What first comes to mind when you think of Fallout 76? The buggy launch in 2018? A big wasteland to hang out with your mates? How about the fan-made art galleries available in-game? Well, if that’s not wacky enough, meet The Wasteland Theatre Company, a collective of players who have organised, directed and performed a series of live shows in Fallout 76. Back in April, the company produced a version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in-game using a stage they built themselves. In the spirit of the holidays, the group reconvened to tackle another literary classic: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, benefitting a children's hospital.
On December 6th, fourteen players performed a 60-minute version of the show in-game in Fallout 76. Some were there as actors, positioning their characters and providing VO. The rest of the group included crew members such as a lighting technician and a security guard, because a Deathclaw ambush wouldn’t be very Christmassy. The live show was followed by a slightly shorter TV production of A Christmas Carol, with various camera angles and other adjustments to fit the medium - this production was broadcast through a Fallout 76 TV, of course.
I’d be lying if I said that I’ve watched the entire video, but I’m convinced by the clips I have seen. Bethesda’s struggling engine adds a lot to this version of the story. On the one hand, the character’s deadpan faces and butthole mouths contribute to the spookiness of this ghost story. Some lines made my skin crawl simply because Fallout 76’s faces are so ghastly. Sometimes a random face looking at the camera was enough to induce a few goosebumps, as if there was almost life behind those eyes. At other times, the wonky engine just makes this production a good laugh and a fun time. Depends on your mood, really. And there's no denying that the actors themselves put in a good shift in their chosen medium.
The Wasteland Theatre Company held the production as a fundraiser for Fallout For Hope, a Fallout community effort to raise funds for St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital. The company say their show raised over $2,000, helping the overall total to pass $30,000. If their production has put you in a charitable mood, you can donate directly to St. Judes here or get involved with Fallout For Hope at this link.