Fallout 76 isn’t scheduled to release until November, but one young fan had an opportunity to play the game early with the help of publisher Bethesda.
A 12-year-old boy named Wes from Hampton Roads, Virginia was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma seven years ago, and doctors recently told his family that it would be best to halt treatment. Worried that he wouldn’t be able to play Fallout 76 in the coming months, Wes’ family reached out to Bethesda, and assistant director Matt Grandstaff drove four hours from headquarters to his home so he could try out the game early.
“While he doesn’t get to keep the game because it’s too early, just those hours of playtime made him happier than you know,” a post on Wes’ Facebook page said.
Wes was also given a prototype of the Power Armor helmet being offered with special editions of Fallout 76, signed by game director Todd Howard. He was even able to try the helmet on for some wicked photographs where he looks ready to kill some radroaches and drink some Nuka-Cola.
The pictures appear to show a signed map of West Virginia seen in Fallout 76, signed by the development team. Wes was prepared for the occasion with a Fallout shirt and some Fallout-colored headphones, as well.
As part of their contribution to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Bethesda provides opportunities to terminally ill children to come see where their favorite games are made and to play them. Todd Howard explained in a Gamelab interview with Geoff Keighley that the company doesn’t like to talk about it too much because it’s a private experience.
“That’s a good … like, you want a reality check at work. You’re doing your day-to-day and then a family comes in with their child. They can wish for anything and they’ve come to your studio because they want to see how you make their favorite game and they want to play it. It is by far the greatest thing that we do.”
Despite no longer undergoing treatment, Wes is keeping a positive attitude. His family said he has “still found ways to use his witty sense of humor” and that he isn’t in pain. They have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money and pay for expenses associated with traveling to doctors and living in New York City.