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With the release of Fallout 76 in the future and the beta drop just on the horizon, there is a lot that needs to be said about the Fallout franchise’s past, present, and future. Going from isometric games to the fps rpg that are the latest installments, the franchise has had some flops and successes that all carry their own learning experiences that will lead to the creation of the franchise’s biggest success.
Going into the past installments, there were a lot of hit or miss moments for the franchise, starting with the games that kicked it all off. Fallout and Fallout 2 were both great and groundbreaking games for their time. There is no doubt that both of these games changed the rpg category forever (and for the better). After these games came some dark times for the fallout franchise. The release of games like Fallout Tactics and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel put a huge dent in the credibility of the Fallout franchise. So what was the difference between these titles? Storylines. The difference between the great games and the flops was a deep storyline that the player can throw themselves into while still being able to use their own imagination and create their own story. Fallout and Fallout 2 had this in droves. The games had a deep lore and flushed out storylines that created an entire world for you to explore. That is why they are, and will always be, great games.
After the successes of Fallout and Fallout 2, Bethesda Game Studios bought the rights to the Fallout franchise and gave it a completely new look. Taking the original isometric games, Bethesda gave them an overhaul, only taking a few aspects from the originals. With the next two installments (both used the same graphical engine), the best aspects of the original games were taken and mixed with some of the best aspects of other Bethesda games. This created an extremely flushed out lore and story for the player to explore. For their time, these games had amazing graphics but were also filled with bugs and glitches that took years after release to fix.
Following these games, there came Fallout 4. This is a very controversial game, even going as far as creating a huge tear in the community, taking the best play mechanics but dumbing them down, Fallout 4 was able to appeal to a larger audience but made the hardcore rpg lovers greatly disappointed with the game. Fallout 4 had what I believed to be a better dialogue system but the story was not all there for me. Just looking at the game from an unbiased view, the game was a great overall game but looking at it as a hardcore rpg fan, it was quite underwhelming in certain aspects that I was looking forward to. The only thing that I will say that Fallout 4 had going for it very well was mod support. This showed that Bethesda is okay with the community contributing to the games, even including creation club (which I believe is a great addition).
So what does all of this mean for Fallout 76? Well to be honest, it means that Fallout 76 will be a very weird way of doing an rpg. If you really break it down, Fallout 76 will be an rpg at its purest form. A land full of lore with very little story where there are no set roles at all; you have to make up your own role in the universe. I believe that is will lead to servers with very different play styles, giving an even better sense of immersion not knowing what type of player you will run into next. This is a mix of things that worked from every previous installment in the Fallout franchise with some exciting new mechanics thrown in the give the game a fresh new feel. Overall, things are looking up for Fallout 76!