When Bethesda released a little-known game called Fallout 3, it took the gaming world by storm! The open world, free roam gameplay, and RPG elements were a huge hit, as were the graphics and first-person shooter style. With actors like Liam Neeson involved with the project, everyone knew that the game was going to be something special. It was, for the time, a masterpiece.
However, even today, people are still unearthing new and exciting secrets hidden within the Capital Wasteland, Fallout 3's game world. These range from amazingly well-hidden references to other games and movies, to secret NPCs that you can only find by using the console command cheats on a PC. Bethesda put a lot of effort into including as many easter eggs and hidden gems within Fallout 3 that they possibly could.
But even as gamers out there discover and share more of these little secrets, many still remain overlooked by the majority of players. From tiny little numbers that appear on specific signposts, to the smallest little details about the future of the Fallout world, and even creepy, seemingly out of place events that reference entirely different mythos, there's a tonne of secrets out there. With that fact firmly in mind, here are 25 of the best secrets, easter eggs, and references within Fallout 3 that you need to be a superfan to spot, let alone understand.
25 The Tale Of Van Buren
When it comes to Fallout 3, we all know the outstanding game that Bethesda gave us. With a brilliant mix of first-person shooting and open-world RPG elements, it was a massive success! However, it almost didn't exist. At least, not in the way that we now know. You see, Fallout 1 and 2 were made by Black Isle Studios, the developers of other great games like Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate. As part of Interplay, Black Isle Studios had a huge heritage when it came to role-playing games that had huge depth and great storylines.
The original version of Fallout 3 was going to be a top-down, tactical role-playing game. This was far more in keeping with the previous two games, which had been 2D tactical RPGs themselves. However, Interplay had to file for bankruptcy and close down a number of studios before this version of Fallout 3 was completed. This closure took Black Isle Studios with it, ending development of the original Fallout 3, now referred to by its development codename; Van Buren.
Shortly later, Bethesda bought up the rights to the Fallout series, giving them all publishing and development control over the future of the series. This led to the huge change in gameplay and style that we have become accustomed to.
24 A Harold Of The Times
For those of you who haven't played Fallout 1 or 2, it might come as a surprise that there is a character featuring in all of the first three Fallout games. Originally a member of the Vault 29 populace, Harold became a staple of the series as a regular character that fans quickly fell in love with. Growing up in a Vault entirely filled with other children, where the parents had been taken to a different Vault, Harold was raised by a human brain that was connected to a supercomputer.
As one of the chosen Vault 29 Dwellers to go outside and see what the state of the world was, Harold was taken to the Nursery, a separate place where Diana (the supercomputer brain) resided. He was given a choice to stay with her or go out to the wasteland. Being an adventurous type, he chose the wasteland.
Eventually, he came into contact with FEV, a chemical designed to cause evolution, and began to mutate.
His mutation included a small, slightly sentient tree called Bob. After years of walking through the wasteland together, Bob finally consumed Harold's body, turning him into a tree and creating the area of the Capital Wasteland known as Oasis.
23 The Future Of VR Gaming
Whilst it may be part of the actual storyline of Fallout 3, Vault 112 has a very interesting history. Those who were chosen to enter the Vault were placed in pods connected to a Virtual Reality system. This would allow each and every one of them to live an idyllic lifestyle in a world exactly as they were used to. In this sense, they were effectively placed into the Matrix.
For years, these people were stuck in the simulation as their bodies withered away within the tanks.
It really is a horrific scene to think about, as they were kept happy as they sadly faded away. Whilst this may seem like a reference to The Matrix, it is also a very vivid reference to the potential future of Virtual Reality gaming. As we move closer into the world of VR, with each game getting more realistic and third-party controllers allowing full-body interaction with those games, things are moving very quickly towards the technology of Vault 112.
Are you ready to get into a pod and live out the rest of your days in a virtual world, not realizing that you're perishing in the real world? It's a scary thought, isn't it? As is the fact that, when you escape from Vault 112's virtual world, you actually end everyone in the Vault who was still alive.
22 Nothing But White Noise
Have you ever had to sit and listen to nothing but white noise? If you were born after the release of satellite and cable TV, probably not, but for those of us old enough to remember life before that, it was quite common. For example, if your TV aerial wasn't positioned correctly then you'd only be able to get static (or white noise).
This constant, grainy noise pierced right into your brain and was simply horrible to listen to.
Vault-Tec obviously knew this when they put together the sociological experiment for Vault 92; to fill the vault with musicians of all genres and talents, before filling the Vault with constant white noise. This was designed to test whether white noise could psychologically alter a person's mental state, turning them into psychopaths who were happy to attack and end anyone.
Whilst this may not have been the most horrific Vault-Tec experiment (the Vault with hundreds of men and just one woman, and vice versa, come to mind), it certainly is a rather psychotic thing to come up by itself. Really, though, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to weird Fallout vault experiments.
21 The Truth Behind Vault 101
Fallout 3 starts off with you, the Lone Wanderer, growing up within Vault 101. The community in the Vault is very tight-knit, with families all being very close. However, the reason for this is that the Vault door has remained sealed since the war, hundreds of years ago. This was yet another test being run behind the scenes by Vault-Tec. With enough food and supplies to run for hundreds of years, Vault 101 was designed to test the effects of isolation on a community, seeing how that community may change through time.
Each was designed specifically told to never open the Vault door, never let anyone go outside and never let anyone come inside from the wasteland. This worked perfectly, up until the Lone Wanderer's father managed to get outside. At least, that was what the Overseer at the time wanted everyone to believe. However, in reality, the player character's parents actually came from the outside world in the first place.
So the experiment had already largely failed.
This was really a blessing, however, as the population of the Vault was already dwindling. Eventually, it would have led to inbreeding and chaos without opening it up to the rest of the wasteland.
20 A Puppet Master
Whilst it may not be considered actual canon, the writers and artists behind the amazing webcomic, Penny Arcade, came up with a spin-off comic to the Fallout universe. Titled One Man and a Crate of Puppets, it tells the tale of yet another Vault-Tec experiment. As well as the aforementioned tests, as well as one where there were 30 people and a panther, the team at Vault-Tec decided to ruin one person's mental state entirely. Trapping him in Vault 77, this young man found that he was entirely alone, with the exception of a crate filled to the brim with puppets.
Over the course of almost two years, the young man completely lost his mind. In his head, the puppets were alive, and after a case of the King Puppet being ended, he decided to leave the Vault with a Vault-Guy puppet and take on the wasteland outside. Due to his now entirely psychotic manner, he began ending everyone around him. This garnered the nickname The Puppet Master, which would go on to become infamous at establishments and bandit hideouts all over the wasteland. This is something that fits in perfectly with the Fallout universe that we know and love.
19 Stockholm Syndrome
Did you know that there is a secret, hidden section of the outskirts of Megaton that you can only access by using the "noclip" cheat? Well, there is. On PC, if you open the console and enter the command "tcl", you will be able to pass through walls and fly.
This will allow you to find your way to a small viewing platform on the outer wall of Megaton.
Here, you'll find an NPC taking watch over the wasteland, that you can't meet through any other means. When you talk to him, he will start asking you questions about how you managed to find him. This is a very amusing little easter egg that the developers put into Fallout 3, knowing that those of us on the PC would find and make use of console commands as soon as possible.
Fallout 3 is full of hidden easter eggs, like the next one on this list, but this one is so well hidden that, when found, you can imagine the developers sitting back with a smirk on their face. It might take a long time to find secrets like this, but they're fun and make the game a lot more interesting.
18 The Oblivion Of Fallout
As we already mentioned, Bethesda bought the rights to the Fallout series before making the third game. They are also very proud of their games, and because of this, they have made little references to them throughout other video games that they have developed. It is their way to give mention to their achievements without many people noticing.
One of these mentions happens in Fallout 3. When you are walking through the Capital Wasteland, there are road signs and various other signs scattered around. One of them, affixed to a post, has the code TES04. This, specifically, refers to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, one of Bethesda's most popular open-world, free roam games in an already extremely popular franchise.
