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Bethesda developer responds, as Fallout fans say TV show contradicts canon

Episode six spoilers within.

Kyle MacLachlan as Vault 33's Overseer in Fallout.
Image credit: Amazon

Fallout fans are scratching their heads over a plot point mentioned in the new hit TV show's sixth episode - which some say contradicts the game series' established lore.

Bethesda director Todd Howard has previously said the Fallout TV show is canon - and set after the events of the games released so far so as not to interfere.

But the TV show's sixth episode includes a set date for something that happened previously which gets in the way of all that. One final spoiler warning: details of what that is lie below.

Delving into the world of Fallout featurette.Watch on YouTube

As seen in the Fallout TV show's trailer, released several weeks' back, the New California Republic (NCR) capital Shady Sands has been destroyed in a nuclear blast.

The show's sixth episode dates this event to 2277 - which fans say contradicts the capital being referenced in subsequent games, and what we know of what the NCR forces were up to at the time (fighting the First Battle of Hoover Dam against Caesar's Legion, according to Fallout: New Vegas).

Writing on social media platform X, Bethesda studio design director Emil Pagliarulo clarified the exact timeline for the Fallout universe, with the Fallout TV show set in 2296. But this only serves to highlight the contradiction over the NCR further - as New Vegas is placed in 2281, referencing Sandy Shores some four years after the TV series says it was nuked.

While Pagliarulo's inclusion of New Vegas implies Bethesda does indeed see the events of that game - developed by Obsidian, rather than internally at Bethesda - as another part of the canon, fans see this date error otherwise.

"New Vegas isn't canon, thanks to the show," one fan wrote, replying to Pagliarulo.

"The events of New Vegas takes place in 2281 where Shady Sands is doing just fine. Isn't this a major retcon?" wrote another.

Bethesda previously paid homage to how Fallout had "traded hands" over the years, while confirming the TV series was viewed within the company as canon.

"We view what's happening in the show as canon," Howard told Vanity Fair. "That's what's great, when someone else looks at your work and then translates it in some fashion."

"It's a new story that comes, sort of, after the events we've seen in the games," co-showrunner Graham Wagner told GamesRadar. "The show is built on like 25 years of creativity and thinking and building... It's traded hands, it's changed, it's been altered, and it's a living thing. And yeah, we kind of felt like we ought to take a swing at trying to build a new piece on top of all of that."

"The creators of Westworld tackle one of gaming's foremost franchises in the new Prime Video streaming series," Graeme Virtue wrote in Eurogamer's spoiler-free Fallout TV series review, dubbing it a "wild Wasteland safari where naive optimism meets gory mayhem".

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