If you’ve ever been around a computer or known anyone who plays video games, I’m pretty sure there is a one hundred percent chance that you’ve seen the pervasive Vault-boy from the Fallout series. His face is plastered throughout each of the games as well as adorning all of the marketing materials reaching back to the series’ launch. Needless to say, he’s recognizable.
Brian Menze, however, is not so recognizable. But he is quite relevant to the subject at hand, since he is the original artist that created all of the Vault-boy images that we have come to love and associate so much with the Fallout series. The images are really well-done, and reflect so brilliantly the overall tone of the games. Many are also funny, but one seemed to be a bit more than Black Isle and Interplay could handle.
Recently on his DeviantArt site, Mr. Menze revealed the original artwork (which has since mysteriously vanished) for the “Childkiller” reputation from Fallout 2, with a small explanation:
This image was unused and the only Vault Boy image to ever be cut from Fallout 2. (I’m sure you can figure out why) I remember when I got the request to do a perk illustration for “child Killer” that there would be no way to keep in from being offensive. I mean really! How do you make an illustration of “child killer” and keep it from being offensive? Anyway for some reason, I thought this was the least offensive way to do it. I have no idea what i was thinking. Even the designer who requested it realized it was a bad idea, so we nixed it. Looking back on it now, I can’t believe I drew this.
Though it’s pretty easy to see why this didn’t make the final cut, considering the tone of the Fallout series, I don’t really see this as being too far over the line of what was accepted in any of the games. It is certainly interesting that this was the only piece of artwork that was cut. Anyone who produces that much art and only has one unused is quite the talent, which can be seen after a quick scan through his work on DeviantArt.