It is incredibly easy to miss entirely, but that just makes it all the better in terms of a hidden mention.
It doesn't take anything away from Fallout 3, but definitely manages to bring attention to another incredible game. Since a lot of people have strong opinions over whether the Fallout series or The Elder Scrolls series is better, it's fun to see the two of them come together in this way. It's a great shoutout to a great game.
17 Isla Negra Holdings
Amongst all of the other great additions that Point Lookout put into the already massive Fallout 3, the developers at Bethesda also manages to add little nods back to the previous developers of the Fallout series; Black Isle Studios. However, rather than specifically stating the name of the studio or the developers, Bethesda used their typical creative genius to put subtle references that could easily be missed but make you feel clever when you notice them.
In particular, you can find out about a real estate company that used to exist and operate in the Point Lookout area.
The company would continually try to build up the tourism industry of the area, whilst also owning the People's Bank of Point Lookout. This particular real estate company was named Isla Negra Holdings, which translates back into Black Isle Holdings.
It is a really clever way to put a tribute to the original developers into the game, whilst also referencing how important they were to building the Fallout series in the first place. It's something that not a lot of people would recognize otherwise, which makes it a really nice inclusion. Though it really is one of those easily missed secrets!
16 Beneath The Children Of Atom
When you think about post-apocalyptic movies, a few different series probably come to mind. This first one is probably Mad Max, but we're not going to talk about the references to those movies that appear in Fallout 3. They are pretty obvious, really. Instead, we are going to look at how Megaton's unexploded nuclear bomb and the religious cult that has formed around it reference yet another movie series.
The Children of Atom and their beloved unexploded nuclear bomb are a direct reference to the movie Beneath the Planet of the Apes. This entry into the Planet of the Apes universe features a very similar situation within the movie. In fact, it is so similar that it is almost a mirror image of the scenario.
This is something not a lot of people might realize.
Mad Max may well get the most well-known movie references in the Fallout series, but the developers managed to hide a whole bunch of others as well. This one likely went under the radar to many, as Beneath the Planet of the Apes wasn't as much of a success as other Planet of the Apes movies, but is definitely an awesome reference!
15 A Prophetic Birth
One of the references in Fallout 3 that most people would have completely missed comes right at the start of the game. In fact, it is one of the very first things you'll see in the game; the Lone Wanderer's date of birth. Born on the 13th of July, or 7/13, this is a direct reference to the Bible.
Specifically, it refers to Micah 7:13, a passage that describes how the world will turn into a desolate shadow of its former self, based upon the deeds of those living on it. Considering how the war between American and China led to the destruction of the world in Fallout history, this is the perfect biblical quote to reference in a Fallout game.
However, like a few others on this list, it is really easy to miss as it isn't really something you normally pay attention to. Instead, you are almost certainly going to be focused on getting into the character creator and then starting that actual game. The character creator, especially, is something that a lot of people take time and care to play around with. But on your next playthrough of the game, try to look out for this little easter egg!
14 The Replicated Man
Considering the fact that Blade Runner has come back into the limelight recently with the release of Blade Runner 2049, this little easter egg reference of a quote seems all the more appropriate now! Despite having nothing to do with Blade Runner, in Fallout 3 you can effectively take the titular role of a Blade Runner hunting down incredibly human-like androids. The difference this time, however, is that it takes place in the Capitol Wasteland rather than science fiction Los Angeles.
Taking place in Rivet City, The Replicated Man sees you come into contact with one Dr. Zimmer, who has a very specific and straightforward (or not) request for you to carry out. He wants you to find his missing androids, who have gone out into the world.
From here, the quest plays out almost like you are a lone detective trying to track down and capture androids, just like Harrison Ford's character in Blade Runner. However, unlike the first Blade Runner movie, this quest won't have you questioning whether The Lone Wanderer was an android all along. Still, it's a really nice reference and a great tribute to such an inspirational movie that a lot of people have an attachment to.
