When peaked, around 150,000 insanely eager Fallout-fanatics and gamers alike tuned in to watch a stream that seemed to last a lifetime. After what can only be described as a Fallout-themed game of charades, Fallout 76 was revealed with minimal (if any) details in accompaniment. In an antagonising teaser trailer we were shown nothing but the mere existence of Vault 76, an earlier model of Fallout’s staple – the Pip-Boy and the date October 27, 2102. Fortunately, this was all showcased as a Fallout-esque rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” chimed away in the background, indicating another spectacular soundtrack can be expected upon the release of Fallout 76. In the unlikely case you missed the trailer, you can find it below.
“When the fighting has stopped and the fallout has settled, you must rebuild.”
What we know so far VS speculation
With E3 looming, it’s practically a given that a bigger, more informative reveal should make an appearance during Bethesda’s press conference. However, with such little being unveiled as of yet, it’s only natural that the fans of Fallout should turn to speculation to ease their nagging hopes for the next instalment of the highly commended franchise.
Vault 76 is known as one of a handful of control vaults. Nods to the existence of the vault have been lightly sprinkled throughout the Fallout series so far. These points to Vault 76 include an ensemble of logs obscurely tucked away within the Capital Wasteland of Fallout 3 and it’s Mothership Zeta DLC and a brief mention at the beginning of Fallout 4.
Spreading like wildfire across the internet are heaps of Fallout 76 theories, including talk of potential settings, most commonly a Virginia setting implicated in the music featured in the trailer. However, speculation is mostly rife with talk of Fallout 76 jumping on the multiplayer bandwagon. Although the likelihood of a Fallout rendition of Bethesda’s MMO, The Elder Scrolls Online is shallow, there’s been heavy rumours of a “Rust-inspired” multiplayer to be Fallout 76’s defining feature. Moreover, a potential release date is lurking like a hungry Deathclaw. A number of retailers supposedly leaked a release date for June/July. In the shadow of the event itself, a tidal wave of pre-E3 leaks both legitimate and fake crash upon the shores of the net, making it hard to take any at their word. However, Bethesda’s store itself has a collection of Fallout 76 clothing scheduled for sale come June 30th. In light of this, it’s wouldn’t seem completely absurd to expect a release date sooner rather than later.
My hopes for Fallout 76
Now, I may not have uncovered every secret across the Fallout franchise, ventured far and wide to every nook and cranny of the Capital/ Mojave Wasteland or made allies of every settlement in the Commonwealth by the ruthless demand of Preston Garvey, but like you all, I have a few things I would like to see upon the release of Fallout 76.
First of all, I’ll address the most forefront speculation regarding Fallout turning multiplayer. Despite what developers may think, bigger isn’t always better. Adhering a game to this ideology and introducing expansive open-world segments to once linear, single-player titles isn’t always the way forwards. Equally, attempting to loosely integrate a multiplayer into an originally single-player title doesn’t always result in another step up the ladder of success either. Granted, there are thriving audiences for multiplayer titles, you only have to look at the success of shooters like Overwatch, Call Of Duty and Battlefield to see that. But does every franchise really NEED a multiplayer to go down as legend? Personally, I don’t think so.
The Fallout franchise has always been centred around the desire it ignites within you to explore the far reaches of the post-apocalyptic worlds Bethesda have masterfully forged. Nothing brings me more joy when dabbling in a bit of Fallout than venturing out into a desolate wasteland, choc-a-block with hostile mutant creatures, scouring for higher tier gear to outfit my arsenal. Admittedly, each game provides a myriad of interesting quests with both story and side branches. These serve well in spurring you on and also aid in exposing oodles of secrets and lore within the game. Although this may not be where I feel the thrill lies, it does constitute an all-round phenomenal single-player experience.
Honestly, my first thoughts upon hearing rumours of Bethesda hurling Fallout on the multiplayer bandwagon were “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head”. Should the developers’ focus shift solely onto mastering a multiplayer, there’s a chance it could be at the expense of the quintessential features that form the very essence of Fallout. If too much focus is put into building a functional multiplayer, there might be slacking efforts in supplying a riveting setting to explore or an abundance of companions to befriend. That’s quite a price to pay. At best, a “drop in, drop out” multiplayer such as that featured in the Borderlands franchise could work to a rather enjoyable degree if implemented well. It would definitely be the better of two evils. However personally, I’d prefer the series to remain firmly fixed in it’s single-player roots.
You recall that base-crafting element that was the very heart and soul of Fallout 4 right? Well, scrap that. This feature was nothing more than an addictive deterrent from the core elements that have built the franchise. I shan’t preach in having already stated my reasons prior. Arguably, it was great for grinding levels and added a multitude of new and interesting things to do. Furthermore, it was clear the developers still broke a sweat on all other important aspects of the game. I just felt overall that it absorbed a significant degree of focus that could have been better spent elsewhere.
The Fallout franchise has seen some wonderfully prodigious companions over the series. Whether you’re exploring the barren remains of civilisation with a meddling dog or taking point with a Mr. Handy at your side, you can be sure Bethesda has you covered with a truly memorable character for company. If Fallout 76 doesn’t see a companion system of sorts, I’ll be utterly gobsmacked. Even so, my fingers will remain tightly crossed for a fresh pick-a-mix of buddies to delve into this new instalment with.
I don’t expect too much of Bethesda when it comes the release of Fallout 76. I’d consider myself a very happy lone wanderer to simply see Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic finesse showcased in another installment. An immense wasteland to explore brimming with secrets, terrific quests to revel in and a glorious soundtrack to blare out of your trusty Pip-Boy – that’s what really makes a Fallout game. Yes Bethesda, you best not have cheekily slipped Fallout tickets to climb aboard the multiplayer/ battle Royale hype train.
On a final note, I’d just like to reinforce that the above is just my personal opinion. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Fallout 76 rumours and what you hope to see at Bethesda’s press conference this weekend. Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter.