In Fallout 76, Players Are the World
Back when Fallout 76 was announced, hearsay pointed to an online experience, a departure from Bethesda’s acclaimed formula. Post-E3 2018, we know that not only is Fallout 76 a departure from Bethesda games but a departure from your typical MMOs. According to the company’s VP of marketing, Pete Hines, it’s an experience where players fill the roles classically played NPCs.
Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, Hines expressed his belief that games like Fallout and Elder Scrolls felt deprived. While there was a lot to do, and plenty of NPCs, the games lacked the truly dynamic element of human interaction. Basically, the unpredictability of random player encounters will be the driving force of engagement in Fallout 76. Apparently, it’s why Bethesda game studios have removed NPCs altogether in lieu computers holotapes notes as quest-givers. Hines even brought up Destiny 2 and how idle character NPCs are the medium between players and resources. In Bethesda’s game, players will fill that role.
“In our game, if that’s how you want to play, you do that with other players, you trade with other people, you travel around the map and buy and sell stuff from folks,” Hines told GI.biz. “Or you can set up a shop. But it’s still a role-playing game. Yes, there’s an element of PvP but it’s not every man for himself and the last one standing wins. If you see somebody, you [don’t] have to kill them before they kill you because it’s not a shooter, it’s not battle royale or any one of 100 other things that people assumed that it was. It’s an RPG where you can still do quests and explore the world.”
And while players will be interacting, trading, and perhaps questing, Hines explains “There are systems in place to keep it from turning into a gunfight if that’s not what people want.” As an example, we recently learned that players under level 5 can’t be killed by other players. “[Fallout 76] does PvP but more like issuing challenges,” Hines continued. “And so we’re still figuring some of this out in playtesting, but the basic idea is you see somebody and there should be tension. In that respect it’s no different than I walk into a town in Fallout 4 and see a Deathclaw.”
In the case of Fallout 76, you can be the Deathclaw, and other players will deliberate on whether they’re willing to face you head on or walk away. That’s how the open world is supposed to play out, an open world that’s four times the size of Fallout 4. Hence, if you want to be the fearmongering mercenary, name yourself Trashcan Carla and sell goods, or set up shop and be a weapons dealer, that’s all part of the sandbox. Fortunately, no one can take away your stuff.
“You could try five more times and die and then go ‘It’s too powerful for me, I’m gonna go away and do other stuff or just travel around this area and come back later’,” Pete Hines said, continuing his Deathclaw analogy. “It should be exactly the same with anyone else. They shouldn’t be able to impede your progress, they can’t steal your shit, they can’t kill you.”
You can read more from Pete Hines over at Gamesindustry.biz. For now, let us know your thoughts on players filling the roles of NPCs. Does that sound the type of roleplaying you can get on board with? Comment down below.