Fans looking for Fallout 4 release date news have had some serious disappointments lately. Mainly, a series of Vine videos from Bethesda teasing a new game raised hopes that Fallout 4 was coming. Then Bethesda crushed those hopes into sorrow dust when they told us the videos were not about the Fallout 4 release date, but about The Evil Within, a new survival/horror/not Fallout project from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami.

But I encourage my fellow Fallout 4 fans to fear not! I believe a Fallout 4 release date is coming. I believe that Fallout 4 will also be an MMO. Here are my five reasons why Bethesda's big next gen project will be Fallout 4 ... the MMO!

Fallout 4 Is Pete Hines "New Stuff"

Anyone following Fallout 4 news knows who Pete Hines is. As Bethesda's Vice President of Marketing, he is, essentially, the mouthpiece for the company. So, naturally, my Fallout 4 news ears perked up when, during a recent OXM podcast interview, Hines said that Bethesda was working on an exciting project that hadn't been announced yet.

"I think you'll hear us making considerably more noise this year than we did last year, as a publisher," he said. "Obviously the Elder Scrolls Online is out and we've got the Dishonored DLC, but we will be announcing new stuff and making some noise, and I think when we get the chance to show you guys what we're up to, that you'll sit up and take notice."

Now, I don't want to discredit the genius of Shinji Mikami, but The Evil Within was announced since that interview took place and, well, I don't think it's a title Bethesda is going to make a ton of noise over. For starters, it's being produced by Bethesda Softworks. Fans of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series know that it's Bethesda Game Studios that makes these AAA beauties Bethesda is known for, while Bethesda Softworks typically works with other studios in the production of games like Dishonored or Rage. Hines also said in the OXM interview that the "something new" would be groundbreaking.

"I think we're continuing to do the stuff that we get excited about, and people will get really excited about when they hear what we're up to, which is continuing to push the boundaries, reinvent -- find really smart, passionate teams who know what they're doing and have an idea that they really want to do and do well," he said.

Where would Bethesda find a team for Fallout 4 that is "really smart," "passionate" and "knows what they're doing"? Oh, I don't know, maybe the same team that developed Skyrim! Last month, Bethesda announced that the Skyrim team is done working on that game, meaning there will be no more DLC because the team is moving on.

"Parts of our team have also been in pre-production on our next major project, and that game is at the point where it requires the studio's full attention to make it our biggest and best work yet," Bethesda said in a blog post.

The development schedule for Bethesda Game Studios has basically been going on an Elder Scrolls/Fallout/Elder Scrolls cycle the last several years, according to Bethesda Game Studios Executive Producer Todd Howard. In a 2010 interview with Eurogamer, Howard explained the way things work at Bethesda Game Studios.

"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. Now, if logic serves me correctly, the timeline kind of goes like this: when Bethesda was finalizing Elder Scrolls: Oblivion they also worked on Fallout 3. When they were finalizing Fallout 3 they worked on Skyrim. Since the studio basically only produces Fallout and Elder Scrolls titles, it stands to reason they were working on Fallout 4 during the development of Skyrim. And now that the Skyrim team is done with Skyrim, what else could they possibly be working on?

Fallout 4.

Fallout 4 Is In The Works Or ThreeDog Has Lost His Damn Mind

When I think about my time covering the Fallout 4 release date news, it all goes back to this tweet from ThreeDog (the radio DJ in Fallout 3, duh) actor Erik Todd Delllums.

The tweet kind of blew up in his face. Fans jumped all over the hint that Fallout 4 was in the works and Dellums had to do some damage control and deleted the rumor-tastic tweet. The damage, of course, was already done.

"I let [Bethesda] know that fans were clamouring, trying to figure out if there's any chance that Three Dog would be back sometime," Dellums told OXM. "And, you know, they let it slip that it looks like Three Dog will. And they said that, 'Well, maybe you could tell your fans.' I don't think they even anticipated it would explode like this."

Dellums told OXM that fans shouldn't expect any official announcement for a while.

"Unfortunately my lips have been sealed," Dellums told the site. "They're very private people. They probably love the fact that on some level that the fans are clamouring. But I think they're digging too deeply now, and Bethesda's trying to keep things as secret as possible."

Then, on March 8, Dellums went apeshit on Twitter.

