What just happened? A small independent modding group working on an ambitious Fallout 4 project for the last few years keeps losing its best team members. It’s not because they are just up and quitting, however. Apparently, the group has such great talent that Bethesda keeps recruiting them to work in a more official capacity.
Bethesda hired one of the Folon Team’s lead developers to work within its studios. Lead 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, is entering the final stretch of development.
Fallout: London is a DLC-sized mod for Fallout 4 set in England’s post-apocalyptic capital wasteland. The project will offer the first glimpse of the Fallout universe outside of the United States. It is also the first significant content for FO4 that fans have seen since the Nuka-World DLC launched in 2016.
Johnson had many duties within the Fallout: London project, including level design tasks. It’s no wonder that his dedication to the mod caught Bethesda’s eye. The team posted an update on Twitter saying that Johnson not only finished all his assigned levels but also designed a few extras and wrote complete documentation for his remaining duties so that the team could finish the project without further input from him.
Johnson is not the first Fallout: London developer that Bethesda has poached. The project’s lead writer got snatched up in August 2021. Bethesda also offered Project Manager Dean Carter a position in its UK studio to work on the Fallout 76 team. However, he turned it down because he wanted to finish working on the London project before moving on to something else.
The Folon Team noted that development on the mod continues and that Johnson’s departure will not significantly impact the project. The game is still on track for release next year.
“We have known about this move for a while and thus [Johnson] has helped collate his knowledge into invaluable design documentation so the rest of the team can work on in his stead seamlessly,” the team said. “More so, [Johnson] finished all of his expected level design tasks as well as a few extra ones we didn’t expect him to do. The man’s professionalism and dedication will honestly and truly be missed and felt throughout the team, however, it brings us hand-on-heart joy to know that he will be taking his amazing talents to a company we all love.”
So far, the game looks pretty cool. Vault-Tec never expanded operations overseas, but that’s okay because a mysterious organization that looks just as insidious is in place over there. Another interesting twist is the Atta Boy tablet, which serves the same functions as the Pip-Boy in America. The setting almost has a Bioshock vibe but is still recognizably Fallout. You can check out the first 18 minutes of gameplay above.