After two weeks of feverish speculation, we now know exactly what Fallout 76 is going to be, and it’s both everything and nothing like what you expected. On Sunday night, Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard took the stage at Bethesda’s annual E3 press conference and revealed that Fallout 76 is going to be an online-only survival RPG–confirming Kotaku‘s earlier reports–set in the wilds of West Virginia. As mentioned during the Xbox E3 press conference earlier on Sunday, Fallout 76 is more than four times the size of Fallout 4 and is a prequel to all the other Fallout games. Howard mentioned during Bethesda’s presentation that they have completely overhauled the game’s graphics engine, which allows for “16 times the detail” and players can “even view distant weather systems across the map.”
Every non-monster character you encounter in Fallout 76 will be controlled by a living, breathing human. However, unlike other so-called “hardcore” survival games, death is not meant to be an impediment to enjoyment. “Death never means the loss of progression or the loss of your character,” said Howard. “You’ll be in a world with dozens — not hundreds and not thousands of other players.” You will be able to join your friends whenever you want, and all of your progression will go along with you. So think of Fallout 76 as a persistent online RPG, but one that is sparsely populated given the fact that you all just survived a nuclear apocalypse. Together, players will go on quests, slaughter monsters, build communities and eke out a hardscrabble existence in the irradiated wastelands of West Virginia.
However, the nuclear bombs may not be done falling, according to Howard. “We love dynamic game systems, so we thought, ‘Why don’t we put multiple nuclear sites on the map and let you do whatever you want with them?'” Howard mused. That’s right, one of the many things players will be able to do in Fallout 76 is discover nuclear launch codes and use them to decimate their enemies’ strongholds. Once the nuke has struck its target, you will be able to explore the fallout to unlock rare items and probably get enough radiation to grow a vestigial tail.
Fallout 76 is available on November 14, 2018 and will offer a special edition that comes with a glow-in-the-dark map and a wearable Power Armor helmet, which is a dream come true for anyone who has had aspirations of joining the Brotherhood of Steel but was too afraid of proselytization to commit.
To be extra specific, it’s the T-51b helmet from the Fallout franchise, which will make a nice companion piece to the wearable Pip-Boy that came with the Fallout 4 special edition. The online-only game will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
What did you think of Fallout 76‘s big reveal? Will you be picking it up? Let us know in the comments below.
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