Of all the companies with skeletons in the closet, few seem more burdened with secrets right now than ZeniMax Media and its subsidiary Bethesda Softworks, publisher of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout titles.
There's Prey 2, for one thing - Human Head's open world action project has been floating in limbo for years, and may have been transferred to another studio, reportedly Dishonored developer Arkane. For another, there's id Software's even more overdue DOOM 4, which has allegedly been sent back to square one after a period of mismanagement, presumably not helped by the departure of programming guru John Carmack. And finally, the increasingly mythical Fallout 4, the subject of many a fan hoax in recent months.
PR sources continue to observe radio silence in regards to all these titles. It's probable they won't budge as regards the below job listings, either, which suggest that Bethesda Game Studios has another Elder Scrolls or Fallout-style RPG on the boil. Hardly the most shocking news, no - we already know that Skyrim game director Todd Howard has a game on the boil that's "100% unrelated" to the forthcoming Elder Scrolls Online.
A programmer is sought "to join our team that is pushing the bleeding-edge of RPG development for the PC and consoles". Desired applicant traits include a knowledge of DirectX 11 and experience with all currently available consoles, so a cross-gen release seems likely.
Bethesda also needs a quest designer to "[design] and [document] stories and quests for future next generation products". According to the listing, "experience with The Elder Scrolls Construction Set or GECK [is] a plus", as is "experience with previous Bethesda games". GECK stands for "Garden of Eden Creation Kit" in the world of Fallout, in case you'd forgotten: it's also the name of a set of Fallout modding tools. The publisher would like to hear from a prospective level designer with similar experience.
Last but not least, an executive producer is sought who has "comprehensive knowledge of Action/Adventure/Shooter product genres". The mention of "shooter" tips the balance of probability towards a new Fallout; it's faintly disturbing that experience with role-playing games isn't expected, though as Baronyx points out, there are plenty of those already at Bethesda HQ.
ZeniMax Media's new horse Battlecry Studios is also staffing up - in particular, it's going bananas on new server engineers and gameplay engineers who've crafted online games. This naturally corroborates October 2012's report on the development of a free-to-play MMO for consoles and PC.
Battlecry also needs a senior environment artist to work on "an undisclosed AAA PC and next-generation console game", plus a level designer "with a passion for building world class competitive multiplayer maps" and "shooter/action game experience".
Any hopes? Here's what Fallout 4 might learn or borrow from Skyrim.