By Matt Peckham
June 3, 2015

After years of noise and feckless speculation, finally some signal: Fallout 4 is happening, says open-world gaming magnate Bethesda Softworks. Insert a tunnel, oncoming train, and someone expounding about the sound of inevitability.

Bethesda’s servers appear to have fumbled the news about an hour earlier than expected, briefly lifting a Fallout-themed countdown curtain, due to zero out at 10:00 a.m. ET. At that point, we learned the game was in the offing for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Also: that there’s (still) a dog. Because everybody—hey Fable 2, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Grand Theft Auto V!—has a dog nowadays.

And now that the countdown’s complete, we can say it’s definitely happening. See the official trailer above.

(Yep, that’s another Ink Spots tune; this time they’re crooning “It’s All Over But The Crying.”)

Bethesda Softworks

It’s impossible to say without asking Bethesda, but just watching the trailer, I’d wager Fallout 4‘s still using Bethesda’s Creation engine (created for Skyrim), doubtless souped up, but still looking more like a tricked out, high-resolution version of Fallout 3 than a radical graphical leap (as you’d generally see when this much time’s passed between installments). That could be by design, of course: an attempt to establish visual continuity between 3 and 4. Whatever the case, it still looks terrific.

Our last trip to post-apocalyptic North America (by way of the mid-20th-century), was developer Obsidian’s glitchy but beautifully crafted Fallout: New Vegas in 2010. Fallout 3, Bethesda’s first and to date only in-house vamp on Interplay’s beloved late 1990s GURPS-inspired roleplaying duology, appeared way back in 2008.

Not that all the in-between waiting’s a bad thing. Bethesda fashions worlds roughly analogous to actual worlds, so sufficient prep time’s essential. No annual CallofAssassin’sCryNFL for Todd Howard—Bethesda’s bigwig producer/director on both the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series—and gang.

My guess? The big surprise at Bethesda’s E3 press event, which I’ll be attending on Sunday, June 14 in Los Angeles, is that Fallout 4 could ship by year’s end. Note the option to preorder the game right now from the official website.

Write to Matt Peckham at matt.peckham@time.com.

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