Fallout 76 update points to incoming Lunchboxes, and yes, they could be loot boxes

Code spotted in the most recent Fallout 76 update has players dreading the untimely specter of loot boxes. A fan-made changelog posted by Reddit user despotak reveals dozens upon dozens of references to a new object called Lunchboxes. Lunchboxes also appeared in previous Fallout games (in Fallout 4 they'd produce confetti and a random item when opened) but the details of this update makes Fallout 76 Lunchboxes sound more like Fallout Shelter's: an item that gives you a suite of random rewards in exchange for in-game or real-world currency. In other words, a loot box.

To be clear: all of the information for potential Fallout 76 Lunchboxes was gleaned from fans datamining official Fallout 76 materials, rather than Bethesda making an announcement itself, so everything is subject to change. What you can find in the back end of the update right now is familiar: special animations with local-area announcements for players who open the boxes; temporary perks that give bonuses to carrying capacity, additional experience points, or other brief boons; and a tag that denotes content associated with the in-game Atomic Shop.

Despite the Lunchbox code references coming to light late last week, Bethesda still has not made any official statement about what they mean.

It seems like terrible timing for loot boxes to come to Fallout 76. After a rough launch and widely negative reviews in November, persistent glitches and unpopular economy changes mean Fallout 76 is still struggling to please players a month later. And 2018 has been an unkind year to the concept of loot boxes as a whole, with some countries beginning to investigate or outright ban them as a form of gambling.

This may be optimistic, but my guess for the timing is that Bethesda is preparing to give players some holiday gifts and/or "sorry for all then launchers issues" makegood rewards in the form of Lunchboxes. It would then likely start selling them later down the line. But dataminers will datamine, and now disgruntled players (not to mention people who just hate loot boxes as a concept) have something else to grumble about without even any assurances of free stuff to soften the blow. It's unfortunate, but that's sadly been the story of Fallout 76 so far.

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Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.