The video game industry may not be pivoting away from battle royale just yet, but a few major publishers are reconsidering the genre’s reputation as an easy cash cow. The latest? Bethesda, who’s decided that it doesn’t really make sense to have battle royale in Fallout 76 anymore.
Bethesda made the announcement in an E3-themed update post, saying that while it knows “some” players are “incredibly passionate” about the 52-player Nuclear Winter mode—which included Fallout-flavored twists like nukes and creatures that roamed the landscape—most just aren’t.
“Over time, however, we’ve seen the vast majority of players prefer to explore other aspects of the game,” Bethesda wrote. “It has also become tougher to put full Nuclear Winter lobbies together without also making sacrifices on match wait times. Additionally, we’ve found it challenging to provide meaningful updates for Nuclear Winter, while also developing and supporting exciting new content for Adventure Mode in recent and upcoming updates.”
As a result, it’s going to sunset the mode this September. The company went on to say, however, that it’s still “working to provide methods of PVP combat” for players, and that it plans to “compensate” those who have played Nuclear Winter—even just for one match.
This comes during the same week that EA announced a big new shooter, Battlefield 2042, sans an oft-rumored battle royale mode. In recent times, we’ve also seen more specialized kinds of multiplayer games—like Among Us, Valorant, and Fall Guys—rocket to the top of the charts. Given the continued popularity of Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Apex Legends, it doesn’t seem like the battle royale bubble has burst so much as publishers have come to realize that the genre has a calcified top layer, and even a substantial amount of brute force (read: money) isn’t always enough to puncture it. That doesn’t mean everyone has stopped trying, however; yesterday, for example, developer Sharkmob announced Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodhunt, a battle royale set in the aforementioned universe full of bloodthirsty goths.
As for Fallout, while Nuclear Winter mode’s time is nigh, Bethesda doesn’t want players to get the idea that Fallout 76 might be facing its own apocalypse soon.
“We would like to thank everyone in the community who spent time competing in Nuclear Winter,” Bethesda wrote. “While we have decided to disable this mode, Fallout 76’s future remains very bright. We can’t wait to share more details with you on all of the new features and adventures we’re planning to bring to the game throughout 2021, and for years to come.”