The game takes place in the year 2277 on the East Coast of what used to be the United States, mostly in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The gameplay features include real-time combat and first or third person perspective, in contrast to the previous games, which were turn-based and isometric.
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The Fallout world is not quite our own. It is an alternate reality which diverged from ours at some point after the second World War.
The base concept for the setting is the World of Tomorrow as imagined in the Golden Age of Science Fiction. This means that before the Great War, the Fallout world was more or less what the people of the 1940s and 1950s thought things would be like in 2077.