Fallout 76 Developers Reveal How Wastelanders Will Help Fix the Game

Fallout 76’s Wastelanders DLC could greatly enhance the game’s narrative experience.

Fallout 76 Wastelanders
Photo: Bethesda

During Bethesda Game Days at PAX East 2020 (via USGamer), Bethesda’s Pete Hines addressed some of Fallout 76’s overarching issues and how the game’s upcoming Wastelanders DLC will fix some of those problems.

It actually sounds like the Wastelanders’ team was so excited about the new DLC, which adds human NPCs as well as other major improvements to the online game, that it may have overdone it a bit. 

“Yeah, of course they went much beyond what they were budgeted to do because designers can’t help themselves,” Hines said. “So they blew past their word count budgets.”

While it seems like Hines was (mostly) joking about the game’s budget problems, it certainly does seem like the Wastelanders team is really trying to take full advantage of the addition of human NPCs. 

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“We want you to be in The Wayward and have all your NPC interactions be based around you and your choices,” Hines said. “Not like I’m talking to an NPC and then somebody else walks up in the middle of that and just starts shooting everybody. Then they’ve made a choice that changes your choices. So it’s an instance to you and your party; anybody else who goes into The Wayward is going to be in their own version because your choices do matter.”

Wastelanders will emphasize Fallout 76’s PvE elements over its PvP content. Hines said that the team was a little shocked by how many of Fallout 76’s players don’t really participate in the game’s pure PvP content. 

“I think we were a little surprised how few people wanted to take part in PvP and how much more they were interested in PvE together,” Hines said. “There’s some folks who do, don’t get me wrong, but I think it’s a smaller percentage of our player base than we thought.”

While a sudden influx of new content may be enough to make Fallout 76’s PvE content feel fresh in the short-term, Bethesda acknowledges that new content for content’s sake is not enough. 

“[A]t some point what you know for sure about your hardcore players is it doesn’t matter how many quests you write,” Hines says. “I don’t think content generation is the answer. There’s just no reasonable cadence that you can put out large volumes of quest content that will keep up with the extent to which players burn through it because it’s gonna take you six months, nine months, a year to make content that they’re gonna burn through in two weeks.”

Hines noted that addressing that problem involves creating “dynamic” and “replayable” content as well as more “event-based” updates. In that spirit, Bethesda is already working on expanding Fallout 76’s content roadmap. 

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“We have a roadmap that we’ll be sharing before too long, probably after Wastelanders,” Hines revealed. “Let’s get through Wastelanders and then talk about that. That will cover all the way through the end of this year. We’ve already been talking about, internally, what is our plan for content into next year. When we feel confident enough to share that with everybody, I’m not certain, but like, we throw it out pretty far. Not just for the next year, but beyond.”

Wastelanders could be Fallout 76’s most impactful DLC release to date. Whether it will be enough to help the game overcome its design problems and other issues remains to be seen. Fallout 76: Wastelanders is out as a free update for owners of the game on April 7.