Fallout 76 coming to Steam in April, with big human NPC expansion

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The free expansion that will bring human NPCs to Fallout 76 has a new launch date. Fallout 76 Wastelanders (opens in new tab) will be coming to PC on April 7.

And, with the Wastelanders launch, Fallout 76 will finally be coming to Steam as well, on the very same day. A new trailer awaits you above, if you haven't already clicked it. You already clicked it, didn't you? That's fine. I'd have done the same thing.

Along with the human NPCs coming to Appalachia—the main factions being the raiders living at the crashed space station (opens in new tab) and settlers inhabiting a fort called Foundation—there will be a new reputation system in Fallout 76 (opens in new tab), challenging you to raise your standing among the factions by helping them out with tasks and quests. The more you gain their trust, the more items and faction-based plans you'll be able to purchase from vendors. Companions will be available too, though we haven't heard much about them lately (as far as we know, they'll mostly hang around at your base camp).

The trailer gives a glimpse of what's coming. I see ghoul NPCs, as well as some sort of scary-looking cult figures, both of which could represent new minor NPC factions you may be able to gain favor with or fight against. New creatures are also shown, including some kind of flying mutant lightbulby-lookin' things. Icky. Plus, we get a nice long look at a bow and arrow, a wrist-mounted sawblade, and some sort of heavy energy cannon.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Along with a new faction-based main quest and side-quests, the announcement email sent to PC Gamer also says the original main quest from Fallout 76 has been revamped—though we don't know exactly how, yet.

And, at least for me, it's also hard not to read a little into the Wastelanders tagline in the trailer: "A new beginning." I feel like it's not just talking about the factions beginning a new life in Appalachia, but perhaps a new beginning for Fallout 76 players, too. With human NPCs, branching dialogue trees, story-based choices, and reputation systems, Wastelanders promises to bring in a bit more of the things that made past Fallout games so enjoyable.

Plus, it'll be on Steam, though Bethesda's announcement says (opens in new tab) "If you already have Fallout 76 on Bethesda.net, you will not be able to transfer your Atoms or Fallout 1st membership balance between Bethesda.net and Steam."

Here's a rundown of what you can expect from Fallout 76: Wastelanders, according to the email sent to PC Gamer:

(Image credit: Bethesda)
  • New Main Quest and Revamped Original Main Quest – Uncover the secrets of West Virginia by playing through an all-new main quest as well as a revamped original main quest line – with friends or solo – starting from the moment you leave Vault 76. New and veteran players alike will take on new missions, explore new locations and fight with (or against) the new faces that have made their long-awaited return to West Virginia.
  • Human NPCs – Befriend or betray new neighbors who have come to rebuild, and experience Appalachia through the eyes of its residents.
  • New Creatures and Gear – Take down newly mutated creatures finding their way to the region and earn the highest tier of weapons and armor.
  • Choices and Reputation – Alter the fates of those you meet with classic dialogue trees. Decisions affect your standing with each faction through an all-new reputation system.

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.