Mention Fallout 76 to somebody, and if they aren’t immediately sick in the nearest bin, they’ll probably tell you at great length just how disappointing Bethesda’s stab at an online Fallout really was.
After releasing in November last year to a tidal wave of critical derision, Fallout 76 went from weakness to weakness. The title was lambasted in the press for a number of reasons, including microtransactions, glitches, leaked customer details, and a collector’s item that did not look like the product that had been advertised.
Now, Bethesda director Todd Howard has spoken frankly to IGN about the pummeling Fallout 76 took, and has revealed that the developer actually expected a lot of the criticisms that were hurled its way.
We knew we were going to have a lot of bump. We were ready for…we knew this is not the type of game that people are used to from us, and we’re going to get some criticism on it, and lot of that [is] very well-deserved criticism.
Quite why Bethesda decided to launch the game full well knowing the state it was in is beyond me, but I think it would have been scarier if Howard revealed that Bethesda were completely blindsided by the criticism Fallout 76 received.
Maybe Bethesda thought it had a solid enough foundation to build on, and that it could work with a thriving playerbase to improve the game post launch?
That’s not what happenedm of course. The various glitches and lack of content scared away a massive chunk of those who picked up Fallout 76 on release, and the bad reviews put off anyone anyone else who might have been considering picking the game up.
Still, Howard seems optimistic that players who came to Fallout 76 would be “surprised”, even if he did admit that he thinks the quality of the game has had a negative overall impact on Bethesda’s reputation.
Howard finished on a positive note, speaking of Fallout 76 has “really turned around”, and explaining:
We felt strongly this is a game we want to play, this is something we really want to do, and all of the games like this…there’s a [difficult] period when you launch. It’s not how you launch, it’s what it becomes, and I couldn’t be prouder of the team that’s worked on it.
Howard also admitted that he thinks Fallout 76 should have had a more substantial test period, as the game clearly wasn’t ready for the amount of players it had at launch. The good news is it probably won’t have to worry about having that many players ever again.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.