Fallout 76, Bethesda‘s latest addition to the Fallout franchise, was one of the most anticipated games at E3 2018. However, Fallout 76 is still in development, with a Beta (cleverly named Break-it Early Test Application) coming soon. So how do you hype up a game without giving guests hands-on gameplay? Enter the Fallout 76 Reclamation Day experience. 

Reclamation Day

Guests were invited to participate in Reclamation Day, an important date in the Fallout 76 universe. Reclamation Day is the day when inhabitants of Vault 76 get to leave the Vault. They will be the first to settle, explore the wasteland, and pave the way for humanity. 
Guests were greeted by other members of Vault 76, all dressed in their finest vintage wear as they celebrated those preparing to exit the Vault. Fallout goodies were handed to guests as they waited for their Vault-Tec cards and interacted with the other members of Vault 76.  Socializing with the Vault members was one of the best parts of the experience. I had a wonderful time interacting with these individuals, and was even introduced to other Vault members by the Head of Vault 76 Security as “the perfect gal for his son!” Every actor was incredibly committed and well-versed in the Fallout Lore to create an delightful and memorable interaction. 
Once inside, groups were brought into different rooms to test different skills that would help them survive the Wasteland. In my group, we started off talking to two Vault-Tec Scientists (in their Vault suits and Lab coats, just like the NPCs in the game). They conducted Charisma and Intelligence tests with other members of our groups. The next room we were brought into was the Intelligence Puzzle room. Throughout the room were six puzzles, and guests would receive cards that would help or hinder their efforts. Each space was decorated with incredible detail to make you really FEEL like you were in a Vault-Tec Vault: from Sugar Bombs, to Vault Boy bobbleheads, and even published trade magazines that players find in-game. Lastly, the experience was capped off with a video-op that filmed guests experiencing the Vault opening for the first time. The specificity of the costumes, the actor’s language, and the environment came together to create a unique Fallout experience like no other.

Interaction and E3

Overall, I thought this was a brilliant way to get fans and newcomers alike excited about the game without explicitly providing gameplay. One of the most charming aspects of Fallout is it’s immersive lore and environment. The radio stations, history of Vault-Tec, and other details throughout the franchise are what make people love the Fallout series. And this experience is not without a ton of work. The set-up, rehearsals, and execution were probably quite extensive; however, it paid off in a massive way. I’m curious to see if other companies will venture into interactive experiences as well. Ever since it’s been opened to the public, more and more individuals have made their way to E3. Likewise, with a limited amount of solo gameplay stations, how can companies get industry, media, and gamers alike excited about their properties? Perhaps I am biased as a gamer AND a performer, but I think interactive experiences like Fallout 76‘s Reclamation Day could be a future not just for E3, but for gaming expos and events across the country. 
What are your thoughts? Should gaming companies lead more towards larger interactive experiences, or stick with gameplay stations?  Let us know in the comments below! 
Emily Rose Jacobson
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