The Vault - Fallout Wiki

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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
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This page is about the game produced by Bethesda Softworks. For the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios, see Van Buren. For an overview of our Fallout 3-related articles, see Fallout 3 portal.
Fallout 3
Fallout 3 cover art.png
DeveloperBethesda Game Studios
PublisherBethesda Softworks
Ubisoft (GER)
Release DateOctober 28, 2008 (US)
October 31, 2008 (EU, AU)
December 4, 2008 (JP)
GenreRole-playing game
ModesSingle player
PlatformsMicrosoft Windows XP, Windows 7, or Vista
Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
MediaBlu-ray disc, DVD, digital download
System RequirementsMinimum: Windows XP/Vista

1GB System RAM (XP)/ 2GB System RAM (Vista)
2.4 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor

Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 256MB RAM (NVIDIA 6800 or better/ATI X850 or better)

Fallout 3 is a post-apocalyptic computer and console semi-open ended, action role-playing game developed and published by Bethesda Softworks as the third installment in the Fallout series and a sequel to Interplay's Fallout and Fallout 2. It was released on October 28, 2008 in North America, on October 31, 2008 in Europe and on December 4, 2008 in Japan. It is available on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The game takes place in the year 2277, 200 years after the Great War, on the East Coast of what used to be the United States of America, mostly in Washington, D.C., southwest Maryland, eastern Pennsylvania and northeast Virginia. The game play features include real-time combat and first or third person perspective, in contrast to the previous games, which were turn-based and isometric.

Setting and story


Capitol Hill

Main article: Fallout world

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic, retro-futuristic Washington, D.C. following the Great War between the United States of America, People's Republic of China and other countries. The Great War was a conventional and nuclear war that occurred on October 23, 2077. The Great War caused immense damage and destruction despite taking place over less than two hours. Before the Great War were the Resource Wars, during which the United Nations disbanded, a plague rendered the United States paranoid, and Canada was annexed.

Abandoned to rust, decay, and creeping vegetation, monuments from before the Great War still stand amidst the ruins of Downtown DC: the Capitol Building, the Jefferson Memorial and the battered remains of the Washington Monument; this desolate area is known as the Capital Wasteland. A central hub of civilization in the ruins of the former capital is Rivet City, based in and around the remains of an aircraft carrier carried far inland and beached by a catastrophic tidal wave whose waters have long since receded. Other large settlements include the towns of Megaton, Canterbury Commons, Big Town, Arefu, Tenpenny Tower and Paradise Falls. Movement between towns is done on foot through the wastes. In the Metro area rubble blocks the streets, but one can use the D.C. Metro tunnels. The Brotherhood of Steel community is stationed in the Citadel built in the ruins of the pre-War Pentagon. The mysterious Mr. Burke and his employer, Allistair Tenpenny, send the player on a mission of sabotage and destruction in the town of Megaton. But it is super mutants, who since emerging from their refuges have waged an unceasing war against humans to invade their territory,[1] and the Enclave - the self-styled inheritors of the power of the United States government - under the leadership of their new President John Henry Eden and his ruthless second-in-command Colonel Augustus Autumn, who are the player's biggest foes in the game.


Main article: Fallout 3 plot

Fallout 3 takes place in 2277, 200 years after the Great War started and ended. The player character, known as the Lone Wanderer in-game, is a young inhabitant of Vault 101, a fallout shelter in the Washington D.C. area. The vault has reportedly been sealed for 200 years, until the player's father, James, opens the only door to the outside world and disappears without any explanation. The Vault Overseer believes that the Lone Wanderer was involved in James' escape, and sends the vault's security force to arrest the player character. This leaves the player little choice but to follow James by escaping the vault, with the hope of locating James and finding out why he left.

While looking for their father, the Lone Wanderer becomes engrossed in a Capital Wasteland power grab between the Enclave, the post-war remnants of the United States government that aims to destroy all life that isn't them, no matter how mutated; and the Brotherhood of Steel who opposes the Enclaves expansion and rise to power. Because James was aided by the Brotherhood many years ago, the Lone Wanderer is coerced into joining them in their objectives against the Enclave.




