When Does Prime Video’s ‘Fallout’ Take Place in the Video Game Timeline?


Editor’s Note: The following contains full spoilers for ‘Fallout’.

The Big Picture

  • Each
    game stands alone, making the series accessible to new fans.
  • The
    series explores original stories, respecting the rich franchise history.
  • Prime Video’s
    series takes place after
    Fallout 4
    in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles.

The world of Fallout is a harsh, cruel, and unforgiving one. It’s also a beloved video game universe that has a deep, intricate level of lore and history attached to it. Prime Video and Jonathan Nolan‘s new live-action series is taking full advantage of that by being a direct continuation of the games rather than a simple adaptation of one of them.

Despite the often-used numbered naming convention, each entry in the Fallout franchise largely exists independently of the other. A few Easter eggs and references aside, not a single game in the series requires prior knowledge from the entry that preceded it, meaning a game like Fallout 4 is just as approachable for an entry-level Fallout fan, even if they haven’t played the first game in the franchise. Telling an original story in this universe rather than being restricted to a pre-existing one gives the Fallout series free rein to explore this universe in its own way, all while respecting the iconic RPG franchise’s long and fleshed-out history.


In a future, post-apocalyptic Los Angeles brought about by nuclear decimation, citizens must live in underground bunkers to protect themselves from radiation, mutants and bandits.

Release Date
April 11, 2024

Main Genre

Lisa Joy , Jonathan Nolan

Streaming Service(s)
Prime Video


The History of ‘Fallout’ Begins with ‘The Great War’

Before the bombs fell on the United States, it was a retrofuturistic utopia with highly advanced technology. Not even that could prevent the country’s enemies from a nuclear disaster, which officially engulfed the world in 2077. Millions upon millions were killed, but others were narrowly able to avoid the blasts, some were transformed into struggling disfigured Ghouls, and then there were also the rich and affluent who found havens in Vault Tec’s Vault Shelters. While the world descended into chaos, those present in the Vaults had the closest thing they had to civilization.

Oddly enough, the first game in the series to occur chronologically in the Fallout timeline is also the most recent. The highly controversial Fallout 76, the main franchise’s one multiplayer entry, takes place in the mountains of Appalachia. Here, the residents of Vault 76 are tasked with rebuilding the desolate and abandoned world outside their humble abode, encountering all manner of unique creatures in the process. This occurs only a few decades after the Great War, with Vault 76’s initiative beginning in 2102.

The Original ‘Fallout’ and ‘Fallout 2’ Take Place in California

Enclave Power Armor in 'Fallout 2'
Image via Black Isle Studios

The two games that started it all introduced themselves to the world before Bethesda Game Studios took over the series, back when Black Isle Games were developing them. The franchise’s first game, which was 1997’s Fallout, takes place in the year 2161, where the desolate desert wastes of what used to be California is its setting. Here, a Vault Dweller from Vault 13 is sent out into the Wasteland to find a solution to the Vault’s water crisis, even encountering an incredibly radical and violent sector of Super Mutants in the process.

Fallout 2 is the closest thing the franchise has to a direct sequel, even though it takes place almost a hundred years after the prior game in 2241. Playing as the grandchild of the first game’s protagonist and set further down south in Southern California, the player finds themselves in the middle of a deadly war between the peacekeeping New California Republic and the fascist war machine that is The Enclave.

Both organizations have an impact in Prime Video’s Fallout series. It was an Enclave scientist named Dr. Wilzig (Michael Emerson) that develops the advancement in cold fusion that becomes the object of several parties’ desire in the Fallout series. The NCR appear to have either greatly reduced numbers or have been disbanded entirely, but Moldaver (Sarita Choudhury) and her companions are clearly sympathizers of that government. The show’s setting in Los Angeles marks the first time the franchise has returned to LA since Fallout 2. Plus, the town that Maximus once called home, Shady Sands, made its first appearance in Fallout 2.

‘Fallout 3’s General Premise Mimics Lucy’s Journey in the Show

A Brotherhood of Steel soldier wearing power armor in 'Fallout 3'
Image via Bethesda

The franchise made the jump to 3D in Fallout 3 – a game that dramatically changed the landscape of action RPGs forever. In the year 2277 (exactly 200 years after The Great War), a doctor known only as James (Liam Neeson) escapes Vault 101 under mysterious circumstances. You play as James’ child, who ventures out into the Wasteland to find out his father was working on a top-secret experiment to bring pure drinking water to the entirety of the Wasteland. The game’s plot certainly seems to have inspired Prime Video’s show, as it also follows a Vault Dweller (Ella Purnell) going outside the Vault for the first time to find her missing father (Kyle MacLachlan)

The ‘Fallout’ Show Officially Makes ‘Fallout: New Vegas’ Canon

An NCR Ranger standing outside New Vegas in 'Fallout: New Vegas'
Image via Bethesda

The fan-favorite Fallout game has to be Fallout: New Vegas, set four years after Fallout 3 in the year 2281. Instead of playing as a Vault Dweller, players fill the shoes of an unfortunate courier who was shot and left for dead by a ruthless gangster named Benny (Matthew Perry). Turns out, the courier was unwittingly carrying a very special poker chip that the entire Nevadan Wasteland is after, and the player’s journey takes them to the titular city of New Vegas, which appears virtually untouched by the war. Again, a pretty similar premise to that of the new series, as it seems everyone in the show is after a piece of technology created by Dr. Wilzig (Michael Emerson).

Fallout: New Vegas has been in a curious place of pseudo-canon since the game was developed by Obsidian Entertainment instead of Bethesda Game Studios. Bethesda hasn’t really acknowledged the game since its release, and it’s unclear what ending of the game is canon, but those mysteries are somewhat put to rest in Fallout‘s Season 1 finale. The ending of Fallout not only features Mr. House (Rafi Silver), a prominent character from Fallout: New Vegas, but also shows that Hank is on his way to the famous titular city.

Prime Video’s ‘Fallout’ Takes Place After ‘Fallout 4’

Finally, there’s Fallout 4, which really does feel like it takes place in a normalized and evolved Wasteland since it’s now in the year 2287. A unique entry as you play as a person who was alive before The Great War, but was cryogenically frozen after the war took place. The protagonist soon escapes the Vault they were imprisoned in and searches across Boston to find their stolen child, coming face to face with a shadowy organization called The Institute, which is responsible for creating a race of undetectable humanoid robots called Synths.

Prime Video and Jonathan Nolan’s Fallout series is officially the most recent entry into the Fallout universe’s chronology, taking place in the year 2296. This places the show after the events of all the games, taking place in a world that is still just as damaged and irradiated as it was before. If Fallout does persevere as a multi-season endeavor, then we could very well see the optimistic Lucy, the dedicated Maximus, and The Ghoul Cooper Howard (Walton Goggins) meet familiar characters or visit iconic locations that have already been well-established in the prior games.

Fallout is available to stream on Prime Video in the U.S.

Watch on Prime Video


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *