There have been more Fallout 4 release date rumors in the past few weeks than the rest of the year combined. And, as someone who's been watching the Internet for any whiff of Fallout 4 release date news since January, I have to admit it's been overwhelming. Ever since the infamous thesurvivor2299.com went live there has been so much speculation and analysis going on that keeping up has been a daily chore. (All credit to /r/Fallout for compiling so much info in one place). But I've been keeping an eye on what's out there for you, loyal readers, so that I could come into December armed with an educated opinion. The current Fallout 4 release rumors stretch credibility to the breaking point in places, but some of the speculation may not be so far-fetched. So, without further ado here is your ...
Fallout 4 Release Date Rumor Rundown!!
Survivor 2299 Website Is A HOAX!!!
I admit, when I reported on the survivor 2299 website a few weeks ago I was very optimistic. The countdown on the site ended on December 11 and (at the time) the VGX Awards show date hadn't been set. So, in my mind, the countdown was leading to the VGX awards and that's where we'd see our first glimpse of Fallout 4. But then the VGX Awards were announced for Dec 7 and suddenly the countdown made no sense. Why would Bethesda set up a reveal on a website scheduled for four days after the most televised gaming event of the year? Would they really skip a VGX reveal in favor of web traffic?
No. They would not. This was my first inkling that the survivor2299 site is a hoax. The random date its counting down towards has no connection to anything on the media calendar and, for a AAA title like Fallout 4, Bethesda is going to want to bring the message out at a major event and with lots of fanfare. Like they did with Skyrim.
There are, of course, a lot of other red flags that the survivor2299.com site is phony baloney. Most recently, a countdown that ended yesterday (after faulty coding claimed a reveal was coming 12 hours later) revealed more Morse code and ciphered messages. These "clues" have been appearing on the survivor2299.com site since it launched. Again, the /r/Fallout and Fallout.wikia mods have done a thorough job in cataloguing and decoding what's been released so far. As it relates to Fallout lore, yeah, it's very compelling stuff. The people behind the hoax know how to stoke the Fallout fan fire, sure, but anyone who's ever spent time perusing fan fiction online knows there is no lack of creativity in ANY fan community (looking at you with severe judgment Bronies.) So having a working knowledge of Fallout lore doesn't "prove" anything.
Instead, proving that survivor2299.com is part of a Bethesda marketing ploy would require something more tangible than cryptic clues relating to Fallout lore. Fortunately, survivor2299.com has been under a microscope the last few weeks and, based on what I've seen revealed about the site, I think it's a hoax. My first inkling something was off: the IP address moved.
This was the ORIGINAL IP address on the survivor2299.com site: 188.8.131.52. It was reported on by Game Informer shortly after the site went live, with credit going to Redditor xamphear who tracked it down to Poland. Naturally, people started reporting the site had a Polish IP address and was likely fake. Several days later the IP address changed to the more conspiracy-friendly Maryland-based 184.108.40.206. (For the record the IP address of Bethesda's homepage is 220.127.116.11). It's not terribly difficult to shift an IP address around but the real question is why? If you're under the assumption that Bethesda is behind the site why did the IP address originate in Poland and THEN switch to Maryland (where Bethesda is based)? I can buy the argument that Bethesda is doing some top secret, super-viral campaign for Fallout 4 and therefore hosting the site somewhere that's not Maryland. But the fact it was changed to reflect an IP closer to Bethesda says to me that whoever is behind the site wants it to appear like legit Bethesda and changed the IP after the fact because it revealed the hoax.
That's not the only "it's a hoax" fact I have in this Fallout 4 release date rumor rundown. The other big red flag for me is that thesurvivor2299.com was registered via GoDaddy.com. For those who don't know, GoDaddy.com is a domain registration service best known for its ads featuring busty babes. This is unusual because most companies use Corporate Domains to register their sites. It's the service Bethesda has used for all their other websites. So if they're behind thesurvivor2299.com why did they use GoDaddy.com? If your answer is "to cover their tracks" then WHY DID THE IP ADDRESS CHANGE?!? This does not make sense!
My final piece of "it's a hoax" evidence also ties in to another Fallout 4 release rumor I'll be debunking. The survivor2299 website has been referencing Boston in several of its "clues." There was this Morse code message:
CQ CQ CQ BST IS GONE II BST IS GONE N HPE FREQ 3450 RT GB AMERICA
"Calling all stations, calling all stations, calling all stations. Boston is gone, I repeat, Boston is gone. No Hope. Frequency 3450 Return Transmission. God Bless America."
And this ciphered message:
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-
According to Fallout lore, The Institute is located in/near Boston's renowned tech school MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). So it looks like the survivor 2299 is teasing that Fallout 4 will be set in Boston. There's just one problem ...
Fallout 4 Release Rumor Roundup: THERE IS NO PROOF OF A BOSTON SETTING!!!
I can't believe I have to say this, AGAIN, but there is ZERO truth to the Fallout 4 release rumor that says the game will be set in Boston. The rumor started on Reddit where someone under the name "GNR_Informant" posted the following about 10 months ago:
- First and foremost, the game will take place in Boston, and be kind of a direct sequel to Fallout 3 with a few groups returning.
