Fallout 76 beta dates and start times – release date, setting and everything we know

Fallout 76, the latest game from Fallout 4 and Skyrim developer Bethesda Game Studios, is coming this year, and along with news of a Fallout 76 beta we now also have plenty of info on what to expect from the game itself.

Here on this page, we’ll walk you through all the info we’ve gathered, including basics like the latest Fallout 76 beta start times and beta release dates, plus how to access the beta and the full Fallout 76 release date itself – along with everything else we know about Fallout 76’s setting, online features and more.

On this page:

Fallout 76’s full release date was announced at Bethesda’s E3 conference, and it’s coming this year on November 14th, 2018 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One – interestingly though, it’s since been confirmed that Fallout 76 won’t release on Steam at launch, and is instead only available on Bethesda’s own dedicated launcher.

Fallout 76 beta release dates:

There is also a Fallout 76 beta (technically a “B.E.T.A.”), which is split into multiple sessions.

The beta won’t be online 24/7 though – as we mentioned above, instead there will be select times that it starts and ends – test phases, as such – with Bethesda intending to stress test and ‘break’ the game by maximising the number of players who are online at the same time, ahead of the full launch. We now have the full list of times for these sessions, which you can read below – we’ve removed the now finished ones from the list, so the following three are all that remain!

Fallout 76 beta start times for all platforms (PC, PS4 and Xbox One):

After that, the beta is concluded. Next stop – the full release!

Fallout 76 beta preload, and how to access the Fallout 76 beta:

The Fallout 76 beta is available to preoload right now, if you have access.

To access the beta itself, the only method so far is to pre-order the game. That will give you automatic access if you do it through the PlayStation, Xbox One or Bethesda online stores. If you buy it from a retailer like Amazon, you’ll need to redeem your code online here.

You can pre-order Fallout 76 here:

We picked up some more details on Fallout 76’s gameplay at Bethesda’s E3 conference, so here’s a rundown of what we know.

Multiplayer, genre, and online details

Gameplay, mechanics and nuke details

Story, setting, and game world

Something that might not have translated to players outside of North America is the significance of the number 76, so here’s a quick explainer (and a bit of speculation to go with it) that looks at why that number’s so important, especially to Americans.

Here in the real world, 1976 is the year of the bicentennial – the USA’s big celebration of it turning 200 years old (as a state – obviously America, and Americans, had been there long before) – and, to a lot of Americans, it is a very big deal. As in, so much of a big deal that it can be used as a plot device and Americans would totally get it (a fun fact from Eurogamer’s Christian Donlan, who’s currently deep into a watchrough of Lost: in that show, Kate was able to deduce that Sawyer wrote a mysterious letter when he was a child because it had a bicentennial logo on the envelope) – but to those of us outside the country it’s… not really very significant at all.

But, Fallout is set in America, and in Fallout of course, we’re way in the future. The year 2076 is more recent in the memory – in fact Fallout 76 is set in roughly 2102-2103, 25 years after the bombs fell in 2077 – so much of the external world in-game is littered with references to the 2076 Tricentennial celebration.

So what’s the significance of 76 then? Well, the vault’s called 76, the game is called 76, the trailer draws attention to a 2076 tricentennial celebration (we saw a big “300 years old!” Monument in the lengthier E3 trailer, too), and, as you’ll see at the end of the trailer, there appears to be some kind of celebration going on in the vault too – dubbed “Reclamation Day” – presumably to mark the vault-dwellers’ return to the surface.

Last few things to note: on the Fallout wiki, Vault 76 is noted as a control vault – meaning it was designed to open earlier than most of the others, to allow some people to go out and re-settle on the surface before the rest of civilization woke up.

What’s more, 2102 is the earliest a Fallout game has been set, making it a prequel (as has since been confirmed at the conference, which we note up above).

The main takeaway from all that, really, is about the game’s tone. Fallout games are traditionally satires of the nationalism of midcentury America, but Fallout 76, being named after bi- and tri-centennial celebrations, and with those celebrations featuring heavily in the brief trailers we’ve already seen, seems to be doubling down on it. It should be fun!

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