Image Source: Prime Video

Don’t Worry, the Fallout Show Didn’t Actually Retcon New Vegas

If there’s one thing that video game fans absolutely can’t stand, it’s the retconning of a past beloved entry in their favorite series. Prime Video’s Fallout TV adaptation is out now, and one scene in particular has caused quite a stir.

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About partway through the first season, we learn that Shady Sands was bombed to death by Vault-Tec. For the uninitiated, Shady Sands served as the capital of the New California Republic. It was first shown off in the very first video game, and again, in the beloved entry Fallout: New Vegas. To see it completely destroyed in the TV adaptation was almost certainly a shock for fans, leading some to wonder if Bethesda had actually retconned the previous games.

The good new is that, no, Bethesda did not retcon Fallout: New Vegas. In fact, Bethesda and the showrunners have worked hard to make sure that everything fits neatly within the Fallout timeline, especially since the show is considered canon. In an interview with IGN, Bethesda’s Todd Howard stated that the team wanted the bombing of Shady Sands to serve as the catalyst event that would kick off the story of season 1, and that they would work to make it consistent with the timeline.

But for anyone confused about how the city could be blown up by the time the show takes place, Howard explains all the details of the timeline should line up. “We’re careful about the timeline,” he says. “There might be a little bit of confusion in some places. But everything that happened in the previous games, including New Vegas, happened. We’re very careful about that.”
“All I can say is we’re threading it tighter there, but the bombs fall just after the events of New Vegas.”

Source: IGN

Timeline-wise, it makes sense. The very first Fallout game is set in 2161, New Vegas is set in 2281, and the show itself is the latest entry in the timeline, being set in 2296. The timeline is pretty tight, but everything lines up. It’s entirely possible, and even plausible for Shady Sands to have been destroyed during the 15-year gap.

So there you have it. The show did not, in fact, retcon the first game or New Vegas. The events that happened in those games absolutely happened, and who knows how things will progress from here?


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Author
Zhiqing Wan
Zhiqing is a History undergrad from the National University of Singapore. She started playing video games in 1996 when her dad introduced her to Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, and Resident Evil -- and the rest, as they say, is history. When she's not obsessing over Elden Ring and Dark Souls lore theories, you can find her singing along loudly and badly to Taylor Swift's latest bops. Formerly the Reviews Editor at Twinfinite, she joined the Escapist team in 2024. You can reach her at [email protected].