The unfortunate side effect of having a game that is so steeped in lore and intricate background information is that a large portion of the player base will never understand it or go digging deep enough to uncover it. One of the universes that suffers from this is Bethesda’s post-nuclear wasteland, Fallout.
Fallout is steeped in so much lore, that you would need to spend hours reading the loose notes that you can find on the ground or reading terminal entries. Each character, city, creature, and weapon filled to the brim with depth and origin information that most players will miss out on. Some bits of information are a little more well-known then others, but they are all intriguing and will in one way or another surprise you.
They involve evil corporations, characters making multiple appearances in the series numerous installments, and even some creepy ritualistic sacrifices. These are the little things that add some flavor to the otherwise horrific and downtrodden life in the Wasteland.
15. Vault-Tec: The Architects Of Society
If you have played any of the Fallout games then I’m fairly certain you’re familiar with the company known as Vault-Tec. This huge company is responsible for the construction of the huge subterranean vaults that are littered across the United States. Their public approval ratings were probably through the roof when the public began to really feel like they were going to need the vaults. That definitely wouldn’t have been the case if they knew they were signing up to become human guinea pigs for the evil corporation.
Each vault was tasked with a specific experiment they were to conduct on the inhabitants of the vault. Some of the more horrific experiments included the cloning of one vault dweller named Gary in Vault 108; Vault 22’s “self-sustainable” vault which led to the overgrowth of plant life and the post-apocalyptic version of fungus infected vault dweller zombies. Let’s also not forget one of the most horrific vaults found within the Capital Wasteland and a final stop for most kidnapped wastelanders…
14. Super Mutants: Not So Different From You And I
You may know this one if you are the type of player to really dive into terminal entries and such. Building on the previous entry on the evils of Vault-Tec, Vault 87 was the one chosen to undertake the “Evolutionary Experimentation Program” using a modified version of the Forced Evolutionary Virus, otherwise known as the FEV. It was within the walls of this seemingly innocent vault that one of the Capital Wasteland’s most feared enemies would emerge: The Super Mutants.
The Overseer of the vault began experimenting on the unknowing inhabitants of Vault 87 by strapping them down and placing them in ventilation chamber. They would then begin pumping the virus into the chamber to cause mutation. Once the inhabitants began to change they quickly became too much for security to contain and overtook the vault. The experiment is continually carried out by those same Super Mutants by collecting humans and dunking them into vats of the FEV. I know, it’s pretty gruesome.
13. Hancock: A Family History
Fallout 4 has a pretty great pool of companions to travel with while on your adventure to save Shaun. One of these is the ghoulified mayor of the Goodneighbor, Hancock. This drug-addicted politician has a pretty tragic story as he was not transformed into Ghoul in the initial war as with most ghouls of the time, he is actually only recently turned after his addiction led him to try an experimental radioactive drug. Cleary there were some unintended side-affects.
In case you also weren’t aware, his brother is also the one kicked all of the Ghoul inhabitants of Diamond City out into the warzone of downtown Boston. Yep, the lovable Hancock is the estranged brother of Diamond City’s Mayor McDonough. After this incident Hancock cut ties with his brother and tried to help the homeless ghouls survive. Talk about family issues.
12. Fallout Games: The Ties That Bind
Plenty of the Fallout characters have made appearances in multiple titles. There is a very noticeable joy and intrigue when running across a familiar face and seeing what has happened to them in the years between their appearances.
One of the most prominent character to reappear in the series is Fallout 4’s Elder Arthur Maxson. He went from running around the citadel in Fallout 3, to running the Brotherhood of Steel as its youngest ever Elder. There is also MacCready, who appears as a companion in Fallout 4 and as the (child) Mayor of Little Lamplight in Fallout 3. 10 years did him well, as he is no longer a little piece of trash.
Some of the other characters who have shown up more than once are Harold (1,2,3), Marcus (2, NV), and Sierra Petrovita (3, 4). Seeing a familiar face is something special and helps to remind you that these games share their universe and it’s a nice reminder of where you’ve been.
