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What is Fallout: A Tale of Mutation?

The year was 1997 and Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game had just been released by Interplay.

This book looks back at the entire Fallout saga, tells the story of the series’ birth, retraces its history and deciphers its mechanics.

The perfect book to discover and understand the origins of Fallout, with the saga’s genesis and the decryption of each of his episodes!

Review

FALLOUT: A TALE OF MUTATION by Erwan Lafleuriel is a book available on Kindle Unlimited that details the creation of the first four Fallout games (no real information on Fallout 76 or the series, which is a shame). This is basically a book discussing how each game came to be and some general discussion about their themes as well as world-building. It’s nothing that hardcore fans wouldn’t already be familiar with

The premise of the book is that it details the origins of Fallout as a proposed sequel to Wasteland by Tim Cain before going off and becoming its own thing. It details such stories as how Brian Fargo came up with the idea of a retrofuturistic 1950s style for the Pre-War Era, how Tim Cain got so many big name Hollywood actors to do the voice work for the bare minimum required by their unions, and how the game was a smashing success despite not being a major priority for Interplay at the time.

The book doesn’t just follow the production development of Fallout, though, but also the sequels. It moves effortlessly to the development of Fallout 2 and how the game’s story development was passed on to Chris Avellone and others who explain their reasoning for some of the game’s controversial choices. It talks about the behind-the-scenes that eventually led to the game franchise being acquired by Bethesda too.

Erwan Lafleuriel isn’t shy about his editorializing during the book, showing his clear preference for the original two games while referring to what he thinks about as plot holes in both Fallout 3 as well as Fallout 4 (especially Fallout 4). Nevertheless, he doesn’t go into pure hate either and I find that made all the difference for me in the book.

If I have any complaint about the book, it’s the fact that it’s a little light on content regarding the games themselves and the latter half of the book goes over the various factions and concepts in the series like Super Mutants. This is more of an encyclopedia entry for the setting than something than sharing the origins of the game. Still, I enjoyed the section on themes and discussing the music that have become iconic to the series both in terms of original as well as 1950s tunes.

Overall, Fallout: A Tale of Mutation is a very enjoyable book and I think fans of the franchise will very much enjoy it. Fallout is a fantastic video game franchise and the world it’s created deserves this kind of scholarly analysis. Could it have gone deeper? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth picking it up.

Available here

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