There are few franchises that have left more of a lasting effect on me than Fallout. I seem to have an obsession with the concept of post-apocalyptic futures and what they may bring. It's clear that I'm not the only one either, as the Fallout franchise has become a major staple in the video game industry. Fans are constantly excited for any new Fallout related news. I mean, I was super psyched (still am to a degree) for Fallout Shelter, a free-to-play mobile title. So it makes sense that I am ready and raring to go just as much as the next person for anything new from the franchise. Fallout 76 has become an obsession. Not just because it's a part of the series I know and love, but because of the possibilities it may bring.
Very quickly after Fallout 76 was originally teased by Bethesda, Kotaku published an article citing anonymous sources who claimed the game was going to be online. Yup, Fallout 76 was unmasked as most likely being Bethesda's Fallout-themed Elder Scrolls Online. It makes perfect sense for so many reasons. For one, online games can make companies much more money, with subsequent purchases, than standalone single-player games. Secondly, Bethesda's other largest franchise, The Elder Scrolls, already got the MMO treatment, so it makes sense that Fallout would follow suit. This could be a fantastic take on the Fallout franchise, if fans are willing to give it a chance.
Unlike The Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 76 is being directly developed by Bethesda themselves. So it's hard to say that the two experiences will play the same. Surely Bethesda will take some inspiration from their already published Elder Scrolls Online though. At the very least, we'll almost certainly see expansions for the game after initial release. This is obviously not Bethesda exclusive, but rather a trapping of MMOs that is entirely welcome. What could make Fallout 76 special in this regard however, are the previous Fallout games.
Hardcore Fallout fans will recognize the 76 in the title from previous entries in the franchise. This refers to one of Vault Tech's very first bunkers. One that would open a mere 20 years after the nuclear bombs were dropped. We're fairly certain that Fallout 76 will actually take place 25 years after the nuclear disaster. The next closest date in the Fallout series is the original, which took place 84 years after the bombs. Thus, we can infer that the settlements players create in Fallout 76 will be the ancestors to the cities we know and love in the other Fallout games.
In that regard, it makes sense that future Fallout 76 expansions might include some of those well-known places. Perhaps we'll be transported to Megaton when it was just a dud bomb sticking out of the sand with a couple shacks around it. Perhaps we'll be transported to New Vegas, where feral ghouls have run amok in the casinos and survivors are beginning to clear them out. The sky is really the limit on what Bethesda could expand upon in this Fallout prequel era.
Bethesda has also clarified that Fallout 76 will include quests and an overarching story. This gives me hope that much like The Elder Scrolls Online, players will be able to give the game a go alone. Surely there will probably be quests, locations, and maybe even dungeons that will be easier with party members. But the possibility remains that you might be able to lone wolf Fallout 76 quests if you so choose. It's probably pretty likely that Fallout 76 will utilize the base building aspects explored in Fallout 4. So players should also be prepared to have to work with others to build safe areas to live in the wasteland that is only just now being repopulated by humans. I imagine this might be similar to the base building that exists in ARK: Survival Evolved.
No matter what Bethesda does with Fallout 76, I am excited to see it evolve. Hopefully they strike a good balance between tasks you can complete on your own, and enjoyable multiplayer experiences. I'm hopeful that we might see expansions that involve other games and popular locations explored in the franchise. There is a lot that Bethesda can do with Fallout 76 in regards to it being a MMO, as well as a prequel to the rest of their franchise. What are you theories and hopes for Fallout 76? Let me know in the comments!