Bethesda has been wanting to make an online Fallout experience, but Fallout 76 was not a great entry. This is a look at the mistakes made and what Bethesda should do next time.
A lot of friends have been asking me if I’ve played Fallout 76 (since I’m a huge fan of the series) and to their shock the answer has been “no”. I once did have an interest in the game but as more details were unveiled, the more it lost my attention. Any fan of the Fallout series will tell you that Bethesda has been wanting to make an MMORPG version of the game for a long time. Since the success of Fallout 3, Bethesda has wanted to take the battle for the Wasteland online. Yet these projects would get scrapped or get trapped in legal limbo and a new Fallout game was born from the ashes.
Fallout 76 was their first attempt and unfortunately it has not gone so well. The game has been panned by fans and critics while also having stained Bethesda reputation. The reason for this – anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I wanted to look into the mistakes but I didn’t want to write a review since I’ve hardly played it. Hence, here is a look into the mistakes of Fallout 76 and what could be done to improve future experiences.
The biggest and most obvious mistake was the lack of human NPC’s and expecting players to make their own world. This would have been possible had the player count been equal to that of the World of Warcarft at the peak of its popularity. Unfortunately being too dependent on players buying the game and hope it grows is not a sound strategy. The Fallout series is known for its rich story and unique characters that fans can find in its vast world. Wanting players build their own story was a lazy excuse for not wanting to create a lore rich world. Not helping is the intense competition from Red Dead Redemption 2, another massive project only with human NPC’s that players could interact with.
Next comes the gameplay mechanics, which were not fine tuned to work around the game being an online experience. Even though I played it for a short time, I was already under the impression that they failed to innovate the setup. The gameplay was great for a single player adventure but was not properly setup for an online experience. On the bright side, at least it wasn’t a Battle Royale!
Finally I come to the last mistake made, this should have been a companion piece to Fallout 4 and not a standalone title. As I’ve talked about before, multiplayer only games are a big risk for consumers as I don’t want to waste my money on a game that could be unplayable in a year. That is why Grand Theft Auto Online, Just Cause 3 Online or Metal Gear Online 3 worked so well was because they were a companion experience (with one being a fan made experience). Had Fallout 76 been a companion piece for Fallout 4 then it would have a better player base plus it would not have been that big of a risk for Bethesda and the fans.
With all that said; (as a fan) I really want Bethesda to try again and learn from their mistakes. The concept of an online Fallout experience sounds amazing but it needs to be delivered properly. As a fan, I just hope Bethesda looks at this a learning experience instead of giving up on the idea.
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