After the success of Fallout 2, there was Fallout Tactics and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, as well as abandoned sequels like Brotherhood of Steel 2, and a cancelled game codenamed “Van Buren.” None of these are considered official parts of the Fallout storyline, and it took 10 years before a proper sequel to Fallout 2 arrived. By then, video game technology had dramatically changed, and the franchise adapted to keep pace. Here are a few of the ways that Fallout 3 changed the franchise when introducing it to a new generation.Fallout 3 brought the series into the mysterious realm of the third dimension. The first two Fallouts were turn-based games with two-dimensional graphics. They used 3D animation in cutscenes, and “talking head” dialog sequences, but the exploration and combat were rendered in simple 2D isometric art, with a point-and-click interface. By 2008, consoles and PCs could handle free-roaming adventures in vast 3D worlds, and players could walk from one end of a virtual realm to the other in real time. With this graphical overhaul came new mechanics, new aesthetics, and most importantly, a new story, and setting to help explain why everything seemed so different.The new development team decided that their game would be set 36 years after the events of Fallout 2, and take place 3,000 miles away on the other side of the country. The first two games were in California, but Fallout 3 was set in the remains of Washington DC on the East Coast. The new game showed its protagonist being born and raised inside a massive subterranean bomb shelter called Vault 101 and, by the time they grew up and took their first steps outside the vault, it was the year 2277, exactly 200 years after the Great War that caused the apocalypse.This was plenty of time for established Fallout factions, like the Brotherhood of Steel, to march from California to Maryland. After the events of Fallout 2, the Brotherhood mounted an expedition to the Midwest, and this story was told in the non-canonical game Fallout Tactics. Fallout 3 acknowledges at least part of that story by saying that the Brotherhood has a lost expedition somewhere near Chicago.The Brotherhood soldiers in Washington DC’s Capital Wasteland are part of a second group sent out East. Although their original goal in DC was to secure the advanced pre-war technology in the nation’s capital, they ended up using these resources to help the people of the Capital Wasteland. They even recruited wastelanders who were born outside the Brotherhood and inducted them into their ranks. The Brotherhood ended up as the defenders of this part of the wasteland, a split from the West Coast Brotherhood’s traditional isolationist views.Some of the members of the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood remained true to their initial orders, and they formed a hostile splinter group called the Brotherhood Outcasts. This idea of idealogical splits within the Brotherhood was carried over into Fallout: New Vegas, and it has been implied that other parts of the country have more chapters of the Brotherhood of Steel, each with their own views on the Brotherhood’s doctrine.The main antagonists for the Brotherhood were a new breed of super mutants. The original super mutants were created by dipping humans in vats of Forced Evolutionary Virus in a secret base in California. Fallout 3 revealed that other places around the country had stockpiles of FEV too, although some of these were modified forms of the virus. One such stockpile was located in the Capital Wasteland in a Vault-Tec facility called Vault 87.The Vault 87 batch of FEV turned people into giant, green mutants that were dumber than the original super mutants, but they continued to grow in size during their entire life. If they lived long enough, they could even become 20-foot-tall Behemoths that can survive a mini-nuke to the head. While they were almost universally hostile to the player, there were at least two East Coast mutants that were intelligent and friendly. These were, of course, outcasts among the other mutants.For the 200 years leading up to the game, the super mutants had been kidnapping people from around Washington DC and transforming them into mutants with FEV. Because they are unable to breed, the entire population of super mutants in Fallout 3 was created in this manner.Players assumed that The Enclave had been defeated at the end of Fallout 2, when their secret oil rig base was destroyed. However, as the descendants of America’s elite citizens, they were much more resourceful than anyone realized. They had other bases hidden around the country, and one of these was in the Capital Wasteland. It had a pre-war mainframe computer capable of running an Artificial Intelligence that passed itself off as the new President of The United States.“President” John Henry Eden remotely organized the West Coast Enclave after their defeat and, in the years between Fallout 2 and 3, the California branch of The Enclave traveled across the country. Under the guidance of President Eden, this newly revitalized Enclave fought with the Brotherhood of Steel for control of the Capital Wasteland.At the heart of the fight was something called “Project Purity”, a plan by scientists and the Brotherhood to use a Vault-tec Garden of Eden Creation Kit to cleanse the waters of the Potomac River. At the end of Fallout 3, Project Purity is successfully activated, but the player has the choice of infecting the water with a modified form of FEV that would slowly kill most of the Capital Wasteland’s population. This was quite similar to The Enclave’s plot from Fallout 2, only this time, the player could actually help them succeed.Fallout 3 contains hints about another part of the Wasteland that was yet unseen by players. A place far to the North, in a land once called Massachusetts. In Fallout’s alternate timeline, the fifty US States had been replaced with 13 Commonwealths, and the New England Commonwealth was made of Massachusetts and the surrounding states. By 2277, this region was simply known as The Commonwealth.In Fallout 3, a quest called The Replicated Man introduced players to several people who came from The Institute, a technologically advanced location within the savage Commonwealth. This quest revealed that the The Institute had androids so realistic that they couldn’t be distinguished from actual humans. There was even one person in the Capital Wasteland who was unaware that they were an android themselves.These androids were often used as slaves in the Commonwealth, and some of them tried to escape. The android runners were tracked tenaciously by agents of The Institute’s Synth Retention Bureau who would pursue their quarry as far South as Washington DC. Players who unraveled the mystery behind one particular escaped android would learn that there was an underground railroad which helped escaped androids live free in the Capital Wasteland.Although the Commonwealth was never shown in Fallout 3, players can learn quite a bit about it by questioning people around the Wasteland. Players can even meet people from the Institute as far West as New Vegas. In the weeks ahead, Geek.com will look at what the most recent Fallout game, New Vegas, brought to the franchise, and what to expect from Fallout 4.