QuakeCon 2018 has brought with it information blowouts on a number of upcoming Bethesda titles, including the likes of RAGE 2 and DOOM Eternal. Another title that has received a massive information dump is the upcoming Fallout 76. All the info in this post comes from the Fallout 76 panel and Q&A session (which you can view below). In attendance were Todd Howard, Development Director Chris Meyer, and Project Leader Jeff Gardiner.
For starters, if you’re worried about Fallout 76’s online centric nature and how it will differ from the series’ core identity- you shouldn’t be. According to the devs, the game is going to be 80% similar to what you would expect from a Fallout game, while 20% of it is going to be completely new stuff.
Among those new things is the changes Fallout 76 brings to the VATS system. It will no longer pause the action, for obvious reasons, and will instead be in real time. Additionally, choosing which body parts to is going to be a perk, so you won’t be able to do this from the very beginning.
Other things people may have been equally concerned about – such as modding and and private servers – are also going to be fully supported, Bethesda has confirmed. The game also has voice chat, as well as proximity voice chat, but that was pretty much expected anyway. Oh, and you can also change the look of your character whenever you want.
Meanwhile, PvP is also something Bethesda have spoken quite a bit about in the last few weeks, and they’ve now given more details on how it will work. First of all, PvP doesn’t activate until you’re at Level 5, but even after that it seems like it’ll be a completely optional thing. You can, for instance, mark yourself as a pacifist for all players in your server, while you can also block specific players, so that they can’t see you (and vice versa, presumably).
If you don’t want to do that, Bethesda are still taking the possibility of “griefing” and turning it into an interesting gameplay mechanic. If you see another player and hit them for the first time, you won’t do a ton of damage. After that, the other player has the option of either ignoring you (or running away), or hitting back.
If they hit back, the game reads that as an acceptance of PvP invitation, and allows you both to do more damage to each other. If the player you kill is higher levelled than you, you get higher rewards (the bigger the gulf between your levels, the higher the rewards, essentially). If you get killed and want to get revenge on the player that killed you, the reward for doing so gets doubled.
However, if the other player runs away and you decide to be a dick and go after them anyway, Fallout 76’s going to put a unique twist on that as well. If you kill said player, firstly, you get no reward, while you will also then appear to everyone else in the server as a red star on the map. You become a wanted murderer, and the game places a bounty on your head.
Meanwhile, if you’re on the other side of things, dying doesn’t involve a lot of harsh penalties. You essentially lose your junk items (which you can use in crafting and upgrading), but you don’t lost the valuable stuff in your inventory. You can still go back and pick up that junk again, assuming no other player has gotten to it first. You can, though, also choose to place your items in stashes, of which there are several throughout the map, and cannot be accessed by other players.
Bethesda also gave some details on how respawning will work. Essentially, after dying, you can respawn at the closest spawn point or at Vault 76 for free, but if you want to spawn at some distant point, that will cost you some caps (which, of course, is the in-game currency in the world of Fallout). The greater the distance to the respawn point from where you died last, the higher the cost in caps.
Meanwhile, details on camps and settlements were also revealed. As we already know, settlements are essentially portable, with blueprints allowing players to pack up their entire settlement and move it elsewhere. This will come in handy, because other players can destroy your settlements with nuclear strikes. Even if that does happen, though, Bethesda says that repairing settlements is pretty easy.
The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system was also showcased, which basically encompasses progression, perks, and upgradation, as Fallout players would know very well. Upon levelling up, you get S.P.E.C.I.A.L. skills, which are accompanied by cards- these cards are perks. If that sounds a bit too lootbox-y, don’t worry. These perks are not randomized.
Well, not all of them anyway. Every few levels (two levels at first, then five as you progress), the game will give you a perk card pack which will include random perks, to provide you with perks that you may not have picked yourself (possibly). Other than these instances, though, you can essentially pick any card you meet the requirements for.
Equipping these cards costs S.P.E.C.I.A.L points, and each card has different point costs, depending on what perks they offer. If you want, you can pick the same card multiple times and then combine those to give you a more powerful version of that perk. Equipping it, of course, will require more points.
Once you hit level 50, you will no longer get S.P.E.C.I.A.L points. You will, however, continue to get more cards, and hence, more perks. So while you can’t continue to add on to your abilities any longer, you can still swap around the cards you have equipped, and continue to unlock new perks.
Finally, the guys from Bethesda Game Studios also spent some time talking about the game’s music and soundtrack, which, interestingly enough, has been described as having an “unbelievable amount of bizarre forties music.” Which, of course, means that there’s a lot of licensed music in the game- more so than any other Fallout game, in fact.
There are also radio stations you can listen to in the game- but how does that work, exactly, given we’re in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland? Who’s jockeying those stations? That mystery remains unsolved. The game’s OST is being composed by Inon Zur.
Fallout 76 launches on November 14 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Stay tuned for more updates.