- From what it sounds like, "The Institute" is pretty much the downtown DC or New Vegas of this game. Boston is going to be unlike anything we've seen in a Fallout game before, with buildings more on par with cyberpunk and retro-futurism.
- Androids play a big part in this game. The railroad from Fallout 3 is a faction. The enemies of the railroad is "the Plantation" -- a group who force Androids to farm so that Humans can get food. The Institute is highly advanced and probably obtained or built their own GECK to start a farm.
- Due to complaints about using Super Mutants and the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout 3 excessively and going against the lore too much, Bethesda has decided to avoid using these groups. Bethesda wants to make a new "race" (think Ghoul, Super Mutant) which will be central to Boston. Bethesda is currently looking at Lovecraftian fiction since Boston is around "Lovecraft Country".
- Bethesda has no plans to reinvent the leveling up system to make it more like Skyrim and want to make Fallout 4 more distinct from Skyrim since of the complaints that Oblivion and Fallout 3 were too similar. Bethesda is thinking about introducing a system, similar to Skyrim, where your skills can level up if you perform certain tasks.
After several days of survivor2299.com levels of hype and speculation GNR_Informant came clean and admitted this was a hoax:
I have no proof because this was all a lie. Got bored and posted this.
I'll repeat that because apparently people didn't get the message. The OP of the Boston rumor came out and said:
I have no proof because this was all a lie. Got bored and posted this.
Ok? There has been a lot of Boston speculation since then and the survivor2299 website is perpetuating the Boston rumor. This is either a work of genius or total ignorance on the part of the prankster. A lot of people don't know the Boston rumor was retracted by the OP (mainly because he hasn't edited the post to reflect this) and using it in survivor2299.com makes the site seem more legit to those fans who have casually been following rumors and don't know this has been debunked.
Speaking of debunked ...
Fallout 4 Release Rumor Roundup: European Trademark Withdrawn
Soon after the survivor2299.com story broke there circulated a report that Bethesda had registered the trademark for Fallout 4 with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Markets, the trademark office for the EU. This registration seemed legit on the surface but CVG reports it was actually part of a rash of false trademark filings that included titles such as Shenmue 3 and Half-Life 3. From CVG:
A spokesperson for OHIM could not comment on individual cases, but provided CVG with documents which explained how anyone can apply for a trademark - meaning the website is exposed to fakes for a short period of time.
One key sign for all community trademark applications of this kind is a "classification examination" tick box. Until OHIM officials tick this box, the application is unverified.
It may not be a coincidence this false filing appeared the same week as the survivor2299 website, either. At the time it was seen as proof of the site's legitimacy, but now ... not so much. So, loyal readers, if you encounter any sites in the near future that use the "european trademark" argument as proof positive of a Fallout 4 release date you can politely point out in the comments section that the report is worth rotten donkey butt.
Fallout 4 Release Rumor Roundup: VGX Debut This Saturday?
For better or worse, the survivor 2299 site has at least fanned the flames of Fallout 4 fandom into a feverish fervor. So part of the reason Bethesda hasn't taken any legal action against the site could be they're enjoying the free publicity leading up to their BIG announcement this Saturday. The VGX Awards (formerly known as the VGAs) will air live on Spike TV from 6-9 p.m. EST on Dec. 7 and represent the best opportunity for a Fallout 4 release reveal until E3 next June. The VGX Awards are the perfect platform for a major release announcement. Bethesda Game Studios knows this, which is why they chose it as the platform for their last major game announcement:
Todd Howard Announces Skyrim At 2010 VGAs
According to Spike TV, this year will "continue the tradition of showcasing world premiere game trailers but for the first time ever, the show will offer extended demos of the next generation of games." VERY interesting. Bethesda Game Studios has been silent all year about Fallout 4, which is widely believed to be the first next-gen project the studio will release. Now that both systems are out and gamers are looking to the 2014 calendar to see what's next for Xbox One and PS4 the VGX awards are the best place to see a Fallout 4 release reveal.
KEEP HOPE ALIVE!!! At least until Saturday.
If we DON'T see a VGX Fallout 4 reveal I wouldn't expect to see anything from Bethesda Game Studios until E3. The company might tease a major announcement for next summer's trade show in l.A., but I'd be surprised if they decided not to debut their Fallout 4 trailer on the VGX awards in favor of a tweet sometime this Spring. It's possible they might do something at PAX East but PAX is such a fractured event in terms of the events and the interests that I think Bethesda would rather wait for the more industry-friendly E3.
So that's your Fallout 4 release rumor roundup for December loyal readers. As always you can follow me on Twitter for the latest in Fallout 4 news and rumors. And be sure to check back with idigitaltimes.com this weekend for our coverage of the VGX event and DEFINITELY remember us on Dec. 11 when the survivor2299 countdown comes to an end with what I hope is the most epic Rick Roll in Internet history.