It’s pretty much standard issue for games to come with a photo mode these days, and Fallout 76 isn’t any different. It does however have a lovely little twist I’ve discovered in the Fallout 76 beta where the pictures you take are quietly slipped into your loading screens - popping up here and there to remind you of that time you found a room full of skeletons and decided to chill...
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It’s a such a simple idea but one in the context of an ongoing game like Fallout 76 means you’ll always have an ever expanding photo diary of your favourite moments and achievements. Bethesda is planning this game to run for years and having an in-game photojournal randomly flick back down memory lane is going to be great. Like that first time I teamed up with friends to explore.
Fortnite almost plays with the idea via its unlockable loading screens. They might not be pictures you actually make - just wallpapers you unlock via challenges and levelling up - but they’re tied to seasonal events and so to a period in time. When a season 2 or 3 screen pops up it takes me back to that time I hide behind a tree and sniped my way down to the final two. Or that time I bum rushed a squad solo and somehow took them all down. Memory’s a powerful thing but sometimes it needs a prod and Fallout 76’s user made loading screens could a powerful thing even a few months down the line, let alone years. Imagine Destiny, Call of Duty, Battlefield, or whatever online game you play for months or years at time, reminding you of all the good times in-between making more good times.
It’s not just a neat idea, it’s a really clever one as well from a psychological point of view. The more you play, and the more photos you take, the more memories you build up, the more loading screens you’ll see, all of which remind you how much fun you have playing this game. Even using the ‘not really paying attention’ loading pause is almost deviously clever - intentionally or otherwise - you tend to switch off a touch in those moments, meaning the photographic good vibes can almost subliminally slip in.
Intentional subliminal manipulation, or built-in photo diary, I’m just looking forward to being a year down the line and being reminded of that time I found a swimsuit and just had to take a picture...
If you want to see what players are doing in the game then read about the Fallout 76 traders trying to make a living already, selling to folks in the wasteland.