Fallout 76 Announced: Have Bethesda Learned?

The Bethesda stream finally sprung to life today as they announced Fallout 76, their next AAA game.

More information will be available at E3, but you can already check out their official teaser trailer here.

This announcement comes perhaps as expected, as Fallout 4 was revealed in the exact same way, with a rather idle stream followed by the official reveal, but I will admit that I am super hyped for this nonetheless.

I have played… a lot of Fallout over the years; not as much as some people, as I know that some people do manage to sink thousands of hours into these games, but a hefty amount nonetheless. It started at university when I picked up both Fallout 3 + all DLCs and Fallout New Vegas + all DLCs in a Steam sale. I installed them both and started with Fallout 3, which was okay and I did play through it in its unmodded entirety, however the real spike came with New Vegas. I loved New Vegas and it remains one of my favourite games to date. I have sunk about 500 hours into Fallout New Vegas, having now sided with House twice, NCR once and independent Vegas once (not Legion though. As a woman I can’t justify the Legion without some heavy amounts of head-canon). I even tweeted the other day that I’d be totally cool with an HD remake of New Vegas, but I will also admit that a new Fallout game also piques my curiosity quite heavily. I then moved onto Fallout 4, which I have so far clocked in almost 700 hours, but have yet to do anything other than siding with the Institute because I’m evil and power hungry…

What does all of this mean though? Why am I saying this? In short, I am saying it as a preface to the main body of this article: what are my concerns? Because I certainly have some.

First, let’s get it out of the way. Fallout 4 was not the best written game. It was an improvement over Fallout 3 (not hard), but vastly inferior to Fallout New Vegas. I felt like the story in Fallout New Vegas was better thought out and more accurately portrayed the various moral greys of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. NCR were corrupt and held onto old world values a bit too much, Legion were very focused on order and the strong ruling (even if they are a bunch of misogynist jerks and are basically wrong about everything #IAmNotBiased), House was a bit of a megalomaniac and an independent Vegas was anarchy. The start of the story was literally “you’re a delivery boy/girl and you get shot in the head after being robbed of your package” but escalated into so much more in a well-paced story that had you find more and more out as you went along.

Fallout 4 felt like a reversal of everything that made New Vegas great. The story didn’t feel as well thought out; it started far more interesting with the whole “my baby has been kidnapped” story but doesn’t really evolve into anything beyond this. The factions are all quite plain, with the Institute being the obviously evil choice, warping your son into a monster and then appointing you as the leader of the Institute despite literally no qualifications to run a scientific super power in the Commonwealth; The Railroad is the definition of one-dimensional, only focusing on freeing synths and nothing else, the Brotherhood is AD VICTORIAM MILITARY FACTION SYNTHS ARE BAD, and the Minutemen are… incompetent, but clearly the good-guy faction.

I really hope that Bethesda have learned from their mistakes and will be approaching Fallout 76 like Obsidian did back with Fallout New Vegas, however this brings me to my second point.

Is Fallout 76 going to be a real Fallout game, or are Bethesda going for something different? I saw an article on Kotaku that hinted at Fallout 76 not being a traditional, single player RPG, which would be disappointing, I will admit. If it’s a battle royale type game I would probably cry and laugh at the same time; crying in disappointment, but laughing at the meme levels. If it’s an online RPG, my previous point still stands; I really hope they focus on the story. I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to an MMO-style Fallout game, however I would be wary as many studios have tried to make MMOs and failed miserably. Call me skeptical.

Obviously we don’t know much at the moment. All we have really seen is the teaser trailer and been told that more will come out at E3. Between Fallout 76 and Cyberpunk 2077 (I hear CD Projekt Red will be at E3?), I will certainly be keeping a very, very close eye on E3 this year, but I just can’t let myself get -too- hyped about this. There are too many unknowns at the moment and I am still feeling the sting of a slightly disappointing Fallout 4 (which was still a good game, just not as good as it could have been!).

Bring on E3!

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