Basically, if Fallout 4 isn't being developed then Dellums needs some professional help. But these tweets sound like they're coming from a man who upset his employers and needed to go out and try to repair the damage as best he could, which, in my opinion, only made matters worse. If nothing was going on, why would Dellums act so hard like nothing's going on? Because something IS going on, and that something is Fallout 4 for next gen consoles.

Bethesda Hiring For Next Gen Versions Of Fallout 4

A report from Italian gaming site Io Videogioco unearthed a job posting on Bethesda's site looking for "experienced programmers to work on cutting-edge technology for an unannounced game on future-generation consoles."

While it doesn't specifically say "This is for Fallout 4 everybody!" the ad lists "experience playing Bethesda Game Studios games a plus" in the requirements. The speculation is that the post refers to the Fallout series since it's for Bethesda Game Studios and not their sister company the not-Fallout publisher Bethesda Softworks. Here's the full posting so you can draw your own conclusions about whether or not it could be related to Fallout 4.

So, clearly, Bethesda Game Studios is working on a next-gen console title and they need some more eggheads in the studio to help the process along. This isn't breaking news; obviously every company in the market today is going to be working on next gen titles. But remember that Hines told OXM Bethesda is looking to "push boundaries" and "reinvent" with their next title. How could they go about reinventing the Fallout franchise? With three simple letters: M-M-O.

Fallout 4 MMO Rights Secured By Bethesda

VG247 reported wayyyy back in January that Bethesda's parent company, Zenimax, paid a hefty $2 million to Interplay to return the rights for a Fallout MMO back to the publisher. $2 million is a LOT of money to spend on simply protecting your brand name. Why else would Bethesda want the right to develop a Fallout MMO? This wasn't some fly-by-night legal proceeding either. Zenimax and Interplay have been in court over the rights to a Fallout MMO since 2011.

Clearly, Bethesda wanted the rights to do a Fallout MMO. And given the recent release of the tepid MMO Defiance, and the hype surrounding Bungie's upcoming MMO Destiny, it's clear that the MMO concept is making the jump from the PC world to the next gen consoles. And since Hines talked about "reinventing" things with Bethesda's next big project, a Fallout 4 MMO would fit the bill quite nicely. Players are already accustomed to an enormous open world, there's a built-in storyline that is rich with characters and history and, unlike Destiny and Defiance, a Fallout 4 MMO would come with the name recognition of a successful, beloved franchise.

How would Bethesda handle a Fallout 4 MMO? We need only look to the world of trademark and copyright paperwork to get a sense of what we fans can expect from a potential Fallout 4 MMO.

Bethesda Trademarks Fallout 4 TV Show

Back in January, OXM ran an interesting story about a trademark filed by Bethesda. The story reported on paperwork filed by Bethesda for the trademark rights for "entertainment services in the nature of an on-going television program set in a post-nuclear apocalyptic world."

This part of the Fallout 4 release date news story links back to ThreeDog's tweets about working on the project. In Fallout 3, ThreeDog was part of Galaxy News Radio and, if you remember, occasionally popped up on your Pip Boy with plot points and story info. If Dellums is indeed reprising his role as ThreeDog I think an in-game television station is where we're most likely to find him.

And, as it relates to Fallout 4 being an MMO, an in-game television station would serve as a great vehicle for delivering information/quests to players in the world. Think about it. You have a character in the Fallout 4 MMO and, instead of quests and story elements being sent to everyone's individual Pip Boys, players have to watch some in-game TV to find out where major events are unfolding, who the heroes/villains are and probably get a dose of comic relief too.

The more I think about it, the more I like the concept of an in-game TV station dictating the action in a Fallout 4 MMO. I'm imaging players creating characters based on different factions and starting in different locales, but a universal TV station would be a subtle way to get all the necessary story/questing info to players across the map without forcing them to frequent the same message boards.

The paperwork lists Fallout as the "literal element", which, according to trademark blog traverselegal.com, is the portion of a trademark filing used to indicate any wording that will appear on a logo associated with said trademark. In normal human language, it means that the word "Fallout" is attached to the trademark for the TV show, a clear indication that Bethesda isn't invading the airwaves with an actual TV show set in a post-nuclear apocalyptic world.

Basically, Pete Hines is talking about a big, exciting project at the same time that ThreeDog says he's working for Bethesda while they hire more employees at Fallout studio/Bethesda Game Studios in the same year that they spend $2 million on MMO rights and trademark a TV show that will be branded with the word "Fallout."

Phew.