Source: The forthcoming issue of Official Xbox Magazine UK.
What we heard: When Bethesda Softworks announced it was taking over the Fallout license in 2004, role-playing fans rejoiced. The series, which had been dying a slow death alongside its flatlining publisher, Interplay, was suddenly in the hands of one of the most acclaimed RPG developers in the business.
Judging by an interview with producer Todd Howard immediately after the purchase, Fallout 3 would be handled with much more care than it had been at Interplay. The latter publisher had closed series developer Black Isle Studios and stopped development of Fallout 3 in favor of releasing the tepidly reviewed spin-off Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel--the only console entry in the franchise--which was so hated by Fallout fans that it was nicknamed "Fallout: POS."
Though Fallout 3 was a no-show at both the 2005 and 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expos, enthusiasm for the project increased over the last two years. The surge in interest paralleled the avalanche of critical plaudits that fell on Bethesda's latest project, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, GameSpot's 2006 Role-Playing Game of the Year.
With the Xbox 360 and PC versions of Oblivion--both based on the Gamebryo engine--earning near-equal praise, the prospect of the currently PC-only Fallout 3 also being released for the Xbox 360 became tantalizingly real. So tantalizing, in fact, that the fact Bethesda refused to rule it out in a recent interview with OXM UK led to a spate of "Fallout 3 coming to 360" headlines on Gamernews.org, playfuls.com, and No Mutants Allowed.
Unfortunately, the majority of the OXM UK article is merely the author talking about the possibility of a 360 Fallout 3, which he (rightly) speculates would be both technically feasible and financially lucrative. For his part, Howard dodges the mag's questions. When asked about Fallout 3, he says only, "We started work in late 2004 with a few people. We only had about 10 people on it until Oblivion wrapped, but most of our staff is on it now."
Avoiding any mention of a platform, Howard continued, "We have pretty long preproduction phases on our stuff doing concepts, design, building prototypes, and such." He then dropped a tidbit more tantalizing to Fallout fans than fresh iguana-on-a-stick: "We should be ready soon to show it off, but we'll see."
Still, if Fallout 3 does come to the Xbox 360, gamers can take comfort that it won't be another half-baked console spin-off. Referencing the OXM UK interview on his blog, Fallout 3 producer Ashley Cheng spoke of how he "hated" Fallout: BOS, indicating a 360 Fallout 3 would (hopefully) bear little resemblance to the PlayStation 2 and Xbox misfire.
[UPDATE] The official story: Taking time out of a multicity trip, jet-setting Bethesda vice president of marketing Pete Hines got back to GameSpot. "Yes, we have said before folks are working on it and have been, but we won't say what stage it's in," he said. "In short, no, nothing's changed, no details, no platforms, etc. We give the same answers regardless of who is asking. It will be a while still until we unveil, until then we aren't saying anything."
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus that anything official about a 360 Fallout 3 has been announced. Not bogus that the prospect gets gamers all hot and bothered.