Prime Video’s ‘Fallout’ Absolutely Nails One Thing From the Games


Editor's Note: The following contains spoilers for 'Fallout' Season 1

The big picture

  • Action RPG com
    Negative consequence
    It's hard to adapt because of the importance of player choice.
  • Prime Video's
    Negative consequence
    The series incorporates the game's karma system through its three central characters.
  • The show depicts the characters embodying different levels of good and bad karma, displaying unique moral dilemmas.

Video games are already difficult to adapt to film and television, but action RPGs like the Negative consequence franchising is an even more difficult task. RPGs pride themselves on immersive and RPG experiences, leaving the player to choose how they approach the various challenges of these immersive worlds. Will you be a noble walker looking to make the Wasteland a better place, or will you become a sadistic monster bent on making the world worse? Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

Unless you do something like Netflix Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, player choice is virtually impossible to incorporate into an adaptation. Most would probably completely ignore details like this, but no Negative consequence. Instead, the Prime Video series finds a way to include the game franchise's karma system through the diverse personalities of its three central characters.

Negative consequence

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

Publication date
April 11, 2024

Main genre
Science fiction


Graham Wagner, Geneva Robertson-Dworet

How does the Karma system work in the 'Fallout' games?

Although it was sadly omitted from more recent entries, such as now Fallout 4most of the Negative consequence the games feature a “karma system”. The operation of the system is simple. If a player does good deeds like giving purified water to someone in need or freeing a captive from some raiders, they earn good karma. But if a player's actions are negative, such as killing an innocent civilian or stealing from a locked safe, they gain bad karma.

Everything is self-explanatory, but the level of karma deeply affects the character and the rest of the game world. Do enough good deeds and the residents of a town you've helped might reward you with new gear and resources. Do enough evil deeds and you can earn the admiration and respect of some of the game's most obscure factions. To sum up, choose to be a hero or a villain in these games, each has its fair share of benefits and consequences.

Lucy is the living embodiment of good karma in Prime Video's 'Fallout'

The first of the three main protagonists of Prime Video's Negative consequenceLucy MacLean (Ella Purnell), were taught the benefits of being kind to others at a young age. This is pretty easy when you grow up in a vault your whole life, completely protected from the many dangers of the rest of the outside world. Despite her upbeat “okie dokie” attitude, Lucy remains a more than capable fighter, putting her survival skills to use as soon as her father, Hank (Kyle MacLachlan), is kidnapped by Moldaver (Sarita Choudhury).

However, all the training in the world could not have prepared her for the horrors that lie buried in the remains of California. Over the course of several days, Lucy comes face to face with bloodthirsty aquatic mutants, a robot Mister Handy (Matt Berry) with a propensity for extracting organs and a particularly cruel and deadly Ghoul (Walton Goggins). Any of these horrors would be enough to damage even the most beautiful people, but not Lucy. Instead, he shows constant heart and compassion to whoever he can, including Ghouls on the verge of going wild, Vault Dwellers turned cultists from Vault 4, and even the Ghoul who cut off his finger. She is ready to embark on a new journey with this Ghoul, shortly after discovering that her father is responsible for crimes that any sane human would call unthinkable.

Cooper is Bad Karma incarnate in Prime Video's 'Fallout'

Walton Goggins as The Ghoul holds his arms wide with a loose gun in one hand in Prime Video's 'Fallout'
Image via Prime Video

The Ghoul formerly known as Cooper Howard may not be evil, but he's pretty darn close. His feelings of optimism likely dissipated once he learned that his wife, Barb (Frances Turner), was the mastermind behind the deaths of billions. Becoming a mutant who can never die of old age or disease and one day becoming a wild zombie is also bound to dampen someone's mood.

The moment Cooper meets Lucy in Filly, he has almost no qualms about shooting her to get to Wilzig (Michael Emerson). When he crosses paths with her again, he also has no problem with the innocent woman as bait for a Gulper. Once Lucy feeds this beast Cooper's vital drugs, the Ghoul decides to teach it a lesson in the cruelty necessary to live in the Wasteland. He basically tortures her for several episodes, and yet when Lucy gets the upper hand and escapes, she still shows compassion to Cooper by giving him the drugs he needs to keep him from going wild. The shocking moment of compassion certainly gives him something to think about, but it doesn't do much to influence his brutal personality and methods. Shortly afterwards he kills two children of a scavenger named Adam (Erik Estrada) for fear that they will try to kill him for revenge.

Maximus finds himself between good and bad karma in Prime Video's 'Fallout'Aaron Moten as Maximus in Fallout

Many players prefer to get full good karma or full bad karma, but some like to take a more nuanced and neutral approach. Essentially, this means that these types of players are driven more by what they believe makes the most practical sense than by choosing between right and wrong. maximum (Aaron Moten) represents these players.

Maximus begins Negative consequence as a much more morally complicated figure. This is somewhat justified by the continued level of abuse he constantly receives at the hands of his brothers and superiors in The Brotherhood of Steel. Arguably the most morally questionable action (or rather inaction) he commits is when he lets the knight Titus (Michael Rapaport) dies from his wounds. Titus was cruel and unworthy of his power armor, but letting him die should give Maximus some bad karma points. He also almost kills an unarmed Thaddeus (Johnny Pemberton) when he threatens to turn Maximus over.

However, Maximus begins to lean more towards the side of good karma as soon as he meets and falls in love with Lucy. His time with her shows Maximus the value of being kind to others, even when it's not the most practical choice. Returning the fusion core he stole from Vault 4 may render his power armor obsolete, but he still finds value in helping a community continue its life. When he and Lucy meet Thaddeus (who has recently become a Ghoul), Maximus gives him a chance to escape from The Brotherhood. He does this even though Thaddeus is someone who has done nothing but abuse and betray him for who knows how long, and yet, Maximus seems to have grown exponentially since then.

Negative consequence Season 1 is available to stream on Prime Video in the US

Watch on Prime Video


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