Fallout 76. I know I’m supposed to be working on some Forgotten Realms stuff, but damn it! I love me some Fallout by Bethesda and Fallout 76 has my brain on fire. So this is a quick post about the trailer, and what it’s telling us about the world 20 years after the War and the world around Vault 76 in West Virginia. If you haven’t watched the E3 presentation yet, hit this up first:
Okay, now that you’re caught up, let’s dig into this.
Fallout 76 is happening 20 years after the War, which is literally ground breaking in the series. This is uncharted territory in game play, because previous Vaults that opened that early were only mentioned in historical reference. Vault 8 opened about a decade after the War, and founded what would become Vault City. Vault 15 opened 50 years after the War and was the source for a number of raider groups and Shady Sands, the heart of the NCR. But the events in Fallout games have always happened long after these events. This game is breaking that barrier.
Vault 76 is mentioned though, showing up in logs in Fallout 3 in the Citadel and on Mothership Zeta. Looking at these reveals that it was a control vault, with no special equipment or evil plan to torture test the occupants. It was made to house 500 (initially I think, there was bound to be some babies in the 20 year span it was sealed), and then open up. The idea being that the occupants of the Vault would then be “pushed” into the outside and observed in comparison to other “experiments”. This implies to me that there will be some not so nice, non-control Vaults in the region that we’ll be running into. The Zeta reference came from a Vault-Tec employee who was there to inspect the construction of Vault 76, so the chances of Aliens in the area is a real possibility.
So, one thing we’re likely to see that hasn’t really been a thing previously are survivors of the War. Sure, previous games had ghouls, and the odd time displaced individual, but never before have we played in the immediate aftermath of the War. We’re talking people who literally survived the war who aren’t ghouls, and their offspring. I’m thinking there’s going to be some mixed greetings for the people emerging suddenly from their Vaults. I say “Vaults” because the note in Fallout 3 mentions that they’re to be compared with others.
The world of Fallout 76, in addition to being larger, has a depth of activities happening. There appear to be relatively undamaged political and educational facilities. There is an active, large scale coal mining operation happening as well. All of which tells me that we can look forward to a fair array of factions waiting in the wasteland, including survivors of the war, their offspring, mutants, and more.
There is one thing that really struck me though, and that’s the section of the footage showing a massive conflagration. Given the massive coal mining operation seen in the footage, this seems to be a call out to the real world village of Centralia in Pennsylvania, abandoned because the coal seam under it caught fire. In a coal rich environment like West Virginia, where practices like mountain top removal mining are a real world thing, the potential for this kind of disaster in a nuclear holocaust is pretty much 100%, so that should produce some terrifying monsters.
Bethesda has ruffled more than a few feathers over the years with its approaches to technology in the Fallout Universe. I remain unruffled and excited. Not just because I like new things, but because it supports my pet theory on the Fallout Universe (which will be expanded on in a future post).
Right off the hop, we see classic and new designs of robots. There’s also some variants and what looks to be a new set of power armour. Weapons wise, it looks like a new set of small arms is inbound, and that’s all fine be me. Pet theory aside, if Bethesda stuck to the original formula 100% all the time, the games would be very dull. One surprise is the seeming return to the T-51b power armour being more like body armour in the cinematic, while the gameplay footage appears to have retained Fallout 4’s step-in style armour.
Monsters have been a staple of this franchise, and while some come and go, I’m looking forward to the pre-Super Mutant wasteland. Yes, I know that there’s FEV in the Commonwealth, but the geographic distances seem to be a potential insulator. The in game footage and cinematics have soem great looking monsters and adversaries though! Weird bat-things, robots, what looks like a headless super hillbilly, a toad thing… It’s all great, and what I’ve been hoping for in a Fallout game for a while. Something different from the usual protectron, super mutant, feral ghoul, rad roach mix.
What does it all mean?
In my estimation, it means that Fallout 76 is probably going to be the leaping off point for what we’ll see in Fallout 5. Previous games have stuck hard to formula of things happening well after the War; and moving forward progressively in the timeline. This game is leaping backwards, which is awesome, and raises roughly a bazillion questions about how the Bethesda lore is going to develop the world further.
On the gaming side, I have some immediate concerns about nuclear weapons being available to players, and game modes. I enjoy playing alone or with friends, not so much in a wide open environment. I’m excited about the new build mechanics though, since I wanted to be able to sight my settlements/forts in Fallout 4, and was restricted to the terrible, largely indefensible locations picked by the game designers.
So, looking forward to November 14th!
All videos and art used in this post are the property of their respective creators, and are used here for review purposes.