The Vault - Fallout Wiki

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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
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This page is about the game itself. For an overview of our Fallout-related articles, see Portal:Fallout.
A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game
DeveloperInterplay Entertainment
The Omni Group (Mac release)
PublisherInterplay Entertainment (1997-2013)
Bethesda Softworks (2014-current)
Edusoft (ARG)
MacPlay (Mac release)
Release DateOctober 10, 1997
GenreRole playing game (RPG)
ModesSingle player
PlatformsDOS, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh (separate OS X & classic releases)
Media1 CD
System RequirementsPC:

Intel Pentium 90 CPU; Microsoft Windows 95 or higher, or DOS 5.0 or higher; 16MB RAM; 2x CD-ROM drive; DirectX 3.0a (if playing on Windows); 1 MB VESA-compliant SVGA graphics card; Sound Blaster compatible sound card


80MHz or faster Power Macintosh (G3-233MHz for OS X); 2X or faster CD-ROM drive; 640x480 capable color monitor; 95MB free hard disk space (600MB for OS X); 16 MB free memory (with Virtual Memory turned off) (128MB of RAM for OS X); Mac OS 7.5 or greater (Mac OS X 10.1.4 for OS X); Display Library (version 1.0 or greater) required for System 7.5 to System 7.5.2; Display Enabler (version 2.0 or greater) required for System 7.5 to System 7.5.1; DrawSprocket 1.1.2 or later is required for all (classic) system software

Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game, developed and published by Interplay on September 30, 1997, is the first game in the Fallout series. The game was initially intended to use Steve Jackson Games' GURPS system, but when Interplay made the decision to drop GURPS on February 12, 1997, Interplay created its own system, S.P.E.C.I.A.L..[1] The estimated sales figures for Fallout between 1997 and 2000 are 144,000 copies sold.[2]

Fallout is seen as the "spiritual successor" to Interplay's classic 1987 CRPG Wasteland.[3]


Fallout is an RPG or role-playing game with turn-based combat and a pseudo-isometric view.

Character attributes[]

Fallout uses a character creation system called SPECIAL. SPECIAL is an acronym of Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. These are the seven basic attributes of every character in the game. They are used to determine the skills and perks of the given character. The developers originally intended to use the GURPS [1] system, but late in the development process they moved to the new SPECIAL system.


Main article: Fallout skills

There are 18 different skills in the game. They are ranked from 0% to 200%. The starting values for those skills at Level 1 are determined by the player's 7 basic attributes or SPECIAL, but most of those skills would fall between 0% and 50%. Every time the player gains a level, he/she will be awarded skill points to be used to improve their skills, equal to 5 points + twice their Intelligence. The player may choose to "Tag" 3 of the 18 skills. A tagged skill will improve at twice the normal rate.

Skill books found throughout the game world can also improve some of those skills permanently, although books are scarce early in the game. However, after a skill reaches a certain level, books no longer have any impact on that skill. Some non-player characters can also improve Skills via training. How high a Skill can be developed is affected by the character's Attributes - a character with a low Intelligence will not be able to boost their Science rating as high as a character with high Intelligence, for example.

Some skills can also be improved while having certain items equipped. (E.g. equipping a lockpick would improve lockpicking skills.) Chems can also temporarily boost player's skills; however, they often have adverse effects such as addiction and withdrawal. As skills grow higher in rating, they begin to cost more skill points to increase.

Traits and Perks[]

At character creation, the player may choose up to two different traits and perks for their character. Traits are special character backgrounds. Most traits have profound effects on game play. A trait normally contains one beneficial effect and one detrimental effect. They are listed under perks in the character interface. Once a Trait is chosen, it is impossible to change, except by using the "Mutate" Perk that lets them change one trait, one time.

Perks in the game are special elements of the level up system. Every three levels (or every four if the player chose the "Skilled" Trait), the player is granted a perk of their choosing. Perks grant special effects, most of which are not obtainable via normal level up in the game, such as letting the player have more actions per turn. Unlike traits, most perks are purely beneficial – they are usually offset only by the infrequency of acquiring them.



Main article: Fallout world

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world following the Great War, a nuclear war that occurred on October 23, 2077 and lasted less than two hours but caused immense damage and destruction. Before the Great War came the Resource Wars, during which the United Nations was disbanded, a plague rendered the United States paranoid, and Canada was annexed.

The game takes place in 2161 in Southern California and begins in Vault 13, the protagonist's home. Vault 13's water chip, a computer chip responsible for the water recycling and pumping machinery, has broken and Vault 13's Overseer tasks the protagonist, dubbed the "Vault Dweller," with finding a replacement. They are given a portable device called the "Pip-Boy 2000" which keeps track of mapmaking, quest objectives, and various bookkeeping aspects. Armed with the Pip-Boy and meager equipment, the Vault Dweller is sent out into the remains of California to find another water chip.


The player initially has 150 days before the Vault's water supply runs out. This time limit can be extended by 100 days if he/she commissions merchants in the Hub to send water caravans to Vault 13. Upon returning the chip, the Vault Dweller is then tasked with destroying a mutant army that threatens humanity. A mutant known as "The Master" has begun using a pre-War, genetically engineered virus called Forced Evolutionary Virus to convert humanity into a race of "super mutants", and bring them together in the Unity, his plan for a perfect world. The player is to kill him and destroy the Mariposa Military Base housing the supply of FEV, thus halting the invasion before it can start.

