Much like the lucky few selected by Vault-Tech to enjoy a new future underground, a lucky few Fallout fans will get a chance to play Fallout 76 several weeks before everyone else. The long-awaited MMORPG is scheduled for release on November 14, though it had been previously announced that some players would be allowed to beta-test the game before then. Now, Bethesda Softworks has confirmed when the testing will begin, though some players will get earlier access than others depending on the platform they use to play the game.
Set 25 years after the nuclear war that decimated the world of Fallout, Fallout 76 is the first multi-player game in the popular post-apocalyptic RPG franchise. Set in the wasteland of West Virginia, the game will center upon a group of people who had been sealed in an underground shelter (i.e. Vault 76) in anticipation of rebuilding American society. Players will take on the role of one of these bold survivalists, joining together to explore this brave new world and survive the various perils that await them, including savage raiders, giant animals and radioactive abominations like ghouls and mutants.
Xbox players will have a slight edge over everyone else, gaining access to Fallout 76 on October 23. PlayStation 4 and PC gamers will not get a chance to play the B.E.T.A. until October 30. The game will not be available 24-hours a day during the B.E.T.A. stage. Instead, the servers will be open for limited amounts of time, to be announced to B.E.T.A. testers at a later date.
Newsweek reported on another issue that may drive a wedge between the gamers who prefer various platforms. In addition to Fallout 76 not being available for download through the digital distribution platform Steam, Bethesda Softworks just confirmed that the game will have separate servers for Xbox, PS4 and PC players. There is no indication that the company ever plans to make crossplay between platforms possible at a later date.
Given the ambitious nature of Fallout 76, this is hardly surprising. Developing an MMORPG across multiple platforms is already a momentous task and with Sony having only recently become agreeable to allowing other platforms to share on-line game servers with their players on games like Fortnite, the developers at Bethesda Softworks never had any reasons to suspect they would need to develop cross-platform connectivity before now. Given that it will likely be some time before Fallout 76 is fully stable, it seems likely that Bethesda Softworks will want to work all the bugs out of what they have planned so far before trying to work new features, like crossplay, into the game.