The Interplay Return Hoax and What a Return to Fallout Could Look Like
When it comes to the Fallout series, there are two camps of fans: those that are fans of the original Fallout games and New Vegas, and the fans of Fallout 3 and 4. Interplay are the minds behind the original isometric RPG games, as well as one part of the team who wrote Fallout New Vegas, with these games being closely tied to the roots of the series because of it. Now, Interplay isn’t what it used to be, and after a hoax involving the company coming back, many fans are wondering what a return to the series would look like in 2021.
The History of the Company
Interplay was founded by four people in 1983: Brain Fargo, who went on to make InXile Entertainment, Jay Patel, Troy Warrel, and Rebecca Heineman. The company started out small being named Interplay Productions. At first, they started out by making text adventure titles underneath Activision, which published their games Mindshadow, The Tracer Sanction, and Borrowed Time.
Soon enough, Interplay made the original Fallout game, which is extremely different than the series today, being an isometric RPG title. The story follows a character known as the Vault Dweller who has to travel out into the wasteland to find a water purification chip, as the Vault they live in is losing its water supply due to the previous chip breaking. The game has the player set off into the world, and encounter a lot of of characters, enemies, and other hazards as they attempt to save their home. However, The Dweller is exiled from the Vault at the end of the game after completing his mission.
Fallout 2 would follow soon after, being designed by Chris Avellone, a freelance writer and a worker inside Interplay’s Black Island Studios. He designed Fallout 2, as well as writing the entirety of the Fallout Bible, the guide to the Fallout series from Interplay’s original two games. Avellone went on to work on what is known by the community as Van Buren, which was the internal name for Interplay’s Fallout 3. However, the game would never see the light of day, and instead would be picked up by Bethesda, as they went on to continue the Fallout series, though all this work wouldn’t go to waste. After the release of Fallout Tactics, which was Interplay’s second to last Fallout title before the acquisition of the series by Bethesda, Avellone and another Black Isle developer named Feargus Urquhart founded the company Obsidian Entertainment.
Avellone would then go on to be a massive part of the development of Fallout New Vegas, which stayed true to a lot of the story and included ideas and references to the scrapped fallout 3, being considered the best Fallout game since the franchise was bought by Bethesda. This created a divide between the fans who enjoyed Fallout 1, 2, and New Vegas, and the fans who enjoy Fallout 3, 4, and possibly Fallout 76. Obsidian wouldn’t make another game in the Fallout series, but would continue on to make the RPG title The Outer Worlds, as well as an upcoming sequel that’s still in very early development. Avellone would continue to work for other companies, most recently working for Techland on Dying Light 2, and Vampires Masquerade Bloodlines 2, until false allegations of sexual misconduct were thrown against him, prompting both companies to drop Avellone from their projects in 2020.
Interplay also got into a massive fight with Bethesda after Interplay was given back the rights to the original Fallout license to develop an MMO for the franchise in 2012. However, Interplay couldn’t deliver, and the company was forced to give the rights back, completely losing the Fallout license to Bethesda.
The company was slowly bleeding funds after this, ending with Interplay selling off most of its intellectual properties to other companies in 2016. Now without a series to its name, the company has been sitting working with other developers like Black Isle Studios, which is still functioning. One of their original titles, Baldur’s Gate, got a remaster this year, but beyond that the company seems to be inactive for the most part, although social media channels for the company and Black Isle studios are still regularly posting.
On July 27th, 2021, Interplay tweeted a teaser for something that the company is cooking up. The phrase, “Tomorrow, prepare yourselves for the new Interplay” was posted, with a gif of Fallout’s iconic “Please Stand By” screen. Many fans were curious about what this could mean and if old staff would be coming back to Interplay.
When asked about the supposed return from Interplay, Brain Fargo, who now owns the company InXile entertainment, made his own post regarding the company’s supposed return: “Sorry to dash your hopes but I’m not involved with the Interplay announcement and I’ve no idea what the “new” Interplay will be. I’m as curious as you. It’s sure nostalgic to see the logo and the “By Gamers. For Gamers.” again.”
The sad truth is that the account that posted this teaser isn’t actually Interplay, as the real Interplay came out to tell it’s fans that the account known as @InterplayEnt was an imposter. This didn’t please the fans, who were holding out for a return to the Fallout franchise, hoping that Interplay would be making a remaster of Fallout 1 and 2, as Interplay had remastrered Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance earlier this year.
Many fans who were duped were left wondering what’s going to come next for Interplay. With Baldur’s Gate remastered already, the possibility of the company making a comeback in the form of patching things up with Bethesda to remaster Fallout 1 and 2 would make for a interesting return to form for the seemingly dead company. However, when it comes to the two original Fallout games, they’re very different than the previous Fallout titles, with some more mature themes and routes that characters can take in the game. Fans are concerned that the image of the original titles may be toned down or removed to account for modern sensibilities if they went ahead with a remaster. While that would be doing the original titles a disservice, there’s another option that fans would love to see made into a reality if Interplay ever did decide to return to the Fallout series.
Interplay could push forward and make Fallout Van Buren a reality, since players never got to experience that version of Fallout 3. However, it would have to be inserted into the Fallout series that Bethesda has made, making it more akin to a Fallout 5 if they decide to stick it at the end of the Fallout timeline, rather than slotting it in between Fallout 2 and 3. Granted, Fallout’s licenses being given back to Interplay could be a bit of a stretch, seeing that the two companies left one another off on a bad note, with Interplay failing to deliver on the promise it made to Bethesda, and losing the biggest license the company had.
However, with Bethesda’s track record on Fallout and the horrible launch of Fallout 76, it wouldn’t be out of the question for them to reevaluate their choices and possibly opt to working in conjunction with some of the influential players in the creation of the post-apocalyptic RPG rather than asking Interplay to work with them directly again.
For those who still want to experience the same amount of cham found in Fallout 1, 2, and New Vegas, The Outer Worlds is the closest that players are going to get. While wackier and tongue and cheek, The Outer Worlds still has more charm in its design and gameplay than games like Fallout 4 and 76.