There was a time, around four or five years ago, when it seemed the only games that were being released followed the same formula: early access, open-world, and survival. Games like Day Z and Rust exploded almost overnight, and many copycats followed.
The premise of an open-world survival game is relatively simple — you’re thrust into a world with other online players, with one goal: survive. There aren’t any quests or missions in those games, and the bulk of memorable experiences come from interactions with other players.
That’s why it’s surprising to hear that the next Fallout game is reportedly following a similar formula. Fallout, known for being a single-player role-playing-game experience, is one of developer Bethesda’s most successful series. However, Kotaku reports that the next iteration, Fallout 76, will be an open-world survival RPG, heavily inspired by games like Day Z and Rust.
Open-world survival games were once constantly at the top of the sales list on Steam, but the genre has thinned out and it seems the bulk of the playerbase has moved on (most likely to battle royale games like PUBG and Fortnite). Thus, Bethesda likely has a real challenge on its hands to produce a game that clicks with players in a genre that they are seemingly already tired of.
Here’s what we know about the next Fallout game, and the games that apparently inspired it:
Day Z, developed by Bohemia Interactive, first launched as a modification for the battle-simulation game Arma II. Even with its clunky controls and outdated graphics, the game became an internet sensation. It brought the open-world survival genre to the forefront of gaming, and when the standalone version of the game was released in 2013, over one million copies were quickly sold.
The game is centered around surviving a zombie apocalypse, either by teaming up with other players or going at it alone. Players need to eat, drink, treat wounds, and scavenge supplies — all while avoiding being killed by the walking dead or other players with ill intentions. When your character dies in Day Z, you lose any supplies and gear you had at the time, and start over fresh with an empty inventory.
However, the game suffered a pretty severe decline in popularity, after the playerbase became unsatisfied with the efforts of the developers to update the game and provide new and refreshing content.
Rust is a game developed by Facepunch Studios, which was heavily inspired by Day Z. It was released in early access in 2013, and fully released in 2018.
While Rust is also an open-world survival game, the threat comes almost solely from other players instead of zombies. The survival elements are similar, with players required to eat, drink, and tend to wounds, but the addition of a crafting system made the game stand apart from Day Z. Players can craft weapons, clothing, shelters, and other game elements to give them an advantage over the environment and other players.
Since Fallout 4 introduced the concept of shelter building in the Fallout franchise, it’s likely that Bethesda developers pulled from this game for inspiration on how to make that work in a multiplayer setting.
However, Rust’s final release received only average reviews, and by 2018 it seemed that consumers had become tired of the open-world survival genre.
That brings us to Fallout 76.
According to the three people with insider knowledge that Kotaku spoke with, Fallout 76 will be an open-world survival RPG game. Fallout 4 introduced base/settlement building to the series in 2015, and the sources confirmed that this gameplay aspect will also be present in Fallout 76.
The survival and RPG elements are nothing new to the series, but Fallout has never had a multiplayer mode before. This is similar to the approach Bethesda took with Elder Scrolls Online, the massively-multiplayer online addition to the Elder Scrolls series, which was also traditionally single-player until that release.