Fallout 76 is free this week to celebrate a big series birthday

Fallout 25th anniversary
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)
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Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role Playing Game (opens in new tab) was released on October 10, 1997—25 years ago, minus a week. That's the silver anniversary, which is a big one as these milestones go, and to mark the moment Bethesda is—among other things—making Fallout 76 free for the week.

Fallout 76 is very different from the original Fallout, an isometric RPG with turn-based combat set in a grim post-war world. I won't get into which one is "better"—I like old Fallout, I like new Fallout—but the current iteration of the series, a multiplayer-first-person game that focuses on action over roleplaying in a somewhat more lighthearted setting, is definitely a different sort of experience. It was very okay at launch, earning a 60% in our 2018 review (opens in new tab) as "a beautifully crafted but ultimately repetitive world," but it's come a long way since, racking up a reported 13 million players so far, and earlier this year Bethesda announced  a "five-year roadmap (opens in new tab)" for the future.

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The free week of Fallout 76 will begin October 4 and run until October 11. To help newcomers get started, Bethesda will also put out a Post-Apocalypse Loyalty Simulator (PALS) questionnaire intended to help players find a faction that fits them. There will also be bonuses for Prime Gaming and Xbox Game Pass subscribers, a seasonal event called Invaders From Beyond, and an anniversary livestream on Twitch set for October 7.

Fans of the management side of nuclear holocaust survival are also in for a nice surprise: An update to Fallout Shelter (opens in new tab) will add new content to the game for the first time in more than four years. Full details on Bethesda's Fallout anniversary plans are up at fallout25th.com (opens in new tab)

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.