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West Virginians are the most excited about Fallout 76

West Virginia, take me home

Fallout 76
Bethesda Softworks
Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Fallout 76 was released with a catchy trailer that no one can get out of their heads and an eerily beautiful rendition of post-apocalyptic West Virginia. While fan reactions about the online-only gameplay and the differences between Fallout 76 and the other Fallout titles are mixed, Fallout fans in West Virginia are pretty darn stoked to see their state in the game.

The game is going to be four times bigger than Fallout 4, according to Bethesda, and fans are already identifying real life locations. But the fact that the game is set in a state rarely recognized in media has struck deep in the hearts of West Virginians.

West Virginia residents are tweeting about roaming the locations they know well and finding their hometowns to settle in.

Dr. Jess Morrissette of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia is particularly excited to see West Virginia in a Fallout game.

Morrissette is a professor of political science and pop culture and, more importantly, a longtime Fallout fan whose last conference presentation was titled “I’d Like to Buy the World a Nuka-Cola: The Purposes and Meanings of Video Game Soda Machines.”

He says that seeing West Virginians’ reactions on social media and local news — even among people who don’t know much about the Fallout series or video games — has been the best part of the reveal.

“West Virginia is a state that’s overlooked in pop culture, and when it does appear, it’s often portrayed in a negative light,” said Morrissette. “I think a lot of people here rightly feel burned when the entire state is reduced down to a bunch of hurtful Appalachian stereotypes in pop culture.”

But the gameplay trailer has Morrisette hopeful for a new outlook on West Virginia.

“Seeing landmarks like the New River Gorge Bridge, the Greenbrier Resort, and Camden Park — along with bits of West Virginian lore like the Mothman — suggests that Bethesda has done its homework,” he said. “I hope the end result is a game that’s not only fun to play, but also does the region and its people justice.”

Morrissette shared a redesign of the state seal, which incorporates elements of the Fallout series.

Though fan reaction is still mixed on other aspects of the game, it’s heartwarming to see West Virginians everywhere bonded by seeing their state in the limelight.

Fallout 76 will be released Nov. 14 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.