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Fallout 76’s Game Freebies Alienate Community

Yet, they remind us of what gaming was like 20 years ago and where Fallout came from.
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Bethesda recently announced that they will be giving gamers a free copy of both Fallout 1 & 2, along with Fallout Tactics, as an extra bonus for all of the problems and issues that gamers have ran into. Normally, such giveaways are just a bribe, but in this instance, I actually like the gesture. It’s nice that gamers are able to get something extra with a game they purchased and for the problems they’ve experienced. What’s even nicer, the free software is actually something that most gamers won’t even think of or consider.

Fallout 3 was the third main Fallout game, a huge departure from Fallout 1 & 2 which were top down ARPGs. Back when Fallout 3 came out, Fallout 1 & 2 were still popular games because it was 2008, ten years since the release of Fallout 2. It has now been ten years since Fallout 3 and twenty years since Fallout 2 released. That’s a lot of time and a lot of the players who are playing Fallout today probably don’t know much about its origins.

It’s really honestly a great goodwill gesture and something that I approve of. As of posting this article, Fallout 2 is $2.49 on the Steam Winter Sale and the entire classic collection, including Fallout Tactics, is $5.99 so not a huge freebie, but the price isn’t what interests me, it’s the exposure. The original two Fallout games are such deep games story wise and include a lot of humor and lore that might not come to you otherwise.

There has been a lot of harsh language online about this, because console players will be receiving PC only titles as the first issue and the second is because Bethesda didn’t even make the games. Let’s face it though, Fallout 76 probably has a lot of criticism from people who are knee deep in multiplayer games like Atlas, Sea of Thieves, Monster Hunter: World, etc. that another open ended just goof around game with their favorite lore is probably just too much. You don’t have to own a game to complain about it.

For the first point – I am very sad that Fallout 1&2 aren’t console games, but that’s what it is and I hope that console players (or all players) will get something a bit extra to make up for the fact that although any potato can run Fallout 1&2, not everyone has potatoes.

The second point is just, hard for me to deal with. Obsidian Entertainment is Black Isle Studios reborn in 2003 and is credited currently as the original creators of Fallout. The deal here is that in 97, the original Fallout was made by Interplay. Fallout 2 was developed by Black Isle Studios which was a lot of talent from the original Fallout and dedicated to the ARPG space with Baldur’s Gate. In 2003, when the original Fallout 3 was canceled, they formed the new company.

Later on, Obsidian made what amounts to what we’d call today “DLC released as a full game” which was Fallout: New Vegas, a “new game” built on the Fallout 3 engine. So, new areas, new story and some new mechanics, but ultimately the same game as Fallout 3 but reskinned. Many consider New Vegas to be superior to Fallout 3 & 4, because Obsidian did and are “better storytellers.”

Which is fair, but Microsoft now owns Obsidian and ultimately, the team that was around over 20 years ago is so far scattered into the winds of time that I just can’t really see why anyone would jump up and down that what would otherwise be abandonware is now being freely handed out. Black Isle Studios and the original Interplay team just don’t exist anymore.

Really though, what is important is that these games can get into more people’s hands. No matter the issues with Fallout 76 (and I still feel like I have got my money out of the game), more players getting exposed to something like Fallout 1&2 has some serious impacts. For instance, ARPGs like Pillars of Eternity, which is made by Obsidian can get more exposure when more players are introduced to the gameplay style, which is very unique. Old Troika games, like Arcanum, come to mind as something that might be explored by players getting this introduction to the world of Fallout 1 & 2.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that Bethesda can’t do anything to apologize? Do you think that that giving away the games is shallow or a great way for players to play some “real Fallout?” Let us know in the comments below.

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