Todd Howard Wants To Keep Fallout In America, Even As Fans Look Abroad

President John Henry Eden would be proud.

Bethesda Game Studios

Like Ford Mustangs and apple pie, Fallout is all American. At least, according to the man in charge of the gaming franchise.

In a Monday interview with Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller, Bethesda Game Studios' director Todd Howard says he has little interest in seeing the Fallout series go international.

“My view is part of the Fallout shtick is on the Americana naïveté,” Howard said when asked about the possibility of seeing the post-apocalyptic series explore settings outside of the U.S. or even in the past. “For us right now, it’s okay to acknowledge some of those other areas, but our plan is to predominately keep it in the U.S.”

The Fallout series has remained in the U.S. across all of its games. The first two games take place in New California, Fallout 3 in Washington D.C., the 2010 spinoff in the titular New Vegas, and Fallout 4 in the colonial backdrop of Boston, Massachusetts. Even lesser-known games in the series, like Fallout: Tactics, embraced the series' American roots, taking place in the somewhat nebulous American Midwest.

Howard said part of the appeal of the series is not knowing the fate of the rest of the world after the bombs drop on the U.S.

“In any sort of world, I don’t feel the need to answer,” he said. “It’s okay to leave mystery or questions like ‘what is happening here.’ I think those are good things.”

Howard extended his philosophy of widening Fallout lore to the rest of the world to Bethesda’s 30-year-old fantasy franchise.

Every game in the Fallout series has taken place in the mainland U.S. According to series director Todd Howard, that won’t change anytime soon.

Bethesda Game Studios

“In Elder Scrolls, everybody wants to go to these other specific lands, and I’m known for saying the worst thing you can do to mysterious lands is remove the mystery,” Howard continued. “I’m for keeping mysterious lands mysterious.”

What Howard is getting at is something any fan of fiction can respect. One of the pitfalls of many fictional universes in media today is over-examining and overexplaining how all of its disparate parts are connected (Star Wars is a major example). Leaving fans just enough runway to engage in speculative debates, or create their own headcanon and fan fiction can be just as fun as learning about the main series.

But in the case of Fallout, Howard’s words hit particularly hard considering one of the biggest Fallout-related projects releasing this year is a fan-made expansion that will bring the series outside of the U.S. for the very first time.

Fan project Fallout: London will be the first glance at what the post-apocalypse looks like abroad in the Fallout universe.


Fallout: London, which will feature a post-apocalyptic London built from the ground up with all new quests, perks, art, voice acting and more, was sold to fans as a piece of the Fallout fiction that has been sorely missing. The expansion was supposed to be released April 23 before Bethesda’s troubled next-gen update forced the project’s delay and broke hundreds of popular mods at the worst possible time. Team FOLON, the group of volunteer developers who’ve created this super-mutant-sized expansion, has yet to announce a new release date.

Even with Howard’s decisive stance on where Fallout should take place, Team FOLON project lead Dean Carter isn’t likely to take Howard’s words to heart. He and his team have made it clear that Fallout: London is an unofficial fan project born of fan love of the series. He’s regularly defended Bethesda’s direction with the franchise.

It seems a little unfortunately that Bethesda wouldn’t want to explore other parts of the world within the Fallout universe. The “Americana shtick” as he calls it can only be fresh for so long. Assuming Fallout 5 (which we probably won’t see for a long, long time) is set in America, going beyond the U.S. in a follow-up or spin-off could be exactly what the series would need. Why not include parts of Mexico in an Arizona-based Fallout game? If we’re in Washington State or Minnesota in a future Fallout, best believe I want to see what the Canucks are up to in a post-nuclear world.

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