The Fallout series tells the story of post-apocalyptic America. The country barely managed to survive after the Great War. Many managed to take refuge in underground vaults, but everyone and everything on the surface wasn't as lucky. Gamers got a glimpse of what life was like on the West Coast. Thanks to the efforts of the Vault Dweller and his descendant, the Chosen One, the citizens of the Western region slowly rebuilt over the past 200 years. The East Coast, home of Washington D.C. was not as fortunate. They faced much worse attacks than the rest of the country, which is why Fallout 3 and 4 shows so many struggling to survive, even 200 years later.
Black Isle Studios, Obsidian, and Bethesda could only tell us the stories of a few protagonists. Gamers are slowly learning about what happened to the Vault Dwellers and Lone Wanderers roaming the world. Each ending shows an ending slide of the hero walking off into the distance. The rest of the story is up to gamers to decide.
Gamers haven't been shy about discussing what may have happened in regions not mentioned by developers so far. The Southwest and Southeastern portions of the country have yet to be explored in detail. Gamers have developed fan theories that range from utterly bizarre to stories we wish Bethesda would implement in future games.
We've compiled a list of some of the most intriguing fan theories found online. While many theories are quickly debunked, there are others too interesting to skip. Some theories are so realistic; it will make you question fact or fiction. There are spoilers for the entire series within the list.
25 A Vault Filled With Kittens
It's not unusual to find a cat roaming around the neighborhood. There's a healthy population of cats now, but that isn't the case for Fallout. A few years after the Great War, survivors were so desperate for meat that cats almost became extinct. The East Coast was slightly different.
At least one vault had a pair of cats that helped repopulate the East Coast.
Some fans even suggest that one Vault was composed entirely of cats, with no humans around.
24 A Seriously Devious Plan
Preston Garvey is the temporary leader of the Minutemen when you first meet him. He's looked up to the group since he was a child, or so he says. Garvey seems more interested in asking the Sole Survivor to help other settlements. Fan theorists believe that Garvey's intentions aren't good. He's using the Sole Survivor to spread dangerous chems and take money from settlers. The Sole Survivor thinks they're helping people, but instead, they're turning the Commonwealth into a horrible wasteland.
23 Multiple Saviors Roam The Land
The Mysterious Stranger first made his way into gamers' hearts in Fallout 3. While in V.A.T.S., the stranger appears to destroy an enemy instantly. Fallout 4's Nick Valentine has been tracking the mysterious man for decades. Fans have wondered the true identity of the character, stating it's a family member or a Synth. Others believe that the Mysterious Stranger is not a single person, but a title. They obtain the title by secret means and take a vow to help others across America.
22 A Forgotten Valentine
Nick Valentine's memories of the Mysterious Stranger have remained intact because he keeps his notes written down. Nick admits to the Sole Survivor that his memories aren't always clear. This became a heartbreaking realization for Valentine fans.
Fans realized that the Sole Survivor would slowly fade from their favorite Synth companion's memory banks over time.
In the distant future, Nick will only consider you a friend and former partner he once had. He'll move on, even after the Sole Survivor passes.
21 Everyone Was Considered Replaceable
Fallout 3 and 4 explore the possibility that Synths have replaced humans. Fallout 4 makes it clear that the Institute has replaced many settlers with their Generation 3 artificial humans. Fans wondered just how far the Institute has gone with their experiments. It's possible that a vast majority of settlers have been replaced with Synths. It explains why some characters always repeat the same dialogue or act as if they're "programmed" to complete certain tasks over and over again.
20 Predictions Of The Future
The charismatic DJ Three Dog leads Galaxy News Radio. If something were to happen with him, the station's music was replaced with a lifeless Numbers Station. The beeps on the station replicated Morse code. Gamers began to decipher the codes and were shocked by the results. They claimed the game could predict the real-life future. By manipulating the sounds, players claimed the Numbers Stations were rumored to predict the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. Fans were worried Bethesda was trying to warn them of terrible future events.
19 One Long Combat Simulation
Fallout 76 is the most recent installment of the series. For the first time, the series was multiplayer and removed human NPCs. Fans began to claim that the world was eerily empty. They began to theorize that this is intentional.
