Cancelled Fallout 3 Is Being Brought Back To Life

Cancelled Fallout 3 Is Being Brought Back To Life
Black Isle | Bethesda

Written by 

Tom Chapman


24th Nov 2021 14:42

The long history of the Fallout franchise is littered with plenty of 'what ifs' and 'what will never happen'. One of the most famous is Black Isle's original plan for Fallout 3. Fear not, the canned RPG has found a new lease of life - and you'll be able to play it for yourselves.

With Fallout now sitting alongside The Elder Scrolls as one of Bethesda's flagship franchises, it has some pretty humble roots. Way back when, Black Isle handled the first Fallout in 1997 and quickly moved onto a sequel a year later. The franchise fell into disrepair, and with Interplay Productions shuttering Black Isle in 2004, it wasn't until 2008 we'd get to play Bethesda Game Studios' Fallout 3.

What Is The Cancelled Fallout 3?

There had been several attempts to deliver Fallout 3, but the most famous is the game known only as Van Buren. When Baldur's Gate III was cancelled, that team was moved over to work on Van Buren, which was supposed to be more of a spiritual successor to Fallout 2

Now, Adam Lacko's Project Van Buren shows the game that could've been. The site page explains, "Project Van Buren aims to reimplement the once-to-be-classic sequel to Fallout 2 with utmost focus on preserving its original spirit in modern technical finish." This labour of love has been in the works since 2017 and definitely channels the vibe of those early RPG Fallout titles. 

There's no official release date for Project Van Buren, but Lacko remains committed to making sure this forgotten version of Fallout 3 will be preserved for the ages. Van Buren was described as "retro-futurism meets Mad Max", adding 3D environments to an isometric RPG Fallout. In 2007, over 700 pages of Van Buren design made their way online, and alongside a tech demo, it's given us a pretty clear view of what it was supposed to look like.

What Happened To The Cancelled Fallout 3?

There are conflicting views on how much of Van Buren was complete when Interplay pulled the plug. Despite paying a pretty penny to take over, Bethesda Game Softworks started from scratch and created a whole new vision for Fallout 3

When Black Isle went bump, several big names went on to form Obsidian Entertainment - which is remembered for the beloved Fallout: New Vegas. Some rightly think New Vegas is the best game in the Fallout franchise, so there should be solitude in the fact some of Van Buren's ideas were added to the spin-off. 

Van Buren has a solid premise, with the main player being an escaped convict who is pursued across a post-apocalyptic America by robotic prison guards in the year 2253. Someone else is adding Van Buren to New Vegas with the (now hidden) Revelation Blues mod. In terms of raw Fallout 3 content like Black Isle had intended all those years ago, Project Van Buren is one to watch. 


Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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