In one of the weirdest controversies of the gaming year, Bethesda came under heavy fire following the launch of their open-world MMO Fallout 76. A lot of this heat was directed at the quality of the game itself – which has left many fans and critics disappointed – but this glumness was only increased by the launch of the Power Armour Edition, which replaced its promised canvas duffel bag with a bog-standard nylon replacement.
As if that wasn’t enough, it has since come to light that some decent-looking Fallout 76 bags were indeed produced. These found their way, as free gifts, into the hands of online “influencers” (a bizarre buzzword of the modern era). It must be noted that these bags are not the same bags originally planned for the Power Armour Edition. It’s not as if Bethesda ran out of bags because they gave them all away. But handing out said items, gratis, to unofficial advertisers, whilst paying customers get a cheap replacement, was never going to result in a great look, and has left some fans understandably peeved.
While the whole of Fallout 76’s “bag-gate” drama is pretty much a first-world problem, it’s not really about the bag itself at all. It’s a case of broken faith between paying customer and provider. Fallout 76 has been the subject of a string of controversies in its launch period, from in-game quality, to a supposed class-action lawsuit toward 76 itself, a “deal with it”-style response from a customer service rep (which Bethesda has since apologised for), and the bizarre compensation of a few dollars of in-game currency.
It goes beyond being merely about the material made to produce some bag, and into the realms of the Fallout community feeling a lack of respect earned for their ongoing support, both vocally and financially, of the franchise. Those Power Armour Edition bags likely aren’t getting made, but 76’s bad press goes beyond that particular issue, and the damage done by Fallout’s fallout could weigh heavy on Bethesda’s shoulders for some time.
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Bag-gate continues as canvas Fallout 76 bags find their way into influencers’ hands