[[caption-width-right:350:As close to a cover as it'll ever get...]]

''Fallout: Van Buren'' was the original ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}''. Note that its name would have been "Fallout 3", and "Van Buren" was merely its development codename. It was in full 3D, but utilized a top-down perspective much like the old games. It was canceled shortly before Creator/{{Interplay|Entertainment}} went under in 2003 and closed Creator/{{Black Isle|Studios}}, even though it was around 85% done. Backlash ensued, and while some were pacified when Creator/{{Bethesda}} released ''Fallout 3'' five years later, others view Van Buren as the real and superior version of ''Fallout 3'' and are still venomously bitter about its cancellation. Despite the game being canceled, some elements of its story have been [[BroadStrokes adapted or directly incorporated]] into the ''Fallout'' canon.

Prison may not be [[RunningGag an okay place to live]], but Tibbets Facility, cell number [[MythologyGag thirteen]], is home. The technology dates back to before the Great War, and plenty of robots are there to look after you. You've been there so long you can hardly remember why; perhaps you were guilty of whatever crime they've convicted you of, or perhaps not, but it doesn't matter either way. At least you're alive, and outside, things aren't safe.

Then, one day, you wake up to find things have changed. Not only are you in a completely different prison, but there's a rather large hole in the wall, which you proceed to walk out of. Back in Post-Apocalyptic Arizona, you find yourself besieged by robots wanting to take you back to your cell, strange diseases infecting select towns, a war between the NCR and Brotherhood of Steel, a strange slaver army called "Caesar's Legion" that seems obsessed with ancient Rome and led by a maniac who calls himself Caesar, and a menacing figure named Doctor Victor Presper who wishes to instigate another nuclear holocaust on the world.

Alone, with empty pockets and an army of problems at your back, you head out into the wasteland.

A fully working tech demo for the game was completed, and was eventually leaked to the Internet, and can still be found on various fan sites. It has its own story, and is set during the Great War itself. Nearly all of the details you see here and elsewhere around the net are gleaned from the enormous mountain of design notes leaked to the internet by the development staff, containing nearly everything from the game including many parts that had already been cut during development long before the cancellation.

''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', which takes place in one of the areas this game would have covered, has a completely original story, but draws on the enormous amount of design done for ''Van Buren'' and select elements (such as Caesar's Legion and The Hanged Man, now The Burned Man) do appear in the game. It helps that Creator/ObsidianEntertainment, the developer of ''New Vegas'', was founded by many former Black Isle staff, including Creator/ChrisAvellone.

And in case you were wondering: "Van Buren" was a WorkingTitle. The game had absolutely nothing to do with USA's 8th president, UsefulNotes/MartinVanBuren. Interplay just code named projects in development after American presidents out of ease. Nor does this have anything to do with the obscure [[Creator/VanBeurenStudios Van Beuren Cartoon Studio.]]

A group of fans have pooled together to recreate Van Buren. The project is still in its early stages and/or dead, but some screenshots are available. Their [[http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?forums/van-buren-a-fallout-adventure.86/ forum can be found here]].

[[folder: Tech Demo]]
You're a Citizen of the Midwest commonwealth, and [[OhCrap you've just been drafted!]] There's a war on, son, and [[DirtyCommunists the communists are everywhere!]] Quick, now, hop to it! [[DrillSergeantNasty Do you want to be a pile of ash like your parents, because they weren't fast enough to outrun the bombs?! I didn't think so!]] Now grab a gun and pick a target, mister, because we gotta get to the Vault and fix the life support system, so take Corporal Armstrong over there and get going! ''NOW!''
!!Tropes found in this game include:
* TheAtoner: The player would have been offered the option to choose whether to be an actual criminal or not, and in [[CrapsackWorld this world]] that's saying something. If the player then leaned towards making good oriented choices, they would most likely would have been this.
* BroadStrokes: It's implied the events of this game ''did'' end up happening in some form or another, but the extent to which will likely never be revealed. Most of the game's concepts went into ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', including several characters, but none of them directly mention the events of this game.
* CardboardPrison: Sure, the automated prison sends out robots to capture the PlayerCharacter back, but thanks to an in-universe case of ArtificialStupidity they would always throw them back into their old cell. You know, the one that continues to have a man-sized hole in the wall.
* ChekhovsGunman: Sulik's sister shows up in this, after escaping some slavers and becoming the leader of a Tribal Vault.
** [[TearJerker So he never found her.]]
* TheEmpire: The Brotherhood of Steel has transformed from an isolationist but peaceful faction into a group of fascists that attack anyone they consider to be 'unworthy' of having advanced technology.
* EvilutionaryBiologist: Victor.
* TheFederation: The New California Republic.
* FunWithAcronyms: The Ballistic Orbital Missile Base [=AKA=] B.O.M.B.
* InspectorJavert: The robots trying to take the player back to prison. For all they know, the PlayerCharacter ''are'' a criminal. And there's a 50% chance they are for sure.
* KillSat: B.O.M.B.-001, a pre-war orbital Nuclear weapons cache. [[OhCrap Victor Presper, the big bad, planned to use it.]]
* LostColony: The town at Hoover Dam is this to NCR.
* TheManTheyCouldntHang: The Hanged Man, who is still very much alive, and a recruitable companion.
* ThePlague: The New Plague of which the player were an unwitting carrier, as a part of Victor's plan to activate B.O.M.B.-001. This would be first discovered late in the story, as people in the settlements the player had visited start dying left and right. With a high enough intelligence and science skill, the player would have been able to synthesize a cure too.
* ShroudedInMyth: By the time of ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', the events of the game have become this, like all the other games before it.
* VestigialEmpire: The NCR became this sometime before the game takes place. The eastern part of the republic has completely lost contact with the core region and Hoover Dam is the only known surviving city under their control.
* TokenEvilTeammate: The Hanged Man, a ChaoticEvil ImplacableMan who you'd find [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin hanging on the end of a rope]], but still alive. He turns out to be an infamous criminal whom people have tried to kill numerous times. As a party member he would be appropriately MadeOfIron, but his company would cause people to despise the player almost universally.
* TalkingTheMonsterToDeath: It would have been possible to convince Victor to abandon his plan. But since he was the most brilliant mind to ever come out of the NCR, the player would need at least 10 in intelligence and a high science skill to do so. Talking his partners in crime into betraying him, however, would not be quite as hard.
* YouAreTooLate: After causing Victor's defeat, the player would move on to deactivate B.O.M.B.-001, only to make a grim discovery. While the player would have able to call off the majority of the nuclear bombardment, depending on their repair skill, some nukes could not be recalled, and they would have been left with the options to blow up B.O.M.B.-001, performing a HeroicSacrifice in the process, or choose which settlements that should be struck by the attack. In choosing the latter, the player would have left B.O.M.B.-001 in an escape pod, and "I Don't Want To Set The World on Fire" would started playing while nuclear blasts dotted the earth's surface.