Other Adaptations Need To Follow Fallout In One Unique Way

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

I’m only halfway through Fallout, but I’m enjoying the show much more than I expected. One of the best things about the show is that it doesn’t adapt a specific story from the established game franchise, instead telling a new story in the same universe. It’s a fantastic way to adapt the franchise, and I hope other film and TV adaptations will take this approach. 

Same Themes, Same Aesthetic, New Story

Fallout follows three characters on convergent paths in the wastelands of a world devastated by nuclear wars. The three protagonists are Lucy, the vault dweller, Maximus the Brotherhood of Steel squire, and The Ghoul. The characters all end up seeking the same scientist, causing their separate journeys to become linked. 

None of the central characters or plot points are adapted from the games. Instead, it’s the setting that connects the show to the larger Fallout universe. The Vaults, Brotherhood of Steel, The Enclave, and various mutated creatures are all straight out of the games, putting the show firmly in the same continuity as the games while telling an entirely new story. It feels like the games thematically and aesthetically but treads new narrative ground.

Explores The Wider World

This type of adaptation used by Fallout avoids many of the issues I usually have with adaptations in terms of characterization and story structure. Adaptations often have to change characters to fit their plots, which can make them feel too distant from the characters I fell in love with in the source material. On the other hand, adaptations that follow the exact plot of an established story end up feeling redundant, causing me to question why they need to exist in the first place. 

Halo Did Everything Wrong

halo series trailer

One example of an adaptation that suffers because it’s too direct of an adaptation is the 2022 Halo series. The show’s version of Master Chief was very different from what fans of the game were used to, while the story felt confined by having to fit within the canon of the games. If Halo had taken the approach Fallout did and introduced a new spartan on a new planet, I would have enjoyed it much more. 

Another Great Adaptation

Of course, Fallout isn’t the only adaptation to take this approach, and it’s a method I consistently enjoy. Another of my favorite videogame adaptations is Detective Pikachu, which is set in the world of Pokemon and prominently features various monsters from the games but abandons the formulaic plot of the games to tell a compelling mystery. It doesn’t just follow an entirely original main character, but the protagonist isn’t even a Pokemon trainer, which helped make the movie feel new and interesting within a world that has existed for decades across multiple mediums. 

Hopefully Studios Will Embrace Creativity

For adaptations where the main appeal of the source material is the setting and larger universe, it’s best to abandon established characters and plotlines altogether. Obviously, properties like Mario and Spider-Man need their characters to work, but not every franchise needs to be so directly adapted. I hope the success of Fallout on Amazon will get creatives and studios to consider more original stories and characters when they’re adapting existing properties.