The Fallout series is as beloved as video games get. The action RPG franchise set in an apocalyptic wasteland has been around for more than twenty-seven years now, winning over the hearts of many players along the way. Its massive popularity earned it a TV series adaptation that's set to premiere in April of this year, and it's safe to say many fans are looking forward to it. After all, the teaser trailer for the Fallout TV series has more than sixteen million views on YouTube and counting.
The excitement is definitely real.
Best of all, it appears the video game adaptation curse has finally been broken after many years of failed movies and TV projects. That's due to recent fantastic adaptations such as The Super Mario Bros movie, The Last of Us TV series, the Grand Turismo movie, and Sonic. With a track record so impeccable as of lately, everyone's expecting the Fallout TV series to be just as good, if not more, than the videogames it is based on. But before we discuss how exactly it can achieve that, there's one question that needs to be answered first.
What makes a good Fallout game?
There are many strengths to the Fallout video game series, but its main stories aren't exactly one of them. That's not to say the leading narrative in the role-playing games is bad by any means, but they aren't quite memorable either (unless you're Fallout: New Vegas, that is). Let's take the last mainline Fallout game as an example (And no, I'm not talking about Fallout 76 since didn't feature a main quest when it was released).
In Fallout 4, players get out of the Vault that protected them from the Nuclear apocalypse and have the sole purpose of finding their lost son: Shaun. Along the way, the main character meets the world's different factions and learns there's a secret organization called the Institute that's kidnapping people and replacing them with robots.
In the last act of the game, we discover Institue is run by none other than Shaun, and have to choose whether the future of the world will be dictated by his secretive organization or by any other of the game's factions. After that important decision is made... well, the credits roll, and that's it.
Fallout 4's main story takes around 27 hours to beat, which isn't short by any means. But if you wanted to 100% complete the game and experience everything the Commonwealth has to offer, then that would take around a whopping 159 hours. Yes, you read that right. That means Fallout 4's main story only makes up for 17% of its total runtime, and the rest is available only if players take the time to deviate from the main path and... explore.
Exploration is key in Fallout
I'll never forget the feeling of walking in the Commonwealth on Fallout 4, hearing an extremely weird sound, and looking up to see a falling UFO crash somewhere on the map. After that happened, I spent one hour exploring the map until I finally found the crashed spaceship in a seemingly random forest. Once you entered the ship, you were treated to a fight with an otherwordly being and were awarded a ray gun if you were able to defeat it. To say that whole section of the game was unique would be an understatement.
Just like that example, there are a lot of amazing experiences in Fallout games that could be totally missable if players didn't take the time to explore. The franchise's best secrets and bits of lore are (usually) never present in their main quest, but rather in the open world for players to find. Characters, weapons, and interesting side stories are hidden away somewhere on the map, waiting for the most adventurous players to uncover them.
That's why Fallout 4 takes 159 hours to complete while its main story is relatively short in comparison. If you rush through any of the main quests in Fallout games and don't take the time to explore at all, have you truly played Fallout?
Will the Fallout TV series be able to adapt the open world exploration?
The direct answer is: no. The Fallout TV series won't be able to include one of the game's most iconic features, and that's a little bit worrying.
Sure, the adaptation can hold many bits of lore and showcase some of the most recognizable characters of the game. We've already seen how the Brotherhood of Steel will make an appearance, and one of the series' main characters is a Ghoul played by Walton Goggins. Many elements from the video games will definitely be there once the TV series releases, and that's great. However, if Amazon Prime hopes for its series hopes to succeed, then it has to do something no other game aside from Fallout: New Vegas has done so far: To have an exceptionally good and memorable story.
All the core pieces for an authentic Fallout narrative are present in the trailers released so far: a nuclear holocaust, a vault to protect the wealthy members of society, and a need to go beyond the vault after the dust settles to explore the post-apocalyptic world. What comes after that? Well, we'll have to wait until April 12, 2024, to figure it out. Let's just hope the series' narrative is enough to make up for the lack of open-world explorations players have come to expect of the Fallout franchise.