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Fallout creator reveals his most surprising influences

Fallout creator Tim Cain explains how the post-apocalyptic series drew on plenty of varied inspirations, and it's a truly fascinating look at development.

Fallout creator Tim Cain has uploaded another great video to his YouTube channel talking about the games, books, films, and shows that influenced the creation of the RPG game‘s post-apocalyptic universe, with some really unlikely picks. If you want yet another great peek behind the curtain of the Fallout series creation, we’ve got a treat for you.

Cain is a co-creator of the original Fallout and director of the more recent space RPG The Outer Worlds, and he’s been using his new YouTube channel to talk all about game development and the history of the Fallout series.

From the true purpose of the Fallout vaults to revealing that the long-lost Fallout source code has been found, Cain keeps dropping bangers about the series, and he’s just done it again. He’s now dived into the biggest influences on the Fallout series, and it’s as interesting as you’d expect.

From the setting to the story, Cain explains which individual elements were influenced by what. There are some more general influences from games, movies, and books too, but Cain explains that there isn’t really one thing that heavily influenced the games as a whole.

“Vault-Tec was a stereotype of every greedy, poorly managed defense contractor that flourished in the United States during the Cold War and after,” Cain explains. “We just wanted to make fun of those.”

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“Sugar Bombs were based on Calvin and Hobbes,” Cain adds. “Calvin’s favorite cereal is Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs, and Sugar Bombs just had to be in the game. Nuka-Cola came from Coca-Cola as you’d expect, with Cain adding that this was when the soft drink “really contained cocaine” (I’m unsure if this is still true, to be honest, but it’s interesting nonetheless).

The general design of all the Fallout robots came from the 1956 sci-fi film Forbidden Planet, with any designs based on modern robots like the Terminator or RoboCop getting rejected. While that makes thematic sense, I’d still love to see a Terminator in the Fallout style.

Cold War-era posters, comic books, and weapons and armor all influenced the general look of Fallout as well. The iconic Power Armor came from a series of ‘50s movies as well alongside loads of the nuclear-powered technology in the game too. Even George Romero’s zombie movies played a part, as how he directed these monsters influenced what the Ghouls would end up becoming.

Fallout creator reveals his most surprising influences

Even the original book of I Am Legend (not the Will Smith movie) influenced Fallout. Before being a movie it was a 1954 novel by Richard Matheson, and it helped popularize the idea of a post-nuclear wasteland ravaged by radiation and disease, which is a massive part of the Fallout setting.

Cain says that he also read all the Hugo winners for every year during Fallout’s development (so likely up to 1996 or ‘97), which means he read around 40 sci-fi novels that are thought to be some of the best ever published. “I’m sure there are some subconscious influences that came from those books,” Cain says.

While I’m sure Cain will continue to delve into the history of Fallout on his YouTube channel, he also has already praised Bethesda – who took control of the series in the mid-2000s – for its treatment and revitalization of the series.

Apparently, the early X-COM games were “wildly influential” as well, with Ultima’s focus on making you a good person giving Cain the idea to let Fallout players be, well, bad. The classic Wasteland game also played a role, but not as strong as you might think it was.

If you’ve got Fallout on the brain now and just can’t shake it, check out all the best games like Fallout you can play right now. Otherwise, we’ve got a breakdown of all the essential Fallout New Vegas mods while you wait for the ever-elusive Fallout 5 release date to come around.