Remember Wooby? He was a human NPC that players discovered hiding in a secret 'dev room' in Fallout 76 (opens in new tab) back in January. The hidden room contained every item in Fallout 76, including a few that hadn't actually made it into the game at the time. The room's caretaker was a lone human NPC named Wooby.
Wooby's discovery was a big surprise at the time because we hadn't yet learned about Fallout 76's Wastelanders expansion (opens in new tab), which will bring human NPCs to the game next year. Well, some hackers just couldn't wait that long, and it appears they have managed to free Wooby from his little room and bring him into the game.
Not just one Wooby but several, in fact, along with all sorts of other NPCs, including—somehow—Fallout 4's Preston Garvey.
This all appears to have begun with a hacking forum called UnknownCheats, where a user named ErectBan posted a script that allowed various Fallout 76 items to be spawned in-game. Another group of hackers say they began using the script to spawn in not just items but characters.
"My group, Dupers R Us, has been playing and experimenting with the script in the full 4 days it has been live and unpatched," reads a message sent to a PC Gamer staff member. The same person included a 10-minute video—the gifs on this page are made from that video.
"We were able to find a way to spawn in any NPC we wanted," the DM continues, "and we did so. At first spawning human NPCs seems pointless, as it’ll spawn in a limbless, headless shell of a human that stands and does nothing. However we discovered that leaving and joining the same server would cause the NPC to gain it’s distinguished features, and become fully operational."
The hacker says that with a little experimentation, they discovered the NPCs they spawned in (which included scorchbeast queens, aliens, Brotherhood of Steel soldiers, and others) would wander around their camp and attack anyone who attacked the player. Most spawn in with no clothing or weapons, though the hackers say they are working on ways to equip them with gear.
I know scripts and exploits can at times be difficult to detect, but this level of hacking, where NPCs that don't even belong in the game can be spawned, seems downright ridiculous. I've sent an email to Bethesda for comment, and I'll update the story if I hear back.