West Virginia's influence on the pop culture landscape spans multiple genres. The Mountain State has been written about in songs, served as the setting for feature films and played host to reality television shows.
But this November, a different spotlight will shine on the state with the release of Fallout 76, a new videogame from Bethesda Softworks.
In Fallout 76, players will explore a post-apocalyptic version of West Virginia, complete with many recognisable landmarks and familiar locations. A teaser trailer shown during this week's Electronic Entertainment Expo, in Los Angeles, featured in-game shots of the New River Gorge Bridge, West Virginia University's Woodburn Hall, The Greenbrier resort, Huntington's Camden Park and a partially destroyed West Virginia Capitol building.
The developers at Bethesda are no strangers to recreating iconic locations. Fallout 3, released in 2008, was set in and around Washington, D.C., and 2015's Fallout 4 took place in Boston.
During this week's E3 presentation, game director and executive producer Todd Howard noted that the game world for Fallout 76 will be about four times the size of Fallout 4 and feature 16 times the amount of detail. The map will be split into six distinct regions, each with its own visual style.
But Bethesda isn't only interested in West Virginia's buildings and bridges. At E3, Howard talked about the rich folklore inherent to the Mountain State and how that will be incorporated into Fallout 76. Players can expect to encounter Mothman, the Flatwoods Monster, the Beast of Grafton and more as they venture across the virtual hills and valleys. Expect also to hear a cover version of John Denver's Country Roads, which accompanied the debut trailer, a time or two.
Fallout 76 is the latest entry into one of gaming's most popular and successful franchises. According to the publisher, Fallout 4 is Bethesda's most successful game ever in terms of units sold. In its first 24 hours, 12 million copies of the game were sold, generating more than US$750mil (RM2.99bil), the company reported.
As for what kind of experience players can expect once Fallout 76 launches on Nov 14, the game introduces multiplayer capability to the series for the first time. While previous Fallout games have been single-player, story-driven role-playing games, Fallout 76 is an online RPG that encourages players to explore and work together to rebuild the world 25 years after nuclear war. Fallout 76 is a prequel to all previous entries in the franchise.
Gamers who don't want to wait until November to check out Fallout 76 can pre-order a copy and gain access into the beta launching later this year. Fallout 76 will be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. For information, visit fallout.bethesda.net. — The Charleston Gazette/Tribune News Service