From its more low-key beginnings in the 1990s, to its status as a major blockbuster of gaming, the Fallout series is one of the most popular and well-liked out there. Whether it’s the storytelling, the freedom of choice, or the idea of adventuring in an alternate future, there’s no denying its popularity and acclaim. While it was a PC hit and favorite early on, it wasn’t until release of Fallout 3 that the series took off and became the immense phenomenon it is today.
Still, under the guise of fun gameplay and quirky characters, there are dark truths and circumstances that surround the wasteland. In fact, one might say that the world of Fallout is entirely dark and problematic, with next to no real positives. This is, after all, a series where something like a happy-go-lucky Vault Boy is juxtaposed with extreme violence. This list details a variety of moments in the Fallout series that, even by its own standards, are pretty stark and heinous. Some of these entries are bad enough that many fans and critics have cited them as examples of just how far this series will go.
We hope you’ve stocked up on stimpeks and extra Nuka-Cola, because you’re about to come face-to-face with 15 Times The Fallout Games Went Way Too Far.
15 Blowing up Megaton
One of the most note-worthy and (in)famous quests from the series, Fallout 3’s “The Power of the Atom” is a quest that allows you the chance to detonate an atomic bomb that rests in the center of Megaton, a sheltered town located not too far from Vault 101. A certain Mr. Burke will state that the destruction of the town is requested by his employer and that they’d very much appreciate the help of getting rid of the town.
If you decide to go along with the plan, you rig the bomb, go see Burke and his employer at Tenpenny Tower, and detonate from afar. However, you can also just disarm the bomb and kill Burke for positive Karma. Your call!
14 Betraying friends and family
The prospect of leaving your home, going on an adventure, and then coming back to your home for the sole purpose of destroying it is unusual, to say the least. At worst, it’s a pretty terrible thing to do, but it’s something the series has allowed the player the option of doing.
This option is most notable in the first Fallout, where one of the game’s ending options involves the Vault Dweller selling out Vault 13 to the Master (the first game's main antagonist), which results in a sad and disturbing ending where super mutants (along with possibly yourself, in supermutant form) slaying everyone in the vault. For those who aren’t traditionally of the vault, New Vegas allows the Courier to betray the town you start out in by siding with the raiders.
13 The Institute
While you can first hear about them in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, it isn’t until Fallout 4 that the player is able to directly get involved with the Institute, which was founded in the Commonwealth after deciding that helping the wasteland rebuild itself wasn’t worth the trouble. Instead, the Institute sheltered themselves underground, developing tech that they felt would better the world.
Their major contribution may be the creation of synths, which really just made things more problematic on the surface. The Institute doesn’t seem to care much for people’s (or synth's) rights, since they’re known to use synths to kidnap people and even replace them. As a result, they have a reputation for essentially being the boogeymen of the Commonwealth, and synths are seen with much scorn and paranoia.
Killing children is pretty awful, but what about selling children? Or selling any human, no matter their age? While a step below outright murder, being able to sell human beings is still heinous. But slavery managed to persist in the wasteland, even if many places had it outlawed.
Each series in the game features some amount of it, with Fallout 2 allowing you sell a spouse and even join a gang of slavers (which negatively impacts your Karma and likability). Fallout 3 allows you to take quests from slavers, sell people as slaves, and even buy your own slave to be your bodyguard. Caesar’s Legion from New Vegas exists as a major slaving company and enslaves its enemies whom they’d rather not kill. As for Fallout 4, they can be most notably found in the Nuka-World DLC.
11 FO2's Myron can take advantage of you
Myron is a teenage genius and the inventor of the addictive drug jet. He works for the Mordino’s family in New Reno, is extremely arrogant, and an absolute creep if know how to see that side of him.
Fallout 2’s graphics no doubt help enhance the horrifying look this sicko gives you when he’s able to manipulate you into taking a spiked drink and being assaulted. The Chosen One must be female and have low endurance or intelligence to even be fooled into being offered said drink, but all the same, this kid is able to commit the act, and the option being out there is bad enough.
Alternately, you can have him not do this, recruit him as a companion, or kill him in a non-direct way (which will result in bad Karma). In the canon end, though, he dies a forgettable death.
10 Going after synths
While robots are nothing new in the world of Fallout, Fallout 4 most prominently features synths, who are the most advanced form of android around. They can look just like humans, act just like humans, and can easily be confused for humans, which can result in some very uncomfortable moments and moral dilemmas.
4 features a group of rebels known as the Railroad, who are the self-described “only friends” of the synths, as freeing synths and protecting them is their main goal. Considering how hated synths are, it’s nice there’s a group that wants to protect them. Even so, the Sole Survivor is able to shut them down, and in joining either the Brotherhood of Steel or the Institute, can hunt down the synths and systematically take them out of commission.
There’s plenty of ways to keep yourself well-fed in the wasteland, but have you ever considered just eating people?
Fallout 3, New Vegas, and Fallout 4 allow the player the option to become a people-eater, which allows them to consume any human and non-feral ghoul corpse. The main thing this ability gives you is health, but it also gives you rads and each corpse you eat brings down your karma. So make no mistake, the game thinks you’re less-than-good if you decide to go this route. Your companions will also react negatively if they witness you committing the act in their presence.
Additionally, 4 classifies this as an addiction in Survival mode, and can be cured by a doctor or a variety of consumables.
