Just before last year's E3, Bethesda Game Studios teased a new title in the Fallout franchise. Eventually, fans learned that the new game wasn't exactly what they were hoping for, but was instead an online MMO called Fallout 76. Although that announcement tamed their initial excitement, gamers were still curious about how Bethesda would bring the wasteland to a multiplayer environment.
Fallout 76 officially launched in November 2018 and with its release came massive disappointment from players who couldn't get past the title's numerous bugs, as well as its wasted potential. Instead of a beautiful game set in an alternative history post-apocalyptic America, fans got a glitchy and clunky title that seemed rushed. Now, over six months after its release, the game remains mostly broken, and it seems that each patch does more harm than good.
At this point, fans are wondering how Bethesda plans on handling the game going forward. With E3 2019 right around the corner, it's time to wonder what Bethesda may come up with at the conference to please players still invested in the game. Here's how Bethesda can address the problem that is Fallout 76 at E3:
Announce new high-demand features for Fallout 76
One of the key features that players want in Fallout 76 is NPCs. These characters were vital in previous Fallout titles, and it's still perplexing that Bethesda chose to leave them out of Fallout 76. Players also have a lot to say about the in-game economy, particularly the high prices in the Atom Shop. Regardless of how gamers feel about microtransactions, having items marked up so high is always a bad idea in a game that isn't already free to play. Bethesda needs to make it clear at E3 that it is paying attention to what Fallout 76 players want with their gaming experience.
Announce a complete reboot of Fallout 76
One of the more dramatic things that Bethesda could announce at this year's E3 is that it has plans to reboot Fallout 76 completely. There are already theories about how the current gameplay scenario is a simulation, with in-game hints that suggest this is the case. The simulation idea is also not a far-reaching theory as players have already seen virtual reality in previous games, such as the "Operation Anchorage" DLC for Fallout 3. Bethesda could easily reset the game by having players wake up from the simulation and into the real wasteland, where they have an improved gameplay experience.
Announce Fallout 76 as free to play
One very real possibility for Fallout 76 is to announce the title as free to play. There are already many rumors surrounding this idea, although Bethesda has since shut down that discussion. However, with all the issues still surrounding Fallout 76, this could potentially be the best-case scenario for the game, giving the company a chance to get more players on board, as well as the opportunity to continue to fix things as they arise and keep the game monetized through an in-game economy. However, the company will need to deal with complaints from those who already paid for the game, but some free in-game perks should keep those players at bay.
Announce Fallout 76 is a failure and nuke it
The most drastic thing that Bethesda can do at E3 is acknowledging that Fallout 76 is a complete failure and give up on it entirely by shutting the servers down. Considering the amount of time and money already invested in the game, this is probably the least likely scenario, but some might argue that the game is too broken to move forward. To assuage those who bought and played Fallout 76, perhaps Bethesda could announce the next mainline Fallout game and arrange to have Fallout 76 players get it for free or at a discount.
Regardless of what Bethesda does at E3 regarding Fallout 76, its reputation is on the line. It will have to carefully consider its strategy moving forward to do what damage control it can before releasing new titles.