Fallout 76's lunch boxes sure sound like the loot boxes it was never going to have

Lunch boxes are innocuous things—what could possibly be menacing about a box designed to keep sandwiches nice and safe? Games always find a way. In Fallout Shelter, players can unlock or purchase lunch boxes containing a random assortment of sometimes game-changing bonuses and items. They’re loot boxes with a cute name, essentially. Now it looks like they’re coming to Fallout 76 in some form.

A changelog from the latest patch was put together by Despotak and then posted on Reddit. Throughout it, lunch boxes crop up. They aren’t available in the game yet, so we haven’t seen them in action and therefore cannot be certain how they'll work in game, but the changelog does reveal their effects. These include no hunger and thirst effects, party favours and gift bags, and lots of bonuses, including damage resistance and XP. 

The prefix ‘ATX’, as Reddit user JesMaine points out, is an Atom Shop tag, suggesting that these lunch boxes will be sold in Fallout 76’s premium store. When you open a lunch box, it looks like they’ll explode in a shower of confetti and balloons, and maybe there’s a kazoo sound? This’ll apparently be visible to other players. 

Bethesda previously said that only cosmetics would be unlockable through microtransactions and that Fallout 76 wouldn't have loot boxes, but obviously hunger and damage resistance aren’t cosmetic, so we're keen to know more. We've reached out to Bethesda for clarification on what lunch boxes will entail. 

Fallout Shelter rewards players with lunch boxes for completing certain tasks as well as selling them, so it might be possible to earn them without spending money if that's applied to Fallout 76. Atoms are also earned in-game, so you can buy things in the shop even if you haven't dropped any cash. 

The string “POST_ATX_Lunchbox_BuffRadiusGlobal” could mean that all of these bonuses would be applied to everyone on the server, keeping the playing field even. It’s not clear, however, and it’s worth remembering all of this just comes from looking at a bunch of code out of context. 

These lunch boxes could be a temporary addition tied to a holiday event, though they are a permanent fixture in Fallout Shelter. That’s a free-to-play mobile game, however, where microtransactions are par for the course, so Fallout 76 following suit is not a given. 

Cheers, PCGamesN

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.