Fallout 76 has abandoned the series’ single-player experience for always online multiplayer, but there’s still a story and a very specific end-game that hinges on launching those nukes.
Danny O’Dwyer’s latest Noclip documentary is all about Fallout 76. Sitting down with staff at Bethesda before the E3 reveal, he covers all of the questions you’d want answered about how the studio plans to handle a multiplayer Fallout experience. Be warned, there are minor spoilers about the end game to follow.
Initially planned as the multiplayer portion of Fallout 4, the concept was shelved, but now seems a good a time as any to roll it out as a standalone experience, what the rise of multiplayer-only titles. The game will still feature a story and quests, but but focus is on the “player dictating what they want to do that day.”
If you prefer exploring the wasteland as a lone wanderer, you can still do that, but there’s no offline mode or private servers. The good news is that you’ll be able to see other players on the map, so you can easily avoid them. Although that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be avoiding you.
In terms of how the story will work with multiple players, project lead Jeff Gardiner explains that “the end goal in this game is it’s a cyclical story with the nukes. These huge, winged, bat-like creatures crawl up out of the world, called Scorch Beasts. You’re supposed to find the nuke codes to kill them – to seal their fissures – that also again irradiates the world…
“All the flora and fauna there will then change to be higher level, and have rarer drops…and certain sought after items and materials.”
The Legendary loot system is coming back but with even more tiers. Depending on where you nuke, different loot will become available, because there will be different flora and fauna there.
Creating these high level areas is the incentive for players to launch the nukes, says Betheda’s Todd Howard. Sitting on launch codes and refusing to use them isn’t perhaps the noble endeavour you might fist assume it to be.
“It’s fun to just launch them,” says Howard. “If you can incentivise [players and say] ‘hey, it’s going to be really fun to launch it where people aren’t, and make that part of the world this high level zone,’ [that’s the] part of the design I like a lot.
“It’s going to be a high level zone, you’re going to roll in, in your power armour. You’re going to make this really hard level for yourself. I’m really interested to see what people do there”
The codes and nuclear bunkers won’t be that easy to find either. A few bunkers are scattered across the map, and players can team up to find them, and solve the puzzles to reveal the bunkers.
The player interaction is something Howard says he’s looking forward to seeing unfold, saying that the game’s design is an exercise in “when not to control the player,” but he makes it clear that there are measures in place to curb griefing.
“Once we were really playing together, and saw that collision of people and systems, that’s when you say, this is a Fallout. If you sit down and play it, it feels like Fallout but its loop and mood are very different.
“The other players are a system that we don’t control – in a great way. Let’s not shy away from it… Let them collide, and where there’s extra bad griefing… we have a number of levers in place [to deal with that]. It’ll be messy for a little bit, but we can solve it.”
Fallout 76 launches November 14 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.