The Fallout universe has a lengthy alternate history timeline, spanning from roughly the 1950s and into the year 2287, where the events of Fallout 4 begin to take place. That's more than three hundred years of lore packed into the series, with more than two hundred of them taking place after the nuclear exchange that reduced the United States into the wasteland that we know and love.
Fallout 3, in particular, begins in the year 2277, meaning that between the adventures of the Lone Wanderer and the emergence of the Sole Survivor, ten long years have come and gone. A lot can happen in the span of ten years, but given the lack of conventional news sources and infrastructure, survivors mostly have to take it upon themselves to fill in the blanks. For those that are too busy surviving super mutants and radiation poisoning to do their own investigative journalism, Game Rant is here to help. Here are ten big things that occurred between the conclusion of Fallout 3 and the beginning of Fallout 4.
10 Sarah Lyons Is Killed In Battle
The acting Elder of the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, Owyn Lyons, dies of natural causes after the events of Fallout 3 draw to a close. His mantle is taken up by his daughter, Sarah Lyons, the tough-as-nails leader of the Lyons' Pride squadron and stalwart ally to the Lone Wanderer.
Her tenure as Elder is short-lived, however. As documented on the Prydwen terminal in Fallout 4, Sarah Lyons is killed in battle shortly thereafter, plunging the Brotherhood's easternmost chapter into a lengthy bout of mismanagement. The further circumstances of her death aren't elaborated on, but the Brotherhood certainly lost one of their best with her.
9 The East Coast Brotherhood Elects A 16-Year-Old As Elder
After losing both Owyn and Sarah Lyons' in succession, the East Coast Brotherhood cycled through a series of ineffective leaders that failed to uphold their legacies as talented commanders. That is until Arthur Maxson displayed incredible diplomatic and tactical prowess, and as such, was promoted into the position.
Arthur Maxson was only sixteen at the time of his promotion to Elder, which was unheard of within the history of the Brotherhood of Steel. However, they seem to be much better off for it. His ideology might be extreme, but he has definitely driven the East Coast Brotherhood to new heights. Quite literally, looking at the Prydwen.
8 A Certain Courier Tries To Deliver A Certain Package
Really, the entirety of the events occurring over the course of New Vegas fit between the timelines of Fallout 3 and Fallout 4. However, given that there isn't a confirmed canon ending for New Vegas as of yet, a lot of the specifics are left up to speculation.
To keep it in a nutshell, players can take a few things away from this, at the very least. The Courier got kicked in the head, and a great, decisive battle took place at Hoover Dam. It's peculiar, and perhaps telling, that little news of the NCR has reached the Commonwealth after so many years, but that might've been purposefully avoided for the sake of not establishing a canonical series of events just yet.
7 Deacon Went Sightseeing In The Capitol Wasteland
Ah, Deacon, the man of many faces with a penchant for compulsive lying. He's certainly one of Fallout 4's most interesting companions. And if one can bring themselves to take anything he says at face value, he might have a few tidbits of information concerning the state of Fallout 3's Capital Wasteland during Fallout 4.
Deacon has a few throwaway lines that indicate he's spent some time in the Capital Wasteland, making specific references to how the Brotherhood of Steel wasn't "so bad" back then, and mentioning that you can "actually drink the water" there. If nothing else, this confirms that Project Purity was a success to one degree or another.
6 Diamond City Elects A Bigot As Mayor
Preceding the Sole Survivor's emergence from Vault 111 by five years, Diamond City held a mayoral election that would prove instrumental in shaping the events of Fallout 4 - and not for the better, unfortunately.
McDonough adopted a shrewd political platform that directly channeled the xenophobia that had been running rampant within the city in order to ensure his success, promising to ban Ghouls from the city's premises. It worked, and he did as promised. His brother attempted to stand up for the rights of non-feral Ghouls but would fall short of convincing him. As a last resort, he'd found the settlement of Goodneighbor to provide refuge.
5 The Exodus Of Dr. Madison Li
Dr. Li plays a crucial role in the events of both Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, but her presence in the latter presents a multitude of questions. Chief among them is why exactly she'd leave the relative safety of the Capital Wasteland, with its strong Brotherhood presence, not to mention the source of pure water she'd directly helped to establish.
Although the Brotherhood's presence in the Capital Wasteland was for the better, the largely militarized work they had tasked her with put her on edge. And perhaps most importantly, some members viewed her as a security risk - which is something the Brotherhood tends to handle with less than a gentle hand. So she fled for the Commonwealth, where the events of Fallout 4 would again see her in an uncomfortable situation with them.
4 The Railroad Gained Their Most Important Asset
Though the Lone Wanderer has precious little interaction with them outside of a particular quest, the Railroad is alive and thriving during the events of Fallout 3. The organization would see its ups and downs between the events of Fallout 3 and 4, but none so important as their acquisition of codename Patriot.
Patriot was an Institute scientist named Liam Binet. Having grown disillusioned with their production and treatment of synths, he would establish contact with the Railroad, leaking them information and vastly improving the efficacy of their efforts to free and resettle Institute synths.
3 The Children Of Atom Spread Far And Wide
The enigmatic and zealous cult dubbed The Children of Atom laid solid roots in Megaton, worshiping the nuclear device serving as the cornerstone of the settlement. From there, preceding even the events of Fallout 3, the cult's teachings would spread like wildfire.
Though the island's less faithful inhabitants would initially drive them from the settlement of Far Harbor, their influence would spread across the island, becoming a contributing factor to the island's unrest. Given their aggressive expansionism and zealous conversion of local populations, it can be safely speculated that the Children's membership had continued to blossom elsewhere in the wastelands during the years between Fallout 3 and 4.
2 The Wasteland Survival Guide Saw Wide Circulation
During the events of Fallout 3, the Lone Wanderer encounters the uncannily cheerful Moira Brown in Megaton, and together the pair author a ragtag collection of notes and knowledge concerning life and survival in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. This "publication" was entitled The Wasteland Survival Guide.
Given that this bit of wasteland literature appears in Fallout 3, New Vegas, and Fallout 4, it can be assumed that is has spread to almost every corner of the wasteland. It is at least confirmed that copies have reached from the Mojave Desert to the fringes of the Commonwealth, which is incredibly impressive when considering the lack of proper infrastructure.
1 Mayor To Mercenary
Little Lamplight, for the uninitiated, is a system of caverns populated entirely by children in Fallout 3. It definitely has a sort of permanent Lord of the Flies vibe, with the kids kicking out anyone that reaches the age of sixteen. One particularly memorable Little Lamplighter is their "Mayor," a particularly tough and foul-mouthed kid by the name of MacCready.
As per the established rules, MacCready must eventually give up his mayoral office between the events of Fallout 3 and those of Fallout 4, and he had no shortage of adventures afterward. He married, had a child, became a gun-for-hire and worked with the unscrupulous gunners in the Commonwealth, which is where the Sole Survivor can encounter him and employ his services.