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News video games 21 June 2024, 03:23

author: Adrian Werner

Tim Cain Put His Hand to Erasing Van Buren Project, or Fallout 3 From Black Isle

Tim Cain, the co-creator of the first Fallout, revealed that he played a role in the deletion of the Van Buren project, a new installment of the series that Black Isle studio was developing.

Source: Interplay

The history of the gaming industry is filled with cancelled projects and probably every player has at least one whose abandonment really hurt them. For many of us, especially RPG fans, such a game is Van Buren, the third installment of the Fallout series, developed by Black Isle studio. Those who are still unable to accept that the game wasn't completed may find the new video material published by Tim Cain on his YouTube channel interesting.

  1. Cain is of course a true legend of the PC RPG market. He participated in the production of such titles as Fallout, Fallout 2, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, and The Temple of Elemental Evil. The developer left Black Isle in 1998 to establish Troika Studio. When Interplay closed down in 2003 Van Buren, he was long gone from the team responsible for it. However, it turns out that Tim Cain had something to do with the abandonment of this project.
  2. In mid-2003, one of the developers from Interplay, with whom he had a good relationship, contacted the creator. He asked Cain to come to the company and play an early version of Van Buren. The dev acknowledged his intention to cancel the project because he doubts that Black Isle studio can finish it within the publisher's feasible timeframe. However, he wanted to seek the opinion of Tim Cain and depending on what it would be, he was willing to change this decision. Cain was discouraged from making the visit by people from Troika Studios, but the developer persuaded him by saying that the project would definitely be cancelled without his involvement.
  3. Cain was supposed to estimate how long it would probably take the team to finish the game after a few hours. He stated that in 18 months they should have a high-quality RPG. Cain suggested that with a strong crunch, it might be possible to achieve it in 12 months, but the game would probably launch with various issues, such as poor balance and numerous errors. Furthermore, after a year of working in this manner, the team would be in tatters, so he strongly advises against it.
  4. As they were leaving the Interplay building, the developer admitted that any answer other than "six months" meant the game would be deleted, so unknowingly Tim Cain sealed the fate of Van Buren. However, it shouldn't be assumed that Cain is responsible for the project being abandoned. The dev was also convinced that it couldn't be done in half a year, and these consultations only reassured him that he was right.
  5. Tim Cain stresses that the deletion of Van Buren cannot be blamed on this developer either. Interplay was in a very difficult situation at that time and the company was quickly running out of money. The developer simply didn't have the funds to cover a development cycle longer than six months.

So ultimately, Van Buren was cancelled. Interplay didn't carry out mass layoffs and most of the people from this team were transferred to other projects. The abandonment of the new Fallout game was internally perceived as a signal that the company was failing, leading to a large exodus of employees within a few months. Ultimately, the developer was forced to sell the brand and this is how, after many years, we got Fallout 3 from Bethesda studio.

It's worth mentioning that Van Buren's technical demo was posted online some time ago, so everyone can check for themselves what Tim Cain played in the Interplay office in 2003. A team of fans has been collaborating for several years on an unauthorized project aimed at finishing Van Buren. We anticipate that the work will be finished someday, allowing us to play the Fallout 3 envisioned by the Black Isle employees.

  1. Impressions of Van Buren – what would have Fallout 3 looked like, if not for Bethesda

Adrian Werner

Adrian Werner

A true veteran of the Gamepressure newsroom, writing continuously since 2009 and still not having enough. He caught the gaming bug thanks to playing on his friend's ZX Spectrum. Then he switched to his own Commodore 64, and after a short adventure with 16-bit consoles, he forever entrusted his heart to PC games. A fan of niche productions, especially adventure games, RPGs and games of the immersive sim genre, as well as a mod enthusiast. Apart from games, he devourers stories in every form - books, series, movies, and comics.


Fallout 3

Fallout 3