Fallout 76’s Online Live-Service Focus Isn’t the Future of Bethesda Assures Todd Howard

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Jul 5, 2018
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Fallout 76 definitely wins the award for most divisive E3 2018 reveal. The game certainly looks ambitious, and has the potential to be a massive hit, but some fans are concerned about it being a multiplayer-focused shared world. Is Bethesda following most of the rest of the triple-A industry and fully embracing the “live-service” model? Not necessarily. GamesIndustry.biz asked Bethesda executive producer Todd Howard whether online multiplayer was the future of the studio, and he largely shot the notion down.

“It doesn’t mark the future. We’ve done a mix — people forget sometimes. Elder Scrolls online is one of the biggest online games in the world, we have Fallout Shelter which we keep updating, and Elder Scrolls: Legends. Anyone who has ever said ‘This is the future and this part of gaming is dead’ has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should try it.”

So, traditional single-player Bethesda RPGs aren’t going away, they’re going to have to share space with live service and mobile games. Howard does hope old-school fans give the latter a try, as they try to take a “lighter touch” with monetization…

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“It’s definitely a lighter touch, which surprisingly worked very well for us in Fallout Shelter. I was forced to meet with a lot of ‘monetization experts’ during Fallout Shelter that didn’t work for us. […] I said, ‘That’s nice’ and then it came out and the first week it was above Candy Crush on the charts with a very light touch. We did learn a lot though.”

What do you think? Are you excited for Fallout 76? Or is the game a troubling sign of things to come? Do you think Bethesda is serious about still doing traditional single-player RPGs?

Fallout 76 drops onto PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on November 14.

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