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Fallout 76: trailers, release date, beta details, everything we know

Almost heaven, West Virginia

Featured post fallout-76-screenshot

It’s official, we’re getting a multiplayer focused Fallout game for the first time in the series’ history. Fallout 76 was revealed at E3 2018 with trailers, a substantial explanation of how it’ll play, and a release date. Find all of that along and everything we know about the game so far, including any hidden details that could hint at what is to come.

What is Fallout 76’s release date?

Fallout 76’s release date is November 14th, and there will also be a public beta (or “Break-it Early Test Application” as they dubbed it). This has been announced to be taking place in October and is guaranteed for those who have pre-ordered the game at participating retailers, but access will be drip-fed all the way up to the game’s release date.

Two special editions of the game were also announced as well. The Tricentennial Edition includes the following items:

  • Tricentennial Power Armor Customization for the T-51, T-45, T-60, and X-01 Power Armors.
  • Tricentennial Weapon Customization for the 10MM Pistol, Hatchet, and Laser Rifle.
  • Spectacularly Handsome Vault Boy Mascot Head.
  • Patriotic Uncle Sam Outfit.
  • Celebratory Vault Boy Saluting Emote.
  • First-Class Tricentennial Workshop Posters.
  • Tricentennial Commemorative Photo Frame

Sadly for those who fancy having all the world’s Fallout 76 stuff, the Power Armor Edition has now sold out. It included a glow-in-the-dark map of the region and some figures, as well as a wearable T-51 helmet. It was only available inside the US, anyway.

When and where does Fallout 76 take place?

As if the music choice in the trailers didn’t give the game away already, Fallout 76 will be set in the state of West Virginia. Beyond that though, there are more subtle touches that hint at just how much is crammed into the map. Todd Howard did mention during the Microsoft conference that the map would be four times the size of any previous Fallout game. As mentioned during our latest video, the area is split into six different regions. Vault 76 opens somewhere in the forest region, but there is also the Toxic Valley, The Mire, Savage Divide, Ash Heap, and Cranberry Bog. Only Cranberry Bog is based on a real location, though individual buildings are also all over the place.

Perhaps the more interesting questions for Fallout fans are “When does Fallout 76 take place?” and “What’s the story behind Vault 76?”. Surprisingly, Vault 76 has been mentioned in the past. From what was said in the past in both Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, Vault 76 was not one of the experimental vaults and housed 500 occupants. This marks the first time the player character will emerge from one of the seventeen “control” vaults. Only two previous control vaults have been shown in the series – one that was opened after 10 years and another that delayed their opening after concerns were raised about the conditions in the outside world.

According to a terminal in the Citadel in Fallout 3, Vault 76 “…will operate exactly according to the plan dictated in the marketing material produced by Vault-Tec and precisely to resident expectations. This vault will open automatically after a period of 20 years and the residents will be pushed back into the open world for study in comparison to the other experiments.” This didn’t really happen though as the opening of the Vault was delayed until the year 2102 when, presumably, the events of Fallout 76 take place.

Things also didn’t go all that smoothly in the construction of the Vault as the Assistant CEO of Vault-Tec – Giles Wolstencroft was abducted by aliens while inspecting the construction of Vault 76. From the audio-log found in Fallout 3, there’s no reason to suggest that Giles made it back after some electronic shock experiments. Vault 76’s completion is also briefly mentioned by a newscaster in Fallout 4.

What was shown in the Fallout 76 E3 trailers?

We first got a good glimpse of Fallout 76 at E3 during Microsoft’s conference. Here we see a fair few of the locations in West Virginia in varying states of disrepair, such as the state capitol, the Greenbrier Resort, and West Virginia university to name a few. Given the colour of the trees, it seems to be once again set in the autumn as the trees have a wide range of colours on display.

In the subsequent presentation at Bethesda’s conference later that night, we were introduced to some of the creatures based on the folklore of West Virginia, including one seen on a cover of a pulp fiction booklet called “The Beast of Grafton” which is based on the Grafton Monster. There are other nasty beasties: A giant sloth with mold on its back, a spider with a hornet’s nest on its bum – which incidentally came straight from my nightmares, and even this flying bat monster ripped straight out of the Batman comics if that silhouette is anything to go by.

Vault 76 resident squares off against a flying bat monster

Is Fallout 76 online only?

We also got a massive in-depth look at Fallout 76 during Bethesda’s conference, which is where the bulk of the detail seems to be coming from. The most important thing is that Fallout 76 is completely online – a fact that was first mentioned by Jason Schreier of Kotaku when Bethesda originally teased the game.

The idea was first conceived four years ago according to Bethesda’s Todd Howard, with elements of open world survival. He describes the game as “soft-core survival” where death isn’t permanent and characters are only linked to a dedicated server. There will be a short pool of players rather than everyone playing all at once in one place, and progression in your personal campaign goes with you. In a series of videos that are done in the style of Vault-Tec vignettes, we get an idea of the various concepts behind it.

Firstly, other players can attack you without notice. You can of course kill them in order to obtain some caps, but the interesting thing here is that AP is used more as an indicator of stamina. Todd Howard did later confirm in an interview with Geoff Keighley that VATS is there for targeting specific parts, but it will now be in real time. Though the lack of it being shown is hardly a confirmation, it’s a notable omission.

You can go at it all alone of course, but Fallout 76 encourages players to team up and work together. Players can party up with three other players to raid locations, complete quests, build communities, or just have a nice jam on a cliffside.

Three players playing a variety of different instruments

What else can I do in Fallout 76?

Unlike Fallout 4 where crafting was limited to safe locations, Fallout 76 gives players the option to build wherever they want. If you want to build your castle in the middle of a swamp, using the all new “C.A.M.P.” or “Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform”, then you’re free to do so. It still requires resources to build everything from buildings to turrets, but there’s also a larger emphasis on needing certain skills to make certain items.

There also seems to be a hunger and thirst meter, which may be unfamiliar to those who never touched the survival mode in Fallout 4. Perhaps technology to purify water will be easily made within Fallout 76, though too early to help the overseer of Vault 101 from Fallout 3.

Fallout 76 also, perhaps unwisely, gives players the opportunity to press the nuclear button. These require the acquisition of launch codes, which you and others can possess to drop the atom bomb on an unsuspecting foe. Once dropped, the landscape will change dramatically and even introduce new resources and mutated wildlife to suit the new surroundings.

One thing that caught Noa’s eye was a poster in Vault 76 that indicates possible job classes are being introduced to Fallout for the first time. These are from left to right, “Educators”, “Public Safety Worker”, “Technicians & Mechanics”, “Marketing Specialist”, “Building Construction & Design Workers”, “Pest Control Professional”, and “Health Care Professional”. While certainly unconventional, they do seem to fall into a number of established tropes. If I had to guess at this stage, different professions could grant early access to certain perks via the SPECIAL tech tree.

Player in Vault 76 looking at a poster with seven job types indicated.

Any other information regarding Fallout 76?

Fallout 76 will be Bethesda Game Studio’s main focus this year as other projects are being held back until 2019 and beyond. However there is no season pass that has been announced as of yet, in a clear departure from how Fallout 4 did things, yet I’d imagine more expandable content will be introduced throughout the game’s lifetime.

And that’s everything we have for you that we could gleam from the internet so far. As always, we will be keeping this hub updated when new things are announced up until the game is out on November 14th, and afterwards should expandable content be coming to Fallout 76.

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Dave Irwin

Guides Writer

As guides writer for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, it is my privilege to understand how to play certain games well, so that newer players can understand the more complex things about them.

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