Bethesda says Fallout 3 development saw fierce debates over the correct shade of green

Fallout 3
(Image credit: Bethesda)

The hottest debates at Bethesda during the development of Fallout 3 were fought over the right shade of green. 

"We would debate the blue of the Vault suit, but nothing tops the green," director Todd Howard says in a new video breaking down the game's "Great Green Debate."

"I just remember [art director Istvan Pely] and Todd having endless discussions about the color green," says Craig Lafferty, now director of mobile games at Bethesda. Laffery also stresses that "green is very important to Fallout" not just because it was key to the Pip Boy and the menus attached to it, including your inventory as well as the VATS system, but also because it was central to the identity of the game world. 

"I would say it's like electric green," Howard says of the Pip Boy. "And then we would go through endless shades of green and debates of green." It was around this point in the video that the word green started to lose all meaning for me, but the debate had apparently only just begun. 

"Istvan would change it in the middle of development, and I'm like, 'You changed the green,'" Howard adds. "And he's like, 'I don't even know how you could tell.'" 

Pely shared his side of this exchange, which was apparently a common one. "Todd would call out, 'I don't think that's the right green. I think you should take another look at it.' And I'm like, I'm pretty sure it is.'"

"It's still green," Lafferty jokes, adding that, "the amount of times we redid the color green, I think I lost count of."

The irony here is that Fallout 3 has often been criticized for applying a green look to pretty much everything, almost like a vaguely verdant counterpoint to the sepia filter that dominated games at the time, especially shooters. Having seen this video, I choose to believe that the top folks at Bethesda developed some sort of temporary, subconscious color blindness after spending too much time staring down and arguing about different shades of green, only to unwittingly create a world inextricably dyed in green.

In less-green Fallout news, the co-founder of Fallout New Vegas developer Obsidian says the studio would definitely make another Fallout game if they "ever got the opportunity."

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.