Fallout 4 trademarked, teaser site found, and other unverified rumours [Updated]
UPDATE: Surprise! It was all lies. Stand down Fallout fans, your time is yet to come.
Internet. Internet never changes. Which is why, once again, we're having to cross the irradiated wasteland of rumour and speculation. There's a chance - remote though it may be - that Bethesda are readying the broadcast signal and preparing to announce Fallout 4 to whichever isolated pockets of humanity care to listen. Of course, there's also a chance that this is nothing, and that Fallout fans will be left to starve on a diet of broken, empty dreams. It's how they would want to go.
The first clue was the emergence of the website TheSurvivor2299.com. It's a countdown site, ticking down to the 11th December, and featuring the logo of the series' Vault-Tec company. The site also plays a Morse code signal, which translates to '11-12-13'. A WHOIS lookup of that site shows that, apparently, it was registered by Bethesda's parent company Zenimax.
So far, so good, but a number of factors cast doubt on the site. You can find a great rundown of evidence for and against the site's legitimacy on the Fallout Subreddit, but, to summarise, it was both registered by a different company than Zenimax usually use, and is using a different, self-branded DNS. Eyebrows were also raised at the date, which is in the dd/mm/yy format so beloved by myself and my countrymen.
Of course, the counter-argument is that Bethesda have done this to foster such uncertainty - with believers citing when Blizzard did a similar thing with one of their viral teaser sites. It's also worth nothing that the 11th December is the date of the VGAs, an award ceremony which is known for its game announcements. And for being embarrassing to watch. People have also pointed out that of course they were going to use dd/mm/yy, because 11-12-13 looks cool.
We're not done yet. There's another twist: a Fallout 4 trademark has been registered by Bethesda Softworks. Even that's far from definitive. A recent EU trademark for Half-Life 3, supposedly from Valve, was later removed when it turned out to be a hoax.
Given all this, we turned to Bethesda in the hope that they could act as the Geiger Counter against these deadly rumours. Their response? "No comment". Make of that what you will.