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5 Things You Need to Know about ‘Fallout 76’ (If You’re Not A Gamer)

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The New River Gorge Bridge as seen in "Fallout 76." Photo: Bethesda Game Studios

If you live in West Virginia, chances are you’ve heard about “Fallout 76.”

The beta version of the video game from Bethesda Game Studios was released to a select group of players this week, but the full version— the first ever video game set in West Virginia— will be released to the general public next month.

Fallout 76 is expected to generate nearly $1 billion in sales in the first 24 hours of its release and introduce 20 million players from around the world to the beauty and history of West Virginia – and I predict this game will be popular for years to come.

But if you haven’t heard of it yet, here are 5 reasons why should you be excited about its upcoming release.

West Virginia’s state Capitol as depicted in “Fallout 76.” Photo: Bethesda Game Studios

1. It’s a sequel.

“Fallout 76” is the latest installment in a long line of “Fallout” games from Bethesda Game Studios, based in Rockville, Maryland. It is the 9th game since the first was released in 1997. The last installment, “Fallout 4,” sold nearly 15 million copies, most in the first 24 hours after the game was released. The franchise is incredibly popular and has a loyal following.

2. The game world is post-apocalyptic. 

In “Fallout,” a nuclear war occurs in the year 2077 and citizens all over the country enter bomb shelters, known as vaults, to survive. Each installment focuses on a different vault and the challenges faced by its inhabitants. The vault for “Fallout 76” is in West Virginia and appears to be the prototype vault. It opens just 25 years after the nuclear holocaust, making its inhabitants the first to explore the nuclear wasteland left behind.

3. This installment is a multiplayer open world. 

Previous installments of the game were single player, but “Fallout 76” will be an online multiplayer game where tens of millions of players will explore a virtual West Virginia together.

4. There are dozens of actual West Virginia locations recreated in the game.

Camden Park in Huntington, West Virginia, as depicted in “Fallout 76.” Photo: Bethesda Game Studios

Previous versions of “Fallout” have included real and fictional locations. Early map releases for “Fallout 76” identify dozens of real places in West Virginia, including Camden Park near Huntington, the historic Moundsville State Penitentiary, the New River Gorge Bridge and even Helvetia, an isolated West Virginia town of 59 people situated in the mountains that is known for maintaining the Swiss traditions of its founders. Even more locations, like the West Virginia state Capitol building, are available in the beta game released this week.

5. This is an opportunity.

Bethesda has given West Virginia a gift. “Fallout 76” is the first video game ever made to be set in West Virginia and millions of people will be playing it for years. This is a unique opportunity to share the beauty and quirks of our state with the entire world. The economic possibilities are huge—everything from advertising West Virginian artisans to planning tours for gamers who want to experience Wild & Wonderful West Virginia. There are massive opportunities to leverage this game into economic boosts for the state.