Fallout is a series of computer role-playing game (CRPGs) published by Interplay and later by Bethesda Softworks. Although set in and after the 22nd and 23rd century, its retrofuturistic story and artwork are influenced by the post-war culture of 1950s America, and its combination of hope for the promises of technology and lurking fear of nuclear annihilation. The series is sometimes considered to be an unofficial sequel to Wasteland , but it could not use that title as Electronic Arts held the rights to it, and, except for minor references, the games are set in separate universes.
The first two titles in the series (Fallout and Fallout 2) were developed by Black Isle Studios. Micro Forté and 14 Degrees East's Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel of 2001 was a tactical role-playing game . In 2004, Interplay closed Black Isle Studios, and continued to produce an action game with RPG elements for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel without Black Isle Studios. A third entry in the main series, Fallout 3, was released in 2008 by Bethesda Softworks. Fallout: New Vegas was developed by Obsidian Entertainment with many former Black Isle employees who created Fallout and Fallout 2.
Bethesda Softworks now owns the rights to make all Fallout games, and has conditionally licensed the rights to make a massively multiplayer online role-playing game version of Fallout to Interplay. Interplay's rights to developing and publishing Fallout Online have been the subject of a legal dispute between Bethesda Softworks, the current owner of the Fallout franchise, and Interplay. The current legal status of the game is unknown however it is in active development, with a projected release date of 2012.
The background story of Fallout (the first of the series) involves a United States alternate history scenario which diverges from reality following World War II. The transistor was invented just before the Great War (the nuclear war that creates the post-apocalyptic setting), while vacuum tube and atomic physics became the cornerstones to scientific progress, eventually achieving the technological aspirations of the early Atomic Age and locking society into a 1950s cultural stasis. Thus, in this alternative "Golden Age", a bizarre socio-technological status quo emerges, in which advanced robot, nuclear-powered cars, directed-energy weapon and other futuristic technologies are seen alongside 1950s-era computers, telephones and typewriters, and the aesthetics and Cold War paranoia of the 1950s continue to dominate the American lifestyle well into the 21st century.
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