Thousands of Fallout fans are already mad at Bethesda for making the next game in the post-apocalyptic series online only, and now they have another reason to complain: micro-transactions are coming to Fallout 76.
In a documentary on The Making of Fallout 76, Bethesda confirmed that all the DLC for Fallout 76, but there’s a catch. The company plans to pay for it by charging extra for cosmetic items in the game.
This is a surprising development to say the least. Bethesda aggressively pursued micro-transactions in the early 2000s to much criticism, a model that many gamers callously viewed as a way to nickel-and-dime consumers at the expense of quality content. When the studio released the infamous Horse Armor DLC for The Elder Scrolls IV: Obilvion in 2006, the update was met with such heavy backlash that it has since become a meme. “Horse armor” even became a shorthand insult for crappy, overpriced content.
Fallout 76 will be the first title from Bethesda Game Studios to offer expansion packs for free, because this time around, Bethesda is banking on your vanity to pay for them. The game will sell you cosmetic items instead to fund big content patches and server maintenance. Players can also earn cosmetics through regular gameplay.
As for the content itself, Chris Mayer of Bethesda Game Studios Austin said there will be two teams: one dedicated to smaller, regular updates designed to keep things fresh, and a second focused on big new features and narratives. The team already has some updates planned, but this could change based on player interest once the game actually launches.
“As a designer you might think this feature you put into the game is really, really cool and nobody plays it,” Mayer told Noclip. “Then you probably shouldn’t double down on the thing that nobody plays and you should probably double down on the features the people actually play.”
Hopefully, that means the days of Horse Armor are long behind us.
Fallout 76 is set to release on November 14, 2018.