Fallout is a massive franchise. To say it’s one of the most well-known games is an understatement, to say the least. The series has transcended popularity and become an icon of both the gaming and science fiction industries. I mean, we have board games, clothing lines, figurines, video games, machinima, and far more–all set within the game’s world. Sure, Bethesda’s game engine is horrid. In fact, it’s one of the worst–littered with bugs and mesh errors. Seriously, it’s terrible. However, the game has a certain charm to it. The massive world is filled with unique stories of survival and despair, and the modding community makes the PC versions worth their price tag and then some.
It's the stories, though. The lore. That is what makes Fallout worth the bugs. Bethesda knows how to write side-quests. They aren’t quite proficient at main storylines, but their ability to craft smaller set pieces is fantastic. The creators work tirelessly. We all see this. It’s just a fact. But even they have secrets. The type of secrets they don’t want people to find easily. Sure, we’re all tenacious. We’re gamers, so it’s in our blood to track down hidden gems and quirky trivia. Which is why we’ve discovered so many secrets buried within Fallout.
So, without further ado, here are 20 secrets the creators of Fallout would no doubt like to bury. They can’t, though. Not with us on the case. It’s just not that easy.
20 A Long-Abandoned Sequel
According to Obsidian’s game director, who recently looked back on game cancellation and studio closures, realized what led to Fallout: New Vegas in 2010. Yep, that’s right. An abandoned video game sequel led to the one of the most favored entries in the franchise.
Josh Sawyer, an original designer on the first Fallout titles, went on to work as project designer on Fallout: New Vegas. At the time, the studio was focused on continuing the isometric RPGs, but failed to realize the dream. The work they did complete, however, was reworked into New Vegas. It’s unclear exactly which features or stories made the cut, though we’re sure a lot was left on the drawing-room table. It’d be nice to see the cut segments form their own game someday.
19 The Vaults Are Us
Vault dwellers typically feel safe. They’re out of harm’s way; away from the nuclear bombs and horrid wasteland. Unfortunately, at the beck and call of Vault-Tec, who may or may not have nefarious goals in mind. Of course, we know they do. Vault-Tec designed hundreds, if not thousands, of vaults throughout the country. Some were safe havens for people to survive the nuclear fallout; others, however, were torture chambers, live experiments, or worse. Almost all of them endured some form of scientific experimentation.
The vaults are us, though. Human ingenuity at its finest. At our core, we’re curious. We want to open Pandora’s Box and discover exactly what is buried deep within. It does not matter if the end of the world occurs, because we’ll have that knowledge. That’s Vault-Tec.
18 Want To Feel Like A Developer?
Somewhere in the Commonwealth, there lies a secret room. The room, accessible only on the PC version of Fallout 4, apparently features every single item in the game, including all weapons, armor, and customization options. To find the room, you’ll need to play around with the console a little. First, enter “COC QASMOKE” in the console commands. You’ll be transported to the room, which is a developer testing location in-game. There’s a similar one in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. For some reason, Bethesda Game Studios decided not to remove the room from the game.
If you’re feeling lazy, or perhaps just want to mess around, visit the developer test room to enjoy a legendary mini-gun or another item. It’s easy enough to locate.
17 We're Feeling A Little Burned Out
Fallout’s Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S.) has become a fan-favorite system within the franchise. It turns the hectic, real-time action into a more manageable, and more iconic turn-based system. The original inspiration? According to the creators, the idea came from the Burnout franchise, which is known for its slow-motion replays after a particularly nasty crash. The replays in the racing game were known as “Crash Mode.” Instead of a busted fender and missing passenger door, Fallout featured severed limbs and bloody guts.
This little fact may have slipped by everyone, though. It’s almost too obvious. The two features are alike in so many ways that it makes total sense that Bethesda took inspiration from Criterion. Now that you know it, can you see the similarities?
16 Remembering The Best Of Boulder
In Fallout: New Vegas, you may have stumbled upon the New Vegas Boulder City Memorial. It’s a giant slab of broken concrete with scrawled names of various soldiers who have seemingly died for the city. It is widely thought that the names are those of the development team. You know, those in the background who receive little spotlight for their demanding work. This is false, though. The names are entirely fictional, though they do have links to previous games in the franchise.
For example, Roger Westin III is the grandson of a known NCR character from Fallout 2. The other names on the list, while seemingly random, all have ties to previous characters or stories. It will take a keen hunter to track them all down.
15 An Incredible Prototype
We’ve discussed V.A.T.S. already, but there’s apparently more to the story than what we’ve discovered previously. That’s right; the creator has a few more hidden secrets. For example, artist Grant Struthers would prototype the V.A.T.S. camera system using his series of Incredibles action figures. He would pose them in various ways, considering the possible interactions one would have with different firearms in-game.
