As more information surfaces during E3 2018 about Fallout 76 we can confirm that the multiplayer take on Bethesda's mega popular post-apocalyptic series is moving further away from the franchise's traditional gameplay and won't include non-player characters. From Harold the tree man and Dogmeat to super mutant Marcus and the villainous Mr. Master, the Fallout games are known for stocking the wasteland with a whole host of colorful characters since 1997. These are characters you work with, get quests from, save, or even kill. But that's all different in 2018's new Fallout release.
Fallout 76 is finally taking the series online-only after Fallout Online slipped into development hell all those years ago. The rumors were true and Fallout 76 is not only letting players play with others, but it's four times bigger than any other Fallout game. As well as battling other players, nuking enemy bases (yes, you can do this), and crafting a little slice of heaven in the radiation-filled apocalypse, 76 is set to do away with its NPCs and instead put gamers head-to-head with only other players and robots only.
As well as revealing that the popular VATS system will now work in real-time, Bethesda boss Todd Howard told the E3 Coliseum livestream that the classic NPC formula is also getting a revamp:
"There are no NPCs. So that’s one of the big differences that we really leaned on, which is every character you see is a real person. But there are still robots and terminals and holotapes.”
With every other survivor being an actual player, Fallout 76 is totally populated as a PvP survival experience, not too dissimilar to what H1Z1 originally was (now known as Just Survive or DayZ before it). Initially raising questions over how the likes of stalls would work, Howard has cleared up the confusion by keeping robots in the mix.
Fallout 76 Has No NPCs But Will Get Mod Support
The lack of NPCs raises the question of how side quests are acquired in Fallout 76 and Howard says that something similar will play a part. "They’re kind of a found world … thing,” Howard explained. He did not however detail what these are called or how they fit into Fallout 76. It is actually something that makes sense both logistically and in terms of story. With Fallout 76 being the earliest game chronologically in Fallout lore and Vault 76 being one of the first to open, the wasteland would be virtually empty anyway. Imagine taking a side quest from an NPC and heading to a specific settlement, only to find out another group of players has already reduced it to ash.
Although robots could fulfill the space left behind by a lack of NPCs, the colorful casts of bandits and mutants have helped make Fallout as popular as it is today. That being said, robots have proven to be just as entertaining at times during the franchise history and who can forget memorable (and sometimes murderous) machines like Fallout 4's snooty Codsworth and New Vegas' sharp-shooting Victor.
Howard's comments also leave room for some background NPCs like the presumed overseer of Vault 76, but they won't necessarily send players on a particular side quest. It definitely doesn't sound like they will be anywhere as near as important as they have been in the past. The interview also reiterates that while Fallout 76 will keep a lot of what has made the Fallout games fan-favorites, Bethesda is working from the ground up to change the very core of the latest instalment. Fallout 76 was one of E3's biggest talking points and the next few months are sure to be filled with more news about the MMO.
Fallout 76 will also support mods post-launch through private games. Howard reiterates that mods are super important for their games and their longevity and Fallout 76, despite being an online-only title, will absolutely embrace them as well.
Source: Todd Howard