West Virginia Tourism partners with Bethesda for release of 'Fallout 76'

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WHSV) — With the release of Bethesda Game Studios' latest installment in its post-apocalyptic "Fallout" video game series coming up next November, West Virginia is embracing the game's setting in the Mountain State.

Screenshot of the Fallout: 76 trailer released by Bethesda Game Studios, showing the New River Gorge Bridge in the background

The open world video game, which will be online for the first time in the game series' history, will be set in post-nuclear West Virginia.

The games all take place within a post-apocalyptic alternate timeline version of America, following years that people spent in fallout shelters after nuclear war took place in 2077.

The first games took place along the West Coast and midwest. Fallout 3 took place in the general region of Washington, D.C. and Fallout 4 took place around Boston.

But the newest game takes place 25 years after the nuclear strike, which means players will get to see a West Virginia just a couple decades after nuclear devastation, as opposed to a Las Vegas or Boston hundreds of years later, like the earlier games.

The setting was first announced in June through a trailer set to a 1940s-inspired version of John Denver’s famous “Country Roads" showcasing a number of landmarks familiar to West Virginians, like the New River Gorge Bridge, The Greenbrier, the State Capitol, Woodburn Hall, and more.

Interestingly, The Greenbrier, in real-life housed a fallout shelter meant for Congress if nuclear war were to break out. According to the official website, the 112,544-square-foot bunker is situated some 70 feet below the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. It features a 25-ton blast door and a decontamination chamber.

However, its location was revealed by The Washington Post in 1992 and likely has not been used since then, although The Greenbrier is still used for GOP Congressional retreats.

“It’s finally time the rest of the world sees what a gem West Virginia is,” said Governor Jim Justice. “For years, I’ve been saying we have it all: beautiful scenery, the best people you could ask for and more. And now, we get to share a piece of that with people all over the world through the unique lens of this video game.”

The state's tourism office is creating advertising strategies in partnership with Bethesda to both educate players about West Virginia’s unique landscape and culture and offer them an open invitation to visit the state over the coming months.

The most recent game in the series generated more than $750 million within the first 24 hours of its retail launch in 2015, and West Virginia expects the new game to be an international sensation as well.

So they're capitalizing on the opportunity to reach a new audience to come to the Mountain State.

“I think the world was caught by surprise when Bethesda released the trailer with an eerily beautiful post-apocalyptic West Virginia set to a slightly more futuristic version of our state’s anthem,” said Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby. “In just a matter of hours, the internet was abuzz with West Virginians excited to see a glimpse of home and gamers excited to learn more about their new, beautiful virtual destination.”

Fans across the world have spent countless hours watching trailers for the game and excerpts of gameplay, speculating about which parts of the state will be featured, with dozens of locations and folklore monsters (like Mothman) already named.

“Our goal is to welcome each and every one of the game’s players to Almost Heaven,” said Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby. “Bethesda has been a terrific partner since day one. They’ve really embraced West Virginia and its beauty. We believe this unique partnership has tremendous potential to bring folks to visit the Mountain State.”

Fallout 76 launches November 14, 2018 on Xbox One, PlayStation® 4 computer entertainment system, and PC. You can learn more about the West Virginia tourism partnership here.