It’s been less than three years since the release of Fallout 4 (2015) and the next game in the franchise, Fallout 76 is already fast approaching. Bethesda surprised fans by announcing a new game so soon and are aiming to take the beloved franchise to a whole new level by making a game that’s bigger and better than previous Fallout titles by introducing new features and gameplay modes.
Fallout 76 will be a prequel to all other games in the franchise taking place 59 years before the events of Fallout (1997), and 25 years after the nuclear war. You play as one of the inhabitants of Vault 76, tasked with rebuilding civilization after the nuclear devastation. Vault 76 has been referenced in both Fallout 3 (2008) and 4 and houses 500 of America’s brightest minds each of whom were handpicked from every walk of life. Vault 76 is a control vault as opposed to the less pleasant experimental vault and was scheduled to be opened 20 years after the devastation but due to so far unknown events, eventually opened 5 years after the intended date.
Fallout 76 will have the largest map of any Fallout game, which is approximately four times larger than that of Fallout 4 and will be set in the rural landscape of West Virginia. The map will feature six unique regions each with their own distinct style and their own set of risks and rewards. The six confirmed areas are Ash Heap, Cranberry Bog, Savage Divide, The Forrest, The Mire, and Toxic Valley. Within these six regions you will also find some West Virginian landmarks including the state capital Charleston, The Greenbrier, Woodburn Circle, New River George Bridge, and Camden Park. The developers have taken inspiration from West Virginia in more ways than just setting as the enemies you encounter on your travels across the wasteland will be based upon creatures from West Virginian folklore.
Fallout 76’s character customisation will be similar to that in Fallout 4 but this time you will have the ability to change appearance at any point in the game. The S.P.E.C.I.A.L system also makes a return but will be in a slightly different format. Each attribute will have multiple perks attached to them that will be in the form of collectable cards that you obtain each time you level up. Levelling up by one will get you one perk card from an attribute of your choice and every two levels you will receive a perk card pack that gives you four cards and a stick of gum that can be used in emergency hunger situations. Once you hit level 10 however, perk card packs become less frequent and you receive them every five levels as opposed to two. All perk cards will have a number rank and can be stacked to increase their power. You can swap out cards at any time but in order to equip them you must have enough available points in that card’s attribute.
As with Fallout 4, base-building will be part of the game, and given the premise of rebuilding civilisation, it sounds like it might have more to it than simply constructing a home for yourself. Using the Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform, or C.A.M.P, you will be able to build base anywhere in the world and take it with you when you move. Whether this will be your main camp or just a means of survival when exploring the wasteland is unknown but either way, having the ability to make camp straight away where ever you are is definitely welcomed.
One of the first things revealed about Fallout 76 and what makes it different from previous games is that will be entirely online. Don’t worry, you can still play solo, but will still encounter other players in the wasteland. Speaking at QuakeCon 2018, Bethesda director Todd Howard said that PvP and PvE is what will be driving the games as it adds another element of danger. However, if someone challenges you to a fight you have the option to turn them down which Howard says will eliminate griefing between players.
To start a PvP fight you must attack another player, but at this point any damage you do to them will be scaled back. Damage will only return to normal If the player chooses to enter a match with you by attacking back. Declining a PvP match doesn’t guarantee any safety as the scaled damage can still kill you. However, if you are killed this way, the player that did the deed then becomes a wanted murderer. Not only does the murderer get no rewards for killing you but all player indicators are hidden to them, and a bounty is placed on their head. If the player with the bounty is killed, the player who kills them gets a reward from the murderer’s pocket. This means that playing by the rules and punishing those who break them is both encouraged. In order to protect lower levels, PvP won’t be available until players reach level 5, and attacking lower levels is further discouraged as killing higher level players has bigger rewards. If you do enter a PvP match and lose there is no huge setback either as you don’t lose valuables such as caps, weapons, or armour; instead all you will lose is the junk that you have collected.
Despite the Fallout being set in a nuclear wasteland, Fallout 76 will be the first game that allows players to actually launch their own nuclear weapon. This will obviously completely devastate an area of the map but will also reveal rare weapons and gear that you can pick up, if you can survive the fallout and enemies that will swarm the area that is. In order to actually launch the nuke in the first place, you will need to acquire a number of launch codes which aren’t easy to come by. You must fight your way to each code and once they have all been collected another fight will ensue as you make your way into the launch facility. You cannot target individual players, only areas, so targeting the player who beat you in the earlier PvP match is out the question. Anyone who is in the targeted area will receive a warning so they have a chance to escape the blast.
Fallout 76 is trying something new with the franchise by introducing new features that caters to veteran players as well as those new to the Fallout universe. While the always online aspect of the game has been a concern for some fans, the choice to engage in online play will and the punishment of rule breaking players will surely put these concerns to rest. Despite the new features, the game remains strictly Fallout and with the sheer size of the map, multiplayer modes, and promise of post-game content, Fallout 76 is going to be one of the biggest games of the year. With the game releasing on 14th November, the wait is almost over.