Fallout 76 Controversy – Game Developer Fails to Fulfil Promises

Fallout 76 – the latest game in the retro-futuristic, post-apocalyptic Fallout series – has left publisher Bethesda with a bit of a fallout on their hands. 

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Expectations VS Reality: The advertisements (right) compared to what was delivered (left).

Bethesda has been forced to backtrack after a canvas bag included in the £175 “Power Armour” edition of the game turned out to be made out of nylon. Bethesda blamed expensive materials on the switch, but it later emerged that they had given the canvas version to YouTubers and journalists reviewing the game.

Some fans called this false advertising and are pursuing a class action lawsuit. Last night it emerged that players with proof of purchase would be given the canvas bag in a surprise turnaround from Bethesda.

This was a particularly surprising development considering the origin of the controversy, an email from Bethesda to a consumer which stated: “We aren’t planning on doing anything about it.”

The game has been mired in controversy since its announcement and has received criticism from the close-knit community for moving away from the series’ story heavy single player roots.  

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The original email, which caused the firestorm after being posted to social news site Reddit.

It’s not just the design decisions that fans are upset about. Bethesda has also been under fire from the community for false advertising and releasing what is essentially a broken game. At launch players found that they were unable to progress in the story when an object they needed to interact with simply couldn’t be clicked on. Also, glitches that were present in Fallout 4 have reared their ugly head again in 76, and this has led some in the community to call the game an ‘asset flip cash grab’. 

What can consumers do who feel swindled by this horror show? There are some options. Bethesda have decided to make a dedicated launcher for their games, meaning that most PC gamers bought 76 directly from Bethesda – as opposed to distribution platform Steam, the source for most PC games. 

Steam has an under two-hour refund policy meaning if a player has played a game and quickly decided they don’t like it then they can get a refund, but Bethesda considers even downloading the game files using the game meaning even players who downloaded the game and couldn’t get it to work may not be eligible for a refund. 

Some gamers have suggested making a charge back claim with their bank. This is when a bank takes the funds out of a merchant’s account, and investigates if consumer protection/advertising standards have been breached. Be aware however that doing this will almost certainly get your Bethesda account banned, and if you brought Fallout 76 from a third party retailer they are likely to put the funds to collection. So this option might be more hassle than it’s worth. In more positive news, some gamers have reported limited success with getting a refund from Amazon.  

Gamers who received the nylon bag have until the end of January to claim the bag originally advertised.  

Click here to view the Fallout 76 trailer.

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