Earthrise studio arming Fallout MMORPG

Interplay enlists Bulgaria-based Masthead Studios to work on still-gestating massively multiplayer "Project V13."

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In 2007, Interplay Entertainment sold ZeniMax Media the Fallout game IP, which the latter's subsidiary Bethesda Softworks had licensed since 2004. The result of that deal was the critically lionized Fallout 3, which has sold nearly 2 million copies in the US and shipped 4.7 million units worldwide. The postnuclear role-playing game also took top honors at last week's Game Developers Choice Awards (video below), held in conjunction with the 2009 Game Developers Conference

Rising from the ashes?

As Fallout 3 hogged the headlines, Interplay used the cash it got from the IP sale to fund its massively multiplayer Fallout project, code-named Project V13. And for a time, it appeared the once nearly bankrupt publisher would develop the game internally. It restarted its internal development studio and even hired original Fallout developer Chris Taylor to work on the project, which has been in development since November 2007.

Now, though, it seems that Interplay has deemed Project V13 too big a title to handle on its own. This morning, the Irvine, California-based company announced it has "signed a binding letter of intent" with Masthead Studios "to fund the development of Project V13." Under the terms of the deal, Interplay will oversee a collaboration between its own dev team and Masthead's on the title, using the Bulgarian studio's toolset. Currently Masthead is working on Earthrise, another postapocalyptic MMOG also set after World War III, slated for release later this year.

If Project V13 is a success, it will prove a remarkable reversal of fortune for Interplay. A leading publisher during the 1990s, it fell on hard times during the current decade, with its parent company, Titus Interactive, declaring bankruptcy in 2005. In 2004, the publisher suffered a series of misfortunes and was temporarily shut down by state labor officials, threatened with eviction, and had its Web site go offline. The previous year, it closed down its award-winning Black Isle Studios, the refugees from which went on to form Alpha Protocol developer Obsidian Entertainment.

Discussion

152 comments
eva02langley
eva02langley

Honnestly, Fallout franchise died with Fallout 3... or should I say TES with guns... :lol: Seriously, Fallout 3 got absolutely nothing in common with Fallout 1 and 2... nothing at all.

fLaMbOaStiN
fLaMbOaStiN

I hope this game makes it out somehow.. Till then ill enjoy Fallen Earth :D

krazilec
krazilec

Muties beware! There's 14 million former WoW players coming after you with plasma rifles and old-school M60s.

nappan
nappan

@Jericho: good point, and the answer to your last two questions in my case at least is "no, and no".

Jericho66
Jericho66

Is this a PC MMO or a console/360 one? If it is...aren't 360 users already paying a fee to microsoft? Did anyone play or pay for Phantasy Star or FFXI when they came out?

Shiizuki
Shiizuki

Hmm, looks interesting. Gotta wait for more news then...

denicola_a_god
denicola_a_god

wata ripoff of fallout i nbet it will be amazing though

BigDaddy973
BigDaddy973

Awesome, I am all in for a Fallout MMO!

sluffmochildeater
sluffmochildeater

When Ultima Online came out the first thing I said was, "Man, they should do this with Fallout." Now, I'm not all that excited about this. I'd rather them put more into a new fallout game that resembles the top down look of the old ones. Call it wasteland or whatever.

Fatal_Byte
Fatal_Byte

I've been playing this series since 1998....those of us who are hardcore Fallout fans must be amazed at all this hype for a game that seemed to be all but dead at one point. I only hope the bset for Fallouts future, what a great game.

Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

I really hope WoW doesn't kill this. Hopefully it'll resurrect Interplay -- they published my favourite retro-RPGs, and perhaps they'll continue that tradition even without Black Isle.

yeah_28
yeah_28

Its a great idea but its gonna be really hard to make it right, no matter how this turns out there should always be non MMO new Fallouts, an MMO its again a great idea but it will never be able to have thngs like a deep story or plot in wich every player its the hero so this MMO its great as long as it keeps being a secondary part of the game's world. To me, a cool idea would be modern remakes of the original games maybe not in first person like fallout 3 but improved in graphics and more things and still keeping the type of game it was, there are a lot of gamers that haven't played fallout 1 and 2 even after playing fallout 3 mainly because its so old, i think those remakes would have a lot o sucess, plus they could include those deleted parts like the ones in the Fallout Restoration Project, iplayed the original games in 2008, and they became one of my favourite games of all time by far, imagine the pontential of those games tunned up just a bit to get to more modern gamers.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Huge Fallout fan, but I'm not sure about an MMORPG. The feeling of isolation and the general atmosphere are huge aspects of what make Fallout great. Those factors will be completely nullified when you're sharing a playscape with hordes of LEETZORZ brats screaming gibberish at each other and running around teabagging the Brotherhood. Call me when Fallout 4 drops.

Dreski83
Dreski83

I wonder if the Interplay people are talking to Masthead about more than funding and toolsets... maybe they will try to sway them into working completely on a Fallout MMO :roll: Audacity?

jadefury27
jadefury27

this could be huge. hopefully this won't be the last we hear about this type of project, like some other similar titles *cough huxley cough*

atopp399
atopp399

Strange the same company(Masthead) would work on two post apocalyptic RPG's to compete with one another.

Penalty_of_Hero
Penalty_of_Hero

Looking forward to this one. Hop they can pull it off.

salvucci91
salvucci91

I would without a doubt purchase a Fallout MMO; hope to god it's in the right hands when created though.

dracosummoner
dracosummoner

Hmm, why can't I find (much) more information on "Masthead Studios" ? What other games have they done (I'm a relatively new "Fallout fan," but nevertheless I hope this studio knows what it's doing) ? At any rate -- please forgive me if I'm wrong -- I'm not very excited about this game, for the same reason that I'm not excited for "The Old Republic." It seems to me that the Fallout games, like the Knights of the Old Republic games, revolved around giving one (1) character enough freedom of choice to impact entire civilizations. MMOs, because of their vast, interconnected player bases, generally can't allow any one player to have too much "influence" when it comes to making story decisions. So how will either of those games maintain "balance" (in terms of story or gameplay) while still allowing players truly to "role-play" and develop their characters?

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

@SrTVBR "Holy ...........!!!! They really know what the fans want. At least its not gonna happen the same thing with Oblivion that everyone wanted a MMO for it." An Elder Scrolls MMO is likely in development at ZeniMax Online.

nappan
nappan

"wrednajasobaka Posted Apr 5, 2009 6:18 pm ET If this game is good I just might forgive Interplay for killing Black Isle Studios..." Four words: Never Forgive. Never Forget. They apply to a wide variety of situations, and Interplay gutting Black Isle is one of them. foisting a golden IP onto some Bulgarian dev in the desperate hope to milk an MMO cash cow to stay alive? Pfffft.

SrTVBR
SrTVBR

Holy ...........!!!! They really know what the fans want. At least its not gonna happen the same thing with Oblivion that everyone wanted a MMO for it.

nappan
nappan

@Vault Ausir: Hrrm... I think that with Bethesda at the helm the chances are literally zero. I hope for Wasteland 2, but it isn't in the bag by any means, so... who knows. The thing is, I liked Oblivion, and I like open worlds. I just didn't want that for my Fallout experience, I don't think that is so unreasonable. That said, FO3 was such a huge success, what's done is done. No question.

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

@nappan "BUT. The concept of making a top-down or isometric Fallout with more strategy and a LOT more RPG elements is very doable. " Doable, but unlikely after Bethesda's re-imagining of the series. I have some hopes regarding Jason Anderson's Wasteland 2, though.

nappan
nappan

@Vault Ausir: Trrruuuueee.... BUT. The concept of making a top-down or isometric Fallout with more strategy and a LOT more RPG elements is very doable. I could even imagine a game like that using the Crysis 3 engine to put the needed shaders, polygons, etc... on the screen at one time for that kind of game. Revival? No... but a re-imagination along those lines is hardly impossible. After all... As you mentioned Diablo 3, it seems prudent to point out that the isometric viewpoint hasn't died yet, why not put it to more good use?

