melee weapons. Perception determines how detailed objects are upon examination and how far the player's weapons can shoot. Endurance affects the player's hit points (HP) and resistance against status effects. Charisma determines how well the player can communicate with other characters without resorting to violence. Intelligence affects the number of available dialogue choices and the number of skills the Vault Dweller can learn. Agility adjusts many combat statistics, including the number of actions the player can perform per combat turn. Luck determines the likelihood of various events and whether they are helpful or harmful.[6] Each statistic may range from one to ten, provided their sum does not exceed 35.[7]

Two other statistics set during character creation are skills and traits.[8] Each of the eighteen skills is a learned ability; the effectiveness of each skill is determined by a percentage value. Their initial effectivenesses are determined by the primary statistics, but three can be given a 20% boost.[9] Traits are character qualities with both a positive and negative effect; the player can pick two out of a possible sixteen.[10][11] During gameplay, the player can gather experience points through various actions. The player gains levels upon reaching a certain amounts of experience; at each level up, the player may increase their skills by a set number of points.[8] Every three levels, the player can grant themselves a special ability, or "perk".[12] There are fifty perks in the game and each perk has prerequisites that must be met to be made available for choosing. For example, "Animal Friend", which prevents animals from attacking the player character, requires the player to be level nine, have an intelligence of five, and an outdoorsman skill of 25%[13]

Exploration and combatEdit

 
Dialogue with Killian Darkwater, an example of a non-player character with a talking head. He is offering the player a quest to complete.

Fallout's gameplay revolves around exploring the game world displayed in an isometric view, and interacting with local inhabitants. Characters vary in their amount of dialogue; some say short messages, while others may speak at length. Many significant characters are illustrated with 3D models, known as "talking heads", during currency.[10][12][14] The player can barter with characters by trading goods or buying goods using bottle caps as currency.[15] The game has four companions that can be recruited by the player in exploration and combat, although they can not be directly controlled.[10]

There are three main quests where completion is required, and two of them are given after completion of the first one.[16] The first main quest has a time limit of 150 in-game days, which ends the game if passed.[17][c] Some of the characters the player give side-quests, which the player may choose to solve and be rewarded experience points.[8][16] The player can use the Pip-Boy 2000, which tracks these quests.[19] Fallout often allows the player multiple ways to complete a quest; they can often be completed through diplomatic, combative, or stealthy methods, and some quests allow solutions that are unconventional or even apparently contrary to the original task.[20] Based on how they completed quests, the player can earn or lose karma points, which determine how other people treat the Vault Dweller.[10] The player's actions also dictate what future story or gameplay opportunities are available[21] and, ultimately, the game's ending.[8]

Combat in Fallout is turn based and uses an action-point system: During each turn, multiple actions may be performed by each character until they run out of action points.[22] Different actions consume different amounts of points.[23] The player can rapidly switch between two equipped weapons,[24] and may acquire a diverse range of guns.[16] Melee (hand-to-hand) weapons typically offer multiple attack types, such as "swing" and "thrust" for knives. If the player has equipped no weapon, they can punch or kick.[25]

PlotEdit

SettingEdit

On October 23, 2077, a global nuclear war devastates the world and destroys modern civilizations. The events of Fallout take place nearly a century later in 2161, and follow the Vault Dweller, a human born and raised within Vault 13, one of a number of underground fallout shelters built to protect the survivors of the war.[26][27][16]

Vault 13 is located beneath the ruins of Southern California, known as the Wasteland, and those who survive on the surface live off the salvage of the old world.[16] The Vault Dweller can explore major settlements including Junktown, which is mired in conflict between local sheriff Killian Darkwater and a criminal named Gizmo; the Hub, a bustling merchant city with job opportunities;[28] and Necropolis, a city founded by nuclear-radiated creatures called ghouls, former humans who lived in Vault 12.[26] The Vault Dweller's journey also brings them into contact with various factions, including the Brotherhood of Steel, a quasi-religious technology-based group with militaristic warriors,[26][29] the Children of the Cathedral, an optimistic religious cult;[30] and the Super Mutants, an army of virtually immortal monsters immune to radiation.[26]

CharactersEdit

The player controls the Vault Dweller, who is sent into the Wasteland to save their vault. The Vault Dweller can be customized or based on one of three pre-generated characters: Albert Cole, a negotiator and charismatic leader with a legal background; Natalia Dubrovhsky, a talented acrobat and intelligent and resourceful granddaughter of a Russian diplomat in the pre-War Soviet consulate in Los Angeles; and Max Stone, the largest person in the Vault, known for his strength and stamina, but, due to childhood brain damage, a lack of intelligence. The three characters present a diplomatic, deceptive, or combative approach to the game, respectively.[12] Although the character can be male or female, the Vault Dweller is canonically male.[4][31]

There are four companions the player can recruit: Ian, a guard from Shady Sands; Tycho, a desert ranger from Junktown; Dogmeat, a dog whose owner was killed prior to the events of Fallout; and Katja, a member of an organization called the Followers of the Apocalypse. Other major characters include Vault Boy—the mascot of Vault-Tec,[32] who are the creators of the Vaults and the "Pip-Boy 2000", a portable wristwatch-like computer;[33] Killian Darkwater, the mayor and shopkeeper of Junktown;[22][28] and the Master, leader of the Super Mutants and the game's main antagonist.[34][35]

StoryEdit

In Vault 13, the Water Chip, a computer component responsible for the Vault's water recycling and pumping machinery, stops working. With only 150 days before water reserves will run dry, the Vault Overseer tasks the Vault Dweller with finding a replacement. Armed with the Pip-Boy 2000 (which tracks map-making, objectives, and bookkeeping) and meager equipment, the Vault Dweller leaves Vault 13 for the nearest source of possible help, Vault 15, but finds it abandoned and in ruins.[36] The Vault Dweller explores the Wasteland, accomplishing quests for others along the way before locating a replacement in Vault 12 underneath Necropolis

The Vault Dweller returns to Vault 13 with the chip and the water system is repaired, but the Overseer becomes concerned about the threat the Super Mutants pose to the Vault and believes the mutations are too widespread and extreme to be a natural occurrence. The Overseer charges the Vault Dweller with finding and stopping the source of the mutations.[37] Information discovered throughout the Wasteland reveals that humans are being captured and turned into Super Mutants by exposure to the Forced Evolutionary Virus (F.E.V.). The Super Mutants are led by the Master, who intends to transform every human into a Super Mutant and thus establish "unity" on Earth. The Children of the Cathedral are a front created by the Master, who is using the Children to trick the Wastelanders into peaceful submission.

To stop the mutations, the Vault Dweller must destroy the vats containing the F.E.V. and kill the Master; the order of the tasks is chosen by the player.[15] The Vault Dweller travels to the Mariposa Military Base to destroy it and the vats within, preventing the creation of more Super Mutants.[38] To kill the Master, the Vault Dweller travels to the Children's Cathedral and locates a prototype Vault beneath it, from which the Master commands his army. The Vault Dweller infiltrates the Vault and can choose to convince the Master that his plan will fail because the Super Mutants are infertile, kill him immediately, or set off an explosion that destroys the Cathedral.[34] The Vault Dweller returns home to Vault 13 but is denied entry by the Overseer, who fears that they have been changed by their experiences in the Wasteland, and the tales of their exploits and accomplishments will encourage the other inhabitants to leave as well, risking the end of the Vault. The Overseer exiles the Vault Dweller back into the Wasteland.[5][39] Fallout concludes with the legacy of the Vault Dweller's decisions on the societies and people they had encountered.[38]

DevelopmentEdit

 
Tim Cain (pictured 2010) was the creator, producer, and one of the programmers of Fallout.

Development on Fallout began in early 1994.[40][41] Initially, Interplay gave the game little attention,[41] as they were focused on Descent to Undermountain at the time,[42] and for the first six months, programmer Tim Cain was the sole developer.[41] The development team behind Fallout; ultimately led by Cain, designer Christopher Taylor, and art director Leonard Boyarsky;[4] reached 15 people in 1995. In 1996, producer Feargus Urquhart recruited some Interplay workers to join the development team, helping it reach 30 people.[41][43][44] Cain, citing their dedication to the game, considered the team "amazing",[45] while Urquhart considered working under Interplay to be "barely controlled chaos".[46]

The game's tentative title was Vault-13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game, but this was rejected as unfitting. Armageddon was considered as an alternative, but was already in use for another Interplay project (which would ultimately be canceled).[4][47] Interplay president Brian Fargo was responsible for suggesting the Fallout title.[41] Interplay intended to use "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" by The Ink Spots for the game's theme song, but were hindered by a copyright issue, so "Maybe" by the same artists was used.[4][48][49] Development of Fallout concluded on October 1, 1997, after three and a half years and a total cost of approximately $3 million.[50][51][52]

Engine and designEdit

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

Fallout started as a game engine—a framework for a video game—that Cain was developing during his spare time, based on the tabletop role-playing game Generic Universal RolePlaying System or GURPS. It began more-coordinated development after Cain convinced Fargo of its potential,[53][54] and Interplay announced its acquisition of the GURPS license in 1994.[55] Cain considered the early development of Fallout to be difficult because he was mainly responsible for designing and building the engine before the increase in team members.[56][4] The first prototype of Fallout was finished during 1994.[57]

The team considered making the game first-person and 3D, but discarded the idea because models would not hold the desired amount of detail.[46][44] They instead selected an oblique projection, producing a trimetric perspective.[44] Designed to be open-world and non-linear,[58] Fallout was purposely balanced such that, even though the side quests are optional to the main story's progression, characters who do not improve their skills and experience through side quests would be too ill-equipped to finish the game.[55] However, Taylor also added a 150 day in-game time limit to the narrative to keep the player focused on the main quests.[34]

The game was nearly canceled in late 1994 after Interplay acquired the licenses to the Dungeons & Dragons franchises, Forgotten Realms and Planescape, but Cain convinced Interplay to let him finish the game.[59] After the success of Diablo, released in January 1997,[60] Cain successfully resisted pressure to convert Fallout into a multiplayer and real-time game.[41] In March 1997, the license for GURPS was dropped due to creative differences between Interplay and Steve Jackson Games, the game's creator.[61] According to Interplay, Steve Jackson Games objected to excessive amounts of violence and gore in the game, among other aspects.[41][62] Interplay was forced to change the already-implemented GURPS system to the internally developed SPECIAL system;[61] Taylor was given a week to design it and Cain a further week to code it.[41][63]

Concept and influencesEdit

 
Leonard Boyarsky (pictured 2017) was the art director of Fallout.

Prior to the license's termination, the engine for Fallout was based primarily on GURPS. Fantasy and time-traveling settings were considered for the engine before the development team decided on a post-apocalyptic setting for Fallout.[34][41][64] Taylor outlined the game's design goals in a document called Vision Statement,[65] which Cain called an inspiration for the development team and a "a major reason why the game came together at all.[41]

Fallout was a spiritual successor to Wasteland, published by Electronic Arts;[4] almost everyone who had worked on Fallout had previously played it.[66] After deciding on using the post-apocalyptic setting, they wanted to develop it as a sequel to Wasteland, but unable to obtain a license from Electronic Arts, the team decided to make Fallout a stand-alone game.[34] The retro-futuristic art style of Fallout drew inspiration from 1950s literature and media related to the Atomic Age, especially 1956 science fiction novel Forbidden Planet and optimistic Cold War posters, which Boyarsky reportedly loved.[41][67][34]

The vault concept was influenced by the underground base in the 1975 science fiction movie A Boy and His Dog.[41] Cain said that the team "all loved X-COM" and that early Fallout featured combat similar to X-COM's prior to the GURPS license.[68] Commentators also noted Fallout's strong similarity to X-COM.[55] Cain admired Star Control II for its open exploration, which became an inspiration for Fallout's open-ended design.[69] Fallout features many popular culture references, but the team imposed a rule that they only include a reference if it could make sense to someone unfamiliar with the source. For example, the Slayer perk's name alluded to the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, while generically matching the perk's effects (turning all attacks to critical hits).[70]

Characters and writingEdit

The sprites in Fallout were highly detailed for the time.[71] Twenty-one non-player characters (NPCs) were voiced by various actors; actor Ron Perlman voiced the narrator.[4] Some NPCs feature 3D models when talking called "talking heads"—an idea of Boyarsky and mostly created by Scott Redenhizer. Each one's creation took eight weeks, and a few months to record voiceover.[72] The talking heads began as sculpted heads of clay, which were studied to determine which parts should be most heavily animated. The heads were digitized using a Faro Space Arm and VertiSketch, with LightWave 3D used for geometric corrections and the texture maps created in Adobe Photoshop.[55] Much of the spoken dialogue was written by designer Mark O'Green, who method of writing was considered efficient and impressive by Taylor.[44] The companions, conceptualized late in development, were not easily implementable in the original framework of Fallout. As a result, they were riddled with glitches, including a tendency to shoot the Vault Dweller when he is obscuring an enemy. Dogmeat was the first companion added.[73] Another companion, Tycho, was a reference to the desert rangers from Wasteland.[4]

