E3ODUS [E3 2018 Preview]: Fallout 76.
FALLOUT 76 (Bethesda Game Studios – PS4, X1, PC – TBA) – Bethesda is at it again, telling us first to “#PleaseStandBy” and then giving us a teaser of the next Fallout game in the series, Fallout 76. A lot of speculation had been circling regarding what they might do for the next game in the series, one of which was that of an MMO. Despite the lack of information direct from Bethesda, the teaser and the developers working on it allows us to speculate even more accurately. It’s still not 100% of course, but lets dive into what we do know.
First off we know the developer is Bethesda Game Studios, who has done all of the main line titles in the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series since Bethesda has owned the rights. When the decision was made to make an MMO in the Elder Scrolls universe, it was developed by ZeniMax. Given these two facts I think its safe to say this next title is not a Fallout MMO. Sure ZeniMax is busy working on and continuing development of ESO, but then they would have likely delegated it out to another developer while they work on the next main line title for either series.
If you pay attention to the teaser there is some extra information that points to the setting and possibly location. First and most easily noticed is that the person we see is wearing a suit with the number 76 on the back, which if you know your Fallout games, this denotes the vault they are from. Vault 76 is one of a few control vaults, meaning the vaults that set the standard. Its name comes from being the official vault of the United States of America’s tricentennial, commemorating 300 years (from 1776 to 2076, when it was first opened, hence the 76). No experimentations of anything is done with the people or situation in this vault which gives them a baseline comparison against the other vaults that do have experimentations and tests done.
This brings us to the next bit of teaser information, that of the date of when it seems to take place. At one point we see a view of a PipBoy showing a date of October 27th 2102, just 25-years after the fallout event. It is also the earliest setting for a Fallout title, which means we are getting a prequel of sorts. And during the entire teaser we are treated to the song “Take Me Home, Country Road” in which the lyrics specify the state of West Virginia. Perhaps this is the location of the vault? If memory serves right Vault 76 was mentioned in Fallout 3 with a location of Virginia, so maybe the song is a proper hint and the actual correct location is now West Virginia.
Further details include that of the vault itself being rather clean and in a near brand-new state. This makes sense given the age of the vault. All the usual notables are also present such as Nuka Cola, Vault-boy figures, a Codsworth, and more. Everyone should feel at home, and in a cleaner one this time. We also get a good view of the new/old PipBoy, which generally looks like the previous ones we’ve seen, but in an older style. Here’s hoping for a Collector’s Edition that comes with this older style PipBoy that I can place right next to my Fallout 4 PipBoy. From the 4K version of the trailer, others have noticed that there are 2 awards that can be read as being for performance and outstanding achievement regarding commitment to the program. Its being said that perhaps these point to the main character being a vault-tec employee or related to one.
Of course the game’s announcement doesn’t comes without rumors. Kotaku for one is saying that they have sources that specify the game as being different from the normal style RPG main-line titles we are used to. Instead they claim it will be an online survival style game in the same vein as DayZ and Rust. Being that there is not 100% confirmation, take this as speculation and nothing more until we hear it from the mouths (or typed words) of Bethesda themselves. Personally I could see this happening, although not like DayZ; Rust is a good comparison, and another would be The Forest — both of which have a sort of RPG aspect in a survival situation. And considering that Vault 76 had a maximum capacity of 500 occupants, the online server population would have to be small at any given time. Perhaps it will be done similar to Sea of Thieves or Destiny, where you exist in a server shard that is limited in population size, so as to give an online experience with the appearance of only having a few survivors in the world. Personally I feel that as long as the game keeps its playstyle mechanics close in feel to Fallout 4, then I’d be OK with it.