While Bethesda Softworks is best known for its Elder Scrolls franchise of fantasy role-playing games, the Fallout series is easily the publisher's second most popular set of video games. But is the company currently working on Fallout 4 as rumors suggest?
Fallout is a series of video games that focus on a post-apocalyptic world where the main character must fight gangs of savage raiders, mutated creatures, robots, a tech-enhanced military, and more. It's set in a retro-futuristic world with a design style that mimics the post-war culture of the 1950s.
Bethesda took over the franchise with Fallout 3 in 2008, boosting the series with a larger budget, new game perspective, and more advertising than the games had enjoyed in the past. This led to Fallout 3 being a wild success for Bethesda, and subsequent releases in the franchise have seen similar success.
But with the release of Fallout: New Vegas in 2010, we haven't seen a new Fallout game or hints at a new Fallout game since. We're approaching the longest stretch of time that fans have suffered through without a new Fallout game since 1997, so you can imagine that rumors and speculation are rampant.
Many believe that the reason for this is that Bethesda wants to be sure to keep up with the rapidly expanding video game culture and make sure to include all progressions and improvements that modern games feature. This means online play, a more open world, advanced character progression, and more. It was already rumored that Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 developer Interplay was working on a Fallout MMO, but a legal battle ended all hopes of seeing the allegedly named Fallout Online.
Bethesda's director of public relations, Pete Hines, commented in 2010 that growth of the franchise is emminent. "The whole reason we went out and acquired the license and that we now own Fallout is that we clearly intended to make more than one. This is not something we're going to do once and then go away and never do it again. When that will be or how long that will be, God only knows, but we acquired it specifically because we wanted to own it and develop it and work on it like we do with The Elder Scrolls."
In January of 2013, Fallout 3 voice actor Erik Dellums mentioned in a tweet that he had permission to say that he'd be reviving his popular Three Dog character. This, of course, led to wild speculation that Fallout 4 was coming, but Dellums quickly clarified that the new project was not being produced by Bethesda, eliminating the possibility of it being for a Fallout title.
Later that year, a peculiar website called thesurvivor2299.com came onto the scene, showing a countdown clock similar to the one released by Bethesda before Fallout 3's release. But it was quickly confirmed as a hoax after Bethesda mentioned in a tweet: "PSA: If you don't hear it through an official channel like this, assume all rumors and speculation are false."
A month later, popular gaming site Kotaku came forth with voice casting documents that described a Fallout-like game set in Massachussett's MIT. The game's project was called "The Institute" and it featured androids very similar to those found in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. Even more interesting was the fact that these voice scripts contained the iconic phrase "War. War never changes" that serves as an introduction to other Fallout games.
But despite all of this evidence, there is still no definitive launch date or confirmation of Fallout 4 being in development by Bethesda. In fact, earlier this year, game director Todd Howard mentioned in an interview that the company doesn't have a timeframe for its next games, but "it's gonna be a while."
Fan speculation pins a 2015 announcement for the new title, though -- most likely at next year's E3 expo.