Fallout 76 Skyline Valley interview: "We knew at launch what the reception was going to be"

Fallout 76 has been fighting an uphill battle for years, but it's finally everything players want from Fallout.

“We knew at launch what the reception was likely going to be, but we also had a plan for Wastelanders. We had a plan for every single update past that and the team's persistence to say, ‘Look, we understand, and we’re just going to focus on the future,’” Bethesda Game Studios lead producer Bill LaCoste says of Fallout 76’s troubled initial launch. “A lot of the time [we] can't tell [players] what we're working on, two or three patches out. [...] We have things planned out for the next couple of years that are going to reinforce what we're building now. At that time, [we] just couldn't really say that.”

LaCoste made no attempts to shy away from what fans and critics had said of Fallout 76 when it first released. He didn’t avoid the question, he didn’t pretend things were better than they seemed, he said it was bad, they knew it was bad, but the team had a plan. I’m not sure how those early Fallout 76 players feel about that now, but one thing is for sure: Fallout 76 is worth playing in 2024.

Fallout 76 has had a lot of updates.
Fallout 76 has had a lot of updates. / Bethesda

Bethesda invited GLHF to the ZeniMax offices in London to take a hands-on look at Fallout 76’s brand new Skyline Valley update, and they were keen to remind media guests that Fallout 76 has had a lot of updates since the Fall 2018 launch. 

“I was talking to Jon [Rush, BGS creative director] about this, we say ‘patch 52’, but ‘patches’ applies to the first seven or eight, now we [do] updates,” LaCoste explains. “Everything we drop right now is an update, and we want people to play the updates because we’re dropping new content – do we fix bugs? Yeah, of course we do, but these are updates. New content, free content, that we’re giving out.”

A brand new area for 76 explorers to visit.
A brand new area for 76 explorers to visit. / Bethesda

I’m given a video showcase before going hands-on with Skyline Valley, and I get a (lengthy) breakdown of the key updates the game has received since 2018. Skyline Valley is the eighteenth named major update for Fallout 76, and if you’ve been ignoring the game since launch, that’s a lot of Fallout you’ve missed out on.

Skyline Valley is a huge map expansion for Fallout 76 – the first of its kind for a 76 update. While previous updates fleshed out or added to the existing map, this update places an entirely new area to the Southeast, beyond the previous world’s borders: that’s Skyline Valley. The sky is tinged with red and storms rain down on the area pretty much constantly. But when standing upon the cliffs that overlook the valley, that skyline really is beautiful.

Skyline Valley is red.
Skyline Valley is red. / Bethesda

There’s a vault here filled with Ghouls that have been separated from the rest of human or Ghoul society since the bombs dropped, and as a result, you need to explain to them terms like “Smoothskin” and how people treat Ghouls in the wider world.

Another key part of the presentation focuses on how playable Ghouls are coming to the game in 2025 – a series first. With the recent success of the Fallout TV series, where Walton Goggins plays a beloved Ghoul character, I had to ask if he had a role in this decision. “No,” LaCoste denies. “The funny thing is, the idea of playing a Ghoul happened around the time of hearing about the TV show and discussing [it], but the decision for us to move forward with a playable Ghoul came well before the excitement from players and fans to want to play a Ghoul.”

Playable Ghouls, coming 2025.
Playable Ghouls, coming 2025. / Bethesda

The vault also happens to be home to some dangerous technology, and a brand new questline will have you assisting the vault director in getting everything running again. “The boss is a very unique engagement and interaction – it’s got some systems and features in it that are a little bit different from some of the other bosses that we have in the game,” LaCoste explains. “Players will find that they have to pay attention a little bit in this battle, which is good. I like to challenge our players. If I were to make a handle for Fallout, it’d be ‘resilient and volatile’.”

Playing Fallout 76 by yourself is a little bit lonely, but it’s now available on Xbox Game Pass with all of the updates, meaning it’s easier than ever to drag your friends into a game with you. There really never has been a better time to try it out, and if you like it, LaCoste says there’s much more to come. 

The new Vault 63 has a lot to find inside.
The new Vault 63 has a lot to find inside. / Bethesda

“We’ve got another few years of this roadmap, this stuff, that’s very similar to the content we’re talking about now, that will continue to make the game bigger, better, stronger,” LaCoste shares. “I just want players to continue playing, because we’re not stopping anytime soon, we’ve got a ton of stuff. Even as other products get released, we will continue making content and putting it out.”

Dave Aubrey


GLHF Deputy Editor. Nintendo fan. Rapper. Pretty good at video games.