8 You can indirectly end innocent people
While directly killing a person is pretty bad, indirectly killing someone can also be a pretty horrifying thing. It’s arguable that indirectly resulting in someone’s death is worse, especially when you never intended it. Of course, if you do it on purpose, it may as well be direct.
Still, there are moments in the world of Fallout where the player can indirectly decide the fates of certain characters. Fallout 3 has Mister Lopez, who considers suicide each day until you convince him or otherwise… or call him pathetic and see him fall to his death. Fallout 4 has character Austin Engill, who needs a medicine to cure him of a molerat disease, which you could just use on yourself, in case you get infected and would rather see this kid die than have to deal with perpetual HP decreases.
On the surface, Vault-Tec seem like pretty good guys, with cool technology to boot. They’re the inventors of those handy vaults that tend of show up throughout the series, including the very first game. The US government commissioned them to make a specific amount of vaults in the event of a nuclear threat that’d kill everyone, thus also making them responsible for saving many from nuclear annihilation.
However, Vault-Tec (in conjunction with the government) didn’t make saving people their primary goal. No, they mostly saw the vaults as opportunities to collect data and conduct experiments on those trapped inside. Some of these experiments included cloning, releasing a disease, creating super soldiers, and so on.
Very few vaults were made with the intention to just house people indefinitely, and many of these vaults were poorly constructed and stocked as it were.
6 You can wear a mask made of ghoul skin
What’s more sick than wearing human flesh on your own body? Please don’t answer that.
There’s a lot of bad people and sorry situations in the wasteland, and the ghouls are notable for getting the short end of the post-apocalyptic stick. Marginalized, hated, and feared by many regular humans, ghouls are the result of prolonged radiation and themselves have prolonged lifespans.
Fallout 3 allows the player the option of wearing a ghoul mask, which can fool feral ghouls into thinking you’re one of them. It serves an understandable purpose, but also makes you look ghastly and is not something you want to wear all the time, unless you just want to - in which case you’ll also receive damage resistance of 3 when you’re not making new friends with feral ghouls.
5 "Iguana meat"
In the first Fallout, the Vault Dweller can come across a man named Bob Frazier in the Hub. Bob has a stand that sells iguana bits and iguanas-on-a-stick, and they seem to be quite popular.
However, it turns out these “iguanas” are actually human flesh. You discover this by visiting a man named Doc Morbid in Junktown; he won’t outright let it slip, but visit his basement and a man of small stature will gladly tell you they’re hacking bodies to send them to Iguana Bob. You can then confront Bob and blackmail him into getting a chunk of the profits.
Alternately, if you’d rather not be a rich-but-evil person, you can kill Morbid and his bodyguards— you will lose no Karma for doing so.
4 Strange meat
In Fallout 3, there exists a very small town called Andale, featuring friendly families and “strange meat,” which can restore your health but also give you some radiation. This is all well and good, but one of the town’s residents— Old Man Harris— begs you to leave the town and never come back. It might seem strange, considering how nice everyone and everything appears to be, but if you look into his crazy claims, the truth comes out.
It can take max lockpicking skill, or pickpocketing the right people, but the Lone Wanderer is able to break into the basement of one of the families and discover that— surprise— everyone in town is a cannibal, and that “strange meat” is actually human meat. From this point, it’s up to the player on whether to keep the secret or do the wasteland a civil service.
3 The Enclave
Any organization that considers itself the “right” one among many is probably asking for trouble. In a wasteland as vast as Fallout’s, the Enclave stands out for a few reasons.
Starting from the beginning, they were made up by former US government folk, along with those who worked and had influence with the government before the war. After the bombs fell, the Enclave decided to let everyone know they were in charge, and even though they didn’t have many members when compared to other factions, they had technology advanced enough to challenge anyone who stood against them.
Existing as classic examples of isolationists, they viewed anyone who wasn’t them (read: anyone not part of the Enclave) as fair game to exterminate. For the Enclave, the only pure and rightful people in this world gone mad were them.
2 The team originally had a strange picture for one of their perks
The Fallout series, as its early games can prove, has always been willing to go where other visual mediums, let alone games, would never go. It’s wild enough to make a game where you can essentially choose your own objectives and receive multiple endings, but this series has always managed to take it a step or two further.
They originally allowed you to harm some of the younger members of society, but they at least paired that with an image of you being chased by an unseen mob. However, there was a perk image that went unused, which depicts the Vault Boy kicking the stomach of a pregnant woman (whose shirt says “BABY” with an arrow pointing down to the stomach).
Illustrator Brian Menze has said that it was the only Vault Boy image to be cut from Fallout 2. He wasn’t sure how you could draw an image for a perk this and not have it be offensive. “Looking back on it now,” said Menze “I can’t believe I drew this.”
1 FO3’s “Nice Day for a Right Wedding”
We’d like to preface this entry by stating that, if you do this quest correctly, you will receive positive Karma.
In Rivet City, there’s a girl named Angela Staley and a priest-to-be named Diego. Angela loves Diego, but Diego is dedicated to the church. Angela asks the Lone Wanderer for ant queen pheromones as a way to seduce Diego; if you comply, Diego will decide marrying Angela is a better idea than being married to the church, culminating in a marriage ceremony.
Doing all this is morally and ethically questionable at best, but it can go down differently. You can lie to Father Clifford, telling him that Diego is sleeping with Angela, thus expelling him from the church. Additionally, you can convince Diego to stick with the church.
Are there any other times that Fallout took things too far? Let us know in the comments!