It isn’t new knowledge that Fallout 76 is an action packed, story based adventure game where the user is put into a world of chaos and destruction after a nuclear war. However, Bethesda Softworks, an American video game publisher, has been quietly updating and improving Fallout 76 since the launch, adding new enemies, content, quests, and items on a regular basis. Some of the biggest bugs and flaws in the game have been fixed, to little fanfare.
What can be expected of the apocalyptic game? Well, with The Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield both in production, it’s unlikely that there is going to be another full-size Fallout video game until Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 are launched. That means Fallout 76 is going to be the face of Fallout for the foreseeable future. If quietly shuttering the game isn’t an option for Bethesda, the next best thing might be to staple strange features onto it until fans are happy. That seems to be the strategy that Bethesda is pursuing.
Putting into consideration that Fallout 76 isn’t competing with single-player role-playing games at this point means that it’s going up against a category of living games that includes Warframe, Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online. Games like those tend to follow one of two paths: An experience that continually builds on the core foundation and premise of the game. Overwatch offers events, a yearly PvE mode, skins, and modes like capture the flag or deathmatch … but the basic premise is always that you are playing Overwatch, just in a new way. Or, An experience that branches in a hundred different directions, shifting and evolving continuously. Grand Theft Auto Online may be the best example of this (although the constant gameplay additions to Fortnite come close): “I started out as a humble criminal stealing my first car in Grand Theft Auto Online; now I have a flying DeLorean-style car that shoots rockets; now I can play Hot Wheels with friends in the sky, engage in an asymmetrical horror game, or run a variety of businesses.” It doesn’t really fit well together, but it doesn’t have to. That’s what makes the game ‘life like’: the sporadic, multiple branch games simple yet complex style.
But what could be expected from these updates? Well, Bethesda published a roadmap for Fallout 76, detailing all of the planned updates and additions to the game for 2019. Check back here for details on each update as it happens and information on upcoming patches. At E3 2019, Bethesda officially announced Wastelanders, which will bring human NPCs back to Appalachia. Seeing human NPCs return to the wasteland for players to interact with has likely been the most-requested feature since launch and easily the most notable feature keeping Fallout 76 from feeling like a real Fallout game.
Wastelanders will add a Fallout 3-style dialogue system (meaning no more generic tonal choices like Fallout 4), companion characters that you can pursue romance with, and new gear and activities.
Fallout 76’s Wastelanders update was originally planned for the fall of 2019 but has been delayed to the first quarter of 2020. Bethesda says that the delay will “make sure the work we’re doing hits our quality bar, and yours.”