Fallout 76 is coming later this year, and it’s a marked departure for the series. While it’ll retain the general post-apocalyptic look and feel, along with the established sort of quest structure, it’s effectively a massively multiplayer online shooter. That means it ditches the classic V.A.T.S shooting system, because many NPCs you may encounter are actual human beings, and V.A.T.S would slow the game down to a crawl for everyone. Because it’s set in the early days of the apocalypse, there are no super mutants either – so it’s going to feel like Fallout, but also not quite like Fallout.
Because of this online connectivity, many expect that the game will be riddled with microtransactions, forcing players to part with more bottlecaps than they had intended. And that is indeed the case. Bethesda’s Pete Hines has confirmed that the game will have microtransactions but – and this is important – they’ll only be cosmetic. On top of that, players won’t need to buy those digital baubles with real money. They can use money earned in-game.
“…we’re pretty aware of where the line is and try and sit on the right side of that line,” Hines told Metro. “So I’ll give you an example, it’s not like microtransactions haven’t been a four-letter word in this industry, amongst certain folks, for a while. We have microtransactions in Fallout 76. But, they’re only cosmetic. Anything we’re selling for real money you can also buy with in-game currency that you get as a reward while you play. And part of the main reason we’re doing it is because we want to provide all of the post-launch content that we do for free.”
Bethesda says they’ll be using the money from those MT’s to ensure that players needn’t buy actual content for the game. It may just be lip service, but it’s lip service I can nod my head along with.
“So any DLC or new content we add is free to everybody. And we feel like we’re being upfront, we’re doing this in a way that makes sense. It’s only cosmetic, there is no pay-to-win. You can earn it in-game if you don’t want to buy it. If there’s an outfit you want. Like yeah, you’re getting rewards along the way, just use that to go buy the weapons skin or whatever the hell it is you want. We just feel that that kind of approach is on the right side of the line where folks go, ‘Yeah, I’m okay with that’. And where that line is will sometimes move but generally speaking we feel like we have a pretty good sense… I mean, we had lunchboxes in Fallout Shelter but nobody had an issue with it because that game wasn’t really in your face about the fact that there was a way to spend money.”
If Fallout 76 does end up being your bag, you can expect to be playing it for a long time though. Hines says the plan is to effectively have the game run “forever.”
“I’m not being ironic. Like, forever. Because other people have said, ‘Is your timeline two years or five years?’ And I said, ‘Well, they’re still playing Morrowind and you go online and look at how many people are playing Fallout 4 and Skyrim. Those games have been out for four and seven years, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of people playing those games every single day, every single month. So Fallout 76, our timeline is in perpetuity. Now what that content is gonna be, and what that’s gonna look like, I’m not sure. Part of our thing is we need to get people in the game and see how they respond. We’ve even taken this approach for past DLC. I don’t know if you remember Fallout 3? The big consumer reaction when we launched that game was that they were all upset that it had an ending. And we were like, ‘All the previous games had an ending! We thought we were sticking to what that franchise is…’ But they didn’t want an ending and we had a couple of DLCs in the works but the third one we did we were like, ‘Well, we need a DLC that removes the ending of the game and allows you to continue on’. So 76 is going to be like that. We have some ideas for this and that, but let’s see what people want more of. Let’s see what they respond to and support that.”
In video game terms, World of Warcraft has been running forever, and if Bethesda can make Fallout 76’s world and quest structure fun enough and for long enough – then “forever” might be achievable.
Last Updated: September 14, 2018