“Those comparisons are not really accurate”: Todd Howard Doesn’t Like One Fallout Game Being Compared to DayZ and Rust

Bethesda's Foray Into The Multiplayer Experience of Fallout 76

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SUMMARY

  • Bethesda's Fallout 76 was a bold deviation from its single-player predecessors, pivoting towards an online multiplayer experience.
  • This shift was driven by Todd Howard's vision of exploring multiplayer dynamics within the post-apocalyptic setting.
  • But he was clear about one thing: Fallout 76 should not be pigeonholed as a survival game akin to DayZ or Rust.
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The post-apocalyptic survival genre of games is a classic in the gaming industry. And the Fallout series is the biggest example of players being thrust into retro-futuristic, post-apocalyptic America. With the classic goal of exploring a world filled with mutants, ghouls, and remnants of human civilization.

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In 2018, Fallout 76 went outside the traditional Fallout format with its online multiplayer component.  Todd Howard, Bethesda’s director and executive producer made some things clear then. He didn’t want Fallout 76 pigeonholed as a survival like DayZ or Rust just because of its multiplayer mode.

Todd Howard’s Insights Into The Development of Fallout 76

Todd Howard's Insights Into The Development of Fallout 76
The Features in Fallout 76 Weren’t Planned to be Definitive For The Future of The Series | Bethesda

In an interview with The Guardian, Howard explained that while Fallout 76 does have survival elements such as food and water management, it’s not solely focused on survival. According to him, the game offers an experience that combines the familiar Fallout universe with new online multiplayer mechanics. 

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We avoid the word ‘survival’, because people’s minds immediately go to DayZ and Rust and certain other games, and those comparisons are not really accurate for what we’re doing.

He further clarified back then that one of the key differences between Fallout 76 and other survival games was the player count. Unlike some games like Rust for example which has hundreds of players in one world, players only share a world with a few dozen others in Fallout 76. 

Players share the world with maybe a few dozen other players in Fallout 76, not hundreds. You can choose whether or not to interact, help or hinder each other. 

This smaller player count allows for an experience where players can choose to how chaotic they want to be with fellow players.

One more area where Howard makes an important distinction for Fallout 76 is the approach to player death. In many survival games, death can result in the loss of progress or items. However, Howard explained that in Fallout 76, death is not as punishing. Players will respawn nearby without losing their progression, allowing them to quickly get back into the action.

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The Features in Fallout 76 Weren’t Planned to be Definitive For The Future of The Series

The Features in Fallout 76 Weren't Planned to be Definitive For The Future of The Series
Todd Howard’s Insights Into The Development of Fallout 76 | Bethesda

Todd Howard then talked about the inception of Fallout 76‘s development saying that it began as a concept during the creation of Fallout 4, but wasn’t actually worked on until later. He also admitted to playing the game solo most of the time, despite it being an online game just because of the different experiences the game offers. 

If you think about the survival modes we’ve made in Fallout 4, it has that vibe … Fallout 76, although it’s an online game, when I play it, I mostly still play it solo. We like those experiences as much as our fans do.

Furthermore, Howard has reassured fans that Fallout 76 does not signify a permanent shift for the franchise away from single-player experiences. He stressed that the game is “definitely its own thing,” a unique venture within the Fallout universe rather than a replacement for the beloved single-player narrative-driven games. 

The Features in Fallout 76 Weren't Planned to be Definitive For The Future of The Series
Todd Howard’s explanation for Fallout 76’s multiplayer | Bethesda

He pointed out that the game was not meant to replace the beloved single-player Fallout titles. Its purpose was more of an experiment and giving players a new kind of approach to  adventure within the same universe. Just like how Fallout 4 gave base game settlement building a shot and it succeeded massively.

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Howard wanted to make sure that older fans who were there for the original single-player Fallour experience also got what they wanted. Which is why having a variety of ways to play the game is vital. 

Fallout 76 represents a bold experiment in the Fallout franchise, merging online multiplayer elements with the rich world the series is known for. Todd Howard’s insistence on distancing the game from the survival genre highlights Bethesda’s intent to offer a distinctive experience. With its balance of solo and multiplayer play, Fallout 76 carved out its own niche.

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Written by Daniel Royte

Articles Published: 171

Daniel is a gamer through and through with a passion for gaming in his veins. His current adventures have taken him into the world of Elden Ring, Wuthering Waves, and Genshin Impact, amongst others.