Nuclear war experts aren’t so keen on the use of nukes in Fallout 76, as they are condemning how the game portrays nuclear weapons as a positive thing.
In the Fallout universe, nuclear weapons have always played a key role. After all, the entire world has experienced a nuclear holocaust, causing all manner of technology to be lost and new, horrifically mutated creatures to be found. You could even nuke a town in Fallout 3, or launch your own nuclear weapon at either Caesar’s Legion or the New California Republic at the end of Fallout: New Vegas.
But nukes have always been treated with a degree of respect– nuclear weapons create terrible hardship and destruction and are only seen through the negative lens of Fallout’s blasted landscape.
Fallout 76 plans to change that dynamic, and not everyone is happy about it.
In the multiplayer-focused Fallout 76, nukes are less something to be avoided and more something to seek out to use as often as possible. Players run around the map looking for bits of nuclear launch codes, and once fully assembled, the code is entered to launch an ICBM at an enemy base.
Speaking to Variety, development director Chris Meyer described nukes as a late-game tool to keep gamers playing. “As you get high level, get the nuke code and set it off, it changes the area into a much higher level area,” he explained, adding that there would be both higher level loot and higher level enemies to fight in the irradiated zone.
“We see that as a repeatable new content loop.”
However, Nuclear War experts are condemning how Fallout 76 portrays nuclear weapons as a positive thing. “ICBMs are not fun. Or funny,” said Tom Nichols, professor at the US Navy War College and speaking with Motherboard.
Previous Fallout games showed nuclear weapons only as a terrible thing with grave consequences. Fallout 76 instead changes them into net positives, something that actual nuclear weapons don’t have. Not only do nuclear weapons cause widespread devastation, but the irradiated area left behind can’t be inhabited for a century or more.
“It's one more reason I won't be playing the game,” he said. “ICBMs are not fun...they created the hellish world your player is in. Launching them for laughs is a complete violation of the sense of the game.”
Fallout 76 launches November 14th on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.