Fallout 4 is finally official, but the fake rumours won't stop popping up. As Ron Perlman might say: Bullshit. Bullshit never changes.
Over the past couple of years, we've been inundated with rumours about the next Fallout game, most of them blatantly fake, including a massive ARG back in 2013 that fooled a whole lot of people. In fact — at risk of breaking our arms trying to violently pat ourselves on the back — the only substantial Fallout 4 rumour that turned out to be true came from Kotaku in December 2013. (More on that in a bit.)
Today, however, the internet is going nuts over a Reddit post from June 2014 that many now seem to believe was accurate. In the post, a user named SandraReed claims to have been an employee at Bethesda who played the next Fallout game, and she outlines a list of fanfictiony bullet-points including returning Fallout characters and even a roadmap for announcement and release.
Since yesterday's Fallout 4 news, the post has started recirculating, to the point where it's now been linked on the top of major subreddits including r/games, r/gaming, and r/fallout — comprising a readership of millions. (Video game sites like Destructoid also reported on the rumour, calling it at least partially true.)
Problem is, this new Reddit post appears to be nonsense. It's got some spurious claims, like the fact that there will be a last-gen version of Fallout 4 with a Fallout 3 save transfer feature, as if Bethesda would implement such a substantial system for last-gen players only. Right now, Bethesda has only announced that Fallout 4 is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Even if there is a last-gen version, it's clear that the company is pushing for current-gen, so why would they add such a crucial feature to only the last-gen versions?
There are other compelling reasons I believe this is a fake, too. Over the past 24 hours, fans have pointed out that SandraReed got some details correct — like the Boston setting and the voiced player-character — but what some haven't seemed to realise is that those details originated from Kotaku months earlier. Almost all of the correct information from SandraReed's post came from our leaked casting documents, including the Boston setting.
For example, SandraReed wrote in June 2014:
In Fallout 4, mixing things up, we are making the game more "Story Based" and the player character will finally talk, and narrate his storyline.
In yesterday's official trailer, the protagonist speaks — a first for the series — which made some think SandraReed was legit. Yet we revealed the existence of a voiced protagonist months before SandraReed's post, thanks to casting auditions for the main character (who sure looks like the guy in yesterday's trailer):
SandraReed claimed that you'll only be able to play with a male protagonist, but we learned back in 2013 that Bethesda was auditioning for both male and female heroes, as we wrote back then. She also wrote that Bethesda would reveal Fallout 4 with a "trailer only" at E3 2015; instead, we saw a trailer before E3 and will likely see a substantial demo during Bethesda's presser on June 14.
Granted, some of these details might have changed over the past few years. But the evidence points to this being a fake. In the Reddit post, SandraReed also says that her username is her real name — "Ask one of the Bethesda Employees about Me (my username is my name) and they will confirm I worked for Bethesda" — but there's no sign of anyone with that name having ever worked for the company.
Finally, here's one more clear sign that this SandraReed post is a hoax, based on two curious lines she wrote last year:
Anyways, I worked at Bethesda Game Studios in Maryland up until last month before I was fired for releasing confidential information (but it was an accident!)
PS. I leaked some of the first Fallout 4 info by accident, and it ended up in the hands of Kotaku. Oops.
We can definitively say this part isn't true. The only Fallout 4 leak we posted revolved around a set of casting documents we received in 2013, two of which we posted on Kotaku. Those documents did not come from anyone at Bethesda Game Studios. Nobody named Sandra Reed has leaked anything to us or to anyone else who shared any information with us.