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InXile hopes to revive Van Buren "one of these days"

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Van Buren

A brief history lesson: Van Buren was the internal code name for Interplay's Fallout 3, back when Interplay was still making Fallout 3. It was very much akin to its predecessors, featuring an isometric view on a blasted, post-nuclear world; and it was canned in totality when Bethesda acquired the franchise and took it in a more shooter-like first-person direction.

But the dream of Van Buren persisted—in 2010, we cited it as one of the ten canceled games we still want to play—and last year, hopes were stoked when it came to light that inXile Entertainment filed a new Van Buren trademark.

InXile, to continue our lesson, was co-founded a decade and change ago by Brian Fargo, following his departure from Interplay, the developer and publisher he'd founded in the early 80s. It's done quite well for itself in recent years, first with Wasteland 2, then Torment: Tides of Numenera, and most recently, The Bard's Tale IV, which is well on the way to surpassing its $1.25 million Kickstarter goal. Two of those three games are based on Interplay games from long ago (and the third, Torment, might as well be), and Fargo clearly hopes to be able to do the same with Van Buren someday.

"Not yet," Fargo told Eurogamer, when asked whether inXile was actually doing anything with the trademark. "But 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. So we talked about it and we thought why not grab the rights so we can entertain this one of these days."

A bit more history: Avellone also worked at Interplay, on games including Fallout 2, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. He moved on to co-found Obsidian Entertainment after his post-Van Buren departure from Interplay, but he and Fargo have maintained ties, and a working relationship: Avellone took part in the development of both Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera. So while it won't be happening anytime soon—Fargo said inXile already has quite enough on its plate at the moment—it's really starting to look like Van Buren isn't quite as dead as we thought.

Andy Chalk
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.