|This is an article about the game itself. For an overview of our Fallout 3-related articles, see Portal:Fallout 3.|
Fallout 3 is a post-apocalyptic computer and console action role-playing game developed and published by Bethesda Softworks as the third installment in the Fallout series and a sequel to Interplay's Fallout and Fallout 2. It was released on October 28, 2008 in North America, on October 31, 2008 in Europe and on December 4, 2008 in Japan. It is available on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
The game takes place in the year 2277 on the East Coast of what used to be the United States of America, mostly in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. The game play features include real-time combat and first or third person perspective, in contrast to the previous games, which were turn-based and isometric.
See also: Fallout 3 FAQ.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic, retro-futurist Washington, DC following the Great War between the US, China and other countries, a conventional and nuclear war that occurred on October 23, 2077 and lasted less than two hours despite causing immense damage and destruction. Before the Great War were the Resource Wars, during which the United Nations disbanded, a plague rendered the United States paranoid, and Canada was annexed.
The Player Character is a young inhabitant of Vault 101, a fallout shelter in the Washington D.C. area. The vault has reportedly been sealed for 200 years until the player's father opens the only door to the outside world and disappears without any explanation. The Vault Overseer believes that the player was involved in their father's escape, and sends the vault's security force to arrest him. This leaves the player little choice but to also escape from the vault, with the hope of locating his father and finding out why he left.
Abandoned to rust, decay, and creeping vegetation, monuments from before the Great War still stand amidst the ruins of Downtown DC: the Capitol, the Jefferson Memorial and the battered remains of the Washington Monument; this desolate area is known as Capital Wasteland. The central hub of civilization in the ruins of the former capital is Rivet City, based in and around the remains of an aircraft carrier carried far inland and beached by a catastrophic tsunami whose waters have long since receded. Other settlements include the towns of Megaton, Arefu, Tenpenny Tower and Paradise Falls. Movement between towns is done on foot through the wastes. In the Metro area, through surface streets, and where rubble blocks the streets, you can use the Washington Metro tunnels.
The Brotherhood of Steel community is stationed in the Citadel built in the ruins of the pre-War Pentagon. The mysterious Mister Burke and his employer, Allistair Tenpenny send the player on a mission of sabotage and destruction in the town of Megaton. But it is super mutants, who since emerging from their refuges have waged an unceasing war against humans to invade their territory,  and the Enclave - the self-styled inheritors of the power of the United States government - under the leadership of their new President John Henry Eden, who are the player's biggest foes in the game.
Main character creation occurs as the player experiences the character's childhood. The player decides the character's general appearance using a Gene Projection, conducted by the father before the mother dies. Afterwards, the father removes his surgeon's mask to reveal a face similar to the one chosen by the player for the character( he's Asian when you're Asian etc). As a child in the Vault, the character receives a book titled "You're SPECIAL," whereupon the player can set the character's seven primary aptitudes. The character receives training weapons and a PIP-Boy 3000 later on during childhood, and the player's performance in various tests determines the rest of the attributes. Additionally, several quests inside the Vault are able to influence the player character's relationship with his or her father. Skills and Perks are similar to those in previous games: the player chooses three Tag Skills out of 13 to be the character's specialties. Five skills have been cut out from the game (Fallout and Fallout 2 had 18 skills). First Aid and Doctor have been integrated into Medicine, Throwing and Traps have been merged into Explosives, Steal integrated into Sneak, and both Outdoorsman and Gamble have been removed completely. The maximum level the player can achieve is level 20(which is to be raised to 30 after purchase of the third DLC installment, along with the ability to continue you game after the main story missions are complete.). The Traits from the previous Fallout installments were combined with Perks in Fallout 3, and the player can choose a new Perk each time after gaining a level.
The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or VATS, is an active pause combat system implemented in the game. While using VATS, the otherwise real-time combat is paused. VATS also allows the gory deaths in the game to be shown in slow motion and great detail. Attacks in VATS cost action points, and the player can target specific body areas for attacks to inflict specific injuries. It should be noted that the player receives greatly reduced damage while using VATS, it also greatly reduces a weapons condition, forcing the player to strike a balance between using more ammo or losing guns quicker. This trade-off allows for two very different play styles throughout the game.
