Bethesda Game Studios finally unveiled Fallout 76 during the Bethesda E3 Showcase Sunday evening. The highly anticipated next entry in the series is taking a slightly divergent path as Studio Head Todd Howard revealed it as an online multiplayer title where dozens of players share a world. Better yet, it is coming out this November for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Survival titles from Rust to ARK: Survival Evolved to Conan Exiles have established the online survival genre for many years. Howard explained Bethesda Game Studios began looking into creating a multiplayer version of Fallout four years ago and they will be ready to deliver on November 14, 2018.
The studio settled on Fallout 76, set in a post-apocalyptic West Virginia that is four times larger than either Fallout 3 or Fallout 4. The game will feature six different regions that each contain their own risks and rewards, as well as new creatures, some based on regional folklore.
Fallout 76 players will be able to team up with other players to survive or venture out of the Vault solo. The game will still be online either way, as every instance will run on a dedicated server. However, Howard explained players will not have to select a server, as in the aforementioned titles, so how the mechanic will work remains to be seen.
Every online survival game requires some semblance of crafting and building, and Fallout 76 employs the Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform (C.A.M.P) to allow players to build anywhere on the map. This device allows users to craft the items they need from walls to turrets. The mechanic appears to be similar to Fallout 4 based on the brief snippet shown, but with a little more ease of use.
The larger question of how working with or fighting other Fallout 76 players will have to wait. Online survival games are notoriously unforgiving and full of individuals and clans who intentionally go out of their way to cause grief to others. It is a tricky situation for developers to manage and why some games have servers that do not allow player killing or base destruction, and others put limits on when attacking others can occur.
The fact that players will be able to access nuclear missile codes and fire one at different portions of the map brings griefing to a whole new level. There are consequences, however, as the area affected by the blast will become incredibly inhospitable due to radiation.
The fact Howard described Fallout 76 as “soft-core survival” is interesting as death will supposedly not be as punishing. Once again, however, it is a wait-and-see situation.
A Fallout 76 beta is planned before release that currently requires a pre-order to participate. This naturally includes a collector’s edition that comes with a wearable T-51b helmet, glow-in-the-dark map, 24 Fallout figurines, and bonus in-game items.