Main article: Fallout 3 gameplay

Character system

Main character creation occurs as the player experiences the character's childhood. The player decides the character's general appearance using a Gene Projection, conducted by the father before the mother dies. As a child in the Vault, the character receives a book titled "You're SPECIAL," whereupon the player can set the character's seven primary aptitudes. The character receives training weapons and a Pip-Boy 3000 later on during childhood, and the player's performance in various tests determines the rest of the attributes. Additionally, several quests inside the Vault are able to influence the player character's relationship with their father. Skills and Perks are similar to those in previous games: the player chooses three Tag Skills out of 13 to be the character's specialties. Five skills have been cut out from the game (Fallout and Fallout 2 had 18 skills). First Aid and Doctor have been integrated into Medicine, Throwing and Traps have been merged into Explosives, Steal integrated into Sneak, and both Outdoorsman and Gambling have been removed completely. The maximum level the player can achieve is level 20 (which is raised to 30 after installment of Broken Steel, along with the ability to continue your game after the main story missions are complete). Traits from the previous Fallout installments were combined with perks in Fallout 3, and the player can choose a new perk each time after gaining a level.


Main article: Fallout 3 combat

The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S., is an active pause combat system implemented in the game. While using V.A.T.S., the otherwise real-time combat is paused. V.A.T.S. also allows the gory deaths in the game to be shown in slow motion and in great detail. Attacks in V.A.T.S. cost action points, and the player can target specific body areas for attacks to inflict specific injuries. It should be noted that whilst the player receives greatly reduced damage while using V.A.T.S., it also greatly reduces a weapons condition, forcing the player to strike a balance between using more ammunition or losing guns more quickly. This trade-off allows for two very different play styles throughout the game.


Main article: Fallout 3 items

A dynamic facet of gameplay is that firearms wear out over time of use. As a weapon degenerates, its damage is reduced and it loses accuracy. However, a worn out firearm can be repaired by a similar weapon to keep it functional. Weapon schematics can also be found and used to create various home-made weapons out of items that would otherwise be junk.

Along with equipping various weapons, the player can also utilize different armors and clothing that may have effects that can alter various skills. For example, a pair of mechanic's coveralls may boost the player's repair skill while it is worn. Armor and clothing come in two main parts for the head and body, allowing a player to wear different combinations of hats and armor as well as masks and facial clothing which can be worn with hats. Also, a player's inventory has a specified weight limit, preventing a player from carrying too many items. Story-related or essential items like ammunition have no weight, due to the developer not wishing to bog down inventory management. Your weight limit will increase if you increase your Strength stat in SPECIAL.


Main article: Fallout 3 companions

The player can have a maximum party of three, consisting of himself/herself, Dogmeat, and another humanoid companion. Humanoid companions usually cannot die and are rendered unconscious if their hit points drop to zero until they are hired after which they can die; Dogmeat can also die and will if put into too many dangerous situations. The player's party can further be extended, with several temporary quest non-player characters that will stay with them until the quest related to the non-player character is completed, if their quest is never completed however, many will stay permanently with the player until killed.


Main article: Karma

The Karma system is an important feature in Fallout's gameplay. A player's actions, including conversation and combat choices, affects the player's status in the game world; a player who makes good decisions is received more positively by non-player characters, and a player that makes evil decisions has the opposite reaction. Crimes can also be committed by a player, and whichever faction or group that is harmed by a crime are fully aware of the player's action in most cases. Other factions that were not affected by the crime will not be aware of it, and since a town is usually its own faction, news of a crime committed in one town will not spread to another. Beware however, good or evil deeds will cause a bounty by the opposite alignment group. Talon Company (if you are good) or the Regulators (if you are evil) will ambush you randomly, and are not bound to any particular area; they can appear anywhere in the wastes. Factions can range in size and boundaries, however, and may not be restricted to a single area. The game world itself was planned to be significantly smaller than that of the world map in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion's but is now similar in size.[2]

Changes from previous Fallout games

Fallout 3 in game.

  • While Fallout and Fallout 2 feature turn-based combat and top-down isometric view in a 2-D engine, Fallout 3 features real-time combat and first or third person view in a 3-D engine. Fallout Tactics and the canceled Van Buren featured both turn-based and real-time combat and a top-down view.
  • Perks and Traits have been merged. In Fallout and Fallout 2, Traits were chosen at character creation, and were commonly a combination of a powerful advantage and a potent disadvantage, where Perks were purely advantageous.
  • In the SPECIAL character system, the number of skills has been reduced from 18 to 13, traits have been removed and perks are selected every level instead of every 3 to 4 levels.


S.P.E.C.I.A.L stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. These stats determine which kind of person your character will be.

