Todd Howard says the Fallout show was so fanatical about detail that 'We were sharing the files right from the games and they were 3D printing things'

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 04: Executive Producer Todd Howard attends the UK Special Screening of "Fallout" presented by Amazon MGM Studios & Prime Video at White City Television Centre on April 04, 2024 in London, England. "Fallout" is launching exclusively on Prime Video on 11th April 2024.
(Image credit: Kate Green/Getty Images for Amazon MGM Studios and Prime Video)

Say what you like about Bethesda (and I will), but it's a studio that's great at detail. Both Tamriel and the Wasteland overflow with gewgaws and knick-knacks that add life and colour to their respective worlds, alongside all the obligatory skeletons on toilets. Imagine, then, just how detailed the sets of the Fallout show had to be to surprise ol' Todd Howard himself.

In a chat with Kinda Funny, ​​Howard said that the experience of visiting the set for Amazon's Fallout was "surreal," noting that he "thought there'd be more movie magic, like, 'Eh, they're gonna fake a lot of stuff, a lot of it's gonna be CG,'" before coming face-to-face with the show's Vaults.

"You step in and they've built this two-story Vault, and the lights are all—they're not fake lights… it's incredible attention to detail." Howard says Fallout's production designer Howard Cummings was "meticulous about translating every little thing," to the point that Bethesda was "sharing the files right from the games and they were 3D printing things." The set designers even had to apologise when they couldn't replicate the scale of a hallway one-to-one from the games.

Howard says his favourite example of the show's fanatical obsession with detail (one he's chatted about before) comes from visiting a Vault Overseer's office. "You sit down and they have all the papers, and they have this note that no one will ever see that's, like, to the Overseer that they had written." Even the paperwork was in order: "You have the stack of papers and you flip it over and they have the power report in the Vault and then, like, the food supply. I'm like, 'You didn't even fake the stack of papers!'"

The detail stretched out beyond the Vault, too. Howard says the Wasteland dentist's office was full of grisly tokens like "the most realistic, gross-looking teeth" in a bucket of assorted odds and ends that probably won't ever be noticed by the audience at home.

The attention to detail is something that the Fallout cast have called out, too. In an interview with GamesRadar, Ella Purnell (who plays protagonist Lucy MacLean) noted that stuff like completed paperwork "allows you to be better at your job because you’re reacting in real time. You’re able to improvise a little" using the detailed props that surround actors in their scenes.

All of which just makes me like the show even more than I already did. And hey, credit to Howard, he doesn't take the show's respect for Fallout as a compliment to himself personally. Howard says he's a "caretaker" for the series, and shouted out the "400 people" currently at Bethesda who help make the games as well as "the developers from the past: Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, all of them at Interplay over the days," and, yes, "the folks at Obsidian," too. I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to think Bethesda doesn't hate Obsidian and New Vegas after all.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.

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