Fallout 76 human NPCs won't be coming as early as fans might have hoped, as Bethesda announced earlier today that the Wastelanders free update - the one that many believe could salvage the game as a whole - has now been delayed until Q1 2020. Wastelanders was first announced during E3 2019, when Bethesda Game Studios creative director Todd Howard alluded to the dissatisfaction of the game's many players before suggesting that the company had heard their concerns and would be taking steady, genuine steps toward creating the game that fans wanted rather than the one they had received.
Fallout 76 was nothing short of a disappointment when the game first released, failing to capture the magic of the series and instead offering up a multiplayer experience that took place in a world that felt devoid of life. For a game that's in a franchise that made its name for intriguing characters and NPC interactions, having almost none of those - and no human NPCs to speak of - was a bold decision, and one that didn't pay off. Howard acknowledged during his E3 2019 appearance that launching an RPG without any human characters to interact with was probably a mistake in retrospect, and the reception of Fallout 76 has proven that to be true. With that said, though, Wastelanders is the game's biggest update ever, one that will look to right many of the wrongs that were present at launch.
Unfortunately, Wastelanders won't be coming this year after all. Bethesda Game Studios announced this morning that Wastelanders will now arrive in the first quarter of 2020, which is a period spanning January 1, 2020 to March 31, 2020. The company stated that the update needed more time to ensure quality, but the Fallout 76 human NPC addition is the ray of light shining through for those who have stubbornly stuck with the game, and delaying it is rough. Here's what Bethesda had to say on the delay:
"It's going to need more time to be the best, most polished update it can be. We've continued to re-evaluate and change our processes to make sure the work we're doing hits our quality bar, and yours. We apologize for this delay but know it will be worth the extra time.
Wastelanders is turning out to be one of the largest expansions we've ever done, and it changes the entire world with human NPCs returning. We'll be sharing more details over time."
The post also includes a look at some of the human NPCs that will be appearing in the Wastelanders expansion, and it's certainly promising to hear of the update as one of the largest Bethesda has ever done. Whether that's enough to convince players to continue waiting for the update remains to be seen - the patience of many Fallout 76 players has already been tested since the game first launched, and there are a lot of huge releases coming at the end of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. The company also revealed that private servers will be made available next week, something that could help bridge the gap between now and the Wastelanders update.
Even with potential backlash, though, the addition of Fallout 76 human NPCs is one of the biggest updates to the game yet and one that will need to be done right to salvage it. It makes sense for Bethesda to pump the brakes on the update if quality is a concern, and even if that means the update needs to compete with releases like The Last of Us 2 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake, at least it will be doing so looking as good as it could have without being rushed.
Source: Official Fallout Website