11. Harold: The Unworthy God
As Three Dog rants about during his very enjoyable radio show, an oasis does very much exist within the Capital Wasteland. Within Oasis lies an order of caregivers known as the Treeminders who worship a being of great power within the grove of Oasis. This god is known as Harold and players will recognize Harold from earlier Fallout titles, although his physical appearance has taken a bit of a dark turn.
When we run into Harold in Fallout 2, a small plant by the name of Bob (or Herbert) has sunken his roots into Harold’s head and over the course of time between Fallout 2 and Fallout 3, he has grown to large and has overtaken Harold, rooting him in place. The horror of being trapped in once place for years at a time, throw in the fact that a plant has dug his roots literally through you and into the ground can’t be too comfortable either. The best thing that you can do for him is exactly what he asks of you; to put him out of his misery (just not with fire).
10. Dunwich Borers LLC: The Lovecraftian Horror
Some of the creepiest locations within the ruins of the ravaged country are directly tied in some way to Dunwich Borers LLC. One of the most disturbing moments requires you to travel to Point Lookout and to collect a book for an odd old man. This book is nothing short of evil and is worshipped by the swamp folk. You can choose to take the book to the Dunwich building and destroy it within a dark obelisk inside the building.
There is also an evil entity found within the Dunwich Borers that can be felt through the forced hallucination in the mine. A little bit further from the mine is a man called Hugo. He was a raider who tried to hide away from the evil as it was telling him to kill himself. In the end, the evil won as Hugo puts a shotgun to his head and pulls the trigger. Both locations are a reference to the Lovecraft story The Dunwich Horror, and it is believed that the evil force is a reference to Cthulhu.
9. Trauma Harness: The Gift That Never Stops Giving
Few locations in the Wasteland are as compacted with horrible realities as Big MT. What was once a thriving center for scientific achievement and progress was reduced to a crater filled with horrible experimental abominations. Designed to help get wounded soldiers home, the trauma harness was an invention that was nothing short of a miracle. The potential to save lives everywhere there was conflict. However, as this was a prototype, along with many other Big MT. experiments, it suffers from numerous issues but one most of all, it can’t tell if the wearer is dead.
This leads to the horrifying reality that the suit will continue to wander with nothing more than a skeleton contained within it. Never to be laid to rest and to fight endlessly until it is put down. But at least it makes for an awesome Doctor Who reference when you have the Wild Wasteland perk.
8. Ghosts: History’s Hazard Horrors
Imagine you’re tasked with the lofty goal of constructing what could be known as the most extravagant casino ever created. Now also imagine that you are given a hazmat suit to work in the dangerous conditions that will eventually lead to horrific mutation, as well as an eternity of walking through the chemical clouds found within that casino. That is the life of the Ghosts of the Sierra Madre.
Originally the construction workers building the casino, there suits were supposed to help them survive in the dangerous working conditions of the area. However, upon contact with the cloud, the locks on the suits would corrode and they would be trapped forever only to be slowly mutated by the toxic cloud being filtered into their suits. Turns out these were also and experiment that came out of Big MT. You kind of have to feel for the people who “used” to be on the inside of those suits.
7. Little Yangtze: Trapped In Time
Another great thing about the treasure trove of scientific discoveries. When making your way through the scientific facilities of Big MT. you will undoubtedly come across the Little Yangtze internment camp. When you decide to go investigate and see what goodies you can find, you are greeted by less than friendly survivors of the camp.
It is now that you should realize that these Chinese captives have in fact been trapped within the confines of this camp since the war as they are wearing bomb collars with no way of removing them. They were captured and slowly being used as guinea pigs for the experiments of Big MT. It’s amazing any of them are still alive at all. That’s a pretty rough existence and a pretty worthless life to live.
