Fallout 76 takes place prior to the events of any of previous entries in the franchise. The pre-release hype has been primarily concerned with the switch to an always-online model. Inaugurated in 1997, Fallout is synonymous with single-player RPGs set in a forever evolving landscape shaped by player choice. With its latest venture, Bethesda appears willing to shake the status quo, although gamers should still be able to plow through the campaign on their own.
Many have pondered "how" Fallout 76 will be played, but that does not necessarily answer "why" this prequel might be worth seeking out. Dating back to the days of Interplay Entertainment, Fallout is built upon centuries of lore and back stories! Bethesda's tenure coincided with a shift towards more individualistic campaigns, as players are free to explore the entire open world as they see fit; as a consequence, the story elements are often overshadowed by the side-quests and sandbox gameplay. Set 25 years after the Great War and predating 1997's original release by more than half-a-century, Fallout 76 covers a period in history that helped shape the future post-apocalyptic world fans have been exploring for decades.
What happened during those 59 years? In 2002, Chris Avellone published Fallout Bible 0, an accumulative collection of documents and background material detailing the events leading to the opening of Vault 13 in 2161. Strap in for one insane ride! Here are 30 crazy things that happened between Fallout 76 And Fallout 1!
30 2102 - Hello Harold, Meet Richard
Fallout 76 begins on October 23rd, 2102. This date marked the point when Vault 76 opened its doors and inadvertently changed the course of history; however, the defining moment occurred mere months prior to this event. Constantly under attack by mutants, Harold decided to form an explorative party to feasibly learn something about these creatures. Realizing such a perilous adventure would require the assistance of many brave souls, Harold put together a rogue squad and set out to track down the mutants. Dr. Robert Grey was among the few selected for this expedition.
29 2102 - It Did Not Go Well
Harold and Richard's expedition led them to Mariposa Military Base, which was serving as a makeshift headquarters for the mutants. Stranded in enemy territory, the humans were swiftly separated and conquered by the tenants. The vast majority met a quick end, but Harold and Grey managed to break into the heart of the Military Base. While they fared better than their contemporaries, both men were exposed to the Forced Evolutionary Virus, leading to Harold gradually turning into a tree and Grey becoming the Master.
28 2102 - The Birth Of A Master
The virus mutated Grey into an abomination, but the good doctor proved to be far more resilient than most people. Rather than let something as insignificant as a mutation drag him down, Grey started carrying out experiments to better understand his new form. Exposing various animals to the virus, Grey documented the results and gradually grew to appreciate the transformation. While still in its infancy, these tests lay the groundwork for the doctor's final plan to forcibly transform all humans into mutants. Abandoning his outdated social name, Richard Grey gave birth to the Master.
27 2103 - The Rise Of Super Mutants
Fresh out of hibernation and unaccustomed to the wasteland, Vault 76's inhabitants wondered out into the great unknown. What mysteries await them? Does this signal the commencement of a new age of prosperity? Well, that is probably not the best way to put it. Tired of playing around with animals, the Master captured one of the vault's wanderers and started conducting human experiments. Initially, the results were less than promising; however, science is all about trial and error! Luckily, people routinely passed through Mariposa and right into the Master's lap! Refusing to accept defeat, Grey continues transforming victims until super mutants become a thing.
26 2110 - The Institute
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the Commonwealth Institute of Technology, The Institute is a haunting organization whose shadow looms over the entire wasteland. Formed in 2110, the scientific institute would not truly become an important player until Fallout 4, but its inauguration pre-dates the first game by about half-a-century. Chiefly sticking to its own thing, the Institute has effectively washed its hands of the rest of the population. The organization's members believe humanity's future lies in synthetic humanoids and the progress of science.
25 2120 - Skynet's Marching Orders
With a name as identifiable as Skynet, you would be forgiven for assuming this computer played a significant role in the events leading up to the Great War. A remnant of the pre-apocalypse days, Skynet was created by the military and left in the Sierra Army Depot. Forged out of alien technology, the AI gained self-awareness during the 2080s, but there was little use for the machine. The United States' federal government formed a post-apocalyptic militaristic organization known as the Enclave, but the group abandoned Skynet in 2120. The computer was told to indefinitely protect the depot and left there to rot.
