Fallout 76, the latest game from Fallout 4 and Skyrim developer Bethesda Game Studios, is coming some time soon, and along with news of a Fallout 76 beta we also picked up a variety of little bits of info from Bethesda's E3 conference.
Here on this page we'll walk you through all the info we've gathered, including the Fallout 76 release date, as well as everything we can try to deduce, like Fallout 76's setting, or make educated guesses at, like Fallout 76's expected release date.
Fallout 76 beta details, release date and how to access the beta
Fallout 76's release date was announced at Bethesda's E3 conference, and it's coming this year, with a release date of November 14th, 2018.
There will also be a Fallout 76 beta. We didn't get a lot of info about the Fallout 76 beta, but we do know there will be one, at least. Here's what Mr. Bethesda himself Todd Howard had to say:
"Evidently, these online games are hard - they can have some nasty issues. I read on the internet that our games have had a few bugs… I did, I read it on the internet, so it's true! And sometimes it doesn't just work."
One thing we do know is the beta will debut first on Xbox One, followed by PS4 and PC. The time difference between platforms was not mentioned.
To access the beta itself, the only method confirmed so far is by pre-ordering the game. That will give you automatic access if you do it through the PlayStation, Xbox One or Bethesda online stores. If you buy it from a retailer like Amazon, you'll need to redeem your code online here.
You can pre-order Fallout 76 here:
Fallout 76 E3 gameplay trailer, online, multiplayer and gameplay details
We picked up some more details on Fallout 76's gameplay at Bethesda's E3 conference, so here's a rundown of what we know.
Multiplayer, genre, and gameplay details
- It is, indeed, an online game - all the other people who come out of the vault are real human players. You can befriend them or fight them.
- It is also, indeed, a survival game, but "soft-core" survival - you don't lose your character or your progression when you die.
- You can play it solo, do story stuff and level up like usual - or you can do it online.
- Your character's not tied to one server, and in your world you see dozens of other players not hundreds or thousands.
- You can join friends whenever you want and your progression goes with you.
- There are emotes.
- There's both PvP and PvE.
- You can build "whatever you want" and move that stuff "wherever you want" - essentially it's the base building of Fallout 4 and fully-mobile.
- There's a photo mode.
- You can get your own nukes! To do so you'll need to collect fragments of nuclear launch codes from killing human or non-human enemies and then take all of them to a nuclear launch site to fire the missile - and you can aim it at whatever you want, presumably including other people's bases that they've spent ages building.
- The collectors edition features a glow in the dark map and a wearable power armour helmet.
Story, setting, and game world
- It is indeed tricentenial-related, as the people there celebrated the vault being built in 2076.
- There is "sixteen times" the detail in the game's environment. Hard to pin down exactly what that means.
- There are lots of new creatures - like the winged gargoyle-like Scorchbeast - inspired by West Virginian folklore.
- It's set in West Virginia (as the theme song suggests).
- It is indeed set as a prequel to all other Fallout games released so far.
- You'll be playing as the first settlers to head up to the surface after the bombs have fallen.
- It's more than four times the size of the game world of Fallout 4.
Fallout 76 setting, backstory, and Vault 76 explained
Something that might not have translated to players outside of North America is the significance of the number 76, so here's a quick explainer (and a bit of speculation to go with it) that looks at why that number's so important, especially to Americans.
Here in the real world, 1976 is the year of the bicentennial - the USA's big celebration of it turning 200 years old (as a state - obviously America, and Americans, had been there long before) - and, to a lot of Americans, it is a very big deal. As in, so much of a big deal that it can be used as a plot device and Americans would totally get it (a fun fact from Christian Donlan, who's currently deep into a watchrough of Lost: in that show, Kate was able to deduce that Sawyer wrote a mysterious letter when he was a child because it had a bicentennial logo on the envelope) - but to those of us outside the country it's... not really very significant at all.
But, Fallout is set in America, and in Fallout of course, we're way in the future. The year 2076 is more recent in the memory, and it would be the year of the tricentennial (which we can assume it's another big deal - Fallout is about satirising nationalism, after all, even if it's a bit blunt in how it does so (and even if Donald Trump's brother is on the board at Bethesda's parent company, Zenimax)).
But it doesn't look like Fallout 76 is set in 2076, it looks like it's set in 2102 - thanks to the date on an alarm clock that we see early on in the reveal trailer. Oh, and the bombs fell in 2077...
So what's the significance of 76 then? Well, the vault's called 76, the game is called 76, the trailer draws attention to a 2076 tricentennial celebration (we saw a big "300 years old!" Monument in the lengthier E3 trailer, too), and, as you'll see at the end of the trailer, there appears to be some kind of celebration going on in the vault too - dubbed "Reclamation Day" - presumably to mark the vault-dwellers' return to the surface.
Last few things to note: on the Fallout wiki, Vault 76 is noted as a control vault - meaning it was designed to open earlier than most of the others, to allow some people to go out and re-settle on the surface before the rest of civilization woke up.
What's more, 2102 is the earliest a Fallout game has been set, making it a prequel (as has since been confirmed at the conference, which we note up above).
The main takeaway from all that, really, is about the game's tone. Fallout games are traditionally satires of the nationalism of midcentury America, but Fallout 76, being named after bi- and tri-centennial celebrations, and with those celebrations featuring heavily in the brief trailers we've already seen, seems to be doubling down on it.