Development history


Main article: Van Buren

Fallout 3 was initially under development by Black Isle Studios, a studio owned by Interplay Entertainment, under the working title Van Buren. Interplay Entertainment closed down Black Isle Studios before the game could be completed, and the license to develop Fallout 3 was sold for a $1,175,000 minimum guaranteed advance against royalties to Bethesda Softworks, a studio primarily known as the developer of the The Elder Scrolls series.[3] Bethesda's Fallout 3 however, was developed from scratch, using neither Van Buren code, nor any other materials created by Black Isle Studios. In May 2007, a playable technology demo of the canceled project was released to the public.[4]


Poster of Fallout 3. E3 2006 expo

Bethesda stated it would be working on Fallout 3 in July 2004,[5] but principal development did not begin until after The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was completed.[6] Bethesda announced their intention to make Fallout 3 similar to the previous two games, focusing on non-linear game play, a good story, and true "Fallout humor." Bethesda also stated the game is targeted for a rating of M for Mature, and would have the same sort of adult themes and violence that are characteristic of the Fallout series. Fallout 3 uses a version of the same Gamebryo engine as Oblivion, and was developed by the same team.[7]

Between May 2 and June 5, 2007 Bethesda showcased 5 pieces of concept art by Craig Mullins on the Fallout 3 website during the countdown to the teaser. The cinematic teaser trailer for Fallout 3, consisting of the first part of the intro, was released by Bethesda Softworks on June 5, 2007, after a 30 day countdown on the Fallout 3 website. On August 2, 2007, the game's website was opened.


Leonard Boyarsky, one of the creators of the original Fallout, when asked about Interplay's sale of the rights to Bethesda, said that he felt as though "our ex-wife had sold our children that she had legal custody of," admitting that he feels very possessive of the series,[8] but also admitted that his concerns have nothing to do with Bethesda.[9] Considerable concern was also raised by some members of the series' fan community, largely concerning major changes in game play style compared to the original games and Fallout 3's similarity to Oblivion. Many fans of the originals felt the lack of gray morality in the choices presented to the player and lack of witty dialog made Fallout 3 a shallow experience. The reaction from the press, however, was largely positive, with many considering the shift to first person view and real time combat an update, and with most considering the similarities to Oblivion to be a good thing.

In a review from, Fallout 3 was praised for its open-ended gameplay and flexible character-leveling system. Its memorable setting prompted a favorable comparison to the 2007 game, BioShock. While the V.A.T.S. system was called "fun," enemy encounters were said to suffer from a lack of precision in real-time combat and little variety in enemy types. The review concluded that despite the game's shortcomings, Fallout 3 is a "hugely ambitious game that doesn't come around very often," and one would "be a fool not to play it and enjoy the hell out of it."[10]

Sales for Fallout 3 have thus far been very high, and figures suggest that the game has outsold all previous Fallout games (including all other spin-offs) in its first week.[11]

Fallout 3 won several awards following its showcasing at E3 2007. IGN gave it the Game of E3 2007 award, and GameSpot gave it the Best Role-Playing Game of E3 2007 award.[12][13] Following the game's demonstration at E3 2008, IGN also gave it Best Overall RPG, Best Overall Console Game, and Overall Game of the Show for E3 2008.[14] Game Critics Awards gave the game Best Role-Playing Game and Best of Show for E3 2008.[15]

Controversies and censorship

On July 4, 2008, Fallout 3 was refused classification by the OFLC in Australia, thus making the game illegal for sale in the country. In order for the game to be reclassified, the offending content in the Australian version of the game would have to be removed by Bethesda Softworks and the game resubmitted to the OFLC.[16] According the OFLC board report, the game was refused classification due to the "realistic visual representations of drugs and their delivery method (bringing) the 'science-fiction' drugs in line with 'real-world' drugs." Despite this, Australia's Fallout 3 was expected to be released on October 30, on par with the European version, and was delivered on time with the drug-name changes.[17]

On September 9, 2008 Bethesda vice president of PR and marketing, Peter Hines, has described the idea of a censored Australian version of Fallout 3 as a misconception. All versions of Fallout 3 no longer include real world drug references,[18] then morphine was renamed to Med-X.

Game content was edited in the German release to include less violence.[19]

Bethesda Softworks changed the side quest "The Power of the Atom" in the Japanese version of Fallout 3 to relieve concerns about depictions of atomic detonation in inhabited areas. In non-Japanese versions, players are given the option of either defusing, ignoring, or detonating the dormant atomic bomb in the town of Megaton. In the Japanese version, the character Mr. Burke has been taken out of this side quest, making it impossible to detonate the bomb. Also in the Japanese release, the "Fat Man" nuclear catapult weapon was renamed "Nuka Launcher," as the original name was a reference to the bomb used on Nagasaki, Japan.