24 2123 - A Sorrowful Age
Friendly tribes are a scarce commodity in the wasteland. In 2123, Zion Canyon suddenly found itself populated by 24 children, who would eventually form the Sorrows tribe. Initially, the group was not religious or really united, but Randall Clark started leaving items like books and medicine for the children. Coincidentally, the younglings started to worship their new father as some kind of god, and Clark's altruistic nature helped forge the Sorrows' fundamental doctrine. The Great War birthed nearly nothing but pain and hatred; however, there are exceptions to every rule.
23 2125 - The Hub Loses Its Leader
The Hub's decline can be traced back to Angus' untimely demise. A major trading city, the Hub is among the most populated locations in Fallout. Founded in 2093 by Angus, it served as a crucial trading point for merchants and settlers. Harold and Richard Grey were among the Hub's residents. After establishing himself as the area's governor, Angus helped instill a sense of order into the settlement, turning the Hub into something akin to a safe haven. Unfortunately, the wasteland eats optimists for breakfast, and Angus was eliminated by an unknown attacker in 2125.
22 2126 - The Great Merchant Wars
Predictably, Angus' removal led to a power vacuum and the Hub fell into anarchy. Prior to the governor's elimination, the Vipers had unsuccessfully attempted to raid the city, but Angus managed to hold down the fort. During the same year, the Hub found itself without a leader. Envisioning an opportunity to expand their business, some merchants captured the water tower and started demanding a toll for anyone seeking to quench their thirst. Lasting for two years, the Great Merchant Wars coincided with an era of tension and instability within the Hub's walls.
21 2127 - Vault 101's Overseer
The general populace believed vaults were designed for their own safety, but Vault-Tec used these underground bunkers to conduct large-scale human experimentation. Granted, Vault-Tec's experiments tended to land somewhere between pointless and plain old stupid. Serving as the de facto leader, a vault's overseer was typical the only person aware of the experiment. Designed to never be opened, Vault 101 tested the overseer's ability to govern inhabitants who are basically stuck forever in a hole in the wall. Regardless of the results, there are too many external variables for the data to be useful. Vault 101's overseer passed away in 2127.
20 2128 - A Tentative Peace Agreement
Following two long years of conflict, Justin Greene's grandfather pursued a peace agreement between the dastardly merchants and the Hub's remaining settlers. By all intents and purposes, The Great Merchant Wars continued far beyond the point of logic, but water is more precious than gold in the wasteland. Roy Greene's peace agreement led to the foundation of the Hub's central council, an authoritative party consisting of representatives from each company residing within the town. Fallout's post-apocalyptic world harbors back to the Wild West, but attempts were being made to instill a modicum of stability into everyday life.
19 2130 - Winter Is Now
Amounting to little more than a footnote in Fallout Bible 0, the Earth underwent a global snowstorm that buried the entire planet in 2130. Fallout 76 precedes this environmental catastrophe by nearly three decades, but it would be disappointing if Bethesda forgoes the opportunity to visualize the Great Winter. Over the years, modders have proven more than able of altering the look and feel of Bethesda's games; if the developer opts against devising a winter wonderland, fans will surely take matters in their own hands.
18 2131 - The Master Plan
By this point, the Master had nearly perfected the art of transforming humans into super mutants and felt confident enough to expand his operation. Rather than wait for test subjects to saunter into Mariposa, Grey ordered his creations to seek out people worthy of joining the Master's army. Targetting isolated caravans, humans started to disappear across the wasteland, leading to many blaming monsters on the crimes. In the span of three decades, Grey went from being the victim to the assailant.
17 2134 - A (Pointless) Civil War
The Brotherhood of Steel is the wasteland's most prominent faction. Founded by military personnel who deserted the United States' army mere days before the Great War, the company circumvents its limit personnel by employing power armor that provides a substantial boost in weaponry. Obsessed with pre-War technology, a rogue division spearheaded by Sergeant Dennis Allen split from the Brotherhood and traveled to a West Tek research facility in search of memorabilia. Greeted with a hail of gunfire, the Glow's security quickly reduced Allen's party to mush. Fallout's subheading should read "it did not go well."