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

Of course, it's only a hypothetical situation. Any actual revival of Van Buren would be impossible a this point.

nappan
nappan

@Vault Ausir: good man :)

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

@nappan "If you had the Fallout creative team to make the setting and story, what direction would you point them in?" Pretty much in the direction of the canceled Van Buren.

nappan
nappan

@Vault_Ausir: Fair enough. So, I think I've got where you're coming from on all but one issue. If you don't mind, I'm curious what you'd like to see from a new Fallout game. I get that Bethesda isn't the love of your life, and we clearly agree that MMOs are dirt. If you had the Fallout creative team to make the setting and story, what direction would you point them in?

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

@nappan "As for CT being in charge, he is a creative lead, but "in charge" is probably a stretch." As I said, he's in charge in terms of the new story and setting is concerned, and these are the elements I care about.

nappan
nappan

@Vault_Ausir: Turned down. That is... frusterating. As for CT being in charge, he is a creative lead, but "in charge" is probably a stretch. "Working on" is no "in charge". I imagine that working for Interplay with Masthead making the thing is not going to give him the kind of freedom (or as you alluded to earlier, capital) to get his good ideas into the game. For the record, I know that CT isn't working with Bethesda for all kinds of reasons, but when I say that I can't fathom them, it isn't so much that I don't understand, but that I find it hard to accept such a baltently stupid and mercenary move on Bethesda's part. Even the creators of Horse Armour should know better than this.

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

@nappan "Chris Taylor at least, would be ideal for that job... BUT.. will he be allowed to? He's not in charge of this after all, and who knows if the devs will have the wits to give him the free reign they should." What do you mean? Chris Taylor pretty much is in charge of the development of this game on Interplay's end now that Jason Anderson (who was in charge before) left, and is the lead designer. The game is not developed only by Masthead - it's co-developed by Interplay and Masthead, with most of the design being done at Interplay, and most of the technical stuff being done at Masthead. Setting-wise Chris is definitely in charge, and I'm sure many things Jason Anderson came up with while still at Interplay will also appear in the game. "I still can't fathom why Chris Taylor isn't working on the next real fallout game =(." Some original Fallout developers, like Leon Boyarsky did apply for jobs at Bethesda, but they were turned down. Boyarsky is now the Lead World Designer of Diablo 3 at Blizzard.

nappan
nappan

@Vault Ausir: hmmmm.... Chris Taylor at least, would be ideal for that job... BUT.. will he be allowed to do it? He's not in charge of this after all, and who knows if the devs will have the wits to give him the free reign they should. With MMOs, gameplay often dictates the story, and as creative as CT and JA are... they may not have the choice to exercise that creativity. Now, I would laugh my cheeks off if the game tanked, but as you intimate, the backstory and setting is greatly enriched by CT/JA... heck, if the game fails and that happens, nothing would stop Bethesda from snapping up the story and using that... it would be the brightest thing they could do frankly. I still can't fathom why Chris Taylor isn't working on the next real fallout game =(.

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

@nappan "but I don't know that people would be satisfied playing a slave, or junk-town resident, vault-tec member, etc. " But I expect plenty of them to want to play lone wanderers or members of small bands of travelers, not associated with any major faction. "and I cringe at the thought of a rigorous "MMO backstory" being associated with Fallout canon. God forbid people start to want elements of MMO gameplay inserted into the next REAL Fallout game." MMO gameplay is one thing, but I expect any additions to the setting/backstory by Chris Taylor and Jason Anderson to be better than any of the ones by Bethesda, even if the game sucks gameplay-wise.

