Fallout 76 was initially planned as Sim Fallout
Fallout 76 being awful was a last minute decision to follow industry trends.
Things could have played out very differently. Following the release of Fallout 4, Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth) was on track to develop a stand-alone game with the same engine as Fallout 4 named Fallout: New New York. What about the development team at Bethesda? Well, according to our anonymous insider source, after the success of Fallout Shelter, the studio had the idea of focusing on a management game that was not simply about digging underground, but rather building entire new cities on the surface. Survivors of the apocalypse were to create new settlements outside of a Vault, then grow them while balancing happiness and radiation levels of their inhabitants, battle against mutant attacks and so on. This would have been a true city builder in the vein of Sim City or recent darling Cities: Skylines, but in the universe of Fallout.
But then, what happened? Why did this project change completely?
AAA industry giants such as Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts came to the conclusion that single-player games were dead, and multi-player games with live services was where the money was. Bethesda canceled Fallout: New New York and the yet unnamed Sim Fallout, and instead haphazardly made a game based on Fallout 4 but with multi-player elements, and planned to release it as quickly as possible to please the shareholders. The result was Fallout 76. Rumors indicate that the same fate could happen to the Elder Scroll series, depending on the success of Fallout 76 (in terms of profits, not in terms of critical success).
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