Did Bethesda's Todd Howard put a Fallout Vault in his hometown? 🤔

Todd Howard from Bethesda
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks / Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • In the finale of the Fallout TV show's first season, a map that shows Vault-Tec Vault locations all over the United States can be seen.
  • A Fallout fan has used Google Earth to scale the Vault sites and map them, showing where each of them are in the country's various states.
  • One Vault appears to be located in or extremely close to Lower Macungie Township in Pennsylvania, though it's important to note there's no concrete confirmation of this.
  • Notably, this is the hometown of Todd Howard, director of the Fallout franchise's steward Bethesda Game Studios.

Amazon's popular new Fallout TV show is canon, and has tons of links to the franchise's mythos that include the appearance of several well-known factions, various references to the events of the games, and even a cameo from a character that Fallout: New Vegas fans will recognize instantly. One of the more interesting connections, though, is a map visible during Season 1's finale episode that shows the locations of Vault-Tec's various nuclear survival shelters.

The map doesn't appear to have a blue light for every Vault in the post-apocalyptic — it seems to be missing a few from various Fallout games — but it does have most of them, including several that we've never seen or heard of before. And thanks to Fallout content creator Tunnelsnakesfool mapping the Vaults with Google Earth, we now have a rough idea of where each bunker site is.

Tunnelsnakesfool's map (check it out in this Reddit post) has revealed some intriguing potential new information about Vault-Tec's shelter network, such as the possible presence of a Vault in Canada and a huge cluster of the sanctuaries in Texas. A friend of Windows Central, though, showed us the coolest implication of all: the possibility that there's a Vault located in the hometown of none other than Todd Howard himself, director of the Fallout series' steward Bethesda Game Studios.

Howard was born in Lower Macungie Township in Pennsylvania, so I plugged its name into Google Maps and cross-referenced its position with the map of all the Vaults from the TV show. Sure enough, there's a telltale blue dot nearly right on top of the township's location, suggesting Vault-Tec may have placed a bunker in or close to the area in Fallout canon. The screenshots above illustrate this clearly, though you can also use Google Maps to see for yourself.

There's no concrete confirmation of this, of course — it was determined with an unofficial (but very well-made) community-drawn Google Earth chart, after all. It's also entirely possible that Bethesda's placement of a Vault in this region of eastern Pennsylvania was completely coincidental. Even so, it's a fun potential easter egg, and I'm choosing to believe it was intentional even if it wasn't. Showrunners and game developers are keenly aware of how dedicated fans of their creations are, so it wouldn't surprise me if this detail was included purposefully.

Sadly, there's no way to know what was actually going on in that Vault; as veterans of the Fallout games know, most of the shelters were secretly designed as controlled environments for scientific experiments (many of them were quite horrifying). Maybe this one was one of the more innocent ones, though, and merely tasked its inhabitants with making games about shouting dragons and ancient artifacts in space. Who knows?

A player clad in T-51 Power Armor in Fallout 4. (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

If you've never played any of the Fallout games Todd Howard, Bethesda, and other developers have worked on, now is a great time to step out of the Vault and explore the wasteland. Every game in the franchise is available to play either on Xbox with Xbox Game Pass or PC with PC Game Pass (Ultimate gives you access to the games on both platforms); this includes Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76.

Notably, Fallout 4 — the latest single-player entry in the series — just got its long-awaited next-gen update. To be honest, it's pretty disappointing for PC players, though big performance enhancements and new visual and performance modes on console make it a good patch for Xbox and PlayStation users.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.