Todd Howard explains the reasons behind Fallout 76’s poor launch in interview


No matter how you look at it, Fallout 76 was one of the biggest video game disappointments of 2018 for many. This is because the game lacked the deep single player campaign we have grown accustomed to from Bethesda’s games, while the online multiplayer gameplay left a bit to be desired too and had its share of issues as we pointed out in our review.

The game also shipped with a plethora of bugs (something which is not so surprising for a Bethesda game), having one of the worst launches for a video game to date. And now Bethesda game director Todd Howard has explained the reasons for the game’s poor launch in an interview with IGN (via GameSpot), saying these essentially amounted to Bethesda’s lack of experience with online multiplayer games and the challenges associated to developing such an ambitious game like Fallout 76.

“That was a very difficult, difficult development on that game to get it where it was …a lot of those difficulties ended up on the screen. We knew, hey look, this is not the type of game that people are used to from us and we’re going to get some criticism on it. A lot of that–very well-deserved criticism”, Howard told IGN.

And undoubtedly Fallout 76 was a massive project for the company, with several Bethesda studios taking part in development, including the company’s Montreal studio, even though the people at Bethesda Game Studios in Maryland (the team behind the upcoming Elder Scrolls VI game) did not do most of the work here.

But still, despite the game’s negative technical reception (its Metacritic score sits at 49 for the Xbox One version, and low 50s for other systems), Todd Howard admitted Fallout 76 was a “huge” release for Bethesda. He also compared Fallout 76’s poor launch to that of The Elder Scrolls Online, a game that was technical mess when it was released back in 2014 but now has millions of players.

Howard said he expected Fallout 76 to go from strength to strength like Bethesda’s earlier online RPG did, but that he knew the people at Bethesda would have “a lot of bumps” given the game’s online focus and all the new systems the studio had to develop in order to get Fallout 76’s persistent online world working. The game could have benefitted from more testing and a longer beta period instead of doing a full launch last fall, Howard admitted.

Regarding the future, he said the company has “awesome” stuff to reveal at this year’s E3 show in Los Angeles, while we already know that the company will continue supporting Fallout 76 this year with patches and new content as Bethesda revealed back in February. And there’s also the possibility that more Fallout will be coming our way in 2019 too, something many fans will no doubt be looking forward to this year.

Todd Howard (link) [Creative Commons (link)]