As if the real-world apocalypse going on around us wasn’t enough, you’ll soon be able to get your end-of-the-world kicks from a Fallout TV adaptation, coming to the Amazon Prime Video streaming service.
Yes, the veteran irradiated RPG game series is getting the big-budget Hollywood treatment, following in the footsteps of the recently-confirmed The Last of Us TV show.
With several game’s worth of lore to pick from, a tonally-varied universe to dive into and the potential for some epic Mad Max-like set pieces, this is certainly an announcement to be quietly excited about – especially once you factor in the production talent tied in to make the post-nuclear world a reality.
Here’s everything we know so far about Fallout on Amazon Prime.
The Fallout TV show is coming to Amazon Prime Video
In what would undoubtedly have been an E3 announcement in a normal year, Amazon Studios announced its intention to bring a Fallout adaptation to its streaming service on July 2, 2020. The announcement confirmed that Amazon has licensed Fallout and committed to making a TV show.
Amazon also revealed two significant groups tied to its development. Firstly, Bethesda Studios, the current custodians of the franchise since 2008’s Fallout 3, will be working on the adaptation. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s been spearheaded by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan through the pair’s Kilter Films production house.
They’re the team that brought the well-regarded Westworld series to life for HBO. Kilter’s Athena Wickham will be an executive producer, working alongside Bethesda figure head Todd Howard and James Altman.
"Fallout is one of the greatest game series of all time," said Joy and Nolan in a statement regarding the announcement.
"Each chapter of this insanely imaginative story has cost us countless hours we could have spent with family and friends. So we're incredibly excited to partner with Todd Howard and the rest of the brilliant lunatics at Bethesda to bring this massive, subversive, and darkly funny universe to life with Amazon Studios."
That statement should reassure long-time fans of the series – it seems Joy and Nolan will respect the fact that, while a post-apocalypse world is undoubtedly grim, the Fallout franchise shines when it finds humor tucked in among the radioactive ash.
Fallout TV show trailer: see the teaser
Amazon and Bethesda made the announcement with a teaser trailer that’ll look remarkably familiar to anyone that’s played the games before. This is all we've seen of the show so far. It's not much, but it's enough to get you excited:
#PleaseStandBy. @AmazonStudios #KilterFilms pic.twitter.com/7YmLZKIPAeJuly 2, 2020
Fallout TV show release date: expect it in 2021 or later
This announcement is obviously huge news, but the series itself is likely years away yet. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fallout doesn't have a showrunner in place right now, so we'd be surprised to see the series before 2022. It's worth bearing in mind that an effects-intensive series like this will require a long lead time before being available to watch on Amazon Prime, too.
What’s so special about Fallout?
Fallout is one of the most highly-regarded RPG properties in all of gaming. Starting life as a top-down isometric turn-based game developed by Interplay Productions back in 1997, it was applauded for moving the genre away from high-fantasy Dungeons and Dragons settings.
Seen as a spiritual successor to 1988’s Wasteland, the Fallout universe is instead set in an alternate history where the 1950’s nuclear age optimism comes to fruition, with nuclear powered cars, homes and robots all a reality.
This utopian vision is short-lived however, as the Cold War ends not with the de-escalation of hostilities, but world-destroying nuclear war. The games often pick up many years after this event, with the few survivors leaving meager, dangerous lives in an irradiated America full of mutants, bandits and Mad Max-like settlements. Others, meanwhile, emerge from cryogenic sleep to find themselves in underground vaults – once believed to be the last hope for a soon-to-be-extinct humanity.
Though the games have slowly evolved into more action-oriented 3D open world titles, they still retain a magnificent sense of place, as seen in the post-nuclear remnants of idealized visions of 1950s Americana. Despite the depressing realities of nuclear holocaust, there’s a ‘Dr Strangelove’-style absurdity to the best moments of Fallout, injections of humor that are ripe for this adaptation alongside the more harrowing, suspense-filled stories the setting immediately conjures.
Why Westworld's creators are perfect for Fallout
Nolan and Joy drew upon games as inspiration for Westworld, particularly Red Dead Redemption and BioShock, which was apparent in the rules of the park and its world-building. The idea of them making a show set in the universe of a game series makes a lot of sense to us.
Games are seeping into other media more generally, now. 1917's one-take filming technique surely wouldn't exist without games as an influence. Alex Garland's extremely game-y Annihilation with Natalie Portman presents its alien landscape, known in the film as Area X, like it's a mysterious landscape to be explored in a walking simulator or open world adventure.
Seeing the world of Fallout on the small screen is an enticing prospect in this age of extremely expensive, ambitious TV shows. We can't wait to see what the end result is, however long that takes.
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Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.