nappan
nappan

@Vault Ausir: Ok, I get what you're saying. I'm just going to lay it out that you clearly know a lot more about Fallout canon than I do, but I don't know that people would be satisfied playing a slave, or junk-town resident, vault-tec member, etc. You probably have it when you point out that new factions, "races/classes", would be made, and I cringe at the thought of a rigorous "MMO backstory" being associated with Fallout canon. God forbid people start to want elements of MMO gameplay inserted into the next REAL Fallout game.

khariss
khariss

if i can be a super mutant i might consider it but imo the fallout series wasn't really crying out for a mmo

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

@nappan "Finally, Vault Ausir, if you can't be an Outcast, or Enclave, then Interplay will have to make shockingly bold gameplay decisions." How so? There's plenty of other factions around, including ones that will likely be made up for the new game, and who says that players have to belong to any faction? "There is the backstory of the exodus from earth, and even if they are only there to give you a cool laser, Aliens exist in the Fallout universe... That said, if you made THAT into an MMO... spaceships, aliens, an exodus from a doomed earth, then you've made a VERY different game from the experience of Fallout: A person or small team, alone, in a morally ambiguous world that has been devestated beyond all (apparant) hope of repair." There's plenty of other things in the Fallout universe the game can focus on. And the Enclave can still appear, even if not playable. As for your concerns, this is what Chris Taylor said about it: " I've seen some discussion here and there about how many players is anti-Fallout (or, more generically, anti-post-apocalyptic). I'd disagree, of course, otherwise I wouldn't be involved in V13. There are plenty of precedents for grouping and social organizations. Even the Road Warrior had allies during his cinematic adventures. In Fallout, NPCs were always available to join your group and there were plenty of social organizations that had a number of members. My vision includes the lone wanderer, erm, wandering through the wastes and a team of individuals working together for a common goal (like getting a truckload of fuel past some raiders). In any MMO, there will be times and places that have more people than others (social centers vs. instances, for example). It won't be all of one at all times." "Do you believe that Masthead can pull this off? Not hope, believe... really? You clearly appreciate the complexity and nature of the Fallout universe, and there is something terribly incompatible with the lonely expanse of a blasted nuclear hell, that fades when you're in it with an MMO crowd... I'm not trying to be snarky or rhetorical, I'm interested in your thoughts on this." I don't know if they'll pull it off financially. Other than that, I don't really care about it as a game. I'm not into MMOs, and I only care about it in terms of new additions to the Fallout setting (canon, lore) from some of the original makers of Fallout (namely, Chris Taylor and Jason Anderson).

wrednajasobaka
wrednajasobaka

If this game is good I just might forgive Interplay for killing Black Isle Studios. Another game that I think is dying to be made into MMORPG is Stalker.

nappan
nappan

@Vault Ausir: Yep, I forgot, and mixed up conclave and enclave. Can't imagine how I'd make such an obvious error... *rolleyes*. Well, aside from my questionable memory for names, your post reads like a list of excellent reasons why Fallout MMO would NOT work. Balence issues, factional issues, and tech issues. As I said, everyone is going to want power armour, if for no better reason that it is the coolest looking gear. As for the Outcasts... I never considered the legal issues you've raised. You may be right in fact, but the thing is, Fallout 3 is popular for a few reasons, and two of them are: 1.) People like you who clearly cherished Fallout 1 and 2, and... 2.) People who never played Falout until they got their hands on Fallout3. That is not a recipe for MMO success. Purists are bound to be horrified by what will be done to an MMO, unless they have the stones to make it turn-based. VATS just can't happen period, and the question of what class you are... I don't know. Fallout is everything you want in a single-player experience, and I don't consider it a weakness of the franchise that it doesn't translate well to the watered-down world of MMOs. So much of the atmosphere that makes the series great will go right down the tubes the first time people start "talking" in whatever wasteland it is based in. Finally, Vault Ausir, if you can't be an Outcast, or Enclave, then Interplay will have to make shockingly bold gameplay decisions. There is the backstory of the exodus from earth, and even if they are only there to give you a cool laser, Aliens exist in the Fallout universe... That said, if you made THAT into an MMO... spaceships, aliens, an exodus from a doomed earth, then you've made a VERY different game from the experience of Fallout: A person or small team, alone, in a morally ambiguous world that has been devestated beyond all (apparant) hope of repair. Someone sad it earlier here, the population density issue ALONE makes this absurd. Fallout as a franchise has a long and illustrious future, I belive but Vault Ausir, I don't think an MMO as they are currently made can be part of it. Well, in closing I'm not going back and correcting the conclave/enclave and outcast issue, because frankly it would be annoying and a pain (and this exhange between us would be robbed of context), but I completely aknowledge that those are two points I mixed up and hadn't considered. Thanks Vault, you're clearly a fan of the series, so I have to ask: Do you believe that Masthead can pull this off? Not hope, believe... really? You clearly appreciate the complexity and nature of the Fallout universe, and there is something terribly incompatible with the lonely expanse of a blasted nuclear hell, that fades when you're in it with an MMO crowd... I'm not trying to be snarky or rhetorical, I'm interested in your thoughts on this.

