We have to admit it, being stung by the fake Survivor 2299 site still hurts a bit and so does being none the wiser on official Fallout 4 info.
It's all been a little quiet at the Fallout 4 rumour mill since late last year, and Bethesda still hasn't announced it is working on a Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas follow-up yet.
In fact, there's been some new information to suggest that Bethesda may not even be the developer working on the next Fallout title.
There aren’t any official details as yet, but until we know more, we’re collating all the news in one place.
Fallout 4: Release DateAlthough there’s no word yet from Bethesda, we expect Fallout 4 will be a next-gen Xbox One and PS4 title launching the tail end of 2014 or early 2015.
Of course, this is just speculation on our part, as there's been no official confirmation the game is even in development yet.
See also: Xbox One vs PS4
Fallout 4: NewsJob listing suggests Fallout 4 may not be developed by Bethesda
The latest rumour suggests that Bethesda has handed over Fallout 4 development to a newly created studio called Battle Studios. The latter is still a part of parent company Zenimax Studios, but has been newly established in Austin, Texas.
The Zenimax website is listing job openings for all sorts of roles within Battlecry Studios, including a Lead VFX Artist, Senior Level Designer, Senior Environment Artist and Senior Graphics Engineer.
What's very exciting and interesting is that each job listing makes reference to an "undisclosed AAA PC and next-generation console game" that multiple sources are saying will be Fallout 4.
"Battlecry Studios, the newest Zenimax studio in Austin, is seeking a talented Senior Environment Artist to help create high quality environment art for an undisclosed AAA PC and next-generation console game", reads the job listing for the Senior Environment Artist.
We can't think of any other titles that could be being produced by a Zenimax Studios that has yet to be announced, so we're keeping everything crossed that this is a Fallout 4 rumour with an ounce of truth to it.
Read more on the Zenimax Careers website.
Casting documents leak, reveal a Boston setting
After the Survivor 2299 teaser site turned out to be a huge hoax, we expected all the Fallout 4 rumours to die down.
However, that hasn't quite been the case. Kotaku managed to get hold of, and authenticate, some casting documents that not only confirm Fallout 4 is in production, but also that it will be set in Boston.
The casting call is for a game project codenamed "Institute" and the documents make reference to character names and locations.
Fallout 4 will seemingly use the classic introduction from Fallout 1, 2 and 3: "War. War never changes". Another script fragment describes a mission in which a character called Preston Garvey asks you to find a fusion core from a museum in the Commonwealth.
Another mission is set in the Institute, which is tipped to be Fallout 4's version of MIT.
Read more: Fallout 4 is real after all and is set in Boston - November 12 2013
Bethesda filed a Fallout 4 trademark in Europe
The Fallout 3 developer has filed a trademark for Fallout 4 ahead of a rumoured announcement at VGX in December.
With the trademark extending to merchandise, digital media and other products outside the game, it suggest Bethesda is gearing up for a huge Fallout 4 launch early next year.
Read more: Fallout 4 trademarked ahead of potential VGA Award Announcement – November 18 2013
Fallout 4: The "Survivor 2299" teaser siteOkay, okay. We admit it. You got us.
Unfortunately, it has been revealed that the Survivor 2299 website was nothing more than a rather elaborate hoax, created as an attempt to get Bethesda to announce Fallout 4.
A fan named 'DCHoaxer' admitted he was behind the site, much to the annoyance of Fallout 4 fans.
"I wanted to force Bethesda to reveal something during VGx on 12/11, and bring /r/Fallout community together (for at least three weeks)," said DCHoaxer on Reddit.
Of course, this didn't work and Bethesda never actually referenced the site in any way.
However, the developer did release a brief statement on Twitter through VP of PR & Marketing Pete Hines, saying it would not be attending or showing off games at VGX:
"No, folks. I am not going to VGX. Bethesda is not showing/talking about anything at VGX. Just some PR meetings in LA. Take deeps breaths," said Hines on Twitter.
Early in November someone spotted the Survivor 2299 website online and through a series of changes and teasers people were convinced it was an official Fallout 4 teaser site.
Originally the site featured a Morse code signal that translated to: “CQ CQ CQ DE OZ PSE AS” or “Calling Any Station, Calling Any Station, This is From OZ (Oscar Zulu), Please Wait”.
This was meant to be a hint to the Oscar Zulu radio station in an unmarked quest from Fallout 3.
The site was then updated with an official Vault-tec logo from the Fallout series, offering another clue to the site’s Fallout connection.
