'We avoid the word survival, those comparisons are not really accurate,' says Todd Howard on Fallout 76

Everything we know about Fallout 76 so far suggests it's an online multiplayer survival game. That's quite a shift from what we're used to, but Bethesda director Todd Howard says he's keen avoid the word 'survival' as he feels it fails to capture what the game is.

In conversation with The Guardian, Howard says 'survival' takes prospective players' minds to games that don't necessarily reflect Fallout 76. 

"We avoid the word 'survival', because people’s minds immediately go to DayZ and Rust and certain other games, and those comparisons are not really accurate for what we’re doing," Howard tells The Guardian. "If you think about the survival modes we've made in Fallout 4, it has that vibe… Fallout 76, although it’s an online game, when I play it, I mostly still play it solo. We like those experiences as much as our fans do." 

Howard explains that the idea of Fallout 76 was originally conceived during Fallout 4's development—"It was just the design: if we do multiplayer, what would it look like?"—but was never prototyped. He identifies the series' circumstantial encounters as some of its most entertaining, and underscores his desire to have these unfold in a sprawl populated by human players

Unlike the games it strives to distance itself from, though, Fallout 76 will incorporate checks and balances that prevent high-powered wastelanders from smiting inexperienced players early on.  

"No, that’s not fun," says Todd. "Well, it’s fun for whoever killed you, but not for you… Death is already bad enough in a game, because you’re losing time, that we didn’t feel we needed to add any further penalty. We wanted to make sure you don’t lose your progression." 

Fallout 76 is due November 14, 2018. Read The Guardian's chat with Howard in full this way