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Icon vaulttec.png  Fallout Shelter Overviews  Icon vaulttec.png
FO76 publicteam xpd.pngFor an overview of the topic, see Shelter.

From the Overseer Support Branch: Fallout® Shelter puts you in control of a state-of-the-art underground Vault from Vault-Tec. Build the perfect Vault, keep your Dwellers happy, and protect them from the dangers of the Wasteland.fallout.bethesda.net

Fallout Shelter is a free-to-play game for iOS, Android, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, and Tesla Arcade, which was announced at Bethesda's E3 2015 press conference on June 14, 2015, and released the same day. The game is the seventh installment in the Fallout Series, following Fallout: New Vegas. The game allows the player to create their own vault and thereby become an overseer of its inhabitants.


Fallout Shelter is a simulation game in which the player runs a Vault-Tec Corporation vault as the overseer. As the overseer, one controls all of the vault's functions including: power, food, water and the number of vault dwellers. To advance through the simulation one needs to increase the size of the vault by adding and upgrading new rooms, each with a function and then adding dwellers to run each room.

Vault rooms

Main article: Fallout Shelter rooms

Fallout Shelter contains 23 buildable rooms that are unlocked by increasing the number of vault dwellers. All rooms can have a limited number of dwellers assigned to it and each production room requires at least one dweller to run it. Each room built begins at tier one and can be upgraded with caps as far as tier three.

Each room requires a specific SPECIAL skill to run at its maximum efficiency. With production rooms, such as a power generator, it will produce and hold more power when upgraded but will take longer to produce unless more efficient dwellers are assigned there. Rooms can also be merged by placing an identical room next to it.

Merged rooms are larger and take longer to produce supplies and cost more to upgrade, but are also more efficient. Rooms must also be of the same tier level to merge and will merge automatically when built next to each other.


Main article: Vault Dwellers

Vault Dwellers are an essential part of the game and are required for: operating production rooms, reproducing, and protecting the vault from raider and Deathclaw attacks and scavenging the wasteland. To increase the vault dweller population, one can wait for them to show up at random, mate two dwellers, get them from lunchboxes, or produce a radio studio.

Each dweller will spawn with only a Vault Jumpsuit and their fists for a weapon. Basic dwellers start at Level 1 and can be upgraded up to Level 50 through working, preventing hazards and scavenging. Whenever a dweller levels up a number of caps are gained equal to their new level. All dwellers have their own individual S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes and are most commonly set between 1 and 3. SPECIAL attributes can also be boosted with SPECIAL rooms such as classrooms or armories.

Vault dwellers can also be acquired with additional levels, attributes, outfits and weapons if acquired through lunchboxes or exploring the wasteland. Many of the dwellers, weapons, outfits, and pets are featured from other Fallout games, most noticeably Fallout 3 and Fallout 4.

Putting two dwellers with the same surname in the living rooms or any of its upgrades will trigger a conversation between the characters citing "Nothing like hanging out at home with my family." Automated surnames of children are of their parent of the opposite gender, female offspring will follow the last name of the father, male offspring will follow the last name of the mother.


One can send up to 25 dwellers to explore the wasteland to obtain extra armor, weapons, and caps. Dwellers will come across locations from Fallout 4 seen in the explorer's update logs. One can direct a dweller through the building to fight, explore and collect items to bring back to the vault. After returning, one can collect all the things discovered by the dweller in the wasteland. One can equip the dweller with stimpaks and RadAway from one's stock at the start of exploration. Also, a dweller will automatically return to the vault if they have collected 100 items.


Main article: Lunchbox

Lunchboxes are awarded upon completion of certain game objectives and are also available for purchase via micropayments. Each lunchbox allows the player to attain five cards, each card then allows players to attain either dwellers, weapons, outfits or resources. Though the in-game description states that "Each lunchbox is guaranteed to either have a dweller or a rare item and a guaranteed junk," +500 caps are also categorized as a rare item. Players could also obtain Common, Rare and/or Legendary dwellers through lunchboxes.