If you’ve ever played the game, you know V.A.T.S. is designed to target the extremities or body, depending on hit-percentage and player choice. We never considered using action figures to practice, though. Still, the Incredibles is an odd choice. The cartoon superheroes, which were aimed at children, most likely don’t deserve their limbs blown off. Who knows, though?!
14 You've Got A Friend In The Vault
Actress Courtney Cox, who is known for her portrayal of Monica Geller on “Friends,” briefly worked for Bethesda back in the 80s. It’s unclear what her position at the company was, however. We like to think we worked in the public relations department, as she seems somewhat outgoing. You know, like a people person.
She, alongside David Arquette, Odette Yustman, Ben Harper, and the board of directors at Zenimax, later hosted the Fallout 3 launch party on October 18th, 2008. The party itself was hosted in Los Angeles and featured Vault Boy retro graphics. The party was even headlined by Foo Fighters. What most of these individuals have to do with Fallout is beyond us, though. Most are public figures in other realms, namely the movie and television industries. Oh, well. Promotion is promotion, right?
13 Bethesda Isn’t In Bethesda
You know, in a perfect world, developer Bethesda Game Studios would be located in Bethesda, Maryland. For a brief time, there were. They were situated in the city long enough to give it its namesake, though. Their offices are now located in Rockville, Maryland, just nine miles from Bethesda.
To the nitpickers, this is an annoying fact. Bethesda isn’t exactly secretive about their location, but it would make more sense to have stuck around in Bethesda, Maryland. Today, they have another studio, opened in Montréal, Québec, Canada. It is, apparently, titled Bethesda Game Studios Montréal. A real shocker, that one. It has been 16 years since Bethesda was formed (we’re all getting really old) but they continue to make magic.
12 Big Dreams, Fat Reality
Do you remember the Fat Man? It was easily the most fun the game has to offer. I mean, launching a mini-nuke from down the road, just to watch the impending mushroom cloud sprout upwards where a herd of ghouls once stood is just so damn satisfying. Well, believe it or not, the Fat Man was based on a real-life weapon. Yep, you read that right. Developer Bethesda took inspiration from the M-388 Davy Crockett Tactical Nuclear Recoilless Rifle. Designed in the 1950s, the gun was the smallest nuclear armament build, and it is an insane weapon.
On a more related note, when the Fat Man is launched, a bell rings. You’ve most likely heard it. Well, that sound is a recording of the lunchroom bell that dings in the Bethesda offices.
11 Meat Of Champions
No one wants to support people eating other people knowingly. It’s a gross crime, and yet one with a firm basis throughout history. There are even tribes today still practicing this, though less so now than in the past. Well, the world of Fallout is not real, and as such, the people can eat each other to their heart’s content.
In Fallout: New Vegas, there is a hidden perk: Meat of Champions. You’ll acquire this perk by feasting on the flesh of Caesar, Mr. House, The King, and President Kimball–all the primary heads of each respective faction. Doing so is only possible via the Cannibal perk, though. When you acquire Meat of Champions, you’ll also receive +1 to Luck, Intelligence, Charisma, and Strength for 60 seconds after consuming a human corpse. It’s quite useful.
10 Painkillers Just Aren't The Same Anymore
Fallout is a mature game, to say the least. There are so many explicit features, items, and stories. For a parent, that means the game is off-limits to children. For the rest of us, though, it makes for a fun open-world. In Australia, everyone is a child, though. At least, that’s what the government likes to think. You see, their censor quite a bit. One piece of censorship came in the form of medication. Originally, the creators wanted to name Med-X as a certain kind of painkiller. It makes sense. Unfortunately, that not allowed. We then ended up with “Med-X” in every region. There’s nothing wrong with that, though. Med-X has become an iconic drug in the world of Fallout. It’s useful. In fact, Med-X makes more sense in the universe anyway. This isn’t supposed to be a one-for-one recreation of America, but a parallel universe.
9 Cutting Down, Doubling Up
Initially, the Downtown D.C. area of Fallout 3 was intended to be twice as large. That would be fantastic for the player. However, the development team felt the city was too big and confusing, so they cut down the metropolis in half. As someone who put 1400 hours into Fallout 3, I would have preferred a more prominent downtown to explore.
Conversely, the studio decided to double the size of the Wasteland. In the end, this means more hidden locations dotted throughout the landscape to discover. It’s a win-win situation for both–creator and community. Perhaps in the future, when the next game eventually releases, we’ll see larger metropolises with more building interiors to salvage. Maybe Bethesda will listen to our pleas. We’ll see.
8 Cauterize Me Slowly
Fallout has quite a few mini-games included in the base game. For example, the lockpicking and computer hacking mini-games will allow you entrance to new rooms and to acquire better loot. Hacking is hell, though. It’s such an annoying concept.