13 The Butler’s Clue
Another one of the cultural references in the game that can be easily missed revolves entirely around Wadsworth, your Mister Handy butler that you can get if you save Megaton and unlock the player housing there. You see, despite being filled with incredibly dry British wit, Wadsworth has another little secret hidden away. He may be the Fallout version of Tim Curry!
Now, to help you understand what I mean by that, Tim Curry (actor extraordinaire) played a role in the movie known as Clue. What is that role, you say? Why, it only happens to be Wadsworth the Butler. So does that mean that, in the world of Fallout, said Wadsworth had his brain digitized and uploaded into a Mister Handy?
Probably not. But it is still a pretty awesome thought and an even better throwback to an amazing actor. Actually, come to think of it, Fallout can be a pretty strange place. Maybe it is possible for Tim Curry to actually be in the games somehow. Stranger things have happened, and since it takes place far enough in the future, the technology to make something like this happen would definitely be available. Now we're wondering about this!
12 Ties Of Blood
It is pretty obvious that the questline, Blood Ties, takes inspiration from vampire literature. I mean, it does basically deal with vampirism as a core theme of the side story. However, it actually goes a lot deeper than that, although it isn't completely obvious at first.
The lady who gives you the quest, to begin with, is named Lucy West. This may seem like it is nothing special at first. However, did you know that Mina Murray from Bram Stoker's Dracula had a good friend who went by the name Lucy Westenra? She was turned into a vampire by Dracula, suddenly giving a whole new level of importance to Lucy West as the quest giver of this side story. This is something that not even a lot of surface fans of Dracula (or any of its adaptations) will pick up on, but eagle-eyed fans might stand a chance in noticing this small, subtle, and fun reference.
Again, it is an easily missed easter egg added by Bethesda in a way that doesn't detract from the game. However, it is very cleverly done and, if you know your Dracula lore, you'll pick up on it immediately.
11 Post-Apocalyptic Pod People
In case you haven't realized yet, the developers at Bethesda managed to fit a reverent ton of easter eggs and references to popular culture with Fallout 3. There are just so many of them, it is actually crazy. One which appears within the DLC, Mothership Zeta, references the absolute classic science fiction horror movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
In the movie, aliens start to invade the Earth by taking people away and then copying (or snatching) their bodies. This leads to a very creepy world of distrust and paranoia. When it comes to working out who is a Body Snatcher, the easiest way comes when they want to warn other Snatchers about a threat. They will point and let out a wailing screech that pierces your very soul.
In Mothership Zeta, the Abominations that you encounter during the questline act in a very similar manner when warning each other. As Mothership Zeta is dealing with aliens, this is a very poignant reference to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This is something even more people would have missed, since it takes place entirely within a DLC that isn't readily available with a fresh copy of the game. Still fun!
10 The Red Army
The history of the Fallout world revolves around the war between the capitalist superpower America and communist superpower of China. This, of course, includes propaganda spread all across the world, trying to get people to believe in their individual idealisms. This was also part of a real-world war, especially during World War 2 and the Cold War.
However, one of the really cool things that Bethesda did was make the Chinese propaganda in Fallout 3 almost identical to that of the real world "Red Army" propaganda. In fact, they put so much effort into it that the characters that are shown on the posters even stand in the same poses as well.
It just goes to show how much effort and thought the developers put into making the world feel realistic and deep. The fact that the propaganda is almost identical to real life makes everything about it seem even more immersive. The world of Fallout is chilling enough as-is, but add in these callbacks to real-life war and propaganda, and it's enough to give a chill to anyone. Especially knowing how the Fallout lore goes, and how the war actually started. Everything is more connected than we thought!
9 The Future Of The Simpsons
Now, this one sort of relies on you being both a super fan of Fallout 3 but also a super fan of The Simpsons as well. Do you remember that, when we saw Homer's childhood, his TV was made by a company known as Radiation King? If not, that's completely fine as it was never stated, instead only being shown by the TV's brand name.
