Why I won’t be buying Fallout 76

Fallout 76 Art

After E3 this year I published an article titled The Games That Caught My Eye At E3 2018. I mentioned how Fallout 76 is a prequel to the entire sequel but also a multiplayer game. Not a lot of information beyond this was available at the time. Several months have passed since then and more information has come to light. In this article I will go over the newly surfaced information that has convinced me not to buy the game.

Before I begin I would like to explain why I decided to take the time to write an article about why I am not doing something, since that is an odd thing to write about. The Fallout series is my favourite game franchise with Fallout: New Vegas being my favourite game in the series and probably my favourite game in general. So it might seem odd that I as a fan of this series would opt not to buy the latest entry in it. The reasons for why I am not buying the game are based on both principles and product quality.

My first and the most important reason is that the game will have always-online DRM. This is present due to the nature of it being a multiplayer game. However it has been confirmed by the developers that it is possible to complete the game on your own, meaning that the game is not exactly a “multiplayer” game. Although other players will be able to interact with you, get in the way and probably find other means of ruining your fun, it has been confirmed that the entire game can be completed on your own. This makes the game both a singleplayer and multiplayer game, regardless of what any developers or PR people say. As such, the inclusion of always online DRM in a singleplayer game is unacceptable to me and goes against my principles.

The second reason I decided not to buy the game is that the developers confirmed that there will be a micro-transaction store in the game. Regardless of what the store sells, this is a full priced video game and adding micro-transactions at all never mind at launch is insulting. The developers claim that the store will only sell “cosmetics” and that the fake currency used to buy these “cosmetics” will be earn-able in game. From experience I can say that the definition that game developers have for “cosmetics” can be broadly applied to pretty much anything. A common example would be camouflage skins. Camo skins are not cosmetic, they give the user an advantage in a gun fight by making it more difficult to see them. Micro-transactions in a full priced game are unacceptable, doubly so when they are in the game at launch.

The third and final reason is that the game is not a true Fallout game or a RPG. The developers have shown no evidence to support any claims that it is and as such I am not interested in this game. Unlike every other Fallout game this game has no NPCs. The game has notes, computer messages and recordings made by characters but none of them are physically present in the world. They can try and justify this in the lore and the way they do so could actually be very interesting, in fact I expect it to be going by BGS’s track record with world building, but Fallout just isn’t Fallout without interesting characters to interact with. As far as I am concerned it is another spin-off title like Fallout Shelter that isn’t worth my time.

Although the first reason effectively cemented my decision not to buy the game, the other two just reaffirmed this. I refuse to support a video game that uses always-online DRM and I refuse to support a game that has micro-transactions and charges me an upfront fee to play it. As well as the game not being anything like the kind of game I want from this franchise. I will not be buying the game myself, but I will be paying close attention to it once it has released.

A minor gripe I would like to point out that didn’t affect my decision but did have me worried about the quality of the game are the presence of faction items that break continuity.

It is also important to point out that the developers flew out game reviewers and other gaming media personalities to a resort (the one featured in the game), gave them boarding, kept them fed and watered and gave them “exclusive” access to the game. This kind of unethical behaviour in marketing is worrying due to the fact that these people’s opinions of the game have been influenced by their celebrity treatment by the publisher. As such I would recommend taking everything you hear about the game from anyone that was at this event with a handful of salt and waiting for the reviews from real players via Steam, Amazon, blogs and other social media.

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About Mojomancer 40 Articles
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I write reviews and critique the games industry. I cover a variety of topics including business models, game mechanics and user interface design.

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