Fallout 76 is one of the most anticipated games of 2018, with many fans wondering how exactly the franchise’s first always-online-multiplayer installment will shake out. This past week, Bethesda held a preview event at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, and we got to test-run the game and speak to the development team. Here’s ten things we learned while we were there.
Fallout 5 is still happening
There have been concerns that 76 marks a shift away from single-player games for Bethesda. The devs assured us that’s absolutely not the case at all. “We still make giant single-player games, so that’s not going to stop,” said design director Emil Pagliarulo. “76 isn’t what we do now, you know what I mean?” When asked if there’s still room for a Fallout 5 in an increasingly multiplayer-heavy field, Pagliarulo said, “100 percent.”
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Fallout 76 never replaced Fallout 5
In the same vein, 76 shouldn’t be judged as something that stole ideas or space away from what would’ve been Fallout 5. “It was never like, ‘Oh maybe we’ll do a Fallout 5,’ and then it became 76,” Pagliarulo said. “It was always 76, and in fact originally it was discussed as a multiplayer mode [for Fallout 4],” which the team emphasized was the most requested feature fans asked for.
There is a main story
Despite being a massive multiplayer game, there is indeed a story you can follow through all the way to the end, just as you would in a traditional Fallout game. As a Vault 76 dweller, it’s your job to reclaim the world for the humans and follow your Overseer on her mission to find these nuclear silos. “The end game is you’re trying to find the nukes, trying to figure out what caused the scorch,” said project lead Jeff Gardiner. “That is sort of the main goal and then the entire world is littered with the side quests…it’s definitely challenging to take away the dialogue trees for our design team. That’s how they’ve made games for a long time…these guys had to think really creatively to find new ways to tell the story and new ways to get the player engaged.”
You can play solo
Being a multiplayer game also doesn’t stop you from being able to play this story alone. “[Story] is not less important, it’s just told differently,” Pagliarulo said. “I’m pretty much a solo player even in 76. You get the story from a robot’s tapes, notes, computer terminals. The really important story beats come from the holo-tapes so you can hear the voice of the person telling the story…and so I like to absorb all of it, follow the main quest…and then get the little stories here and there of the different people.”
It’s a love letter to West Virginia
This is one of the lushest Fallout games Bethesda has made, and the work put into the locales is incredible. “With West Virginia, so many things clicked,” said Pagliarulo, on choosing where to set the game. “Like, we can do a prequel, we’ll have all these different areas. We’ve got the cryptids, the war, and it’s close enough to Washington D.C. that you’ve got the continuity of government stuff. It was perfect.”Of note here is the finely recreated Greenbrier Resort. Called White Springs in the game, it’s a heavily fortified area full of robots, scorchbeasts, yao gaui, and ghouls. The robots are not hostile unless you engage them, and there’s clearly an integral mission that happens inside the hotel late in the game. In real life, the Greenbrier sits atop a massive bunker, which was built in 1959 to house all of Congress in the case of a nuclear fallout. Is it possible there’s another Vault under White Springs? We were told you don’t meet any NPCs in 76, but what if this world’s remaining government is actually there?[/nerdist_section]
There’s a quick access wheel
There are two separate wheels that end up being really handy: a quick access wheel where you can store any of your aid items or weapons, and then an emote wheel for greeting other players.
Food and water are important
Aside from watching your health and radiation exposure, you also need to keep track of how often your character is eating and drinking. It seems like these deplete faster the more you fight; so while you can play this whole game solo, really, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you join a group, or at least be open to trading for supplies with folks you meet on the road.
V.A.T.S. is almost too easy
As opposed to the slo-mo aiming in Fallout 4, V.A.T.S. in 76 happens in real-time. While there were concerns about how this would work in-game, I found it to be very smooth, but it also took almost all the challenge of combat away. One click and it would immediately fire the gun with deadly accuracy, which makes me wonder how useful (or annoying) it will end up being in PVP.
Fast travel is a lifesaver
If you wander off, you can immediately travel to where any of your group members are, as well as back to Vault 76 or to your own camp. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t travel while you’re under attack!
There are no pet or robot companions…that we know of
Listen, we just want doggos on our teams. Fallout 76 releases on November 14, 2018.
How do you feel about Fallout 76 so far? Let us know in the comments!
Images: Bethesda Game Studios