Fallout: What to know about the games before watching the show

everything you need to know about fallout show

The Fallout TV show released its first trailer and newbies to the series already have lots of questions about the games’ story and series canon. Thankfully, it’s easy to wrap one’s head around.

The Fallout TV series trailer is the first glimpse at a brand-new story in the Fallout universe. The show has three main characters, whose journeys will intersect throughout the show. Each one plays upon character conventions from the Fallout games but that doesn’t mean that the games need to be watched in order to understand the show. Here’s everything there is to know about

Who are the characters in the Fallout show?

The Fallout TV show has three main characters including vault dweller Lucy, the Brotherhood of Steel squire Maximus, and “The Ghoul.”

Ella Purnell plays Lucy, a vault dweller who has never seen the surface. Much like the classic Fallout protagonist, she finds herself exploring the wasteland for the first time and quickly discovers how unpleasant the surface world is.

The second lead character is Maximus, played by Aaron Moten, a member of the Brotherhood of Steel. The Brotherhood of Steel is a technocratic order that brands itself as the savior of the wasteland by hoarding all the technology it can find.  As a “squire,” Maximus is flanked by the knights wearing massive power armor, making him look childlike in the face of their might.

Lastly, the third lead character is a figure known simply as “The Ghoul,” who is played by Walton Goggins. Ghouls are effectively radioactive zombies, though some have retained their sanity. The Ghoul in the Fallout show is a sinister bounty hunter who has lived for hundreds of years, and was an actual survivor of the Great War that annihilated the world.

What is the story of the Fallout games?

The Fallout games take place in a post-apocalyptic America which was leveled by a nuclear war.

During the buildup to the war, a company known as Vault-Tec sold spots in underground “vaults” that protected inhabitants from annihilation. The Fallout games typically follow someone emerging from a vault and heading into the wasteland for the first time, either after being cryogenically frozen during the war or being born and raised in the vault. Each game takes place in a different part of the United States, with each locale having unique threats.

The Fallout games are defined by their inhospitable environments. Most water sources have been irradiated and much of the flora and fauna have been mutated. Humanity has largely been divided into small settlements, bands of raiders, or secret societies.

The only entity with an apparent nationwide presence is the Brotherhood of Steel. The organization has chapters across the country, with some branches taking a different approach to their mission.

fallout tv series power armor

Do I need to play the Fallout games to enjoy the Fallout TV show?

Playing the Fallout games isn’t necessary for enjoying the TV show, but it helps when it comes to understanding the backstory and setting.

The Fallout TV series was made to accommodate newcomers to the series. Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 game director Todd Howard, who also worked on the show, stated that the creators purposefully avoided retelling an existing game’s story. They instead opted for a plot that could be enjoyed by both longtime fans and newcomers.

Fallout 3

This philosophy is true for the Fallout franchise as a whole. The Fallout games are effectively self-contained stories, that don’t require experience with previous titles. References and returning characters do make the experience better for veteran fans of the franchise, but it’s ultimately not a requirement.

Regardless, the Fallout games are highly regarded and are worth playing on their own.

Is the Fallout TV series canon?

Yes, the series is confirmed to be canon by Todd Howard. The head director of Bethesda stated that everything that happened in the show would be set in the same universe as the Fallout games. The series takes place in the year 2296, nearly a decade after Fallout 4 (2287) and 15 years after New Vegas (2281). 

The only major faction seen so far in the trailer is the Brotherhood of Steel. The noticeable absence of other factions such as the NCR, the Institute, or even the Legion leaves the primary antagonist of the series a mystery. The Brotherhood of Steel typically runs the gamut of lawful good paladins to technoterrorists. It’s unknown what side of the coin this faction of the Brotherhood of Steel will fall on.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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