Skip to main content

Did aliens drop the first nuke in Fallout's great war? The game's co-creator reveals all

As it turns out, the little green men are seemingly innocent.

A nuke going off in Fallout 3.
Image credit: VG247/Bethesda

If you’ve ever wondered which side set off the nuke that turned the Fallout universe’s conflict between the US and China from a cold war into a very, very hot one, Tim Cain, co-creator of the original RPG, has provided an answer.

It was China.

Yup. No big revelation that the American government was actually the one to succumb to the pressures of mutually assured destruction and doom hordes of its future citizens to irradiated lives. No conspiracies involving Vault-Tec or, god forbid, the aliens that we know have been monitoring Earth in the Fallout universe for a good while thanks to Fallout 3’s Mothership Zeta DLC. Just China.

“The reason we got nuked is: bio-weapons were illegal and somehow China found out we were doing FEV (experiments),” Tim Cain, producer and co-creator of the original Fallout game, revealed in a recent interview with YouTuber TKs-Mantis (thanks, GamesRadar).

“And they were like, 'you have to stop it.' And we went, 'OK.' And all we did is move it. All we did was move it over,” Cain continued, making a thermonuclear exchange sound a bit like a minor argument between siblings.

If you’re not familiar with FEV, it first appeared in Fallout 2 and is short for Forced Evolutionary Virus, experimentation with which is responsible for the creation of many of Fallout’s iconic creatures and mutated entities, including super mutants and deathclaws.

Developed by West Tek, this bit of insidious tech was designed with the goal of producing super soldiers for the US Army, which apparently thought it didn’t have enough ammo in the form of newly developed T-51 power armour suits to earn victory in its war against the Chinese.

This conflict, which we got a taste of via simulation during Fallout 3’s Operation Anchorage DLC, was known as the Sino-American War and saw the two powers battle for control of Earth’s last remaining supplies of petroleum and uranium. Given the fact that these had been dwindling for some time, with the period of Fallout history known as the resource wars spanning from 2052 all the way up until the bombs dropped in 2077, it would seem that keeping FEV secret was just the spark that lit the fuse of an already volatile world.

Whether the nuclear apocalypse could have been avoided or at least staved off for a little while longer had the US not decided to begin trying to make big muscular lads and lasses is an interesting idea to consider.

If you're keen to get a fresh Fallout fix soon, you'll probably be glad to hear that Amazon's Fallout TV show recently got a concrete release date.

Read this next