Chris Avellone is an RPG machine. His credits stretch back two decades, to games including Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, KOTOR 2, Neverwinter Nights 2, and—in 2017 alone—Torment: Tides of Numenera, Prey, and Divinity: Original Sin 2. He also had a hand in Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas, which is why a recent bit of activity on his Facebook page has caused quite a stir among fans.
It might be nothing—it's probably nothing—but Avellone posted an image of three Vault Boys on his timeline on September 29, one of them with his hand on an RPG Bible, one reading a plot outline, and one apparently in love with his big brain, to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of the original Fallout. That in itself isn't necessarily a big deal: 20 years is a big number, and one worth celebrating, after all.
But a few days later he updated his profile picture to a hand-drawn image of what is presumably meant to be himself hugging the Vault Boy, under the words, "I missed you so much." That's a little more on the nose, and the reactions are about what you'd expect: Heavy breathing, "take my money," and at least one Daniel Bryan meme.
Avellone is a busy guy these days, with projects including Pathfinder: Kingmaker, the System Shock reboot, and Bard's Tale 4 on the go. And aside from this image, I'm not aware of anything he's done to indicate that he might be involved with the Fallout series again. But at the same time, I can't help thinking about what InXile boss Brian Fargo said a couple of years ago about its 2014 filing for a Van Buren trademark.
"There were some things, some ideas, that Chris Avellone had for doing something that made the post-apoc—a twist on the whole what-was-being-done that we really loved," Fargo said. "So we talked about it and we thought why not grab the rights so we can entertain this one of these days."
I've emailed Avellone to see if he's willing to wink or nod or otherwise give a sign that something (or nothing) is afoot. I'll update if he does.