Bethesda announced a new game in the Fallout series while we were at their press event, called Fallout: New Vegas. Interestingly, Bethesda themselves won’t be creating it. Instead, it will be developed by Obsidian, who are a development house created from the Black Isle studio who worked on the original Fallout games. Now, I’ve got a lot of time for Obsidian. I thought they did a great job on Knights of the Old Republic 2, taking over from Bioware and crafting an engaging game. They must have their plates pretty full at the moment though, as they also have their own Alpha Protocol game due later this year. As Obsidian is such a heavy RPG developer – Neverwinter Nights, NWN 2, KOTOR 2, Aliens RPG (although all is decidedly quiet on this at the moment) – it is a fair guess that New Vegas will be some form of RPG game. Bethesda won’t confirm anything at the moment, but say you can make “educated guesses” on the gameplay, game engine, etc. So, it’s an RPG.

It’s not a sequel to Fallout 3 though, they did say that much. It’s just another game in the Fallout universe that Bethesda spent a lot of cash buying the rights to, and it’s not related to the other already announced Fallout games. It also seems fair to guess that Fallout: New Vegas will be set in a re-imagined Las Vegas. The only other bits of info are that it is set for release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, will be shown some time later this year when Bethesda is good and ready, and is tentatively pencilled in for a 2010 release.

There are two things I find interesting about Fallout: New Vegas. Firstly, how rapidly Obsidian has risen to success as an RPG developer. Time after time, successful franchises have been trusted to them, which shows the high regard the industry holds them in – you don’t let just anyone play with Star Wars, Fallout, or even Neverwinter Nights for that matter. Secondly, I’d hope that the game will continue Obsidian’s tradition of working hard on the story, rather than trying to drive a new level of graphics out of an engine. Certain recent RPGs have been technically outstanding, but dropped below the expectations we’ve come to expect from certain developers in terms of engaging content. I reckon we can count on Obsidian to put the story first.

And lastly, hooray for the resurgence of western RPGs! For a few years, it looked like us RPG fans would have to make do with MMOs, which are great fun, but completely different to single player RPGs. Now we can look forward to Fallout: New Vegas, Mass Effect 2, Diablo III, Fable 3, Alpha Protocol and many more, and that’s excluding the DLC add-ons for the games we’re already playing. (A side note to end on then: Neverwinter Nights 2 fans should look out Mysteries of Westgate add-on coming 29th April as DLC, costing £10, though this hasn’t been developed by Obsidian, but by a studio called Ossian.)