6. Cemeteries: Communing With The Dead
It’s pretty well-established that the world of Fallout is largely based on the world of science and it does away with all manner of the supernatural, right? Wrong! One of the wasteland’s most numerous locations, graves, can be found in seemingly every location throughout the wasteland. Whether it’s in mass pre-war cemeteries, or improvised graves for a friend or family member who recently passed, many have one thing in common.
When you walk up close to most of the graves throughout the Mojave Wasteland, you can hear the eerie and faint calls of the dead. The lost whispers of those who have passed on. It’s especially creepy when you don’t realize it and you could swear that there was someone near you. Perhaps there are supernatural forces at work within the wastes after all.
5. Grandchester: An Attraction To Die For
Piggybacking on the whole supernatural aspect for a bit. When you make your way to Nuka-World, you can be forgiven for not straying too far from the amusement parks. However, if you should decide to venture out into the outer rim of Nuka-World you may come across a rather peculiar location known as Grandchester Mystery Mansion.
It is essentially a haunted house where a little girl supposedly murders both of her parents during a supposed possession. This is made even more terrifying by the fact that the Ghost of little Lucy Grandchester still haunts the house after her suicide following her escape from custody. This is evident through both seeing her walk through a wall, as well as the more unexplainable phenomena in the house. This is also likely a reference to the real-life Lizzie Borden House where similar events occurred. Definitely not a place I would visit.
4. Arefu: The Romanian Bloodlust
It’s very rare that you come across something like vampires within the Fallout universe, as a matter of fact I can only think of one particular instance. When helping out the folks of Arefu, you will run into the Family.
While not traditional Vampires, they do follow their customs of feeding on the blood of living things. They are known for feeding on the Brahmin of Arefu and must be dealt with. The truly great thing is that the town of Arefu is also a small village out in Romania and is known for its close proximity to the castle of Vlad III otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler. If you don’t know, Vlad the Impaler is widely believed to be the real-life influence for the modern-day depiction of Dracula. It’s a great way to tie some history and pop culture into a video game.
3. Evergreen Mills: Give ‘Em The Deaths They Deserve
There are a TON of raider camps spread throughout the Capital Wasteland, but they seem to congregate to one specific location: Evergreen Mills. You will recognize this place as the one with the captive Super Mutant Behemoth.
Evergreen Mills serves as a trading post and general hangout for the many raiders in Washington DC. However, if you look close enough you will find something far more disturbing and disgusting, as if you needed any more reasons to hate the raiders. Scattered throughout the Bazaar, you can see stripper poles plotted about. What makes it particularly disturbing is that right next to these poles are teddy bears and toys.
2. Gabe & Borous: The Imperfect Pair
The brains of the Big MT. Think Tank each have their own personalities as well as the lives that they have left behind (in addition to their bodies). Each one has a bevy of mistakes that they have made in their lives, Dr. Borous more than most as you witness his mistakes first hand.
While completing a quest for the Think Tank you come across Gabe, Borous’ pet dog from when he was human and still lived in Higgs Village. It is when you delve deeper and after they have made you kill poor Gabe that you realize the torment that Borous put him through and how he just took it with a smile. Between the numerous amounts of cybernetic surgeries and drug-laced dog food, you realize how horrible of a person Borous is and how victimized Gabe was.
1. Nuka-Cola Quantum: Looks Can Kill
What’s the best thing about surviving the nuclear holocaust and being one of only a few people to live in the nuclear wasteland of today? It’s all the soda that’s lying around for anyone to grab! Everyone knows the best one of course though, Nuka-Cola Quantum! This glowing soft drink was created by Nuka-Cola by adding 18 different fruit flavors and a radioactive isotope to give it that glow that we all love!
Aside from turning the consumers’ pee a distinctive glowy color, there are really no downsides. This was far from true of the prototypes of the drink though. Those who tested out the fan favorite were found dead soon after drinking it! The drink has even been weaponized for the Thirst Zapper, making sure that it can claim a few more lives.
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