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In the 2024 Fallout TV series (Season 1, Episode 6: "The Trap"), Lucy enters a classroom in Vault 4. Written on the board is a short history of the New California Republic, or “NCR,” a major faction in the Fallout: New Vegas video game. It suggests a grim turn of events: that a nuclear strike decimated “Shady Sands,” the NCR’s capital, in 2277. 

screenshot of the board described above

Fallout: New Vegas is set in 2281, merely four years later, and portrays the NCR not only surviving but also expanding into the Mojave Desert. They’re even preparing for a major conflict with Caesar’s Legion (a faction with a powerful military) in “New Vegas,” the post-apocalyptic Las Vegas. It’s hard to reconcile this expansion with the catastrophic loss of their capital, and the game does not mention anything about such a catastrophe befalling Shady Sands.

Does this discrepancy render Fallout: New Vegas non-canon, or is there another explanation? How does the TV series align with the game’s established lore?

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Todd Howard, the Executive Director at Bethesda Game Studios and the Game Director for Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, has shed some light on the timeline. 

He clarified that the nuclear devastation of Shady Sands occurred shortly after the events depicted in Fallout: New Vegas. This means that the cataclysmic event didn’t take place in 2277, as suggested by what was written on the board.

According to Howard, showrunners Graham Wagner and Geneva Robertson-Dworet came to him with the idea to blow up Shady Sands, something Howard says shocked him at first. But the event would serve as a catalyst for the main characters of the Fallout show and the showrunners worked with Howard and the Bethesda team to ensure it remained consistent with the games.

“And we talked through it and it was, ‘This would be a pretty impactful story moment that a lot of things anchor on,"' Howard says.

But for anyone confused about how the city could be blown up by the time the show takes place, Howard explains all the details of the timeline should line up. “We’re careful about the timeline,” he says. “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.”

“All I can say is we’re threading it tighter there, but the bombs fall just after the events of New Vegas.”

- Fallout Official Timeline Confirmed: How the Show Fits In With the Games. IGN

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