News continues to pour in after the surprise reveal of Fallout 76, and anonymous sources have now revealed that Bethesda’s newest game is set to be an online survival RPG. This would make it a momentous departure from the company’s other games in the franchise, which have stuck rather rigidly to an open-world, single-player action-RPG basis ever since 2008’s Fallout 3.
The recent commotion of Fallout news began with Bethesda teasing an upcoming announcement on Twitter, then later hosting a Twitch stream displaying a television screen reading “Please Stand By” and a Vault-Tec bobblehead, both signature staples of the series. A flurry of speculation followed, with many expecting a re-release announcement of a previous game like Fallout 3, but Bethesda finally disclosed that Fallout 76, with a trailer for the entirely new game, was their intended news all along.
Now, with this latest leaked info, it looks like Fallout 76 is being developed as an online-focused game. Sources at Kotaku claim that the upcoming title is “...heavily inspired by games like DayZ and Rust.” If this prospect is true, this would be a completely new deployment in the franchise, whose previous entries have focused first and foremost on the single-player experience.
The Fallout series began its life on PC, with the initial installments Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 emerging in the late 90s to widespread acclaim. These isometric turn-based RPGs emphasized player choice and storytelling, showcasing a post-apocalyptic landscape, retrofuturist aesthetic, and dark sense of humor which permeated the narrative. Originally developed by Interplay’s division Black Isle Studios, the series finally continued a decade later with its third game, after Bethesda Softworks bought the rights to the franchise. Since then, two new sequels emerged, with Fallout 4 the most recent in 2015.
Initial reports of Fallout 76’s online focus have been proven true, which reveals a trend of specific game franchises exploring the successful gameplay types of the modern multiplayer era. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is positioning itself as multiplayer-only, and even taking inspiration from the battle royale modes of games like Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. In this sense, Bethesda’s choice to break out of Fallout’s series expectations seems aligned with popular trends in this space, and Kotaku reports that the base-building in Fallout 4 - clearly inspired at the time by the popularity of survival games like Minecraft - will make a return in Fallout 76.
For now, gamers will probably have to wait till E3 arrives for more Fallout 76 details, with Bethesda’s press conference set for June 10 at 6:30pm PT.