The, Er, Fallout of Fallout 76


Fallout 76 came out two weeks ago and has, well, not had the best foot forward so far. From early price cuts to mixed reviews to problems with the game and it’s collectors edition, Fallout 76 has struggled to find its footing, even among those inclined to tolerate the issues that Bethesda games have had in the past.

I’m putting this thread together to give us a one-stop shop for discussion around the game going forward, rather than necessarily routing it through the discussion thread for Cameron’s column (which is great and included below).

Have you been digging into Fallout 76? What do you make of its arc of public opinion so far? Does its stuttered start speak to broader issues with this place and time or Bethesda’s handling of the Fallout franchise?

Waypoint Articles on Fallout 76

(P.S. I am just waiting for this OP to be unearthed in two years when the game has been markedly improved, and for me to look like a fool. Let this be an archive!)

The Nukes of 'Fallout 76' Are Where Power Fantasies Hit a Breaking Point

AAAHAHAHAHA that’s like $5 over an edition folks dropped $199.99 on.


The Nukes of 'Fallout 76' Are Where Power Fantasies Hit a Breaking Point

There’s fun to be had in Fallout 76, unfortunately, none of it is provided by the games narrative or mechanics. I bought it because a friend wanted someone to play it with and we had fun almost in spite of the game.

After playing a bit of Red Dead Online (obviously GTAO, Destiny, etc have been doing narrative in multiplayer games) I’m struck even more by how little is in Fallout 76.


There’s been so much fallout over this release it feels like there’s 76 different threads about it.

I’m assuming Bethesda has an actual Fallout 5 they’ve at least done some planning on that will be an early PS5 game or something. If they really put all their radeggs in the 76 basket like this would be the future of the series than I think like Mass Effect you’re going to straight up see it disappear for a while.


LMAO you literally, LITERALLY cannot make this up


I mean, there is of course gonna be a fallout 5. Why calling this a “quick cash grab” might be a bit deameaning of a term, its clear they thought that they could get away with less effort and time put into this one because “Hey, people LOVE those live service mictrotransactions and it will make money hand over fist regardless” (I don’t think we know how its sold so far tbh)


I was thinking about Fallout 76 the other day in the context of Bethesda’s previous #SavePlayer1 marketing campaign from last year and their shift since towards more multiplayer experiences. What was just last year a company priding itself on the amount of primarily single player experiences they were publishing (Prey, Dishonored, Wolfenstein, The Evil Within, DOOM, etc) seems to have this year pivoted somewhat. Prey got a multiplayer mode this summer, there’s a co-op Wolfenstein game on the horizon as well as a sequel to DOOM (which did have a multiplayer mode tbf) that has some sort of “invasion” multiplayer mechanic, and of course we got Fallout 76, which serves as a pretty big departure from a series that has historically been a single player affair.

I’m curious to see if this is a direction they continue heading in? I don’t think the tepid response to Fallout 76 will put Bethesda in a precarious position by any means, they’re still a company that holds a lot of capital and I imagine any losses on F76 will be made up that Elder Scrolls mobile game also launching this year. Though maybe this might communicate to them that adding multiplayer isn’t a surefire success. It does make me wonder about what Arkane is doing right now, considering they at one point were working on a multiplayer game.


This is my experience too. My friends and I are having fun despite many frustrating aspects of the game. Its fun to just explore an open world with friends.

Also, as someone who plays a lot of Destiny and other multiplayer games with narrative, this game is bizarre. The story is basically told entirely through radio play, which is not a great way to tell story when you’re with a bunch of friends who can talk over the dialogue.

Destiny has this problem too somewhat; but when story is happening, it is happening for my friends and I at the same time. We know when to be quiet and listen. In Fallout 76, we each trigger it individually rather than as a team. We can be at different parts of the story at the same time, making it easier to talk over story dialogue for each other and harder to be on the same page.


I don’t know what it is but I have almost no time for this type of consumer outrage anymore. There were clear signs towards launch that the game wasn’t going to be very good. From Bethesda’s history with open world, jamming multiplayer into there was predictably going to result in some sort of bug fest (although the extent of it here is quite unique). Even at the announcement, once they referenced Rust and all that, it was clear that the single player experience wasn’t going to be anything good, so I don’t understand all the people complaining that either.

