“One of my boring, pointless hobbies is making lists, recently these lists have been timelines,” Connor Rawlings begins a reddit post by stating.
“Thus I present perhaps the most in-depth timeline of the whole canon Fallout series.”
That’s a huge claim, but one which – somewhat incredibly – seems to be true.
Yep, that’s right: one enterprising list-maker has managed to create perhaps the most comprehensive timeline for the entire Fallout series. While there’s already plenty of information on the Fandom and Gamepedia Fallout timelines, Rawlings’ work appears to be more comprehensive than both – adding a number of new dates and locations for the franchise’s events.
If you don’t mind spoilers, see for yourself: here’s the spreadsheet.
This is about a quarter of the entire timeline.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this timeline is the sheer amount of effort involved in its creation.
“The process was super simple, and really I shouldn’t get much credit for it,” Rawlings told me over Reddit. “All I did was read through every terminal entry, note and holotape for Fallouts 3 to 76 on the Fallout wiki and occasionally cross referenced in-game and with the common wiki timeline.
“Then I typed short descriptions of everything I could find with some kind of a date into an Excel document. Full dates were obviously the best to get, but [with] some I had to deal with just month/year or even just year.
“…It’s certainly longer than the one on the wiki. Come to think of it, maybe I should have just updated that. Eh, where’s the fun in that?”
Despite Rawlings’ humility, this sounds like a lot of effort. It’s a project he’s been working on since Fallout 76 was announced back in June last year. Work was apparently off and on until the Fallout 76 roadmap was unveiled, which inspired Rawlings to complete the timeline.
The timeline is so comprehensive that the first date is ‘dinosaurs go extinct’. Guess you’ve gotta start somewhere.
This isn’t Rawlings’ first go at a games-related list: he previously attempted to chronicle everything in GTA Online. By this he means literally everything – including items, missions, vehicles, tattoos and more. He lost interest in GTA Online around the time of the Doomsday update, however, and never finished this Herculean task.
The Fallout list, meanwhile, is largely complete: although Rawlings admits he hasn’t quite read all the Fallout notes, and some of the New Vegas post game events are missing. Rawlings says he may still add information from the Fallout Bible to top up the timeline.
A question I had for Rawlings was why he hadn’t read all the terminal entries for the early Fallout games.
“In regards to Fallout 1 and 2 I’ve honestly never played them,” he explained. “Whatever I got lore-wise regarding those games came from the detailed work others have done on the wiki. I don’t really have the capacity to play them at the moment but I would like to give them a go eventually.”
I also asked Rawlings if he’d encountered any particular issues when making the timeline – but apparently differentiating between canon and non-canon was relatively simple.
“The only real issue here is Tactics which I omitted from the timeline, though I may add in later,” Rawlings told me. “The feedback I received from some commentators was useful. Asking if stuff like the Fallout Bible is still canon, which to the best of my knowledge most of it is.
“The most annoying thing was not finding dates for interesting events and parts of the lore. Take New Vegas’ DLC, for example. Outside of Honest Hearts I didn’t find one date in any add-on. I had to estimate when the destruction of the Divide happened and couldn’t get anything at all for Big MT. For such cool parts of the world to not get them in the timeline was a pain. Though don’t think Fallout 3 or 4 get away scot-free – their DLCs had almost no dates either: looking at you, the Pitt.”
To deal with branching storylines, Rawlings used his own decisions to create the timeline.
And then perhaps the most important question of all: why?
“I’m a writer and artist – world and character building is what I love to do the most. I’m fascinated by all-encompassing, deep and rich worlds. This spans from Bethesda open world games to Elite Dangerous lore to Bleach or Evangelion. If the world feels real enough to me I want to analyse it and maybe pick up some new writing skills myself.”
If you’re having a lazy weekend and fancy topping up your Fallout lore knowledge, I can definitely recommend a read of Rawlings’ timeline. I might need to pop some mentats first.