The trailer for Fallout 76 took just about everyone by surprise. To have a brand new Fallout title announced when many thought Bethesda would probably be announcing a Fallout 3 remaster was shocking enough, so the subsequent leaks suggesting the game will be an online multiplayer experience only added to the chaos.
Naturally, every Bethesda fan is desperately trying to make sense of the game. With this being the case, it seems like a good idea to scour through past titles in the series to see if we can find any clues about what Fallout 76 might have in store for players.
Luckily, the Fallout series boasts a pretty rich lore, with each title offering plenty of data logs and voice recordings to create a detailed backstory of the game’s universe. The single most important shred of information we have about the mysterious Vault 76 actually comes from Fallout 3, which features Vault-Tec data about a number of experimental Vaults throughout the USA.
Vault 76, according to the data log, began construction in February 2065 and ended in October 2069. Housing 500 people, the Vault is programmed to open automatically 20 years after it is sealed, which, given that the nuclear bombs of the Great War fall in 2077, would mean Vault 76 should open in 2097.
These dates are interesting, because the trailer for Fallout 76 begins with a shot of a Pip Boy inside the vault, displaying the year as 2102 – 5 years after the intended opening time. The question of why our Vault dweller has remained inside longer than expected is currently unknown, but is something that may be featured in Fallout 76‘s plot. It’s also worth noting that 2102 is many years before the beginning of even the first Fallout, making this latest title a prequel.
Fallout 3‘s data logs also give us an insight into how the Vault functioned. For context, Fallout’s Vaults are known for being a front for some rather nasty human experiments – Vault 11, for example, required one human sacrifice per year, whilst Vault 36 was designed to test undernourishment and starvation. Interestingly, the data entry for Vault 76 tells us that it was in fact a control Vault – one of 17 Vaults which actually functioned exactly as advertised.
The fact that Vault 76 functions as a normal Vault may be significant to Fallout 76‘s reported Rust-like multiplayer gameplay. The bizarre circumstances in Vaults often act as a driving force for the narrative of Fallout games, so the relative normality of Vault 76 may provide a lore-friendly method for multiple players to emerge unharmed from the same Vault.
Aside from this, Fallout 3′s data logs also give us some minor detail about the setting of the new game, as Vault 76 is described as being a Washington D.C.-area Vault. The song which plays in the teaser trailer is John Denver’s “Country Roads”, a fact that many have taken as a clue to Fallout 76‘s setting. This is still possible despite what we know from Fallout 3, as with a rather broad geographical outlook West Virginia could be considered in the area of Washington D.C.
Aside from a very brief and trivial mention of Vault 76 from a news anchor during the prologue of Fallout 4, that covers just about everything we know so far about the mysterious titular setting of Fallout 76. Granted, it isn’t much to go on, but given that Bethesda intends to show the game during its E3 showcase on June 10th, we will soon know a lot more.
Fallout 76 is currently in development and will be unveiled at E3 next month.