The makers of 'Fallout 76' have been caught in a cyclone of scandals since the game's release - here's why fans are outraged
"Fallout 76"/Bethesda Studios
- The release of "Fallout 76" has largely been a disaster and many players who bought the game after the launch two weeks ago are now demanding refunds.
- Bethesda Studios is currently refusing refunds based on their digital store policy, but some players previously reported that their refund was granted by the company's support team.
- Players who paid $200 for "Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition" also noted that a canvas bag advertised in the package had been substituted with a cheaper nylon bag without notice.
- Bethesda's inconsistency has led at least one law firm to consider a class-action suit against the company on behalf of the players.
Bethesda Studios has frequently been the target of critics and punchlines for releasing their games with a bevy of unintentional glitches and bugs over the years, but the studio's newest game, "Fallout 76" may not be able to recover from its controversial launch. Disgruntled fans are demanding refunds and Bethesda's handling of the backlash has led at least one lawfirm to consider a class-action lawsuit.
While Bethesda's "Fallout" is widely respected as one of the best first-person shooter series, the shift to a massively-multiplayer format for "Fallout 76" brought a wave of skepticism from fans. The game's early reception was warm at best, competing against major releases like "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4" and "Red Dead Redemption 2."
But even those who decided to give "Fallout 76" a try have struggled with limited gameplay and game-breaking glitches, leading waves of players to demand a full refund from Bethesda. Bethesda's refund policy states that players cannot receive a refund after downloading the game, but some players reported that their refund was granted after contacting the support team.
Players who successfully lobbied for a refund posted on Reddit, sparking a series of requests for refunds from r/Fallout users. Bethesda ultimately reverted to its no-refund policy, but the inconsistency has left players even more irate with the company's business practices.
In a separate situation, players who ordered the $200 "Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition" reported that the bundle did not ship as advertised. While the special edition package was supposed to contain a West Tek canvas bag, Bethesda substituted it for a cheaper nylon bag. A customer who inquired with a support employee was told that the company decided to change the bag due to a lack of supplies, and that Bethesda had no plans to address the issue.
The unhelpful response led to another wave of complaints, leading Bethesda to issue a follow-up statement and offer those who purchased the special edition an additional $5 worth of in-game currency.
Now a Washington, D.C. based law-firm, Migliaccio & Rathod LLP, has announced that they plan to investigate Bethesda's refund policy and the "Power Armor Edition" advertisements to determine if it's worth filing a class-action lawsuit claiming deceptive trade practices. In preparation for a potential class-action lawsuit, the firm is asking dissatisfied players to submit a confidential questionnaire if they attempted to get a refund or received the nylon bag with the "Power Armor Edition."
The outlook for "Fallout 76" is already looking grim two weeks after release, but Bethesda will have to work to make sure that future games aren't impacted by the negative feedback. The company has already detailed improvements coming to "Fallout 76" next month, and has promised greater transparency moving forward.