Anyway, spread throughout the Capital Wasteland are a whole bunch of TVs and radios that are made by Radiation King. In fact, in downtown DC you can even find a Radiation King store! For those of us who are super fans of both Fallout and The Simpsons, this little easter egg is an awesome little bonus added to the game.
It probably doesn't mean that The Simpsons takes place in the same universe as Fallout (unless they live on a different planet and Radiation King is an interplanetary TV company, perhaps using the guys from Futurama as a delivery service). However, it is a great little nod to a historic series. We wonder if The Simpsons even existed in the world of Fallout. Did people used to watch this on TV at all, or did their history skip that show?
8 What Happened After The Thing
Do you remember the original movie The Thing? You know, the 1982 science fiction horror movie starring Kurt Russell, dealing with a shape-shifting alien? Well, it was a huge success and a massive influence on the horror and sci-fi genres. But it also ended on a very exciting cliffhanger. Whilst this may have been resolved in the follow-up Survival Horror video game on the PlayStation 2, the reference made in Fallout 3 offers an interesting alternate timeline...
Robert Joseph MacCready, the mayor of Little Lamplight, is nicknamed RJ. Therefore, he is commonly known as RJ MacCready. This just happens to be the name of Kurt Russell's character in The Thing. Therefore, it is rather fun to imagine that, in the world of Fallout, the shape-shifting alien was never awoken and RJ MacCready was born into a very different world than that of the movie.
Of course, this is just a little nod to the character again, but we can still imagine our own little theories and backstories, right? That's part of the fun of Fallout; the world is so vast and open, and you're left to make your own way around. You can imagine anything you'd like!
7 The Fat Man Controversy
Probably one of the most famous and loved weapons in the Fallout series is the Fat Man. For those of you who don't know (how do you not know), the Fat Man is a portable mini nuclear bomb launcher. If that doesn't sound absolutely crazy and epic at the same time, then I don't know what would! Plus, the sheer joy you get when the bomb detonates is amazing. Of course, you can also want to bash your head against the desk if you somehow manage to miss your enemies with a nuclear bomb.
But did you know that the Fat Man's name was changed in all Japanese localizations of the Fallout games, Fallout 3 included? Over in Japan, it is called the Nuka Launcher instead, for one simple yet very important cultural reason; Fat Man was the name of the nuclear bomb used to destroy Nagasaki.
You can understand why the Japanese people would not want to play the game if they needed to use a weapon named after the cause of one of the most horrific events in their country's history. Still, it's interesting to see something censored in Japan instead of America.
6 The Hollow Rock
One of the best aspects of Fallout 3 is the fact that, once you leave Vault 101, you are basically free to go anywhere and do anything. Of course, there is the main storyline quest, but you don't have to follow it straight away. In fact, by heading to Rivet City, you can skip most of the storyline anyway! However, this can also mean that you quickly find yourself overpowered by the various mutated monstrosities of the Capitol Wasteland.
When you find step out of Vault 101, you are pretty much unarmed, with the exception of a handgun with very limited rounds. So, if you want to go off and explore, rather than heading to Megaton, you'll need something to help.
That is where this little hollow rock comes into place. It is relatively near both Vault 101 and Megaton, but won't look like much at first. However, if you inspect it, you'll be able to go inside, where you'll find an absolute treasure trove (for the start of the game). The hollowed out rock contains a Stealth Boy, a Sniper Rifle, and some ammo! That's enough to give you a nice, quick boost in firepower and chance of survival, so you can then go off and explore.
5 Life Growing From Ashes
One of the main aspects of the world and backstory of Fallout is that the entire world has been reduced to a desolate wasteland thanks to the nuclear war. But then, we all knew that anyway, didn't we? I mean, it is pretty hard to miss. However, despite the Oasis' beautiful greenery thanks to Bob, the mutation that grows on and takes control of Harold (as mentioned earlier), there is another place where things seem to be turning around.
Accessible only by going through the Flooded Metro Station, you may eventually find yourself at Arlington Cemetery during your travels. At first, this may just seem like any other area, with the exception of tombstones. However, if you look closely enough, you'll see that flowers are actually growing on and around the graves!
