'Fallout 3 In Fallout 4' Mod Cancelled After Team Talks To A Lawyer

The team behind The Capital Wasteland Project, a mod to recreate Fallout 3 inside Fallout 4, has cancelled the project after consulting with both Bethesda and outside legal counsel. "This was honestly one of the hardest decisions I've had to make," the project's lead programmer, NafNaf_95, tweeted yesterday.

Screenshot: Capital Wasteland Project

In a statement circulating on Twitter, NafNaf_95, whose first name is Nathan, tried to explain why the team pulled the plug.

"Recently we have communicated with Bethesda regarding our planned method to implement the voice acting and the other audio from Fallout 3 into the Capital Wasteland," he wrote. "During this conversation it became clear our planned approach would raise some serious red flags that we had unfortunately not foreseen." As a result of both not being able to use the existing voice acting due to licensing issues, and also not having the resources to record new dialogue, as other sprawling mods do, Nathan said the team decided to call it quits.

"Bethesda didn't technically shut us down," Nathan told Kotaku via Twitch message. "But a few members of staff heavily hinted at our methods being illegal."

Bethesda supports modding through its official portal, and has generally looked the other way on unofficial mods that remix its games. The problem, Nathan said, was the fact that Capital Wasteland was planning on using the original game's voice acting, which has performances from Liam Neeson, Malcolm McDowell and others. Since this content was only licensed, not owned outright, by Bethesda, Nathan said, it would have greatly increased the project's risk. (Bethesda did not respond to Kotaku's request for comment.)

According to Nathan, the Bethesda employees said a better path forward for the project would be to emulate Beyond Skyrim, a fan expansion of the base Elder Scrolls game that added new areas with unique quests, dialogue and music. But a project in this vein would have been beyond the capacity of Capital Wasteland's five-person team (supplemented with a small group of additional volunteers). "And realistically the small team I had didn't have the manpower," said Nathan, who worked on one of the Beyond Skyrim mods.

After the bad news from Bethesda, Nathan contacted a lawyer who, he says, backed up Bethesda's stance. "Basically everything we were doing was sketchy as all hell," he said. Feeling the project had too high a probability of being shut down, the team decided cancelling it was the only option.

Since his conversations with Bethesda and the attorney, Nathan said that he spoke with the team behind another mod, called Fallout 4: New Vegas, that was planning on dropping New Vegas's voice work into Fallout 4. That team, he said, has since decided to take on the task of re-recording the game's 90,000 lines of dialogue.

Capital Wasteland had its first official project progress update in April 2017, though work on it had been going for several months by that point. Nathan calculated that even without the extra task of recording new voices, the project still had over two years' worth of work left until it would be complete. "It's a huge risk to spend years of our lives working on something like this to have it potentially shut down," he said.

Even so, it was far from an easy decision. "I'm personally feeling the worst I've felt in my life," Nathan said. "The only thing worse was losing my childhood dog." Currently tending bar at nights, he said he might shift back to working on the Beyond Skyrim: Cyrodiil project while he tries to re-orient himself now that one of the big focuses in his life has been shelved. "To all those people sitting at home going I told you so, looks like it paid off," Nathan said. "Enjoy my misery."


    I just don't understand why they'd put in a year or so of work on this before talking to Bethesda and getting legal advice. Surely you'd do that very early on in the piece to make sure that your efforts won't end up going to waste?

      As I read it, it seems the issue is using assets from FO3 in FO4. Assets not owned outright by Bethesda, namely the voice acting. I'm not sure I'd be thinking about that until well into the process. These things develop along the way, and it might have just been put to the side while they got other bigger things sorted.

      I don't even think Bethesda had any personal issue with it themselves, but were protecting themselves from potential legal action from the voice actors. Given the world we live in, I can see a copyright issue there.

        There have been enough cases of fan-made remakes getting shut down by the copyright holders that you'd think that would be your first port of call when starting up a project like this.

        Even if the copyright holder has a reputation for being supportive (or at least not opposed to) this kind of thing, the smart thing would to do would be to run it by them before putting too much work into it, just in case it's going to cause unforeseen legal headaches or they might just have changed their policy to not be as supportive as they have been in the past.

      Really, they could have kept going. Just released it with zero voice acting and just text dialogue and people would have even enjoyed it.

      Seems (to me) like they bit off waaaay more than the 5 guys could chew, (recreating an entire game) and this was an easy out for them and a way to appease the community who was hungry for their work.

        Honestly I'd love to have Fallout and Elder Scrolls games revert to text-only npc dialogue instead of voice acting. Much easier for modders and you can fit a whole lot more meaningful dialogue into your game. Imho fully voiced npcs never really added much value when it was introduced in Oblivion and although it has come a long way since, I'm still convinced devs should go back to text at least with the player character.

    If Bethesda had any sense, they'd buy the mod off them and sell it as their own.

      Or hire them, clearly they're quite passionate and talented*...

      *Well, passionate at least.... who knows if the game is actually amazing

        Passionate will get you a long long way. Talent helps too, but you gotta have a team that believes in The Dream. Great comment @whatareyoutakinabeet :)

    "Wow, how surprising" -No one

    F*ck you, Liam Neeson!

      He knows where you are, and he will find you.

        ....And he will tell his lawyers where you are, and they will sue you.

        (For the moron who downvoted my comment, I'm fully aware that Liam Neeson isn't at fault for this situation).

          Some people cant handle a VERY OBVIOUS joke.

          Cleary you need to include the phrase "THIS IS A JOKE BLAKEAVON" in your future comments.

    One thinks the better way would have been to have the user have Fallout 3 installed, and reference the voice files on the fly.

    the modder was pretty ignorant thinking it would be ok and is just paying for it now.

    Just create an installer that copies the appropriate files from a local install... No local install, no audio. Simple.

    This is total bullshit that its not allowed though

    ANYONE REMEMBER TALE OF TWO WASTELANDS? That was a full copy of fallout 3 into fallout new vegas

    So if using fallout 3 audio would get you canned WHY COULD TALE OF TWO WASTELANDS DO IT SIMCE FOREVER AGO?

    fuck off bethesda, bethesda was fine with it in the past but now bethesda just gets more and more toxic towards its modding community

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