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Everything You Need To Know About Fallout 76


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Well, it happened, and it came out of nowhere. Bethesda announced the next chapter in the Fallout canon via a via a 24-hour Twitch Stream last Wednesday (May 30), and it is based around a vault.

That’s right, it’s not a narrative wrapped around a desolate state in the US, just a vault. Vault 76 to be exact, one of seventeen known control vaults in an alternate, wasteland of America that Bethesda has constructed so very densely and delicately. The lore to Fallout is rich — so rich that just uttering a number of a vault can pummel your mind into the nightmares of social experimentation.  

If you’re not familiar with the Fallout series of games, you probably have absolutely no idea what I’m on about.  Although to be honest, it’s not that hard to imagine a future like what Fallout portrays — a country under a constant fear of nuclear annihilation.

The difference with the Fallout universe is set in the 22nd and 23rd centuries in a strange time warp still stuck in an atmosphere captivated by the cold war era and post-war culture of 1950s America, alongside the discovery of atomic age technology. Fallout’s canon is obviously much denser than that, but that’s something to discuss another day.

What we do know, is that when the nuclear bombs fell during the Great War of 2077, a select few were sheltered in vaults. The rest, well. They were literally annihilated or turned into all kinds of radioactively-consumed beings. Known as the “Societal Prevention Program”, 122 vaults were constructed across America by the government commissioned company Vault-Tec and could shelter up to 1,000 people in each vault.

The thing is, though, in-game the government are shady as hell (sounds scarily familiar, I know). Of course, they had an ulterior motive when making these vaults, which in short was social experimentation. All 122 had a purpose, and the majority of them are horrifying. From having to sacrifice a resident of Vault 11 every year to Vault 106 being filled with psychoactive drugs to study the eventual insanity that would ensue amongst the residents.

As previously mentioned, Vault 76 was a control vault meaning thankfully the residents weren’t exposed to horrific experimentation. Think of the control vaults as the baseline, like what all the other vaults were compared towards — obviously if this all ended up working, which it didn’t.

Before the announcement of Fallout 76, the four games in the Fallout canon allowed players to explore the wastelands of America and numerous vaults across the states. Fallout 4’s expansion Vault-Tec Workshop and the mobile game Fallout Shelter focused solely on running and living in a vault. So, Fallout 76 is going to be a wild ride if it’s based more so in the vault rather than the location/wasteland surrounding it.  

Annoyingly, that’s all we really know. Just the lore provided by the previous games, and the small and familiar sights of many of the vaults we’ve seen before — albeit in more of a pristine and less rusty appearance — in the teaser trailer.

There are a few things that stand out, including the Pip-Boy revealing that the year is 2102 which means Fallout 76 takes place 25 years after the Great War, the earliest we will have seen vault life and maybe the wasteland in Fallout’s canon since the other games have all taken place at least 80 years after the war. There’s also the indication that players could fill the shoes of a vault overseer instead of a sole survivor or vault dweller looking at the awards in the cabinet

Vault 76 has been mentioned in the Fallout series before. Like many of the other vaults, you can find and explore them, or learn about them via hearsay and documents found on consoles. The mystery around Vault 76 is touched upon both in the opening of Fallout 4 and in terminal entries found in Fallout 3. One of the terminal entries reads:

“Vault 76 is one of our seventeen control Vaults. It will operate exactly according to the plan dictated in the marketing produced by Vault-Tec and precisely to resident expectations. This vault will open automatically after a period of 20 years and the residents will be pushed back into the open world for study in comparison to the other experiments.”

If the residents are to be pushed back into the world in 2097 and Fallout 76 is set in 2102, it seems as though the “grand opening” of the vault is five years late. What could that entail, I wonder? We’ll have to wait until E3 sadly, which begins on June 12 and is a grueling week away.  

Oh well. At least we have a plethora of backstory to help us theorize exactly what the game could entail. Please, please don't let it be an online multiplayer. 

Watch the trailer for Fallout 76 below. 

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