Fallout 76: A new kind of social experiment

June 24, 2018

After the excitement of new releases at E3, it looks like fans are still torn over a multiplayer Fallout game. Set before every other game in the franchise, Fallout 76, tells the story of the survivors of a vault that opens 25 years after the bombs fall.

 

We all love that we become superhuman in games; true gods among men; specifically in those from Bethesda Softworks. Complaints online say that the game will be worse, that the franchise will be ruined. I would disagree. Amongst those moments of fighting dragons, contract killings, hunting mole rats and discovering synths, my favourite moments are when I lived in the game.

 

When I was younger I played the hell out of Bethesda’s Morrowind. I was consumed by this game, to the point that when my brother entered my room to tell me it was raining, I made my character look up. I was then informed that “It was raining in the real world” and it took me a solid minute to process it. I lived in Raven Rock on the island of Solstheim north of Morrowind.

 

It was home.

 

The key to Morrowind was that there was a core story, but the world was so dynamic that you became apart of it. You were exploring the ashlands, eating the kwama eggs and breathing in the dust from the Red Mountain. It was so easy to get lost in the world and not be the hero.

 

Morrowind has been argued to be Bethesda’s pinnacle, a point they will never reach again. I agree – their more recent games give you a hero complex more than a fantasy world you can live in.

 

I think this is what Bethesda trying to give us this feeling again with Fallout 76.

 

Every player starts as a former Vault 76 dweller, but once they enter the outside world things can change. A dynamic ever changing West Virginia where we can be a trader, a scavenger, literally anything we want. Much like the real world we are motivated by so many factors that it adds a human element to the game.

 

Players fear that there will be trolls, or that the experience will be lessened with other players that are not our friends. I think the opposite is true. Every person has their own goals, dreams, alliances just like the real world. Real people will forge their own groups, similar to the New California Republic, Gunners, Brotherhood of Steel, Minutemen and literally every other group in the wasteland. 76 gives players a blank slate to enter a world however they want.

 

Fallout at its core has always been about the people in the wasteland.The factions, the land, and the massive world being run in the background. In 76, the traders, the raiders, the fishermen and the towns are run by real thinking and breathing humans.

Fallout 76 will be an interesting experiment in the human condition. It leaves the door open for assholes, martyrs and average joes. We can band together or destroy each other.

I can’t think of a more perfect reflection of the Fallout universe. It’s social experiment that has the potential to succeed or collapse. Vault 76 might have been a control vault, but Fallout 76 will parallel Vault-Tec on a scale never seen before.

 

– Steven Smith

Image courtesy of windowscentral.com