In Fallout 4, scientific accuracy occasionally takes a back seat to creative exploration, resulting in fascinating and sometimes scientifically questionable concepts. This article takes a look at the exploration of the Fallout series and delves into the intriguing departures from scientific norms. From peculiar mutations to improbable technologies, the scientific quirks that define the Fallout universe add to the unique allure of Fallout.

8 Instantaneous Mutation

Image from Falllout 4 showing a close-up of a ghoul at The Slog settlement.

The concept of rapid and extensive mutations is a prevalent theme in Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic USA. The player encounters instances where exposure to radiation leads to immediate and dramatic physical changes in organisms. For instance, ghoulification occurs when individuals are exposed to high levels of radiation, resulting in their skin deteriorating, their features becoming distorted, and their lifespan greatly extended.

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However, in reality, genetic mutations caused by radiation occur over extended periods and affect offspring rather than manifesting instantaneously in individuals. Fallout's portrayal of instantaneous mutations disregards the gradual nature of genetic changes and presents a scientifically inaccurate representation of the effects of radiation on living organisms.

7 Superhuman Strength

Fallout 4 Inventory

The portrayal of characters possessing superhuman strength in the Fallout games is frequently exaggerated, the player can witness this in action when their character effortlessly wields and swings heavy weapons like mini-guns or sledgehammers, performs melee attacks that can instantly incapacitate enemies, or carries an excessive amount of weight without any hindrance.

This level of strength goes beyond what is realistically possible for a regular human being, defying the limits of human anatomy and physiology. While it adds to the gameplay experience, it deviates from scientific accuracy and challenges the laws of physics. While this can easily be put down to video game logic, some features such as a fixed weight for becoming over-encumbered can move into the ludicrous.

6 Food and Water Contamination

Fallout 4 Food

While Fallout does address the concept of food and water contamination, it oversimplifies the potential health risks associated with consuming such items. In the game, certain items carry the risk of radiation exposure. However, the detrimental effects on the player character are often limited to increasing radiation levels, resulting in minor penalties such as decreased health or slightly increased radiation sickness.

In reality, consuming highly contaminated food or water would pose far greater dangers, including severe radiation sickness, organ damage, and even death. Fallout fails to capture the full extent of these health hazards, downplaying the severity of consuming contaminated substances in a post-apocalyptic setting. For instance, players can freely consume items like highly irradiated “Salisbury Steak" or "Toxic Gulp," which would likely have more severe consequences if consumed in real life.

5 RadAway

RadAway, a common medical item in the Fallout series, inaccurately presents a simple solution to radiation sickness. In reality, there is no instant cure for radiation exposure. In the games, RadAway is consumed to rapidly reduce radiation levels without consequences or long-term effects. This unrealistic depiction ignores the complexities and hazards of radiation.

Players can use RadAway to quickly lower radiation levels. Such portrayal oversimplifies the challenges of proper radiation treatment, which involve extensive procedures and medical care. While RadAway serves gameplay purposes, its portrayal provides a misleading understanding of radiation management.

4 Energy Weaponry

Fallout 76 Plasma Cutter Crusader Pistol Daily Ops Weapons

The depiction of energy weaponry in the Fallout universe takes some liberties with scientific principles. These weapons, such as laser rifles and plasma guns, introduce a level of technological advancement that goes beyond our current understanding. In the game, players are able to wield these futuristic weapons with ease.

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For example, the player can effortlessly blast enemies with a laser rifle, without concern for power consumption, heat dissipation, or energy conversion efficiency. There is a simplification and hand-waving of the complexities involved in harnessing and utilizing energy, which is fair considering that the series harks back to the optimistic and clean science of the science fiction of the 50s, however it still makes the player questions how these energies are managed in such a wasted and socially crumbling world.

3 Cryogenics

Fallout, vault inhabitant dead after cryogenic freezing

Cryogenic technology involves the preservation of living organisms at extremely low temperatures, typically achieved using liquid nitrogen. However, in the game, players encounter cryogenically preserved individuals who have survived for centuries without any apparent deterioration or cell damage.

This contradicts our understanding of the limitations and challenges associated with long-term cryogenic preservation. For instance, the player in Fallout 4 is perfectly preserved in a vault for hundreds of years and thaws out with few complications or adverse effects. Such a depiction oversimplifies the complexities and risks involved in cryogenics, making it scientifically inaccurate.

2 Mutated Wildlife


One of the defining features of the Fallout universe is the presence of mutated wildlife roaming the post-apocalyptic wasteland. While the idea of mutated creatures adds to the game's atmosphere, it deviates from scientific accuracy. The mutations observed in the game, such as oversized insects, two-headed animals, and grotesque variations of common species, occur at an accelerated rate and defy the principles of genetic mutation. In reality, mutations happen gradually over long periods and are often detrimental or non-functional.

The game depicts creatures like Radscorpions and Brahmin, which exhibit improbable physical traits and behavior. For instance, Radscorpions possess giant stingers and grow to sizes far beyond their pre-war counterparts. These exaggerated mutations overlook the biological limitations and unlikely scenarios required for such dramatic changes to occur within a few hundred years.

1 Underground Structures

A vault door in Fallout

Players often encounter underground structures such as vaults throughout every game in the Fallout series, these were meant to safeguard humanity after a nuclear catastrophe. However, these structures deviate from scientific accuracy. The vaults' construction and functionality raise doubts, as sustaining advanced systems and resources underground would be arduous to almost impossible for long lengths of time in a post-apocalyptic world. Vault dwellers are often never exposed to the society outside the world, yet managed to survive for hundreds of years.

Furthermore, the inclusion of unethical experiments by Vault-Tec undermines scientific credibility. Vault 101, for example, isolated its inhabitants for generations, neglecting the profound psychological and social consequences until centuries after the war had ended.

The Fallout series is available in many forms across most platforms now.

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