How ‘The Last of Us’ Helped Get ‘Fallout’ Made


The Big Picture

  • Fallout
    executive producer Jonathan Nolan says
    The Last of Us
    helped studios understand how it was possible to adapt this sort of game.
  • The
    series is known for its satirical take on American culture, ironic music, and quirky characters in bleak, absurd scenarios.
  • Jonathan Nolan aims for humor in the
    adaptation, inspired by games’ blend of satire, political commentary, and unique tone.

Jonathan Nolan is the man behind Fallout, the hugely anticipated video game adaptation for Prime Video, but as he’s recently revealed, another big budget post-apocalyptic thriller based on a game that came before Fallout has proven massively important when it comes to getting the project on the screen in as good a shape as possible. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in advance of Fallout’s release, Nolan admitted that when he first met to have initial discussions about adapting the game, he didn’t hold high hopes as “the bar was non-existent” when it came to quality video game-to-screen projects. While Nolan confirmed he would have loved to be the man behind the first top tier post-apocalyptic video game adaptation, The Last of Us beat them to the punch — and that was to the show’s benefit, ultimately.

I was delighted. To your point, when Todd [Howard, game developer] and I first sat down for lunch, the bar was not only not high, it was non-existent — especially in the TV space. You would have people adapting a first-person game and [a studio would be like,] “So the show is going to have a first-person point of view.” No, that’s a grammatical tick of the game, that’s not how you adapt it. It’s always nice to be the first one. But when somebody makes something as good as
The Last of Us
, it makes it easier, because suddenly everyone understands what’s possible.

Jonathan Nolan Wants ‘Fallout’ To Be As Funny As The Games

Nolan also confessed that capturing the tone of the video games would be vital when it came to ensuring it translated properly to the screen. The tone of the Fallout series is a unique blend of dark humor, post-apocalyptic seriousness, and retro-futuristic nostalgia. Set in a world devastated by nuclear war, the games explore themes of survival, society rebuilding, and the consequences of technology and war.

Despite the grim backdrop, the series is known for its satirical take on American culture and politics, particularly those of the mid-20th century, as well as its use of ironic 1950s and 1960s music that contrasts sharply with the desolate landscapes players navigate. The Fallout games mix a bleak and desolate atmosphere with moments of levity and absurdity, often through quirky characters, bizarre scenarios, and tongue-in-cheek references to pre-war life.

“You don’t want it to feel dour. But the guide was the games. When I sat down with Fallout 3, taking a break from writing, I was burned out. I had no idea what to expect,” he explained. “The sense of humour and irony and the cutting level of satire and this depiction of an Eisenhower-era America that never lost its swagger that kept lumbering forward … it just had a unique tone. It’s political. It has a crazy point of view, and it’s crazy violent.”

Prime Video debuts all episodes from Season 1 of Fallout on April 11.


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

Geneva Robertson-Dworet

Watch on Prime Video


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