Fallout 76, the latest game from Fallout 4 and Skyrim developer Bethesda Game Studios, is coming this year, and along with news of a Fallout 76 beta we now also have plenty of info on what to expect from the game itself.
We have the Fallout 76 release times for all regions - along with everything else we know about Fallout 76's setting, online features and more.
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Fallout 76 release time in UK, Europe, EST and PST
Fallout 76 is available on Wednesday, November 14th - a rare mid-week launch - and has a release of at one minute past minute local time across almost all regions - that's including UK, Europe.
The exception is west coast (PST) of the United States - going live at 9:01pm on November 13th, in line with the east coast (midnight EST).
However, Fallout 76 has gone live early for certain systems and locations - such as PS4 in the UK - if you have a physical copy on PS4 and have everything installed, there is nothing to stop you playing now.
If you have pre-ordered the digital version though, that will still only unlock at midnight local time - even if it's fully pre-loaded.
Fallout 76 E3 gameplay trailer 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 online 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, but you can still only 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 - player count per server is 24.
- You can join friends whenever you want and your progression goes with you.
- There are emotes.
- There's PvP and bounties if you decide to take on other players.
- Fallout 76 will get free updates and DLC for "years" after launch.
- There are microtransactions, but only cosmetic ones.
Gameplay, mechanics and nuke details
- 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! These areas that have been nuked will become irradiated, creating tough zones of higher-difficulty enemies and monsters, with better resources to be found there.
- Your buildings (C.A.M.P.s) will follow you from server to server, and won't be attacked or do anything when you're not online.
- Crafting is a big deal, requiring recipes that are found in various ways in the world, and you can craft most of the items you'll use in the game, including weapons and power armour.
- There are various survival elements: Mutations, Diseases, hunger, thirst, weapon durability and food expiration will all be present and have an impact on you in-game.
- V.A.T.S is back again, as are HP and AP.
- Perks and the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system are handled differently: there are now Perk Cards, and you can only have three active at any time. They're divided into S.P.E.C.I.A.L. categories (Intelligence, Charisma etc.) and give you specific benefits. Each time you level up you can swap them out, and they can be shared with your party, too.
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, but the game world is more than four times the size of Fallout 4.
- 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.
- There are multiple radio stations to tune into - including Appalachia Radio and Peacetime Radio.
- Oh, and the collectors edition features a glow in the dark map and a wearable power armour helmet.
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 Eurogamer's 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 - in fact Fallout 76 is set in roughly 2102-2103, 25 years after the bombs fell in 2077 - so much of the external world in-game is littered with references to the 2076 Tricentennial celebration.
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. It should be fun!