In an interview with Comicbook, Fallout 76‘s developers gave information on how they’re fleshing out the world of the game despite the lack of NPCs. One such way they plan to do it is with an abundance of voiced holotapes that can be collected by the player. These audio holotapes will detail other survivors’ stories, which should help to make the world feel lived-in, even without NPCs.
Fans – and even critics – of Bethesda’s prior works will no doubt delight in this, as many of Bethesda’s past games used recycled voices for NPCs. The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, in particular, utilized just a handful of voice actors for the staggering number of NPCs wandering the game’s world, sometimes leading to hilarious conversations between two characters, repeating the same line to each other while speaking in the same voice.
The voices found on holotapes scattered through the wasteland will likely be a welcome sight to many as they stumble across them. Fallout 76 has a sprawling map, coming in at four times the size of Fallout 4‘s. Although many players are likely to start the game with friends, it may get lonely out in the massive wasteland, and these holotapes can provide story and worldbuilding, too.
It’s possible that some of these holotapes may even help to explain the presence of the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout 76. Fans of the Fallout series have been concerned about Bethesda meddling with the established history of the Fallout universe, as the Brotherhood of Steel shouldn’t yet exist at the time of Fallout 76, according to the series canon. Although Bethesda has explained why it made the choice, gamers likely won’t learn the in-game motives for The Brotherhood of Steel’s presence until the game officially drops.
Fallout 76 is making a lot of risky choices, but as the first online multiplayer game of the franchise, it’s a step towards innovation to keep the series from becoming stagnant and stale. While many players likely ignored generic holotapes in prior Fallout games, the barren wasteland may entice many more to listen in this time around.