Bethesda’s Fallout 76 has seen some positive reception with the recent Nuclear Winter mode (which has resulted in the pre-beta sneak peek remaining in the game). However, the more interesting update was arguably Wastelanders, showcased at E3 2019 during Bethesda’s presser. It sees human NPCs returning to the game, along with dialogue trees and meaningful choices.
How will this shake out in a shared world setting? VG247 spoke to development director Chris Mayer, and he revealed that even when in a group, many of the choices made will advance your own personal story.
“I can’t get too much in the details, but I will say that most of the stuff is personalized to you, so we’re not trying to do something crazy like where the group will decide, or you know, I think some of the other games like you vote, things like that,” he said. “What it is, is the personalized experience. So when you’re talking with the NPC, you’re going to get your story and your quest progressed and it’s going to mean something for you.
“The group that you’re with, if they’re also talking to the NPC, it’s going to be much the same for them, a sort of instance if you will. So it’s definitely tailored more towards a single-player experience.”
Interestingly, the choices made will have the effect of changing the world around you. Again, this is only for your instance – other players won’t see the same thing. But at least one’s SPECIAL stats will actually play a role now beyond combat, carry weight, and other survival-related things.
“It’s going to be a lot like other Fallout games, so we do want to give choices based on the player’s SPECIAL stats, so I can’t promise every SPECIAL stat will always have something, but the traditional ones like Charisma and Perception, we’re going to be using those to give you different ways that you can take the story and get different consequences for that,” said Mayer.
The real question is: Why add human NPCs now? The answer is simple: Player feedback. Though Fallout 76 was intentionally designed without human NPCs, it was the result of feedback from the community that they came back in. It also has a nice thematic fit, according to Mayer.
“That was a deliberate design decision,” he said. “It’s something we wanted to try. But after listening to the community feedback and seeing that really wasn’t what the community wanted, that’s why we made this decision, let’s bring them in. And I think it sort of fits nicely with the story as well, it’s like you let the players in, they start rebuilding the wasteland, now people are coming back – those people that are coming back are all the NPCs and with them the story.”
Fallout 76’s Wastelanders update is out this Fall for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. It will be free for current owners of the game.