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Fallout 76

Howard on Fallout 76: "We like to try new things"

Bethesda's Todd Howard on the growing scope of the project and West Virginia setting.

"We like to try new things and we know when we do that that that's not always going to be for everybody," Todd Howard told us when we spoke to him in LA last week following the detailed reveal of Fallout 76 during Bethesda's E3 conference.

Of course, Fallout is a popular series among RPG fans and there's some unease among certain sections of the community because of the online focus in the latest entry in the series. According to Howard, however, it's all about finding a balance between keeping fans happy and experimenting with new ideas.

Howard explained how some people might be disappointed that this online adventure was being made instead of a game that they perhaps wanted more, but "we kind of have to balance that with trying some new things and doing some things that we know people want from us."

Fallout 76

We also talked about the setting - West Virginia - and why the studio chose that particular part of the country for the next game in the series.

"There's a big government bunker there where everyone's going to go. There's another [...] hall for the president to speak and all that stuff, there's a huge underground vault there, that's where the nuclear codes are and everything.

"And the landscape let us do some interesting things - people don't know it that well, which helps. We knew we wanted to do it there, we just didn't know how big it was going to be."

The studio started with a specific idea for the game after internal discussions around how they might implement multiplayer in a meaningful way. What they didn't want to do was just make a typical Bethesda RPG (if such a thing exists) and then just add co-op. That simple base was soon to expand, however.

"As we started doing it the project definitely grew, the world got bigger, we added a lot more features, we started putting a lot more features in that we love from our games, and quests and storylines [...] And it definitely ballooned because we kept seeing these great opportunities."

We also talked about the decision to make Fallout 76 a prequel, a move which granted the studio a fair degree of flexibility but that also meant they had to look at certain aspects with a fresh eye.

"We wanted it to have this kind of stepping out of the vault, this pioneering dawn feeling to all of it, so that was where a lot of the aesthetic came," Howard told Gamereactor.

"And then doing the different regions, so that there are regions that are for more blasted, there's a mountaintop area where they're strip-mining the top of the mountain [...] and it allowed us a lot of those opportunities.

"We loved doing the old Pip-Boy and then the T51b Power Armour, and those kinds of things we loved from Fallout 1."

Fallout 76 is heading to PC, PS4, and Xbox One on November 14.