As diehard Fallout fans and loyal readers of my columns know, the Fallout 4 release date news has been a bit of a wasteland lately. And not the good kind of wasteland you can lose yourself in for hours and hours but the boring kind where very little of interest is happening. That's why this month's Fallout 4 release date news is, like previous months, mixed with equal parts speculation and hope. If you've been following my excellent Fallout 4 release date coverage then you know all the available facts concerning the game's development.
If you haven't been reading my excellent coverage, don't worry, there's still something here for you to get started on. Because, despite the aforementioned wastelandiness of Fallout 4 release date news there is still a thing or two worth reporting. Specifically, the fact that Bethesda Game Studios is going on a hiring spree aimed at some serious next-gen development.
On the ZeniMax jobs page there are eight (EIGHT!) positions advertised for Bethesda Game Studios. My loyal readers know that BGS is the studio developing Fallout 4 and should not be confused with its sister company Bethesda Softworks, the company currently working on The Elder Scrolls Online. Here are the positions Bethesda Game Studios is trying to fill:
In the job descriptions for some of these positions Bethesda Game Studios gives us some insight into what they're doing next. For example, the description for the Game Programmer position says BGS is looking for "talented programmers to join our team that is pushing the bleeding-edge of RPG development for the PC and future-generation consoles." The Future Console Programmer ad is looking for "experienced programmers to work on cutting-edge technology for an unannounced game on future-generation consoles."
If you read between the lines of "bleeding-edge of RG development" and " unannounced game for future generation consoles" it's not hard to see "Fallout 4." All the ads cite "experience playing Bethesda Game Studios games a plus" as well, a strong indication that the new project is based on their previous work which consists almost entirely of Fallout and Elder Scrolls titles. Although we shouldn't ignore the possibility of an IHRA Drag Racing reboot, right?
These new hires could be in place to replace employees who've left the company, but if not, eight hires represent a significant increase in the Bethesda Game Studios development team. When working on Skyrim BGS CEO Todd Howard said during a Bethesda podcast the team was around 90-100 people and that the last Fallout game had 70 people. So eight new hires is somewhere in the neighborhood of a 10 percent staff increase. Do the positions being advertised give us an indication of where Fallout 4 is in production and how far we are from a Fallout 4 release date?
The game development cycle is not a fixed system, meaning you can't ever know how much time is involved with different phases of the process. This is especillay true of a company like Bethesda Game Studios that operates on a "we release it when it's ready" attitude. However, the new hires at Bethesda Game Studios seem to indicate that Fallout 4 is in the latter half of its development cycle. Check out this handy-dandy chart from davidmdigley.net:
Bethesda Game Studios is hiring for three separate art positions. And while a concept artist would be working on a game in its early stages, a senior world artist and character artist are needed during the phase of development where concepts become realities. It coincides with comments Howard made to Eurogamer in 2010.
"We kind of overlap, so Fallout 3 was overlapped into Oblivion, so we'll be doing design. We have about 90 people on the team, but not everyone is on the main game. Most people are. We spent time on Fallout 3 during Oblivion so when Oblivion was done we had a design, a concept, and some stuff running for Fallout 3 so we could move the bulk of people onto it," Howard said in the interview. "Likewise with the new game, we were working on it during Fallout 3. We had design, we had concepts, we had stuff we knew we wanted to do."
The "new game" Howard was referring to in the interview was Skyrim. There's a three-year gap between 2008's Fallout 3 and 2011's Skyrim. And 2014 would be three years since Skyrim was released. If BGS is gearing up for the "Art Creation" stage then they're a step beyond just concepts. So is Fallout 4 coming in 2014?
We'll find out at the Spike TV Video Game Awards. Some of you may remember the 2010 VGAs when this happened:
Todd Howard Announces Skyrim At 2010 VGAs
The VGAs are as close to the "Oscars of Gaming" as it gets. It's a televised ceremony and, because of this, it is typically a platform for multiple world premieres. The 2012 VGAs featured premiere footage for The Last of Us, Gears of War: Judgment, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Dark Souls 2 and Tomb Raider. Plus, this year's VGAs are December 6 which means that, unlike the other major gaming events this year, they take place AFTER the release of both next-gen consoles. Without a doubt we'll see a TON of next-gen footage at the VGAs and, if we're lucky, Fallout 4 will be part of it.
Based on the previous VGA reveal from BGS if we do see a Fallout 4 announcement it'll likely include a Fallout 4 release date. If we don't see one, though, I think it means we're not going to get a Fallout 4 release date in 2014. Bethesda tends to announce releases a little less than a year beforehand. If we don't get a Fallout 4 release date announcement in December I doubt we'll get it at a high-profile event in 2014 like PAX East or E3 because Fallout 4 will almost certainly be a fall/holiday release. The previous two BGS releases came out in October and November and it's the right time of year to generate high debut sales.
That's all the new news I have regarding the Fallout 4 release date. Believe me, I wish I had more. It's been a tortuous wait so far and a disappointing year if you're a Bethesda fan (seriously? NO games this year?) and a Fallout 4 announcement would make me forget about all the delays to Elder Scrolls Online and Wolfenstein 3D. However, as my loyal readers are aware, I like to also use this column to point out terrible Fallout 4 news and rumors in order to ease some of the heartache. So please pay attention to the following PSA:
THERE IS NO PROOF FALLOUT 4 IS SET IN BOSTON!!!
I keep seeing this pop up as "news" and "rumor" on various Fallout 4 articles that have zero news or educated speculation in them. There was a story that circulated because of a reddit post claiming a Bethesda insider leaked details about a Boston setting for Fallout 4.
Yes, there are lots of things in Fallout that are based near Boston. But Fallout takes place on Earth so really anywhere on Earth is a possible location and you can cherry-pick all the Fallout lore you want to create a possible setting for Fallout 4, OK?
Also, the OP behind the reddit rumor admitted it was completely made up.
So your Fallout 4 release date news tip for this month is if you find yourself on a story that takes the Boston rumor seriously or presents it as new information you are on a site that has the credibility of Toronto Mayor/Crack Enthusiast Rob Ford:
God I love that clip.
Follow me on Twitter for any and all Fallout 4 updates and, if you're new to the column (or need a refresher) please familiarize yourself with some of my excellent Fallout 4 release date news coverage.