Ambitious Fallout 2 fan remake emerges, blinking into the light through Fallout 4's engine

 The Sacred Head of the Vault Dweller as seen in Project Arroyo.
The Sacred Head of the Vault Dweller as seen in Project Arroyo.

Project Arroyo is another one of those hugely ambitious attempts by fans to remake a classic RPG in one of Bethesda's newer engines, much like Skywind and Skyblivion, but with Fallout rather than the Elder Scrolls. Specifically, Arroyo takes aim at Black Isle's Fallout 2, hoping to bring New California into the modern age by rebuilding the whole thing in Fallout 4's engine.

The project has been underway for several years, but only glimpses of the team's efforts have been unveiled in that time. Now Arroyo's designers have released a two-minute trailer dedicated (mostly) to showing off the remake's environments, and from a visual perspective at least, it's shaping up to be quite the looker.

As with Bethesda's Fallout games, Arroyo converts Fallout's isometric 2D perspective to 3D first (and presumably third) person. The trailer shows off various key Fallout 2 locations like The Sacred Head of the Vault Dweller (visible above), and the interior of the Temple of Trials, all lovingly remade in real-time 3D with lush modern lighting effects.

While the leap in fidelity is dramatic, efforts have clearly been made to preserve as much of Fallout 2's color and shape as possible. Many of the showcased settlements and interiors have a sort-of boxy layout, as if transposed directly from a tile-based isometric RPG. The Temple of Trials' chunky sandstone block walls look grainy enough to rub, while the glimpse of neon-green radioactive goo has enormous '90s PC energy. The remake does look like it'll be more topographically rugged than Fallout 2, however, with several shots of dramatic mountain-scapes and canyons, an entirely reasonable alteration to what is a fairly flat game.

The trailer focuses mainly on locations, but there are a few clips of the game in motion. We see the player hack at some rats with a big knife (the true Fallout 2 experience) and shoot at some mole rats with a Desert Eagle, both of which seem to confirm the game will play much like Fallout 4. The video also shows a V.A.T.S-like action shot of the player-character blasting the antennae off a Mantis, although we don't see V.A.T.S itself.

It all looks promising, and remaking Fallout 2 in this manner is a worthwhile project. Far more people are familiar with Bethesda's approach to Fallout than Black Isle's these days, but Fallout 2 arguably still has the best story and questlines of the entire series. As always, though, it's wise not to pin too many hopes to Project Arroyo seeing the light of day: these projects rely on volunteers having the time and energy to see it through, as well as its creators' ability to manage it.

On which note, if you fancy helping Project Arroyo along, the team is currently on the hunt for new members. Project Arroyo isn't the only major enthusiast Fallout project underway right now either. Fallout London – a DLC-sized mod for Fallout 4, is due to release this April, and looks darned tasty in its own right.