If the player does not complete both objectives within 500 game days, the mutant army will discover Vault 13 and invade it, bringing an end to the game. This time limit is shortened to 400 days if the player divulged Vault 13's location to the water merchants. A cinematic cut-scene of mutants overrunning the vault is shown if the player fails to stop the mutant army within this time frame, indicating the player has lost the game. If the player agrees to join the mutant army, the same cinematic is shown.

In version 1.1 of the game, the time limit for the mutant attack on Vault 13 is eliminated, allowing players to explore the game world at their leisure.

The player can defeat the Master and destroy the super mutants' military base in either order. When both threats are eliminated, a cut-scene ensues in which the player automatically returns to Vault 13. There they are told that they have done great things for the vault and all of humanity but if they came back everyone would want to leave the Vault and that the Vault Dweller must leave for the good of the Vault. Thus they are rewarded with exile into the desert, for, in the Overseer's eyes, the good of the vault. There is an alternate, non-canonical ending (available if the player has the "Bloody Mess" trait, has accrued significant negative karma throughout the game, or performs the action manually) in which the Vault Dweller draws a handgun and shoots the Overseer after they are told to go into exile.


Main article: Fallout characters


The player or protagonist of Fallout is an inhabitant of one of the government-contracted fallout shelters known as Vaults. In subsequent Fallout games, he/she is referred to as the "Vault Dweller".

The protagonist is governed by the SPECIAL character system, which was designed specifically for Fallout and is used in the other games in the series.

At the end of the game, the Vault Dweller would be exiled from Vault 13 and would eventually found Arroyo, the starting point for Fallout 2. The Chosen One, the protagonist in Fallout 2, is the descendant of the Vault Dweller.

Recruitable non-player characters[]

A diverse selection of various recruitable non-player characters can be found to aid the player in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Unlike in Fallout 2, there is no limit to the number of non-player characters that the player may recruit in Fallout. Non-player characters' statistics and armor remain unchanged through the entire game; only their weapons may be upgraded.

  • Ian can be found in Shady Sands and is the first recruitable non-player character that the player meets. He is an experienced traveler and gunman. Ian can equip any pistol or SMG, and wears a leather jacket.
  • Dogmeat is the only nonhuman non-player character that the player may recruit. Dogmeat can be found in Junktown, outside of Phil's house, preventing him from entering his house. The player may attract Dogmeat by either wearing a leather jacket or feeding the dog an iguana-on-a-stick. After that, Dogmeat will follow the player.
  • Tycho is a former Desert Ranger, now living in Junktown. He can wield rifles, shotguns, and spears.
  • Katja may be recruited in the library in the Los Angeles Boneyard. She can fight unarmed and wield pistols and SMGs.



The Fallout developer team had nearly 100 members (mostly artists). Although most of the team dissolved after Fallout was released, about one third of them formed Interplay's Black Isle division that was responsible for Fallout 2. Some went on to work in future projects, and several key players left Interplay altogether to form Troika Games.


Main article: Fallout soundtrack

The game soundtrack for Fallout was composed by Mark Morgan.

International versions[]

The game underwent censorship in certain international versions, including the removal of all children from the game in some of the European versions (e.g. British and German ones). This censorship was apparently imposed because the game included the possibility of killing children, although this was in no way promoted (on the contrary, the game actively discourages this act, though it remains possible as part of the player's free will). Among its consequences are unfriendly responses from non-player characters, bounty hunters regularly and repeatedly attacking the player, and various non-player characters refusing to join the player's party. In addition to being frustrating for many of the game's players, the removal of children from the game is known to have produced a number of bugs in it. A fan-made patch that returned the children to the game eliminated both the censorship and the bugs.

Current availability[]

New boxed editions of the game are published from time to time, usually included on one DVD together with Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics, such as the Fallout Trilogy release. Do watch out, older versions of the game might not work with newer computers.

Steam is also offering direct downloads for Fallout and Fallout 2, as well as selling them in a bundle which includes Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel.

Film adaptation[]

Main article: Fallout (film)

Interplay Films, a division of Interplay Entertainment, was formed in 1998 and was to develop seven of the company’s most popular video game titles into movies, including Fallout. In 2000, Interplay was said to be partnering with Dark Horse Entertainment on the Fallout movie project. Brent Friedman (Dark Skies, Mortal Kombat II) wrote the script treatment. Eventually, no Interplay property was ever made into a film and the division was disbanded.

In March 2011, the full film treatment was released at The Vault.




  1. Steve Jackson games
  2. Desslock's Ramblings
  3. Tim Cain GDC Talk, @05:33–05:53: "Wasteland, of course. Can't say this strongly enough: Fallout is very much a spiritual successor to Wasteland. Almost everybody who played the game – or who worked on Fallout – had played Wasteland. When we started I had not played it, so somebody gave me a copy, said 'Go home this weekend', and I was addicted, played it all the time."
  4. Leonard Boyarsky interview at RPG Codex

External links[]


CopyrightThe contents of this page were entirely or partially copied from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, and are therefore licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original version, its history and authors can be found at the Wikipedia page "Fallout (computer game)".