Now that we all know what Fallout 76 actually is and how it’s going to play, everyone’s looking forward to sinking their teeth into its impressively large world. Four times the size of Fallout 4‘s, to be precise.

If you missed the announcement: the game is essentially online Fallout set in West Virginia. Gameplay-wise, it looks a little more akin to survival games like Rust and ARK: Survival Evolved. You’ll be able to play with your mates, go on quests, or just generally run amuck if that’s what you’re into.

I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to sit down with Bethesda‘s director and executive producer, Todd Howard, at E3 to chat about the game and dive a little deeper into how some of the mechanics are going to work, particularly around the player-controlled nuclear bombs, which have been the subject of a great deal of community debate.

That’s right: there’s a number of nuke launch sites scattered around the world of Fallout 76 which can be operated by human players, allowing them to deal out an incredibly large amount of damage to the world. While it sounds like – and is  – a huge source of power, Howard says getting the codes required to launch won’t be easy.

“Thats’s kind of, you know, part of the big end game quest stuff, so we wanted something to strive for that was also cyclical, that you could do over and over,” he told PEDESTRIAN.TV.

“The codes kind of recycle, you have to find new ones and then the nuke state is temporary, it lasts a number of hours as opposed to being permanent.”

He says the ability for players to create high-level encounter zones on their own is something he hopes they’ll strive for, but also acknowledges that some of the Fallout appeal is simply revelling in fucking shit up.

“I think there’s a part of Fallout where you enjoy the destruction,” he said. “Everybody loves it.” While Howard concedes that there might “be some issues at first,” he says he and the team are pretty keen on iterating on the idea.

Fallout 76 marks the earliest point in the Fallout timeline, making the humans who venture out of Vault 76 the first to do so since the world was ravaged by nuclear war. If this is the case, I asked Todd how questing will work and whether there’ll still be NPCs dishing out objectives.

“There are no NPCs,” he said. “So one of the big tenets we have is that every human is real. So there are characters, they’re just PCs, not NPCs.”

Similar to Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, there’s going to be quests you can pick up organically simply by exploring the world, but that’s not the only way.

“We have robots that can talk, so we lean on them a little bit more than we usually would,” Howard said. “And then we have a story that’s told which is, you know, the main problem in the world with these scorchbeasts that need to be solved and the nukes play into that storyline as well.”

Howard’s a big fan of Aussies, too, so he wants to make sure we’re well equiped when it comes to servers. Given our internet operates like a box of carrier pigeons, it’s important that we have some local servers to minimise lag.

“So we’re using the Amazon cloud servers,” he said. “As that works in Australia, it should work just great.”

“We have a ton of fans in Australia, it’s amazing, and so we wanna make sure they have a great experience, they’ve been good supporters of us for a long time.”

Fuck yeah, that’s great news. Fallout 76 is set for release on November 14 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Image: Bethesda