20 years ago today, the first installment of the famous Fallout franchise would be released by Interplay Productions, kicking off the start of what would become the face of the post-apocalyptic RPG genre and introducing gamers everywhere to the zany humor and distinct style of the Fallout universe. Over the following years the franchise would continue to evolve into something that today is almost unrecognizable, but that has never quite failed to carry forward that same, unique feeling. Today, Bethesda is honoring the grandfather of the studio’s flagship series by making the original temporarily free-of-charge.
Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game is free on Steam until September 30 later tonight at 11:59 pm Pacific Time (2:59 am Eastern). All you have to do to gain access to the classic title is visit its store page, click ‘install,’ and the game will be permanently added to your Steam account. After that, Fallout will be available to download and play at any time in the future, no strings attached!
For those whose familiarity with the franchise extends only to Fallout 4, the original Fallout is quite a bit different – both mechanically and stylistically. As you can see in the above screenshot, the 1997 RPG did not introduce the third-to-first-person shooting gameplay of the modern series. Instead, Fallout features a turn-based experience that utilizes the player’s action points to commit to a certain number of abilities. It’s hard to deny that this system hasn’t exactly aged well, and most players today will likely feel some level of dissatisfaction with it.
That’s to be expected, though, because the original appeal of the Fallout franchise had less to do with killing and looting NPCs and more to do with creating and making choices with the player’s own, customized character. You could invest points into certain traits instead of others, leading to unique dialogue options and story choices. For example, a character with catastrophically low intelligence would have access to some amusingly-altered options when chatting with NPCs.
If you’re uncertain over whether or not the title’s for you, you can still grab it on Steam and try it out free of charge – until later tonight, when Fallout’s price tag will return. Interested in a more modern experience? Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition just launched earlier this week, and includes access to a myriad of new features, downloadable content, and more.