OHIO VALLEY — The Fallout® 76 vault has officially opened and it’s putting one local town on its map and before the eyes of video gamers everywhere.
The West Virginia Tourism Office this week celebrated the worldwide launch of Bethesda Softworks’ video game Fallout® 76, the latest edition of its blockbuster game series in which players explore different parts of a post-apocalyptic America. Point Pleasant is one of the locations featured, including the Mothman Museum and of course, the Mothman also swoops in to make his presence known.
Representatives from Bethesda were at this year’s Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant. When the Mothman Museum caught wind that its favorite legend would be featured in the game, it reached out to Bethesda Game Studios and asked them to participate in the Mothman Festival where Ohio Valley Publishing Reporter Dean Wright caught up with Bethesda staff.
“We did a documentary with Noclip (video game documentarians) with Danny O’Dwyer and (the artist in the video) was wearing a Mothman shirt in the documentary which came out in June,” said Bethesda Senior Community Manager Jessica Finster during the festival. “So that was when (the Mothman Museum) reached out. Originally, we had gotten their contacting information forwarded to our licensing director because they wanted to see about getting merchandise (for the festival). It was also kind of very serendipitous because I was also looking into (speaking with the Mothman Museum and festival) as an initiative to have outreach at the event.”
Finster described the contact with the Mothman Museum as a nice coincidence.
“We were excited and they were excited and it was just a very harmonious thing,” said Finster. “I know that a lot of the artists, including Nathan Purkeypile (lead artist with Bethesda Game Studios) who was the one in the video wearing the shirt, he and several of the team are fans of cryptids and cryptozoology. It was just a matter of building off of that. They were trying to be true to West Virginia and represent it as accurately as they can in a post-apocalyptic era while also being sensitive to the people.”
The West Virginia Tourism Office announced a formal agreement with Bethesda last month and marked the official game launch, called “Reclamation Day,” with an interactive game map and launch celebration at the State Capitol.
“West Virginia has never had a tourism opportunity quite like this. Fallout® 76, will introduce the state to a new audience of millions who will be exposed to the state through an award-winning game that they are passionate about,” Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby said. “It has been great getting to work closely with the leadership team at Bethesda to learn the ins and outs of the game and find one-of-a-kind ways to grow this partnership.”
The West Virginia edition is the company’s most ambitious game universe to date, covering a much larger geographical area than ever before and playing up local West Virginia lore. Previous editions in the Fallout® series were set in Washington, D.C., and Boston. The game will offer many loyal fans their first glimpse of West Virginia, creating a unique opportunity to promote tourism to a new audience.
The Tourism Office has been working behind the scenes with the award-winning game developer to devise a promotional strategy that capitalizes on interest from the game to drive visitation to the state.
An exclusive interactive map of all real-life West Virginia locations in the game launched today on WVtourism.com to coincide with the official game release. The map holds the official list of sites and allows visitors to explore online, sharing facts and information about each location along the way.
“Folks have been speculating for months about which West Virginia landmarks would be in the game, and today, we were able to release the full list. With Bethesda’s help, we’ve developed an interactive map that shows which sites in the game are based on real-life West Virginia attractions. The early response has been incredible. Within an hour of that map going live, we had thousands of gamers on the West Virginia tourism website learning about the real attractions,” Ruby continued.
Other locations which made it into the game were New River Gordge Bridge, Camden Park, Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Harpers Ferry, Pumpkin House, Morgantown, Spruce Knob, Seneca Rocks and more.
Dean Wright and the West Virginia Tourism Office contributed to this report.