Fallout 76's Developers Admit That It's an Awkward Time to Be Joking About Nuclear War

Fallout 76's Developers Admit That It's an Awkward Time to Be Joking About Nuclear War

"Three years ago, we were in a different place."

The first Fallout game dropped in 1997, long after the Berlin Wall was reduced to rubble. The heavy shadow of possible nuclear war cleared like mist touched by the sun. We played Fallout and its subsequent games, and we regarded the series' grim alternate future as a dark fairy tale. Even Fallout 4's trek across the radiation-blasted Commonwealth dredged up memories of a black, unspeakable event that buzzed over our heads, but had seemingly disappeared over the horizon ages ago.

A lot can change in a year or two. I attended a Fallout 76 preview event in West Virginia last week, and part of the event included a roundtable interview with project leader Jeff Gardiner, development director Chris Meyer, and design director Emil Pagliarulo. When asked what it's like to work on a game about nuclear strife in this current era of heightened nuclear tensions, the trio admitted the political climate was much calmer when they started work on Fallout 76.

"Three years ago, we were in a different place," Gardiner laughed. "It's definitely awkward to be joking [about nuclear war]; I'm not going to lie. At the same time, the Fallout universe is one of dark humor."

"We couldn't escape [Fallout's themes of nuclear war]," added Pagliarulo. "But we have to be aware of it. We were very cognizant of how far to take it in the environment we're in now."

"halp."

Being cognizant, as Pagliarulo puts it, means being a little more careful about "background" content, like the lyrics in the esoteric old songs you can pull up on Fallout 76' radio stations. "You sort of listen to [the songs], but there's so many of them," said Gardiner. "Then we're all playing the game, and one of us is like, 'Have you listened to the lyrics of this song?' And then we're like, 'Oh my God,' and that song goes away."

Fallout 76 arrives on November 14. With any luck, the world situation will remain stable long enough for us to thoroughly enjoy it. Make sure you're properly prepared by going over our Fallout 76 guides.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

Related articles

Destiny 2's Guardians Are Getting a Face Lift in Beyond Light

Bungie's making some player customization tweaks with the next expansion.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Gets in the Spooky Spirit With a New Fall Update

Pumpkins, vampire-pale skin, and everyone's favorite Halloween czar are on the way.

You may also like

Hades Roundtable: The Hottest Gods, Our Favorite Weapons, and More

A lot of us at USG are exploring the underworld in Hades, so we gathered around to discuss what we love about it.

The Baroque Beauty of Valkyrie Profile, Tri-Ace's Greatest RPG

Now 20 years old, Valkyrie Profile is one of the PlayStation's finest RPGs.

Doom Eternal Hits Game Pass Next Week, but Only for Xbox

It'll be the first Bethesda game there post-Microsoft acquisition, but PC players need to wait.