16 2137 - Super Mutant Mass Production
Progress waits for no mutant! Following five years of resource gathering, the Master planted the seeds which ultimately sprouted the Unity. Kickstarting evolution proved to be a rather challenging task and countless subjects failed to pass inspection. Grey's success rate averaged at around 10%, leading to the need for his super mutants to collect even more humans. The Master craved an army, and you have to break a couple of eggs to cook an omelet. In the grand scheme of things, what are a few hundred eggs?
15 2138 - Robert House Wakes Up
Lasting mere hours, the Great War's abrupt commencement took many by surprise, but Robert House is hardly your average person. Residing in New Vegas and running various influential businesses, House predicted the nuclear fallout by more than a decade. Refusing to expire along with the rest of the West, House sought to transform himself into a humanoid bot and adopted measures to protect Vegas. Unfortunately, the preparations were not completed in time and the CEO was knocked unconscious during the Great War. Normally, any blackout lasting longer than a couple of seconds can be fatal, but House's life support system allowed the man to survive for 61 years.
14 2140 - A Hub Of Criminal Activity
Shadows affirm the physical existence of an object. They represent the potential for an individual to leave a stamp on their environment. A city without a criminal element is inconceivable. Creatively identified as the Underground, one could argue this signaled the point when the Hub truly become a metropolis. For better or worse, a society is founded on a mainstream ideology. Regardless of the situation, there will always be outsiders who push against the cultural zeitgeist. A black market cannot exist in a world ruled by anarchy.
13 2141 - Vault 15 Opens
Populated by characters from different walks of life, Vault 15 opened its doors in 2141. Considering the absurd number of vaults in existence, why should anyone care about this one? Demonstrating an ability to adapt that surpasses their contemporaries, Vault 15's residents formed three separate gangs of raiders: the Jackals, Vipers, and Khans. As some of you might remember, a previous entry mentioned that the Hub was attacked by the Vipers; if the raiders came into existence after the vault's opening, how could they have charged a settlement in 2125? Evidently, a post-apocalyptic wasteland is not the ideal environment for documenting history.
12 2141 - Jonathan Faust Falls Into A Snake Pit
Briefly mentioned in Fallout, Jonathan Faust's story shares many similarities with that of his namesake. Leading a band of Vault 15's dwellers into the wasteland, Faust seemed to meet his end after falling into a snake pit. Five days later, the man appeared to the remaining survivors and started to spread the message about gods residing in the pit. At first, Faust's words fell on deaf ears, prompting the prophet to sic two vipers on the non-believers. The venom spread quickly and greatly reduced the population, while those who survived were rendered insane by the poison. Fortunately, Faust was around to direct them towards the promised land.
11 2142 - The Sands Run Deep
Vault 15 split into four separate groups, but only one of them resisted the urge to partake in a spot of raiding. The Sands should mean something to anyone familiar with the pre-Bethesda games, but the city has also been mentioned in all of the 3D titles. Home to the New California Republic, they are a self-sufficient settlement that has steadily grown throughout the decades. Putting aside a handful of vaults, most groups were granted a terraforming device called the Garden of Eden Creation Kit. Vault 15's assembly used this machine to create them.
10 2150 - Vipers Vs. Steel
Things are about to get complicated. Fallout Bible 6 mentions the Vipers return to form after enduring defeat at the hands of Angus in 2125. Due to the conflicting reports regarding Vault 15, this information is best taken with a grain of salt. Regardless of their origin story, during the 2150s, the Vipers were enough of a menace to draw the Brotherhood of Steel's attention. As their numbers grew, the raiders expanded their power base and stepped on the wrong toes. Have you ever tried biting steel? Not fun.
9 2152 - The Master Needs You!
Decrepit but well-stocked in super mutants, the Master understood wars tend to be won before a single bullet is fired. Accepting that his creatures are unlikely to slip by undetected, Grey opted to capture but spare the lives of a particular subset of humans. Primarily consisting of cultists and gang members, the Master offered them salvation in exchange for submission. Led by Morpheus, these individuals spread across the land to serve as the Master's eyes and ears. Slipping into various settlements and factions, they supplied their leader with vital information about the larger populace.
