Fallout 76's new ambitious Wastelanders expansion will transform the game into a singleplayer-multiplayer hybrid.
Wastelanders is the biggest Fallout 76 update to date, and it has one singular goal: To make Fallout 76 feel more like an actual Fallout game. Based on what I've seen so far, Wastelanders might actually do the job quite well. The transformation hinges on two major features including the new instanced dungeons and human NPCs with new dialog systems.
Fallout 76 isn't a reactive game. The game's loss of agency is one of the main reasons why I gave it such a low review score. Wastelanders wants to change that by creating special zones that are tailored specifically to your choices and character.
These zones are basically small slices of a singleplayer Fallout game, a kind of reactive bubble within the main monster-spawning playground world. Everything you do, the decisions you make, the gear you use, the dialog paths you follow--all of it is saved and remembered by the game and shapes your progress. You know, like a Fallout game.
"Instances were a huge step for us because it allows us to tell a tailored story to the person who's entering it. Before when you'd go into these places, who knows what state it'd be in. People could've cleared out the entire dungeon, there could be literally nothing left for you to do. So that's kind of a hit or miss experience. There was no way we could really react to you, your decisions, your choices," Bethesda lead designer Ferret Boudin recent PAX East stream.
"Instances make it to where we can cumulatively step-by-step keep track of what you've chosen and it's reflected as you're going on. Also you will not get an empty dungeon. You will get an experience which is full of life and tailored to you going in there."
"This is super exciting technology for us, not only for Wastelanders but for everything we're going to be doing in the future. It literally is a game-changer for us and you should expect to see more of that kind of content moving forward," said lead artist Nathan Purkeypie.
Wastelanders also has dialog based on stat checks, the gear you use, and what factions you choose to ally or rival with.
Bethesda was careful to say players can join both of Wastelander's two new factions, the settlers and the raiders. But there's a point of no return for each faction. The reputation system also makes a big comeback, which is welcome news for Fallout vets.
The PAX East stream is absolutely jam-packed with Fallout 76 info so be sure to give it a full watch for more.
Wastelanders will release April 7, 2020 as a free update to Fallout 76 on all platforms. Bethesda is also bringing the game to Steam on the same date. Check below for more info:
- New Main Quest and Revamped Original Main Quest - Uncover the secrets of West Virginia by playing through an all-new main quest as well as a revamped original main quest line - with friends or solo - starting from the moment you leave Vault 76. New and veteran players alike will take on new missions, explore new locations and fight with (or against) the new faces that have made their long-awaited return to West Virginia.
- Human NPCs - Befriend or betray new neighbors who have come to rebuild, and experience Appalachia through the eyes of its residents.
- New Creatures and Gear - Take down newly mutated creatures finding their way to the region and earn the highest tier of weapons and armor.
- Choices and Reputation - Alter the fates of those you meet with classic dialogue trees. Decisions affect your standing with each faction through an all-new reputation system.
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