The Wasteland is a dangerous place. Luckily, you don’t have to trek across it alone if you don’t want to. Littered across every Fallout game are companions you can recruit under specific conditions to help you in your journey. A lot of them are cranky, others a little too cheery given the bleak conditions—and some aren’t even human.
Here are, in chronological order of first appearance, the most interesting, peculiar and dependable buds in Fallout.
1. Dogmeat (Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout 4)
Dog is man’s best friend, even at the end of the world. Dogmeat is the companion character who shows up the most in series with the canine in Fallout 3 being a descendant of the original dog from the first game. He’s pretty useful in combat, if not the strongest character, but oh my god look how cute he is. How could anyone turn down that face? And it looks like you’ll be able to play fetch with the dog in Fallout 4. Fetch! Forget saving the Wasteland. I’m just going to build me and my dog a house and we’re gonna sit on my porch and grump at every ghoul and raider that stumbles across our lawn.
2. Ian (Fallout)
Ian is likely the first character you come across in the original Fallout that you can recruit. He’s good with pistols and melee weapons but also kind of dumb and likely to get himself killed in combat or, better yet, shoot you by accident. Still, one of the most interesting things about Fallout’s companion system is that a lot of them can die permanently at anytime—Ian included—so it adds an extra layer of complexity to a game about surviving the post-apocalypse. Not only are you trying to keep yourself alive, for either tactical advantage or out of affection, but you’re also attempting to keep your companions in one piece as well. Ian, moron that he is, is the best representation of that quality. Also, he has a cool leather jacket you can loot if he dies.
3. Katja (Fallout)
Katja is camped out with some religious cult called The Followers of the Apocalypse, though she appears to be squatting with them instead of actually being one of their number. Katja is a great soldier and an invaluable companion. She can pick locks and decimate foes with the power fist. The best part? All you have to do to get her to join you is ask her. That’s it! No strings attached.
4. John Cassidy (Fallout 2)
Fallout 2 built upon the foundation of the original game, creating a wasteland that was thriving with life and featured more developed companions you could recruit who had their own interesting backstories instead of just being people who stood around, waiting for you to find them. John Cassidy is a man who’s endured a lifetime of violence but is actually a kind old soul who will travel with you only if you’ve got positive karma and haven’t enslaved anyone or killed any children (surprisingly high standards for the Wasteland, sadly). Cassidy is also loud about his distaste for drugs which, considering if you give him a dose of any of Fallout’s stronger narcotics he dies from a heart attack, is pretty fair.
5. Myron (Fallout 2)
A narcotics chemist and proponent of slavery, Myron is one of the most disgusting and fascinating characters in all of Fallout. He’s essentially an adolescent Walter White, having created Jet, the most damaging and addictive drug in The Wasteland, and is just a disgusting, horny little dude all around. That said, the game lets you inflict an amount of deliciously horrible things to him. Killing him yourself means that you get the Childkiller penalty applied to your reputation, which gravely affects your interaction options. However, there are plenty of other options to dispose of this asshole, including letting him get killed in combat or even sacrificing him to a machine that forcibly removes his brain. If you’ve kept him alive out of curiosity, a Jet addict stabs him to death while he’s drinking a beer in the epilogue of the game—a poetic ending for such a terrible man.
6. Skynet (Fallout 2)
Skynet (yes that’s its name) is a robot you can recruit in Fallout 2 that looks exactly like B-9 from Lost in Space. It’s a bit of a pain to get the machine functional but he’s worth the investment, being skilled in nearly every combat category and capable of carrying a lot of equipment. A great companion, especially if you’re going for a combat-heavy run.