January 23, 2019 // 10:29 a.m.
Bethesda has denied rumours that its latest entry in the Fallout franchise, massively multiplayer online shooter Fallout 76, is set to go free-to-play as bugs and poor sales see its sale price plummet.
Launched as a follow-up to Fallout 4, the most recent single-player entry in the Fallout universe originally started by Interplay Productions as the setting for an isometric turn-based role-playing franchise which Bethesda acquired and turned into a post-apocalyptic role-play-light shooter series, Fallout 76 has had its share of controversies: Aside from failing to offer cross-platform play and a bug in the beta which deleted the game, Fallout 76 has been dogged by technical and logistical issues ranging from promising buyers of the collector's edition a high-quality canvas bag and delivering a cheap nylon bag in its place, numerous crashes and glitches, a clock issue which disabled the game's nuclear missile functionality over the new year, and the ability for players to access a hidden room in which all game content is immediately available - for which they received bans from the game's servers.
Between these gaffes and apparent consumer disinterest in a title which removes the last bit of role-playing from the Fallout franchise - Fallout 76, incredibly for a game of its type, coming entirely without non-player characters with which gamers can interact - the price of the game has been plummeting: From a launch price of £49.99 (inc. VAT) for the PC release and £59.99 (inc. VAT) for the console versions, which Bethesda is still optimistically charging on its in-house store, the game has seen its pricing slashed multiple times and is now available as cheaply as £18.85 (inc. VAT) for a physical copy or £7.99 (inc. VAT) for a grey-market code version.
That sliding price, though, hasn't yet convinced Bethesda that it made a wrong turn: The company has addressed rumours that it plans to give up on attempting to sell the game and will instead make the title available free-to-play (F2P), generating revenue from the built-in microctransaction economy which allows - encourages, in fact - players to swap real-world money for in-game currency, with a blanket denial. 'There is no truth to this rumour,' the company declared via its official Twitter account, in the face of warnings from fans that a switch to F2P would be quickly followed by a flood of refund requests from those who had paid cash money for the game.
Fallout 76 current enjoys 52 percent, 53 percent, and 49 percent Metacritic scores for its PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One variants respectively; Fallout 4, by contrast, scored 84 percent, 87 percent, and 88 percent on the respective platforms.