Cain wrote the game's somber prologue, which was narrated by Ron Perlman and included the series catchphrase "War. War never changes".[34] Cain, disliking the feeling in games in which the player character should know more than the player, narratively designed the game in which the player character would know just as much as the player.[46] The quests in Fallout were given moral ambiguity, with no clear right or wrong solutions. This was done so the player could take whatever choice suited them best.[74] An example of this would be the endgame encounter with the antagonist, the Master. His motives of establishing unity among the wasteland population and making it immune to radiation through turning them all into mutants could be perceived as persuasive by the player.[34][75] Vault Boy and his cheerful nature parodied the 1950s media's downplaying of the perils of nuclear war.[46][76]

ReleaseEdit

Promotion and advertising for Fallout was headed by Boyarsky and art director Jason D. Anderson.[77] Fallout did not have a trailer,[78] but a demo was released in April 26, 1997.[79] The game's packaging was made to resemble a lunch box, and the game manual was designed to resemble a survival guide, both in continuation of the game's themes.[41] Fallout was released on October 10, 1997, in North America for MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows.[80][81] Version 1.1 was released on November 13, 1997, patching many bugs in the original release and removing the 500-day time limit. The patch was released for the Mac OS on December 11, 1997.[81][18][82]

Europe did not initially release the game due to the ability for the player to kill children in-game. Version 1.2 removed the children characters from Fallout and was released at an unspecified date in Europe.[83][18] The Mac OS X version was released worldwide by MacPlay in July 2002.[1] To mark its 20th anniversary, the game was made temporarily free on video game digital distribution service Steam on September 30, 2017.[84][85] The game and its two follow-ups, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, were sold together as part of the Fallout Trilogy.[86] Fallout was later included in Fallout Anthology in September and October 2015[87] and Fallout Legacy Collection in October 2019.[88]

ReceptionEdit

Upon its release, Fallout received critical acclaim;[35][93] it was considered by many critics to be one of the best role-playing video games at the time.[d] March Stepnik of PC PowerPlay predicted that Fallout would revive the genre,[92] and Dan Elektro of GamePro opined that Interplay successfully created a "real role-playing game".[94] Jason from The Electric Playground said, "I can't think of another game that comes even close to Fallout's excellent character generation and skill system, great story, and classy delivery."[15]

Fallout was praised for the SPECIAL character creation system.[94] Elektro found it to be the game's best aspect, and Desslock felt that "the variety of characters that can be created and the truly different experiences that each type of character can have should satisfy even hard-core RPG players."[10][94] Robert Mayer of Computer Games Strategy Plus praised SPECIAL for allowing a variety of character builds that were still effective.[16] PC Gamer's Andy Butcher disagreed, saying that the game "tends to be quite combat heavy, and solving the game with a less robust character, while possible, is much tougher."[2] Jason found that "all of Fallout's skills can be used to some advantage, and WILL alter gameplay."[15] The karma system in Fallout was also praised.[91][8][16]

The post-apocalyptic setting and non-linear plot were praised as innovative for a role-playing game.[15][16] Just Adventure's Ray Ivey stated that, while many role-playing games had mostly fantasy-based settings, Fallout "kisse[d] those tired old scenarios goodbye."[8] Butcher said "the look and sound of the game" combined with the "moody and ambient music" delivered a believable environment,[2] and Mayer found the mix of satire and grit to be well-executed.[16] Some critics commended the game's cinematic introduction;[16][22] Jason called it "the most haunting opening movie" he had seen.[15] Next Generation said that the original quest of finding the water chip, divided into multiple subquests, remained cohesive.[91] Jeff Green of Computer Gaming World, however, found the dialogue unable to account for the player's unpredictability resulting in out-of-order dialogue.[22] Ivey considered the ending to be among the best in video games.[8]

The combat in Fallout was generally well-received; Games Domain's Christian Schock praised its tactical nature,[95] and Mayer said that fans of turn-based RPGs would be in a "near-Nirvana" during combat because of the wide variety of weapons.[16] Green said that the combat's being turn-based "might bore or disappoint Diablo fans, but will be welcome to most hard-core RPGers". He criticized the unrealistic nature of the battles and the computer-controlled companions for their tendency to accidentally hit the Vault Dweller.[22] Todd Vaughn of PC Gamer said, "When you’re fighting alone in Fallout, the turn-based combat is a great asset, but if you hire non-player characters to join you in battle, be prepared for a little frustration."[17]

