Bethesda finally gave us out first in-depth look at Fallout 76. The trailer at Microsoft's E3 conference suggested it was another traditional Bethesda RPG, but that's not the case.
No, Fallout 76 is an online-focused game. Every human being you encounter in Fallout 76 will be another human being. This game, like Day-Z or Rust, is about survival.
That might not be everyone's idea of a good time, but we're keen. Here are some of the things that excite us about Fallout 76 (and one thing we're not quite sold on).
Every chance it gets, Bethesda is throwing out the "four times bigger" catchphrase.
So yes -- the world of Fallout 76 is four times bigger than any Fallout game Bethesda has released before. Is this a good thing? Probably, but it doesn't tell us much.
Here's what we do know: Very few developers do world-building better than Bethesda. Regardless of the genre or the choices, we're keen to inhabit another Bethesda built universe.
Fallout 76 is very much a game of its time. Games such as Destiny, The Division, Day-Z, PUBG, Fortnite and the upcoming Anthem -- they're all online-focused video games with co-op elements. This is clearly Bethesda's attempt to hop onboard with that trend.
But expect something different. Bethesda's a little like Blizzard in that regard. If it turns its attention to a genre, it typically does a good job of innovating within that genre.
Base building is back in Fallout 76, which is good because base building in Fallout 4 was pretty neat.
This time Bethesda is hoping base building will be more about survival, and protecting yourself and your team mates from other hostile players in the world.
Which sounds pretty awesome to be honest.
Other Fallout games have been a bit drab -- that's not a knock, it's simply the aesthetic. It's a post-apocalyptic wasteland, so it makes sense.
Fallout 76 is noticeably... brighter. It has more colour. Part of that has to do with the new lighting system Bethesda has implemented, but it also seems like a very conscious choice. For better or worse, this will almost certainly be the "prettiest" Fallout game yet.
I mean, I guess you can. Todd Howard says you can. He probably said it to appease Bethesda fans, who are typically single-player enthusiasts, but it can be done.
I suspect, however, that you'll hamper your potential enjoyment of Fallout 76 by playing alone. That's my gut feeling.
I guess the thing that excites me most about Fallout 76 is the potential for Day-Z-style emergent encounters where insane stuff happens.
Basically I'm excited for the YouTube videos.
Considering the clear inspiration for Fallout 76, you have to think that Bethesda is going to be working hard to cater to this style of gameplay.
Online survival games such as Day-Z and Rust are generally unforgiving. Bethesda has recognised this and it looks like making Fallout 76 accessible to all players is a high priority.
Bethesda describes Fallout 76 as a "softcore" experience. You don't typically hear that word used when discussing Bethesda games, but it makes sense. Bethesda is walking a tightrope here: The hook of survival games is often the challenge of surviving against other human players, after all.
You might say this subverts the "nuclear war is bad" message of Fallout as a series (and you'd probably be right) but this is a cool mechanic, particularly if you're looking to encourage co-operative play.
Scattered throughout the world of Fallout 76 are missile silos. Launch codes are scattered throughout the world and here's the trick: You can't launch a nuke with just one code, which means you have to co-operate in order to use them.
Pretty awesome idea.
Or to put it another way: Does VATS even exist? It's hard to imagine how it might work against other players. Perhaps the best way to make Fallout 76 work is to remove it altogether.
We're not 100 percent sure how it will work at this point.
But that's a quibble about what otherwise looks like an enticing gaming experience. Fallout 76 hits Xbox One, PS4 and PC on Nov. 14, 2018.