The absence of driveable cars in Fallout isn’t foreign. It’s simply an aspect of open-world games Bethesda has chosen to avoid. There’s no reason to believe things would change with the arrival of Fallout 76, even if it takes the series in a new direction. In an interview with Newsweek, Bethesda’s Senior VP of Global Marketing and Communications, Pete Hines, explained why there’s no driving in Fallout.
According to Hines, driving is incompatible with the Fallout experience. He noted that blazing around the wasteland in a vehicle would keep players from being immersed in the game.
Hines told Newsweek,
The problem with vehicles is you go flying past all the cool stuff to find, right? The whole idea is that you’re going from A to B, there’s a log cabin over here and suddenly next to the log cabin there’s a dog house that’s got a bunch of complex mathematical equations inside and a periodic table on the back wall of a dog house. So you go, “What was going on? Who was living in the dog house?” That’s the sort of immersive storytelling in the world that’s lost if you let players just zip by.
This also explains Fallout 76’s approach to fast travel. Most locations won’t be unlocked on the map until they’re discovered by the player on-foot. When fast travel does become available, it’s costly. The further away a desired point-of-interest lies, the more caps players must spend to get there via fast travel.
Hines briefly touched on the fast travel system, saying,
As part of the main quest, you’ll head up into the northeast part of the map and then the next thing you’ll do is far to the south. Well you’ll jump some amount of that if you don’t want to walk back by fast travelling to Vault 76 or other places and walking from here. But you might find that you want to go this way because you haven’t seen what’s on this interstate, or there’s a really interesting icon on the map and you want to see what’s there.
Additionally, Hines suggested this feeds into the importance of exploration in Fallout 76’s shared-world. Complete freedom with fast travel or vehicles would strip a player’s sense of discovery, impeding them from stumbling across other players.
With 23 other players on the map, each of them has the ability to build camps and those become points of interest on their own. And those don’t get marked, you just have to come by and see one. If you’re zipping in a thing down the interstate, you’ll miss those things. It’s intentional to make you explore and see and find all the cool stuff that’s out there. We don’t want you speeding past and missing anything that’s going on.
Fallout 76 is now available for the PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One.