What just happened? A small indie modding group working on an ambitious Fallout 4 project for a few years keeps losing its best team members. It’s not because they just stand and give up, though. Apparently, the group has such talent that Bethesda continues to recruit them to work in a more official capacity.
Bethesda has hired one of the lead developers from the Folon team to work within its studios. Senior Technical Advisor Ryan Johnson is leaving the fan-based Fallout modding group to work on unspecified projects at the Microsoft-owned company. The departure comes just as the team’s magnum opus, Fallout: London, enters the final phase of development.
Fallout: London is a DLC-sized mod for Fallout 4 that takes place in the wasteland of England’s post-apocalyptic capital. The project will offer the first glimpse of the Fallout universe outside of the United States. It’s also the first meaningful content for FO4 that fans have seen since the launch of the Nuka-World DLC in 2016.
Johnson had many duties within the Fallout: London project, including level design duties. It’s no wonder his dedication to the mod caught Bethesda’s attention. The team posted an update on Twitter stating that Johnson has not only completed all of his assigned levels, but also designed some extras and written full documentation for his remaining tasks so the team can complete the project without further input. on his part.
Johnson isn’t the first Fallout: London developer that Bethesda has poached. The project’s lead writer was removed in August 2021. Bethesda also offered project lead Dean Carter a position at its UK studio to work on the Fallout 76 team. However, he declined as he wanted to finish working on the London project before moving on.
The Folon team noted that development of the mod is continuing and that Johnson’s departure will not have a significant impact on the project. The game is still on track for release next year.
“We have known about this decision for some time and therefore [Johnson] helped pack his knowledge into invaluable design documentation so the rest of the team could seamlessly work for him,” the team said. “More so, [Johnson] completed all of his expected level design tasks plus a few extra tasks we didn’t expect him to do. The man’s professionalism and dedication will be honestly and truly felt throughout the team, however, it brings us deep joy to know that he will bring his incredible talents to a company we all love.”
So far the game looks pretty cool. Vault-Tec has never expanded its operations overseas, but that’s okay because a mysterious organization that seems just as insidious is in place there. Another interesting twist is the Atta Boy tablet, which performs the same functions as the Pip-Boy in America. The setting has almost a Bioshock vibe but is still recognizably Fallout. You can check out the first 18 minutes of play above.