Item crafting

Junks and recipes can be collected from the wasteland or from lunchboxes, which can be used for crafting weapons and outfits via a weapon workshop and outfit workshop. By paying caps and junk, one can assemble items in the workshop. The duration of crafting varies. Some weapons and outfits can only be obtained via crafting. Each item will require different pieces of junk of varying rarity. Recipes may also need to be found to make certain items and better equipment requires rarer junk.

Mysterious Stranger

FoS Mysterious Stranger.png

Occasionally the Fallout Shelter version of the Mysterious Stranger jingle will play to signify that the Mysterious Stranger has appeared somewhere in the vault, clicking on him within the short amount of time he is visible results in a random amount of caps being given, sometimes a very large amount (possibly up to 5286). The vanishing jingle plays when he leaves. If the sound is turned off but vibrations are left on, a double vibration will indicate his arrival and a single vibration will indicate his departure.

If the sound is on, the tone will increase in volume as the screen centers on the Mysterious Stranger. If during the jingle, the player scans across the vault, it's possible to home in on his location via 'sonar'. If the player zooms out (requires HD Zoom Out to be turned off), all dwellers, pets, and the Mysterious Stranger will be in front of all walls and/or obstacles, making it much easier to find him.

Development history

During development, the game was codenamed "Underground."[Ext 5] According to lead developer Todd Howard, several early designs had been pitched and rejected.[Ext 6] On November 5, 2009, John Carmack of Id Software stated that he had a call with Howard and also had an internal proof of concept made for a Fallout iPhone game.[Ext 7] Both Carmack and Howard are fans of the platform and any iPhone game based on Bethesda's IP will likely be made as a joint project between id and Bethesda. Carmack said that he will likely be personally involved in making the game.

The game was a surprise release on June 14, 2015, during Bethesda's first E3 conference. It was announced at QuakeCon 2015 that the Android version would be released on August 13, 2015.[Ext 1] It featured new game updates, including the Mister Handy robot as an all new premium reward. Mister Handy can collect resources, be sent into the wasteland to collect loot, and serve as a defender of the vault against creatures and disasters, including all new Deathclaw and mole rat infestations.

The game was made available for PC on July 14, 2016, and at first required the Bethesda.net Launcher to play.[Ext 8] The game was also made available for Xbox One on February 7, 2017, with cross-platform compatibility between Windows 10 and Xbox One. The biggest new feature for the game was the introduction of achievements, which can be obtained by completing the requirements for the achievement.

The game was released on Steam on March 29, 2017, with the same achievements as the ones that can be found on the Xbox version. Fallout Shelter surpassed 100 million users across phones, tablets, PC and Xbox One on September 14, 2017.[Ext 9]

Todd Howard announced at E3 on June 10, 2018, that the game had just been released for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch,[Ext 3] making it available on all major consoles at the time. As of June 2019, the game has grossed over $100,000,000.00 in revenue.[Ext 10] On June 11, 2018, Fallout Shelter was released on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, and on May 20, 2020, Fallout Shelter was released on Tesla in-car entertainment system. In 2019, Bethesda announced plans for a "Fallout Shelter Online," which went on a beta testing period limited only to China. The game released further outside China to other Asian and Oceanic nations in 2020.


Fifth Anniversary

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The game's fifth birthday celebrations ran from June 15 to 19, 2020, and included free items in-game.[Ext 11]

We look back on Vault-Tec’s official Overseer simulation and its accomplishments since its release in 2015. Join us in the celebration and receive in-game prizes just for logging in! Five years ago, Bethesda Game Studios debuted Fallout Shelter for the very first time, showing players a fresh and fun way to experience the world of Fallout on a brand-new platform – iOS – that they could download and play the very same day it was announced.

Since 2015, Fallout Shelter has gone on to staggering success, bringing in over 170 million players, comprised of both fans and total newcomers to the franchise, and expanding to multiple platforms including Android, PC, consoles and, most recently, Tesla vehicles. The game itself has also evolved immensely, adding new features ranging from the hardcore Survival Mode to offering dwellers adorable pet companions - not to mention seasonal quests celebrating special occasions in the Vault, from New Year’s Day to Halloween!