The events of Fallout 76 are nothing more than a simulation meant to prepare Vault 76's Dwellers for life in West Virginia.
Vault-Tec wanted to make the simulation as realistic as possible, which is why there are food, drink, and life meters.
18 Is Anyone Real?
The Sole Survivor begins the game finding refuge in Vault 111. The safe-haven was actually an experimental vault. Nate or Nora wake up twice from cryogenic sleep. The first time they awake, they witness their spouse being hurt while Shaun is taken. The second time, the Sole Survivor wakes up with a mission: rescue Shaun at all costs. Fans believe that the Sole Survivor is nothing more than a Synth with false memories. Even in-game characters like DiMA in the Far Harbor EP questions the Sole Survivor's humanity.
17 They’re Watching You
The Fallout games have always had fun with the placement of toys. Fallout 3 and 4 adds even more stray teddy bears. The latter adds creepy mannequins that seem to follow you around. Settlers already believe the Institute is watching them, but these stray objects make their paranoia worse. Fans think that the teddy bears and mannequins are Synths sent by the Institute. That's why there are several of these plastic people in empty buildings and factories. The Institute will go to any lengths to keep track of the Sole Survivor.
16 This Trick Stuck With Us
Theorists have many thoughts on how the Great War started. The timeline has been modified several times. It's believed that the Chinese first infiltrated America and then began the Great War. Others believe that the Railroad's P.A.M. orchestrated the entire event.
P.A.M. worked with other robots across the globe to conspire against America.
P.A.M. made the U.S. Government think the Chinese attacked first so they would launch missiles at the country. The robot then turned America into the aggressor, while the Chinese forces were only defending themselves.
15 A Manipulative Liar
Reuniting with Shaun is a pivotal moment in Fallout 4. He tells the Sole Survivor how he orchestrated meeting with Kellogg and how he led you to the Institute. Gamers believed that his story seems too extreme. Many believe that while inside the cryogenic pod, the Institute extracted your memories. Father wanted to convince you to do his bidding, so he learned everything possible about your past. It's completely possible Father was emotionally manipulating the Sole Survivor the entire time.
14 Everyone’s A Mutant
The Great War had major countries launching bombs at the same time. The bombs caused significant damage across the world, even though we only see the devastation in America. The weapons spread toxic radiation around the globe. It's not unlikely that every human has suffered from radiation poisoning. Fans believe that all humans are a type of mutant. It's possible they may evolve into Ghouls with more exposure. Children of settlers exposed to radiation are under even more danger of mutation.
13 He Was Never Real
Paladin Danse is one of the Brotherhood of Steel's most loyal members. He's devastated when he learns that he's a Synth. Like most Generation 3 Synths, he showed no symptoms of being an artificial human. Fans believe that's because the persona of Danse was created, not copied.
There was never a real "Danse" that the Synth was switched places with.
This isn't new to the Fallout series. Harkness of Fallout 3 was also created with a unique personality in mind.
12 A Title Shared Between Many
Joshua Graham was once known as the Legion's Malpais Legate. After a failed mission, he was punished with fire and abandoned. Graham decided to continue to help the Dead Horse Clan. The title "The Burned Man" soon became known across the Mojave Wasteland. When we meet Graham, his entire body is covered, and his face is wrapped with bandages. Some believe he has only taken up the mantle from legends of "The Burned Man." The real person under the bandages is just a Ghoul, who is continuing Graham's mission.
11 Multiplayer Arrived Early
Before Fallout 76 made its debut, many fans wanted a multiplayer Fallout game. They wanted to wander the Wasteland with a few friends. A theory began to spread online that the Mysterious Stranger was another player. It's not unlikely since many gamers require an internet connection. Somehow, another player would hack into your game and help you take out enemies. The co-op Mysterious Stranger would also wield a Pip-Boy to land every shot perfectly. After helping out the player, the Stranger would disappear to help out another player.
10 Under The Sea
Gamers scraped the Fallout 4 files and discovered something amazing. At the bottom of the ocean was an underwater world.
It's possible that there were Vault Dwellers who escaped during the Great War, but the surrounding areas ended up underwater.