Another facet of game play is that firearms wear out over time of use: as a weapon degenerates, its damage is reduced and it loses accuracy. However, worn out firearms of the same type can be combined to make more reliable and powerful weapons. Weapon schematics can also be found and used to create various devices such as the Rock-it Launcher that can fire various items such as lunchboxes and stuffed animals, or the Bottlecap Mine, made out of a Vault-Tec Lunchbox, Cherry Bomb and Bottlecaps. Along with equipping various weapons, the player can also utilize different armors and clothing that may have effects that can alter various skills. For example, a pair of mechanic's coveralls may boost the player's repair skill while it is worn. Armor and clothing come in two main parts for the head and body, allowing a player to wear different combinations of hats and armor as well as masks and facial clothing which can be worn with hats. Also, a player's inventory has a specified weight limit, preventing a player from carrying too many items. Items like weapon ammo have no weight, due to the developer not wishing to bog down inventory management. Your weight limit will increase if you gain your strength SPECIAL.
The player can have a maximum party of three, consisting of himself/herself, Dogmeat, and a single NPC. In addition to having Dogmeat in your party you are able to send him out on his own to search for items such as arms and ammo, radiation medicine, and Stimpacks. Dogmeat can be killed during the game if the player misuses him or places him in a severely dangerous situations such as leading him into the Deathclaw Sanctuary and he cannot be replaced, unless you buy the Broken steel add on, in which you can choose a perk allowing you to recruit dogmeat's puppy (Puppies!), but if the player kills Dogmeat he can aquire two followers. In the PC version of the game, Dogmeat can then be resurrected via console commands and will continue with the player unaffected.
 The players party can further be extended, with several temporary quest NPCs that will stay with them until the quest related to the NPC is completed, if their quest is never completed however, many will stay permanently with the player until killed.
The Karma system is an important feature in Fallout's gameplay. A players actions, including conversation and combat choices, affects the player's status in the game world; a player who makes good decisions is received more positively by NPCs, and a player that makes bad decisions has the opposite reaction. Crimes can also be committed by a player, and whichever faction or group that is harmed by a crime are fully aware of the player's action in most cases. Other factions that were not affected by the crime will not be aware of it, and since a town is usually its own faction, news of a crime committed in one town will not spread to another. Beware however, excessive good or evil deeds will cause a bounty by the opposite alignment group. Talon Company (If you are extremely good) or the Regulators (if you've been bad) will ambush you randomly, and are not bound to any particular area, they can appear anywhere in the wastes. Factions can range in size and boundaries, however, and may not be restricted to a single area. The game world itself was planned to be significantly smaller than that of Oblivion's but is now thought to be similar in size.
Fallout 3 was initially under development by Black Isle Studios, a studio owned by Interplay Entertainment, under the working title Van Buren. Interplay Entertainment closed down Black Isle Studios before the game could be completed, and the license to develop Fallout 3 was sold for a $1,175,000 minimum guaranteed advance against royalties to Bethesda Softworks, a studio primarily known as the developer of the The Elder Scrolls series. Bethesda's Fallout 3 however, was developed from scratch, using neither Van Buren code, nor any other materials created by Black Isle Studios. In May 2007, a playable technology demo of the cancelled project was released to the public.
Bethesda stated it would be working on Fallout 3 in July 2004, but principal development did not begin until after The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was completed . Bethesda announced their intention to make Fallout 3 similar to the previous two games, focusing on non-linear game play, a good story, and true "Fallout humor." Bethesda also stated the game is targeted for a rating of M for Mature, and would have the same sort of adult themes and violence that are characteristic of the Fallout series. Fallout 3 uses a version of the same Gamebryo engine as Oblivion, and was developed by the same team.
Between May 2 and June 5, 2007 Bethesda showcased 5 pieces of concept art by Craig Mullins on the Fallout 3 website during the countdown to the teaser. The cinematic teaser trailer for Fallout 3, consisting of the first part of the intro, was released by Bethesda Softworks on June 5, 2007, after a 30 day countdown on the Fallout 3 website. On August 2, 2007, the game's website was opened.
Leonard Boyarsky, one of the creators of the original Fallout, when asked about Interplay's sale of the rights to Bethesda, said that he felt as though "our ex wife had sold our children that she had legal custody of," admitting that he feels very possessive of the series. Considerable concern was also raised by some members of the series' fan community, largely concerning major changes in game play style compared to the original games and Fallout 3's similarity to Oblivion. The reaction from the press, however, was largely positive, with many considering the shift to first person view and real time combat an update, and with most considering the similarities to Oblivion to be a good thing.
In a review from 1UP.com, Fallout 3 was praised for its open-ended gameplay and flexible character-leveling system. Its memorable setting prompted a favorable comparison to the 2007 game, BioShock. While the V.A.T.S. system was called "fun," enemy encounters were said to suffer from a lack of precision in real-time combat and little variety in enemy types. The review concluded that despite the game's shortcomings, Fallout 3 is a "hugely ambitious game that doesn't come around very often," and one would "be a fool not to play it and enjoy the hell out of it.
