Capital Wasteland, the Fallout 3 remake in Fallout 4, has resumed development

Capital Wasteland is a major mod project that aims to recreate Fallout 3 into the new, prettier, but otherwise not as good (that's right, I said it) Fallout 4. But just a couple of weeks after we looked at it in early 2018, the plug was pulled over concerns about the plan to bring Fallout 3 voice acting and other audio into the project. The modders decided that they didn't want to risk "our connections with many members of the amazing dev team that is Bethesda Game Studios" over a potential legal dust-up, and so they decided to hit the brakes—while leaving the door open to a possible resumption of work. 

Yesterday, project lead NafNaf_95 announced that the wheels are turning once again, although at a somewhat reduced speed. "In the past year since the cancellation announcement a small but dedicated group of people from the original team have continued to slowly chip away at this gargantuan task," NafNaf_95 wrote on the Capital Wasteland website. "Progress has been slow considering the active team is now smaller than 10 people but nonetheless we can't wait to show you what has been done during that time." 

Development resumed after the team decided to try "re-voicing" the game with its own voice actors instead of reusing the Fallout 3 audio. NafNaf_95 said in an email that a couple of voice actors are already working on the project, and previews should be available soon. 

"A recreation is what it is," he explained. "Its not identical but we want to try our best to capture the original feel. I mean with any of these modding projects, it's really a case of diving in the deep end and seeing what happens." 

He also went into a bit more detail about the reasons for halting work in the first place, which he said "were entirely related to audio." The team had created an application that would extract the audio from Fallout 3 and convert it to a format compatible with Fallout 4, and that's apparently where the legal landmines lay: NafNaf_95 said the process is similar to the one used in the Tale of Two Wastelands total conversion that merges Fallout 3 into Fallout: New Vegas, but because that project doesn't require audio conversion—those games use the same audio format—it wasn't subject to potential legal hassles. But Fallout 4 was built on the Creation Engine rather than Gamebryo, which means that extract and conversion is required, and that puts it off-limits.

"Right now we plan to start with rerecording the voice and we will probably have to use Fallout 4s music and ambient soundtrack," NafNaf_95 said. "It’s not perfect but it’s the best we can do for now." 

It's great that the Capital Wasteland project is back on—I really did like Fallout 3 more than 4—but you probably don't want to hold your breath waiting for release. NafNaf_95 said the team had shrunk to about five people when the project was cancelled, and "a release [date] is something we can never know." But, he added, "We might [have] a little something coming out soon to let people get a taste." 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.