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Four years after its disastrous launch, Fallout 76 now has an impressive 13.5m players

Rebuilding society.

Fallout 76
Image credit: Bethesda

Fallout 76 now has an impressive 13.5 million players, Bethesda has announced.

Recounting the past 12 months for the online-focused post-apocalyptic role-playing game, Bethesda said 13.5 million players had dipped into Appalachia over the course of 2022.

"Fallout 76 has grown significantly over the past year, with players worldwide experiencing all sort of happenings across Appalachia from travelling roadshows to extraterrestrial invasions!" Bethesda said.

Fallout 76: Nuka-World on Tour launch trailer. Watch on YouTube

Fallout 76's popularity will no-doubt have benefited significantly from its availability on Microsoft's subscription service Game Pass, which it launched on in July 2020. It's also part of the PlayStation Plus Extra tier.

It has been a long, hard road to recovery for Bethesda's Fallout 76, which launched November 2018 in catastrophic form.

I penned Eurogamer's Fallout 76 review, awarding it the dreaded "Avoid" badge. "A bizarre, boring, broken mess," I wrote back then.

But Bethesda stuck with it, issuing a raft of updates in a bid to repair the damage caused to its reputation and the Fallout brand. Is the comeback complete? Currently, Fallout 76 has a "mostly positive" user review rating on Steam, suggesting most players are happy with it.

Throughout it all, Fallout 76 has proven itself fertile ground for interesting player and community-driven stories. And with the release of the Wastelanders update in 2020, I found myself having fun with Fallout 76 for the first time.

More recently, a new report into the development of Fallout 76 painted a picture of a studio in disarray, as poor management, a lack of design direction, and engine challenges created an environment of apathy, confusion, crunch, and burnout, and a game that ultimately failed to resonate with players.

For many, Fallout 76 will never be the Fallout they want next from Bethesda, but it's clear many millions are getting stuck into it while they wait for Fallout 5.