SalesEdit

Fallout was commercially successful,[96] although not especially popular compared to role-playing video games Baldur's Gate and Diablo.[28] It did not meet expectations in sales,[97] but achieved a fan following[98] and sold enough copies for a sequel to be produced.[28] In the United States, it debuted at No. 12 on PC Data's computer game sales rankings for October 1997.[99][100] 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: "If October's list is any indication, RPGs are back."[99] Fallout totaled 53,777 US sales by the end of 1997.[101]

Worldwide, over 100,000 units of the game had been shipped by December 1997,[102] and Erik Bethke later reported sales of "a little more than 120,000 units" after a year on shelves.[103] By March 2000, 144,000 copies had been sold in the US alone. GameSpot writer Desslock called these "very good sales, especially since the overall [worldwide] figures are likely double those amounts".[104] Fallout was unpopular in the United Kingdom, where the game and its sequel totaled just over 50,000 combined lifetime sales by 2008.[98] According to Fargo in 2017, sales of Fallout ultimately reached 600,000 copies.[105]

Awards and accoladesEdit

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.[106][107] Similarly, the Computer Game Developers Conference nominated Fallout for its "Best Adventure/RPG" Spotlight Award.[108] Fallout received GameSpot's "Best Role-Playing Game" and "Best Ending" prize; and was nominated for GameSpot's "Game of the Year".[38] It also won Computer Games Magazine's "Role-Playing Game of the Year" award.[109]

LegacyEdit

InfluenceEdit

 
Jason D. Anderson, Cain, and Boyarsky (left to right; pictured 2015) left Interplay to form Troika Games.

The mid-1990s saw a decline in the popularity of role-playing video games as a result of stale settings and ideas,[110][111][112] competition with other genres,[102][113] and poor quality assurance.[114] But popularity soon increased, attributed to new and innovative role-playing video games—including Fallout.[115][116][117] In 2000, CNET Gamecenter's Mark H. Walker wrote, "The RPG genre was clearly in a slump in the mid-'90s, but ... the renaissance began when Interplay's Fallout hit store shelves."[118] Rowan Kaiser, writing for Engadget, called Fallout the "first modern role-playing game".[117]

One novel aspect of Fallout was its setting: Contemporaneous role-playing games had a Tolkien-inspired fantasy setting, rather than a post-apocalyptic one.[21][28][98][119] Another aspect was Fallout's focus on the player's character and their choices' impact on the game world, together with its open-world gameplay.[21][75][117] Byrd attributed its influence to its departure from gameplay inspired by the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, prevalent in role-playing games at the time.[75] At the 2012 Game Developers Conference, Cain gave a presentation about Fallout's development and noted the game's traits that were shared by subsequent role-playing games, including open-world gameplay, ambiguous morality, and perks.[120]

Fallout was "one of the most influential games of its time."[41] A feature similar to the perks in Fallout, called "feats", was added to the third edition of Dungeons and Dragons.[121] Other games with similar features, according to Cain, were World of Warcraft and Oblivion.[122] After leaving Interplay in 1998; Cain, Boyarsky, and Anderson would form Troika Games and create Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (2001). Cain considered Fallout a "stepping stone" to the creation of Arcanum.[123] Years later, working for Obsidian Entertainment, Cain and Boyarsky created The Outer Worlds (2019), a role-playing video game influenced by Fallout.[124] Other video games influenced by Fallout include Dark Angel: Vampire Apocalypse,[125] Deus Ex,[126] Geneforge,[127] Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines,[128] Neverwinter Nights 2,[129] Alpha Protocol,[130] Metro 2033,[131] Atom RPG,[132] and Weird West.[133]

Retrospective receptionEdit

Fallout has continued to receive acclaim as among the best role-playing games on PC.[98][134][135][136][119] Like earlier critics, many considered its setting refreshing for a role-playing game and the game to be innovative overall.[e] Although The Escapist's Sarah Leboeuf thought the game had aged poorly, she found the gameplay "intriguing, sometimes addictive".[138] GamesRadar+ also found Fallout worth returning to despite perceiving the game as outdated.[139] Critical assessments of Fallout's quality relative to its sequels substantially differ. GamesRadar+ ranked it low among the series,[139] IGN ranked it in the middle,[140] and Kotaku and Paste Magazine ranked it high.[141][142]

