West Virginia is really leaning on this Fallout 76 thing. But who can blame them, really?
The state tourism agency announced a collaboration with Bethesda Softworks on Thursday to promote Fallout 76That is of course in the free, beautiful 35th state. "It is finally time for the rest of the world to see what a gem West Virginia is," Governor Jim Justice said in a joint statement, with the kind of glistening promotional pride that the constitutional duty of a governor is to project, along with the placing ribbons. about things at the fair.
But seriously, even before this press release, thanks to Fallout there was already some tourist interest in the Mountain State. At least that was why the game press was asked not to reveal that they were going to the state for the hands-on preview and promotion event last week in The Greenbrier. Even in the evergreen isolation of White Sulfur Springs, apparently enough Fallout enthusiasts were waiting for the ballroom to have posted a Greenbrier guard, and we were specifically warned to wear our safety lines at all times to distinguish ourselves from peeking intruders.
That is because The Greenbrier (now owned by, by the family of Gov. Justice) is a hotel that everyone can look at. Twenty-six years ago, a freelance writer named Ted Gup did exactly that, hotel staff chatted about some of the things he had heard, and delivered news about the secret bunker – nobody knew anything about it – Congress had installed in the case of a nookular attack on Washington. And the existence of that bunker is one of the many reasons why the developers of Bethesda were convinced to keep the game in West Virginia, probably the most virulent of viaduct states in the eastern time zone.
"When we choose a location, we look at what's nearby and sometimes things just click," said Emil Pagliarulo, the design director at Bethesda Game Studios last week. "And with West Virginia, so many things have been clicked, like:" Oh, we can do a prequel, we have all these different areas, we have the cryptids and all the local knowledge. "It's close enough to Washington, DC, that you have the continuity of government affairs. & # 39; It was perfect. & # 39;
Our group toured through the old congress bunker and although we were not allowed to make photos (the facility is now an ultra-secure site for cloud hosting, sssshhh), it is practically stinking from the aesthetics of the jet-age that the Fallout series gives its ironic appeal. We went through the decontamination corridor that would have sprayed irradiated senators. There was an old-fashioned Carol Burnett board that delivered 1,000 telephone lines to 535 members of Congress, plus another one for a staff helper. The jokers who posed as Greenbrier personnel from 1962 to 1992, as groundskeepers and security, had to test these lines every day. There was an antenna that shot out of the ground in the middle of a forest to connect to the Pentagon or something.
That bunker trip (hearing the 25-ton door behind us, the kiss of the cook) is enough advertising to view The Greenbrier, which is not, yes, "affordable" accommodation if you're talking about a stay of a week. But with the budget of a gamer you could do a night for the price of a special edition, especially in the fall season. And there is a landline telephone right next to the changing table. It reminded me of Pinehurst, another resort in the south that has made a video game (in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series). I remember that I was very excited to see the club house at the end of number 18 in that match. I was waiting on the stairs to interview Emilee Klein after winning the 1993 North and South Amateur. It was a video game and a golf videogame, but the sense of place was still great.
"There was more than one location in mind, I will not say what the others were," said Pete Hines of Bethesda Softworks, who as an alumnus of Wake Forest drove the Shenandoah Valley back and forth dozens of times in his 19 years at the company. "I will not say what the others were, but there was more than one location that they at least thought about or what they were talking about, in terms of what suits the criteria for what they were looking for: it must be remote; had to have some biodiversity and regions that felt very different. "
Pagliarulo spoke emphatically about straightening West Virginia once the development team had established itself in that area.
"One of the things I personally, absolutely hate with what is post-apocalyptic fiction, I dislike & # 39; redneck post-apocalyptic & # 39 ;, do you know?", Said Pagliarulo, who helped his home in Boston Fallout to bring with 2015 & # 39; s Fallout 4. "It's very cliché, stereotypical, and that was very important for us, not to stereotype people or culture and not to take that path and treat it with respect."
The event on The Greenbrier invited the usual suspects to the gambling press and also a lot of local media. West Virginia TV channels, websites and other publications. Brian Crecente, Kyle Orland, Noah Buttner and I were there to do the practical experience of the old-hat. The rest was here to get a story, the classic local perspective of community journalism. I would have swapped jobs if I could.
The best of the Fallout series is how it makes the player feel that if shit really goes down and blows up the world, they still have what it takes to survive. In a world of bottle money, where you are grateful to drink from a john, where ultimate, the is-you-or-you-fight against unholy mutations can take place in every corner, you feel like you're going through a day-night cycle screaming demonstration of your will to live. I did this in Washington, Las Vegas and Boston, and now I can do it in the hinterland.
The hardest people on earth are the hillbillies of Appalachia, and now my favorite franchise of video games gives them the center. We find out if we have what it takes to be one. Fallout 76 is not so much the confirmation of West Virginia, the place, it is a confirmation of West Virginians, the people, because now everyone wants to be one of them. Hell yes, everyone – everyone – from West Virginia should be proud of this moment.
Fallout 76 launches November 14 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.