Fallout 76 remains one of the strangest stories in gaming. It’s the tale of Bethesda crafting a game that nobody really wanted (all anyone ever asked for was co-op in a normal Fallout game), launching with minimal content and horrible technical bugs, but over time, adding to it, growing it and finding a very niche, very hardcore community that does some of the most interesting things I’ve seen in the “ongoing games” space.
Now, we are heading into more familiar territory, and the upcoming Wastelands update on April 14, just a few days from now, may given even the most jaded of Fallout fans reason to return to the series as it starts to more closely resemble a traditional title in the franchise. At least to some extent.
Wastelanders is bringing NPCs into Fallout 76. While there have been some NPCs in the game currently, your odd robot or talking creature, actual human characters are represented by players alone, and that has created problems with trying to formulate something like traditional quest structure. Too often, Fallout 76 feels like a more dead world than the series has ever had, unless you’re a part of one of those niche groups.
While no, the Wastelanders update will not turn the game into a full entry in the series, it will make it a lot more like a traditional Fallout title with NPCs, quests, dialogue options and so on. The rest of the existing game will continue to revolve around the new stuff, none of that is going anywhere, but in addition to NPCs there are new enemies and weapons and features coming as well. Check out the trailer below:
This is, I have to admit, tempting. I abandoned Fallout 76 shortly after launch because well, I hated it, but Wastelanders feels like it’s going to fix at least a number of the core problems with the game, namely the very bad idea that Fallout players wanted a game with zero NPCs in it. So, in a sense, this could feel like a Fallout 4 spin-off, because lord knows when we will ever see Fallout 5 with Bethesda’s next two massive games being Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6. If Fallout 5 does exist, expect it to be at the tail end of this pending new console generation.
I honestly have no idea where to start with this update, and will probably just have to roll a brand new character to not feel totally lost. Hell, I don’t even remember what platform I was playing on before (Xbox, I think?) but I may have to switch to PC now that I got a new rig there. I am hoping that Bethesda has integrated Wastelanders as part of the new player process and I won’t have to slog through a bunch of old F76 stuff to get there if I restart. I guess I’ll find out in a few days.