It would be safe to say that the shift to a multiplayer-focused experience for Fallout 76 certainly ruffled a few feathers. I suspect there’s an eye-rolling #NotMyFallout hashtag out there somewhere.
Anyway, while Fallout 76 leans heavily into online elements, Bethesda Game Studios executive producer, Todd Howard, has reaffirmed that future numbered sequels in its mainline RPG series will very much still be single-player experiences. This includes Starfield, The Elder Scrolls VI, and any eventual Fallout 5.
“For those games, we want to keep them as single player” said Howard to German gaming site GameStar. “That is what our focus is going to be. If they have some social aspect we haven’t designed yet, you’ll see. But we treat each of them each as their own thing.”
I believe that Fallout 76 is going to end up a fantastic game, hopefully, but it’s also very obvious that Bethesda realised we have quite a wait on our hands until Starfield is ready. Shifting a variation of Fallout 4 into an online survival game was probably not only cheaper but also much quicker, and gives Bethesda fans something to play while we sleeplessly wait for Starfield.
In terms of passing off Fallout 76 as a cheap cash-grab though, Howard reaffirms that it’s the result of years of work and includes plenty of both major and minor improvements over Fallout 4’s game engine and gameplay.
“We wanted every aspect to be better,” explained Howard. “From the graphics to how the controls work, the gunplay, enemy AI, overlapping quests. In Fallout 4 we tried so many new things and redid so many things we had before, we took our lessons in how you strike that balance going into Fallout 76. We improved the hit detection for Fallout 76, it feels much better but you won’t notice unless you go back to Fallout 4 and compare those two games. There are a lot of things we redid for Fallout 76 that I don’t know if the people will notice.”
In terms of the engine, Fallout 76 will feature several elements and technological improvements that have taken place since Fallout 4. They’ve moved on a long way from the Gamebryo days and the update engine features vastly improved lighting, a new rendered and more.
The bad news, for anyone who read my Up For Debate from last week, is that Radiant Quests are back. There’ll be the usual smattering of hand-crafted quests for players in Fallout 76, but they’ll be complemented by procedurally generated quests for, er, endless fun.
Bethesda games as you know and love them remain on track then, despite this brief sojourn into multiplayer territory with Fallout 76. Should this Fallout succeed in selling more than Fallout 4 though, and then maybe we’ll hear a different side to the story.