Canceled Fallout RPG from 2003 is being resurrected

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Black Isle Studios’ planned version of Fallout 3, codenamed “Van Buren”, was canceled in 2003, shortly after the studio disbanded. It remains one of the best “what-ifs” of gaming. The financial decline of parent studio Interplay was potentially terminal by this point—the complex, isometric RPG sub-genre reached the nadir of their popularity in the early 2000s, until their revival with Pillars of Eternity and Divinity. has not yet been deactivated. While there was no one to save Black Isle, the project they were working on has captured the imaginations of Fallout fans over the years.

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a tech demo And 700-page design document Leaked in 2007 and served as a competing vision for the official Fallout 3 from license-owner Bethesda. Van Buren looks like a funny, cool, detailed and reactive role-playing game. It doesn’t hurt that much of the setting and lore formed the basis of the much-loved New Vegas.

enter game developer Adam Lako and his Project Van Bureno, Since 2017, Laco has been building the above technical demo and design document to create a full version of Van Buren in the Unity engine, which will be released for free. Laco is writing most of the project’s code itself, as well Counseling With former members of Black Isle. In Laco’s own words, “Project Van Buren aims to retrieve and preserve this visual presentation to the smallest detail, while staying true to the intended course of its original creators.”

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Laco’s commitment to accuracy and preservation serves as an interesting contrast with other projects such as the Revelation Blues mod to recreate Van Buren in New Vegas, which claims more license for interpretation and deviation. . It’s almost like a museum-quality replica or broadcast from an alternate dimension where the game was successfully made.

As of November 2021, Laco has successfully implemented All of its planned key technical features, including an optional realtime-with-pause combat mode. This is strictly a “when it’s done” type of project, but hopefully one day soon we will all experience this road that hasn’t been traveled in gaming history.

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(Image credits: Bethesda, Adam Laco)

The isometric RPG genre is, of course, in a multi-year revival. Games like Pillars, Divinity, and most relevantly, Wasteland 2 and 3 provided a modern sense of combat balance, user friendliness, and encounter design. It will be interesting to see how well Project Van Buren and its period-precision system hold up against these more recent interpretations of the genre. Whatever the case, it’s an impressive project thanks to a dedicated fanbase and some volunteer helpers, and it’ll be worth a look whenever a playable version is made available.

(Image credits: Bethesda, Adam Laco)

(Image credits: Bethesda, Adam Laco)

(Image credits: Bethesda, Adam Laco)

(Image credits: Bethesda, Adam Laco)

(Image credits: Bethesda, Adam Laco)

(Image credits: Bethesda, Adam Laco)



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