Two years after Fallout 76's battle royale mode launched, Bethesda are shutting down Nuclear Winter. The MMO's 52-player free-for-all mode is a little more Hunger Games-y than other battle royales, purely because of Fallout's survival aspect. It seems that wasn't quite enough to make it a popular mode, though. In September, the devs are getting rid of Nuclear Winter because, from the sounds of things, not many people are actually playing it.
"Over time, we’ve seen the vast majority of players prefer to explore other aspects of the game," Bethesda say. "It has also become tougher to put full Nuclear Winter lobbies together without also making sacrifices on match wait times. Additionally, we’ve found it challenging to provide meaningful updates for Nuclear Winter, while also developing and supporting exciting new content for Adventure Mode in recent and upcoming updates."
When Nuclear Winter first came out, Jay Castello wrote about how the mode was fun, but flimsy. The whole point of it is to beat the 51 other players to become an overseer (and for victory, I suppose), except you just killed everyone you could oversee. It also leans a little too hard on the whole "nukes are cool" vibe, but Jay reckoned that was the conclusion the Fallout games were coming to anyway:
"This is just what Bethesda Fallouts are now: nihilistic romps through destroyed wastelands that care little for examining the societies that created them in the way other Fallouts have been careful to."
If you're a fan of Nuclear Winter and have played at least a few matches, Bethesda are going to compensate you for the loss of the game mode with the in-game currency Perk Coins. You'll get six Coins for each Overseer Rank you achieved, as well as an additional Coin for each win. You'll also get a Nuclear Winter-themed pennant to decorate your C.A.M.P.
Nuclear Winter is going away sometime in September, but the devs aren't going to leave the more bloodthirsty players out there with nothing to do. They say they're "still working to provide methods of PVP combat for those who enjoy squaring off against other former Vault Dwellers," and will have more to share on their plans later this year.
In other Fallout 76 news, the game is free to play between now and June 16th to celebrate E3. Our Fallout 76 review from last year says the game has definitely improved since it first launched, thanks to the introduction of more NPCs, though it's still not the best Fallout experience around.