At one point if you highlighted the text on the page, before the new code appeared, the site said: "Nuclear Winter is coming. Reserve your future home today! 877-260-2299”. If you called this American number you heard a recorded message playing the Tranquility Lane music from Fallout 3. This was then deactivated.
There was also a hidden message of “###PERMISSION DENIED BY OVERSEER (15334)###" when you hovered over the text.
Another code was then added, but this time much more complex than before. "ZL/QRNE/FVFGRE./V'Z/URNQVAT/GB/GUR/VAFGVGHGR./TBQ/XABJF/JUNG/UNCCRARQ/GB/GUVF/CYNPR/ABJ./GUVF/BYQ/ONFGNEQ/JVYY/URYC/HF./UR/ZHFG/URYC/HF./--0321—"
This translates to: "MY DEAR SISTER. I’M HEADING TO THE INSTITUTE. GOD KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED TO THIS PLACE NOW. THIS OLD BASTARD WILL HELP US. HE MUST HELP US –0321—".
Fallout 4: What we’d like to seeUntil Bethesda formally announces Fallout 4 and any details surrounding the game’s content, here are a few thoughts about what we’d like to see.
1. Increased focus on survival
By the time you’ve struggled to the midway point of Fallout 3 or New Vegas you’re (nearly) invincible and sipping irradiated water without a care. We’d really like Bethesda to include a notion of survival in Fallout 4, as it really does become a little obsolete in Fallout 3.
Of course, New Vegas had hardcore mode, which forced you think a little more about your food, water, rest, meds and stimpaks, but this shouldn’t be part of an increased difficulty level. The Wasteland is too fun in Fallout 3. You’re too focused on finding, selling and collecting to worry about survival in a nuclear world.
2. More customisation options
Although Bethesda has offered a fair number of perks, abilities and skills to tinker with in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, there’s no huge character creation session you can play with if you so wish. You can’t choose your race or your faction from the off.
The same goes for weapon modification. Fallout 3 had a great crafting system that let you build things from the random junk you had collected. However, Bethesda has so much room for improvement here.
The Wasteland is littered with abandoned vehicles, computers, machines and other tech that could be used to customize weapons or create new exclusive ones to call your own. You could even craft some armour, new clothes or traps to set for unsuspecting Ghouls.
3. A brand new location
Rumour has it that Bethesda could be using Boston, Massachusetts in the US as the location for Fallout 4, but others suggest Poland or another Eastern European country would be more fitting. It would certainly mix things up a bit to have a Fallout title located outside the US, though it seems unlikely that Bethesda would go too far from what has worked in the past.
If Bethesda doesn’t use a new location, then perhaps having more than one city to explore would be a compromise. Half the Fallout fun comes from exploring and discovering hidden treasures within the ruins. Even if they use New Vegas and Washington DC you could just simply travel to them without traversing the land in between like Bethesda did with the Fallout 3 DLC content.
4. Introduce multiplayer and/or co-op
Fallout can be a big a lonely Wasteland at times, so Bethesda could introduce a little bit of online co-op with Fallout 4. We strongly expect the game to launch on Xbox One and PS4 so it would be silly for the developer not to take advantage of Sony and Microsoft’s new dedicated multiplayer game servers.
We’re not suggesting Bethesda goes all MMO on us, but it would be great to share our Wasteland experience with a few buddies and take on single-player missions as part of a team.
5. No level cap or game end
Seeing a "Point of No Return" message on a game’s storyline, especially a sandbox game like Fallout 3, is rather depressing when there’s so much more to explore. It would be so much better if you could continue discovering the Fallout 4 Wasteland after the close of the main storyline, rather than being forced to finish all the side quests before your final mission. Bethesda unlocked this feature in DLC releases, but we shouldn't have to pay to see everything we want.
Also, Fallout 3’s level cap was a little low and the majority of gamers found they had reached it a long way before completing the game. This is something Bethesda really needs to adjust with Fallout 4, especially if it’s as mammoth a game as we’re all hoping for.
6. Better combat
Bethesda’s VATS targeting system was awesome in a head-splattering kinda way, but it was pretty much all you could use as the third-person gunplay was awful. There was obviously very little time spent on developing the gunplay outside of VATS as you’re always left feeling a bit feeble against an attacking foe.
We hope VATS is still present in Fallout 4, so we can brutally dismember our enemies in all its gory detail, but Bethesda really needs to work on its combat to create a proper combination system.
Read more: Best games of 2013