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Bethesda's Todd Howard clarifies the fate of Shady Sands in the Fallout TV show timeline

Obsidian's New Vegas very much still part of Fallout history

Bethesda's very own Mr Handy (director and executive producer) Todd Howard has addressed the controversy surrounding the Fallout TV show's treatment of Fallout backstory, reaffirming the canonicity of Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas and promising that Bethesda and Amazon are being "careful" to maintain consistency between the games and the TV series. Are you new to this latest lore scandal? Watch out for Fallout Season 1 spoilers ahead, then.

To catch you up, there's a blackboard sketch in the TV show on which some helpful, possibly now-fugitive soul has written "The fall of Shady Sands" and "2277" with a big arrow pointing to a mushroom cloud. This gives the fairly unambiguous impression that Shady Sands, capital of a wasteland faction called the New California Republic, was nuked in 2277 - several years before the events of Fallout: New Vegas, in which the NCR and Shady Sands are said to be doing fairly well. As such, it suggests that the events of Fallout: New Vegas never happened, or didn't happen as depicted in the game.

Speaking to the Ian Games Network, Howard insisted that there's no clash between the show and the events of the Fallout game series. According to Howard, Shady Sands gets nuked straight after the events of Fallout: New Vegas, not in 2277.

Here's the thing, though: Howard doesn't mention the blackboard message in his reassurance. I guess one reinterpretation of that message given Howard's comments is that "the fall of Shady Sands" merely began in 2277 - it was a slow decline that culminated with the dropping of the bombs at some point in or after 2281. Another explanation is that the blackboard date was written in error by a member of the production team, and Howard is politely not revealing this. Ah, the beauty of open-ended videogame graffiti.

Howard told IGN that the idea of nuking Shady Sands came from Fallout TV showrunners Graham Wagner and Geneva Robertson-Dworet. "And we talked through it and it was, 'This would be a pretty impactful story moment that a lot of things anchor on,"' he said. The proposed destruction of the city - which isn't just an important location in Fallout: New Vegas but one of the first surface-ground cities you'll visit in the very first Black Isle-developed Fallout game - was apparently a catalyst for Bethesda and the TV production team working together more closely, to ensure the show remained consistent with Fallout lore.

"We're careful about the timeline," Howard said. "There might be a little bit of confusion in some places. But everything that happened in the previous games, including New Vegas, happened. We're very careful about that." He added that "all I can say is we're threading it tighter there, but the bombs fall just after the events of New Vegas."

Convinced? Unconvinced? Too busy watching the show or revisiting the games or getting on with your life to care? You might be more interested to know that there's a potential Fallout announcement coming in November. Perhaps it'll be the first trailer for Fallout TV Season 2.

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