Fallout 76 is Bethesda’s biggest flop in quite some time. It goes without saying that the shared world spin-off of the popular post-apocalyptic series is one of the biggest disappointments to come out of 2018. To prevent future disasters like this particular case, what can the gaming industries learn from the case of Fallout 76?
An Empty World
For a game so focused on making a giant multiplayer world, Fallout 76 feels incredibly empty. The game is so devoid of life that necromancers want to practice in it. The very beginning of the game, you leave an abandoned Vault 76 and journey through empty villages with no real goal in sight. With no human NPCs, a certain level of Fallout charm is stripped from the game. The 24 players in a game at a time would leave it difficult to find other players on Fallout 4’s map. Take into consideration that Fallout 76 is four times larger, and this “social” game becomes barren, empty, and lonely.
A giant world is not fun or interesting if it is only populated with your company’s below par graphics design. Fallout 76 is a testament to the fact that giant worlds are not fun if they feel empty. It’s important for future games to make their worlds feel alive and vibrant to keep players engaged.
Performance and Gameplay Issues
It’s no secret that Bethesda games have a history of being buggy messes. For the most part, people give them free passes because they enjoy the world and the gameplay of their mega popular properties. That changes though when your game is not fun, interesting, and remains a buggy mess. Fallout 76 is yet another example of a game being released unfinished and failing because of it. It’s unfathomable to me how publishers think they can release games in unfinished states like this and not feel the wrath of longtime fans. Delaying a game that was announced just earlier in the year will always be better than releasing it in a buggy mess.
The VATS system that was a staple in previous Fallout games was a huge miss for fans. Obviously with the game being online, VATS would have to be changed to accommodate that. Unfortunately, the aiming in on moving targets just does not feel the same as when time stops and you have time to choose your next move. Bethesda is not known for having great gunplay and a game like Fallout 76 badly needs that to bring a player back.
Compare this to Destiny. Fans of the series always say how the gameplay and gunplay is what brings them back to the grind. It is genuinely fun to just play that game. Every Fallout game in the past is only fun because of the RPG mechanics and the expansive world. As we mentioned above though, take away Fallout‘s interesting world and you will continuously see how mediocre the gameplay is on its own.
Poor Post-Launch Support and Broken Promises
After Fallout 76 launched, reviews started coming out stating their disappointment with the game. After the reviews came “bag-gate” which revolved around the fact that the $200 collector’s edition which advertised a nice canvas bag, instead delivered with a cheap looking nylon bag.
Image by @MrFive2Five on Twitter comparing the advertisement to the actual product
At the time, Bethesda’s response to this was $5 in in-game currency. $5. That $5 could not even buy the in-game postman skin which had its own canvas bag. That costs $7.
Bethesda later on would announce they were making replacement bags for anyone who could prove they purchased the collectors edition, but has there been any talk about this since early December? Has anyone received their replacements? Let me know in the comments.
Bethesda’s handling of “bag-gate” coupled with the poor reception of Fallout 76 overall has definitely hurt their reputation. They have released a roadmap for the content coming to the game this year (check it out HERE), but is it too little too late? Will the many players that game up on the game come back? Only time will tell.
Fallout 76 is the biggest black eye for Bethesda in quite awhile. It’s empty world, performance issues, and broken promises have hurt the game in its first few months. How else do you think the gaming industry can learn from their mistakes? Do you think Fallout 76 can make a comeback and be a good experience for longtime fans? Let me know in the comments.