Join us as we celebrate five years of creating a better life, underground, with a look back at some of your achievements in Fallout Shelter. On top of that, we have a few special giveaways for players to enjoy as we celebrate the occasion! From June 15 through 19 we’re giving away free in-game goodies to celebrate Fallout Shelter’s fifth anniversary! Log in each day during the giveaway period to receive your present.

We’ve got different stuff to hand out each day of the promotion, so be sure to check in every day. Please note these giveaways will only be available for the mobile version of Fallout Shelter. We will also be offering discounts in Fallout Shelter from June 12 through 14, so check in during that period to save up to 50% on select bundles and help create the Vault of your dreams. Whether you’ve been fending off Raiders at the front door since we first unveiled Fallout Shelter in 2015, or are looking to dig into your first Vault, now is a perfect time to hop into Fallout Shelter and celebrate five years of the game and its players, AKA the very best Overseers that Vault-Tec has to offer!

Sixth Anniversary

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To celebrate the game's 6th birthday in 2021, rewards were offered from June 12 to June 17, 2021 on iOS and Android devices.[Ext 12]

Calling all Overseers! Ring in another year of Vault life with free items and sales in the in-game store. Has it been six years already? Hard to believe how fast time has flown by since Bethesda Game Studios first introduced players to Fallout Shelter in 2015. Since then, we’ve seen over 180 million users set up their Vault, with hundreds of millions of quests completed, pets adopted, dwellers born and more! As Fallout Shelter commemorates another year of the Vault-tec lifestyle, we’re offering Overseers a chance to join in the festivities with free gifts and sales!

Log in between June 12 to June 17 on iOS and Android devices and you’ll get a free gift! The rewards change up every other day, so check in often during that period to get the most out of this giveaway. We’re also offering sales letting you save up to 50% on select bundles and other items! We’re thankful to all of you, Vault-tec’s amazing crop of Overseers, for making Fallout Shelter a success. No matter if you’ve just opened your first Vault or have been with us since the very beginning, we raise our glasses of Nuka Cola to you!

Seventh Anniversary

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From June 13 – June 19, 2022, Bethesda featured rewards to celebrate the game's 7th birthday, including free pet carriers, lunchboxes, and Nuka Cola.[Ext 13]

We celebrate seven years of Overseer excellence across mobile, console and PC. Seven years ago, during Bethesda’s first-ever Showcase, the world was introduced to Fallout Shelter. Would-be Overseers could now get a taste of Vault living on the go, expanding over the next seven years to multiple platforms, including console and PC, and recruiting millions of players to handle humanity’s future underground. Let’s look back on just some of the major accomplishments players have completed together since Fallout Shelter first released seven years ago.

In celebration of Fallout Shelter’s birthday, we’re handing out presents! Log into the game on mobile each day between June 13 – June 19 to receive free rewards, including Pet Carriers, Lunchboxes, Nuka Cola and more! We’re also offering players the chance to save big during the Anniversary Sale! Through June 12, players can save up to 50% on select bundles. Note that availability and discounts vary by platform and region; check your digital retailer for more information. A huge thanks to all our players who help make Fallout Shelter a success – here's to another year of better living underground!


Fallout Shelter received a Metacritic rating of 63/100 on PC, 61/100 on Nintendo Switch, and 71/100 on iOS.[Ext 14][Ext 15][Ext 16] The game was awarded the 2016 D.I.C.E. Mobile Game of the Year and was nominated for the 2016 D.I.C.E. Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year.[Ext 17] The game was nominated for 2015 Best of E3 Handheld/Mobile Game as well as nominated for the 2016 NAVGTR Award for Best Game, Simulation.[Ext 17]

In 2018, Bethesda Softworks sued Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros for copyright infringement and breach of contract, claiming that Warner Bros had released a similar Westworld themed game based on pre-release Fallout Shelter code.[Ext 5] This copyright infringement included the released Westworld product expressing bugs that were removed before Fallout Shelter's release and cite similarities in mechanics, animation and user design.





Official links