Fallout 76, the latest entry in the main Fallout series, was controversial for many reasons. The game wasn’t as accepted as it was hoped it would be, and the chief reason for it was perhaps the fact that the world felt boring and bland. It felt boring and bland because the story was delivered in an unconventional way, and there was an obvious lack of friendly faces in the Wasteland. Now a little over four years since the game was released, Fallout 76 does have NPCs, and there’s a pretty good reason why. In the rest of this post, we’re going to analyze why exactly NPCs were added to Fallout 76.
NPCs were added to Fallout 76 in the Wastelanders update because the majority of the player base complained about the game being boring with the absence of NPCs. The game featured a different kind of storytelling and a different approach when it came to disseminating quests and learning about the environment, which fell flat with most players. The game was considered to be boring and a “walking simulator” of sorts. With the introduction of NPCs, the game returned to the more conventional forms of storytelling.
Now that we’ve covered why NPCs were added, it’s time to analyze them in more detail. If you want to find out what were the original plans regarding Fallout 76 world, stay with us and keep reading!
Fallout 76 was imagined with different kind of storytelling from the start
Before the game was even released, it was known that the game’s gameplay would put a great emphasis on exploration. The game had an obvious lack of NPCs, and the only other faces you would have met in the Wasteland were supposed to be other players.
The quests were disseminated via robots, terminals, and items. You were supposed to piece the story together by exploring the environment. Such an approach was used in the previous games, yes, but not to such a drastic extent.
Such form of storytelling and story delivery was used mostly to reveal the backstory or some important lore piece of information. It was pretty risky to implement it as the main form of story delivery, and it was even riskier to count on other players to be your only form of “human” interaction in the game.
But when you put it in perspective, it made sense at the time. Fallout 76 takes place twenty-five years after the Great War. Vault 76 is opened up, and its residents are given the task of repopulating the Wasteland. This means that the residents of Vault 76 are the only human beings in the area over which the game is taking place. If you are familiar with the main story of Fallout 76, you know by now that the Wasteland was populated by horrible mutants, which made living in this post-apocalyptic environment even more difficult.
It wouldn’t make sense that the world was teeming with settlements and featured loads of NPCs.
Still, the players did not see it that way. And the game received negative reviews, and the lack of NPCs was one of the reasons why. There were many other problems with the game, but the way through which they decided to deliver the story was one of them.
NPCs were added to Fallout 76 with the Wastelanders update released in 2020
Since one of the major complaints was the lack of NPCs, Bethesda decided to remedy this with the Wastelanders update that was released in 2020. Prior to the update, the Wasteland included only the player characters and various robots. This made several other approaches to the gameplay possible, but it was ultimately boring. The Wastelanders update expanded the original story and added loads of human NPCs that the player could interact with and ultimately take quests from.
The update was supposed to make the Fallout 76 game more similar to the Fallout 3 and the New Vegas era. The update introduced several quest chains, companions, and new factions. All with the aim of making Fallout 76’s world elaborate and seemingly filled with NPCs to interact with and things to do.
It was an attempt to bring in the players that had left and to reward the players that were loyal from the start and played the game no matter what. But did it work? Was the game better after NPCs were added?
Is Fallout 76 good & worth playing in 2023?
Fallout 76 improved greatly after the Wastelanders update. Even though the game never managed to redeem itself for the rocky start, the players that have stuck around are content with how things turned out. Added NPCs, stories, and companions brought much-needed depth to the world of Fallout 76. The world is no longer boring and empty. There are plenty of things to focus on without putting most of your time into exploration and combat. Wastelanders update was considered to be a “return to the roots” in the context of the franchise since many fans praised the storytelling and the depth that NPCs had.
All in all, after the horrific launch, the game returned on the right track, and now it is as good of a multiplayer game as any. It doesn’t have the unique aspect that Bethesda originally planned that it would have, but something had to be sacrificed in order to keep the game afloat.
The plans for Fallout 76 are ambitious and the last few updates released after Wastelanders were promising and generated much acclaim. Maybe the original vision of Fallout 76 is no longer at the table, but the game will certainly move in a different and interesting new direction. With everything taken into account, before you make your conclusions about Fallout 76, I strongly recommend the you give the game a try. It’s not a success story rivaling that of No Man’s Sky, but it’s definitely worth trying out in 2023 now that most major concerns have been rectified.