At one point, Fallout 3 included a surgery mini-game, in which the player would cauterize their wounds while the player character screams in pain. The development team, however, felt the mini-game slowed down the pacing of gameplay. They instead opted for a more convenient and straightforward healing process. You acquire Stimpaks, administer them, and heal your damage and wounded limbs. It’s so much easier. Although, surgery does sound like it could be entertaining to watch. It may have been too graphic, though.
7 Tipping The Scales
For whatever reason, Bethesda included the ability to cow tip. Yeah, that’s right. If you sneak up behind a Brahmin and activate it, your character will literally tip the mutated cow over. It will then scramble on the ground in an attempt to right itself. This little feature was available in Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and, via a unique encounter, in Fallout Tactics. It’s an Easter egg.
Why this little feature was ever included is beyond me, though. Honestly, there’s no point besides a little bit of entertainment value. That’s the point, though. Right? Entertainment. No one is going cow tipping in real life. It’s just not something that happens in the real world.
6 Not A Ladder In Sight
Have you ever laid eyes on a ladder in Fallout 3? I certainly haven’t. I would never have thought about that fact, though. It’s just not something most people think about, right? I mean, who goes looking for a ladder. No one!
For one reason or another, Bethesda continues to cut features from their games. One such feature is the inclusion of ladders. The primary reason for this, however, is due to the AI. If you haven’t noticed, the AI is not overly bright in Bethesda games. In fact, they’re downright foolhardy. They’ll casually walk into the wall of a building, or repeat the same lines of dialogue multiple times in a row. And so, there are no available ladders in the game whatsoever.
5 To Oblivion And Beyond
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is old. I mean, it’s really, really old. I played the iconic RPG back in, like, middle school. It was one of the first games I ever played from Bethesda, and the same can be said for many players my age. It’s odd to learn that Bethesda was already working on Fallout 3 in secret before they announced Oblivion. Fallout 3 officially began development in 2004, while Oblivion was formally announced in mid-September of 2004.
Now, if you’ve ever played either then you know neither is particularly good looking. In fact, they’re downright ugly. The engine has not aged well. However, Fallout 3 is infinitely better regarding playability and sheer open-endedness than Oblivion, which is still a marvel of achievement in its own right.
4 A Bombed Release
In the lore, the nuclear bombs dropped on October 23rd. Bethesda was initially hoping to coincide the release of Fallout 3 with the same day the bombs fell in-game. Unfortunately, that never happened. Internal development hell occurred instead, and we received a release date slightly later than anticipated. In fact, it was just one week later.
Instead of October 23rd, Bethesda launched their post-apocalyptic open-world game on October 28th. If you’re a fiend for lore and perfect timing, this fact probably bugs you. It’s something Bethesda isn’t too keen on either. They were undoubtedly hoping for a smooth release but were met with obstacles instead. Well, we got the game. It was great fun. That little piece of marketing could have paid off for years to come. Oh, well!
3 Colt In Arms
The 10mm pistol is one of the most common pieces of weaponry in the franchise. You literally start the game with one in numerous cases. It’s just an iconic firearm at this point.
The full make and model of the in-game 10mm in both Fallout and Fallout 2 is “Colt 6520 10mm pistol.” In later games, starting with Fallout 3, the 10mm pistol is then referred to as the “N99 10mm pistol.” The reason? Bethesda never asked Colt permission to name the weapon as such. The change in design was effectively a safeguard to ensure legal issues with Colt–a renowned firearms maker–did not sue their modest game development studio. It was a smart move, honestly. Colt is a powerful, and wealthy company.
2 Fancy Seeing This Guy On Your Computer?
If you have Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 installed on your computer, more specifically as desktop icons, then consider enabling “Large Icons” in Windows. Doing so will have a drastic effect on your game icons. Of course, some people don’t like messing with their executables.
If you decide to use this little trick, you’ll notice both game icons have changed. The executables are now Tim Cain’s head, who was a lead programmer and chief designer on the original Fallout games. The creators thought it would be funny, as Cain has a notoriously large head compared to his body. It’s just a bit of fun, and unique. We rarely, if ever, see games emulate this type of Easter egg.
1 Hasn't He Been Through Enough?
Lastly, the creators of Fallout are terrible people. Not in a literal sense, of course. They’re actually quite friendly and huge fans of their own creations. However, when messing with the lore of the game, they take some liberties. For instance, poor Harold has been in nearly every game since the first title launched. He has made an appearance in Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, and Fallout 3. Harold has gone from an F.E.V. freak to a mutant with a sapling growing from his head. He finally became a face in a tree in Fallout 3. Harold has been tormented from one game to the next, all for our entertainment. Where is his justice?!
In the end, you ultimately decide whether Harold lives forever as an immobile tree, or is killed out of mercy by your character.