Fans hoped to learn more about the buildings in the water, but it was never mentioned again in future expansion packs. There was also an underwater vault in New Vegas called Vault 3, but it was never explored further in the game.
9 A Tranquil Simulation
The Lone Wanderer is on a quest to find their missing parent. The Lone Wanderer eventually finds their father, James, trapped in a simulation pod. Though the protagonist only saves James, there are others trapped in the black-and-white world. Fans believe that all of Fallout 3 is a simulation. The Lone Wanderer and James are both stuck in a horrific post-war world where people are struggling to survive. There are many "choices" available to the Lone Wanderer, but only specific choices will lead to the best ending.
8 Nothing Can Hurt You
With most video games, the more enemies and side quests you complete, the higher your level can become. Most Fallout games have a limit to how many levels they can gain so they can't become too strong. Fans have developed a theory behind the levels. They think that the other characters in the game are weakened by radiation so much that they can't level up. The protagonist continues to become stronger against the weak because they're unaffected by the radiation.
7 Deacon’s Lonely Secret
In Fallout 4, Deacon follows the Lone Wanderer everywhere they go. Deacon can be found watching you throughout the Commonwealth. He can change his outfits or undergo plastic surgery, so he's not discovered by you or the Institute. Fans believe that he learned how to navigate the world because he's you.
Deacon may be the Lone Wanderer from Fallout 3.
He already knows all about the East Coast and what horror it holds. Deacon wants to help you navigate the Commonwealth because he's already experienced. He doesn't want others to suffer like has.
6 The Courier’s Nightmare
Fallout: New Vegas begins with the Courier being violently attacked twice. They awake in Doc Mitchell's house, barely conscious. It's possible the Courier never woke up again. Having such a traumatic injury could have bad results.
Many fans believe that New Vegas is all a dream. The Courier is in a coma and is dreaming of what they would do once they woke up. It's up to the player to decide what paths the Courier would take to retrieve the Platinum Chip and find Benny.
5 No Wonder He’s Isolated
MacCready hides a lot of pain behind his sarcastic replies and stern face. His wife passed during a Ghoul attack, and his son Duncan has fallen ill. Duncan suffered from a fever along with blue skin lesions. Fans began theorizing that Duncan has contracted a highly-contagious disease. If any other human settler is exposed, they're at risk of spreading the plague. It's up to the Sole Survivor to create a cure. We never find out what happened to Duncan, but we can only hope the plague was stopped early.
4 A Connected World
Bethesda develops and publishes a wide variety of games. They are well-known for developing both Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. With so many IPs, it's not a surprise that they'd want to hide Easter eggs for their loyal fans. Gamers instantly found a Nirnroot plant on the Brotherhood of Steel's Prydwen.
Eager fans began theorizing that Fallout and Skyrim take place in the same universe.
Some believed that the connection went further. All of Bethesda's games may be connected in the same universe.
3 Don’t Judge Them By Their Looks
The Enclave were the antagonists of Fallout 2 and 3. They worked against the Chosen One and Lone Wanderer to obtain power over the wastelands. The Enclave are usually portrayed as the enemies, but fans believe the Enclave were the good guys all along.
Theorists believe that the Enclave was not trying to take over America. They were trying to establish government and the rule of law to bring peace back to the country. The Enclave's motives were twisted by their enemies.
2 Mistaken Identity
The Sole Survivor is in cryogenic slumber for two centuries. They don't exactly how much time has passed. Codsworth, their loyal Mister Handy butler, informs Nate or Nora that it may be over two centuries. The Sole Survivor doesn't care how much time has passed. They only want to recover baby Shaun. Eventually, they discover that Father, leader of the Institute, is Shaun. There's no way to prove his true identity. Shaun may be a Synth injected with the real child's memories.
1 A Trick Of Intergalactic Proportions
Aliens abduct the Lone Wanderer in the Fallout 3 expansion pack Motherhood Zeta. The sinister aliens extract information from their captives. If you review their documentation carefully, you'll learn they once obtained a U.S. Soldier. Fans believe this military personnel had the codes to launch nuclear bombs.
Theorists believe the aliens used the codes to start the Great War.
World powers blamed each other for the Great War, but aliens may have been responsible for the sinister plot all along.