Fallout: New Vegas drops fall 2010, first trailer debuts

[UPDATE] Bethesda confirms Obsidian-developed installment in postnuclear RPG series will arrive later this year for PS3, 360, and PC; teaser trailer for game inside.

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[UPDATE] Today, Bethesda Softworks announced that Fallout: New Vegas will arrive in fall 2010 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. The Maryland-based publisher released few details about the game, other than to say that it aims to have the same sort of dark humor as the first two Fallout games. As mentioned in the original story about the announcement (see below), many developers of Fallout and Fallout 2 are working on New Vegas in their new positions at independent studio Obsidian Entertainment.

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Bethesda did release a trailer (above) that reveals some details about the game. Very similar in structure to the first Fallout 3 teaser trailer, it begins with Frank Sinatra's big-band rendition of "Blue Moon" piping over a speaker. The speaker, as it turns out, is attached to a lonely, single-wheeled robot that resembles Borderlands mascot Claptrap. Instead of a lens, though, the robot has a television screen showing a gaunt, smiling cowboy.

As in the first Fallout 3 trailer, the camera pulls back to show a longer shot--in this case, the robot sifting through a desert graveyard. A spiky tower similar to Las Vegas' Stratosphere casino can be seen in the background, fully lit up. Indeed, as the camera cranes up, it shows a whole metropolis glowing with thousands of electric lights, much like Las Vegas does today--indicating that Sin City escaped the nuclear onslaught that leveled much of the world in Fallout's timeline.

War, war never changes…except for that whole fully electrified metropolis thing.
War, war never changes…except for that whole fully electrified metropolis thing.

Finally, the camera dollies back to reveal a lone soldier in a duster coat and a helmet with the number "7" on it. The soldier is also holding a California state flag, a likely reference to the New California Republic, a confederation of city-states featured in Fallout 2. The NCR was a significant military presence in the game, and players could join its forces as an NCR Ranger, a lawman dedicated to eradicating slavery. One possibility is that the figure pictured is one such ranger.

The trailer ends with actor Ron Perlman delivering the Fallout series' iconic tagline in voice-over: "War. War never changes." The original article on the teasing of Fallout: New Vegas' announcement today is below. [END UPDATE]

The past few months have seen the Fallout franchise making headlines for being the subject of an increasingly acrimonious legal dispute. That will apparently change on Thursday, as Bethesda Softworks' official Twitter feed is urging fans to "Keep your eyes peeled for new stuff on #FalloutNewVegas tomorrow."

Tomorrow's revelations will be the first new information on Fallout: New Vegas since it was announced last April for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. Due out this year, the postapocalyptic role-playing game will not be a direct sequel to the critical and commercial hit Fallout 3, which was set in the ruins of Washington DC. Instead, it will be set in Las Vegas, which was apparently spared the nuclear holocaust that preceded the original 1997 Fallout, set in Northern California. That game was a semi-sequel to the 1988 RPG Wasteland, which was partially set in Las Vegas.

Vegas, misshapen supermutant baby, Vegas.
Vegas, misshapen supermutant baby, Vegas.

Fallout: New Vegas will also see the license return to some of the developers that helped craft the first two Fallout games at Interplay. Using the Fallout 3 engine, it is being developed by RPG specialty studio Obsidian Entertainment, founded in 2003 by Feargus Urquhart and others from Interplay's now-shuttered Black Isle Studios. Obsidian's other projects include Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, Neverwinter Nights 2 (and several expansions), the stillborn Aliens RPG, and the upcoming Alpha Protocol.

Ironically, Urquhart expressed skepticism when Bethesda licensed the rights to make Fallout games from a cash-strapped Interplay in 2004. Bethesda went on to buy the Fallout IP outright in 2007, leaving Interplay with only the rights to develop a massively multiplayer game based on the series.

Since then, the two companies' relationship has soured over Interplay's marketing of the first three Fallout games as the "Fallout Trilogy" and over Bethesda's claims that the Fallout MMORPG is not being developed as fast as agreed upon. In turn, Interplay has accused Bethesda of trying to seize the last sliver of the Fallout IP so it can develop its own game at its nascent MMORPG division. Like most inter-company disputes, the matter is now before a judge, who most recently ruled in Interplay's favor.

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