Bethesda is trying something a little different for the Fallout franchise with the spin-off Fallout 76 coming soon. Though not a full-scale PvP game, the toe dipping into online play for this particular series is one that has intrigued many. With a map four times the size of Fallout 4 and such a small server size, the team over at Bethesda are working hard to ensure that this gamble years in the making will pay off for their fans.
That being said, much about the upcoming game is still a mystery other than where it's set and the general timeline. The prequel of all prequels, Fallout 76 allows players to learn more about the beginning of this beloved franchise - this time with friends!
Let's dive into what we know.
Location, Location, Location
We know that Fallout 76 is surrounded by luscious mountains and a rural landscape and will provide a very "down-to-earth" experience (with Country Roads on repeat). From rolling hills, to an enormous trainline, this "largest map yet" will have many different areas to explore, each with their own charm.
The game itself is mostly centered around Charleston, West Virginia with forests a-plenty. Because of the density surrounding the real-life location and the fact that Bethesda has mentioned there will be new enemies to go up against, I'm willing to bet these forests are going to be the hottest areas for taking out what means to kill you.
We also know from the Atomics of Peace promotional video from the team over at Bethesda that there will be six biomes in total:
- The Forest
- The Ash Heap
- The not-so-subtle New Vegas nod Lonesome Road
- Cranberry Bog
- The Mire
- Toxic Valley, which doesn't sound omnious at all
Fallout 76 Was Actually Born of Scrapped MP Material from Fallout 4
In a new NoClip documentary (which you can watch above or at this link), Bethesda's own Todd Howard discussed the origin of Fallout 76's inspired multiplayer. "Fallout 76 is the multiplayer design from Fallout 4," he said. But then while developing the game, it spun in its own direction. "Hey, should we do multiplayer? 'Probably not.' What would it be? 'OK, it would be this.' Let's talk it through. 'OK, that's pretty awesome."
Because of that, Fallout 4 eventual focused on just single-player but paved the way for Fallout 76. "Then we put it away, you know, let's do our thing," Howard said. "Then every once in a while we'd keep talking about it. 'We should've done that, we should do it.' And as Fallout 4's going on, it becomes 'no, we should really do it as its own thing.'
The journey into wanting to delve into multiplayer within this universe actually began back in 2013, but at the time - they just didn't have the team up to the task. Now they've opened up a few new studios, including one in Austin, TX, it seems that they are more than ready.prevnext
Protection for Lower Level Players
Since it's the first in the Fallout series to introduce online play, Bethesda understands that many who are not familiar with PvP are joining in on the fun. Because of that, the developers have created a system where those under level 5 cannot be killed by enemy players, making it easier for those to learn the ropes and get themselves fortified before their first potential encounter.
Keep in mind, he did also mention that this feature could change before launch, especially when keeping in mind that PvP is already 100% optional. They have also mentioned that it "won't be like you think" in terms of PvP because of the map size alone.prevnext
MP "Is Not What You Expect," According to Bethesday
The map of Fallout 76 promises to be four times bigger than that of Fallout 4 (which was huge). Pair that with the fact that the online experience will pair your with a player size of 12-30 ("dozens"), the chances of running into enemy players are slimmer than you'd think. Still, many are thinking of this move as an assault on single player despite the many assurances that it can absolutely played solo with no problem. A lot of that is do to misconceptions about how it will actually work, luckily VP of Marketing Pete Hines is here to clarify a few things.
In a recent interview with GameReactor, Hines himself told people that Fallout 76 isn't what many are expecting - especially with those less than flattering predictions. He also told the site that he was comfortable with where the studio is in terms of Single-player games, mentioning:
"Well, first of all, as a publisher I am extremely comfortable with where we are in single-player games, between all of the stuff that we did last year and all of the things we just announced, right," Hines explained. "We didn't just announce Prey last year as a wholly single-player game, but then we just released brand new DLC for it and a ton of free updates for the game. Wolfenstein is a single-player game that we wanted to add co-op to because we figured with the twin sisters, rather than her just being AI, that would be cool [...] Rage 2, Doom Eternal - all of these games are embracing and doing single-player, as is Fallout 76."
As far as playing by yourself goes, he also added "When I play, I'm not on the schedule of a lot of people that I work with or my friends or my kids, so I end up playing any kind of game that's online by myself anyway. I've played Fallout 76 almost entirely that way myself because that's kind of my preference, and I sort of want to see what that feels like."prevnext
Tons of Post Launch Content Planned
In an effort for longevity and for player interest, Bethesda's Todd Howard recently spoke at GameLab about their post-launch plans for Fallout 76. Good news for those excited about this new venture, Bethesda is dedicated to tons of content dedicated to this game long after the title goes live. But just because they have post-content drops planned, don't just assume they abandoning the base game.
"If everything works out perfectly with launch, which won't be the case, we'll be able to make a lot of content, but we know our priorities. It's a big new thing for us," reassured Howard over initial concerns that it will be a shallow event-based grab.
It's definitely a gamble, more so when so many have a knee-jerk reaction to the word "online" and Howard was not ashamed to admit that this project is scary for him and the team. "We're scared," he admitted. "How well can we make this work? We look at some other big online games, and even the people who've done it a lot, there's always problems. We're not naïve enough to think it's going to be perfect."
In the same vein, Howard recently addressed concerns that this online move marks "the end" of Bethesda's commitment to single player, which couldn't be further from the truth.
"It doesn't mark the future," Howard told gi.biz in a recent interview. "Corporately we've done a mix—people forget sometimes. Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world, we have Fallout Shelter which we keep updating, and Elder Scrolls: Legends."
"Anyone who has ever said 'this is the future and this part of gaming is dead' has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn't be afraid. We should try it."
This isn't The Elder Scrolls Online, and it certainly isn't World of Warcraft - which is made by Blizzard - it's small scale, a spin-off - which is why it isn't titled Fallout 5, and a way for the developers to air out the ideas they've reportedly had since before even Fallout 4.prevnext
A Few Misconceptions
First misconception: It'll be a player on player slaughter-fest, infested servers like The Elder Scrolls Online and other massive MMOs.
The title itself will have various biomes for players to enjoy. With such a small player server size for such a momumental map size, it's pretty gentle as far as survival is concerned. As we mentioned in the video above, it's a lot harder to obtain nuke codes than people think, and it's a lot harder to find other players simply to gun them down.
Second misconception: BUT MY LOOT THOUGH!
Unlike similar games, Kotaku quoted it as "Rust-like," death doesn't mean the end of your gear. Unlike ARK, dying won't mean waking up alone and naked somewhere. You don't lose your gear and you don't lose your progress.
Third misconception: I can't REALLY play solo.
Yes, you can! Though the game does always run online because of the dynamic server influx and environmental changes, Bethesda's Pete Hines has already confirmed that private servers will be available post launch. That means you can play solo or play with pre-approved friends. This is all about your player experience, and Bethesda wants to stay true to that.
Whether you decide to explore this dangerous and exciting new world alone or with friends, your adventures will take you across the land of West Virginia, and indeed, it was revealed that real West Virginia folklore inspired certain monsters and quests in the game. There will be six distinct regions, each with its own aesthic, opportunities, and risks.2comments
There's nothing wrong with a little boundary pushing, and Bethesda has more than proven that they known how to weave a good tale. To stay in the know for all things Bethesda, you can check out our community hub right here.
Fallout 76 drops on November 14th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.prev