Although Fallout 76 had a rough start, Bethesda is charging headlong into the second year of the game with its head held high, unveiling a number of incoming changes that might make the game what players always wanted it to be.
This past week, Todd Howard discussed the challenges associated with the game on release, both in terms of the bugs that would frustrate players, but also the innovation that they might not appreciate out the gate. While some thought that the only way to salvage Fallout 76 would be to go Free-To-Play, Bethesda has decided otherwise.
Free Trial Week
The game is remaining under its current paid model, but those who are curious about what lies ahead will have a chance to check it out under the Free Trial Week from June 10-17. As with most trials, your progress will be kept if your decide to purchase the game later on after the trial has ended.
Nuclear Winter is the all-new 52-player Battle Royal mode that will bring Player-vs-Player to all current players of Fallout 76.
The details are a bit fuzzy right now, and all we know is that in true Battle Royal fashion the objective is to be the last person standing. Doing so will make you Overseer of Vault 51, so players will need to rank up and unlock perks to build their C.A.M.P. to weather the storm. To succeed, players will also need to scavenge for weapons, supplies, and nukes to take on other players and creatures.
The inclusion of nukes seems like an ominous sign of things to come. Will there be any kind of defense against a sudden nuke? Meanwhile the inclusion of creatures into the mix is a nice addition of a little PvE into the PvP.
Will this mode be a worthwhile addition to the game? It is a question that will take some time to answer through observation. Typically, Fallout as a series have never been known for any similar kinds of game modes, so its not as though this was something that players were begging to see in their games.
More importantly, the answer will depend too on how well the mode works within the game. Fortnite, Apex Legends, PUBG, and others are already well-versed with how to provide players with a Battle Royal experience and nothing else. They are experts in the genre, and its inclusion into Fallout 76 seems counter intuitive, at least on first hearing about the new mode.
We will know soon enough, as a sneak peak is set to arrive on June 10, and people will begin to discuss how they perceive the Nuclear Winter.
Something has been missing from Fallout 76 from the beginning: Non-Player Characters (NPCs). A launch without our friendly (or unfriendly) neighborhood NPCs made the game feel oddly unlike a Fallout game.
That is all set to change with the implementation of NPCs of all sorts, each with their own full dialog trees and the moral choices players have made in previous games in the series.
A new main quest is also being added, which should round out the narrative side of the game nicely. It is not clear yet how much the NPCs will have to do with the main story, but either way these are a few necessary additions to make to the game before it begins to really feel like Fallout.
A little...Too Late?
In all honesty, Bethesda hit it out of the park with this update announcement, given freely to current players of the game, all to tie the series back to what it should be.
With that said, the announcement is also bittersweet. NPCs are core to the game, as is a strong story and reliable, bug-free gameplay. Are buggy launches filled with problems and lacking core elements from the series "normal"? No, not unless you're sloppy.
The interview with Todd Howard this past week and his comment that, "It's not how you launch, it's what it becomes” reinforces an important point: Continuing to pre-order games is terribly risky, and we should all wait to see how a launch goes before investing. We are fortunate enough to have a video game market that is saturated, and we should only reward the best and brightest.
Yes, this update looks fantastic; there is no arguing that. However, it would have been far nicer eight months ago, at launch, without the same old excuses, the collector's bag snafu, the player's banned for playing a broken game.
Still, it's a whole lot better than what the developers at Anthem offered their players at E3, which was a whole lot of nothing.