Fallout 76 fans are no stranger to solving in-game mysteries, but the ones created by players can be much weirder. One of the largest role-playing groups in Bethesda Game Studios’ post-apocalyptic world, the New Responders, is currently weaving a tale involving missing persons, dodgy suspects, and potential cannibalism. The entire production is live for the public to watch on Twitch, and the end result is the closest thing we have to a weekly Fallout TV show.
The New Responders, who operate under the call sign Five-0, set the stage for the show by sending out a desperate message on social media, which establishes the central dilemma. What’s curious about the show is that it directly involves viewers to engage in the central mystery — it’s not just something you watch, but something you could actually help solve yourself.
Members of the community who expressed interest in playing with the Responders received a private message through Discord, beseeching them for in-universe aid. Other people saw an open call for help in the form of a tweet go out from the Five-0 account. Turns out, there’s a missing persons case in Appalachia, and the New Responders are concerned about the idea of more people dying in the wasteland. Luckily, Commander Johns has an initial location for anyone receiving the broadcast to check out, and it may have more clues.
Onlookers who decided to investigate found clues and potential suspects ready to question. These suspects and witnesses come from the Five-0; they are essentially actors showing up and pretending to be NPCs. It’s like going to Disney and hanging out with Goofy — yeah, you know there’s a cast member under the suit, but it’d spoil the fun to bring it up. Only by successfully charming or convincing witnesses and investigating clues will the participants uncover the truth.
Here’s where everything has the potential to go off the rails, because the protagonists of the mystery have to cajole the right information out of the Five-0-controlled cast, or they won’t get to the bottom of this nefarious network.
The New Responders are telling this story through the format of an hourlong procedural. The format is six individual episodes, broadcast on Twitch and then archived on YouTube. Parts of the story are prepared beforehand, and crafted through machinima. These are triggered at certain parts of the story, and deliver exposition or set up the next scene. The revelations and reveals are bridged together with improvisational role play, open to both the New Responders and people in the Fallout 76 PlayStation 4 role-play community.
The mystery will unfurl further over the course of five hours. Each location is essentially a set, crafted by members of the New Responders. Player CAMPs have been torn down, with members of the Five-0 replacing their bunks and workbenches with coffee shops and crime scenes. No one is sure how it’s going to end — including the people running the thing. After all, it partially depends on what players engaging in the drama actually do. The final result feels like engaging in an old-timey radio drama. It’s a format that works very well in the Fallout setting, especially since there are several canonical radio dramas within the universe.