The Tragedy of Fallout 76

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Fallout 4 hit stores in the fall of 2015, five years after the spinoff Fallout: New Vegas launched to widespread acclaim. In the years between the two releases, the video game landscape, specifically western role-playing titles, underwent a noticeable shift. The likes of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt raised the bar in many respects, especially with regards to content quality, storytelling, and presentation. While Fallout 4 couldn’t quite rise to the occasion, it still boasted the core tenets of the franchise’s modern adventures, offering a deep role-playing experience replete with choices, compelling characters, and a swath of customization options. To the dismay of fans, these pillars took a backseat in Bethesda Game Studios’ 2018 spinoff, Fallout 76.

An online-only installment in a traditionally single-player series, Fallout 76 failed to garner the excitement afforded to its predecessors. However, despite the skepticism in the months leading up to release, Fallout faithful gave the new endeavor a chance. Few redeeming qualities accompanied the game’s arrival, though.

In addition to a launch beset by game-affecting glitches and a dearth of engaging content, myriad other controversies cast dark clouds over what should’ve been a strong outing for Bethesda in late 2018. The controversy included poor quality collector items, overpriced rum, and a security breach, all of which contributed to a comedy of errors that many people will not soon forget.

Bethesda slowly corrected course, deploying free updates that optimized performance and introduced meaningful content in the form of dedicated story quests and NPCs. But regardless of the steps taken, Fallout 76’s path to redemption proved long and arduous, as the lingering effects of countless missteps marred this particular venture through the wasteland.

This is the tragedy of Fallout 76.

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