The rumors are true. Fallout 76 will be a multiplayer survival game and you’ll be able to roam the rolling hills and breathtaking forests of West Virginia in a beta before the official release this November.
So far, it seems the only way to get into the B.E.T.A. (short for Break-it Early Test Application) is to pre-order the actual game. There’s no exact timeline on when it will actually happen and retailers aren’t giving out beta codes yet, but judging by the game’s November 14 release date, it shouldn’t be too far off. Open betas ostensibly exist to test game bugs (hence Bethesda’s cheeky description of “break-it early”), but in practice they’ve basically become early access demos to encourage pre-ordering.
If you do decide to pre-order, you can redeem your code on the Fallout main website. Look for the Vault Boy fiddling around with a Pip-Boy on his wrist.
The prospect of a new Fallout game may be too tantalizing to resist pre-ordering, but you might want to hold off. Fallout 76 is introducing some major, fundamental changes to the game in the same way that Fallout 3 did when it shifted the series from an isometric turn-based RPG to a first-person shooter.
And the reason Fallout 76 is going to be so big is because it will be multiplayer. (Not just have multiplayer, but be multiplayer.) Bethesda confirmed that every human you encounter will be another player, and not all of them will be friendly, which means you can kill each other.
The company also said there will be a solo mode but that’s not exactly true. You’ll still need an internet connection to play Fallout 76, which means even when you’re playing alone, you’ll still be subject to all the crappy things that come with online gameplay, like lag. The game is also designed completely around the expectation that you will be playing with other people. Similarly, Diablo III has a single-player mode (also gated behind an internet connection) but it sucks. The entire appeal of the game is built around multiplayer.
Personally, I’m digging this new direction, though perhaps I’m in the minority of fans who are really excited about these PvP features. I’m really looking forward to playing as the guy in Vault 76 who flunked his aptitude test and wandered out into the wastes to start a ruthless gang of raiders preying upon other people.
However I can also understand why some are skeptical. As always, buyer beware. It’s going to be a dangerous world out there in West Virginia. And ff you bump into me out there, give me all your Nuka Cola or I’ll shoot you in the face.