People are mad about the bags in the special edition? OK that was not great but I really don’t have much sympathy for people shelling out that much money for a game and some trinkets. There was also some false promises, I guess, which is not great, but its marketing, of course they are going to over exaggerate how good their game is.

I don’t know. The game is bad, it will probably get better, and I am tired of gamers who have energy to get all uppity as soon as they see the tiniest slight against their beloved fictional worlds or to howl at a dev for the crime of having an unpolished game or a bad special edition but no energy to discuss crunch, working conditions and marginalisation, and no will to advocate for changes there.


It’s literally false advertising in the sense that the edition was advertised as including a canvas bag and did not in fact include a canvas bag.

Like, preorders are dumb but this is the easiest consumer protection case ever.


I mean, I’m not sure who though the pitch for Fallout 76 was a good one. Take a genre based on being the lonely (or minimally accompanied) Man with No Name in a franchise known highly political political text and consists mostly of empty radioactive space. And then fill that universe with weirdos with immersion breaking handles, who are always jumping, trolling, griefing and yelling at the same time. I mean, even if the game was technically brilliant, it could never be a good Fallout game.

And that’s not even digging into the project/technical management side of it. Building and running an MMO is about two orders of magnitude more difficult and expensive than something single player.

I suspect that with enough people wacking bugs, they can make something playable, but I think this one’s always going to be remembered as something of a a regrettable excursion for Bethesda.


Yea for sure that’s all true, it’s incredible that they messed that up - I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t really care about that as an issue anymore, just a personal thing.


This keeps getting dumber and I love it.


Bethesda also is possibly facing a lawsuit over not offering refunds on their extremely buggy game


I find it really hard to care one way or another about Fallout 76 (or what seems to be a pretty straightforward case of misleading or false advertising?), but the thing that gets me about Bethesda’s response of giving away virtual currency as “compensation” is that companies frequently give away small amounts of virtual currency specifically because it encourages users to become invested in the virtual currency when they might otherwise not be. It’s solely an invitation to spend more money, aimed at a demographic (wealthy and invested enough to drop $200 on a collectors edition) statistically likely to contain “whales”.


Everything about the reaction to 76 makes me so tired. Like, I understand when a game you were looking forward to turns out disappointing, especially if you had high expectations, but none of this was surprising. The general consensus, at least from what I saw, was that yeah, it probably wouldn’t be very good, but people still got angry anyway. It’s almost like peeking behind the curtain of nerd rage: they need something to vent at so without anything more justified Fallout will do. It feels very performative in a way that past uproars, however overblown, didn’t. Battlefront had gross loot boxes, No Man’s Sky over promised, and conspiracies about graphical downgrades at least had a train of thought you could follow even if it was nonsense. Here, though? Low expectations and middling reviews make for a weird target to get worked up about, but there has to be a target and Fallout is the biggest one right now.


I think Bethesda knew exactly what they were releasing and did it anyway because the live-game format has such potential for high returns without the obligation to continuously drop major content updates imposed by an MMOs monthly fee. They can always fix the game a year or so later like No Man’s Sky did with Next and get all that good will back in a second. The internet may have a long memory but if you come back all apologetic with the game you promised in two years, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

I’m not gonna say that this game was cheap or easy to make, it clearly wasn’t, but I bet using Fallout 4s assets kept the costs lower than usual and that investment in the tech is going to pay off down the line for Bethesda for future Fallout and Elder Scrolls games. I think they made the choice to take this one on the nose and rush it out so that ES6 and Starfield escape its blast radius (haha).


JFC, this is so stupid. It’s a little hard to argue Bethesda was being deceptive about the state of the game when they literally sent out a press release saying it was going to be even buggier than their usual games. If they launched a smooth, polished, bug-free game, that would’ve been deceptive.

This is nothing more than a marketing ploy by the law firm.


IANL but I think the point is, if you sell a product that is faulty/has manufacturing defects, then the customer is entitled to a refund. It’s not about deceptive advertising, just basic consumer rights. I’m not sure exactly what the standard is in the US, but I would assume the case will revolve around proving/disproving bugs, and Bethesda’s knowledge of them and decision to launch anyway, as opposed to looking at marketing materials


I don’t know, a bug that literally re-installs the entire game probably wasn’t something ANYONE was expecting, including probably Bethesda’s marketing team. There’s bugs and then there’s making a game virtually unplayable.