The dust has settled after another year of E3 has come to an end. This year was packed with a ton of new games for fans to drool over, and some that made us want to rage quit. One game in particular has caused us to go to both extremes; “Fallout 76.”
Multiple arguments have developed online about Fallout 76. Most of these involve one person saying they are excited for it, then another gamer says that Bethesda is destroying the franchise. What is it about this game that is causing such animosity among the players?
A Little History
“Fallout,” the first game in the series, was released back in 1997, and since then there have been four games in the main numbered series. They have also given us four spin-off games that include “Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel,” “Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel,” “Fallout: New Vegas” and the mobile game “Fallout Shelter.” One of the big things Bethesda has kept the same throughout these games is that they are all single player only. Now they are expanding into new territory with “Fallout 76” by making it an online only game, and it’s causing a lot of backlash.
Many people are worried about this change, thinking it could be a big mistake by the developer. Others are completely infuriated by it, wanting nothing but another single player game. Yet there are many, myself included, that welcome a new way to experience this post-apocalyptic wasteland.
“Fallout 76” is the multiplayer design from “Fallout 4.” Todd Howard, game director at Bethesda Game Studios, explained in the documentary “The Making of Fallout 76” by Noclip, that while developing “Fallout 4” they were originally planning to add in multiplayer, but soon realized they needed to focus on single player alone.
I was originally leery about an online only Fallout, but as I have learned more about what we can expect I am becoming truly excited for it. What was shown of the game in the presentation at E3 is just a small portion of the information that has been given out about the game. The previously mentioned documentary, which can be watched here, has brought out a lot of info that helped change my mind. One thing that many players are worried about is “griefing,” which is purposely angering other players typically through killing them or destroying what they’ve built. This is something Bethesda has thought about, and done stuff in the game to ensure this is kept to a minimum. Although they haven’t said all the ways they are working this, Pete Hines, Bethesda’s senior vice president, wrote in a tweet “we are still tweaking how it works but as I said in an interview PvP is kinda like issuing a challenge to someone. If you don’t want to deal w them they can’t keep killing you over and over.”
With the amount of “griefing” being so limited it will make going out and exploring West Virginia much more enjoyable. And it seems that exploration is one of the main things to do in the game. The map itself is four times the size of “Fallout 4’s,” and it has half a dozen areas that each have their own unique style, and there’s a massive mountain range bisecting the entire map. There will also be a decent amount of space between points of interest, so coming across new locations should feel like uncovering a long forgotten piece of history.
NPCs will not exist in “Fallout 76,” so any human you come across in game is a living person in the real world. Even without the normal quest-givers Bethesda has said there will still be quests given, but it will be through things such as the Overseer in the vault, robots and random items you pick up. These quests will not be a large story that once you complete them you will be done with the game, they are just there to help players have a general direction to go. Most of the activities in the game will revolve around whatever the player wants to do. One player could focus on going out in search of materials to build up their camp, while another could be focusing on hunting down the biggest beasts they can find. There also appears to be random events that will happen, some that will require a coordinated effort of multiple players to accomplish.
With so little focus on story Bethesda had to come up with some type of end-game content that was challenging enough for high level players, but fun enough to be repeatable. They decided that a cyclical nuclear war was the way to go. At different points throughout the map there will be hidden nuclear bunkers that players will be able to access and launch nuclear missiles from. To be able to do this, however, will require a great deal of effort. Players will first have to locate the launch codes, which have been split up and could be anywhere, such as in the hands of some gun-toting intelligent ghouls or hidden behind a difficult puzzle. Most likely it will only be possible to complete this if players are working in a team. Once the entire launch code is acquired, and the bunker is accessed, the players still have to make a decision.
There are three choices for players at this point; they could launch the missile decimating other players, they could hold off and not launch them creating an online cold war, or they could launch it at a location they want to become irradiated. This third option that was talked about in the documentary has my interest piqued. Whenever a nuke is launched, the location it lands will completely change. All flora and fauna will now be a much higher level, and it will have the best materials available in the game. This means that a strategically placed nuke could mean you’re finally able to build that OP weapon you found the blueprints for.
We can’t know for certain exactly how “Fallout 76” will turn out yet, but as Bethesda releases more information we can start forming our own opinions. I’m a big enough fan that I have already made up my mind and pre-ordered it, but I can understand those that will wait until it comes out to decide. All I ask is that you don’t count it out just because they are trying something new. Some of the best games have come out of the craziest ideas, and I believe this could be another one.