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UPDATED: “Nuclear winter has come” according to a possible ‘Fallout 4’ website

Just before the release of the PlayStation 4, a handful of Reddit users discovered a new website registered to ZeniMax, known as thesurvivor2299.com. The website featured a countdown timer and a Morse code message, and according to IGN some of the Reddit users then went through the Javascript code and discovered a reference to Fallout, while confirming the Morse code was a reference to the date December 11, 2013, the same day the timer hits zero.

The website has since changed, giving more credence to the idea that the site is, in fact, building up to a new Fallout reveal. The site now features an image similar to the “vault-tec” logo from the Fallout games (seen on the right), and has the phrase “Nuclear winter has come,” along with the following message:

KVNGR REV ALPHA PPS VT PIZ UHMYLPVOQ CM XHWMZP.

NBJB SPI’F BYQS QT D’Y BYFGEOB FI VQDYL MAQ. –

NGQHT 5120-

1920_vintage_vault_tec_by_solace_grace-d4cs4c7

The name of the website could also hold a hint. The number “2299” may refer to a year. The first Fallout took place in 2161, while its sequel jumped to 2241. The first game in the series under Bethesda, Fallout 3, took place in 2277, while the spin off Fallout: New Vegas was set in 2281. It would be in keeping with the game’s tradition to set a sequel even further in the future.

That is by no means conclusive, nor does a Fallout reference necessarily mean Fallout 4. It could just as likely be re-release of an older Fallout title, or a spin-off like Fallout: New Vegas. Still, seems like an awful lot of effort for something other than Fallout 4, and it has been five years since Fallout 3 was released. A new game in the franchise is likely, maybe even inevitable. To further hint that a Fallout 4 reveal is imminent, Bethesda recently trademarked the game in Europe. That could be partly to prevent anyone else from grabbing it, but the coincidences are piling up.

The timer seems to hit zero on December 11, 2013 at 5pm PST, so hopefully we’ll know for sure then.

 As an interesting aside, a Reddit user recently blew a few minds by posting that the series’ iconic Vault Boy, seen above, isn’t actually giving a thumbs up as most assume. Instead, it is a test. If you are caught near a nuclear blast, hold your arm out and your thumb up. If the mushroom cloud is smaller than your thumb, you’re safe. If it is bigger, you are in a radiation zone and need to evacuate.

We haven’t been able to confirm that, but we choose to believe it is true, because it makes a cool mascot even cooler. (If you can confirm or deny this, let us know in the comments.) 

UPDATE: It has been revealed that the website is an elaborate hoax. Bethesda has confirmed the site is a fake via Twitter. The man behind it spent nearly $1,000 dollars, and intended to have it all culminate with a fake CGI trailer. Following Bethesda’s tweet, the hoaxer then went on Reddit and engaged in an Ask Me Anything, where he revealed how he did it. As for why, he claims he wanted to force Bethesda to reveal something during the Spike TV VGX Awards. 

Bethesda apparently contacted the person directly, although it wasn’t clear what was said or if the company plans to take any action.