What is Vault 33 in Amazon’s Fallout TV Show? Answered

Vault 33 may be the starting point for the Fallout series. This is what we know about it.

Vault boy posing on a Los Angeles postcard
Image via Amazon Prime Video
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Survivors of the Great War have begun to emerge from their haven to explore a new wasteland. Amazon’s Fallout TV series explores the journey of those dwellers in Vault 33 when it releases on April 12, 2024, on Prime, but what do we know about the enigmatic shelter?

What We Know About Vault 33 in Amazon’s Fallout Show

What we currently know about Vault 33 is that it’s located in Los Angeles, CA, the same region as the original Fallout that launched in 1997. We don’t know anything about a potential experiment being conducted at the vault, but based on the characters in Vault 33 jumpsuits remaining human, we can assume that it doesn’t include high levels of radiation exposure or injection of the Forced Evolutionary Virus.

However, we do get a glimpse of Cyclops in a Vault-Tec Jumpsuit, but there’s no number indicating what vault he calls home. That still leaves a whole host of potential scientific theories that could be tested, such as a lack of certain nutritional requirements in small percentages or exposure to unnatural light cycles.

We can also rule out any experiment that would end the lives of dwellers or cause infertility, as the Amazon series is set 200 years after the bombs drop and over 115 years after the first Fallout game. That puts it in the same timeframe as Fallout 3 and a bit before the events of Fo76. Whatever the potential experiment is, it didn’t mess with the life expectancy of the residents or their outward appearance.

Furthermore, the Vault may end up playing a very small role in the Fallout TV show. Most Fallout games start with players leaving the game’s respective vault, and the beginning of the show could very well play out that way (and that may be what we’ve seen in early press materials, such as stills and trailers).

Is Vault 33 an Amazon Creation or Part of the Fallout Canon?

While Vault 33 is an Amazon creation, Todd Howard has confirmed that the TV show is canon to the Fallout universe. Though not mentioned directly in any game or additional media released by Bethesda (yet), it makes sense that it would exist and be located on the western border of the United States. Vault 34 is located in the Mojave Desert, and Vault 29 is rumored to be on the west coast. The lower-numbered vaults are all situated between California and Las Vegas.

All Vaults Near Vault 33

  • Vault 3: Las Vegas, NV
  • Vault 8: Northwestern NV
  • Vault 11: Mojave Desert
  • Vault 12: Bakersfield, CA
  • Vault 13: Los Angeles, CA
  • Vault 15: Southern CA
  • Vault 17: West Coast
  • Vault 19: Mojave Desert, NV
  • Vault 21: Las Vegas, NV
  • Vault 22: Mojave Desert, NV
  • Vault 29: West Coast
  • Vault 34: Mojave Desert, NV

The closest vaults are 12, 13, and 15. Vault 12’s population were exposed to radiation and became ghouls. They founded the city of Necropolis, which could be where Ghoul is from, given he’s wearing a Vault-Tec colored cowboy outfit while human in the trailer.

Vault 13 is the first vault that players were ever able to explore in the franchise, though it was abandoned by the dwellers at the end of the game. With so much time passing since then, it could’ve been taken over by another group.

Vault 15’s experiment revolved around forced cohabitation among members of differing religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Three raider groups came from this vault, while another remained behind. Since the exact whereabouts of the bunker entrance is unknown, these could very well be villains in the series.

What are Fallout Vaults? Explained

There are a number of different vaults that’ve been introduced in the Fallout games. Vault 118 is located in Maine, while Vault 11 opened in the Mojave Desert. These vaults are underground bunkers designed as safe harbors for selected individuals should bombs drop during the Great War — and Vault 33 is the same. Designed by Vault-Tec and commissioned by the U.S. Government, the state-of-the-art facilities claimed to have an extremely low fail rate.

Welcome to Vault 76 sign
Image via Bethesda

Truthfully, each vault was designed with an ulterior purpose in mind: the execution of various experiments on human subjects. Some built intentional defects to study the effects of radiation on the body. Others constructed studies on the effects of complete isolation and what happens after that isolation is broken.

Vault 76, where you begin your journey in Fallout 76, was a control vault, one of the bunkers that functioned as a normal shelter with no experiment set in motion. Fallout 4’s Vault 111 was a test on cryogenic effects on unwitting participants, while Vault 13 from Fallout was another control vault. While those were starting points, you could often revisit the vault you came from or explore another vault in the area.

Each vault’s inhabitants were often screened and selected based on certain requirements of the experiment. Some that predicted high failure rates were filled with previously incarcerated citizens, making them completely expendable. Control vaults often had the best and the brightest from the local area. This ensured humanity in the United States would survive, repopulating with smart, athletic, and capable people.

Regardless of being crafted solely for television, it’s already integrated into Fallout 76. Appearing in the Atomic Shop on December 2, we can claim a free Vault 33 jumpsuit until December 12. After that, it will disappear from the shop, with no announcement stating if it’ll be available in the future.

That’s currently what we know about Vault 33 in the Amazon Fallout TV Show. Premiering April 12, 2024, there’s still time for more information to be announced ahead of the first episode.

About the author

Ashley Erickson

Ashley, otherwise known as Glitchiee, is an avid gamer of RPGs, TTRPGS, farming sims, The Sims, and a variety of games in between. Playing on the NES and SNES, collecting 1st gen Pokemon cards, and playing on her Gameboy color are some of her favorite memories from early childhood. Combined with a passion for writing, Ashley is focused on bringing the best news, guides, reviews and lists the industry has to offer.