Does this mean that human bodies are the way to restore the world's beauty after a nuclear war? That's a pretty creepy thought, but still, it's really nice to see that the world is starting to recover, even if it is one grave at a time. It gives a bit of hope to an otherwise very dark and bleary future; one we wouldn't want to live in.
4 The Lincoln Shrine
One of the small hidden areas that you can find, but definitely one of the more unique, is the moment to Abraham Lincoln. And no, it isn't the one you're thinking of. Located within an otherwise completely normal and non-descript house out in the Capital Wasteland, you will be able to find a room with a picture of Abraham Lincoln, surrounded by candles.
It is pretty obvious that, even after the world-ending nuclear war, whoever ended up living in this abode had great respect for the former President of the United States (and with good reason, obviously). What is really interesting, however, is that the candles aren't destroyed or melted.
That means that someone definitely was living there after the end of the world. So, it begs the question, what happened to this person and where are they now? Why are they so obsessed with this president, and why are they keeping this shrine to him alive? Have they visited the giant statue of him? We have a lot of questions about this, and they'll likely never get answered. This is one Fallout mystery that is just destined to live on and not reach a conclusion.
3 The Weird Submarine
Amongst all of the other things that the Point Lookout DLC added to the already massive game that is Fallout 3, one of the questlines allows you to follow in the footsteps of a Chinese spy. That is really exciting in and of itself, especially if you know the history of the Fallout series. However, it is where this specific questline takes you that is really cool.
After following through the various steps of the quest, you'll end up getting the access codes that allow you to board a Chinese submarine that is still sitting in Point Lookout. That would have been amazing by itself, but things take a very creepy turn once you get inside.
For example, did you ever question why a Chinese submarine would have stopped in Point Lookout when America and China were at war? Well, once you step into the submarine, you're greeted with a host of still bodies. There's also something in the sub with you! This is something that's a bit out of a nightmare, but absolutely worth exploring regardless. To those who haven't gotten the DLC, it's worth checking out, as it's a pretty interesting story.
2 Dunwich Love(Craft)
It seems as though the developers at Bethesda are fans of the psychological horror genius that is H.P. Lovecraft. This prolific writer created the world, universe, and mythos that is collectively known as Cthulhu. Within this mythos, Dunwich is a very important location. Therefore, the Dunwich building is a reference to H.P. Lovecraft and Cthulhu in name alone. However, there is so much more than that.
If you actually go into the building, you'll experience some very odd occurrences. These include floating objects and bizarre, psychological disturbances, taking on a very different tone to the rest of Fallout 3. In fact, it is very reminiscent of what the characters within Lovecraft's stories go through.
This loving tribute to an incredible author feels somewhat out of place in Fallout 3, but at the same time, is amazing to see. Surprisingly, this isn't the last time a reference to one of Lovecraft's works would make an appearance in a Fallout game. Dunwich Borers is a location (and strange quest) that you can do in Fallout 4, and it's equally as unsettling and creepy as the Fallout 3 version. Something about H.P. Lovecraft and Fallout just goes together, and we're not complaining.
1 Throne Of Roaches
Found in a really hard to reach area, surrounded by some really deadly enemies surrounding it, is the "kingdom" of the Roach King. This man, who has clearly lost his mind in the wasteland, has surrounded himself with radroaches that he has gained the ability to control. This had led him to be a self-proclaimed king and create his own area of dominance.
He and his "subjects" aren't too hard to take down, if you've brought enough weaponry. But considering the fact that they are surrounded by difficult creatures, you probably did if you decided to make your way to his lair. Once you have taken him down, you'll find that he had stashed away a mini nuke, which you can now take.
On top of that, the Roach King also carries a minigun, so make sure you take that from him before you leave the now ruined Kingdom of Roaches. This is a funny little side-quest that shows what the Capital Wasteland can do to a person, whilst also simply being incredibly entertaining. Plus, who doesn't want a minigun, right? It's a weird little quest and a fun weapon you can get.