Today at Bethesda’s E3 press conference, Todd Howard came onto the stage to, effortlessly exuding warmth and self-deprecation to give the audience a deep dive into Fallout 76. The audience was visibly mind blown when Howrd confirmed what we already knew: that Fallout 76 is an online-only multiplayer experience. Here’re the bullet points.
As rumored, the name Fallout 76 alludes to Vault 76, which Howard says is “one of the very first vaults to open was built to celebrate America’s tricentennary.” Howard added, “You are one of the very special few selected to be an occupant and spend 25 years underground waiting for Reclamation Day, the day that the Vault opens.”
West Virginia Means A Very Different Wasteland
Howard said Fallout 76 is a prequel that’s four times the size of Fallout 4. “Set in the hills of West Virginia, you are one of the first to emerge into an untamed and very different wasteland.” Howard boasted that the game will feature all new rendering, lighting and landscape technology that lets them generate the world at 16 times the detail with complete weather systems.
Fallout 76’s West Virginia will feature six distinct regions to explore and adventure in as you take on missions given to you by your Vault’s overseer. Being based on a region with a unique geography, peculiar secrets, natural wonders and actual nuclear stockpiles. “There’s plenty of cool new Fallout creatures and we even use the folklore of West Virginia to bring our Fallout versions to life.”
You And Your Friends Are All From Vault 76
“We have always wanted to tell that story of what it would be like for you and the other characters who were first to leave the Vaults,” Howard said. “But there is one big difference in this game, which is that each of those characters is a real person,” he added and confirmed that Fallout 76 is an entirely online experience, though he was adamant that the game could also be played solo.
“Like many of you we have always wanted to see what our style of game could be with multiplayer. So many of us talk about experiences in our games but we’ve never experienced them together,” Howard said and clarified that each player will experience West Virginia as an area with dozens not hundreds of others players. “It’s the apocalypse, not an amusement park, okay?” he said.
It’s Softcore Not Hardcore Survival
Howard said he knows that although many people might have experience with survival games like Rust and Conan Exiles, but assured the audience that death never means the loss of your character or your progression. “You’ll be able to join your friends whenever you want and all of your progression goes with you.”
“Like previous Fallouts, you can play this game in solo and quests,” Howard said. “But the easiest way to team up and build together.” Just like in Fallout 4, base building and settlements play an important role in Fallout 76, giving purpose to scavenging the wasteland with your friends and letting you build weapon-based defenses against all manner of hostiles.
“Monitor your home for anything out of the ordinary,” warns one of many friendly Vault-Tec PSAs that were presented at the stage. “The home of tomorrow may undergo certain challenges. After a crisis work with your neighbors to ensure success. There’s no ‘I’ in nuclear wasteland,” the PSA goes on before a nuclear explosion obliterates everything.
Everybody’s Free To Launch Nuclear Missiles
“We thought why don’t we put multiple nuclear missile sites on the map,” Howard said as the audience responded with chuckles, “and let all of you do whatever you want with them.” A Vault-Tec PSA reminds citizens that atomic weapons are for peace and protection. “Courtesy of your Uncle Sam, these wonders of the atomic age can be found in your own backyard.”
Inquire with the locals, gently coax them into cooperation, use a little elbow grease if you have to, the PSA says, as the player murders irradiated locals. Eventually you and your friends may acquire enough codes to access inactive missile silos with launchable nuclear armaments that can be used to attack other player settlements, enemy camps or even your own neighbors.
The resulting fallout will make the area glowing with rare and precious loot that you can harvest, presumably with the right anti-radiation hazard gear. That’s right, as a prequel Fallout 76 pitches the notion that the wasteland is only less devastated than it is in other Fallout games because the players have a hand in destroying it later.
Bethesda will have a “Break It Early Test Application,” for the game, also known in industry parlance as a ‘BETA.’ "I've read on the internet that our games have a few bugs," Howard joked. You’ll need to pre-order to gain access to the BETA, but even then you won’t have to wait too long for Fallout 76.
Like in 2015, the next Fallout is available the same year it was announced. Fallout 76 launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 14, 2018.