If movies and TV shows, books, and video games have taught me one thing about surviving in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, it’s that other people are the worst. But surviving in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Fallout 76 is going to be different – not because people aren’t the worst, but because the game developers already know that, and have made some contingency plans.
“When you see a person in the world, they’re a real person, and now you have to figure out [what role they play]…maybe they’re being super helpful, maybe they’re wandering the world as a trader and just trading with people, maybe they’re being a bad guy and they’re part of a raider group. [We allow] for that sort of tension but with systems in place that keep it from being abusive. So you can’t be harassed by somebody who just keeps chasing you around the world and keeps killing you over and over again; the game literally doesn’t allow that to happen to you,” Bethesda boss Pete Hines tells Gamespot.
“Death isn’t supposed to be a super negative thing. You don’t lose your progression, you don’t lose all your stuff, somebody can’t kill you and then take everything in your inventory [and then you have to] start over”.
Although he doesn’t say exactly how it works, he compares player-versus-player interactions in Fallout 76 with NPC enemy encounters in previous games. If you stupidly decide to take on a Deathclaw in Fallout 4 and get killed, for example, you can choose to go back and reiterate the same predictable sequence of events, or choose to move on with other, more important things like not taking on a Deathclaw.
“Think of PvP more like issuing a challenge to somebody as opposed to just, ‘no matter what I want to do to somebody, I can’. The game only lets that go so far before you can basically say, ‘I don’t want to participate in this challenge anymore,'” Hines explains. “That should kind of be how it works for any human person. They can’t keep coming after you, just like that Deathclaw wouldn’t come running across the map and keep chasing you.”
Or, and this is totally just a suggestion, if some asshole murders you, maybe you get to respawn as a Deathclaw? I’d play that.
Fallout 76 launches on 14 November on PC, Xbox One, and PS4, preceded by a beta on an as yet unconfirmed date.