In September 2013, Bethesda Softworks, a Maryland based American video game developer, won a lengthy legal dispute against Interplay Entertainment to retain the right to publish the Fallout Games. Since then, it has released Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, along with two spin-offs that served as standalone products. Set in a post-apocalyptic future during the 22nd and 23rd centuries, it uses the post-war culture of 1950’s United States to design its atompunk retro-futuristic setting and artwork. On 23rd October, 2018, Bethesda released the BETA version of its latest spin-off – Fallout 76 – to a limited audience for testing it for bugs and other inconsistencies. After several bugs were pointed out, Bethesda has announced to fix them before releasing the debugged version on 14th November, 2018.
The BETA version of the online multiplayer action role-playing video game went a “stress test” in order to push it to its limitations. Bethesda stated that during the BETA launch that servers will only be “online during targeted timeframes so we can get as many people as possible playing at the same time.” The players expected the game to go awry, as with any BETA release. Several issues were identified and will be fixed before the launch of the game on 14th November, 2018, when it will be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Fallout 76 serves as a narrative prequel to the previous Fallout games, set in an alternate version of history and takes place in 2102 – 25 years after a nuclear devastation that annihilated Earth. The player character is a resident of Vault 76, a fallout shelter in West Virginia that houses America’s best and brightest minds. On “Reclamation Day”, the character exists the Vault and plans to re-colonize the Wasteland.
The game will feature an open world that’s four times the size of that of Fallout 4. The game world, called “Appalachia”, is modeled after West Virginia and recreated real locations in the region, including West Virginia State Capitol, Woodburn Circle, and Camden Park. The mutated monsters that are featured in the game are also based on West Virginian folklore monsters like the Mothman and the Flatwoods monster.
On the other hand, all non-player characters (NPCs) in the game will be non-humans – a change that has required Bethesda to change their approach of storytelling. In the previous games, NPCs assigned quests and engaged the player during the course of the game. In Fallout 76, the player will uncover bits and pieces of the narrative in the game to stitch them together for the advancement of the storyline.
The game won’t support cross-play, which means it will be only available for download using their own launcher and not a third-party launcher like Steam. Bethesda marketing boss Pete Hines tweeted: “I work with a lot of developers and games for whom this is important going forward. Fallout 76 does not support cross-play, for a number of reasons. I have no idea if it ever will. But I assure you it is not on our radar right now as we focus on beta and the launch.”
With Fallout 76, gamers are set to immerse themselves in an environment which provides the hope for the promises of technology along with the lurking fear of nuclear annihilation.