Nuclear War Experts Unhappy With Fallout 76’s Portrayal of Nukes

Nuclear War Experts Unhappy With Fallout 76’s Portrayal of Nukes

Nukes are one of the biggest new features coming in Fallout 76. Scattered in silos across Appalachia, these nukes can be launched by players who succeed in piecing together their launch codes. It’s very difficult to actually kill human players with them, as they issue a sizeable advance warning to everybody and give ample time for players to vacate the target area. However, their primary purpose is to create temporary irradiated zones filled with dangerous enemies and rare resources. Some nuclear war experts are apparently unhappy with the portrayal of the Fallout 76 nukes, however.

The so-called ‘Nuke Loop’ is a late-game gameplay mechanic in Fallout 76 which will theoretically allow players to gather high-value resources. Chris Mayer spoke to Variety about this mechanic during the recent Fallout 76 Greenbrier press event; “As you get high level,” he explains; “get the nuke code and set it off, it changes the area into a much higher level area. We see that as a repeatable new content loop.”

Nuclear War Specialists Unhappy With the Fallout 76 Nukes

While some fans initially raised concerns over the potential for griefing with nukes, it seems that some people have other concerns. Namely, that the portrayal of nukes in Fallout 76 could trivialise nuclear war; “ICBMs are not fun. Or funny,” says Tom Nichols, the author of ‘No Use: Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security,’ and a professor at the U.S. Navy War College. Nichols recently spoke with Motherboard about the portrayal of nukes in Fallout 76.

Although Nichols, who is himself a fan of the series, acknowledges that nukes have long had a role in past Fallout games, he apparently draws the line at the changes in Fallout 76; “It’s one more reason I won’t be playing the game,” he said. “ICBMs are not fun…they created the hellish world your player is in. Launching them for laughs is a complete violation of the sense of the game. I think if you really want to zing Bethesda, give them hell for taking one of the most literate, well-written franchises in gaming history and turning it into just another way that teenage griefers can go around nuking each other.”

There is perhaps a conversation to be had about the portrayal of nuclear weapons in video games. However, Nichols doesn’t appear to be hugely well-informed about Bethesda’s strict anti-griefing measures. The studio has made it clear that they take such issues very seriously, and have implemented some extremely severe punishments for griefing. Of course, it’s also very difficult to actually kill other players with nukes; that’s not really what they’re there for, after all. In fact, they may play a key role in Fallout 76’s story campaign.

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