West Virginia has officially embraced all the grassroots fan interest it’s been getting ever since Bethesda revealed that Fallout 76 would take place in the state's craggy crevices and rural backroads.
Bethesda Softworks and the West Virginia Tourism Office have partnered up to cross-promote each other, with the Mountain State debuting a “Fallout 76: Emerge and Explore West Virginia” website devoted to directing would-be lone wanderers toward the decidedly less dangerous, real-life locations the studio replicates in its sprawling, detailed game map.
It’s not a halfhearted effort, either: Jim Justice, West Virginia’s governor, even had something to say about the partnership, exulting in the novel opportunity to reach out to tourists “all over the world through the unique lens of this video game” in his announcement this week.
While the tourism office is promising more details and “a few more exciting announcements up our sleeve,” the site already features an interactive map that’ll point intrepid vault dwellers toward some of the real locations, and West Virginia-specific lore (like the infamous Mothman), set to appear in the game.
Fallout 76 also draws on local folklore for some of its enemy monsters, and the tourism site has an especially fun section that explores their real-world origins and myths. In addition to the Mothman (whose first and only sighting came at Point Pleasant in 1966), it’s the place to go if you want to know the true West Virginia backstory of that over-leveled, headless Grafton Monster, Mega Sloth, or Flatwoods Monster that just sent you packing.
You can also bone up on your knowledge of the real landscape that Bethesda’s bringing into Fallout 76, with a fun photo essay that features side-by-side comparisons between real landmarks like Harpers Ferry, Moundsville Penitentiary, and the New River Gorge Bridge, with their wasteland counterparts in the game. There’s even a social feature that lets fans submit any other in-game locations they spy as they roam Fallout 76’s country roads.
Ever since Bethesda revealed West Virginia as the setting for Fallout 76 back in June, online interest in the state has surged as fans flock to the web for any clue they can find to help form an educated guess at what the studio might be cooking up. But with the game’s release now only a month away, the countdown clock’s ticking on all that speculation: Fallout 76 emerges Nov. 14 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.