The Master received acclaim from critics and players as one of the best villainous characters in video game history.[35][141][143] The player's encounter the Master was considered by GamesRadar+ to be "one of the most striking storytelling devices of its era",[30] and IGN called it one of the most memorable moments in the series.[144] GameSpot singled out Jim Cummings's voice acting as the Master as "chilling" and considered him "one of the most memorable antagonists in computer-gaming history."[35] Both Matthew Byrd of Den of Geek and Macdonald praised the boss fight for its multiple solutions that took advantage of character system.[75][98] PC Gamer praised the optional boss fight with the Master as among the best in PC gaming.[145]

The game has been inducted into the "Hall of Fame" (or similar award) of Computer Gaming World, GameSpot, GameSpy, and IGN, among others;[146][147][115][148] and has been listed as among the greatest video games of all time.[147][149][150] It was included in the 2011 reference book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die,[151] and in March 2012, Fallout was exhibited as part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's "The Art of Video Games" exhibition under the category of adventure games, along with Fallout 3.[150][152] Fallout has also been ranked as one of the best PC games of all time by PC Gamer[153][154][155] and IGN.[156][157]

SeriesEdit

Fallout was followed by a series of sequels and spin-offs, often different in genre and ambience to the original game. Cain did no work on any sequels and spin-offs beyond brainstorming for Fallout 2;[158] during its development, he left Interplay with Boyasrsky and Anderson to form Troika Games.[46] Interplay owned the rights to Fallout until around 2007, when it was purchased by Bethesda Softworks. The first Bethesda-developed game in the series was Fallout 3.[159] The series as a whole has become critically acclaimed, influential among developers, and among the most popular in the video game industry.[160][161][162] The Vault Boy character went on to become an iconic mascot of the Fallout franchise.[4][46] Other recurring elements among the series include the Super Mutants,[163] the Brotherhood of Steel,[164] the Pip-Boy,[165] and Power Armor.[166]

Fallout 2, which had similar gameplay and plot to Fallout, was developed by Interplay division Black Isle Studios and was released on October 30, 1998 to positive reviews.[97][167] A tactical-based spin-off named Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel was developed by Micro Forté and was released on March 15, 2001, also receiving positive reviews.[158][168] Interplay started developing Fallout 3, code-named Van Buren, around this time, outsourcing much of the development to Titus Interactive. Troubled production led to Van Buren's cancellation.[97] In 2004, Interplay released action role-playing spin-off Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but it was a commercial failure.[159]

After purchasing the Fallout series, Bethesda developed Fallout 3 as an open-world action role-playing game. It was released in October 2008 and was greatly successful, both critically and commercially.[158][169] Bethesda later paired up with Obsidian Entertainment to create Fallout: New Vegas, which released October 2010 and gained a cult following.[170][158] Bethesda worked on a direct sequel to Fallout 3 and released Fallout 4 on November 10, 2015,[171] which was relatively well received.[158] A free-to-play simulation video game named Fallout Shelter was released by Bethesda on June 14, 2015[172] to mixed reviews.[173] Afterwards, Bethesda worked on an online action role-playing game called Fallout 76. It was released on November 14, 2018,[174] to negative reviews.[175]

Other mediaEdit

In 2002, Chris Avellone, a designer of Fallout 2, published his interpretation, known as the Fallout Bible, of the lore of Fallout and Fallout 2. Compilations of his research were issued throughout 2002.[176] Ever since Bethesda's acquisition of the Fallout franchise, however, much of Fallout Bible has become non-canonical.[26] Mark Morgan, the composer for Fallout, released a remastered soundtrack album for Fallout on May 10, 2010.[177][178] A TV series adaptation of Fallout was announced July 2020, executively produced by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan.[179] In 2022, Amazon approved the show for their streaming service Amazon Prime Video.[180]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ MacPlay published the Mac OS X version.[1]
  2. ^ The player can choose the name of the Vault Dweller.[3] However, outside of the game, the player character is officially called "the Vault Dweller".[4][5]
  3. ^ An additional 500-day time limit for the other two main quests was included in the original game but was removed in version 1.1.[18]
  4. ^ Reviews that called Fallout one of the best role-playing video games:[2][10][16][15][22][17]
  5. ^ Reviews that considered the game to be innovative:[98][12][28][90][29][137]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit