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Van Buren was the codename given to the original Fallout 3, which was being developed at Black Isle Studios until its parent company, Interplay Entertainment, fired the development team on December 8, 2003, and in turn, cancelled the game.
Van Buren was set to use a fully 3D game engine that Black Isle Studios created for one of their Baldur's Gate games, known as the Jefferson Engine. Black Isle Studios had planned to use a dual combat system in the game, effectively allowing the player to choose between real time or turn-based combat, kind of similar to the VATS system that developer Bethesda created for Fallout 3 and developer Obsidian adopted for Fallout: New Vegas.
At the time the game was canceled in 2003, it has been said that the engine was around 95% done, character creation was possible in addition to the ability to use skills, save and load games, perform both melee and ranged combat, and finally travel across maps. A tutorial level had been developed. About three quarters of the games dialogue had been completed and all but one of the games areas had been designed. Many of the character and monster models from Fallout 2 would have been reused. This led to the eventual leak of the completed parts on the Internet for gamers to play, however due to numerous bugs it is barely playable.
Van Buren was set in southwestern United States of America, including Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah. According to some leaked design documents the game was to be set in the year 2253. The Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, and Bloomfield Space Station were all places set to appear in the game.
- The games codename of Van Buren, happens to be based on the 8th president of the United States of America, Martin Van Buren. During the development phase of games, Interplay would give all projects code names based on the surnames of American presidents.
- A playable tech demo of Van Buren was leaked onto the internet on May 2, 2007. It contained a tutorial for the game, with its own mini storyline which was not connected to the actual games main story in any way.