Kotaku has confirmed from multiple sources that a group of developers at Obsidian Entertainment, makers of Fallout: New Vegas and Alpha Protocol, were working on a "sci-fi Skyrim" early in 2011.
Backspace was a time-traveling, gun-blasting, alien killing sci-fi concept that was under development at Obsidian. The game was prototyped but did not continue down the development cycle, but with those kind of credentials could get a lot of people very excited.
Obsidian's Feargus Urquhart released a statement about what happened to the game.
"Backspace was a project concept that we neither cancelled nor greenlit…We had some great people work on the idea for Backspace for a bit of time and then moved them off to other projects as opportunities came up. We've been around for ten years now and have had a bunch of great ideas that we still have sitting around that we may be able to return to in the future."
Hopefully it'll live to see another day after the success of Skyrim and the heavy modding of that game to the sci-fi persuasion. In an Obsidian design document Backspace is described as a single player RPG with time travel. Combat is similarly paced to Skyrim but slightly faster "A mix of Mass Effect, Borderlands, and System Shock 2 for gameplay and setting."
We hope this causes enough of a stir to get Obsidian to give Backspace the green light, who doesn't want to play as a time-traveling cyborg.