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Fallout: How to play the games and watch the Amazon show in order with this handy guide

It's no Pip-Boy, but our guide to both the release and chronological order of the Fallout franchise will help guide you through nuclear post-apocalypse

Image credit: Prime Video

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How do I prepare for Fallout?

Usually, that's a question reserved for the doomsday preppers among us, but with a new Amazon Prime series based on the popular Bethesda games of the same name hitting streaming in just a few days, it's a more general quandry. And it's one we're going to answer right here, in Popverse's own guide to the correct Fallout order.

We're going to be covering the entirety of the Fallout franchise, from the first game to the new streaming show, but first, we've got to go way back, to the game that inspired the Fallout franchise, and ask...

Is Fallout based on Wasteland?

Image credit: Interplay Productions

The first Fallout game came out in 1997, but almost a decade before that, a different post-apocalyptic survival game was inspiring its soon-to-be creators. That game was Wasteland, a 1988 creation originally only available for PC, but remastered in 2020 for a new, post-Fallout audience. The Fallout franchise owes a debt of inspiration to Wasteland, which is why I've shouted it out here and included it in the following list...

How do I play/watch Fallout in release rder

Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

If you want to get into the Fallout franchise the same way longtime fans have done so, the easiest way is to play the games and then watch the show in the order that they came out. To do that, all you'd have to do is check the release date for each entry and organize them from oldest to newest, which would give you a list that looks like this:

But say you wanted to get into Fallout not based on the real-world chronology, but the chronology in the fictional universe in which it takes place. In that case, the first question you'd have to ask yourself is...

When do the Fallout games take place?

Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

For a complete list of the post-nuclear war history of the Fallout franchise, check out Popverse's guide to the Fallout timeline. For our purposes here, however, what you need to know is that the Fallout games all take place after the year 2077, during which a great thermonuclear meltdown killed off most of the human race and irradiated our planet. Once you understand that, you can begin to work through the games in the historical order in which they take place, in other words, you can understand...

How do I play/watch Fallout in chronological order

Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Leaving off Wasteland since it is not technically a part of the franchise, the rest of the Fallout games can be organized by their internal history in the following list, itemized here along with the year in which they take place:

  • 2102 - Fallout 76
  • 2161 - Fallout
  • 2197 - Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
  • 2208 - Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
  • 2241 - Fallout 2
  • 2277 - Fallout 3
  • 2281 - Fallout: New Vegas
  • 2286 - Fallout Shelter Online
  • 2287 - Fallout 4
  • 2296 - Fallout Prime Series
  • N/A - Fallout Shelter Online
  • N/A - Fallout Pinball

As you can see, two of the entries above do not have dates accompanying them; that's because both Fallout Shelter and Fallout Pinball are canonically aloof - using the settings and asthetic of the games without contributing to their story at all. Don't get me wrong - both are very much Fallout games, they just don't require linear events to play.

Paradoxically, the latest entry into the Fallout franchise fits neatly into the previously established timeline, but is not a video game at all. It's the new Fallout TV series, starring Ella Purnell, Aaron Moten, and Walton Goggins, and before you're fully prepped to stream it, you should know...

How many episodes will the Fallout TV show have?

Image credit: Amazon Prime Video

The Fallout TV series will consist of 8 hour-long episodes, which may suprise fans experienced in the sprawling, open-world games. 8 hours is hardly enough time to complete even the side missions of either Fallout 3 or Fallout 4, leading Nuka-Cola drinkers to wonder...

Will there be a Fallout Season 2?

Image credit: Amazon Prime Video

Unfortunately, there's no official word on whether or not there will be a second season of Amazon's Fallout series (to be fair, the first one hasn't even aired of this writing, so we may just need to give it some time). However, that hasn't stopped the creatives behind the series from sepculating about another chapter.

In an interview with Total Film posted to Reddit, Fallout co-writer and co-showrunner Graham Wagner toched on the mercurial nature of making entertainment in the modern landscape, saying the "art form of season finales has become: provide enough closure, but leave the door open for more."

He continues, "[...] we feel we've barely scratched the surface of the Fallout universe. We literally have documents and documents of stuff that we're, in success, eager to dig into. Our fingers are crossed that we're going to get the opportunity to do all that stuff."

Of course, Graham and the Fallout writer's room aren't the only people working on new periods of Fallout history. As we know, a fifth entry to the core Fallout games is on its way, but we have yet to learn...

How long until Fallout 5?

Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Officially, there is no release date for Fallout 5, so any thoughts on when it'll arrive is pure speculation. However, for a gaming event as important as the next Fallout, we think that a little speculation can't hurt. And the way we're going to speculate is by looking at what its producer's schedule has been in the past few years.

The most recent big-ticket game from Bethesda is Starfield, the galaxy-exploring sprawling scifi saga. That game was announced in 2018, and released in 2023, putting a full five years between reveal and release.

With this in mind, we can look and see that Fallout 5 was first confirmed in 2022, meaning that, if it requires as much time as its predecessor Starfield, Fallout 5 wouldn't be out until 2027, meaning it'll still be at least a couple years before we can answer questions such as...

In what year will Fallout 5 take place?

Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios

This is a question that even speculation can't assist us with right now. We might be tempted to say that Fallout 5 would take place after 2296, considering that's the farthest into the future the games have gone so far. However, examples like Fallout 76 skew that assumption, since that game chose not to go forward in history but back, ironically making it the earliest chronological game despite its being almost the most recent entry by release date.

For now, we'll just have to look forward to the Fallout TV series, streaming on Amazon Prime Video April 12.

Get ready to get out of your Vault and into the Fallout world - with our help, of course. Here is a guide to the Fallout timeline, how to play and watch all of Fallout, details on the Fallout cast, how the Fallout cast & crew really get the harsh humor we're looking for, as well as a Q&A with Fallout showrunners Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner.