Fallout 76: from the dawn to Kingdom of Steel

Fallout 76 has followed in these three years since its publication a hard and intense process, but above all common to other products on the market, such as Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and No Man’s Sky. Games born unfortunate, with numerous problems and gaps in content, which had to face a double ordeal, the technical and the image.

In the case of Fallout then, there was also the hand of The Outer Worlds: released a year after 76 and developed by that Obsidian creator of the highly acclaimed New Vegas, it seemed to be the final blow to the online experiment of Bethesda. Instead, Fallout 76 has recovered: the developers they rolled up their sleeves, listened to audience feedback and updated, revised, changed and included a ton of content aimed at creating the best possible experience.

A story with a happy ending, so much so that today it can be said without any doubt that today’s Fallout 76 is not remotely comparable to the one released in the fall of 2018, as it is infinitely better.

On the occasion of the release of Kingdom of Steel, season 5 of Fallout 76, we had the opportunity to participate in a round table with Jeff Gardiner and Mark Tucker, respectively Project Leader and Design Director, who talked about the game, from its dawn (not only that of Steel) to today .

Feedback and awareness

The first thing we want to report about the conversation with Gardiner and Tucker was their availability and awareness of the past of Fallout 76. It is impossible for anyone to erase from the memory that Todd Howard who, with a bubbly air on the stage of E3 2018, he was talking about a game … then it didn’t make it to day one.

This is followed by priceless video memes with the game’s bugs and Little Lies by Fleetwood Mac in the background. Fallout 76 was in unhappy conditions at first, yet, just like the wasteland survivors, it held up long enough to be massively picked up by the developers. This is why it seemed interesting to us to ask Gardiner and Tucker a question on this very subject.

Brotherhood knight Daniel Shin in armor

Between the launch of the game and the release of Wastelanders, we asked, the imagination and creativity of the players was decisive for the survival of 76: how inspiring was the community for the creation of subsequent content? “It’s an interesting way of looking at it!” he said Gardiner smiling. “We quickly realized we have a very active fanbase; I remember at first we had a meeting with fans in Dallas and people came in with pages and pages of written notes. It was a very fascinating confrontation that we tried to maintain. opened over time “, continues Gardiner. “Since our initial vision of the game did not foresee non-player characters within Fallout 76, players had to independently make sense of their adventure: what we learned from that specific moment was the need to add more elements to build and sustain the community. We talk about tools to allow better communication between players and seasonal and daily events to guide their adventures. Although Fallout 76 is called a perfect solo MMO, the most valuable feedback comes from those players who experience the world of 76 as a group. “

Leap of species

What decision will you make at the end of Kingdom of Steel?

A clear and aware answer that, however, creates in the writer a feeling of enormous unexpressed potential. Going against common opinion, the arrival of the much-requested NPCs and the horizontal storyline between seasons has somewhat killed the enormous potential of Fallout 76, because his most interesting moment was precisely the beginning: embryonic and tormented by enormous technical problems, of course, but definitely very stimulating. What could (and still can) really distinguish Fallout 76 from so many other online experiences, was the possibility of attempting the leap of species, and going from a role-playing video game to a video game where people play, which is quite another. thing.

The rest of the material about the story, the game world and the factions was in abundance. And the class-based coalition of Fallout 1st subscribers dubbed Apocalyptic Aristocracy and all the other geniuses pulled out of the community are far more interesting than the non-player character assigning the quest. Obviously it is not our intention to put unspoken words in the mouth of the developers, but Gardiner and Tucker seemed very aware of this aspect, so much so that the focus on community events was repeated several times in the conversation.

To victory

The champion Leila Rahmani in action

The champion Leila Rahmani in action

So what to expect from Kingdom of Steel? Speaking of plot, season 5 will temporarily close the narrative line of the Brotherhood of Steel. “This doesn’t mean we’re fed up with the Brotherhood,” Tucker points out, “it’s just that we have so many stories to tell, and it’s time to say goodbye to this portion of the story.” This, however, continues Tucker, does not exclude a priori a return of the Paladins in Appalachia: without making too many spoilers, Kingdom of Steel foresees in its ending a big moral decision and four possible narrative branches. Waiting for the players as a reward at the end of it all, there will then be a new one Atomic Armor. Kingdom of Steel introduces, among many other things, the legendary crafting, and on this Gardiner and Tucker underlined once again how crucial listening to the fanbase was. “We have simplified the process and made it less cumbersome as we had received a lot of feedback on the crafting system in the past … In fact, players have had a bit of a complaint about all the legendary systems in the game, including the perks!” Gardiner concluded.

A fight in the Kingdom of Steel expansion

A fight in the Kingdom of Steel expansion

In short, if you had not understood, this is probably the best time to start or resume Fallout 76, without having to worry about the amount of content. If you take a list of all the changes you’ve actually made to the game, you feel a little overwhelmed, especially if you’re part of the first wave of players who have since dropped out of the game. You will not have to “catch up” but simply play and let Fallout 76 itself inform you where you left off, explaining all the new features introduced. The narrative missions then, like that of Kingdom of Steel, are not accessible to players with a level below 20: we are not talking about an insurmountable barrier, but enough to give the user time to familiarize himself with the game before facing the most challenging content.

Appalachia today, Pittsburgh tomorrow

The symbol of the Brotherhood of Steel painted on a Power Armor

The symbol of the Brotherhood of Steel painted on a Power Armor

Kingdom of Steel will be able to mark the fate of the Brotherhood but it certainly is not the end of Fallout 76. In fact, the update will arrive in the fall The World Changes and in winter Tales from the Stars, which among other things will introduce a new public challenge, a seasonal event and the animals for the CAMP Gardiner and Tucker said they were satisfied with all the progress made with the game: at the end of each annual road map it is customary for the team to watch to the work done in the past to set new objectives, not only in terms of numbers but also of common sentiment. Definitely the inclusion of the game in the Game Pass, which occurred in unsuspecting times and prior to Microsoft’s acquisition of Zenimax, was a significant showcase for Fallout 76, allowing many players to approach the title “safely”; to date, however, the next gen upgrade for PS5 and cross-play are not a priority for the development team.

Also because that is to be considered The Pitt, shown during the Xbox showcase at last E3 and that shook the spirits of longtime Fallout players. For the uninitiated, The Pitt will mark the arrival of raids outside of Appalachia in 76, but The Pitt is also the name of a Fallout 3 DLC, set in Pittsburgh. And we, of course, the little question on The Pitt we tried to do it.

The Pitt, the post apocalyptic version of Pittsburgh in Fallout 3

The Pitt, the post apocalyptic version of Pittsburgh in Fallout 3

“The reasoning on how to create content that was narratively interesting, fun to play but also repeatable was long. Pittsburgh it seemed a sensible place to film, both for geographical and narrative reasons. We have devised a truly unique system to create a compelling storyline but capable of maintaining its consistency despite the ability to play the content multiple times. How to integrate expeditions into Fallout 76 has been a topic of debate that has absorbed us for a long time and we believe we have come to a good result. “Gardiner says with some emotion, as he was Lead Director at the time. also of Fallout 3. But the interesting part comes a little later. “This is only the first of the settings that we would like to include in the expeditions. There is nothing definitive yet but we would like to add old and new places, so we can explore the Fallout lore even more … but we could talk more about it next year. “

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