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

@nappan "Back in the real world, where EVERYONE is going to want to be either a Bortherhood of Steel member, or Outcast, or Conclave member." First of all, it's Enclave, not "Conclave". Second, we don't know if the Enclave will even be playable (since you can't join the Enclave, you have to be born in it, and characters starting out as members of the Enclave would have too much of an advantage tech-wise). Third, there won't be any Outcasts in Fallout Online, for several reasons. Firstly, they were introduced in Bethesda's Fallout 3, and Interplay only has the rights to use content from previous Fallout games, not any of the new FO3 stuff. Secondly, the Outcasts are local to the Capital Wasteland, and it's a safe bet that Fallout Online won't be set on the East Coast, as they'll try to avoid potential conflicts with Bethesda's new lore. Either the West Coast places known from FO1 and 2, or some entirely new locations will likely be used. Thirdly, outside the Capital Wasteland any Outcasts wouldn't make sense simply because they're pretty much what the actual Brotherhood of Steel is aside from Lyons' detachment.

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

@taylormadederek "It wont be Fallout MMORPG because they sold the rights to it. " Wrong. They sold the rights to the Fallout franchise but leased the rights to Fallout Online from Bethesda. See: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Fallout_Online_FAQ @ endocrine "Interplay better get rid of D20 for this game or it will be worse than D&D online" Why would a Fallout MMORPG be based on d20? It will be based on SPECIAL, not d20. @mrklorox "So now, officially, nobody who was a member of Troika games is returning to work on V13." No, but Chris Taylor, also one of the makers of Fallout, is still at Interplay. And Jason's departure had nothing to do with the Masthead partnership (why would it?).

pogomaniac
pogomaniac

on a side note, what we really need is an action/skill based mmo, with little rpg elements that's based on your meaningful involvemnt not your time put in.

Mr__Peanut
Mr__Peanut

This could be the best game ever made

Crusek
Crusek

It's been over 6 years since I played a MMORPG that i really enjoyed and became engrossed in. I have nothing but love of Fallout and it's creations. I hope they can prove us all wrong about our fears and misgivings about this project and make a excellent game we can all enjoy yet again.

weemanwonder31
weemanwonder31

I really like the ideas of MMORPG's its just that most of 'em are crap & the good 1's usually want u to pay a subscrip fee

rubenst6
rubenst6

TeHEliteElite: Yes, there are a lot of MMORPGs. It's not that there are too many of them; it't that there are too many bad/mediocre ones. What we need is another good MMO. Only time will tell. taylormadederek: You couldn't be more obtuse. Your opinion is perfectly clear. However, your endictment of others is misguided at best. There are 11+ million people across the world who disagree with you and billions of dollars spent to participate in game plots that don't have a clear end. It's not a Book, or a Movie, or a Play. Plenty of people want to play a game (which differs immensly from theseother forms of entertainment) wherein the story isn't defined by a simple A to B end. As for getting out and kissing a girl... Well, that is a valid observation about some hardcore gamers.