The Fallout franchise has been making news lately, with plenty of speculation buzzing around the ‘net.

First we had Bethesda leaning on Interplay over non-production of the Fallout MMOG. Nothing new has come up on that since the initial reports. No doubt, Interplay is attempting damage control to keep the license.

Then it came to light that Bethesda had trademarked Fallout for television and movies. According to an interview with Peter Hines of Bethesda marketing, that’s just to “protect their interests”.

Maybe. And maybe there’s something going on in the background they don’t want to talk about, because it isn’t final. Hey, if Hollywood can make a movie from Bioshock (and they are), why not Fallout?

However, the really startling announcement is that Obsidian will be making Fallout: New Vegas. And the game is scheduled for release next year. Huh.

You may recall that Obsidian was started by some of the devs from Black Isle after that company went under, and Black Isle made the original Fallout. For that matter, it’s been confirmed that Josh “J.E.” Sawyer, who worked on the first game, is the project lead.

There is almost no information about New Vegas beyond the above. It does seem a bit strange that Bethesda would license out another FO game, when their own was quite successful.

Also strange is that it has an early release date. Of course, we shouldn’t always trust such things; games have a way of slipping. If it does make the release, my guess would be for Xmas 2010. Even so, and even using the current FO engine, that’s not a lot of development time.

Since Bethesda is being coy about details right now, we can only guess about what’s up here. Maybe an expansion, as was done for Morrowind? Hines does say it isn’t like Fallout Tactics or Brotherhood Of Steel.

And just to round things out, GOG is running a Fallout week (you know, all this FO stuff all of a sudden is becoming suspicious!). They have a bundle with the first two games, plus Tactics, plus other goodies for $14.37. Bundle good until Monday, April 27 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. And, for your reading pleasure, a retrospective on the two original games.

(And I think this post has the most links I’ve ever put up at one time)

FO trademarked for TV/movies

Interview with Peter Hines

J.E. Sawyer Leads New Vegas project

GOG FO Bundle Sale

FO Retrospective