What is Fallout, anyway?

Ever wondered what would have happened if the Cold War got hot, and everybody dropped atomic bombs on each other? That’s Fallout. The first game takes place a little over 80 years after the world was devastated by nuclear warfare and portrays a dystopian wasteland built on the ruins of the United States. Fallout 2 took place just a couple of decades later, but when Bethesda took the franchise over, the timeline jumped forward: Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 4 take place around 200 years after the bombs dropped.

In most games, the player is the descendant of people who survived the war by retreating to long-term bomb shelters called Vaults — and they’re leaving the comfort of their underground city for the first time to explore a destroyed and desolate world.

It sounds grim, but it’s surprisingly packed with humor and great music, while its engrossing open worlds are buoyed by solid RPG mechanics.

Now Playing: Fallout 76 first look shown at Microsoft’s E3 2018 conference

OK then, so what’s Fallout 76?

Fallout 76 is the latest Fallout adventure, and it’s the earliest game in the Fallout timeline. Previous games in the series mention Vault 76 as one of the earliest bunkers to be opened — a little more than 20 years after the bombs dropped, and Bethesda confirmed that on the stage at E3 2018.

That means players in Fallout 76 will be seeing a world ravaged by the aftermath of nuclear war, but not ravaged by time — making them among the first survivors of the Great War. And most importantly, the first survivors to start rebuilding society. It also means less time has passed since the bombs dropped, which means…


It’s a lot more colorful than Fallout 4

The Earth may be poisoned by nuclear fallout, and the future of the planet’s flora may be grim — but in Fallout 76, it hasn’t been that long since the bombs dropped. That means, well, that it’s not as muddy, dull and brown looking as some of the previous games. Early shots of the game’s world shows a landscape dotted with plants and trees of all kinds of colors.

It doesn’t hurt that the buildings in this version of Fallout have only been standing empty for a few dozen years, either. Not hundreds.

That better looking world isn’t just the developers adding more trees to the landscape either — Bethesda’s Todd Howard says that the game’s rendering engine has been given a major overhaul.”We always start with the world,” He said at E3. “This time, it starts with new lighting, rendering and landscape technology.” Fallout 4 has better lighting, and farther viewing distance than any other Fallout game. Not bad!.

It’s the biggest Fallout game ever made!

According to Howard, Fallout 76 is the largest Fallout game ever made. In fact, the game world it’s set in will be four times larger than Fallout 4, the last largest game in the series.

“Set in the hills of West Virginia,” he said, “You are one of the first to emerge into a very different and untamed wasteland.” And indeed — it is different. Howard says the world is huge, diverse, and features six distinct regions to explore, each pulling from real culture, locations and even legends from the area.

The world needs to be huge, too — because you won’t be playing Fallout 76 alone.

Fallout 76 is a shared-world survival game that’s ‘entirely online’


You aren’t the only vault dweller escaping the confines of an underground bunker to greet the irradiated world — the Vault 76 in Fallout 76 is filled with other characters too — and they’re all real people.

Speaking at Bethesda’s E3 2018 showcase, game director Todd Howard announced that Fallout 76 is “entirely online, but that isn’t to say its a massively multiplayer game though — it’s more like a more like a “shared world” shooter, similar to games like Destiny. When you play the game, you’ll be on a map with a dozen or so other players. Not hundreds, not thousands – just few. It is the apocalypse, after all.

That matches up with early rumors, which claim that Fallout 76 started life as a multiplayer prototype for Fallout 4, but evolved into an online survival RPG. That actually makes a lot of sense: Fallout 4 introduced building mechanics to the franchise, tasking the player with building out settlements for other survivors. Now, Fallout 76 is taking that mechanic online, and letting your friends help.

There might be less NPCs

In Fallout 76, every other human you encounter in the game is a real person — another player, on their own adventure in the wasteland. That means you won’t find any other humans out living in the wasteland with dialogue trees and scripted missions to give out. That means there might be fewer NPCs in the world to interact with — but it doesn’t mean there won’t be any.

It’s online, but there’s still a main story

Despite the multiplayer focus, Bethesda’s Pete Hines says the game does have a main campaign. “There definitely is a story in this game,” He told GameSpot. “What happened to the people outside after the bombs fell? Where are they? What are the new threats? How do you solve that?”

Bethesda was very careful when it said that every human being you encounter in the game would be a player — but humans aren’t the only characters in Fallout. Bethesda has revealed that there will be a new faction of intelligent ghouls in the game (Zombie-like irradiated humans) called who can serve as NPCs.

Not everybody you meet online will be your friend

Although Bethesda mostly showed off Fallout 76 as an online co-op version of the series you can play with your friends, it didn’t shy away from the antagonistic side of multiplayer gaming, either. Other players in Fallout 76 will be able to team up with you to explore the West Virginian wasteland, or hunt you down and attack you to fight for land.  Why do they need land? Well, to build things of course.

You’ll be able to build your own base — and move it wherever you want