You thought Fallout 5 was next? Bethesda decided to skip that one. And the next one. And then a few more.

Jokes aside, its safe to say that Fallout 76 most likely is not the next game in the series’ usual sequential ordering, which means it might be drastically different from what gamers have come to expect from the Fallout franchise. Bethesda has expressed similar views in the past, vaguely stating that the game would take the series in “a new direction”. But what does this mean? What will be so different about this new Fallout game, and what’s with the number 76 anyway? While much is still in the air about the nature of the game, trailers and Fallout loreheads have delivered solid answers to the second question.

The number 76 is a reference to Vault 76, which is referenced in passing during Fallout 3 and 4. According to a breakdown from Gamespot, Vault 76 was a control group meant to test the stability of the Vault system before an actual event occurred where they would need to be put to use. This “control group” vault wasn’t meant to be put under for very long – something that is later confirmed when the game’s official trailer shows a Pip-Boy that shows the current year as 2102. If this is the year that the game takes place in, it will be the earliest setting in the Fallout timeline, taking place before even Fallout 1. The trailer also chooses “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver as its background track, hinting at a setting somewhere around post-apocalyptic West Virginia. It’s also possible that this could be reading too much into the song choice here, as the themes of Denver’s piece strongly align with the themes of the Fallout games: missing the simple nature of an old lifestyle that one can not return to.

The earlier date also brings more and more complicated matters into the mix. According to Fallout lore, these “control vaults” were few and far between. To make matters worse, they were often poorly made and sloppily constructed, since they wouldn’t (theoretically) have to go through an actual nuclear fallout. This means several things for the landscape of Fallout 76. First, it’s unlikely that this game will see the same level of Post-Fallout civilization that is present in the other games. That means no civilizations to manage, quite possibly fewer followers to recruit, and a grander selection of buildings that haven’t been looted yet. As a successful test vault, players may be among the first humans to emerge after the bombs had finished falling, so the game may focus more on survival in the wasteland than on travel and exploration. Less time to develop might also hint at lower rates of evolved, irradiated monstrosities, which means less danger from said creatures, but also less food. Regardless of what other troubles this early release into the Fallout world will bring upon the poor inhabitants of Vault 76, all logical conclusions point to a greater focus on survival among the wastes.

The game is also set to get its fair share of time at this year’s upcoming E3 show, which, according to a tweet from Bethesda Communications Supervisor Peter Hines, might be the publisher’s longest show ever. Bethesda has carefully managed to  Fallout 76’s gameplay details secret, but recent rumors hint that the game may feature an online element, with some even going so far as to call it a fully-fledged online survival RPG. Bethesda has already confirmed that they will be revealing more from Fallout 76 at their E3 press event on June 10th, along with new content from The Elder Scrolls, details on the long-anticipated Prey DLC, and some Rage 2 bits as well.

Featured Image Via Flickr / Instacodez

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I’m a nerd with a wild sense of humor. I’m very good at running tabletop games (Like Dungeons & Dragons), or at least that’s what my players would tell you. I spend about as much time writing new content for those games as I do working on jobs or internships, and love every second of it. I'm a lover of dogs and mint chocolate chip, and my favorite dinosaur is the ankylosaurus. I also play racquetball with friends at least four times a week, go to the gym six times a week, and go for jogs around the neighborhood when I have time, because health is important and stuff. Eat them greens, yo.