Only a couple years after Fallout 4’s release, Bethesda surprised fans by officially announcing Fallout 76, the next entry in its beloved post-apocalyptic RPG franchise. The new game was revealed in a trailer after a series of teases, and Bethesda discussed it in more detail at E3 2018. While there’s still so much we do not yet know about Bethesda’s upcoming game, the company has offered some clarity on Fallout 76’s most curious features and additions to the Fallout formula.
To ensure you’re kept up to date on everything there is to know about Fallout 76, we’ve compiled all the information we have on the game so far: the platforms it’s on, its online functionality, its anti-griefing features, and where the game falls in the series’ timeline.
What is Fallout 76?
Fallout 76 is a prequel to all of the previous Fallout games. Set in 2102, you play an inhabitant of Vault 76 who emerges from the shelter 25 years after the bombs fell on America. Your task is simple: explore what remains of post-apocalyptic America and rebuild civilization.
Longtime fans will likely recognize Vault 76; although it’s not a place we’ve visited before, this isn’t the series’ first mention of it. Both Fallout 3 and 4 reference it and, according to the Fallout Wikia, this West Virginia-based vault was occupied by 500 of of America’s best and brightest minds. Unlike the more grotesque experimental vaults in the Fallout universe, Vault 76 is a control vault intended to be opened 20 or so years after a nuclear war. But if the Vault was supposed to open 20 years after the bombs fell, why have 25 years gone by? The story likely has a few surprises in store.
Fallout 76 uses the Creation Engine, the same engine used to make Fallout 4, but it will purportedly feature much more graphical detail than its predecessor. Game director Todd Howard has said that Fallout 76 has new rendering and lighting technology, which allows for “16 times” the detail.
Is It An Online Survival Game?
Fallout 76 is a much different sort of game from its predecessors. It’s “entirely online,” but don’t worry, you’ll be able to play it solo too. According to Bethesda, the idea to take this approach to open-world survival came four years ago, when it started to work on building a multiplayer Fallout experience. Howard described the game’s approach to survival as “softcore,” which means death doesn’t equal loss of progression.
You can form a party with up to three other players. You won’t be able to manage your placement in servers when you login, as you’ll automatically be inserted into a session with others upon booting up the game. Of course, you also have the option simply join alongside your friends and play together.
Fallout 76 – Welcome To West Virginia Gameplay Trailer
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Howard commented that Fallout 76 will have dedicated servers that will support the game “now and for years to come.” At launch, there will only be public servers, but Bethesda plans to introduce private servers that will allow players to invite friends to play in order to prevent undesirable behavior. According Bethesda Senior Vice President Pete Hines, it will actually be incredibly difficult to participate in ill-behavior. For instance, the game’s PvP works more like issuing a challenge to somebody, preventing folks from pushing any attempts at griefing too far.
Some classic mechanics from past games will be changing to accommodate the shift to online play. For example, V.A.T.S has been reconfigured to work in real time, while still allowing players to target specific enemy body parts.
How Big Is The World?
According to Howard, Fallout 76’s world is four times the size of Fallout 4. There are six different regions to explore, and each has its own unique style, risks, and rewards. Confirmed areas include the West Virginia State Capitol, The Greenbrier, Woodburn Circle, New River Gorge Bridge, and Camden Park. Contained within each area is a variety of new creatures to encounter, some of which are based on West Virginian folklore.
What Can You Do?
Like previous games, players will spend the majority of their time exploring and completing quests. However, Fallout 76 will not feature any human non-player characters, as all surviving humans will be controlled by active players. Instead, the game will use combination of robot NPCs, collectible recordings, and environmental storytelling in order to give players what they need to piece together quests and the story at large.
Given the game’s premise of rebuilding the world, there will be base-building elements similar to Fallout 4. You will be able to set up a bases anywhere using an item called the Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform, or CAMP. These can be placed down in the world and allow you to construct an impromptu camp. At E3, we got to see the player laying down walls and decorating the base with pool tables, toilets, and other household objects. As the “mobile platform” part of the name implies, your CAMP can also be picked up and relocated, allowing you to move your base anywhere in the world.
While you can help build the world, you can also destroy it. If you have the necessary nuclear launch codes, it’s actually possible to access a missile silo to fire a nuke at any point on the map. Doing so irradiates the chosen area, but it also allows for the opportunity to discover rare weapons, gear, and items. Be wary; nuking an area also causes more powerful enemies to show up, making it more difficult to survive.
As an online experience, player choice is said to be incredibly important, going as far as giving players the freedom to choose who are the heroes and who are the villains. Early footage showcased multiple players engaging in combat and participating in friendly activities, which seems to indicate that players have the freedom to choose their paths in the world of Fallout 76.
Who’s Developing It?
Bethesda Game Studios, the Maryland-based developer responsible for the Elder Scrolls series and both Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, is at work on the game. In addition, Bethesda Game Studios Austin–formerly BattleCry Studios–assisted in fine-tuning the Creation Engine to support multiplayer functionality.
When’s the Beta?
Falout 76’s beta will be available exclusively to those who preorder the game. Bethesda said that it will begin selecting participants from the pool of pre-orders in early October. The plan is to start small and expand over time. Xbox One owners have a slight leg up on the beta compared to other platforms. For more details, you can check out Bethesda’s Fallout 76 FAQ for more details on how to redeem your code.
So, When Can I Hear More?
A Fallout 76 panel is scheduled on Saturday, August 11 at QuakeCon 2018. Game director Todd Howard and others from Bethesda Game Studios will be discussing the character system and Perks and answering fan questions. Be sure to check back as we update this feature with all the relevant new details.
Fallout 76 is being developed for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and is currently scheduled to be released on November 14. Unfortunately, there’s no word about a Nintendo Switch release, which didn’t seem out of the question after the Skyrim re-release made it to that platform.