Fallout Show Erases Fan-Favorite Game From Canon?

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

fallout series

There are many things Fallout fans like to argue over. What are the best builds? Which mods are worth it? Even whether newbies should start with the first game or play a later entry. One thing the fandom mostly agrees on, however, is that the best game in the series is Fallout: New Vegas.

The new Fallout TV show teases us with a shot of Vegas at the end, but everything from how the city is depicted to a timeline of events that Lucy sees has some fans worried this fan-favorite game has been erased from continuity altogether.

Fallout: New Vegas

best fallout game fallout: new vegas

Speaking of timelines, it’s important that we go back to the beginning to explain this Fallout: New Vegas controversy.

Bethesda, the current license holder, released Fallout 3 in 2008. They then had Obsidian work on New Vegas, a game that was nominally a spinoff of Fallout 3.

However, New Vegas quickly established itself as the better game thanks in small part to the slightly improved engine and in much larger part to the story being crafted by the makers of the first two Fallout games. 

The immense popularity of Fallout: New Vegas arguably overshadowed Fallout 3, leading to a kind of gamer urban legend that Bethesda resented the spinoff’s success.

Staying True To Original Games, But Not New Vegas

That urban legend took on new life after the Fallout show came out. With a few retcons here and there, the show has mostly stayed true to the canon of the games. And certain events in the series arguably imply that the events of the New Vegas game never happened.

The first big hint that the Fallout show may be removing New Vegas from the canon comes from Lucy’s discovery that Shady Sands got nuked four years before the New Vegas game takes place.

In that game, one of the most important factions is the New California Republic.

The NCR comes from the original Fallout game and they originated in Shady Sands. Since none of the NCR members in Fallout: New Vegas mention their capital being obliterated, some fans worry the show is erasing New Vegas from its fictional record.

Changes To Las Vegas

Ironically, the second and final big hint that Fallout: New Vegas may be stripped from franchise canon is the brief glimpse of Las Vegas itself.

In the game, this area is a bustling metropolis of activity, thanks in large part to Mr. House protecting it from nukes and, later, roving raiders. Since the Vegas of the show looks like an abandoned ghost town, some fans think the show is just going to ignore the events of New Vegas altogether.

If you’re one of those fans, here’s some good news: Bethesda’s Todd Howard recently told IGN that “everything that happened in the previous games, including New Vegas, happened.”

On the topic of Shady Sands getting nuked, he said that “All I can say is we’re threading it tighter there, but the bombs fall just after the events of New Vegas.”

Some Fallout Retconning

In other words, there may be some gentle retconning of the timeline here, with Howard saying that Shady Sands is nuked right after the events of Fallout: New Vegas despite the timeline Lucy sees making it sound like that happened four years before the game.

Otherwise, the fact that the show takes place a full 15 years after New Vegas means there are plenty of potential explorations for why Vegas would look barren and abandoned. 

Mr. House Coming?

For example, going off some of the possible endings to the game, maybe the Legion took over Vegas before later being driven out.

For that matter, maybe some of the fiends in the area later made it from Outer Vegas further in, overrunning the place before being scattered.

Honestly, there’s even a chance that Mr. House did something to drive everyone away: we see him in a flashback in season one, so it’s even money (so to speak) that he will pop up in his more familiar Fallout: New Vegas form in season two.

Fallout: New Vegas Is Canon

Long story not very short? Fallout: New Vegas is still very much canon in this universe, though the timeline retcons (what is this, Doctor Who?) plus the jump forward in time make things very confusing.

Longtime fans of the franchise trying to keep track of what happened when in this Amazon show may want to paraphrase the awkward Maximus and ask Todd Howard a very pointed question: “do you want to make my clock explode now?”