Fallout: New Vegas, with an armed character shooting at two one-wheeled robots.

When Do the Fallout Games Take Place? Answered

There are a total of ten Fallout games, from the original right up to Fallout 76. But they don’t all take place in chronological order, which is pretty confusing. So, if you’re wondering when the Fallout games take place, here’s the answer.

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When Do the Fallout Games Take Place? Answered

Fallout, a close up view of a Brotherhood of Steel knight, wearing a helmet.

Flashbacks and openings aside, all the Fallout games take place in the 22nd or 23rd century after a massive nuclear war that devastated the globe. Looking at the games’ aesthetic, you might think the war happened in the ’50s or ’60s. But while Fallout sports a retro-futuristic look, the missiles fell in the year 2077.

Here’s when each respective game takes place, in the order they were published:

Fallout – 2161

The first Fallout game has your Vault Dweller leaving the vault on the hunt for a spare water chip.

Fallout 2 – 2241

You’re not a Vault Dweller this time, but you’re still on the hunt for a piece of tech, a G.E.C.K. kit that can save your tribe.

Fallout Tactics – 2197

This squad-based shooter, which casts you as a member of the Brotherhood of Steel, is fun, but it’s generally considered non-canon.

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel – 2208

This console-only ARPG is another entry that’s considered non-canon by Bethesda and the majority of fans.

Fallout 3 – 2277

The first of Bethesda’s 3D games, Fallout 3 has you leaving your vault in pursuit of your missing father, played by none other than Liam Neeson.

Fallout: New Vegas – 2281

Sorely in need of a sequel, this is Obsidian Entertainment’s crack at the franchise, and it’s amazing. You’re a post-apocalyptic courier out for revenge against the man who shot you in the head and left you to die.

Fallout Shelter – unknown

Free-to-play but with microtransactions, Fallout Shelter is a Vault Management game that features characters from various games, so its timeline and canonicity are uncertain.

Fallout 4 – 2287

Set just ten years after Fallout 3 and taking its cues from a relatively minor side-quest, Fallout 4 tries to make you care about a digital baby you’ve known for all of two minutes.

Fallout Pinball – unknown

This game takes its cues from Fallout 4, but unless there’s an in-world pinball machine maker creating machines based on the wasteland experience, I think we can call this one non-canon.

Fallout 76 – 2102

This online-only entry raised a few eyebrows by being set just 25 years after the war. Given that Bethesda is working on the next Elder Scrolls game, it’s unlikely we’ll see Fallout 5 for a long, long time.

Related: Fallout Season 1: Who Are the Raiders?

All Fallout Games in Chronological Order

So, setting aside Fallout Shelter and Fallout Pinball, here are the Fallout games in chronological order:

  1. Fallout 76 – 2102
  2. Fallout – 2161
  3. Fallout Tactics – 2197
  4. Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel – 2208
  5. Fallout 2 – 2241
  6. Fallout 3 – 2277
  7. Fallout: New Vegas – 2281
  8. Fallout 4 – 2287

Ultimately, it’s up to you which order you play them in. I wouldn’t recommend starting with Fallout 76 because, despite the improvements it’s received since its launch, it’s still not as good as the other 3D Fallout entries and not a patch on the pre-Bethesda games.

And that’s when the Fallout games take place answered. If you’re curious as to how Amazon’s Fallout series fits into all this, here’s the lowdown.


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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.