Microsoft India decided not to release the game in that country, citing "cultural sensivities". It has been speculated that this is either because the cattle in the game are called brahmin, which is the name of the highest Hindu caste, or possibly due to the fact that the player can kill and eat the cattle, which, as it is a sacred animal, is against the principles of most Hindu sects.[20]


On October 9, 2008, an Xbox 360 review copy of Fallout 3 was leaked on torrents all around the world. Bethesda Softworks reacted by closing streaming videos and YouTube videos of the leaked copy. However a large amount of information was leaked, including most of the main quest line.



Fallout 3 development team

Main article: Fallout 3 developers

The project was headed by executive producer Todd Howard. Other producers included Ashley Cheng, Gavin Carter and Jeff Gardiner. The lead designer was Emil Pagliarulo who previously worked on Thief games as well as the Dark Brotherhood quests in Oblivion. Lead level designer was Joel Burgess. Other leads were lead artist Istvan Pely and lead programmer Steve Meister. PR and marketing for the game was coordinated by Pete Hines.

See: Fallout 3 developers for a full list of known developers.


Main article: Fallout 3 soundtrack

The soundtrack of Fallout 3 is comprised of two main elements: the ambient soundtrack composed by Inon Zur, who also created the soundtrack of Fallout Tactics, and songs and other musical works which are played by in-game radio stations.


Collector's Edition

The products included in the Fallout 3 Collector's Edition.

The collector's edition of Fallout 3 features: A Vault Boy Bobblehead, The Art of Fallout 3 (which features never before seen exclusive concept art for the game), and "The Making of Fallout 3" DVD. The entire package is contained in a Vault-Tec lunch box container.

Survival Edition

Pip-Boy 3000 digital clock

In addition to the above products, the Survival Edition features a life-size model of the Pip-Boy wrist computer upon whose screen is a fully functional digital clock display.

The Pip-Boy is a dashing rendition of the one you use in game. However it is made from a lightweight plastic that surprised many users. Undeterred fans put the batteries into their clocks, however many found the buttons to not be functional. Others had the clock function for a time, then turn into a flashing "12:00" before never working again.

The piece is still considered valued amongst hardcore fans for the chance of having a Pip-Boy on their desk, however the quality of the construction, and its value as a collectible, has been put into question.

Limited Edition

Fallout 3 Limited Edition

There was also a limited edition of the game simply called the Fallout 3 Limited Edition that was exclusive to the UK and only available through the retailer GAME. It comes with the game and a Brotherhood of Steel power armor figurine.


Main article: Fallout 3 add-ons

Bethesda Softworks has released five add-ons for Fallout 3:

Game of the Year Edition

Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition was released on October 13, 2009 for PC, PS3, and 360; this edition includes all five add-on packs. Mothership Zeta was not made available in any disc version aside from the Game of the Year edition.

Behind the scenes

I used one hermaphrodite Facegen head with two variants which morphed to a base Male and a base Female. This allowed gender variation without having to repeat the hand generation of mutliple face morphs for visemes and facial expression.

Hair and beard meshes were processed in Facegen to associate them with the Facegen head morphs. Each had a short and long version so hair length could be adjusted in the editor. Vertex colour information controlled the draw order of alpha'd surfaces. Beards were divided into 5 component sections which could be assembled into sets for different facial hair types but ultimately these became individual meshes.

Hugh Rileysrc

All non-creature NPC's in Fallout3 are variations of the player meshes. In early experiments I tried morphing between 3 body types - Normal, Built and Fat - for each gender. The 'Fat' variant was discarded early as being too close visually to 'Built' and experiments were made with non-uniform scaling to give character variation. Ultimately only one mesh was used for each gender, composed of a head, 2 hands and a body. The neckline was low and the wristline high to hide joins within clothing as far as possible. It was decided early on to consider clothing for Fallout as a full outfit plus hat and gloves to avoid the complications of matching complex components. Left arm clothing had a variant that was pinched to allow the PipBoy to be worn convincingly by the player.

Hugh Rileysrc
  • The original inspiration for V.A.T.S. was Burnout's crash mode replays.
  • In the world of Fallout, the bombs fell on October 23. Bethesda tried to coincide the release of Fallout 3 to that.
  • The downtown D.C. area in Fallout 3 was twice the size at one point. The team decided it was too large and confusing and cut the area space in half. The Wasteland area was half the size, and the team felt it was too small, so the Wasteland size doubled.
  • The game may originally have been set in 2306, or the game could even have been a prequel taking place in 2206, according to beta images of the Pip-Boy. [21]



  • Fallout 3 teaser trailer
  • Fallout 3 E3 2003 trailer

See also

External links

Official links

Fansite links


Copyright.pngThe 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 3".