No, the Fallout TV series didn’t remove New Vegas from canon

Let’s clear something up.

If you haven’t watched the Fallout TV series on Prime Video yet, you may have heard or read something about how it goes against established franchise canon, up to the point of some claiming that Fallout: New Vegas — the 2010 entry in the series that was developed by Obsidian Entertainment — has been taken out of the story. 

None of these claims are true, and I’m going to explain why. Bear in mind that if you haven’t watched the show yet for yourself, I strongly recommend doing so — you can read my spoiler-free review of the Fallout TV series right now — and then coming back and reading this article if you’re still curious or confused.

Disclaimer

Spoilers for the Fallout TV series are contained within this article.

Why do people think Fallout: New Vegas is no longer canon?

The Fallout TV series is the latest in franchise canon. (Image credit: Prime Video)

To understand why people are upset about what they think is a huge timeline error, it’s important to understand the year that each big piece of Fallout media begins in. So, a quick recap of the Fallout timeline, with the years that each of the games (and now the TV series) are set in:

  • The atomic bombs fall everywhere — 2077
  • Fallout 76 — 2102
  • Fallout — 2161
  • Fallout Tactics — 2197
  • Fallout 2 — 2241
  • Fallout 3 — 2277
  • Fallout: New Vegas — 2281
  • Fallout 4 — 2287
  • Fallout TV series — 2296

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This timeline obviously refers to the majority of the games and show, and does not include the prologue sequence in Fallout 4 or the flashbacks in the Prime Video series, which are both set right before the bombs are dropped.

With that in mind, this misinformation is coming from how people misinterpret a scene in the Fallout TV series. In the sixth episode, protagonist Lucy finds a blackboard with some events that have been tracked by the residents of Vault 4. On this blackboard, one of the events is noted as being “The Fall of Shady Sands” in 2277, with an arrow pointing to an explosion sometime later. 

Shady Sands is the first capital of the New California Republic (NCR), a major faction in some of the games, including Fallout: New Vegas. Because some people misunderstood this blackboard to mean that Shady Sands was nuked in 2277 instead at a later point in the story but before the TV series begins, the same people assumed that it meant the events of Fallout: New Vegas couldn’t have happened.

Bethesda director confirms Fallout: New Vegas is canon

For some extra evidence, Bethesda Game Studios design director Emil Pagliarulo was directly asked on Twitter if Fallout: New Vegas was canon. His response?

“Of course it is. We’ve never suggested otherwise.”

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So, there you have it! There’s no reason to fret over issues of canon here, at least until another controversy inevitably arises. In this case, we can sum it up to misinterpretation from a few viewers being extrapolated into a major conversation point for online-bound Fallout fans. “The Fall of Shady Sands” isn’t referring to the nuclear destruction of the city at all; instead, it likely references the beginning of its rapid decline due to economic downturn, war, and/or increased turmoil amongst its citizens.

In the meantime, the Fallout franchise is having a player count resurgence right now, thanks to both the well-received TV series and the fact there’s a number of sales and promotions right now. If you’re itching to learn more about the origins of the Prime Video show, you can read my interview with Fallout TV series creator Jonathan Nolan (as well as some of the cast crew). 

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