This wasn't just a pipe dream -- large chunks of the map had been developed, the guts of the gameplay were functional, scenarios had been written, players had the ability to create and run their own towns, and Interplay had developed a "game-worldwide meta-puzzle," where the entire player base would have to come together to solve an elaborate mystery that spanned the apocalypse. Basically, you know how all your friends won't shut up about their Fallout 4 adventures? Fallout Online would have allowed you to have those adventures together, although it also would have vastly increased the likelihood of employers across the country seeing through your fake illness when you inadvertently grouped up with them.
The Stupid Reason It Was Cancelled:
That deal we mentioned? It came with the condition that Interplay had to start getting serious about working on Fallout Online by 2009. All those words we just said up there implied that they had, but Bethesda disagreed and took Interplay to court. Long and complicated story short, Bethesda lost more decisions than the Washington Generals, but eventually managed to settle out of court, giving Interplay 2 million bucks and permission to continue developing their game -- as long as they stripped every mention of "Fallout" from it.
Their knock-off Nuka-Cola would have been nothing but raw
sewage and carbonated Brahmin blood ... So, Pepsi.
Definitely Not Fallout Online was then handed over to another developer who ran a crowdfunding campaign to rustle up even more money, after which they, uh, vanished from the face of the Earth, taking every hope of a Fallout MMO with them (and also the money of all those loyal fans).
Dickheads? Dickheads never change.