New to Fallout and need to jumpstart your way in? Long-time player of the games and completely lost by the story? Maybe you even think you’ve got a good handle on the wider story and just want to make sure. Well, here’s the complete summary of the game plot and all of the supplemental material to give you a more complete understanding of the Fallout universe.
As usual, we eagerly welcome any feedback you might have for us, such as additions, changes, and especially any sections that could be streamlined further.
Note: This is the ultimate spoiler of everything ever, as it takes the pieces from all the games, books, etc., and strings them into one continuous narrative.
All images are from fallout.wikia.com unless noted otherwise.
In the Beginning
Brush off your history books, kids, because Fallout takes place in our world. The Fallout timeline is exactly the same as ours up until the end of World War II. You may notice in pictures of the game that the homes, technology, and attire look remarkably like Leave it to Beaver out of an exaggerated ‘50s style, which is where the Fallout world diverges from our own. Evidently, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs weren’t around to introduce MacBooks and user interfaces on computers or usher in a new age of consumer technology, because the Fallout world took the nuclear age and shifted it into maximum overdrive.
To keep things in perspective, the action in the Fallout games mostly take place from 2100-2200, while the first major divergence happens in 1969, at which point the U.S. is divided into 13 different commonwealths, with each containing several states. The hope was that the states could be deemphasized and more collective action could better fight the dirty Reds.
he flag is changed to have 12 stars representing the commonwealths and one in the center representing the federal government. This ultimately proves to be a bad idea, since it took an already backlogged government (big surprise) and set bureaucracy and infighting into maximum overdrive.
Between then and 2051, most of what happens in the Fallout world is that the various businesses that manufacture products encountered in the world are developed, such as Mister Handy, Rob-Co Industries, and Nuka-Cola.
Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn
It’s at this point, however, that things quickly start going downhill. Fast. Because the Fallout world never created Priuses or Teslas, everything was super energy-inefficient. In 2051, the U.S. invades Mexico (again) because its political instability is jeopardizing the flow of oil. In 2052, the world burns. No, really. The U.S. for the first time confronts the fact that it is very seriously low on oil, while a flu-like plague conveniently hits at the same time killing about 200,000 people. In actuality, it was a biological weapon that the U.S. was planning to use on China, but the Chinese managed to sneak in and release it on Denver first. Well, guess there’s no better time to blaze it up.
After that, the whole world loses its collective mind as developing nations go bankrupt and the EU invades the Middle East to get what remained of its oil. The U.N. tries and fails to prevent the war (big surprise) and is officially dissolved. The war only ends because the Middle East runs out of oil fighting, eliminating the war’s sole purpose. Europe then regresses about 1000 years as the EU disbands and the countries begin squabbling amongst themselves for dwindling resources.
Then, China casually invades the U.S. through Alaska, where the U.S. deployed the first version of infantry power armor, which gave them a huge advantage over the massed Chinese troops. In order to supply the war effort, the U.S. did have to annex Canada. So, yeah. With a new version of power armor, the U.S. recaptures Alaska and takes the fight directly to the Chinese. Meanwhile, food grows scarce in America as order and society begins to completely break down. Gas prices hit $1450.99/gal for regular and $8500.99 for premium. Think about that next time you complain about $4 gas.
Finally, by 2077, the president and a small cabal of top government elites known as the Enclave retreat to a remote oil derrick in the Pacific over the world's last oil reserve, fearing nuclear retaliation from China.
This fear wasn’t misplaced. On October 23, 2077, in the span of two hours, starting at 9:47 AM EST, all nuclear nations fired all their weapons, basically creating the scenario of End of Ze World. No one knows who fired first.