A scene from Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, with a smiling Vault Boy cartoon head pasted over the Umbrella Corporation's co-owner.

Fallout Basically Turned Vault-Tec Into the Umbrella Corporation

The finale of Prime Videos’ Fallout series turned Vault-Tec, the games’ largely faceless business giant, into Resident Evil‘s Umbrella Corporation. And I’m seriously conflicted about what, in the writers’ room, probably seemed like a doozy of a twist.

Recommended Videos

I don’t mean the laughably incompetent Umbrella Corporation of the games, the one where employees need a unicorn-shaped key to activate the bathroom hand dryer. I’m talking about the Umbrella Corporation of the Milla Jovovich movies because the big reveal at the end of Fallout Episode 8 is right out of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter wasn’t the worst conclusion Paul W.S. Anderson’s series could have had, even if it did sideline Shawn Roberts’ wonderful Albert Wesker in favor of Game of Thrones’ Iain Glen. It revealed that the Umbrella higher-ups had intentionally brought about the apocalypse to wipe the world clean, put themselves into cryogenic suspension, and revived a few key personnel to make sure their takeover ran smoothly. 

It’s still unclear whether Vault-Tec actually triggered the nuclear apocalypse or was beaten to it. But in Episode 8, it was absolutely prepared to drop the bomb. And the bulk of its executives are snoozing away in suspended animation while one or two keep things in order. 

Related: Fallout Season 1: Where the Prime Video Series Fits Within the Fallout Timeline, Explained

I’m not saying Fallout‘s creators intentionally ripped off Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Fans have previously suggested Vault-Tec might have been responsible. However, I’m surprised no one pointed out that Resident Evil did it first. 

Wesker from the Resident Evil movies in a Power Armor suit. This image is part of an article about how Fallout turned Vault-Tec into the Umbrella Corporation.

To give credit to the Fallout writers, it does fix one potential pothole: why would Vault-Tec build all those vaults if there was a chance they wouldn’t get to use them? And in the context of the show, it’s one hell of a gut punch for Cooper Howard. “Bud and Barb” might sound like a folk duo, but they and their as-yet-unseen boss greenlit the annihilation of billions. It also gives the show one of its most memorable and emotional scenes. 

We absolutely know what’s coming next, but it’s truly heartbreaking to see Cooper sitting there, confident that Barbara, his wife, will set her colleagues straight. You can see the light die in his eyes as she not only fails to be the voice of reason but reveals herself to be an absolute monster. Murderous ghoul or not, I wanted to reach through the screen and give Cooper a hug. 

So, why do I take issue with this plot development? Because giving Vault-Tec an implicit world-ending agenda diminishes it, as does putting names to the evil. I’ve always found faceless “evil” far more chilling, and prior to Fallout‘s finale, that’s the image I had of Vault-Tec.

There’s an expression known as Hanlon’s Razor, which states, “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” Vault-Tec didn’t have some grand master plan other than making money, which was the goal of most of its vault experiments. Instead, it was corporate greed with a side order of stupidity that molded Vault-Tec. 

The games have given us glimpses of various employees, Fallout 3‘s Dr. Braun, for example, but there’s been no one person to point the finger at. The nuclear apocalypse was down to humanity being humanity. Big business certainly played a part in that, but it wasn’t a win for Vault-Tec, who died with the rest of the world. There’s no one left to punish. 

So, as much as I love the Fallout series, part of me wants the old, faceless Vault-Tec back, stripped of major mustache-twirling. And if not? Prime Video could always give Shawn Roberts a call.

Fallout Season 1 is streaming now on Prime Video.


The Escapist is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Solo Leveling Arise Needs to Be Better About Not Wasting the Player’s Time
Read Article Magic Was Always Part of the Star Wars Universe
The Nightsister coven in Ahsoka Season 1
Read Article X-Men ’97 May Be About to Adapt the Comics’ Biggest Crossover
Professor X in X-Men '97 Season 1 and comic book artwork of Onslaught
Related Content
Read Article Solo Leveling Arise Needs to Be Better About Not Wasting the Player’s Time
Read Article Magic Was Always Part of the Star Wars Universe
The Nightsister coven in Ahsoka Season 1
Read Article X-Men ’97 May Be About to Adapt the Comics’ Biggest Crossover
Professor X in X-Men '97 Season 1 and comic book artwork of Onslaught
Author
Chris McMullen
Chris McMullen is a freelance contributor at The Escapist and has been with the site since 2020. He returned to writing about games following several career changes, with his most recent stint lasting five-plus years. He hopes that, through his writing work, he settles the karmic debt he incurred by persuading his parents to buy a Mega CD. Outside of The Escapist, Chris covers news and more for GameSpew. He's also been published at such sites as VG247, Space, and more. His tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though he'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based. At Escapist, he's covered such games as Infinite Craft, Lies of P, Starfield, and numerous other major titles.