To commemorate Fallout 76’s momentous transition into beta testing, the folks at Bethesda Game Studios have published an open letter to their community, in which they ruminate on the doubts, challenges, and ambitions of taking the beloved post-apocalyptic franchise into the uncharted territory of the online gaming space. “As a development studio, we’ve taken a lot of journeys,” the letter begins. “We’ve tried not to repeat ourselves, yet all our games have a similar DNA. In 2015, we decided to try something very new, and very scary for us — take one of our worlds and make it online only.”
The letter raises the very questions that many Fallout fans themselves have raised in the time since the game’s announcement: “Will people want this from Fallout? Will they want it from us? How the hell are we going to make this? And what, exactly is this?” Well, as the developers put it, “the answer to that question, more than any game we’ve made, is ‘that’s up to you.'”
The team knows that even though the jump into beta testing is a major milestone, the real work is only just beginning. In fact, the team has a bit of a warning about expectations for the test period.
“Usually after years of development, we finally finish, release the game, and take a break. With 76, we feel we have not finished, but reached a starting line where all new work begins. We all know with the scale of our games, and the systems we let you use, that unforeseen bugs and issues always come up. Given what we’re doing with 76, we know we’re opening everyone up to all new spectacular issues none of us have encountered. Some we’re aware of, such as area where performance needs to improve with lots of players. Others, we surely don’t. We need your help finding them, and advice on what’s important to fix. We’ll address all of it, now and after launch.”