Bethesda have announced Fallout 76, a brand new Fallout game - but what actually is it?
The announcement trailer gives very little away, and Bethesda are keeping what it actually will play like a secret until E3. So we've rounded up the biggest and the best theories on Fallout 76. Here's what we think the game could be like!
Fallout 76 is... A Proper Single-Player RPG
When people think 'Fallout', they think single-player RPG. Going right back to the original game in 1997, the main series has always been purely single-player and always RPGs. Obsidian's New Vegas was still part of this, and apart from mobile spin-off Fallout Shelter every game from Bethesda so far has been one - none of them have been online.
It's been two years since Fallout 4 so if they're just using the same engine and mechanics it's totally possible, maybe even a prequel to all the other games in the series. Despite being rather high Fallout 76 is still technically a numbered Fallout entry - so it's got to be a single-player RPG, right?
Fallout 76 is... An Online Survival RPG
According to Kotaku and writer Jason Schreier, who spoke to "three people familiar with the project", Fallout 76 is an "experimental" new game that will be an online survival game with RPG elements. Supposedly beginning as an online multiplayer version of Fallout 4, Fallout 76 now has quests and a story, and will also feature base-building and "other survival-based and multiplayer mechanics".
The main evidence for it being an online game of some sort is that it's also being made by the team behind cancelled online combat game BattleCry. Kotaku seem very confident in their sources and information, however the shape of the game isn't obvious yet, nor how many players can get involved. Online RPG with survival elements sounds interesting however, but will it be good?
Fallout 76 is... A Base Management Strategy Game
There is one thing that Kotaku's sources were certain of - Fallout 76 will contain base building, missions, and will have online elements. That doesn't necessarily mean an RPG. In fact the trailer itself seems to point in a far different direction. Vault 76 is empty, other than one Dweller with a Pip-Boy. The whole trailer is an overview of the Vault. And apart from the song, there are only these two lines:
"When the fighting is stopped, and the fallout has settled, you must rebuild... in Vault 76, our future begins."
While the final part suggests a prequel setting, the focus on the Vault and "rebuilding" strongly suggests that Fallout 76 could be a management-strategy game. Don't forget that the only non-RPG Fallout game Bethesda has released is the hugely successful Fallout Shelter, which is indeed a management-strategy game - albeit a basic one. Bethesda could be making a more advanced sim strategy game for PC and consoles - maybe they got the taste for it after putting base management in to Fallout 4?
Fallout 76 is... A Fortnite-like Battle Royale Game
Let's not kid ourselves. While Bethesda are extremely good at doing things differently to the rest of the industry, even they must have noticed just how popular the Battle Royale genre has got over the past year. And when you hear "online survival game", as Kotaku's sources called Fallout 76, that could easily apply to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds or other battle royale games. Missions and base-building? That's totally Fortnite. What if the name Fallout 76 refers to the player count as well as Vault number?
While loads of publishers have jumped on the battle royale bandwagon, none so far have applied it to established franchises that previously were non-multiplayer - we haven't had the Fortnite equivalent of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or DC Universe as of yet. So if Fallout is heading online, what better to do with it than go battle royale?
Fallout 76 is... an Online Mobile Game
Online elements in a Fallout game? Fine. But we also can't deny the success of Fallout Shelter - it earned $5.1 million in microtransaction sales within two weeks of launching, after all. If Bethesda are going to do a spin-off that isn't a single-player RPG, it would make the most sense to do another mobile game. They've got a team all ready, and they've not released any mobile games since 2015. Now would be as good a time as any to do so.
Could it be base management again? Could it be battle royale, as both Fortnite and PUBG are on mobile? Or could it be some other survival game - just on mobile? All are possible. Well, if Bethesda don't mind fans rioting.
Those are our predictions for Fallout 76! What do you guys think? Do you side with any of those options? Will you be upset if the game's not a proper RPG? Do you have any other genre suggestions? Let us know in the comments!