Sales for Fallout 3 have thus far been very high, and figures suggest that the game has outsold all previous Fallout games (including all other spin-offs) in its first week.
Fallout 3 won several awards following its showcasing at E3 2007. IGN gave it the Game of E3 2007 award, and GameSpot gave it the Best Role-Playing Game of E3 2007 award. Following the game's demonstration at E3 2008, IGN also gave it Best Overall RPG, Best Overall Console Game, and Overall Game of the Show for E3 2008. Game Critics Awards gave the game Best Role-Playing Game and Best of Show for E3 2008.
Many fans of the previous titles have pointed out some lore and plot-hole issues from the previously established universe. Many players are confident any issues can be resolved with the G.E.C.K modding kit.
On July 4, 2008, Fallout 3 was refused classification by the OFLC in Australia, thus making the game illegal for sale in the country. In order for the game to be reclassified, the offending content in the Australian version of the game would have to be removed by Bethesda Softworks and the game resubmitted to the OFLC. According the OFLC board report, the game was refused classification due to the "realistic visual representations of drugs and their delivery method (bringing) the 'science-fiction' drugs in line with 'real-world' drugs." Despite this, Australia's Fallout 3 was expected to be released on October 30th, on par with the European version, and was delivered on time with the drug-name changes. 
On September 9, 2008 Bethesda vice president of PR and marketing, Peter Hines, has described the idea of a censored Australian version of Fallout 3 as a misconception. All versions of Fallout 3 no longer include real world drug references. .", as morphine was renamed to Med-X.
Game content was edited in the German release to include less violence."
Bethesda Softworks changed the side quest "The Power of the Atom" in the Japanese version of Fallout 3 to relieve concerns about depictions of atomic detonation in inhabited areas. In non-Japanese versions, players are given the option of either defusing, ignoring, or detonating the dormant atomic bomb in the town of Megaton. In the Japanese version, the character Mr. Burke has been taken out of this side quest, making it impossible to detonate the bomb.
Also in the Japanese release, the "Fat Man" nuclear catapult weapon was renamed "Nuka Launcher," as the original name was a reference to the bomb used on Nagasaki.
On October 9th, 2008, an Xbox 360 review copy of Fallout 3 was leaked on torrents all around the world. Bethesda Softworks reacted by closing streaming videos and Youtube videos of the leaked copy. However a large amount of information was leaked, including most of the main quest.
The project is headed by executive producer Todd Howard. Other producers include Ashley Cheng, Gavin Carter and Jeff Gardiner. The lead designer is Emil Pagliarulo who previously worked on Thief games as well as the Dark Brotherhood quests in Oblivion. Lead level designer is Joel Burgess. Other leads are lead artist Istvan Pely and lead programmer Steve Meister. PR and marketing for the game is coordinated by Pete Hines.
See: Fallout 3 developers for a full list of known developers.
The collector's edition of Fallout 3 features: A Vault Boy Bobblehead, and The Art of Fallout 3 which features never before seen exclusive concept art for the game, and "The Making of Fallout 3" DVD. The entire package is contained in a Vault-Tec lunch box container.
In addition to the above products, the Survival Edition features a life-size model of the Pip-Boy wrist computer upon whose screen is a fully functional digital clock display.
The Pip-Boy is a dashing rendition of the one you use in game. However it is made from a lightweight plastic that surprised many users. Undeterred fans put the batteries into their clocks, however many found the buttons to not be functional. Others had the clock function for a time, then turn into a flashing "12:00" before never working again.
The piece is still considered valued amongst hardcore fans for the chance of having a Pip-Boy on their desk, however the quality of the construction, and its value as a collectible, has been put into question.
Bethesda Softworks has released five add-ons (Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel, Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta) for Fallout 3 between January and August 2009. The G.E.C.K., the Fallout 3 editor, was released in December 2008 for the PC version of the game.
Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt were released via retail on disc on May 26th, 2009. The retail package costs $19.99 US and includes a Vault Boy poster. The second add-on pack, set to be released in late August 2009, will feature Broken Steel and Point Lookout. According to Bethesda, these add-on packs will only be available for the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game due.
The PS3 add-ons will be available through the Playstation Store or as part of the Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition.
Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition was released on October 13, 2009 for PC, PS3, and 360; this edition includes all five add-on packs and costs $59.99 US for PS3/360 or $49.99 US for PC. Mothership Zeta will not be available in any disc version aside from the Game of the Year edition.
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