The History of Fallout

24 Aug 2006

Unfortunately, the game bares little resemblance to any of the previous titles. Using Snowblind Studios' popular Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance engine, the developers at Interplay sought to create an arcade-like RPG experience while using bits and pieces of the Fallout storyline and environment. The game does make use of a stripped down version of the SPECIAL system, though it only features a handful of the "perks" (which BoS referred to as "skills") from the previous Fallout games. To make modern weaponry work in an engine originally designed primarily for melee combat, a lock-on system was introduced that would allow a player to automatically target the nearest opponent.

Even before its release, Fallout: BoS was the subject of much disdain. Fans were appalled that a true Fallout sequel still hadn't been officially announced and the shift to console-only almost completely alienated the fanbase of the original two games. The game is still vilified by fans for everything from its incredible amount of storyline contradictions to its "violation" of the spirit of Fallout. To make matters worse, Interplay laid off the entire Black Isle Studios staff a month before the game's release, which meant that the "Van Buren" project many believed was Fallout 3 would never make it to our PCs.


Fallout 3 "Van Buren" (Canceled)

Work on Fallout 3 (otherwise known as Project Van Buren) was inevitably canceled in December of 2003 when Interplay found itself in major financial trouble and was forced to lay off their entire Black Isle Studios staff. We know now that the game was intended to be a true sequel to the first two games and was being developed for the PC.

Black Isle's version of Fallout 3 was to take place about ten years after the events of Fallout 2 in the sunny wastelands of the American Midwest. The player would begin the game in a prison cell, and as he is puzzling a way out, an explosion rocks the facility that knocks the player unconscious. When he awakes, he finds that a hole in his cell wall offers escape to the outside world. From what we're told by the game's original developers, the player would have been forced to elude groups of robots seeking to return him to the facility while attempting to uncover the true reason for his abduction and the mysteries surrounding it.

According to a previous interview we conducted with Black Isle's John Deiley, development of Fallout 3 was moving along at a quick pace before it was canceled. The engine was 95% done and featured fully 3D environments with both turn-based and real-time combat modes. With the engine so far into development, character creation, combat, skills, and the ability to save/load games were all functional. Some of the areas had already been fully designed, and we now know that famous pre-war locales such as the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam were going to make it into the game. With dialogue, maps, and other aspects of the game progressing rapidly, it was generally expected that the game would have been completed on time.

When news circulated that Interplay had pulled the plug on Fallout 3, fans were crushed. The company continued to sink into financial turmoil and eventually filed for bankruptcy, which meant that there was at least some hope that Troika Games, Obsidian Entertainment, or some other reputable RPG developer would obtain the Fallout license. As it turned out, Bethesda Softworks acquired the rights to develop a Fallout 3 for $1.175 million, though Interplay retained all rights to a Fallout MMORPG. Given the company's current status, though, it's highly unlikely we'd ever see such a game.


Fallout 3 (TBA)

Life in the wasteland is about to change.

When news spread that Bethesda Softworks had acquired the license to develop Fallout 3 in 2004, it was greeted with much jubilation. Fallout was saved. Of course, there are many who view the next installment of Fallout with apprehension. While Bethesda's version has been unaffectionately referred to as "Morrowind with guns", the critical acclaim received by The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in early 2006 may have helped suppress some fears.

About the only thing we really know about Bethesda's version at this point is that it will take place after the events of Fallout 2 and that the team plans on implementing at least portions of the SPECIAL system we've grown accustomed to. It's currently being developed with the same engine that powered Oblivion, though that doesn't necessarily mean it will be played with a first-person perspective. Until Bethesda releases more details or unveils the first screenshot, we really won't know what to expect from the third installment. And even then, it's anyone's guess as to what the future holds for the Fallout franchise as a whole.
 
 

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