Whelp, I was totally wrong about Fallout 5!
I'm actually okay with this, any new Fallout game is sure to be something interesting so I'm pretty keen to see where this goes. I've seen a few sources stating that this will be an online game, which is something I am decidedly against. I'm fine with a little co-op, but not fully online like Elder Scrolls Online or anything like that. I know Bethesda has been making the series more of a Shooter, but it's an RPG at heart and I'd hate for it to turn into something akin to Destiny.
Now, gameplay interests me less than the story does, so let's dive into that!
The first big shock is that the game is set in 2102, a full 59 years before the first Fallout game was set. Which actually makes sense, because this game is about Vault Dwellers from Vault 76 which was mentioned in Fallout 3. Vault 76 was a control vault, where there were no crazy experiments and people were just meant to leave and reclaim the surface world after 20 years. The more astute of you have probably already noticed, if the Great War was in 2077 and this is set in 2102, that's 25 years! Why the extra 5 years? Who knows... but I'm sure we'll find out.
Vault 76 was dubbed after the Tercentenary of American Independence, which actually makes perfect sense in thematic terms. You'd want your control vaults, those who are intended to be used to reclaim the United States, to be as patriotic as all hell. These are the people that are going to go out and take back what's rightfully theirs, so you'd want them to be as pumped up as you can make them. It's a small detail, but I like that it builds the narrative.
A minor point here, but this guy is the same guy who narrated Fallout 1, 2, Tactics & 3, and was the news reader in Fallout 4. What he's doing speaking in front of a vault I don't know, maybe he's playing a different character? Also of note in this scene, is the Zetan space ship just below the television. Also, the television is in color - a first for Fallout.
Seems like their was a big party and everyone has already left the vault. Since we already know that Vault 76 was a control vault, the Vault Dwellers would have been preparing for this day since they entered the Vault. That banner, and the general festivities, is rather indicative of their outlook and motivation. They're pumped and they're headed out to retake America. I doubt it goes well, since we know what happens in the future and we've never heard of these guys. They're headed out into a nuclear wasteland full of monsters... what could possibly go wrong?
That Pip-Boy looks a little different to what most people are used to, but that's because it's an earlier model. This Pip-Boy was used in Fallout 1 & 2, the only difference is that the screen was reversed with the buttons and dials. This was done because back in the day of Fallout 1 & 2 you never saw the device on your arm and it made sense to have the layout with the buttons on the left and the screen on the right. But if the device is designed to be worn like a watch, on your off-hand, you'd want the buttons and dials on the right so that you're not reaching over the screen. This same issue arose in Fallout 3 before the developers managed to get it right in Fallout 4. So while this Pip-Boy looks a little different, it is clearly meant to be a throwback to the earlier Fallout games.
Now, there were a few plaques in the teaser but they're hard to get a decent screenshot of, but basically their awards for 'Best Haircut' and 'Best Halloween Costume'. Besides this, there are two that stand out. I can't get screenshots but I can transcribe them.
"Excellence in Bravery - In recognition of the canned mystery meat experiment. You volunteered to eat when no one else would. We are proud of you and glad you are not dead."
"Outstanding Achievement Award - In appreciation to your commitment and dedication to our isolation program. Sacrificing many so some can live."
That first one sounds like a joke but that second one sounds ominous as fuuuuuck... While it's probably related to the extra 5 years they spent in the vault, who knows what went on in there? I'm sure we'll find out though!
In terms of the outside world, there's a few things we can speculate. Judging by the song in the teaser "Take me Home, Country Roads" performed by John Denver, I'm pretty sure that the game will be set in West Virginia. Which works, because it's East Coast - Bethesda's territory, and it's close to Washington D.C. which is important for one reason.
Bethesda made their own Super Mutants for the East Coast. As we discovered in Fallout 3, East Coast Super Mutant come from Vault 87 and started appearing in the Capital Wasteland in 2078, a year after the Great War. With Fallout 76 being set 25 years after the Great War, it's no stretch to imagine Vault 87 Super Mutants crossing the border from Washington D.C. into Virginia. They're big and stupid but they're hard to kill, so they should make for good bullet sponges.
Ghouls are going to be in Fallout, that's just a fact. Despite how much it grinds my gears, prolonged exposure to radiation causes people to turn into Ghouls in the Fallout universe. There may be some stuff to do with the FEV (Forced Evolutonary Virus) in there, I'd be happy with that, but I'm pretty sure it's just the radiation. Anyone who has played the series will know that a lot of Ghouls were alive before the Great War, and that the radiation gives them a very long lifespan. If we're playing a character who was around before the Great War, or is the child of someone who was, then it's not inconceivable that we've got some Ghoul family out there in the Wasteland. Just because it's Fallout and we need some enemies to mindlessly kill, I'm sure there will be plenty of Ghouls who have gone Feral and will attack us on sight.
Deathclaws could actually be present, in a fashion. I've covered this in a previous blog post, but Deathclaws were actually created before the Great War to supplement human soldiers on the battlefield. It's just that the Master, on the West Coast, found and messed with them a bit using the FEV. I'd hazard a guess that we'll see Deathclaws, but a much less advanced version of them, more akin to their Pre-War genetic design.
Robots will be around because they are robots and have always been around, the same with Raiders. Besides that, I'm sure we'll get the usual mutated wildlife present in Bethesda Fallout games - Yao-Guai and Mole Rats, and maybe some mutated version of an animal local to Virginia. I don't know, I'm not American, what the hell lives in Virginia? (A quick Google search just revealed it's basically Mountain Lions and Wolves, which would both be badass for a Fallout game.)
In terms of factions, I am praying to the gods of old that we do not even hear, let alone see, the Brotherhood of Steel. Those incestuous techno-priests are all the way on the West Coast at this point, and they don't even control the area surrounding their base until the 2150's. The Brotherhood of Steel didn't even encounter a Super Mutant until 2161, so there's no way they can be all the way out here. I'm okay with another faction that is a remnant of the United States military, but I just really do not want to see the Brotherhood of Steel. They shouldn't have been in Fallout 4 and they sure as hell don't belong in Fallout 76.
Besides that, anything could happen... almost. The fact that this is set in the past likely means there's going to be some sort of downer or subversive ending. We can't really do too much in the past because it'll affect the future too much, which is already set in stone. I'd say that any sort of events in Fallout 76 will be extremely localized so they're not able to reach out and affect the surround areas. Not even Washington D.C., which is right next door. It could be that we'll see some large scale events, it's just that they're so far back before Fallout 3 that they're no longer an influence in the region. Whatever happens, we know that the Vault Dwellers of Vault 76 do not achieve their dream of reclaiming the wasteland.
I'm excited. As long as there's still a focus on single player I'm keen to play this game and see what they do in the wake of a far more recent apocalypse.