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Some retailers are already putting up provisional release dates for Bethesda's highly anticipated open-world RPG, Fallout 4. GameStop and Amazon, amongst others, are listing the game with a release date of December 31st, 2015 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
The news was collated by NeoGaf in a thread. They link to the Bethesda store but it only shows a “TBA” or To Be Announced notice on the store page. The page only contains the most basic of information and reiterates and drives home the point that the original debut trailer was all put together from in-game assets and footage.
The thread also links to the Amazon store page. It contains another very basic outline of Fallout 4 and pre-order options for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Additionally, the Amazon page has a December 31st, 2015 release slated for Bethesda's highly anticipated sequel to Fallout 3 (or Fallout: New Vegas if we're not counting numerical sequencing).
Amazon wasn't the only one who go with a December 31st, 2015 placeholder date, though. If you go over to GameStop's page, they also list Fallout 4 as arriving on December 31st, 2015 for home consoles and PC.
Let's just talk about December 31st, 2015 for a bit... that lands on a Thursday in North America. That's a big no-no as far as AAA game releases go. In fact, that's a big no-no even for European or what they classify as PAL releases. In the U.K., specifically, big games launch on a Friday. In America the big games launch on a Tuesday. The only time games launch on a Wednesday anywhere in the world is when it's a digital only release. Nintendo is also one of the only major publishers to release their games worldwide on a Friday as opposed to a Tuesday in North America. So just for the sake of consistency when it comes to game releases, Fallout 4 doesn't fit within the regional standards for any of the major gaming territories.
In addition to this, December 31st is a horrible date as far as market timing goes. The last day of the year? Really? It's after Christmas and it's after Black Friday, so there's no way Bethesda would let that go. They would miss out on way, way, way too many sales. Fallout 4 has been anticipated enough that they can demand an audience with strong sales releasing just before or around the Black Friday window. So it's likely that December 31st is more like a possible provisional release window if the game is set to release this year.
However, open-world RPGs are no small task, no laughing matter and very unpredictable when it comes to stability. There are a lot of variables to consider in today's market of multi-choice, multi-varied open-world games and unless Bethesda has been working really hard on this game for the past few years, I tend to doubt that a 2015 release date is concrete.
Even still, this only adds to the intrigue of what Bethesda has to showcase at this year's E3 for Fallout 4 and I think a lot of people are exciting to see what they roll out on June 14th.