This past weekend was a treasure trove of information for fans of Fallout 76. Bethesda ran some panels and Q&A discussions at QuakeCon, giving special attention to the game’s character growth system and limitations on PvP.
Perks and mutations are going to be the key methods of character progression, although with players receiving packs of perk cards every now and then, the devs hope that they will experiment with different builds instead of getting locked in to just one thing.
As for PvP — which certainly has some fans worried — Bethesda is attempting to limit the griefing through special mechanics. Players who don’t respond in a PvP encounter won’t receive as much damage, and if they’re killed without firing back, then their murderer will become a marked player with a bounty on his or her head. Oh, and if you’re under level 5 or engaged in fighting a mob, you’re off-limits for PvP entirely. The studio also said that players can easily rebuild their bases via blueprints if they’re hit by a nuke.
It’s hard to imagine a Fallout game these days without the haunting and beautiful score of video game composer Inon Zur. Fortunately, players this fall won’t have to fret about Zur’s work being absent from the online Fallout 76.
“Thrilled to finally reveal that, yes, I am scoring Fallout 76!” Zur posted on Twitter. “It’s been an amazing journey collaborating with Bethesda Studios on the biggest Fallout game yet and I can’t wait to share the new music with you.”
Variety has an exclusive interview with the composer. Zur said that this will be one of his “most unique scores to date” that involves “sophisticated and emotional” tracks as players explore the post-apocalyptic landscape of West Virginia.
This will be Zur’s fifth soundtrack for the long-running franchise after Fallout Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Fallout 4.
Here’s something interesting about Fallout 76’s October beta: Players not only will have access to the full game, but their progress will also carry over into live. Think that’ll spurn a lot more interest in the test?
“Our current plan for the B.E.T.A. is it will be the full game and all your progress is saved for launch. We hope you join us!” Bethesda told fans.
While that’s pretty exciting, some enthusiasm for this upcoming post-apocalyptic online RPG has been dampened by the word that Fallout 76 won’t be available via Steam — at least at launch. You’ll only be able to access it through Bethesda’s own digital games platform, because you need yet another one of those on your desktop!
We all know that the definition of “MMORPG” and “MMO” have been stretched, twisted, and interpreted in vastly different ways over the years based on who is talking. It’s not always the easiest label to apply correctly. Game worlds can be excessively instanced while the servers still hold thousands of players, some lack world persistence but have scads of people, and so on. Plus, we’ve long since entered into an era where studios are downright allergic to using the MMO label unless they’re doubling down on the genre.
What I’m getting around to is this: Is Fallout 76 an MMO? I mean, really? At first glance it seems not, what with world map instances holding only a small handful of players. But then when you consider world persistence and the way that servers allow for people to easily jump between instances to connect others, then it gets more tricky. Ever since the Bethesda Showcase, we here at MOP have soft-landed on the side that “yes, it’s kind of an MMO.”
But not all of us agree, and perhaps not all of you will either. Make your case and let us know if this upcoming post-apocalyptic survival game is, indeed, an MMO.
Good news for those of you patiently (or not-so-patiently) waiting for Fallout 76 to enter beta testing, you have a date! Slightly worse news, that’s not until October of this year, so you’ll still be waiting a while yet. So that will either encourage you to continue patiently waiting or become less patient, I guess.
On the subject of patient waiting, Camelot Unchained has its new beta date planned for July 31st, so mark that in your calendars.
You could channel that impatience into reading up on some other beta news, if you were so inclined. That would be pretty chill and would make up for the wait, right? Maybe?
- There are launch plans for Boundless, which should come as something of a surprise for everyone. It’s supposedly reaching launch on September 11th, which isn’t even all that far away.
- Speaking of strange MMOs moving toward wider access, Occupy White Walls is heading to Steam in the near future! That is also good news to, well, anyone who enjoys art curation or just some of the weirder MMO options in the wild.
- It felt pretty down to the wire, but Fractured successfully funded over the past week, so that’s going to be moving forward. So we’ve got a little time to wait until testing arrives, but that’s fine.
- And moving on from strange MMOs and on to strange MMO actions, MapleStory 2 sold out of its founder’s packs, which is odd as the packs in question were not physical objects to be sold. Life is hilarious!
Those of you who have more impatient energy may want to do one of two things at this point: accept that being impatient is unlikely to be dispersed by sitting and reading, or hop along down below to our list of MMOs in testing. You can also follow up that part by letting us know if something in this list is filed incorrectly, as that helps us out a lot and we appreciate it.
Zip up those Vault Tec suits, kiddos, because you’re going out into Fallout 76’s West Virginia wasteland as soon as this October. That is, of course, if you are able to snag a key for the closed beta by plopping down some cash for a pre-order.
Bethesda posted the news on the forums: “Starting in October, we’ll be selecting people who have pre-ordered the game from a participating retailer to enter our B.E.T.A. We’ll start small and grow over time as we prepare for launch. Be sure you’ve read our F.A.Q., for details on how to redeem your B.E.T.A. code and other important details. To clarify, everyone who pre-orders at a participating retailer will be included in the B.E.T.A.”
The studio said that details are “still changing” about the survival MMO but that it couldn’t answer specifics on everything just yet. Bethesda will be taking to the stage at QuakeCon 2018 on August 11th to go through a deep dive on the character systems and answer some fan questions about the game.
What is Fallout 76? Even Bethesda doesn’t seem to have a clear grasp on terminology to label it, avoiding both the MMO and survival labels for the upcoming multiplayer post-nuclear game.
“We avoid the word ‘survival,’ because people’s minds immediately go to DayZ and Rust and certain other games, and those comparisons are not really accurate for what we’re doing,” Game Director Todd Howard told The Guardian. “If you think about the survival modes we’ve made in Fallout 4, it has that vibe… Fallout 76, although it’s an online game, when I play it, I mostly still play it solo. We like those experiences as much as our fans do.”
Howard admitted that the project has the studio a little worried about taking this important franchise online: “We are sometimes afraid of doing it, as much as our fans are afraid of us doing it. But we’ve got to try new things.”
Are you all in on games as a service? Are single player-games over, replaced by much more profitable eternally online (and lockbox-ridden) titles? Bethsoft’s Todd Howard doesn’t think so. Speaking to GIbiz, Howard says that in spite of Fallout 76’s controversial online nature, the always-on games-as-a-service motif “doesn’t mark the future.”
“Corporately we’ve done a mix; people forget sometimes,” he says. “Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world, we have Fallout Shelter which we keep updating, and Elder Scrolls: Legends. Anyone who has ever said ‘this is the future and this part of gaming is dead’ has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should try it.”
Ubisoft, on the other hand, has taken a different tack. The company’s EVP of Creative, Lionel Raynaud, spends some time in a corporate blog post to come at the problem from a narrative angle, saying his studio is trying to keep games going by doing its best not to “give finite experiences.”
As people who are intimately familiar with the online game space (source: you read this site), most everyone here can imagine the worst excesses of player behavior to be found in Fallout 76 before the game launches. But why not experience it firsthand? A new mod for Fallout: New Vegas will allow you to have that online experience for the game right now, well in advance of release.
No, it’s not adding online functionality, why would it do that? It’s adding an NPC with a flamethrower who shows up right after the tutorial and will try to kill you while shouting racist epithets.
Yes, you can probably guess the joke right from there, but there is a video just below for those who would rather just watch something rather than trying to actually play with this mod installed. And if you have some time to play with it yourself… well, don’t say you weren’t properly warned. You knew what to expect.
The reason you won’t be able to play Fallout 76 with your friends on consoles is because of Sony, according to Bethesda studio director Todd Howard. A recent interview with a German site had Howard claiming that while Bethesda would like to do cross-platform play, “Sony is not as helpful as everyone would like.” Bethesda declined to elaborate on the statement when asked for further clarification by Polygon.
Cross-platforming issues have been in the news quite a bit recently, with Fortnite’s launch on Nintendo Switch being coupled with the surprising lack of cross-platform play for PlayStation 4 players. The last statement from the company was that it was “looking into possibilities,” so it remains to be seen both whether or not those possibilities will bear fruit and whether or not they’ll be resolved in time for everyone to enjoy Fallout 76 together.
We’re not allowed to forget about Fallout 76 for even an instant, apparently: Bethsoft has posted up the epic Welcome to West Virginia video that it showed during its presentation at E3, essentially offering a tour of the area the company has picked for the multiplayer entry in the franchise.
“All-new graphics, lighting and landscape technology brings to life six distinct West Virginia regions. Watch Welcome to West Virginia, featured during the Bethesda E3 Showcase, to get a look at the newest location in Fallout. From the forests of Appalachia to the noxious crimson expanses of the Cranberry Bog, each region offers its own risks and rewards. Post-nuclear America has never looked so beautiful!”
You’re getting a glimpse of the bunker, the map, and the rolling hills of post-apocalyptic Appalachia. There’s a look at some concept art and some spooky local baddies too. Enjoy!
Oh, Crowfall, you really looked like you were going to make it to soft launch this year. But it’s not happening; the studio has outright said that soft launch is just not going to be doable before the end of the year, because it’s more important to get the game to the right place. A shame, but on the plus side, we can find out more about the day/night cycle. That’s… similar?
It’s really not. Let’s move on to other beta news.
And that’s everything, but you know, we do have a list of things in testing down below. Is something missing? Has something jumped phases? Do let us know down in the comments below, we always appreciate it.
We’ve finished rolling out all of our E3 2018 content this year, save a few last stragglers coming this weekend, so now we’ve chosen our favorites out of what we got to see in person and from afar. Read on, then vote for your own best-in-show!