The end of the world was both darker and more humorous than anyone could have imagined, and in the original Fallout, released for the PC in 1997, gamers got to experience the apocalyptic future firsthand. The iconic, “War, war never changes,” introduction set the somber mood, which came about, strangely enough, during an episode of The Simpsons. Tim Cain, lead programmer and producer of Fallout, explained over an email interview, “My assistant producer, Fred Hatch, brought me the opening narration lines for the next day’s VO session with Ron Perlman. They had just been finalized that day, and Fred thought they weren’t very good. I read them and had similar concerns, so,” during commercial breaks, “I wrote an alternative opening narration. I thought about how war was a constant in human history and how the weapons of war changed, but the reasons for war and the goals of war did not.” He asked Hatch to “record both sets of lines the next day, and we would decide later which one we liked more.”
That mix of pop culture, looming deadlines, Ron Perlman, atomic bombs, and insights into the abscesses of human nature is the story of Fallout.
Big thanks to Tim Cain for taking the time to talk to me about Fallout, one of my favorite RPGs, at Kotaku.