8 2154 - A Raided Vault
Vault 17's legacy starts and ends in 2154. Precious little is known about the bunker's residents prior to that fateful year. How did they spend their free time? What was the vault's purpose? Was Becky a delinquent or a good kid? Out of nowhere, the Master unleashed his army on the vault's unsuspecting inhabitants. The lucky ones perished during the attack, but many were captured and mutated. Among these unfortunate few, the 75-year-old Lillian Marie Bowen was selected to join the master race. Decades later, Lillian could still be found wandering the wasteland and talking to her hallucinatory grandchildren.
7 2155 - Hello, My Name Is John Maxson...
Suited up and ready to squash some snakes, the Brotherhood ordered a couple of squads to track down and obliterate the Vipers. Hugely underestimating the threat imposed by the raiders, the High Elder - Maxson II - opted to lead one of the teams. Despite standing no chance against the Brotherhood's power armor, the Vipers' fervent nature made them a hard nut to crack. Temporarily caught without a helmet, Maxson was nicked by a poison arrow and passed away. Fueled by the surprising loss, the Brotherhood unleashed their mightiest warriors and nearly wiped the Vipers off the map.
6 2155 - Gun Runners
Raiding is a business and business is booming! Gun Runners is a stable fixture of the wasteland. Consisting of merchants and manufacturers, anybody needing a solid weapon knows there is only one company that always delivers the goods. The Gun Runners sold their first piece in 2155, and the guns have not stopped firing since that day. Resources are rather limited in Fallout, but the Gun Runners shops act as a beacon of hope. In this savage time, it is impressive to see such a successful business.
5 2155 - Every Master Needs A Throne
Installing dozens of bunkers throughout the United States requires funding and approval from the government. Towards this end, Vault-Tec constructed a sample vault to showcase Project Safehouse's potential. Located in Los Angeles and a huge success, the vault protected a vast number of people during the nuclear fallout, but the bunker did not welcome its most notable resident until 78 years after the war's conclusion. Learning its location from some former inhabitants, Grey conquered the first vault and established his army's home base.
4 2156 - Every Religion Needs A Church
The Master might have been a sociopathic maniac who terrorized the wasteland for over half-a-century, but the doctor was nobody's fool. Similar in design to a Cathedral, the Los Angeles Vault was the perfect beacon to direct wayward souls to Grey's cause. When all hope seems lost and there is nothing worth believing in, people often turn to religion for comfort. Fancying himself to be something of a god, the Master established the Children of the Cathedral, a missionary unit tasked with preaching the word across the land.
3 2157 - Attack On Vault 12
Vault 12's experiment was to monitor the influence of radiation by leaving the door open. In retrospect, Vault-Tec was barely any better than the Master. Surprisingly, the study proved that radiation poisoning is not particularly good for the skin. Despite drawing the short straw, Vault 12's ghouls banded together and constructed the town of Necropolis. Following a short period of relative peace, Necropolis came under attack from the Master's army; luckily, the invaders lost interest after seeing the already mutated residents. Necropolis survived to breathe another day, but the Master's shadow hovered over the town's future.
2 2159 - Adytum Welcomes The Regulators
The award for the dumbest decision goes to Jon Zimmerman! Serving as Adytum's mayor and fueled by his son's passing, Zimmerman hired the Regulators to protect the city from the Blades. In reality, Zimmerman's boy was eliminated by the Regulators, who then blamed the entire incident on the rival band. Posing as guardians; the gang infiltrated Adytum's wall, seized control, and set out to exterminate the Blades. Zimmerman's gullibility resulted in the mayor's demise and the Adytum falling into the hands of a treacherous gang.
1 2161 - Brotherhood Of Steel Discover A Super Mutant
Two months prior to Vault 13's overseer sending out a scout to retrieve a water chip, the Brotherhood of Steel found the body of a super mutant. The Master's influence had been steadily spreading across the wasteland, but Grey managed to avoid coming into contact with some of the more powerful factions. The Brotherhood's patrolmen transported the sample back to base, which allowed Vree to examine the super mutant's physiology and learn they could not reproduce. The Master's plan began to unravel.