NPCs are coming back to Fallout 76—to the tune of Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody" (get it?). That song is apt in another way, too, since I know of several players here at Gaming Nexus that are also returning to West Virginia by way of Fallout 76: Wastelanders. Wastelanders is free DLC for owners of the game, but this is one of those cases where calling it "downloadable content" feels a bit deceptive, or at least a little misleading. This feels more like an expansion, although I know that term has fallen out of use in the past decade or so.
Regardless, this trailer starts with a close-in shot of an old radio humming to life. In Fallout vernacular, that imagery sends a signal to fans that this is a whole new game. Of course it's not a whole new game in the sense that this is Fallout 5 or Fallout: New Vegas 2. But the introduction of non-player characters—brought about by popular vote from the game's staunchest supporters and biggest detractors alike—certainly feels like a whole new game. It does, at least, to those of us that poked our heads in for a few hours during the beta (over a year ago) and then traipsed on out.
I personally knew my play style wouldn't gel with the average online gamer, if for no other reason than I handle poorly the sight of non-serious player names, non-immersive chat, and nonsensical player movement. It's a funny fact that in video games, nothing acts less human than other humans. So I bounced as soon as the beta was over. Dan Keener, our intrepid reviewer, gave Fallout 76 a 6.5 out of 10. Yes, at launch, it was as bad as it sounds.
But here we are, nearly a year-and-a-half into the life of Fallout 76. There's a battle royale mode now. A paid subscription tier. But nothing has recaptured our attention quite the same way that good ol' NPCs could. So, make way for the Settlers, and make way for the Raiders hot on their heels. There's a gold rush out their in West Virginia, and Fallout 76'ers are about to find out if all this online game was missing was NPCs, or if everyone should've just followed the advice to beware what you wish for.
Fallout 76: Wastelanders launches April 14, which is exactly the day Fallout 76 comes to Steam for the first time. If you already own Fallout 76, you can link your Bethesda account to Steam and basically have a free copy of the game waiting for you in your Steam library on launch day.