Amazon’s Fallout series accused of 'retconning' New Vegas

Amazon’s Fallout series accused of 'retconning' New Vegas
Images via Amazon | Obsidian Entertainment

Written by 

Tom Chapman


12th Apr 2024 11:44

While it sometimes felt like we were locked in our own cruel underground experiment waiting for Amazon's Fallout series to release, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's bombastic live-action adaptation proves it's been worth the wait. Dropping its own nuke on us all, all episodes of the series debuted at once, meaning fans have been enjoying the binge. 

Being praised for more than just the performances of key actors Ella Purnell, Aaron Moten, and Walton Goggins, Fallout has brought the arid wasteland to life and has been pitched as its very own (almost) Fallout 5. Fallout is a near-perfect premiere season, but as gamers often like to point out, there are a few canon conundrums.

SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers for Amazon's live-action Fallout series ahead

Live-action Fallout accused of retconning New Vegas

Nolan, Joy, and Bethesda's Todd Howard have always made it clear that the Fallout series is supposed to be canon with the games. Set in the year 2296, the live-action Fallout takes place 219 after Bombs Drop Day and 135 years after the events of Interplay's OG Fallout. The other games slot in around this...or so we thought.

When it comes to the best Fallout game, it's all a matter of opinion. Still, many think Obsidian Entertainment's Fallout: New Vegas from 2010 is the peak of the series. It's with some disappointment that others claim Amazon's Fallout is trying to erase New Vegas from the timeline.

Alongside a mention that Goggins' Cooper Howard/The Ghoul helms from Mojave (a nod to New Vegas' locale), we know the New California Republic was once based out of Shady Sands. The NCR was a major faction in New Vegas, but by the time we get to the live-action Fallout, it's been decimated by bombings.

Things reach a head in Episodes 5 and 6 when Lucy (Purnell) and Maximus (Moten) stumble on the remains of Shady Sands. The NCR stronghold was apparently bombed 2277, which is four years before the NCR fought in the First Battle of Hoover Dam during the events of New Vegas. 

The Fallout series depicts the NCR as a scattered group that is a far cry from the army of New Vegas. As the issue spilt over online, Bethesda Design Director Emil Pagliarulo tried to clear up the confusion by posting the official timeline, but only made things worse.

Responding to Pagliarulo, one critic grumbled, "Well. The show is full of many innacuracies. So either the show isn't cannon, or the games aren't." Another added, "You guys massively disrespected New Vegas. It really shows how bitter Bethesda is on how Obisidan made a better Fallout."

One particularly vocal critic raged, "I really hate what ya'll did to this franchise. Absolutely disgusting. IMO Fallout is a trilogy, FO1, FO2, and New Vegas. Everything else is just Todd fan fiction. Bethesda never understood the setting and tone AT ALL. And it really comes off in this show."

Update April 17: Todd Howard has told IGN that the events of New Vegas are canon, telling the site, "We’re careful about the timeline. 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.”

Fallout could be heading to New Vegas in Season 2

For those who think Todd Howard is trying to scrub non-Bethesda games from the Fallout timeline, the show's final scene teases a trip to the not-so-bright lights of New Vegas in Season 2. Lucy's father Hank (Kyle MacLachlan) is seen looking out on the ruins of New Vegas, which suggests things have also gone to sh*t there.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Get exclusive news, content, and discounts sent directly to your inbox

You've joined our newsletter. Thank you!
Sorry, there has been an issue in subscribing to the newsletter.

We know New Vegas exists in some capacity thanks to the pre-war appearance of New Vegas overlord Mr. House, but canon diehards think the live-action Fallout has taken a big dump on the beloved game. There's no official word on Fallout Season 2, but with things looking positive, let's hope the series can spin the roulette wheel and satisfy those ever-disgruntled critics. 

Tom Chapman
About the author
Tom Chapman
Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.
Why trust GGRecon?

Established in 2019, we don’t just cover games - we live them. Our expert team is full of dedicated gamers, qualified journalists, and industry insiders who collectively boast decades of experience covering gaming and esports. This deep-rooted expertise allows us to provide authoritative and nuanced perspectives first-hand from a team who are playing, and researching every game covered on our website. 

Our foundation is built on a profound commitment to editorial independence, ensuring our content remains free from external influence and advertising pressures and is held to the highest level of editorial conduct, integrity, and quality. 

Every article on GGRecon comes from rigorous research, informed analysis, and a passion for gaming that resonates with our readers. We uphold these standards through a transparent editorial policy, accessible here, which governs our processes and maintains our accountability.

The Last of Us reveals a new look for Joel in first Season 2 images
The Last of Us fans explain what Season 2 needs to change from the games
The Nintendo Cinematic Universe looks like it's chasing the MCU’s success
The Last of Us critics turn on Bella Ramsey following Season 2 leaks
The Witcher fans are hilariously trolled by Liam Hemsworth’s Geralt