[Update: Bethesda has reached out to the originator of the rumor claiming that there are ‘currently no plans’ for Fallout 76 to go free-to-play. RealGamerNewZ remains skeptical about the truthfulness of this statement from Bethesda, which could simply be damage control ahead of a longer wait until such action commences. Standard Editions of the game have been discontinued and in some countries (with strong refund laws) sent back to Bethesda as part of a “Buy Back” program.]
Reports are coming in that EBGames in Australia may be pulling physical copies of Fallout 76 to prepare for Bethesda to transition the game into a free-to-play format. Currently these are just rumors but given the situation with the open world “softcore survival” online multiplayer game and it’s lukewarm release, this wouldn’t be a shocking move at this point.
Amazon is claiming to some shoppers that supplies of Fallout 76 on PlayStation 4 are running out. EBGames Australia is selling used physical copies of the game as “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” and Tricentennial Editions well below market price. Beyond these curiosities, there are also no standard editions of the game for sale at this retailer, and every copy of the game listed for sale is a pre-owned copy. This could be an early indicator that EBGames Australia is the first of potentially many stores which will stop carrying the game ahead of a potential free-to-play business model emerging for Fallout 76.
Many gamers have grown intolerant with Bethesda Games Austin’s shortcomings and given the name change of the studio from its original name of BattleCry Studios many have also been confused which has ended up with the blame placed entirely on Bethesda Games Studios themselves. Of course, the company as well as its figureheads Todd Howard and Pete Hines are certainly to blame for such confusion as they have hyped the title since Bethesda’s E3 2018 Show with no warning that an untested B-Team would be used to create Fallout 76. Furthermore, it is impossible to defend the many bad business practices that have since commenced in addition to the lack of oversight from Bethesda main throughout the overall marketing, development, and publication of Fallout 76.
All in all, we found the game to be quite enjoyable throughout our initial time spent in the game. You can read more about that in our First 76 Hours Review. However, it is completely understandable that the vocal minority as well as overall majority of Bethesda fans are not pleased with the release. Some of the main issues being listed as complaints by fans include the initial release not having enough content, the game dropping in price too quickly (as a disrespect to early adopters), the continued use of Bethesda’s carbon copy of the GameBryo engine (called The Creation Engine, but essentially a rip-off of the one before it, making it feel incredibly dated), glitches, improper handling of marketing products which resulted in “bait-and-switch” situations for Fallout 76 merchandise, false advertising, and more.
For us at RealGamerNewZ, the situation is a sad one. TES III: Morrowind and TES IV: Oblivion really captured something special. The amount of freedom in The Elder Scrolls series in a time when open world gaming had still not reached its peak was a really unique feeling. Bethesda must have wanted players to feel like 76 was one of their main studios’ games so that they wouldn’t feel like it’s been so long of a wait until their next release. This was a huge mistake. And the fact that they are taking their epic living world concepts and failing to advance the technology behind them is also disastrous. If not corrected for Starfield and TES VI, this could be enough to destroy Bethesda in the long run or just make them the next EA – a game company everyone with a clear mind hates but is just there still despite it all.
When Skyrim first released I fell asleep playing it and gave my brand new copy with strategy guide away to a friend. I felt hurt and robbed by Bethesda for telling us the game would have “a new game engine” only to be faced with the same type of experience that had been given so many years before, without much improvement. Fallout 4 was also very boring for me. Perhaps gamers are just now catching up to me on that, and expected a revamped experience with Bethesda’s next entry as I did so long ago back then. I’ve since replayed Skyrim on PC with good hardware and seen what the game has to offer, and I’m fully in love with the lore of The Elder Scrolls universe. I still don’t care about Fallout 4 even though it takes place in my native home area of Boston. However, if the main studio cannot out-perform BattleCry Studios and refuses to truly replace their game engine, Bethesda may continue to break our hearts as the years go on… something I’m not yet ready to accept.
Maybe if players had come to these realizations of Bethesda’s lack of technological advancement 7 years ago when Skyrim released we wouldn’t be in this situation, instead of waiting until now to finally have a problem with it. Certainly a lot of the anger has to do with the negativity surrounding this game’s leaks and the manner they were framed. And no one is defending the anti-consumer practices that have emerged afterwards. I just have one question on my mind as I watch this all go down in flames, would anybody have cared to make these complaints if Fallout 76 had been a single player game?