Just a few minutes after we published Monday’s piece about games, including Fallout 76, that could go free-to-play, we came across this piece of pseudo-news. Sure, it was little more than speculation based on what might just be a blip in distribution, but the internet ran with it, and it got to the point where Bethesda felt compelled to make a statement — and that statement is, “Nope.”
There is no truth to this rumor.
— Bethesda (@bethesda) January 22, 2019
It doesn’t get any more cut-and-dry than that. I mean, when has a developer ever said they were set on a payment model and the turned around and changed it? Or insisted that they had a very good reason for not going F2P before going F2P? Certainly nobody associated with Bethesda/ZeniMax would insist they will “do monetisation outside of the game” for their MMO, which pretty much precludes the implementation of things like loot boxes.
As I said in the earlier article, I think Fallout 76 will at least stay pay-to-play through the summer, with some sort of giant push around E3 time to pull players in. If that doesn’t work, then everything’s on the table. I just don’t think that’s a move you can make two months into a game’s lifespan, not without nuclear-bomb-sized backlash.