Fallout fans can’t believe its viral ‘childkiller’ art is real

Fallout fans can’t believe its viral ‘childkiller’ art is real
Images via Bethesda

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Published 

24th May 2024 16:51

The long-running Fallout series isn't exactly one for kids. From sadistic experiments to brutal raiders, melting someone's face off with a flamethrower to being sold for slavery, there's a reason the Fallout games come slapped with adult ratings. 

There's been something of a Fallout resurgence, with Amazon's live-action series inadvertently breathing new life into the older games. Yes, we've even got a new love for Fallout 76. With 27 years of Fallout games to play, there's plenty of weird and wonderful lore out there, as well as some truly shocking ideas that never made it through.

Fallout fans can't believe Fallout 2's 'childkiller' artwork

Over on the Fallout Reddit, fan u/Suspicious_Clock_752 questioned whether artwork of Vault Boy kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach was real. For those who know their Fallout history, they'll know this was tied to the Childkiller reputation that was part of the OG Fallout and its 1998 sequel. 

Players who killed three children in the first game or two in Fallout 2 ended up with the Childkiller reputation. The eventual artwork that was used included a moustachioed Vault Boy being hounded, although Fallout 2 had intended to include the baby-kicking artwork.

One shocked gamer said, "That sh*t is an artist's intrusive thought on paper. I wouldn’t have even shown that to anyone personally," while another added, "Yes, its real. No they did not actually use it, because WOW!" Not everyone was against it, with some saying it fits Fallout's black comedy.

Someone said, "Honestly, it does fit the overall theme and aesthetic. It's the kind of dark humor that you guiltily chuckle-wince at and hope no one noticed," and another concluded, "It's hilarious to me how many great dark comedy moments and images there are in fallout and this one is the one that somehow crosses the line. There are way worse things than this." 

The sordid story of the Childkiller reputation

Fallout 2 gameplay
Click to enlarge
Image via Black Isle

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The European version of 1997's Fallout was originally banned, but after it removed children, it was allowed to be released. This is why European versions of the first two games include no kids. Considering rape was a part of Fallout 2, things have clearly changed a lot since then.

As for the strange story of the Childkiller artwork, Interplay artist Brian Menze shared the above image back in 2010 and explained what went wrong. Confirming it was the only Vault Boy artwork ever to be cut from a Fallout game, Menze admitted, "I have no idea what I was thinking. Even the designer who requested it realized it was a bad idea, so we fixed it. Looking back on it now, I can't believe I drew this."

There were urban legends about 'lost artwork’ of Vault Boy pleasuring himself, but it's never been fully confirmed. Looking back on the Childkiller artwork, we can't help but agree with Menze and ask what he was thinking. Then again, the '90s were a very different time for gaming. 

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.
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